Friday, July 26, 2013

Jack Peter for Mayor

We've had another hiccup here at 145B West Laurel Street.  Yesterday Jack Peter got suspended from camp for a day and a half.  I clearly need to blog more because it was only 2 blogs ago that Jack Peter got kicked off of the bus for 3 days.  If there were a few more blog entries in there, he'd seem less diabolical.

He took an old iPhone to camp.  He and his friend Caspar took pictures of their asses and in Jack Peter's case, penis.  Jack Peter managed to convert the money shot of his penis into the screen saver.  (Any of you out there who believe that my not letting my kids have computer/screen-time is holding them back is crazy.  I'd have to work hard to convert an image into my screen saver; Jack Peter can figure that stuff out in milliseconds.)  He then let everyone at camp take a peek at his new screen saver.

My first reaction was the typical, "What did I do to cause this?"  I questioned my having-the-kids-change-into-their-bathing-suits-in-public policy.  My hippy attitude towards nudity and the family showers popped into my head as did the careless placement of David Macaulay's HOW WE WORK in the living room.  A month ago Jack Peter told me triumphantly and furtively at a restaurant that he knows how babies are made.  "Dada puts his penis in your vagina!"  I imagined excusing myself and going straight home to send an e-mail to the rest of the soon-to-be-2nd-Grade parents at Green Woods Charter School:  Dear parents.  It's time for "the talk" otherwise it's going to come from Jack Peter, and I'm not sure that's what you want.  Love, Liz and Tim.  InsteadI said, "You're right!  Who told you that?"  He responded, "I read it!"  "Where did you read it?"  "In a book in the living room!"  "Which book?"  "HOW WE WORK!"  Some well-meaning person gave How Things Work and How We Work to Jack Peter when he was 3.  How was I to know he'd read them cover to cover and commit them both to memory? I do still wonder why he whispered it, AND if he knew to whisper it, why did he not know that showing everyone at camp a picture of his penis was a bad idea?

Another recent development crossed my mind.  Over dinner the other night we discovered that Jack Peter had put glue in his hair a month ago to make it stand up straight.  I had been wondering why the texture seemed to have changed.  There's only so much one can attribute to beach trips and our annual summer shampoo fast.  Armed with our chocolate Oreo cookie dessert, we all went to shower together because we'd gone to the public pool.  As I was vigorously scrubbing his head with Pantene, Steel was asking him if he'd used glitter glue.  "NO!  I don't want glitter in my hair!  I just wanted it to stand straight up!"  Steel agreed.  They always agree with one another if the opinion has been shouted loudly in a tiled room.  After the conditioner stage, Jack Peter said, "You know where I would want glitter?"  Both girls were rapt.  "On my penis!"  They nodded in agreement.  I had to get a little more, "Why would you want glitter on your penis?"  His response, "I HAVE NO IDEA!"  It took the world a long time to come up with vagazzling, and at 7, Jack Peter intuitively arrives at glitter penis?

apparently a student at Moore College of Art went to more extreme lengths to show everyone at camp his glitter penis....

The responses to this latest suspension have varied.  My mom is convinced that he's on a path towards mild perversion at best or more likely, total deviance.  Her assumption is that he's showing off his stuff.  As a 45-lb-white boy, I suppose he's doing OK in the tallywacker department, but I suspect that given the race and size of most of the other campers his package is not all that boast-worthy.  His previous daycare teacher said while looking at an imaginary watch, "2nd grade? Yep, that seems right on schedule..."  Sweet said, "God I love Jack Peter!"  My friend Jen said, "A boy in Willa's camp exposed himself twice the other day.  They sat him in a corner for 20 minutes."  By far the best response was Jen's follow-up text the next morning "Perhaps Jack Peter should run for Mayor of New York?!"

So we have the choice of moving to New York City where such things are expected from a mayoral candidate or we move to the rural south where the sentencing is milder.  Jen did query whether he'd ever get a birthday party again.  His penance (beyond the obvious castration I've scheduled for next week) is doing Xtramath once a day.  (a really annoying math facts website) He gets no dessert for a week, and we are not going out to get the birthday present he's been wanting to buy himself with the money Uncle Johnny and Aunt Tiff gave him.  Clearly the iPhone is well out of reach, and I've engaged in subtle warfare.  His voice won't carry any weight this week.  We had pancakes this morning.  He doesn't like them; the girls do.  The girls got to choose the movie for movie night. (Pocahontas)  Halfway through the movie, I called him out to do his math, and I handed them each some candy.

None of it is working.  He's still gayly talking about getting Mindcraft on his next iPhone.  I've explained to him that he won't have an i anything until he's a teenager, but it falls on deaf, utterly optimistic ears.  My brother and his wife stopped here the other night on their way back to Florida from Mass.  During the trip down, their kids had asked them the meaning of immune.  The only definition that really clicked for them was, "Jack Peter is immune to punishment."  I'm considering contacting Frances Weiner.  Perhaps she and I could start some sort of support group for mothers of blithely optimistic exhibitionists-MOBOE.

By the way, please don't think that I'm vagazzled.  I have an odd feeling about my own nudity.  I always imagine that I could walk down the street completely naked, and no one would notice.  I think it's because I don't really have any frills.  My body is the Jetta diesel of bodies.  It gets great mileage, but no one is going to worry too much about the paint job.  I think I've felt that way because my mom had the body equivalent of a Town and Country Mini Van with leather seats, a sun roof and a DVD player in the back.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bird in the house

I'm at my mom's, and I'm supposed to go back to Philly tomorrow.  I dragged my neglected portion of the 2012 holiday cards up here thinking that I would complete them.  A lot of them go to my business clients.  On July 12, what am I supposed to write to business clients on a card picturing my children wearing photo-shopped santa hats?  I wonder what I did say considering that I had to be drunk to do it.  I'm, once again, wowing the world with my ability to juggle it all!  The annoying part was that the entire time I was trying to focus on the cards, Martha Stewart was out there in a fog of mosquitos banging on the door with a huge "domestic time-management" trophy in her arms.

I've been procrastinating.  How?  Well, I maintain an extremely holier-than-thou claim that my children have no TV or electronics, and that they only get 1 movie-night a week.  However, I should hire one of those guys who talk really fast on ads to follow me around with a disclaimer:
Unless my children are up before ten at either my mother's or my mother in law's house OR if I'm at a friends house, and I'd rather be drunk than paying attention to them OR if  they are hanging out with someone closely, distantly or not related to them who has an electronic device OR if they are nauseous, concussed, cranky, pre-menstrual, depressed or strung out on crack OR if it's a long weekend, short weekend, holiday, weekday OR if it has snowed, rained, hailed or tsunami-d anywhere within 3000 miles within the past 10 years...

So I've been procrastinating by neglecting my children in front of the TV or their cousin's iPad while reading Bossypants or hanging out with friends and drinking.  I've also been creating a website/blog for my mom's skirts.  I've spoken about the yarn bombing before, so I'll just put a link and a picture here:

My other forms of procrastination that do not involve neglect are: dying any child within reach's hair permanently iridescent purple or dying green lightening bolts into their hair and having them come out so non-lightening-bolt-esque that they get deemed deliberately-created Puma insignias.  (God, I love my see-the-cup-half-full son)

except when he throws sand at the beach seven times after I've told him to stop OR talks back to my mom OR gets kicked off the bus OR whines about the ipad OR drops and shatters a massive bowl of Rice Crispies with too much sugar on them in the middle of my mom's kitchen OR cheats at Battleship OR grabs my breast and says "cupcake" suggestively OR does mouth farts on my arm far too many times to be funny OR spits his toothpaste past the sink into the nebulous back-sink area OR asks me to help him do Oragami

see...this disclaimer gig is full-time!

How else have I been procrastinating?  I've been sending pictures of my family eating lobster to my brother in law's girlfriend who just started a 21-day cleanse during which she can eat nothing and cc-ing bitter homosexuals in New York City who love lobster.  It's amazing how much time selecting the perfect buttery lobster photo can take.

I have also been not bathing.  How can "not bathing" take time?  Well, I have hideous eczema.  I have to bathe eventually, so "not bathing" is just another tier on my ladder of procrastination.  My bathing options at my mom's are: her shower, Dick's shower, and the yellow hall shower.

Normally I choose her shower.  There, I get to use all of the expensive bath products that I've bought her for the past 5 years.  I get to ruminate over which mildew-infused loofah to weather, and I get to pour on that fabulous Aveda "for blondes" that is supposed to make the hair on my head that is not hot pink or iridescent purple not look orange.  The Aveda neighbors are copious dollar store and Marshall's shower gels or unused Jessica McClintock products that Dick gave my mom that she probably is too sad about his death to use.  Susie's shower has climbed on the difficulty scale.  The door no longer closes, so she has a bungee cord to loop around the tub faucet to keep the spray from re-opening the spackled hole in the ceiling that would regularly tsunami water into the living room during holidays of my youth.  A few days ago I wrapped the cord around the tub faucet and, for some reason, panicked and let it go because it turned the cold water onto my feet.  The cord snapped into my left eye and blinded me.  I'm still bitter about that, so the bungee cord shower is out.

Dick's shower is downstairs.  It has a cool stone floor, but the products are sparse, and both my mom and I have shattered a beer bottle near it trying to extricate a dead pig or tired plate of deviled eggs from the primarily beer fridge in the same room.  I don't want to complicate the blindness with a poorly swept up beer bottle amputation.  The yellow shower has been re-done recently.  Remember my mom gushing as she compared her faux-finishing sponge-painting to Monet's water lilies?  (Sorry Claude, Susie really nailed it with a sponge and some acrylics)  I like that shower, but the yellow bathroom is home to about 50 carpenter ants who are each as long as my big toe.  The larger problem is that Misty and Snowy, the cats, brought a baby skunk up there, taunted it, and killed it in the tub leaving it unrecognizable except for the smell.  Susie must have had a head cold for 4 months, so she didn't discover the carnage until the diabolical funk had settled into the pores of the tile and the water lilies.

Misty and Snowy are praise-worthy hunters.  There have been daily sacrifices offered to us through the cat door.  It adds to the 5-kid chaos in a Darwinian way.  We worry about the animal until it bores us by going under a large piece of furniture to either die or be retrieved and killed by Snowy, the more humane of the two cats.

It all makes me remember long, romantic phone conversations with one of my college long-distance boyfriends.  I'd regale him with stories of 1 Spy Rock Hill, and he would take it all with a grain of salt.  His skepticism about the extent of the chaos always bugged me.  One day as I was administering phone fellatio to him, my dad was  fabricating his daily anti pasta salad.

recipe: the best leaves on a head of lettuce,
leaving the worst for my mom to which he responded,"Why don't you just throw them away and have the best for yourself as well?" to which any self-respecting lettuce martyr would snort haughtily
tomatoes, feta cheese, genoa salami, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and oil

Mom was in the garden.  All of a sudden Peter screams, "BIRD IN THE HOUSE!!!!!  SUSIE!!!! EMERGENCY!!!! BIRD IN THE HOUSE!!!!"  Susie is screaming from the garden, "THEN GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE!"  Peter is screaming more desperately, "SUSIE!!!!  BIRD IN THE HOUSE"  Susie relents and comes running to his aid, but in the lapse time, Penny our neighbor starts screaming from across the woods, "SUSIE!!!!! PETER SAYS THERE'S A BIRD IN THE HOUSE!!!!"  and then to her husband who is in their house, "EVAN!!!!  THERE IS A BIRD IN PETER AND SUSIE'S HOUSE!!!!!"  All I had to do to make my point about the 1 Spy Rock Hill insanity was to hold up the phone for 5 minutes.  The poor boyfriend was in tears screaming at me, "I THOUGHT YOU WERE KIDDING!!!!  IS THIS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING???"

Yes it is...