from the sock archives: One dirty sock ahead of the apocalypse
It is a mystery to me why I have not yet been tapped to run the space program. It probably has something to do with budget cuts, or possibly my algebra grades. But if someone did ask me to run the space program, I would probably say yes and then I would just write it down on my to-do list under "finish screenplay" or "finish a single cup of coffee without interruption."
Which brings me to the point of today's topic: How I Manage to Get So Much Done Despite Near-Constant Sabotage By My Family Members. Also the neighbors.
I'm sorry... what was I saying? I was interrupted by a neighbor calling to complain about a Margarita hangover she believes is my fault. Which is another story that I am not going to get into here except to say that I told her the Margaritas were too strong and she just laughed at me and called me by an anatomically-derived vulgarity. But who's laughing now?
My point is that despite having been diverted from an important errand to a Mexican restaurant last night, I am still ahead on my to-do list. When Mary showed up in her minivan and insisted I get in, I was on my way to replace the ink cartridges that my children used up printing out important school assignments that they later abandoned all over my office and which I will be asked to locate at some point a little closer to my next deadline. But rather then let myself get behind, I simply write "Margaritas with Mary" on my list and then cross it off.
This morning I have to buy the ink before I can get started on the rest of the list, which, allowing for interruptions, I will complete sometime before Christmas. But rather than focus on the fact that I must have been insane to volunteer to help build sets for the middle school production of "Weekends Spent Painting," I simply go to the part of my list that says "buy ink cartridges" and change it so that it now reads like this:
134: ink cartridges (black)
135: ink cartridges (magenta)
136: ink cartridges (yellow)
137: ink cartridges (cyan)
Then, when I return with the ink cartridges, I cross four items off my list, which if you do the math, results in three more things accomplished than if I had not had Margaritas with Mary last night. Then I add "do the math" to my list and cross it off too.
Perhaps you are thinking that this is more an exercise in delusion than accomplishment. But that would be completely missing the point. And the point is this: Delusion is the underpinning of organized family life. At least on paper.
Every childbearing A, B or C-list performer in Hollywood is available to help me make my own baby food, narrow the options in $600 strollers or juggle the demands of work and toddler care on $10 million a year.
It's not that I don't understand the importance of spreading the word when a former sitcom cast member has discovered a new diaper changing pad that she really, really likes. That's news.
But where the fuck is Courtney Cox Arquette when I am trying to get a 13-year-old out of bed or teach a 16-year-old how to drive without resorting to profanity? How many fucking Post-It notes does it take to get a teenager to remember an orthodontist appointment? What is the earliest you can begin drinking Margaritas on a school day? Why is there an empty milk container in the refrigerator? Am I the only one in the house who knows how to replace a roll of toilet paper? WTF Angelina? Am I completely on my own here?
Photo: There is no shortage of advice on how to wear celebrity baby shades, not that my niece seems to have caught on.
Other ideas for specialty sympathy cards being batted around Hallmark Inc. headquarters:
Pending Indictment - Thinking of You, But In No Way is the Enclosed Cash Intended to Influence Your Decision Re: naming of co-conspirators
Your Nude Photos Just Went Viral - Cheer Up: It's Nothing that 10 Years and a Pricey Public Relations Firm Can't Mitigate Somewhat
Caught cheating on your wife - We Never Really Liked that Bitch! Best of Luck in the Property Settlement.
Rejected College Application -
Acceptance Coming to terms is the first step toward moving on.
Lab results indicate a STD - Stay Positive. Just Kidding! But seriously, laughter is the best medicine.
Foreclosure - Hope this Card Reaches You in Time to Extend Our Condolences!
So the old homestead isn't worth what it used to be. There is still no better place to enjoy a cocktail. At least no place you can afford. Plus, now you actually have the time to do it. Think of all the weekend home improvement projects you can no longer justify in a house that isn't even worth what you paid for it.
Saturday evenings in the Home Depot plumbing aisle used to feel like an investment. Now it just seems like the worst date night ever.
Cocktail: The Teeny, Weeny Equit-ini
2 oz. cheap gin or vodka
1 tsp. dry vermouth
1 green olive
Shake over ice. Strain into paper cup with tiny hole in the bottom. Drop olive in and garnish with little paper umbrella or a recent mortgage statement. Sip with one hand, keeping other hand against the bottom to slow the leak.
I was not consulted on the middle schooler's decision to add hot pink stripes to her hair using cherry Kool-Aid.
Then I would have decided it's just hair for chrissake, it's not like she's asking for a tattoo or anything and then she would have dyed her hair pink.
Which is exactly the same result only it takes three times as long and makes me look lame.
If there is one thing I have learned about parenting in the middle school years, it is this: there is an easy way and there is a hard way, but either way your daughter is coming home with pink hair. ("Acceptance")
Also, when she assures you that it will wash out after a few shampoos, she is not talking about consecutive shampoos, but rather a few shampoos separated by the amount of time it takes for the color to grow out completely. ("The misinformation campaign")
Still, it was her decision and she will have to live with it. ("Delusion" ) And that is a lesson that will go a long way when she starts thinking about her first tattoo.
Unless of course, she manages to win a lead role in the middle school production of "No One Had Pink-Striped Hair in the 1890's." ("Irony" )
In which case you will be underwriting the cost of the Kool-Aid removal process at the Salon Where Your Daughter Has Been Pining to Go Anyway. ("Paying for it" )
But you will have learned a valuable, time-saving lesson. You will not even flinch when the stylist suggests adding a few highlights to the process. ("Surrender")
from the white flag archives: 99 Reasons to Drink in the Suburbs, #4
Multitasking Like a Mother
1. Get up, shower and get dressed during last stages of REM sleep.
2. Finish last minute paperwork while showering.
3. Check e-mails while you brush your teeth.
4. Call to wish Mother-in-law happy birthday while answering work-related e-mails. Answer personal e-mails while making work-related phone calls.
5. Fold laundry while exercising.
6. Skip exercise while allowing laundry to pile up.
7. Make mental to-do lists while having sex. Have sex while making dinner.
8. Synchronize orgasm with oven timer.
9. Get a head start on last minute homework assignments by losing your cool now.
10. Deliver the "Now you tell me?" speech in the car on the way to Office Depot.
from the Multitasking archives: I only make it look easy.
Forget what you may have heard about seventh grade. Eighth grade is the most glamorous year of middle school.
The color scheme is pink on pink, with glitter accents. The book bag is by Pink. The folders, notebooks and binders are pink. Do not even think about trying to slip in a blue one or a green one just because you have squirrelled away the unused ones from last year.
That is. So. Not. Acceptable.
from the Middle School archives: A Middle School Drama in Three Acts, Match.com Junior High, Uptick in Consumer Spending Linked to Joseph Balakovich's Bar Mitzvah
from the school supply archives: Market surges on reports of fifth-grader's school supply list
I am not one of those people who makes a big secret of my birthday. I have never understood the thinking of women who repel all attempts to celebrate this day as they get older.
If it was, trust me, I'd be 150 by now.
My point is, my birthday is almost here again but I've been so busy I almost forgot to start compiling my Annual List of Suggested Birthday Tributes.
I know some of you will be thinking, My god SK, we haven't even finished making the payments on last year's list of Suggested Birthday Tributes, but last time I checked, I wasn't chairing the financial planning committee.
And here's the thing. When I opened my e-mail today, something jumped out at me that I felt instantly compelled to solicit as a birthday gift.
It's odd how many of those ridiculously ambitious Williams-Sonoma suggestions you can laugh off and then suddenly out of the blue, just because you have 15 deadlines and a back-to-school to-do list that looks like you are scheduling a shuttle launch, you are struck by a burning desire to make pie.
The next thing you know you are forwarding the ad for the Best-Selling Breville Electric Pie Maker to your husband.
"What is wrong with me that I totally want this?" I ask him.
"Borderline personality disorder," comes the reply.
I should point out that my husband has absolutely no credentials whatsoever in the field of mental health. Also one of my best friends happens to be a fully credentialed mental health expert and I'm pretty sure she would tell you that what certain people might refer to as "borderline personality disorder," other people recognize as simply "personality."
Or possibly just "disorder."
Either way, it's not going to stop me from living out my dream of creating delicious snacks and desserts in three easy steps.
Now I know some of you will argue, "But Suburban, you have never made a pie in your entire life." To which I can only say: Exactly. If the people at William-Sonoma - retailers of such culinary must-haves as the 5-star electric raclette maker - think I am capable, who am I to put it off any longer? Also, what exactly is a raclette? I might want you to make me one for my birthday.
Photo: Irresistible little pies: the Best-Selling Breville Electric Pie Maker. $79.95
from the gift registry/archives: Go ahead. Make her day.