Tag Archives: cheese

Laugh Track

28 Jun

Whine: I just finished my yearly summer gig (It pays! Can you believe it??). Which means that the two weeks I spent waking the kids up and shipping them off to various babysitters was just enough to train their little bodies to be up and at ’em right at 6:15am. I like money as much as the next gal, but I’m not sure it was worth if they keep this up.

Cheese: You get a whole lot done when you start your day before Matt Lauer has even had his coffee.

Did you ever see the episode of [insert name of favorite sitcom] where [insert name of male character] had two dates in one night? Somehow this lovable goofball [I’m imagining Kirk Cameron as a young Mike Seaver here, although my extensive archival research did not produce evidence of said Growing Pains episode] had managed to get himself in quite a pickle, with one lovely girl waiting for him at the table of the Italian restaurant and the other standing by the punch table at the school dance. The camera cuts to Mike Seaver [or whoever] changing his tie and pocket square as he runs back and forth between venues, trying to call the right girl by the right name, often with the assistance of [insert name of awkward yet loyal best friend].

I always hated the two-dates-in-one-night episode. First, because I really hate tension. And what’s more tense than two angry girls in 80s shoulder pad dresses sparring over the adorable yet slightly-chagrined leading man? But I also hated those episodes because they were just. so. unrealistic. Nobody pulls off being in two places at once. Ever. Not even for the thirty (twenty-two without commercials) minutes of a sitcom. But apparently the live studio audience always bought it hook, line and sinker because they laughed with every close call and pratfall.

I live my life now trapped in a sitcom cliche.

Except for instead of two dates in one night, I’ve got three kids and one me. I run back and forth from room to room, putting out fires. Some are figurative.  Big Sis is in my bed in timeout for dishing out some unauthorized Swift Justice on Lil’ Sis. I turn on World Cup Soccer just to make the consequences that much more severe. I call it punishment by vuvuzela*. Lil’ Sis is sitting in the empty bathtub waiting for me to finish cleaning up the “oops I forgot I don’t wear diapers anymore” spot from the hall rug and come hose her down. All the while, Brother Bear lays screaming  in his bed as if his toenails are being ripped off by a hungry troll. Which is only partly true; I fed the troll this morning.

Scenes like this litter the sitcom of my life. Running back and forth, trying to remember whose name is whose and where exactly I was going in the first place and why there’s a bag of cheese under the pile of unopened mail. Except there’s no laugh track. And all the time I spend cleaning up bodily fluids in real life would be conveniently edited into a thirty-second montage complete with quirky background music. Good grief what I wouldn’t give for some quirky background music. The laugh track I can live without because cleaning up pee is never as funny in the moment.

But give it a couple of hours (days if it’s a really bad one) and I have edited the whole thing in my head down to what it really was, just a sliver of time in my twenty-two minute episode (I get NO commercial breaks around here) where I lost the numbers game (Kids 3, Mom 0) , sandwiched between the ubiquitous moments of character building and requisite sappy ending. Then I bring it you, my live studio audience, and we can all have a good laugh. I hope.

Mr. Dad reading to his live studio audience.

*Vuvuzela, in case your household calendar does not orbit the local/international sports schedule as mine does, is the sound of thousands of atonal horns being blown without skill like the droning of a stadium filled with tone-deaf bees. Also known as the South African fans at the World Cup. Trust me, it’s torture.


Sometimes Love Means Buying Your Own Flowers

12 Feb

Whine: I just spent 2+ hours in our local specialty grocery store with two little kids and high-heeled boots (hey, they were the only twelve-inches-of-snow-appropriate footwear I could find). By the time we exited Lil’ Sis had mauled an apple –I’ve never seen such carnage this side of applesauce.  She also alternated between sweetly saying “Thank you, Lady” or “Hi, Sir” and screaming/growling/roaring at me and the general public.  That’ll teach me to try and shop during naptime.

Cheese: That store is faaaaannnncy. I bought lots of yummy things for tomorrow’s Valentine’s Feast, including some cheese, of course. Queso Blanco with Serrano Chiles and Epazole. Like I know what epazole is. For what I paid, I sure hope I like it.

Valentine’s Day. Some people love it. Some people loathe it. Many people fear it — forgetful men and commitment phobes, especially.  Lots of people let it pass by like any other day.

I’ve been at pretty much every stage with this day. I remember one very special year when I decided to commemorate the (lack of) love in my life by wearing black. I remember lots of years trying really hard not to care. And then I snagged Mr. Dad.

When we were first together, I loved Valentine’s Day. Mr. Dad’s mother raised him right and taught him how to choose a schmaltzy card and some nice flowers. Which probably had something to with the fact that her first Valentine’s Day card from Mr. Dad’s dad was presented to her all those years ago unsigned in the brown grocery sack he’d just run in and bought it in while she waited in the car.

But after a year or two things changed. I wouldn’t say the romance wore off. I’d say I got more picky. I didn’t want a bunch of roses that he’d picked up on his way home from the tent in the grocery store parking lot. I wanted him to have thought about his overwhelming love for me and found a way to express that through flowers, gifts and handwritten cards, but without breaking the bank. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

One year, my expectations hit fever pitch. I spent all day long choosing a new outfit and perfect accessories to wear on what Mr. Dad had assured me would be a magical surprise date. Then I got home and began to get ready and realized that we weren’t going anywhere. Mr. Dad was making dinner for two in our apartment. And this was no hotdogs and macaroni feast. No, if I remember correctly, it involved steak, steamed crab legs and chocolate-covered strawberries.

And I was disappointed.

I know, I know, I know. Go ahead and make a dartboard from my picture. I was a terribly foolish and ungrateful woman. But I had spent all day choosing the perfect outfit so I’d look just right. I needed to go out. To be seen. Honestly, I had been planning on going out. And we all know how I do when the plan changes.

We somehow survived the Valentine’s Debacle of ’02. Dinner that night was delicious. (Score another point for Mr. Dad’s mom, who apparently passed down some of her kitchen skills to her eldest son.) And we learned a few things about us. Mostly that I like to be in charge. Surprise, surprise.

Fast forward a few years and things are a little different. Tomorrow night’s Valentine’s celebration, will, in fact be a dinner for two served at home. I planned the menu, and incidentally, steak and steamed crab legs are on the menu. I bought all the ingredients. And since I was the one who was going to be at the faaaaannnncy store today, I bought my own flowers. Well, I bought myself one flower; they really hike those prices around this time of year. Plus, I’d rather spend my V-day budget on steak and chocolate strawberries than flowers.

Lots of people spend lots of time stressing about Valentine’s Day. Lots of guys have been in Mr. Dad’s shoes. Trying their best to get the right thing and still managing to strike out, standing outside the locked bathroom door trying to understand just what was so wrong with the box of generic chocolates and the card that had no personal message, just his signature. (Hey, at least it was signed.) Lots of girls have been in my shoes. Locked in the bathroom, wondering if he actually really loves her or not, because if he did surely he’d know that tulips are her favorite flowers and that chocolate upsets her stomach.

At a wedding I once heard the officiant give the best advice I’d ever heard given to a groom. He said, “Become a student of your wife.” And that, in my personal opinion, is what Valentine’s Day, what Love, boils down to. It’s about knowing someone and being known. And in that place of vulnerable trust, being loved anyway.

I’m not saying Mr. Dad and I have it all figured out. And I’m not saying I love him perfectly or he me. I chastised him just yesterday after he worked all day out in the snow then stopped on his way home for a few groceries for buying four more items than I requested. I may never learn. 

But you know what? He knows that I am, ahem, a little tightly wound. That I do my best to take care of our house, our budget, our kids, and that sometimes a little change in plans is a hard thing for me to assimilate. So he smiles (ok, maybe his teeth are gritted), offers me a little grace and goes on his way.

And you know what else? I know that he (somewhat inexplicably) is happiest when he can be with me. Sitting on the couch watching dvr and playing backgammon. Perhaps enjoying a bowl of ice cream. Even though he does love them Cowboys (and Mavericks and Baylor Bears), when it comes down to it, he likes to be with me. Even though I’m me. Or because I’m me. Imagine that.

And so when Valentine’s Day rolls around these days what I need from him is not a box of chocolates I won’t eat or a dozen roses that I’ll forget to water.  What I need is to know that he knows me and that he loves me. Which means I’d rather have him spend his time emptying the dishwasher without my asking than running around town trying to find just the right card. And I’d rather be home with him, eating a meal we cooked together (that I planned, of course) than out for a fancy night at the opera. But mostly because we both hate opera.

One flower for each of his girls. Who cares if I had to buy them? It's the thought that counts.

Quick Hits

5 Nov

Whine: Lil’ Sis has her very first ear infection. And first amoxicilin. And the resulting digestive unrest. But at least her ear feels better!

Cheese: Gruyere. Definitely gruyere.

 

Ok, ok, I’ve got to admit I’ve been tuned into the election ALL NIGHT (ok, ok, technically not ALL night, but some of it) and the crazy graphics and red and blue flashing lights and prognostications and victory speeches have kept me from writing (or maybe I was watching dvr, but that’s neither here nor there). But, now that the fat lady has sung (and my show is over), I return to you, my loyal readers, to entertain and enlighten.

But since it is, in fact, late-o’clock, I will employ a little writing technique I like to call quick hits, thus removing any need for cohesvie thought. Our quick hits tonight are brought to you by rocky road ice cream and two sleeping children.

 

Tonight I . . .

. . . saw a hologram. Yes, you heard me correctly, a hologram. CNN had one of their anchors piped in via hologram!?! I felt like I was watching the original Star Wars (circa 1977). “Obama, you’re our only hope. . .” If you want to watch it, click here.

. . . am hoping that people of both colors (red and blue, that is) will decide to act like grown ups in the after-math/glow of this election and play nice. Ugly words don’t change history or presidents whether they are coming in or going out.  

. . . made a delicious quiche. Made of roasted red and pablano peppers, covered in gruyere cheese, surrounded by a flaky cheddar crust. Mmmmmm. And it’s true, real men do eat quiche, even Mr. Dad liked it.

. . . played backgammon and lost. Repeatedly. Grrrrrr.

. . . watched the girls’ play together, so sweet. Actually, we were walking (on a 72-degree November evening- I love Texas!) and it actually went more like this:  Lil’ Sis pulling Big Sis’ hair from the back seat of the double stroller and grinning, Big Sis turning around and thumping Lil’ Sis on the cheek in retalliation and grinning, Mr. Dad threatening Big Sis with a thump on her cheek (ow!) and scowling, Big Sis turning around, thwarted, and Lil’ Sis smiling mischeivously, like the little puppet-master she is. Oh, I am in trouble here, I know it. Don’t need a crystal ball to see that.

Well, tomorrow I hope to drag this tired mom-body to the gym so I can pretend to exercise. I have honed this valuable skill so that I can use the free child care while I take a stroll and watch HGTV, all while barely breaking a sweat.  But pretending to exercise requires just as much beauty sleep as real exercise, so I’m headed to bed.