Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Mom: Hi honey, just calling to let you know your dad and I got home from Arizona safely.
Me: Oh good! How was your drive?
Mom: It was fine. We were going to drive straight through, but decided to stop just over the Iowa border because we were tired.
Me: Mom, did you let dad pick the hotel this time?
Mom: Well, I would have but you know I can get a better deal than he can.
Me: Uh huh...
Mom: I spotted this motel from the highway...
Me: A motel mom? Not a hotel. A motel?
Mom: They had a sign that said rooms were $29.99!
Mom: Well, I went in and asked about a room and there was this Middle Eastern couple running it and you know how they talk. I could barely understand them. And the woman told me it would be $50, so I asked her what about the sign and she said that was for one person and it went up from there and I said, well how did you get from $29.99 to $50 for two people?
Me: Highway robbery!
Mom: Exactly! She said it was because of extra fees and what not. Well, I just waved my hand at her and said forget it and started walking out but then she said she could give it to us for $40. So I took it.
Me: How was the room?
Mom: It looked very clean.
Mom: Well, it's my own fault really. I should have listened to your dad and gone to the Super 8 instead. But I just don't see a reason to pay $75 for something I can get for $40.
Me: Mom, what was wrong with the room?
Mom: Well, the heater didn't work so we called the front desk and they sent their daughter up and thank goodness she spoke better English. She got it working, but it quit again so she brought us a space heater.
Me: A space heater.
Mom: Yes, and the shower didn't have any hot water. But the water in the sink was burning hot. So I took a whore's bath and you know how much I like my evening showers, so you know I'm not lying about the cold water.
Me: Well that sucks.
Mom: Oh, and the toilet didn't flush.
Me: At all?
Me: Ohmygod mom, why didn't you ask for a different room?
Mom: Well, it did flush, but only if your dad reached into the tank and fiddled with it. Your dad said if he had a nickel for every motel room toilet he's had to fix, he'd be a millionaire.
Me: So you didn't switch rooms?
Mom: Well no, it was after 10pm and I wasn't going to bother with it.
Mom: But the next morning I was so mad about it, I marched right in that office and gave the man a piece of my mind.
Me: Was he sorry?
Mom: No! He kept yelling "We give you good room! We give you good room!" and finally I yelled back "Yeah, you give me good room! In Iraq!"
Me: You didn't.
Mom: Well, I was angry. He had it coming.
Me: Did you get a refund then?
Mom: No, he wouldn't give me one. So I told him I was going to contact their local chamber of commerce and let them know what kind of business they were running there.
Me: That'll teach him.
Mom: I've been working on my letter all day.
Me: Make sure you include the part about Iraq. That's good stuff right there.
Mom: I forgot to tell you the hangers in the closet were dusty.
Me: Well, at least you saved $10.
Mom: That's exactly what I told your dad! That man thinks money grows on trees. Honestly.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I know. Great mother’s of the world unite and beat me with a stick! How dare I enjoy my baby leaving the nest.
I met Captain Carl when the Kiddo was 8 years old. It took him a long time to warm up to me. He was convinced I would try to replace his mother and he felt guilty for liking me. He was an adorable little boy, all buck teeth and freckles. He insisted that his hair be cut in Pee Wee Herman fashion, so obviously I fell in love with him immediately. Oh man, just thinking about him at that age makes me want to squeeze his little face off.
It might have taken him awhile to warm up to me, but we had (and continue to have) a great relationship once he did. He called me his “buffer”…the voice of reason between his dad and himself when things got heated. He would climb into my lap for no reason at all, except to grind his bony butt into my thigh and laugh when I tickled his back. He still does that, actually.
He never called me mom. Right before I married his dad, he asked me what he was supposed to call me.
Me: What do you want to call me?
Kiddo: Not mom. That would be weird, since I already have one.
Kiddo: Can I just keep calling you Marcy?
And so, I’m just Marcy to him. I took it as a compliment that he felt comfortable enough to tell me he didn’t want to call me mom. Although he has called me that when introducing me to people. To keep things simple, probably. But I still get a little thrill when he does it. Because as far as I’m concerned, he is my son. Not my stepson. I’ve raised him as my own. He has lived in my care for almost double the amount of time he lived in his mother’s.
Anyway, my point was going to be that even though I was all sad face about him going away to college and I did miss him a lot, I actually enjoyed the time the Captain and I have had alone. We’ve never been just “us”. He came with a ready-made family, so we didn’t get a honeymoon period. Since the Kiddo has been away at school, we’ve had more date nights and we actually socialize with grown ups sometimes. Listening to the Kiddo practice his trumpet was replaced with listening to, well, nothing. I found that I didn’t worry as much about what the boy was up to all the time. My evenings were freed up from obsessing over where he might be and the illegal/dangerous/stupid things he could be doing right at that moment. I still worried, but it was in a more abstract way. My mind had more room for other thoughts.
But still, I could not wait for the Kiddo to come home. So now he is and immediately my mind went back to that place where I worried more. Would he be able to find a summer job? He really needs a haircut, I wonder if I could get him in for one today? I hope he doesn’t go out tonight with that kid I hate…he’s nothing but trouble. He better not try to hook up with Bunny while he’s home.
Etc, etc, etc.
And of course, I wondered if he had any clean underwear. I don’t why it’s this way with mothers, but we seem to be in a constant state of underwear concern for our children. When I asked the Kiddo if he needed any laundry done, he laughed. And then he brought me all of this.
For those of you with untrained laundry eyes, that right there? That’s seven loads of laundry on my floor. SEVEN. For one person.
Me: Son, when was the last time you did your laundry?
Kiddo: Not that long ago. I was going to do it before I came home but I was out of detergent.
Me: What is that? Is that mud?
Me: On all of your jeans?
Kiddo: I went fishing a lot.
Me: Where were you fishing?
Kiddo: In the river.
Me: I think we’ll just throw all these socks away and get you new ones.
Me: Because they’re black and they should be white. And most of them have holes.
Kiddo: Hey, did I tell you that I killed a water moccasin when I went fishing?
Me: *look of horror face* No.
Kiddo: Because it tried to take my lure, but it got caught on it.
Me: So you killed it?
Kiddo: I had to. I cut it’s head off.
Me: Ohmygod. Aren’t water moccasins poisonous?
Kiddo: *laughs* Yeah. It was awesome.
Me: Ummmm…you still have your health insurance card in your wallet, right?
Kiddo: Yeah. Why?
Me: Oh, just…making sure.
Worry worry worry.
Monday, May 16, 2011
But I couldn’t stop thinking about all the closets in my house, filled to the brim with…stuff. And the spare bedroom jammed full of all the projects we were going to get to “someday”. And our three car garage that we can only get one car into.
Me: I have an idea.
Captain: Uh oh.
Me: No! It’s a good idea.
Captain: *eyeing me warily* Oh-kay…
Me: Let’s do a whole house purge.
Me: Seriously. We just have too much, you know? Let’s go room by room and clear out what we don’t need or have an attachment to and then have a garage sale.
And to my amazement, he agreed.
I decided May 14 would be our garage sale day. We started in the garage, because that was where we would need to put all the purged items from inside the house. It took us two days to sort and clean it, but by the end of the 2nd day we had a huge pile of garage sale items and enough garbage on the curb that I had to call for a special bulk pick up. We could now also park two cars in the garage. We were shocked by how much crap there was out there. It felt great to get rid of it all. Freeing.
The next weekend, we tackled the kitchen. I found a mouse pad stuck behind the crock pot. Address labels inside a vase that was behind a giant container of protein powder. When we finished, we knew where every pot and pan was located. Mixing bowls were easily accessible. The mouse pad, along with a huge amount of other things, went into the garage sale pile in the garage. And on it went from there…
Fast forward to 6am on May 14. Every single closet in my home is organized and tidy. The spare bedrooms are clean and ready for guests. I know where all the extra sheets and comforters are located. The old treadmill we used as a coat hanger is now sitting in the driveway, ready to be sold along with hundreds of other items. And by 11am that same day? Every single item was gone. Every. Single. One. And we were $257 richer.
I’m sharing this story with y’all not because it was particularly funny or entertaining. I know that is the type of stuff I usually write about here. I’m sharing it because this process has really made an impact on my life. I was really surprised at how amazing the experience has been.
Because it was hard. It was sooooo hard. I had made up my mind at the beginning that I would let go of anything we had not used in the last year or did not hold significant sentimental value or worth in some way. I knew this would be a tough rule to stick to, but I was determined. And I did it. It helped that Captain Carl jumped on my bandwagon. I watched him purge things that I knew were hard for him to see go. He had so many old computer parts that he had been hanging on to “just in case”. I found a place we could recycle them and he let everything go. Everything. How could I not do the same?
So I got rid of the cute little baskets that my sister had bought me years ago and I never used for anything. And the eight flower pots that were filled with geraniums at our wedding but were currently collecting dust in the garage. And the old piano lamp my parents bought with my piano when I was 12 years old but is really ugly so I bought a new one and stuck it in the closet.
We priced it all to sell, and boy did it. We were swarmed with buyers before we could even get everything out on the driveway. You meet interesting people when you have a garage sale. I met the grandson of the man who used to farm the land our home is now sitting on. He told me that their house used to sit in the big field behind us. I chatted with a lady who bought all three boxes of my Christmas decorations and found out she gives them to her kids, who can’t afford to buy their own. Captain Carl gave a little girl one of my beanie babies for free and I watched him smile as she hugged it. An old lady bought my Uncle Sam yard sign and told me she was going to put it on her husband’s grave. Then she asked me how much a stripper pole would cost because she wanted to buy one for her daughter. For reals. And the guy who came at the end and took whatever we had left? We gave it all to him for free because he told us he was “just trying to make ends meet” and if anyone knows how that feels, it would be us.
So now we’re purged and both the Captain and I agree that the house feels lighter and the energy is just…well, more positive. Which is something we’ve needed badly. The last two years have been rough, what with all the renters in and out and the financial struggles and stress that goes along with those things. And some of that is still there. We’re still broke as hell and we may have to take in yet another renter this summer. But now when I go into my bedroom closet, I feel like twirling because look how pretty and organized!
I don’t even miss that piano lamp. Much.
Plus, I found this during our purge.
One of four gnomes my mom painted in her ceramics class in the late 70’s. I kept them, even though they creep Captain Carl out. Because they were my mom’s and she wanted me to have them and they should be displayed in a nice place and not stuck in a box in the garage. And also I really want to creep out the Captain since he keeps hiding his lizard fishing lures in my bathroom towels. The asshole.
Friday, May 6, 2011
First, I offered to pass along a friend’s resume to a department in my office. That was me just being awesome…she didn’t ask me to do it. But she got an interview the next day and got offered the job. I felt great. I did a good deed! Hooray me! Apparently my friend told everyone what I had done for her, because my email has now been flooded with resumes from not one, not two, but five other people. Five! All of them with greetings like “Hi, Natalie told me your work was hiring. Can you please get me an interview? Signed, person you have never met.”
Then it was a vendor that I used to work with at an old job. He asked me to get him a lunch meeting with my boss. He wants to get his foot in the door, which is a hard thing to do unless you know someone. I like the guy. I sympathize with him. I want him to succeed. So I said yes and got my boss to agree to lunch that day. The next day, he texts me and asks if I could maybe possibly kind of tell him what our current vendor is bidding for jobs? You know, so he could be competitive? Because he really really wants to work for us?
Umm. No. I’m not losing my job for you, dude. Except I don’t know how to say no to awkward, inappropriate requests. So instead I told him I would “try to find out”. And then never told him anything. And now he keeps texting asking me and I’m all “sorry, I’m swamped right now” and “I don’t know where to find the bids” and still he keeps texting and now I have to get up the nerve to tell him no. Because yeah, I’m not doing that.
Then it was a guy I work with. He asked me if I could please “call this number and ask for Sherry and then if she is there, ask her when the next tax assessment class is”. To which I was all “Huh?” and he was all “It’s my ex-wife and she’s psycho and I need to find out if she’s actually working where she says she is so I can get my child support.” and I was all “I don’t want to do that.” and he was all “Why not?” and I was all because I don’t want to get involved in your crazy life. But I only said that last part in my head. What came out of my mouth was “Ummm, okay.” So I called, and thank you baby Jesus, no one answered. So I told him and he was all “Try again!” and I was all “No!” and he was all “Why not?” and I was all “Because it’s weird, okay?”. And then he left me alone. For two hours. Since then, he asks every time he walks by my desk, giving me wounded puppy faces when I say no.
Then! This morning another co-worker told me about how she got so wasted last night and didn’t get home until 4am and omg she might still be a little drunk and she doesn’t remember where she parked her car. So now she has no car, no wallet and no cell phone. She followed that up by asking if she could borrow my car to run to the store “real quick”. And I said yes, because we go to lunch every Friday and we’ve sang karaoke together and how do you say no to a kind of sort of friend when she asks to borrow your car? You don't. If you are me, anyway.
So now I’m sitting at my desk, about to call and ask Shelly about tax assessment classes while texting “I still can’t find the vendor bid files, but I’ll keep looking!” and thinking about where my car might be right now and how I can’t even call to make sure everything is okay because she doesn’t have a cell phone on account of it being in her lost car somewhere in downtown Dallas.
Fuck, I’m an idiot.
Don’t forget, I’m posting today over at Sprocket Ink, the most super cool and totally awesome snarky news website ever! This afternoon I’m writing about how Mariah Carey loves her living room so much that she named one of her babies after it. If I’m lyin’ then I’m dyin’.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I shoe-gasmed all over my closet the first day I wore them.
My feet have never been so happy. Before the green shoes, my feet were completely underwhelmed with my footwear choices. But then I put on the green shoes and my feet were all kicky and jaunty and refused to stay under my desk at work, so I was forced to run from cubicle to cubicle yelling "Look! Look how pretty!" while pointing at my feet.
And then I went home and was all sad face because I had to take them off and put them away until the next week. Because as much as I want to, I just can't wear green canvas wedge sandals with little flowers on the toes every single day.
But what I can do is go back and buy them in purple and white and ohmygod they have them in red now!
My feet are soooo getting lucky.