Friday, October 23, 2015

55 more shopping days

My kids aren't going to allow me to yell at them for 2 weeks straight while I make their costumes.  They are cutting me out of the process.  Maybe I'll get to rip Toby's clothes for her zombie, but that's going to be it.

The pro-choicers have gone about this thing all wrong.  I've started to call myself "pro-abortion"  to which people respond, "Nobody is pro-abortion!"  Screw that; I AM pro-abortion.  Maybe we could go for something cute like the "Nip in the budders."  I'm sure some clever advertising person could work in the rhyme of "udder" and "budder" for a campaign slogan.  On this platform, I'll clearly be the nominee for the democratic ticket, I'll be debating Donald Trump.
"Miss Kinder, You believe in killing the lives of innocents!"  
"Actually, Mr. Trump, I'm going to take it a bit further.  I'm for abortion in ANY form even retroactive abortions.  If, for instance, your mother, Mrs. Trump regretted having given birth to you, a sentiment for which anyone without a heart of stone would have sympathy, she could go to her gynecologist at Planned Parenthood and ask to retroactively terminate her pregnancy.  Planned Parenthood wouldn't perform the procedure, but one of their affiliates would take care of the problem.  Planned Parenthood could then profit by organ harvesting in addition to their current fetal tissue sales.  Imagine if they discovered that you didn't even have a heart to harvest after your procedure?!"  
"I can see your point in the case of retroactively aborting the criminal spawn of illegal immigrants, but what about the innocents in the womb?"
"Well considering that I'd be willing to allow a virtual going back in time to abort rather than murder someone, let's go forward in time and look at most of those "innocents" when they've lived a life unwanted, uneducated, and without proper healthcare.  Very few of them remain innocent under those circumstances, so, therefore, better to just nip them in the bud, so to speak."
(massive applause)

I don't think I have a future in politics, but I'll bet Pope Francis didn't expect to be Pope. He and I share the same birthday.  Maybe this is the moment for the December 17th-ers to shake things up.  I just googled "people born on December 17" and this came up:

Endowed with strong sense of optimism and level-headedness, 
 except when faced with lost water bottles, complaints about meals, and poor behavior at school individuals born on December 17 are practical and charming folks with a hardworking and determined nature. These people have high standards and a warm-hearted independent spirit. However, given the same, they possess the maturity to accept failure as well and do not get let down by the same. or they drink so much after they've failed that they forget about it.Although self-disciplined, they enjoy breaking the rules from time to time. December 17 individuals aim to strike a balance between their ambition and dream on one hand and the assessment of their practical side and actual realization of goals on the other hand. They are methodical and disciplined in their approach and never in a hurry, taking everything one step at a time. 

December 17 individuals are health conscious folks, sometimes to the point of being health fanatics as well. Mostly, those with this birthdate face a health condition early in life which makes them extremely conscious about health matters. These people eat wisely and take in nutritious food in their daily diet. They refrain from binging on anything that is unhealthy or harmful in their daily routine. all true if you leave out the alcohol  
Another aspect on which December 17 folks are overly cognizant about is including physical exercise in their daily routine as a way to remain fit and healthy. They make sure to exercise daily for achieving overall vitality and strength. However, December 17 folks should concentrate on weight-training as it is supposed to reap in much more benefits and add on to their aim for a healthy life. I'm not a poster girl for editing, but why wasn't that bit about weight training edited out?

Financially, individuals with their birthdate on December 17 hardly face an issue all through their lives. They are destined to make money and hence find financial security for themselves and their families. Just like earning money is not much of a problem for these folks, similarly, spending is also not a curtailed effort. is becoming a serious vice People with this birthdate have an open heart and open mind and spend generously. They need to control their spending streak just a little to enjoy a balanced financial position.

The career opportunities for individuals born on December 17 are wide and varied. These people possess great entrepreneurial spirit. They are ideally suited for jobs that allow them to make a one-to-one contact with people on a regular basis. It was all looking good until I got to this part.  I spend most of my time alone with lumps of clay.  Maybe that's why I have imagined conversations with Donald Trump, Michele Obama and Brad Pitt. This is because these people have a keen understanding and knowledge of what people around them want and tirelessly make efforts and research on various topics and themes to back up their intuition. 
 yet another missed opportunity for editing, but it sounds like 12/17'ers assert that they are right about something and then search tirelessly for evidence to support this assertion.

Relationships, Marriage & Children 
Relationships are important for individuals sharing their birthdate on December 17. Whether it is parents, friends, relatives, neighbors or love interest, these people maintain healthy and cordial relationships with everyone. Romantically, these people are a little hesitant to get into a love relationship. 
 Until they find "the one," they just pretend to be in love so they can have regular sex and work all the time. This is primarily due to the fact that December 17 individuals look for autonomy even in a love relationship as well. Though space and some sort of freedom is necessary for December 17 natives, they do understand the value of having a soul mate and prefer to go through the good and bad of life as a couple than single. December 17 individuals make exceptional mates and strive to keep romance alive.  by spraying whipped cream on their mate's coffee periodically As far as parenting is concerned, they believe in giving their youngsters independence and freedom. As such, they do not make strict disciplinarians and instead allow the little ones to make their own rules and be conscious about them. How does that work out for the December 17th ers?  It's not going so well here in Mt. Airy.  Maybe that's why Pope Frances in all his wisdom chose a life of celibacy.  He can be the holy father of the Catholic Church, but he'd raise a bunch of wolves who don't know how to behave if he had his own children.

Speaking of children, I was on a field trip with Jack Peter's class.  His teacher said that he's very happy to have only 1 child.  I thought that strange, but after a day with 27 4th graders, I marvel that he didn't get a vasectomy.  I discovered through the mommy rumor mill that this teacher, Mr. Sylvan, used to be Mr. Hoffman.  He TOOK HIS WIFE'S NAME.  That galls me.  Why didn't I get Tim to take MY name?  The world has enough McDonalds in it.  Tim's family alone meets the worldwide quota of McDonalds. Tim has also told me that he hates the liaison between the "M" at the end of Tim and the "M" at the beginning of McDonald. The "clean-favored and imperially slim" (my father's words) Kinders are a dying breed.  I could have followed my dream of naming one of my daughters IO.  It just looks/sounds cool to me.  In mythology IO didn't do much.  She seduced Zeus and either he turned IO into a cow to hide her from Hera or Hera found out, was pissed, and did it herself.  Naming a girl after a home wrecking slut who got turned into a heifer is questionable in general, but imagine if her last name is McDonald.  Old McDonald had a cow...E I E IO!

I've been marveling over the 6 failed pregnancies Tim and I went through trying to have a 4th kid.  It's mind-boggling.  What kind of person doesn't get the hint like that?  Being a potter is my excuse.  I make A LOT of really crappy pottery.  Only about 15% of what I make really sings.  I throw stuff into my shard boxes in hopes that a prolific mosaic maker will come and take them away.  I donate pots to charity events.  It follows that I wanted to have tons of kids because given my success rates in the studio, there are bound to be some lemons in the bunch.  And yet, every kiln I pack with the thought that every piece in it is going to be FABULOUS.  Blind optimism runs my life.  I wonder what Tim's excuse is.

We definitely have our hands full with 3 kids.  Another mom was admitting that she NEVER goes out with her husband anymore.  It's kind of true for us as well.  Not only that, we don't see friends unless they have kids our kids' ages.  My neighbor, Kathy has 2 kids, 7 and 10.  They fit perfectly into our posse.  Kathy is now my best friend; I met her a year ago. If Lizzie Borden moved next door with 3 kids 9,8 and 6, she'd be my best friend too.  A waiter or a bartender will also become my best friend if he/she is at all interesting.  Jen and I went out with 4 kids for burgers and beers.  We are now at the stage that we can sit the kids at a different table.  The waitress amused our kids and then came over to tell us about her transgender life.  The kids would move in and out of the conversation as they visited our table to report each others transgressions.  At dessert, they couldn't choose between the milkshake or the doughnut for dessert, so transgender Scotty threw a doughnut in while the shakes were in the blender.  "Hmmmm, Jen, In Philly we put kale in our smoothies; in Lexington you throw in a doughnut????"  Scotty has an open invitation to come live with us in Philadelphia.  Hungover Jen had to deal with the question, "Mom, what's bottom surgery?" from her daughter on the way school, but that was the only fallout.

Jen has since told me about "snissing" which is wetting your pants when you sneeze. There are a lot of little annoying things like that about being a mom, but nothing's perfect.  I did an exchange program in France when I was 15.  We weren't wanted at school because the French kids were preparing for the BAC, and we distracted them, so the 4 other Americans and I roamed around the south of France for 3 months.  It was amazing.  I lived with a family in Juan les pins outside of Antibes.  They were fun and smart. I went skiing in the Alps, I saw tons of art.  I ate amazing food.  It was one of the best times in my life.   The only thing that really annoyed me was the pepper.  How could French people have such flawless taste in everything and then they go and choose white pepper over black?  I think about how much I missed black pepper on that trip.  I also think about how I used to hang out with friends and do whatever I wanted all the time, with neither sniss or peeze issues. Now I end each day going to bed exhausted, looking wretched and wondering what I did to f up my kids that day.  But every morning I wake up thinking my coffee is coming soon, and it's going to be a perfect day without tantrums, conduct referrals or mouse shit on the counter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The bigot and the bitches

This tweety bird night shirt is by far the trashiest piece of clothing I own.  I do love tweety bird, but that's not enough of a reason to buy and wear something hideous.  It's comfortable, and the kids love it, so it's eluded many a purge.  I happened to be wearing it on Friday OUTSIDE on my lawn as Toby and I waited for her ride to school.  I was dead-heading marigolds.  I didn't think too many people would see me.  Toby's ride got later and later.  I started to blame the lack of a chauffeur on my imprecise oral communication skills.

In a moment of incongruous initiative with regard to a possible "tardy" on Toby's  kindergarten record Tweety and I brazenly rallied Toby into the Minivan.  I was feeling OK about my parenting as we hurtled down Lincoln Drive until we hit traffic.  If one is late to Green Woods Charter School, one has to get out of the car and walk one's child to the front desk to sign a f-ing "tardy" slip. If I had to walk Toby the 200 yards to school barefoot in nothing but Tweety and my driving glasses, I would have had to withdraw all 3 of my kids from one of the best free schools in Philadelphia.  I was sweating; my heart rate went up.  Being the white trash mom of the bigot and the bitches was more than I could bear.  I got Toby in on time, so I stayed in my little Honda Odyssey cocoon, but I'll NEVER do that again.

Is Steel a bitch?  I'm sure her irritation is palpable when people are misbehaving in 2nd grade.  She and I heard about Jack Peter's first conduct referral of this year on Schloka's speaker phone.  (Schlocka is the Honda Odyssey)  Jack Peter hadn't said a thing when I'd left him at the house, but his teacher called while Steel and I drove to dance.  After listening to Mr. Sylvan's message on our booming surround sound, I said to Steel, with some exasperation, "What do you think will make Jack Peter stop screwing around in school???"  Steel said, "I think you need to beat him."
She definitely speaks her mind.  Deena discovered a note to her boys penned by Steel listing all of their infractions at JP's most recent birthday party.  These two are notorious in our house.  Steel and Owen fell in love at first sight when she was 5 and he was 7, but it's gone downhill ever since.  Toby and Coleman have hated each other on sight, and I'll probably be repeating this in a toast at their wedding.  However, Steel was walking on air tonight after the Benner boys left.    Steel had emphatically told Owen to "STOP!"  He'd looked her in the eyes, said, "OK" and handed over the spray-on hair color he was about to unleash upon her.  She was so tickled by her power and by his submission.  Steel is the one who pushes the hardest on my buttons.  You're all saying "BECAUSE SHE IS YOU." in your heads, but I didn't have her balls when I was 7; I certainly wouldn't have confronted a cute, raspy-voiced 9-year-old boy.

Toby, too, is having a hard time with suffering fools.  Maybe it's sexist to call either of them bitches; I'll call them both bitches in training.  Toby came home from aftercare IRATE on her 2nd day of kindergarten.  She'd held onto her ire for 3 hours.  Apparently, her teacher, Ms. Lowell, was drawing lines on the projector to discuss shorter versus longer.  She was doing it by hand which was fine until she got to the "equal" lines.  Toby fumed, Ms. Lowell and the entire class agreed that the lines were the same length when one was DEFINITELY longer than the other!!!!"  I know it's not right to contradict an adult, but she and everyone else were WRONG!  I jokingly e-mailed Ms. Lowell that night that there's an architect's daughter in the house, and she needs to start using a ruler. 

Toby was also incensed at her first soccer practice that a boy on the other team had PUSHED HER.  She might be too polite for team sports.  She was also unimpressed by Steel's description of their free range aftercare program.  Steel said, "I hope we get to run around in the woods today!"  Toby said, "You run around the woods?  Are there any ADULTS?"  Steel responded that no, there were just kids.  Toby, "Well than I'M NOT DOING IT!"

JP is the bigot.  Why?  Somehow on a playdate with Owen and Cole, they had come across a Utube video with the line, "Now there are 7 NIGGERS in my store!"  I still have no idea what they were watching.  JP waited until the first week of school to chant that line aloud IN FRONT OF THE HEADMASTER'S SON.  I was lead to believe that the headmaster was kind of a jerk.  Sadly I've had quite a few experiences with him, and he's been anything but.  The first was a phone call.  He was relaying an allegation about Jack Peter involving saliva and a female student in the bus line.  Mr. Masterson gave me an unbiased, "heads up" rendition of the situation and that was that.

My second Masterson phone call involved "google docs."  In 3rd grade they shared their writing via google docs.   JP figured out that he had an e-mail because he had a "google docs" account.  He started sending e-mails to his friends.  He started sending them to his enemies, as well.  He wrote one saying, "PLEASE DIE" to the girl who told his current girlfriend, Juliana, about his crush.  Mr. Masterson called and said that not only was he impressed that Jack Peter had discovered the e-mail capability but also that JP had changed his password.  Very few faculty members had managed to figure out changing their passwords.  Mr. Masterson admitted that it was Green Woods' responsibility to disable the e-mailing capabilities for 8 year olds.  When the "Please Die" part of  the illicit e-mail situation came up, Mr. Masterson said to me, "Well, as his lawyer, 'Please Die' is passive.  Had he written, I'm going to kill you. he'd be suspended."

A couple weeks later I had the pleasure of a another midday call from Mr. Masterson.  They had just discovered a google doc written by my son entitled BAD WORDS.  Jack Peter had listed the top 10 in Helvetica.  He'd then switched to a more Halloween-esque font to finish with the line, and don't forget CRAP!  One of those top 10 was NIGGER.  This was last spring.  When asked, he claimed he didn't know what the word meant, but he knew it was bad.  We'd punished him by making him write the definitions of all of the words while the girls got a movie night.

In light of that, this year's nigger incident (chanting the line, "now there are 7 niggers in my store") was unforgivable because he no longer had the "I didn't know what it meant." excuse.  We made him write a report on Jackie Robinson, and I got to say repeatedly, "This is why we don't let you on the internet.  YOU CAN'T HANDLE IT!"
We thought that writing the report while the girls and the neighbors watched a movie would be enough of a punishment to squelch his enthusiasm for bad behavior, but a week later we got our first conduct referral phone call of 4th grade.  Jack Peter's teachers always start out serious, but it devolves, and then they're gushing about his wit, generosity, intelligence and creativity by the end of the call.  This conduct referral was for general horsing around in class.  Under "time of incident" his teacher had written, "ALL DAY"

This was JP's response to "dress down day"

In all interaction with school I am as obsequious and funny as I can possibly be.  I come from a long line of teachers, and I know I'm too self-involved to be one, so it breaks my heart and pisses me off when people are wretched to anyone working at a school.  Our school has a particularly efficient, smart, funny and hard-working administrator.  I could e-mail her at 10 pm and have a response by 11.  She's the one up at 5 in the morning dealing with snow days and transportation issues.  She also takes the time to send cute e-mails telling me she caught my son stopping to smell the Christmas wreaths.  She is directing traffic in the rain, getting copies of transcripts, and giving her lunch to a kid who's hungry.  

Every year, she has to liaison between the parents and the incompetent City of Philadelphia bus system.  This year she was verbally abused so many times that the principal had to send out a mass e-mail reminding parents that the administrator has NOTHING TO DO with the transportation issues and that all complaints should be going to the the district transportation coordinators.

I sent the administrator a "top ten list" of responses she should make to rude parents:
10. "Call the district.  If you're on hold for over 7 hours, you're eligible for a drawing.  The winner will get to have dinner at a Steven Starr restaurant of his or her choice with THE POPE!"
9. "After a recent study in childhood development, we've deduced that Green Woods kids are over-scheduled.  These long bus rides were created to give your children time to day dream."
8. "We are hoping Green Woods parents meet these transportation challenges with a family perusal of world news.  We want Green Woods students to understand that a 2 hour bus ride is mild when compared to a beheading"
7. "Oh come on!  You loved it.  You got to scroll through Facebook for two hours without having to answer any questions or do laundry."
6. "Green Woods is striving for an all-around education.  This includes survival-in-the-wild techniques.  The next time little Elvis feels he needs to pee while he's on the bus, encourage him to urinate in his water bottle and retain the contents for future use.  On back-to-school night, the PTA will be handing out little funnels to help the little girls with this endeavor."
5.  "We are sure that your catchment school will still accept little Elvis if the transportation issues are too much for your family.  His slot at Green Woods is a highly coveted item in Philadelphia"
4.  "This was an introduction to our "transportation software hacking boot camp!"  Your child has the opportunity to compete against the best and brightest city-employed engineers to devise a better system.  The winner will receive 5 TRAILBLAZERS!"
3. "These transportation hurdles were devised as testing opportunities.  Masterman and Harvard are no longer looking a standardized test scores.  They are using a "reality TV approach" to evaluating children in times of stress.  Let me assure you, Mrs. Cranky, Little Elvis is doing VERY WELL on these new tests."
2. "Just be glad your kid wasn't on bus number 98.  They sat on the bus for 4 hours and 37 minutes, and each and every one of them emerged from the bus with a head full of LICE!"
AND THE NUMBER ONE ANSWER to irate parents with transportation issues is:
1. "I hear they have FABULOUS schools right across the river in Lower Marion.  Have you considered MOVING?????"

I save my bitchiness for my poor husband.  Recently this worked out really well.  I'd been in charge of everything at home for a few days.  Tim returned and was trying to get together a pitch to a developer.  He wanted me to sit and listen to the presentation when I wanted to go to bed.  I listened.  It sucked.  I told him.  He stayed up until 5 revising it, and the meeting went really well.  Tim thanked me the next day and told me that I was the reason things had gone well.  That made me feel good...sort of.

Instead of making Tim Creme Brûlée for his 51st birthday, I bought a flan from the guys who sell them on the street for $5 in the Puerto Rican neighborhood.  It got a little dented in my bike panier, but it was flantastic in theory.

My bitchiness was unfurled again last Friday.  Tim had been gone for two weeks.  He'd threatened extending the two weeks to help his uncle prepare for his aunt's funeral.  Despite the tragedy of his aunt's death, I felt completely justified when I texted, "YOU NEED TO COME HOME AS SOON AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN," Someone else could help with the funeral; whereas no one was going to help here with the bigot and the bitches.  In a shocking turn of events ANOTHER aunt on his mom's side died 5 days later.  After 5 days home, he was going back to Canada for her funeral.  Incidentally, Steel probably isn't a bitch, but she might be a witch.  On the night that Patty, Aunt #1, died, Steel said at bed time, out of nowhere, "If Aunt Patty were our mom, she would spoil us all the time!"  She'd met Aunt Patty once in June.  Indeed Patty and Uncle Norman spoiled my kids rotten. I'd see them sneaking away with a posse of kids and Duty Free Toblerone bars the size of the kids' legs.  One can't help but think that Steel felt something from Patty on the night she died.

Friday is piano night.  We alternate between our house and Kathy's.  It was her night, and she suggested Tim and I go out to dinner instead of hang out with her and the kids.  (Kathy is divorced.  Perhaps that gave her insight on how necessary it was that we have 3 hours together before he flew away again.)  We went to happy hour and ordered a fancy gin drink.  It came, and he got a phone call.  He told me he HAD to take it.  It was from a colleage of 12 years ago whose son was in jail.  Could Tim go and bail out the 35-year-old son?  The charge was aggravated assault.  I'd never heard of this woman.  As far as I was concerned, her son could fester in jail while we enjoyed our gin Fizz.  It's funny how the thing that most attracts you most about someone when you marry them can infuriate you.  His generosity, energy and ability to handle a crisis are so attractive until it's everyone else's crisis he's attending to.  I told him he couldn't go.  We still don't know what would have happened because he was fighting me on that point when the woman called to say she'd gotten someone else to do it.  This white-trash, barefoot, tweety-bird-nightshirt-wearing bitch might've been arrested for aggravated assault if he'd left me at that bar...

or maybe my response would have been similar to Toby's if someone had taken away her first milkshake...