Thursday, April 30, 2009

He's such a good listener . . .


Yes, Meemaw. Uh huh. Mmmmhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Use Your Words

Imagine a continuum of job difficulty. Let’s assign Royal Bonbon Taster a Difficulty Level of 1. Although, he’d probably tell me I have no idea how rough it is keeping up with the dental bills. President Obama, on the other hand, has to grapple with climate change, war, recession, national security, health care reform, education overhaul, potential pandemic, scooping Bo’s poop . . . . Okay, that sounds hard. Let’s make The Post-Bush Presidency a Level 10.

Y’all, teachers are a 12.
And you can add one point on any day unfortunately aligned with any of the following exacerbating conditions:

• A holiday

• Immediately prior to a holiday

• Immediately following a holiday

• Inclement weather (ACK! Indoor recess!)

• Full moon

• Beginning of the year

• End of the year

• And pretty much any day throughout the year where any condition in any child’s home falls below ideal

But then, to be fair, we really have to grade on a curve here due to some pretty sweet hours and (Thank you Baby Jesus) SUMMER!
Let’s call it a 7.

Many days I come home exhausted by the sheer superhuman effort given to words. You remember how unfair you thought it was when your mother just completely copped out and tossed you a Because I Said So? Come to find out, she was really doing you a favor. If she had to stop and analyze every aspect of every situation and craft the perfectly phrased response to every problem you threw at her all day every everlovin' day, she’d probably have run off with the milkman by the time you were four. (My sincerest apologies to those of you whose mothers ran off with the milkman when you were four.)

But teachers are held to a higher standard. You can yell at your kids, but we can’t. We have to work harder at our words. I guess that’s why they call it work.

Turns out, all this laboring over words every day has an upside.
Today, I won a grant.

I actually wrote the proposal last year, and was denied. But just as I tend to sorta maybe not so much completely 100 percent conform to rules I think are wrong, I can be a tenacious little pain in the ass when I decide something is right. And my idea rocks, if I do say so myownself. I don’t know if they agreed this year, or if they’re just smart enough to know a pit bull when they read one.
Either way, yay for me. Yay for my school. And yay for the wise folks at The Public Education Foundation. If ever a girl could stretch every last dime out of your money, it’d be me. I promise; I’ll do you proud.

I give today a 1. Now would somebody please get a sistah a bonbon?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Return to Mayberry

I read somewhere that August is the most common month for birthdays. Something about conceptions being up around the holidays. They speculate that it’s all that warm, holiday love in the air and all. I suspect a deeper scientific exploration would reveal that it really has more to do with women putting out more so they don’t end up with some lame small appliance under the tree. Get Google working on that and get back to me if it finds anything, will ya?

Summer isn’t even here yet and already birthday party season is in full swing. Apparently plenty of folks are getting themselves in the family way on the Fourth of July, too. I blame the sparklers. Or the sex.

According to the calendar, this was going to be a bad weekend at Chez Sliver: two parties for two five-year-olds in two days. Awesome. I love parties, really I do, but the kind I love involve girlfriends and alcohol and nice cheese. Not giant inflated Mr. Incredibles and greasy air brushed Kroger cakes. Hell yeah, I’m a party snob. Come to one party at my friend Karen’s house and you’ll totally get that.

But, strange as this is to even say, these birthday parties were actually pretty great. I had, well, I guess the right word is fun. Weird, right? I suppose the main reason I enjoyed the one on Saturday was because my husband took him and I didn’t have to go the people were so nice! I did make a cameo, which, by some crazy fluke, happened to coincide almost precisely with cake and going home time. But I can honestly say I was at the party, and it did not suck at all. See for yourself.

This is my five-year-old at the party. (Not the bald guy.) Do you recognize the venue? No, silly, that was a trick question. Of course you don’t. Because it’s a very exotic, secret locale, known only to truly radical, dangerous iconoclasts. Do you want a clue? Okay, it’s the park! I’m sorry, I’m not very good at secrety stuff, am I? But really, how awesome is that? Girl up and went all Mayberry on our asses. Even a homemade cake, MADE BY HER HUSBAND. These people are freaks!

You’re gonna think I’m making this up, but the party on Sunday was even better. (And I actually went to that one, so shut up.) The kids had a great time, but more importantly, so did I. And this slacker mom didn’t even go to the trouble of lugging the party to the park. She had it AT THEIR HOUSE! I couldn’t make this shit up, people. A birthday party for a child in the year 2009, in a house.

And it was awesome.

There’s really only one explanation:


I mean, for real. There was no pony; there was no clown; there wasn’t even a lousy SpongeBob. And everyone was so . . . happy. I guess when you take out all the shit, all you've got left to fill the void is fun. And, okay, maybe just a little vino for the grown-ups.

I’m pretty sure even Aunt Bee would approve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Posh Spice


I could be wrong, but sometimes I wonder if sharing a bed with my five-year-old might not be the very best thing for my sex life. Sure, I can make a solid argument for the naughtiness factor of sneaking around to other rooms of the house for the Sexy Time rendezvous. I’m also a big fan of the down-and-dirty, peel-off-your-clothes, sprint-to-the-finish-line while the little guy is playing (audibly) in the neighbors’ yard.* But let’s face it, there are times when I do want to tell him to get a room.

Instead, we did. For one night only, we got a hotel room and hung the No Stinky Five-Year-Olds Allowed sign. And this was not just any room mind you. Non, non mon frère. This time, girlfriend did it up right. This room was at The Capital Hotel, thank you very much. (Pause to allow those of you who have ever met me to return your jaw to its upright and locked position.) Even if you haven’t met me, and therefore don’t know that paying full price for, say, a new pair of socks causes my right eye to twitch uncontrollably, you have to give props to a night at The Capital Hotel. It’s an event. It’s the Kentucky Derby of married sex. Except with more pressure to perform.

That pressure began for us when it dawned on me that my husband hadn’t read my mental agenda. He therefore didn’t understand that since Check In Time was 3:00, Naked In Bed Time was 3:05. Maybe sooner if we scored a room on the ground floor. The word opportunist is so unflattering, so let’s just say I am skilled in the art of maximizing opportunities to their fullest potential. Kay? While it seemed clear beyond requiring verbalization that we would be standing on the curb poised to bolt into the lobby at 2:55, my husband was clueless. Clueless in this case defined as: PREPARING TO BAKE TWO LOAVES OF HOMEMADE BREAD AT 2:30! To quote Dave Barry, I am not making this up. In his tiny little manmind, a nice dinner and then adjourning to the room for a quickie and a movie was peachy. Why push it? (Oh, I don’t know. Why do that whole week in Europe that you paid for when you can just skip Paris and head straight to Rome in a couple days? What the fuck, you seen one old church you seen ‘em all, right?)

Like the big grown-ups we are, we had a mature conversation about expectations and respect and compromise and how much he likes seeing me naked, and we were at the hotel by 3:20. I don’t know if you’re much for omens, but I am. And the first person we met upon arrival was this guy.

Come on, people. Two words and one of them has cock in it? Game on.

There is only one word to describe the room: Classy. But don’t worry, we took care of that in a hurry.

I like to think that no matter what I do, no matter how embarrassing or gauche, somebody somewhere has done it, too. But it’s entirely possible that we were the only guests at The Capital Hotel that night eating Kroger brand sharp cheese and Triscuits, and drinking wine out of cardboard. As my friend Karen always says, I put the ass in class.

Since my mom and pleasegodnot my dad will be reading this, we won’t delve too deeply into the events that occurred next. Suffice it to say Hanky AND Panky showed up for the party, and they brought party favors.

Next stop, dinner at The Capital Bar & Grill. And let me tell you, that vigorous 3 minutes hours of good lovin’ really worked up our appetites. Almost as if he knew I’d make a Kentucky Derby analogy, my husband stepped way outside of his box and ordered a Blackberry Mint Julip. I, predictable as gravity, drew my finger down the price column and ordered whatever aligned with the lowest number. It’s fortunate The Capital doesn’t carry Boone’s Farm. Since the concierge visibly drooled when he recommended the Rib Eye, we both eagerly took his advice there, but not until after we shared a couple of yummy appetizers.

Everything, ambiance and conversation included, was perfect.

But just as the sun set, our perfect romantic evening turned strangely, mysteriously . . . uncomfortable. A little jazz trio started to jam, and that was nice. I ordered dessert, chocolate with a little extra chocolate on top, and that, of course, was nice, too. I even treated myself to a couple cups of coffee, a downright reckless act of abandon past nine at night. But nice as it all should have been, it wasn’t. It was such a precious rare event for us to be out on a date, especially with a live jazz cherry on top. My husband has made us drive across state lines to pay good money for jazz, and here it was delivered free to our doorstep. I so wanted to be happy there. I tried to be, really I did. But it just wasn’t going to happen. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.

The crowd continued to stream in. Loud. Happy. Drunk. Rich. I was Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and the chemical combination making me shrink was wealth mixed with alcohol splashed liberally all over my low self-esteem. I would talk more about my perverse aversion to rich people, but you might be one of them, and I want you to like me.

I kept observing the crowd, and myself as a part of it. How was it that we were all sharing the same environment, but such drastically different experiences? It worried me that here we were in a perfectly romantic venue, where every swinging dick in the place was manic with joy, and I was bored. I was anxious. I was itching to get the fuck out of Dodge. Like, poison ivy itching. Could I not enjoy one night out on the town with my own husband? That’s a scary thought.

So we left. And by the time the elevator doors slid open on our floor, my itch was cured. The fear that my marriage was doomed because I couldn’t enjoy one solid night alone in my husband’s company high-tailed it out the emergency exit and down the fire escape. Instantly, I realized it was never his company I was uncomfortable in, it was theirs. Who invited them, anyway?

We spent the rest of the weekend alone in our room, curled up in each others' arms in our five-year-old-free bed. In the morning, I steeped for a good long time in a luxurious bubble bath. The tub was deep and decadent, marble and porcelain, surely made with rich people in mind. It did feel great, for an hour or so. But truth be told, it was a little too big for me. A little more than I need.

I hadn’t missed my five-year-old once the entire time we were at The Capital. Maybe being somewhere so foreign helped me not crave the part of my life that is most familiar. It took getting into my car to make me suddenly hungry to have him back. I can’t tell you how good it felt to get to him, and to get home. I admit I did worry for about a minute that our bed at The Capital would be an impossible act to follow, what with our mismatched pillowcases and thread count about as high as my IQ. But all the goose down and Egyptian cotton in the world’s got nothing on this.

*Thanks, Catherine.