Category Archives: Two Parents, Six kids, and Big Pharma

Texts from the School Fantasy Faire

cakewalkThese are highlights of the texts I sent to Guy while I endured my ninth annual Fantasy Faire (this year’s theme: A Pirate’s Life for Me!). Ye gods.

  • We finally won a cake at the cake walk! Daphne staked me tickets (rather, she staked me with tickets I bought for her) and we doubled down like mental patients for seven rounds. It cost like ten dollars in the end, but it’s a huge pirate ship so…win!
  • I ran into Dylan’s kindergarten teacher (the one who told me 7 years ago he was the single worst behaved student she’d had in 17 years of teaching) and told her that he won the district writing fair. She didn’t have to look so pleasantly surprised. I’m still mad at her.
  • We are all starving. When their dad asked early in the week if I wanted a dinner at the faire I thought he was preordering tix. Not as such.
  • Dylan just came by and I asked him for two tickets for a soda. He made a show of slapping them onto the picnic table and said “GO.”Then I asked him to watch my stuff while I got it. He sighed and said, “Look. You and I both know I’m not going to watch it so why don’t I just get you one.”Two minutes later he slammed it on the table in front of me and said, “Drink up, woman!”
  • Omg Daphne’s friend’s dad is dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he and two other guys put on a show, fencing with real swords. They just took it off the blacktop where the chairs are and chased each other onto the slide and play structure. All the kids ran after them, crowding around and cheering, and all I could think was holy fuck those are real swords and someone is going to have them arrested.
  • Oh hells no, Daphne and her friends just got on this ride where they sit on stuffed, motorized animals and ride—for two laps only—around a tiny race track. I thought it was more of a ripoff until I saw how slow they go. It takes a while. I got a video of Daphne’s on a two foot tall panda, and her friends on a tiger and a bear. I do not have permission yet to post it but if I do you’ll be the first to know.
  • Oh goody, just fifty minutes to go til the end. STARVING.

We got Burger King for everyone tonight (it was just easier, OK?), and when Daphne opened her Whopper she said, “Mom, I got two patties! Why are there two instead of one?”

I said, “I guess it’s your lucky day.”

Ten minutes later, she announced that she had five theories as to why she received two patties in her Whopper rather than one.

About a third of the way through the second theory, I said, “Wait! Mommy’s watching Hulk smash. You’ve got to write this down. Here, you can use my laptop,” thus guaranteeing a Monday morning post.

Here we go:

First Theory

The  first person put a patty in the hamburger, then the next person said “I bet I can do that faster!” So then that person put another patty in the hamburger. Then a third person tried to put another patty in the hamburger but he was tackled but the other two people. Then they put the hamburger in the bag, forgetting the two patties in the hamburger and gave it to me.

Second Theory

The person that put the patties in my hamburger went to a Chinese restaurant and got a fortune cookie. The cookie said, “Do something weird at work tomorrow.” So the next day the person went to work and thought “My cookie did say to do something weird.” Right then he was making a hamburger and made a two pattied hamburger. So he put it in the bag and gave it to me.

Third Theory

There was a hobo on a bench and the person felt bad and gave the hobo some money. The hobo then walked into Walmart and got a card for the person and it read “Put twice as many patties than usual tomorrow at work, sincerely, Stanley.” So the person thought, “Oh so his name is Stanley.” The next day the person put two patties in hamburger and put it into the bag and gave it to me.

Fourth Theory

A person walked into Burger King, thinking that he worked there and then quickly said,  ”Wait I don’t work here!” Right then the person went home and soon came back and applied for the job there. In about two minutes he was working on making hamburgers and he thought “Its my first day” and he made a hamburger with two patties and put it in a bag and gave it to me.

Fifth Theory

A metal chicken gave a note to the person who made my hamburger, that said “Bwok” which inspired the person the make a two-pattied hamburger and put it in a bag and gave it to me.

THE END

I am scrambling like crazy to get my book finished and off to the publisher, which explains the dearth of writing here. I’m so worn out mentally that I can’t even think of an original way to describe it. This is from an earlier post, and sadly, still true:

I feel like each chapter is being peeled off my skin in one continuous strip, so long that I think I can’t possibly function with that much laid bare. Each chapter leaves me drained and melancholy, which is really weird, because when I begin I’m all wired and excited and have the clearest vision of what will help others going through divorce.

Hopefully things will be back to normal soon. In the meantime, there’s three thousand posts and ten years of material in the archives! Go crazy! (I did.)

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Owls, Dogs, and Hydrocodone

So there I was, checking FaceBook (true story), and I see an update from my friend who did our wedding photos (or more accurately, the photographer we hired for the wedding who has since become like family) that goes a little like this:

I was finishing a delightful walk at the beach with my wonderful friends visiting from France. [Her Rhodesian Ridgeback] was on leash. In the parking lot. A great dane leapt out of its owner’s car and came charging at me growling like a maniac. Kooper was on leash but jumped in front of me to protect me. The great dane kept trying to attack me. The two dogs went at it and I jumped on top of Kooper to control him and i think i broke my ankle. Its five times the normal size. Waiting for X-rays. The owners were too scared of their dog to intervene. Ranger had to grab the other dog. A nurse was there and jumped in and saw my ankle and ordered me straight to ER. They wanted me to take an ambulance but i cant afford that.

"And I usually have such a cute, delicate little ankle... The only part of me I'd ever describe as dainty! Ha! So much for that.... Booooooo. :("

So I immediately left her a message demanding to know her address so I could get her food and prescriptions and ask how the kids were getting home from school (just down the street from me), and warned her that I didn’t want to hear any macho cop bullshit, I was coming over. Oh, she used to be a cop, and a fireman, and I didn’t trust her for a second to stay put.

She (wisely) wrote back with her address and asked me to come get her insurance card and take her car to get her pain meds and gas because it was on fumes. No problem, I said, I’m on it.

I don’t think I’ve ever driven a minivan before. Weird.

At the pharmacy, I said I’m picking up for a friend, and here’s her insurance card, credit card, and here’s my ID, and the guy looks at me and says, “There’s an owl on your shirt.” I can see how this is going to go.

“Yeah, I’ve been trying to get rid of it all day. Look, she wasn’t sure if her insurance was on file..”

“What’s her address?” I told him. “I don’t have that. I’ve got her in a different town.”

“Oh. Well, she used to live there, but moved and is home alone with her kids now and I’m just trying to keep her from running errands with a broken ankle. Do you need to call her?”

“No, no, it’s ok. Huh. There’s a dog on your credit card.”

Here we go.

“Yep, that’s actually how she got hurt; there was a dog fight.”

“Dog fight? Now I’m thinking of football players.”

“No, she would never—she used to be a cop—” He’s openly staring now. “I’m going to stop talking.”

“Can you give me her date of birth?”

I could! I’d scrawled it on my hand before I left her house! So I peered at my hand, turned it a little, read him the date, and then realized how insane I looked while trying to pick up Hydrocodone. “Sorry, I’m a little hyper and mad at her for driving herself to and from the hospital. I took her car. My palm’s sweaty.”

“Is that a bird on your keychain?” I looked down and sure enough, there was a tiny pillow in the shape of a bird attached to her car keys.

“Apparently.”

“So let me get this straight: you’ve got an owl on your shirt, a dog on your card, and a bird on your keychain. I can’t wait to hear what’s on the car.” And then I realize he’s messing with me and is not letting me go until I’m completely discombobulated. He’s just mad he didn’t throw me with the owl crack. “Aha! You blushed.”

“Yes, thank you. You win. I blushed. Can I go now? Because I think we should stop talking.”

And then I couldn’t remember what kind of car she drove.

I stood in the parking lot counting aisles, remembering that I only jogged over one lane so it must be… I’m walking… omfg there’s a minivan with a Rhodesian Ridgeback sticker on the back. Bingo. Off to the gas station, where I poked and prodded at the gas panel but it wouldn’t open. There was no button. No lock. It just sat there. So I climbed back in the car and looked at all the buttons. There’s one for SONAR, but not for the gas cap.

I texted, “How do you open the frigging gas cap??” and waited for like five minutes with no response. I was leaning against the pump with one foot up on the door jamb, wondering what to do and wanting to kick something. And then I looked down. Right next to my foot was a shy little lever with a picture of a gas pump on it. Hallelujah.

Later, the updates were flying:

“You must have looked like quite the doofus…wandering around with pain meds in one hand, a puzzled look on your face and car keys in your other hand…. Bwahahaha!!!!”

“That’s when you press the little alarm button on the key fob and hope you are close enough for it to work.”

“I have empathy. Even more so because I have done that with my own car (doesn’t help that Toyota Sienna minivans are popular where I live).”

And dammit, it WAS a Sienna.

I still didn’t get out of going to Daphne’s science fair. I’d hoped that taking care of Pascale would stir up enough sympathy in my daughter to tell me it was ok not to drive for an hour through rush hour traffic in the rain, over the mountain, to her fair 45 miles away. After all, we’d been living and breathing this project for a while now and it wasn’t as if I didn’t know—”That’s ok, Mom, you can still make it. The fair goes for an hour and a half. You’ll get there for the last few minutes.”

And so I did.

Natasha, Ingrid, and cleaning out my desk

So I was cleaning out my desk this morning—no, really, true story—and I found a notebook full of writing prompts that belonged to one of the kids four years ago. Four years is an eternity when it comes to kids’ stories at this age, and let me tell you, it blew my mind that this stuff came out of the same too-cool head of the kid I dropped off at school this morning. And like SO MUCH ELSE in our life, it’s unprintable.

I’m gonna need to start selling Amway, because the ratio of stuff going on in our lives to stuff I am allowed to write about is the square root of nothing. It’s killing me. I’ve shifted focus to writing books, and the occasional inane Facebook update. Oh, look, I’m like a hundred million other people out there.

Back to the notebook. As I was flipping through the pages, a half-sheet fell out, with a poem. It was called “Unwritten.” Which is exactly my problem these days. (Months. Whatever.) The first and last stanzas were highlighted, and I know I didn’t do it so I offered a little prayer to the goddess of serendipity and decided to post those lines.

But THEN, I noticed that the author looked a bit like the singer whose song was playing as I pulled into the driveway after the school run. It’s called “You & I” and was part of our wedding playlist. I looked up the video for the song because it’s a happy song and if I do nothing else productive today I’m posting something happy. For Aunt Barbara’s sake, I CLEANED OUT MY DESK. I’m done for the week!

Ingrid. Natasha. Those aren’t real common names here, Rocky & Bullwinkle notwithstanding. I found a video of the first song—not a poem after all—right there on youfrickentube. So you get both.

“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined

I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you

open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find

Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions

P.S. In the back of that notebook? I’d written the original organizational outline of chapters for the book I’m currently finishing up. Wasn’t THAT helpful? I’ve been looking for that for AGES. Guess what that means, honey? When you return from Shanghai this weekend, the dining room table will be covered in sticky notes representing 42 chapters, so that I can rearrange and organize and optimise the order of ideas. And there isn’t a thing you can do about it because it’s the kind of crap you’ve been trying to get me to do forever. So, HA! (My work is always a little more fun if the chaos it creates also accomplishes your personal wish fulfillment because I know you won’t dare touch it.)

P.P.S. I sure hope there’s Chinese food tonight after your meetings.

P.P.P.S. For context, the last time he was in Shanghai, his team took him out to dinner on the last night. “It’s a great restaurant, no one knows about it!” So they got into a taxi and crawled through downtown traffic for 90 mintes to travel about seven blocks. They had been in meetings 12 hours that day and were exhausted, so as Guy stepped out of the car and looked up at the restaurant, he said, “I sure hope they serve Chinese.” The team didn’t get it but his British boss was doubled over.