Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"IF" I Drink/"THEN" I Pee

Broadway.  New York City.
I recently saw the play “If/Then” in New York.  The star of the show is Idina Menzel, you may recall she is the woman who sang the theme song from the Disney movie "Frozen," and whose name John Travolta famously mispronounced as Adele Dazeem at the 2014 Academy Awards show.

The play was enjoyable, but left me feeling a little melancholy.  It was the kind of show where you wanted to go home and hug and kiss your husband.  Well, I did.  I would recommend it just to hear Idina’s beautiful singing.

The show was a Wednesday matinee and most of the attendees were women.  Women who had rushed from lunch to make the 2:00 o’clock curtain.  At intermission there was a mass stampede to the restrooms, and if you’ve ever been to a Broadway show in New York then you know the bathroom situation is not ideal for women.  Women always wait, on average 14-20 minutes.  That's a fact. I looked it up.

My friend and I joined the back of a long line that snaked down a set of stairs and around several corners.  I’m not exaggerating when I estimate that there were 50 women waiting to go pee, and many of the ladies looked to be in distress.  Some of the women bailed out of the line and announced that they were going next door to the Marriott to use the bathrooms.  Seemed like an extreme move.

As we patiently waited our turn, we watched a young woman walk past everybody in the queue and waltz into the bathroom.  Then five minutes later, a second woman did the same thing.  Both women walked confidently past all of the waiting ladies, with their heads held high, and did not offer an explanation or an apology.  Nobody said anything.  

Apparently, it’s a strategy that works if you have the brass "you-know-whats" to try it.

I waited my turn and rewarded myself with a box of yummy Junior Mints.  Good things do come to those who wait.  So there, you rude wenches!

On our way out of the city we saw the person below walking on stilts dressed as the Statue of Liberty.  If that does not impress you, then you should know there were two more people dressed the same way, on the same corner, also on stilts. Oh, and that's Mickey Mouse and Elmo in the background.

You've gotta love New York!

Lady Liberty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Observations of a Soccer Mom

This weekend my son's club soccer team travels to New York for a weekend tournament.  If you have children who play competitive sports, then you know what a big commitment of time and money it is to be part of these teams, and how involved the spectators get.  And by spectators, I mean parents, usually Dads, but sometimes Moms too.

For my son's travel soccer team the parents have to sign a document promising to behave.  Basically, "behave" means to not exchange words with the parents of the other teams, or with any of the players.  So for the Dads on our team that leaves talking to each other and to themselves, which they don't even realize they are doing.

I call the Dads' constant chattering "Soccer Tourettes."  (Note: I'm poking fun at the Dads and don't mean to insult anyone actually afflicted with Tourette Syndrome.)  If you don't know about this syndrome, one of the symptoms involves repeating words or phrases.  So, the Dads stand alone or in small groups, they never sit down, and blurt out words and phrases for most of the 80 minutes of every game.

Some words/phrases are unique to specific Dads and other words/phrases are muttered by all of the Dads in unison.  Here are some of the more popular ones:

That's what they say when they disagree with a call the referee made.  They only say "Sir" once, but say it like they are asking a question.  "SIR?  Technically, they are not allowed to say anything to the referees, maybe that's why they call them "Sir."  By the way, they do not distinguish between male and female referees, "Sir" is apparently a unisex term in soccer.

This word is usually said two times in unison,  "Unlucky.  Unlucky." It means there was a bad outcome, but it was not necessarily the fault of the players.

"Good Idea."
Said once or twice and sometimes while clapping hands when a play was a "good idea" despite being unsuccessful.

"That's a good ball!"
Their voices drop a few octaves and they drag out the words when they say, "Thaaaattttt's a gooooood baaaaalll!"  This is used when they are especially happy with a corner kick.  I'm unable to tell you how a corner kick comes about, but I do know that a player kicks the ball from the corner of the field, hence "corner kick."

"Find feet."
This is used when they want the boys to pass the ball to a specific player and to not just kick it randomly.  Every time I hear "Find Feet" I automatically scan the field looking for feet lying about.

"You gotta shoot that ball!!!"
When the Dads think a player missed an opportunity to take a shot they let him know, "You gotta shoot that ball!"  This one really gets them and they usually turn around, walk a few steps, turn back around, clap their hands and say, "Okay, okay, that's alright, here we go!"

I don't know what's going on when they mutter this one, but it's always repeated quickly under their breath, "Pressure. Pressure."

I asked my son if he can hear the Dads, and he said usually not, but he can hear me screaming.

What?  I have Soccer Tourettes too?

It seems I randomly shout out various boys' names with the phrase, "Way to go!" Okay, that's not bad.  I'm just being positive.

I wonder if I say "Way to go!" at the appropriate time since I don't think I totally understand what's going on most of the time despite watching soccer for years, unlike the Dads who act like soccer experts, but don't look the part.

For me, the most important information at a soccer tournament is the availability of bathrooms.  Like many women my age, I have to pee a lot, especially in the morning because of coffee.

When the games are at fields with actual bathrooms, that's ideal.  However, a unisex porta potty setup is a nightmare.  If it's an absolutely dire situation I can handle the porta potty in the morning of Day 1 of a tournament, but I won't go near those things on Day 2 or Day 3.  Never.

Apparently, having diarrhea before a game is a popular warm up activity for the kids.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Your Neighbors' Recyclables

My favorite day to walk the dogs is the day "recyclables" get put out in my neighborhood.  I live on a cul de sac with only 8 houses, and we have the most interesting recyclables, so my street is no fun, but when I venture a few blocks to walk the dogs things get interesting.

I know so much about the people I have never met simply by observing what they put out in their recyclable cans.  For example:
  • Some major winos live at "Blue Shutters," at least I hope it's more than one person doing the drinking because their can is overflowing with empty wine bottles, all sizes and flavors, every week.  I have never seen any person at this house except a woman from a cleaning service. I always say hello to her since I'm hoping to get some intelligence on what the people at that house do for a living.  They either have really terrible jobs that makes them drink, or really easy jobs that allow them to be hungover everyday.  It's worth pursuing.  Maybe a stake out is in my future.
  • "White Volvo" feeds the family lots of crappy, processed food.  I need to get a look at that gang because they consume several industrial-sized boxes of Mac and Cheese weekly and they wash it down with lots of Diet Coke.  Based on the stickers on the back of their car, it appears that there are 2 kids and two parents eating all that junk.  No pets.  At least one of the kids is an Honor Roll Student, that doesn't add up based on all the chemicals they consume.
  • I think a young couple lives in "Broken Mailbox" because a) the mailbox has been broken for two years, and b) they drink a lot of beer and eat a lot of pizza.  I think we could be friends.
  • I know an older couple lives in "Closed Window Blinds" because they sit on the porch in the warm weather.  They eat a lot of Special K and almond milk.  I'm a little worried they are not getting enough protein because they are really skinny and the number of empty cereal boxes in their weekly can suggests they mainly exist on cereal.  Where are their adult children?
  • Somebody at "Window Boxes" is a compulsive shopper.  Every week there are two cans full of brown shipping boxes from lots of high end stores.  Good for them.  I think we could be friends, too.
  • "Toys in Yard" must have a clown car full of kids.  I usually see a bunch of kids playing in the yard and there are several empty boxes of diapers in different sizes in the weekly pickup.  The kids I see playing are too old for diapers, so I'm guessing they are either running a home daycare or have 5 or 6 kids.  Either scenario is frightening to me.
The next time you put out your recyclables you should consider that you might have a nosy neighbor, like me, judging you based on what's in your recyclable can, or maybe you're that nosy neighbor?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Yummy….Oreo Blizzard.
This weekend we went to the drive-thru at our local Dairy Queen.  Connor ordered his usual "large Oreo blizzard" and Tom and I passed.  Tom wanted the "chili cheese dog combo," but I discouraged him with my "seriously Tom?" face.

We pulled up to the window to pay and the following conversation took place:

DQ Lady:  Hi, I didn't know that was you.  I didn't recognize the car.  Welcome back.

Me:  Hi there.  This is my husband Tom.  It's his car.  When did you open for the season?

DQ Lady:  We opened last week.  Is that Connor in the back?  Hey Connor, here's your usual.  I guess you gave up ice cream for Lent again?

Me:  Yeah I did.  How was your winter?  Did you go to Florida?  How are the dogs?

DQ Lady:  We went to Florida for most of the winter, and the dogs are good.  How's Charlie?  Still anxious?

Me:  Of course.  Okay, we'll see you soon.


Me:  What was what?

Tom:  Why is the DQ Lady your best friend?

Me:  I just know her from coming here.

Tom:  How often do you come here?

Me:  I don't know.  We only come here in the spring.

Tom:  Okay, but it seems like you know her really well.  How often do you two come here?

Me:  I don't know, maybe a couple times a week.

Tom:  Really, how many?

Me:  Most days after school.

Tom:  I thought Connor was lactose intolerant.

Me:  He is.  We go straight home.


Tom to self:  Wow, what goes on when I'm not around?

Connor to self:  I hope Dad doesn't ruin a good thing.

Me to self:  Drive-thru at Dairy Queen?  Really?  If that's my biggest shenanigan during the day, I'd say that's pretty good!  He obviously did not watch the Today Show special about the Moms who drink during the day, which I have to believe is more interesting than a vanilla twist cone with sprinkles.  Okay, they are rainbow sprinkles!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Do Moms Worry?

Why do Moms worry?  I don't know.  But I'm a Mom, and I worry!

I was not a worrier before I had children, but when I became a Mom some terrible transformation took place and I worried about most things when the kids were young.

Worry:  The kids will stop breathing in their sleep.

This was an easy one to handle as we just let them sleep with us until they were ready to shave.  Lucky for us, they were late bloomers.  It's a little weird, but it worked for me.  You just need a big bed.

Worry:  The kids will choke on their food.

"Chokers" was a category in my Food Pyramid.  "You can't eat that.  It's a choker!" If I found a piece of hard candy in the house it was like I found a Quaalude.  "Oh my God, whose Jolly Rancher is this?  Jesus."

This is a reasonable concern, right?  In fact, my oldest son choked on calamari at a restaurant when he was about 8 years old.  Thankfully, he was super calm and I'm terrific in a crisis.  Kidding.  He stood on his chair and waved his hands in the air as I stood up and screamed, "He's choking! He's choking! He's choking!"  At no time during the crisis did I actually try to help him.

Fortunately, my husband is actually good in a crisis, and he calmly reached down his throat and pulled out the calamari.  I still cannot look at calamari without breaking out in a sweat.

I also worry about other people's children choking.  Once at a restaurant I was unable to eat my meal because I was so concerned about a 3-year old girl eating chicken wings.  I could barely swallow as I watched her eat 10 wings.  She was fine and her parents tossed her a wet nap when she was done.  Go figure.

Worry:  The kids will have an illness.

I could write pages on this scenario, but let's just say WebMD is bookmarked on my laptop.

Worry: The kids will be abducted.

This was a big one for me.  I think it stems from watching too many episodes of America's Most Wanted, the TV show hosted by John Walsh, whose son was actually abducted.  

To this day, when I see a white van without windows I assume it's being driven by a man with a bag of candy on his lap and a bunch of kids tied up in the back.

When my boys were young I created a "secret word" for them to memorize.  The idea was that if anyone ever came to pick them up, and said that I sent them to do so, they would have to tell the boys the "secret word."

The problem with the "secret word" was that every time we practiced I couldn't remember the word, and I confused them about when to use the word because I kept inventing new possible scenarios.  They probably thought it would be simpler to go with whoever wanted them because there was no chance that person was as nuts as their own mother.

Thinking your kids will get stolen is not something my Mom thought about.  When my youngest was about 2 years old he wondered away from me at the mall.  I immediately freaked out.  My Mom, who was with me, just calmly started calling his name.  I remember looking at my watch to get the specific time because I knew from watching TV shows that the police would need to know exactly what time he went missing.  I then ran to find a mall cop, so that he could lock down the exits.  Getting the mall cop?  I was really thinking clearly.

I was hyperventilating and was certain he was the victim of an underground adoption ring targeting little blonde-haired and blue-eyed boys.  Meanwhile, my Mom found my son in Border's bookstore and was at Friendly's getting him ice cream.  She never broke a sweat.  I didn't sleep for a week.

Worry:  The kids will get lost.

My dogs have microchips implanted in their necks.  You know I would have been all over that technology if it had existed when my kids were young.  I was tempted to use leashes.  Okay, I was more than tempted, I bought one, but my husband would not allow me to use it.  Jerko.

We went to Disney World when the kids were young and I made stickers with their names and my phone number and put them inside their shoes.  On the way to the park, I quizzed the boys about what they should do if they got lost.

Yes, I actually instructed the boys to stand in place and take their shoes off if they got lost.  Wow.  Talk about giving your kids the tools to survive.  I'm the best.  It seemed like a good idea, but in hindsight I don't think anyone would have assumed a child standing still holding their shoes was lost, and I was potentially giving an abductor their names.  For the record, I did not include the "secret word" on the stickers.  I probably could not remember it!

Fortunately, they didn't get lost and I abandoned the sticker in the shoe idea when I saw that their information was smeared from their sweaty feet.

Worry:  The kids will get hurt.

This one covered a lot of area. Too much even for me to think about.  Let's just say, it's not easy for the boys to truly enjoy going to the movies because of me.  Thank goodness for Netflix.

First, there's the concern about contracting lice from the seat. It could happen.  Then there's the stress of being aware of all the exits and everybody sitting around you.  Good thing previews last 20 minutes because that's how long their reconnaissance takes.  Finally, it does not matter what is happening in the movie, you need to watch out for any person walking around the theatre.

I will concede that some of my behavior has been over the top, but we do live in a scary world and I've just tried to protect the boys from harm and make them aware of their surroundings.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Do not think for a minute that I don't know that I am, at least partly, responsible for their anxiety.  And, amazingly none of us are medicated.

Thank goodness they are older now and I only have to worry about driving, drinking, drugs and unwanted pregnancy.  "I'm happy I made it through the tough parts," said NO PARENT EVER.

Why Do Moms Worry?  I don't know.  But I'm a Mom, and I worry!

It's exhausting.

Do you worry?