Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Birthday Series Experiment Take 1

As those of you who know me know, I do not look forward to birthdays. Don't get me wrong I love other people's birthdays, just not my own. My own birthday carries with it a stigma that isn't a reminder of a happy time. My mother passed away the day before my birthday six years ago. For the last six years I've tried to forget and get others to forget my birthday. As that isn't actually taking hold, I've decided to try this experiment. I will tell a story of birthdays past every day till the day arrives in the hopes that by that day I will be so filled with birthday excitement I'll forget to be sad. (I'm getting older and I do forget things now, it could work right?) So with that said let me start with the 30th.

The year is 2002. I am pregnant with my last child. In those days my birthday was a week long event. Actually now that I think about it, my birthday was always a week long event. We would start talking about it early, to decide the important things first. If you know me the important part is always the food. Gifts are nice and all but food is my favorite. So that year I had been thinking steak. My mom was working two jobs at the time and was busier than a dog trying to chase it's tail in reverse. She worked at the factory she had worked at for as long as I had been around but she had also become a realtor, often times trading sleep for the next big sale. Because she was too busy to go out of town to my favorite steak house it was decided that we would stay in town and go local.

I spent weeks thinking about steak. Anyone who has ever been pregnant or known someone pregnant knows how this works. You get it in your head that you need a certain food and that's all you can think about. Just to be clear I did do a better job of behaving myself during that pregnancy, mostly eating a lot of salads and fresh fruits and veggies. I also spent a lot of time disgusting my husband as I started eating zucchini and tomato sandwiches. (Don't knock it till you've tried it. Fried zucchini then fresh sliced tomato's and a little mayo on toast. It was awesome! Not that I've tried that without the pregnancy.) So for me to get in the mood for a steak was a big deal.

The day finally arrives and my husband was at work and meeting us at the restaurant and my mom came to pick me and my girls up. We get in the car and she says she needs gas. She goes the wrong way to get gas. So I'm informing her that the gas station and the steak house is in the opposite direction as she is going. She tells me that she forgot and likes this other gas station better anyway. So we get gas and I'm thinking this through, something is amiss. I know she is tired but she's acting different. Like she has a secret. OH NO! She gets back in the car and starts heading in the opposite direction again, then I see it. A sign out in front of a hall "Happy 30th Birthday Heather". Thank goodness she didn't put my last name. So I turn to her and say "so it's safe to say I'm not getting steak?" She smiles and says "no sorry." So I walk in and everyone I know is there of course. I cry and make a blubbering idiot of myself. My best friend drove all the way from Indy to be there, which makes me blubber more. And of course there is no steak but chicken being served.

It was embarrassing and wonderful at the same time. Embarrassing because hello I do not need it advertised that I've crossed over to the next decade and the twenties are over. But wonderful because everyone I loved was there in one place and that hadn't happened since I was a child. I don't remember all the gifts I was given, I remember the huge cake of course, food is a big deal to me remember? I do remember my Eeyore Christi got me because she remembered how much I loved the feel of it's fur when we'd go to the Disney store. I also remember that for one day everything was good. For one day I felt loved and maybe not so scared to be starting over with another baby, because as I looked around and saw the faces of my family and friends I knew that I was loved. I also knew that it would have been a whole lot easier for my mother if she would have just taken me to get that steak, which she did, a few days later.

And there you have it. The last perfect birthday. I might add that she was pretty proud of herself for pulling the whole thing off. I did have it figured out while getting the gas. I suppose that is better than knowing well in advance. Pay back I suppose for that was the year she turned 50 and she had had a small party of her own to attend that year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beware of Teenagers! No Dogs Allowed!

I am not a pet person. That is not to say that I dislike pets, I do like them in theory. I like them from a distance. I do not have the time or inclination to spend all my time letting a cat rub all over me or taking a dog for a walk, nor do I want to clean up after them. I live in a quiet little neighborhood where the most exciting thing to happen in a decade is the trash truck catching fire. That being said I do not fear for my safety. So I haven't a need for a watch dog. All that being said, I have two cats, one of which apparently has a troubled relationship with a robin in the yard, the other of which has a twin and I have to check nightly to make sure I have the correct cat going into the garage for the night. I should also mention both of them are old and fat and couldn't summon the energy to attack if it were deemed necessary. What I do have however, are teenagers!

Should anyone feel the desire to come into my yard uninvited or even invited they may be greeted by a cat rubbing against their legs giving a silent pleading to be taken away from the crazy house in the middle, or it may be a knock down drag out fight between two girls one of which has looked at the other in "an unpleasant way" or said something to provoke the other ones special can of "whoop arse" if you know what I mean.

I feel I should at this point explain that my husband and I do not fight nor have either of us ever laid a hand on the other in a malicious way, nor have we ever beat on our children. Where this came from is a mystery, as an only child I cannot fathom what two girls lucky enough to have each other as siblings and friends would have to fight about. We do have satellite television with parental controls set up and we monitor all television and Internet activity. I would hope that if they had suddenly become WWF fans and decided to try out their moves or wanted to suddenly start skating and try their hands at roller derby I would know this and understand where this stems from. By the way I did see the movie "Whip It" directed by Drew Barrymore and I did feel like skating as fast as I can while trying to knock people down just to see if I could do it. Apparently it's a fun way to deal with stress for people who like to skate and some of the girls in the movie had children.

But I digress this issue is not about my desire to join a roller derby team, soccer team, or a band. All of which may have been all I needed to enjoy my high school years as I was just like the kids in those movies searching for a place to belong and not quite fitting in. Made worse by the fact that the home life consisted of one hard working mother, on crazy man, no siblings, and an addiction to family shows such as Full House and Family Ties. Which apparently gave me unrealistic expectations as to what a "real" family is supposed to be like. Not once do I remember DJ ripping out Stephanie's hair. I also seem to remember all the Cosby kids being very fond of each other and if they did get into arguments I don't remember one of them getting the other on the floor for a good beating. So what on earth has happened here?

My children do not see prime time television, while their counterparts are watching Grey's Anatomy or CSI, mine watch Disney channel or Nick. While their counterparts are on Facebook and My Space mine are on Poptropica or on Dan Schneider's blog finding out how he gets ideas to create shows such as iCarly. They also have a fondness for going onto YouTube to watch shows from my generation such as Silver Spoons. Ricky Schroeder holla! The Rickster! He was sooo dreamy. I was president of his fan club you know. (proof once again what a nerd I was, but if he would have come to a school dance and did something in resemblance of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen to dance with me and give me an autographed picture they would have had to keep their jokes to themselves!) They also spend time on Muggle Net learning about all things Harry Potter and then go to Club Penguin. These are not activities to spur on the "dark side" right?

My husband says that his sisters fought all the time. It's normal he says. I do not remember reading this in the manual. Where is this manual anyway? I would like to have had someone to warn me that this would happen. It wouldn't have changed anything but perhaps knowing what is coming is a way to prepare one's self for the inevitable. I try to tell others what is to come. I have friends with younger children and I try to tell them that they are in the easy era, the hard part is coming. Usually they don't like hearing my warning of what is to come. I do this for their own good. As I said I would have liked to have had time to prepare. I don't know what else to do to help them.

I had friends over yesterday. While they were walking in the door the girls were in the other room and very discreetly they decided to rip each other a new one. My spy (aka my son) came to tell me they were fighting. In the time it took me to get into the appropriate room one of them fled to the confines of her room. The other one stayed lying on the floor holding her head where the other yanked on her hair and tells me to let her lay there to die. (drama drama) The provocation? She said that it was the other sister who got scared during a movie and not her. Imagine the nerve! I went upstairs and offered to take her outside so she could pick on someone her own size and she could brush up her skills by taking me on. If that's going to be her chosen method of problem solving, we do want her to be prepared. She didn't take me up on my offer. By the end of the day they were best friends and had a sleepover in each others room.

This is why we have pharmacies. This may also be why some animals eat their young. Keeping up with the constant switching of gears is exhausting! This my friends is why I read books. When I read about Nazi Germany or even some teenager's love triangle between a vampire or a werewolf (Go Team Edward), breaking up a couple girls arguments doesn't seem like such a difficult problem to have. Also it's much easier to ignore them and let them work on solving their problems themselves if I'm wrapped up in a book. So let this be my public service announcement. Beware of teenagers! To get through this difficult time get a good book take two Tylenol and call me in the morning, for this too shall pass.