Why Act My Age?

Later this year I turn (gulp) 40.  And with this big birthday around the corner, I began thinking that maybe I should start acting my age.

Because here is the thing:  I don’t act my age.  I just don’t.  Mostly because I don’t know how an almost 40-year-old is supposed to act.  Is there a textbook on this or something I can download on my Kindle to explain how to act my age?  No?  Really, no?  Hmmm.  I didn’t think so.

Which brings me to my question, do I really need to act my age?

These are some things I am pondering.  So should an almost 40-year-old:

  • Skip or dance down the hallway if no one is around?
  • Enjoy a trip to Toys-R-Us as much as my dudes do?
  • Sing loudly and poorly and not be embarrassed even in the grocery store?
  • Say words like “cool,” “sweet” and “cute” frequently?
  • Sport a pony tail frequently?
  • Be mesmerized by glittery things (oooh, pretty!)?
  • Chew gum and blow bubbles?
  • Making up crazy car dances when certain songs come on like Train’s Drive By or Madonna’s Borderline?
  • Use hand gestures that resemble those of a 13-year-old drama queen?
  • Cry when people are mean to animals in movies?
  • Laugh really loud and not care who hears me (Valleygirl96 aka Brainvomit40 knows my laugh travels miles)?
  • Go to the midnight showings of all of the Twilight movies and the final two Harry Potter films (and consider dressing up for the latter)?
  • Giggle when the word fart or poop is mentioned?
  • Jump up and down when I am happy or excited about something?
  • Sneak Halloween candy from my dudes?
  • Take super silly pictures of random things on my iPhone (wanna see my picture of the rock that cracked my windshield)?
  • Screen calls from assorted people (sorry, Mom!)?
  • Take almost daily naps after school (thanks to The Captain this can happen!)?
  • Continue my text conversation with my brother that contains newly created words like poopalicious, poopapalooza and poopsicle?
  • Randomly speak in different accents (my Southern and New Jersey ones are best!)?
  • Give silly nicknames to everyone (Sorry again, Crazy Pat, I mean Mom!)?

I guess my final question is what is age appropriate? And who would be the role models of success to tell me and demonstrate the proper age I need to adjust to?  Because if I don’t have any idea, then I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing.  Like speaking in a Yoda voice and saying, “May the Fourth Be With You.”  Because, after all, Star Wars rocks, it is May 4th and I am a kid at heart.

Open House and the Big Fart

I rushed into open house at Squishy’s elementary school last spring with a sense of trepidation.  It was the middle of our March Madness. First, The Captain was one week from the opening of Thoroughly Modern Millie at his high school (he directed, I choreographed).  Also, spring baseball had started for both boys, and finally, all three of the dudes I live with were in rehearsal for the Wizard of Oz.  Needless to say, I was a human taxi cab and the Open House became one of four stops that evening.

After finding a place to park (because this is not easy on Open House evening), I finally had the chance to get a good look at Squishy.  He had chocolate ice cream all down the front of his white Life is Good t-shirt.  Awesome.

“Squishy, did Grandma really have to give you ice cream the second before I picked you up?” I asked as I took his incredibly sticky hand in mine.

“Mom, I wanted it and she gave it to me. Geez.  I was hungry, but now I want a Star Wars book from the book fair and a brownie,” he replied, quite sure of his goals for the Open House.

“I don’t think so,” I said as we continued through the door.

Squishy dropped my hand and ran down the hall like lightening.  I was hustling behind him, bumping into the massive herd of parents in the hallway.

“Wait up,” I called to him, as I tried to put on a very fake “I have everything under control and my life is really a dream” smile for the parents who turned their heads to look at me.

“I am trying to catch up with you, sweetheart!” I stated to him in an as pleasant as I could get, sing-song voice.

“Mom, you are so slow,” he hollered down the hallway, “Oh, and I farted.  Safety!”

Awesome.  Now my kindergartener has yelled “fart” across a crowed hallway.

But it gets better.  It always does.  A guy I dated for a long while BC – Before Captain, Before Children – was standing nearby with his absolutely beautiful, poster-like family.  And he was smirking.  Did I mention it always gets better?

My fake smile turned into gritted teeth.  My posture changed to that of a wild animal.  My hair turned into the snakes of Medusa.  I smirked back while briskly walking by and said, “Hi there.  Gotta catch up with my little man!”

Secretly, I kind of hoped that the fart would linger and bring the idyllic family to its knees.  That would be awesome.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. This photo was taken at the open house.

When Children Learn to Read

Or, what really happens now that my children are reading.

My seven-year-old, Squishy, loves to read.  He is at the point where he reads everything. He will read over my shoulder.  He will read labels.  He will read t-shirts.  He will read basically anything.

There is a fun print my sister-in-law gave The Captain for his birthday.  He likes to make (and drink) martinis.  Squishy now knows how to: 1.  Say martini and 2. Spell martini.

Squishy has become a reading machine.

He also likes to read over my shoulder while I am on my Kindle.

“Mom, what the crap is wrong with this lady?”

“What lady?” I ask, “and don’t say crap.”

“The lady in your book named Anne.  She is a freak.”

I am reading about Anne Boleyn.  “She is not a freak, Squishy, she just had some issues.”

“Like what?” he asks as I wonder briefly how far to take this.

“She was married to a famous king of England and it didn’t end well for her,” I strategically answered.

“Why?  Is his name Henry?”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“I read it over your shoulder,” he grinned triumphantly, “See ya, I am going outside, OK Mom?”

“Sounds like a plan,” I answered.

Yesterday, heading for a quick grocery store stop, Squishy said, “Mom, the truck next to us has a bad word on a sticker.”

“What does it say?” I asked, trying to navigate through the zillion traffic lights in our small town.

“Will I get in trouble if I say it?” he asked.

“Just read it to me,” I said, with the patience and kindness of a women with mild road rage.

“Bad ass,” he said, “It says bad ass.  Why is he a bad ass, Mom?  He doesn’t look like a bad ass.”

“OK,” I said, using the mom voice, “You can stop saying it now.”

“Well, he doesn’t look like one anyway…Hey, Mom, the sign over there says not to text and drive.  And that one says the service begins at 10, and that one says…”  And so on, and so on.

I think I may need that martini.  Stat.

Kitchen Cluelessness

Richard Nixon’s most famous line was, “I am not a crook.”  My most famous line is “I am not a cook.”

My kitchen is not mine.  The Captain, my husband, is the chef at our home.

Wine. The one thing always in my kitchen.

When we first met, I had some leftover Chinese food and some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in my fridge.  I may have had mayo, but I don’t think so.  I do know that I had plenty of wine in my apartment along with a box of Velveeta Cheese and Shells.  I am not a cook.

My dad and stepmother bought me a recipe book called, “Help! My Apartment has a Kitchen!”  but I didn’t read it.  I didn’t have time for it, and I hate grocery shopping (but that is another post entirely).

Good thing The Captain is addicted to cooking or my family would go hungry.  He loves watching The Food Network and the show Chopped in particular.  He gets three recipe magazines – Everyday Food, Food Network and Bon Appetite.  He loves to cook.

I asked him to sum up my cooking abilities.  He looked at me as if it was a trick question.  I said, “Be honest.  Be harsh.  It’s OK to tell me the truth because after you do, I am going to put it directly into my post about cooking.”

He responds, “Why would you ever consider writing a post about cooking?”

“Come on,” I begged, “Tell me what you think about my kitchen abilities.”

He looks over, studying my face as if to see if I am serious.  He finally answers by saying, “Clueless and in a state of despair,” and turns back to the latest episode of Chopped.

Well.  That sums it up pretty nicely.

My nemesis.

The thing is, I really just don’t like cooking.  I feel like spending hours in a kitchen for the food to be devoured in less that a commercial break is depressing.  I also find that I get frustrated in the kitchen.  It is not simple – there are so many things to get out and put away.  Ugh.  I wish the kitchen was more like my laptop.  Everything there – right under my fingertips.

Touching raw food is also difficult for me.  I hate touching raw chicken, hot dogs, or basically any meat including lunch meat (it is slimy – gross).  The Captain says this is typical.  Ha.  I think if I had to cook for myself, I would surely be a vegetarian.  I can handle vegetables and fruits.  They are nice in the kitchen.  Nice fruits and veggies.  Good fruits and veggies.

Some of the more vivid memories of my lack of kitchen prowess:

  • When dating The Captain, I made his entire family shrimp jambalaya.  It was so spicy that only his brother (bless his heart) finished his.  Everyone else seemed to be very intense on drowning their salads in ranch dressing.
  • When promising my dudes chicken fingers, I did not really understand how to do an egg dip mixture.  We ate chicken fingers ala scrambled eggs that evening.
  • When making a casserole, I didn’t notice the recipe mentioning that I had to cook the rice before adding it to the casserole dish.  It was crunchy, and not in a good way!
  • When trying to make potato cheese soup, I let the soup boil over the pot and I still have remnants of soup between the glass panels looking into the stove.  I don’t know how the soup got there, but I do know that I am reminded of the fiasco whenever I turn the oven light on.

I can happily say I haven’t once caught the kitchen on fire.  I have, however, burned some bread in the oven.  The Captain said broil it, and I thought that meant for 15 minutes.  Apparently broilers are quick and dirty cookers.  Who knew?

So, for now, I will stick to using the beloved microwave and my debit card at food establishments and for quick grocery trips.  Farewell, kitchen!  Until we boil again.

May the Force Be Mine

During college, my mom sent me a Valentine’ Day card.  It read:

Happy Alentine’s Ay.

On the inside, it read:

Try and keep the VD out of it.

She wrote on the card saying that it was a “knee slapper” and a “hoot” and I should show it to my friends so they could get a good laugh.  I didn’t show it around.  In fact, I hid it immediately in the bottom drawer of my desk (I have trouble throwing cards away – don’t ask).

Strangely, I was thinking of this card as I was helping String Bean decorate his Valentine’s card box for school.  We were putting letter stickers on it, writing “May the Force be with you” and spicing it up with Lego Star Wars stickers.

May the Force...

“Mom, you rock at this.  Did they have Valentine’s Day during your childhood?”  String Bean asked.  He likes the word childhood when it comes to any of The Captain’s or my stories about our youth, which String Bean seems to think was during the ice ages or BN (before Nintendo).

“We did have Valentine’s Day.  We decorated boxes with construction paper and paper doilies.”

“What are paper doilies?” he innocently asked.

“It is just like a very intricate paper snowflake-looking thing,” I stated knowing the next question would be about the word intricate.

“Is it as intricate as my Star Wars box?” he asked, skeptically.

“Not exactly. Your box is much cooler.”

Happy Alentine’s Ay to all.  May the Force, not VD, be with you.

VD in reverse is DV or Darth Vader. Interesting...