Last night I had the most bizarre conversation that I have ever had in my life. I make this statement fully acknowledging that I have been to Spring Break in Orlando, have walked the streets of Manhattan and was in a sorority. This one was truly for the ages.
Don’t put your nose in his butt.
No, I said, don’t put your nose in his butt.
What did I say?
WHAT DID I SAY?!
Don’t come crying to me. This is all your fault.
Yeah, I would think that should hurt. Know why?
HE DOESN’T LIKE HAVING A NOSE IN HIS BUTT!
You’ve lived here long enough to know we don’t do that.
Oh you’re fine, quit your whining, walk it off.
Hey! Don’t bleed on that, I just washed that.
Afterwards I sat down and thought about what I had just said. What is truly disturbing to me is that just from those words it’s impossible to know whether I was talking to my dog or one of my kids. This is the kind of life I lead. Either option is equally plausible. I was held conversations about the significance of Nietzsche in modern society, whether the demonization of Germany led directly to a second world war and the consequences of and ultimately failure of Ancient Egyptian officials attempting to eradicate the memory of Hatshepsut.
Now I warn against the perils of unwelcome olfactory advances in delicate places.
I’m not going to say that I can’t believe this is my life, because clearly my believe is irrelevant. It is in fact, my life. So, nothing for it but to be the best I can at it. I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made up saying Don’t blame me! I told her to get her nose out of his butt! on the front. It will serve two purposes. One: fellow parents and animal owners will recognize the pain immediately and Two:My older children will slice their faces off with a dull compass rather than ask me to drive them anywhere. Of course, my youngest will insist I come give another lecture in her class, so that’s a drawback.
Off to design my new shirt. I think I’ll see if I can get it in blue. I do so love a good blue shirt.
Daddy? Daaddy, where’s Mommy?
Oh, she’s upstairs.
I thought she was on the front porch. You know, sitting in the rain?
That she was, Sweetie, that she was. You girls kept finding her though, so she and I decided that she should take a bath and go to bed.
Oh. What time is it Daddy?
Isn’t it too early for bath time and bed?
Yes, yes normally it would be. But your mother and I decided that her bath and bed time needed to come a mite early today.
Ohhh. Does her head hurt? I thought it looked like her head hurt the last time I saw her.
That’s very observant of you, well done. Yes, I would say that Mommy has quite the headache just now.
Mommy says its natural to get a headache after you get too upset. She tells me that every time I cry and then I don’t feel good.
True….all true, your mother is very smart.
Mommy was going to kill us this morning, wasn’t she?
Noooooooo, don’t be silly, Honey. Mommy loves you both very much and she wasn’t going to kill you and your sister. You mean the world to her. No matter what you do, she will always love you. However…next time you do it, you, ahh, well…you probably won’t be so lucky. It’s been a long two weeks of school holidays for all of you. Between the two miserable weeks spent at home not doing a damn thing, as your mother mentioned to me, and you and your sister’s activities; you both might want to reconsider and just perhaps…maybe just not do that anymore?
Yeah, maybe we really shouldn’t do that. How long until her eyes go back into her head? I had a doll whose eyes came out but I had to shove them back in myself. Do you need to shove Mommy’s eyes back into her head?
I wouldn’t know Sweetie, I wouldn’t go near your mother right now if the house were on fire and she had the only fire extinguisher. Let’s just say it’ll probably take couple of glasses and lot of pharmaceuticals. Now you go off and play. Please, stay away from your sister.
Okay Daddy, love you!
I can’t say for sure if this is actually conversation going on downstairs right now. It would not surprise me though, to find out that something along this line is true.
For the record, it’s taken an hour-long bath, an episode of Outlander and oddly enough with no wine or pharmaceuticals, for my eyes have finally returned to my skull. I highly recommend that no one take any bets on what happens the next time. The odds are in no ones favor right now.
Today is another day in which I learn yet again, that I am not like other parents. Oddly enough, I’m not beating myself up about this one. I am neither proud or ashamed of this….it is what it is.
This morning I was kind and drove the boy and his girlfriend to the train. Yes, damn it, that makes me kind. I was hoping not to get out of my pj’s today. I left the girls home and took the dog with me. Why? Because the reverse order is more of a pain in the ass than you can possibly fathom. I will happily leave my girls alone in the house for 15 minutes rather than Madam Crazy Puppy. Combined they can’t do as much damage as she can. Pulling back into the driveway I began to psych myself up for the fun game of “Get the dog out of the car!” This dog doesn’t like to go for walks, she utterly adores to go on car rides and refuses to get out of the car….not normal at all….clearly the perfect dog for us. Zen status unlocked, I opened the door to get out when I heard the screaming from the house, some thirty feet from the curb.
Being the loving, caring and responsible mother I am, I responded to this crisis with a bellowing of, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what in the hell are you two fighting about NOW!!!!” As if I had pressed a hidden eject button, Connor came flying out of the house begging for help, as Tessi was bleeding. I abandoned the dog and car, ran up the hill, stormed into the house to found Tessi at the bottom of steps with blood pouring from her foot. Genuine faucet-like pouring, not dripping. Whoooo boy, this is not what I was expecting to see. I swooped her screaming self up and ran her to the chair so I could rest her and get a good look. Sopping up the blood with a wet cloth, I asked what happened and learned that there was apparently a piece of glass on the floor by the steps and of course, she stepped on it. Marvelous.
This left her with a 1/4 inch gash on the bottom of the foot, blood seeping out. Direct pressure and five minutes later it slowed to a dribble and twenty minutes later, all seemed good. After a text conversation with Ted, I decide not to see about stitches. While all of this was happening, Connor, without being told, has cleaned up the blood and is sitting on the couch with her sister working on Sudoku puzzles trying to get her mind of the pain. I made a mental note to chat with Connor later to thank her for being awesome sister.
I did a walk through by the stairs to see if there was any mess left and as I was returning to the living room I looked down in one of the empty laundry baskets and lo and behold, there were two huge blood drops. Me, being me, blurted out the first thing that popped into my brain, “Look Girls, here’s something to teach you about Forensics. When you murder someone, always be mindful of the blood. That’s what does a lot of criminals in. They can not fathom just how far blood will travel.” I took the basket over to them and together we had a discussion of blood splatter, determining trajectory and how to plan to hide or cover up any potential clues.
It was probably an hour later before I realized I should have said, “There, there. Everything will be alright.” instead and not even mentioned the blood. Hindsight is 20/20, everyone says and nevermore so in my case, as I never, ever seem to think before I speak. Looking back, sure, it made perfect sense that I would comfort and hide the icky stuff. At the time though, it seemed just as perfectly reasonable to point out the learning moment of crime scene preservation or planned contamination.
Perhaps some day the correct mothering sentence will flow from my lips at the correct mothering time. After almost sixteen years in country, I highly doubt it though. I look at some of my friends who have that nurturing mommy thing down pat and occasionally I am envious of them. Other times I think, eh….at least my kids will know cool facts that might win them money in a bar bet some day. That has to count for something.
Editing Note: Tessi’s foot started bleeding again and wouldn’t stop for several hours so we did end up in the doctor’s office. She did not get any stitches but we were handed an ultrasound slip in case the pain doesn’t stop and we need to go back in to check for more glass. I think all is well, mainly because I got her and most importantly, NOT CONNOR a Mcflurry afterwards. She giggled the whole way home about poor Connor getting nothing.
Parenting win. It’s not how most of you do it, but it works for my family.
I never met my great-grandmother as she died long before I was born. From everything my father has ever told me about her, she was what one called in polite society, a character. You could ask her any question you wanted and she would answer honestly…but then she would tag on the end of it the phrase you damn fool.
- Grandma, what time is it? 8:30, you damn fool.
- Grandma, when is the priest’s birthday? February 4th, you damn fool.
- Grandma, when did the Mongols rule China? 1279 to 1368, you damn fool.
Ever since I first heard about her and her consistent response I get you damn fool stuck in my mind any time I find myself being treated like a fool for asking a question. Whether I was in class asking a teacher for help, talking to a girlfriend about clothes and music, or at a party trying to locate the keg, there it was. YOU DAMN FOOL. Anytime that nagging feeling of knowing that I’ve asked a stupid question appeared, I would hear the sweet dulcet tones of that old woman, long dead, calling me a damn fool.
That voice has been a regular feature in my mind the past few years. It started occurring consistently when Teddy was roughly around thirteen. To him I suddenly became a knuckle-dragging, drooling, blithering idiot. Thank God I wear sandals a lot, shoelaces would have utterly flummoxed me. I’ll tell you, I have heard that damn voice more times in the last two years than I have my entire life. I still do hear it, but recently there have been a few scant moments when I almost, slightly, felt some respect coming from my son. Fleeting…to be sure, but there it would appear…like a wisp of gardenia-scented air trapped in the middle of a teenage boys room. Not enough to remove the overall olfactory horror, but just enough to remind you that it was once clean and not potentially a crime scene.
As expected in my life, just as I was becoming drunk with glee at almost being recognized as intelligent again, the voice has returned. It’s older, raspier and my god, it seems even angrier. Not from my son, but from the child next in line. Now it’s Connor projecting the voice into my brain. She’s only eleven, so I suppose that’s why I was caught off guard and wasn’t braced for the severity. I own that mistake though. I honestly should have known better, girls traditionally go through this earlier. Connor has started high school and is doing her damnedest to be like the god-like high school girls around her. She watches Teen Wolf for daily injections of coolness. It was inevitable, I just was hoping to perhaps make it to age twelve.
No, the voice comes back when it decides, not me. Here is the moment that I knew the voice was back.
Recently my neighbor messaged me to ask for a picture of the map used in geography class that both of our girls are in. I asked Connor to send it to me, which she did, without arguing. See, right there, I should have flipped on the warning sensors. Not arguing? She was asked to stop texting a friend and take time to search for a boring school picture and send it to me? Be serious. I was tired though, and I just wanted to get the message sent so I wasn’t paying attention. It’s no excuse though. I am ashamed.
The image popped up onto my screen and lo and behold, it’s not of a map. Instead, it’s a list of the questions that needed to be answered based upon looking at the map. Giving up texting, I returned to old-fashioned communication and called over to her, “No, Honey, I need the MAP, not the questions.”
Connor was inside her egg-shaped hanging chair. It is her sacred place and she can sit in it for hours. She even sits under a blanket in it to create the hanging shroud feeling. Connor couldn’t even be bothered to spin it to look at me. “No, MOM. I don’t have the map. Just the questions,” just wafted from out of the chair at me. There was a mummer of some kind in the back of my brain just then. It was faint, ever-so faint, that for a second I thought it was Harper making her “old man” sound as she sat up next to me.
I grimaced and narrowed my eyes at the chair. Right, what we have here is failure to communicate. “Why don’t you have the map? How can you answer the questions without the map?” Again, I am making rookie mistake here. Why on earth would I actually ask this question? How did I not know that I would be unhappy with the answer? I called myself a name then.
I swear to God, Jesus, and the Easter Bunny, what happened next is what actually happened, with no embellishment.
One long, ridiculously skinny leg snaked out of the chair and when anchored to the floor, slowly swiveled the chair until she was looking at me. “I don’t need the picture Mom. I m.e.m.o.r.i.z.e.d. the map”. And then the foot delicately and elegantly retracted. The egg chair spun slowly around to its original position, which physically and emotionally ended the conversation.
In that moment, I knew that I was a moron again. You Damn Fool stormed through my brain like a mother’s group with coupons through a liquor store.
Just as I said, I never met my great-grandmother. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a relationship with her. Through my children, she speaks to me daily.
- Grandma, do you love me? Of course I do, you damn fool.
Yes, I’m sure she does. It’s always nice to have family visit…even it’s just in my mind.
If you enjoy wine Australia is the perfect place to live. Delicious wine is in abundance in this lovely country and you can get a staggering amount of vintages for not a lot of money. All other alcohol is ridiculously expensive, Ron de Jeremy Rum at $74, I’m looking at you. No seriously, that’s not a joke. Ron Jeremy has a rum and it sells here for more than $70. It is a world gone mad.
I never know what wine I should drink for which occasion. Well, that’s not true. Generally, I don’t care what wine is right for each occasion. If it tastes good, I drink it. If it tastes bad…actually, then I usually drink that too because I don’t want to be wasteful. A throwback to my college days. If I could choke down Milwaukee’s Best, no fermented grape juice could possibly be worse. It’s here and it’s wet and sista’s gotta do, what sista’s gotta do. I just won’t buy that label again. My own version of evolution.
I do find however that sometimes there are certain wines that work better in specific situations. This type of pairing isn’t the kind you’ll find from your local sommelier. I bet there is a market for it so I will give a crack at it today. Instead of looking at food or climate to best decide which wines to drink, today I will advise you on what wines go with each Life happenstance.
I will call this a Life Wine Pairing:
- Daughters start rolling fist fight with each other over what name to give new doll. RECOMMENDATION: Chenin Blanc. The subtle notes of apples and honey will help you remember the times that they were once sweet and kind…you know, when they are sleeping.
- Husband announces that wearing white socks with black jeans and black sneakers is perfectly acceptable. RECOMMENDATION: Reisling. This wine will balance remarkably your husband’s idiocy with it’s refined youth and its grand maturity.
- Reading utterly moronic posts on Facebook written by people you would have sworn were normal human beings. RECOMMENDATION: This is tough. There are two wines appropriate; depending your particular mood swing. If feeling a bit spry and looking for some courage to fight back, I suggest a lovely Malbec. Spicy and intense ripe fruits. All the better to fuel your fire. If you’re feeling a little tolerant or perhaps even pity towards those attempting, yet failing, at clever wit, I think a Merlot will do. I say this mainly because I do not like Merlot and drinking that will surely get my mind off of social media long enough to save a few friendships.
- New dog is so terrified of being alone that she destroys the house and can escape a metal crate. RECOMMENDATION: Moscato. A sweet wine has less alcohol. Of course, I understand that this isn’t your obvious go-to choice but hear me out. Dealing with mental health issues take quite some time. In case you aren’t the best at pacing yourself, I fervently suggest something to help you go the distance without ending up throwing up in the bushes. Trust me, it’s a bad look.
- Daughter forgets her school bag and therefore her lunch. The school canteen online ordering system has already closed orders for the day and you have to track down your friend who works there and beg her to feed your child and you promise to send in money the next day. RECOMMENDATION: Cabernet Sauvignon I encourage you to get a heartier wine as this is the 5th damn time this term you’ve had to beg for help from this poor woman. Also, it wouldn’t kill you to bring her a bottle or two, just so she’ll keep taking your calls.
- Your son has just broken his femur playing rugby at school when he wasn’t supposed to. Surgeon with 30 years experience says he’s never seen this type of break from playing footy, only car crashes. RECOMMENDATION: Shiraz from the Borossa Valley. Known for hearty, robust flavors. Drink quickly, don’t take time to savor the palate. Honestly? Don’t bother with a glass, just chug straight from the bottle.
- Pre-teen daughter suddenly 3/4 inch taller than you, possessing of sass and attitude that could have only come from her grandmother cursing you from the grave. RECOMMENDATION: All the wines, all the wines of the world.
Hopefully this is a good start for you the reader to gain an understanding of wine and the role it can have in your life. If enough people are interested I’ll start creating more pairing lists. Already I can see a need for Relatives at Christmas, Daughter Begins Dating, Son Refuses to Change Socks, Number of Ignorant Fools on Twitter Skyrockets and I Never Knew that a Dog Could Abseil.
If any of you have any personal life situations that you would like a wine pairing created for, please let me know. I’m happy to share my expertise.