Monday, April 28, 2008

Push This, Lovey

Lovey and I were talking on the phone this past weekend, and she said something that has stuck in my head since then.

"You're a pushover," she told me. "I love you, but you are."

And, man, if I weren't such a pushover, it would've come to fisticuffs!

Alright, it wouldn't have. And not because what she said is true, but because we went to school together, and I can still remember the whoopings she administered to a number of our unlucky classmates. The girl's scrappy, yo.

But while I have to respectfully disagree with her statement (please don't hurt me), her epithet of me is not completely unwarranted. I do have a hard time saying no to people. I can't tell you how many times in my life I have been told, "You're just too nice," in a bad way.

Man, if only they'd read my blog...

I can understand, from her point of view, why it would seem that I'm always caving to other people's demands. She's a strong, dominant woman who likes to have things her way. I wouldn't call her a control freak (to her face), but she certainly wears the pants in that family.

And while my fashion choices do tend to favor pants, dominant I am not.

I'm probably as laid back as a Republican can possibly get.

But a pushover? I don't think so. I have the mettle when it really counts. Just ask the women in my first mothers' group who made disparaging comments about my son behind my back.

Homey don't play that.

It takes a lot to rile me, but when you do, I will unleash the Avery Gray brand of fury on you--a piquant blend of pain and indigestion--the likes of which you won't soon forget. Unless I knock you silly with a well-placed roundhouse kick to the head, which badmouthing my son will get you.

I bike, people. You don't want to test me.

But anything less than that? Eh.

In the grand scheme of things, acquiescing to my husband's desire to spend wads of cash on a new video game system matters far less to me than having something we can enjoy doing together as a family. And if it makes him happy to boot, so much the better, because in the big picture, my life is pretty damned good thanks to him.

Plus, now if I find a set of patio furniture and spend a ridiculous amount of money on it, he hasn't got a leg to stand on, has he?

I pick my battles, my friend, and I choose them well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome to Geek Paradise!

Where one video game system is simply not enough...


My husband had been waiting with near orgasmic anticipation for the release of Rock Band for the Wii in June. I'd often find him in his darkened office, surfing images of the game screens on the web. Of course, he'd quickly shut down his browser when he heard me come in, but I knew what he was doing.

Oh, I knew.

He started talking about Rock Band as if it were a "good friend", working it into casual conversation more and more until I started to wonder if maybe there was more going on than just an occasional dalliance with the keyboard.

Turns out, there was.

This weekend, the anticipation proved to be too great for him to bear. While we were out and about on Saturday, we stopped into the grand opening of the new Fred Meyer's in town. It quickly became apparent to me that he was ready to take the relationship to the next level when he suggested we check out the electronics department.

Hey, at least he's including me, right?

We shuffled our way through the crowded store, blocked in our progress time and time again by aged blue-hairs on motorized scooters and large groups of loitering kids, but he would not be deterred. Not when the object of his desire was so close at hand.

And there it was. Rock Band.

For the Xbox 360.

Which we now own, along with a new 32-inch Toshiba LCD TV for my husband's office.

One thousand three hundred fifty-eight dollars and seventy-five cents.

Hope for his sake it puts out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are You a Twit...terer?

Twitteree?

One who twits?

Or is it tweets?

You know what I'm talking about, right? Twitter, the cultural wasteland internet phenomenon that everyone and their imaginary cat has jumped onboard. The "free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time."

Yeah, 'cause I need a minute-by-minute account of my dental hygienist's day. (Yes, he tweets.)

You can follow me on Twitter, though I don't know why you'd want to. I hardly ever update it, much to the dismay of missburrows, who is, at this minute, apparently smelling her fingers.

See, it's things like that that I'm not sure I need to know about people.

Don't get me wrong--I'm a finger sniffer, too. I just don't know if I want to broadcast it to the world.

(Well, a little late now, I suppose.)

The gurus at Twitter consider their service a format for "free microblogging", which is a great option for anyone who can't afford the exorbitant cost of a Blogspot blog and has the attention span of a stoned gnat.

No offense, Miss B.

I just don't see the appeal, but, then again, I believe I have mentioned I'm not the most interesting person in the world. Maybe I just find it hard to believe that anyone would want a rundown of the activities of which my days consist in real time.

Let's see...wake up, feed the whelp mini muffins and Mountain Dew, order him umpteen million times to put on some pants, take him to school, sit on the couch and eats Bon Bons until it is time to pick him up, feed him again, "interact", feed the big one, "interact", bury my nose in a book and ignore them for the rest of the night, repeat.

There you have it. I just saved myself the trouble of logging on to Twitter a good twenty times right there.

Not that I do. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Demanding Little Blog Monkeys!

What? One blog post a week is not enough for you people?!

Believe me, if you knew what I've considered blogging about in the past seven days, you'd thank me for staying away.

Let's see...
  • I took my bike in for a tune-up. Seems the little bastard felt 8th gear was plenty high enough, thank you, while I've always been quite a big fan of the gears 16-24. I could expound upon their many merits at great length, I suppose.

  • Then there was that crazy girls' night out with Lovey. Pedicures, bookstore, and home by 9. I'd say we painted the town a lovely shade of ecru.

  • And today I got a new desk chair. That's got the makings of a looooong post about the importance of proper ergonomics, right?

Yawn.

I even bore myself.

Alas, such is the way it goes. I'm thirty now. Nothing blogworthy will ever happen to me again.

Until I get a cat, of course. And begin my illustrious cat blogging career.

You'll say you knew me when...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Day. From. Hell.

Kindergarten registration.

That sorta says it all, don't it?

Yesterday was the first day of kindergarten registration in our school district, and me, being the masochist I am, decided to get in early and get it done.

Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha.

The woman behind the counter, I'll call her Satan's Minion, gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out and directed me to a row of tables around the corner where I could do so.

That's when I saw them.

My fellow prisoners of war. A row of soccer moms; their skin sallow in the flickering fluorescent light, their eyes pleading, urging me to turn back while I still could.

I should have known then that things were about to go downhill fast.

Seventeen pointless forms (I mean, do I need to fill out a bilingual survey if we're not bilingual, seriously?) and half an hour later, I took the completed pile back to the counter.

Satan's Minion asked to see Ethan's birth certificate, which I handed to her.

Or so I thought.

"That's not a birth certificate," she said. "That's a certificate from the hospital saying he was born."

I think I blinked.

"It's not a certified birth certificate," she continued. "I need a certified birth certificate."

What the hell is the difference?! He was born, and I have proof. It's not like I'm trying to commit insurance fraud or enroll an imaginary child in your damn school.

That was what I felt like saying. Instead, I smiled politely and asked where I might get one of those.

She directed me to the office of Vital Records on the other side of town.

Great.

Off I went, determined that at the end of the day, Ethan would be among the first of his class to be registered to walk the hallowed halls of primary academia.

Now, if you've never visited the Clark County Center for Community Health where the Washington State Vital Records offices are located, you are certainly missing out. It's a hoot and a half.

No wonder the nearest parking space was half a mile away. Everyone and their inbred brothers hang at the CCCCH.

I made my way to the third floor, and waited at the Vital Records counter to be helped.

I use that term loosely.

"Rita" and "Fern" (I'm not sure those were their names, but they fit, so I'm going with 'em) were "busy" discussing the scandalous behavior of their fellow state-employed co-worker, Sheila the Hussy.

Ah, my tax dollars hard at work!

When she did deign to speak to me, Rita informed me she couldn't help me until I filled out a request form.

I waited for her to produce one. She stared at me.

"Oooo-kay," I said. "And those would be...where exactly?"

"Be-hind you," she replied in, if I'm not mistaken, a terse manner.

Thanks, Rita. Bitchsayswhat.

(Hey, look! I guess I am bilingual after all!)

I filled out the form and returned to the counter where, yet again, Fern and Rita were dishing the dirt.

I waited. And waited. And cleared my throat and waited some more.

When Fern could sense I was on the verge of doing something really drastic (like clearing my throat again), she took the paperwork.

"Have you been to the cashier?" she asked.

"No, not yet."

"Well, I can't help you until you see the cashier."

Super.

Off I went to the cashier, who was surprisingly efficient, and I returned to the Vital Records counter with receipt in hand. Fern pulled up Ethan's information, printed off a copy of his birth certificate, and stamped the back.

It took two minutes.

Total time at the CCCCH: forty-three minutes.

Nice.

Back I go to the school. Satan's Minion, who I'm now calling SM, 'cause we're tight like that, makes a copy of his certified birth certificate and looks over his paperwork.

"His immunizations aren't up to date," she says.

"I'm pretty sure they are," I told her. "His doctor made sure of it on his last visit."

"Well, you're missing a couple dates here. I can't process him until I have those dates."

No problem, I thought. I'll just call the doctor's office on my cell phone...

Which is sitting on my kitchen counter.

Of course.

Home I go, call the doctor's office, and I'm told they do keep immunization records there, but they're downstairs, and I'd have to come in to get a copy.

Ethan's doctor's office is in Portland, which meant another half hour of driving, and when I got there, the receptionist (obviously not the one I spoke to on the phone) said I should have just called. He could have just given me the information over the phone.

Grr.

I returned once again to the school, only to be informed that a driver's license would not suffice as proof of residency (because they just hand those out willy nilly?), so I go home once again to grab my phone bill (Lord knows you can't fake those).

A vial of badger blood and hair of a Chinaman later, Ethan is now officially registered to start kindergarten this fall.

Hallelujah!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Painful Truth

Yesterday, Dapoppins was nice enough to lend us one of her children for a playdate. She keeps extras for just such an occasion. Ethan was thrilled to have his friend come over to play, which he let me know loudly and repeatedly.

(Apply ice pick directly to the forehead.)

Everything was fine. They played well together, but I could tell Ethan frustrated his buddy at times. Like, from the time that he showed up at our house until the time we dropped him off at his.

It's not unusual for Ethan to have that effect on kids his own age. Especially those who like to follow directions and do things the way they're supposed to be done.

Ethan's thoughts on that? Bo-ring! Let's talk to a pillow. And pretend it's a hamburger. In outer space.

He doesn't make friends easily.

I wish I knew how to help him, but, the way I see it, the aspects of his personality that kids find most off-putting are...well, his entire personality.

He's...chipper. Freakishly chipper. He eats sunshine and poops rainbows. He's in-your-face happy.

(I've always hated people like that.)

He's also completely oblivious to the effect his over-exuberance has on his peers. He thinks everyone esteems made-up songs about banana cameras and pirate toes as highly as he does. Which is why he sings them over and over and over again.

Yes, he's creative. He cracks me up. But that's part of the problem.

When we're at home, he plays to an audience of one. Me. And I think he's hilarious. Most adults do. But kids?

Not so much.

The other day, it was nice outside, and a small group of neighborhood boys were playing out front. Ethan asked them if it would be alright if he joined them.

The oldest (probably a year older than Ethan) said okay.

Ethan's response: "I can play with you? Hooray! Oh, what a beautiful day! I like your pretty shirt."

Inside, I was dying for two reasons.

One, because I wanted to laugh so badly it hurt.

And two, because, in that moment, I got a good glimpse into Ethan's future.

All I can say is, I'm stocking up on Neosporin now, 'cause there's a whole heap of ass-kickin's comin' down the pike.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Poop Post

Feminine mystique? What's that?

I used to know, years ago. Back when I had some. Now, next to nothing is sacred.

Sure, I could be like my mom, a whole-hearted devotee of the June Cleaver movement, who gets dressed, puts on her make-up, and fixes her hair at 4:30 in the morning so my dad won't see her all dishabille before he's had his first cup of joe.

But 4:30 is hella early.

Heck, my husband is lucky if I wipe the sleep drool off my face before I kiss him goodbye. That's how I roll.

There isn't much I won't do in front of my husband.

Pop zits? Yep.

Pluck chin hairs? You betcha.

Poop? NOOOOOO!!!!

I draw the line.

I'm always amazed at how many married couples find this a perfectly acceptable practice. Especially if you have more than one bathroom and appropriately functioning bowels.

I set the solo-pooping precedent early in our co-habitation. There was to be no question--I don't appreciate an audience.

As far as my husband knows, I never poop.

It's how it should be.

But after a conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday--wherein she broke not only my cardinal rule of phone etiquette (don't talk to me while you're in the bathroom), but an unwritten, and much more self-evident one (don't talk to me from the bathroom while your husband is dropping the kids off at the pool)--I have to wonder if I'm not in the minority here.

Please tell me I'm not.