On the eve of 40

Tomorrow marks the day of my 40th birthday, or as my mom calls it, “the big one.”  My husband, The Captain, has another name for it.  He calls it a “decade” birthday and says kind things like “it’s not a big deal” and “it is just a stupid number” and the sweet, special insight such as, “you know, your life is halfway over.”

As with everything, these “big” or “decade” birthdays are a “rite of passage,” right? And “age doesn’t matter” and “it’s how you embrace life that gives it meaning” and “it’s just a number after all” and a million more clichés folks use to make “the big one” feel a little smaller.  Phooey.

So, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I decided to think of some cool things about turning 40 to soften the blow without sounding too much like a Hallmark card or a group therapy session.  “Hi, my name is Allison and I am going to be 40.”

The first cool thing about turning 40 is that I am now confident enough to say NO to things.  This was a hard lesson to learn, and many times I would find myself involved in activities I hated just because I felt that I had to say YES all of the time.  Now, I say what I think.  Do you want to do this? No.  Can you…” Nope.

Second, my children are potty trained.  This may seem like a small issue, but really it is not.  I don’t have any children in diapers therefore I don’t have to buy diapers anymore!  Woohoo!  That is relief within itself.  My purse can now be my purse, not a diaper bag, not a living, breathing, well-stocked necessity for every venture out of the house.  Also, I don’t have to carry any training pants in it for “emergencies” or throw away those training pants in the mall bathroom because “someone had a little, itsy, bitsy accident in them.”  Also, it is a relief to not have to stock up on Cheerios just to teach my boys where to aim in the toilet.  Cheerios have returned their “kitchen only” usage in my home!

The third thing cool about turning 40 is that I rock at the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit.  Give me any question from the 80s to present day and I have got it.  Except for sports.  Those can just stay in the rectangle box.

The fourth cool thing about turning 40 is that I don’t get carded anymore.  This means I don’t have to wiggle my driver’s license out of my wallet which can be very inconvenient.  Really it is!  And if I do get carded, it is a compliment to how well my Clinique make-up looks.  Thank you, Clinique!

The fifth cool thing about turning 40 is that everything that I grew up with, like The Smurfs, Superman, vampires (think The Lost Boys), The Muppets, Super Mario Bros and Star Wars are all back. Back and, as George Costanza said, “Loving every minute of it.”  And guess what?  My dudes seriously believe I’m “cool” because I know about all of this crap.  Being 40, I think I may be a hero to my kids.  The force is with me.

The sixth cool thing about turning 40 is that I can brag about awesome concerts I have seen.  Now, I didn’t get the bragging rights by seeing the Beatles, but I have seen The Rolling Stones in concert (yeah, 8th row in Chicago) and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tour (among other Bon Jovi shows).  I have seen The Boss in Asbury Park, NJ, and Sting and U2’s amazing Joshua Tree concert.  Plus, Clapton, BB King, INXS (the original), REM, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and the king of boat drinks, Jimmy Buffett.  Oh, and the Boss?  Bruce Springsteen?  Yeah, I dated his cousin when I was a ninth grader.  We went to the mall together.  Twice. And a dance. Once.  It didn’t last.

And the last cool thing about turning 40 is that I get it now.  I get that my parents were right – they were right all along.  I get that my dudes are kids and they need to be kids as long as possible.  I get that my students have a lot of growing up to do and that’s OK because they are teenagers.  I get that I can always reflect back on my 30s, 20s, and younger and know that each experience was important, priceless, and each lesson learned made me who I am today.  I finally get it.

So bring on 40.  September 11th, 2012.  Anyone up for some Trivial Pursuit?

My facial expression is one of fear. Forty candles looked like someone set the entire cake on fire.


It’s Snow Fair

It’s snow fair when other schools all around me have snow days and we don’t.  It’s snow fair when we have a winter without a snow day.  It’s snow fair this year.

Usually, a snow-covered, wintery weekday morning goes like this: It is early.  The sun hasn’t even decided if it is going to show itself (and it probably won’t because it is winter in Ohio).  The alarm clock hasn’t made its deafening sound to frighten me out of bed.  The cat is nestled cozily sleeping next to me.  And then, the phone rings.

Here is what immediately goes through my mind:  Whose school is calling?  Please let it by my school!

And then I speak those precious words, “Whose school is calling?”  I say to my sleeping husband, The Captain.

He checks the called ID and says the horrible words, “Mine.”

Crapola.  That means that he is off or has a delay and I have to go in at the regular time. We teach at two different districts, so this is a common thing during the winter.

Sadly, this morning occurrence has only happened once this season.  At it was not for my district.  Ugh.

So I am begging, pleading for Mother Nature to send us a snow day.  Just one little snow day.  Because teaching a bunch of teenagers who act as if it’s the week before spring break, and yet it is not quite March, is sheer torture.  Spring break weather needs to be reserved for spring break time.  Not February.  Plus, my little dudes at home and I would really like to go skiing, sledding or even just build a snowman.  To be fair, that is what winter is all about.

And, if we don’t get one, in the words of my students, “It will be, like, oh my God, so snow fair.”

Even Squishy would love a snow day. This snow was from Christmas break. Go figure!

The Queen Bee

Around Christmas, I posted that I am the worst gift giver ever.  This did not magically change with the dropping of the 2012 ball in Times Square. Valentine’s Day just further proved how much I suck at gift giving.

Usually, on VD day, The Captain will run out that afternoon and get me a gift.  It will be a spur of the moment thing and I end up laughing at how much thought didn’t go into it.

Bee the Queen.

Bee the Queen.

This year he raised the bar.  He went out the day before Valentine’s Day with both boys and picked out a Pandora charm for me.  It was the Queen Bee, and it was adorable.  I ordered him a jacket on my go-to Amazon.com, but it didn’t arrive in time.  Who was the bad Valentine this year?  Yeah, two thumbs point to this girl.

The entire evening, The Captain wouldn’t stop gloating over his VD victory.  He even went so far to text some of our closest friends and gloat over his ultimate win.  He was so proud of his purchase and even more pleased that he out witted and out gifted me.  Score one for The Captain.

Since my night was going so well already, I decided to approach the subject of why he picked the queen bee charm for me.  Here goes:

“I love this.  Why did you choose it?” I asked as innocently as a church mouse.

“Because I knew you liked that one,” he said, obviously not interested in discussing the reason behind the purchase any further.

“There isn’t another deeper meaning of this Pandora charm?” I pressed.

“Maybe because everyone serves you.  That could be a reason,” he said without hesitating.

“What does that mean exactly?” or translated:  What the (insert expletive here) does that mean?

“Do we have to go through this right now?  Really?”  he sighed, visibly ready to cease the entire thread of the conversation.

“I don’t know.  No… I guess.”  I mumbled.

“Let’s not.  Here is some more wine,” he refilled my glass, “and now I am going to text B. and let her know all about how your gift to me isn’t here.”

“Great.  Thanks soooo much,” I replied sarcastically.

And so it goes.

The more I think about the queen bee charm, the more I am laughing about it.  Ten years and six months ago, when we said “I do,” he knew what he was getting into.  He knew he would be the chef at our home, he knew his organizational and banking skills would be utilized to the fullest and he knew his OCD cleaning would come in handy.  He also knew that I was and am the classic non-domestic goddess, and that is OK most of the time.  I guess I am literally the queen bee, but don’t tell him I said that!

Now, if only he would refill my glass again, I would be a super queen bee.  Buzz.

New Year’s Resolutions are for the Angry Birds Part 2

For the 2012, instead of doing a January 1 resolution, which is totally insane because how can one really commit to a resolution when coming down off of a total booze-filled festival of celebration, a total Christmas cookie sugar rush high?  How can one (me) be realistic about a goal and actually make it happen for the new year?

So this year, I have decided to make some realistic goals instead of solid resolutions.  (No pigs laughing just yet!)

Goal 1: Stick with something.  Anything.  So, if I write a day a week, or actually send out a real card once a month, that is good.  Maybe I will just organize photos, or even just take more pictures.  I might actually learn to play the ukelele I received for Christmas in 2010. I guess I will be more like the little blue birds in Angry Birds.  They can split into threes and do three different tasks, and still be OK even if they aren’t perfect at them.

Goal 2: Try not to eat like it is the Last Supper.  Food will be there and I need to refocus my thinking about it and savor it.  I do not live in a trough nor am I green.  (Oink oink sounds go here).

Goal 3: Give others the feedback that they need.  If I see something good, I need to say something.  I sometimes think, “I will have to let them know,” and then it is six months later and they have moved to Siberia like the white bird who lays an egg but you never see the bird again.  I need to give out lots of helpful eggs.

Goal 4: Get off the land of denial. I am old enough to be able to look at my bank balance, the scale, my closet, etc., and not be in denial.  This is real. It is here and now.  Everything is not a black “bomb” bird.  Nothing will blow up in my face, unless I keep denying things.

Goal 5: Share how much I value and appreciate others.  I think everyone can try to be better on this.  I know I need to be.  I may thank my boss for paying so I can have all of the Angry Bird games on my iPad.  😉

Goal 6: Try to accomplish some of the items on my 40 by 40 list.  Although many are unrealistic, I can try and hit some of them this year.  Maybe with a little bit of the yellow bird’s speed, I can accomplish more than I think.

Goal 7: Be me.  It is OK for me to be the everyday red bird.  People like me for me and I need not change for anyone else.  I am still reliable, trustworthy and fun. Besides, red is my color.

Hmmm.  I think Mark Twain (see yesterday’s post) would be OK with my goal list.  I guess I don’t need that cement mixer just yet.

Me, the red bird. 🙂

New Year’s Resolutions are for the Angry Birds Part 1

Resolutions = Never stick.  Angry Birds = never ends.

Why am I saying this?  Because it is totally true.  Here is the story:

Last year, I decided to write a blog.  I wanted to write every week – which would be a smooth 52 entries by the end of 2011.  Well, it didn’t work out that way.  Things happened.  I had too much grading to do, I was traveling over the summer, I was running children to the ends of the Earth and back.  I got busy.  A measly look back on this and I found that I didn’t reach my resolution, I only grazed over it.  I have 24 entries for 2011.  Hmmm.  I guess I (almost) halfway achieved my resolution.  I will work on that this year.

Another resolution I completely broke last year was to lose weight.  Well, that was ruined with the fun-tabulousness of a gall bladder surgery.  Then, it was regaining the balance of what to eat.  Then it was eating and not feeling horrible.  Then eating became fun again.  Then I didn’t lose any poundage at all.  I will work on that this year.

The last resolution I had for good ol’ 2011 was to not waste time.  Whoa.  That was the stupidest, dumbest resolution ever.  My husband got me an iPad in May and it became the coolest waster of time ever.  Angry Birds – yeah.  I have all of them – Rio, Seasons, etc. I feel like the pigs are laughing at me with this brilliantly silly, never-ending resolution.  Oink oink oink.

Mark Twain said it best indeed. “New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”  Where is my cement mixer?

To be continued tomorrow…