A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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Welcome to the ‘Hood

Today, my oldest son turns 13. It’s not like we haven’t seen the signs of adolescence approaching…

  • “Look mom — pit hair!”
  • Moodiness (would Midol help with that?)
  • Growing faster than shoes and clothes and my paycheck can keep up with
  • An insatiable desire to stuff food in his mouth
  • The need for Clearasil
  • “Look mom — more hair. And not in my pit!”

Mom needs a margarita. STAT!

Even more delightful? The fact that his almost 12 year old younger brother is already embracing the sassiness that comes with teenagerhood, as evidenced by this exchange yesterday:

Nick: “Mom, can I have a brownie”

Me: “Didn’t you already have one this afternoon?”

Nick: (sheepishly) “Oh yeah…I must have forgot.”

Me: “Well, then, no. No more brownies.”

Nick: (after a slight pause) “So, you really aren’t interested in being Mom of the Year, huh?”

Me:

Me, after realizing this kid is just like me.

After admitting to myself my youngest is just like me.

So, as we get ready to head into the abyss of the years that comprise teenagerhood to the second power, I will keep these memories in mind:

And know that this is the fate for my husband and myself:

Oh yeah. We're in trouble.

Oh yeah. We’re in trouble.

Here’s to hoping the ‘hood doesn’t kick our ass.


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Younger Me

In my roaring early 20’s, I dated the lead singer of a band. If you look up dated in the dictionary I happened to be using at the time, it would be defined as:

  1. hanging with a dude who was a total asshat at that point in his life, and
  2. supplementing a lack of financial success for a group of horny guys whose trajectory to musical stardom success obscurity began in the hotbed of the music industry, Anne Arundel County Maryland, and
  3. putting up with other women, and
  4. sticking around because I was swayed by his clever sales pitch “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” 

 

Younger me sometimes makes me want to barf.

I dated the one who thought he looked like Bono. But he so didn't (second from right, cuz I know you still can't tell).

I dated the one who thought he looked like Bono. More like Bono’s less talented, less rich second cousin twice removed. Whose girlfriend paid for everything.

The band wanted a really cool name. Since Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and U2 were already taken by bands that had an upward and money-making trajectory, someone suggested the name Seize the Day.  “STD for short,” laughed the bass player. All the band members high-fived one another. I said “Way to ‘Carpe Diem’ boys.”   My boyfriend said “Wait..wait! That’s way cooler than Seize the Day. Is that words you just made up or some foreign language?”

Younger me sometimes gives me a migraine.

All the boys in the band did what most 20-year old boys in a band with a bit of local notoriety and young, rabid, horny female fan base would do. They screwed around mercilessly on their girlfriends. The girlfriends would act all indignant, possessive, and bad-ass at clubs when we confronted a groupie who paid our men just a little more attention than we were comfortable with. If only we had been indignant, bad-ass, and less tolerant with the men who were screwing around on us.

Younger me sometimes makes me cringe.

The lead guitar player in the band was quite the Romeo. He had a sticker of Elvis on his guitar and one day at band practice my boyfriend asked him why.  He responded “Do you know how much p*ssy Elvis got?”  Everyone laughed when he said that, including me.

Younger me could have benefited from a spine implant.

While their band did gain local notoriety, they gained little more than that. Like money. They gained very little money after they paid the sound and light guys for their gigs, paid for the gas to get to their gig, and split the money five ways among the band mates. There barely was enough left to pay for a late night nosh at a 24 hour pancake house after the gig, and most of us girlfriends ended up paying for our own meals.

Younger me sometimes gives me indigestion.

I spent a few years fronting the money for buying band equipment, helping pay for band rehearsal space,  and forgiving my boyfriend for yet another “it was only the one time and she doesn’t mean anything to me” excuse. Around the time I decided to go to graduate school and get my Masters Degree, I stopped being a doormat for the lead singer and walked away from all the BS.

Younger me certainly took her time to find her footing, huh?

The bandmates eventually went their separate ways when the rock band fantasy didn’t end up working out. The lead guitar player, bass player, keyboardist, and drummer are all married. So is my ex, the lead singer. In fact, he’s on his third marriage.

Hmm. Younger me may have had a bit more smarts than I give her credit for.

Through Facebook, I’ve reconnected with all the band members. Just last week, it was the Elvis-admiring lead guitar player’s birthday, so I posted this on his Facebook page:

Cleverness is wasted on the

In my memories of the band years I was awkward, not self-assured, and didn’t stand up for myself. But his comment on my post surprised me. It turns out years ago, a gigolo guitar player — whom I was sure barely noticed that I existed — thought I was a smart cookie.

Younger me may have been finding her way, but she was still able to make a good impression along her journey.

 


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Getting Carded

Each Summer, my husband and his two brothers’ families get together so we can celebrate our kids’ birthdays.  Even though the kids’ birthdays are spread throughout the year, we gather in the Summer when their grandad and granny Lori make the 5 hour trip from Charleston, WV for one of their two visits each year.

We head to the community pool my brother-in-law and his family belong to, have a cookout, eat crabs, and celebrate with ice cream cake. My husband and his brothers serve as flotation devices for all the kids.

To prep our family, I’m usually always in charge of getting some food, our drinks, desserts, swim gear, after swim gear, and towels together for our trek to the pool. I am also in charge of birthday cards, gift purchasing, and gift wrapping.

My husband is in charge of complaining about how much “crap we are dragging to the pool”, and barking his displeasure about the fact that we aren’t “just ordering some damn pizza” for the party.  It’s a wonder his party planning business never took off, right?

This year, I asked my husband if he had talked to his brother to find out what the nieces would like.  My husband informed me, “I called Paul and he said to just get them gift cards so they could shop for themselves.”  I was delighted, since I wouldn’t have to wrap anything this year. And I was euphoric because my husband added, “don’t worry, I’ll take care of getting the gift cards.”

So on the Saturday morning of the party, I had made layered peanut butter bars, picked up baked potato salad and pasta salad from the store, and yelled at the boys because they had left their wet swim suits from camp in a bag on the hardwood floors. Since Thursday.

We packed up the car and started our journey.  At an intersection before we were going to hit the highway, my husband got in the left turn lane.  I said “where are we going?”.  He said, “I need to stop at Walmart real quick.”

It took me all of a millisecond to realize that when my husband said “don’t worry, I’ll take care of getting the gift cards”, it meant “I’m going to totally forget that I said I would do that, so we’ll have to stop at Walmart on our way to the party, which will make us very late.”

I didn’t say anything, but was sure I was going to melt through the seat, given how totally steamed I was.  He quickly parked the car, and went inside. The boys and I stayed in the car, watching the People of Walmart come and go. It gave me time to search for a pen so that I could write a note in the birthday cards my husband was busy purchasing.

When my husband returned to the car, he tossed me the bag of birthday cards and gift cards.  I pulled out the birthday cards and began to write a note in each. And then I pulled out the gift cards.

I turned to my husband and asked “Did you look at the gift cards as you were sprinting through the check out?  Because what you got your 12 and 10 year old nieces are gift cards that have wedding bands on them.”

Yep, nothing is gonna stand in your way, birthday tween. Even this totally inappropriate gift card.

Yep, nothing is gonna stand in your way, birthday tween. Even this totally inappropriate gift card.

Captain Last Minute said “well, it was either that or — believe it or not — Christmas-themed cards.”

“Um, perhaps they would have had birthday-themed gift cards if you had purchased them…I don’t know…say…more than 10 minutes prior to the start of the party. Like any time during the past week, since you’ve known about it that long,” I may have snarked at him.

My husband turned to Nick and Alex in the back of the car and said “hey, would you guys care what picture was on a gift card, as long as it had money on it?”.

“No way,” Alex affirmed for him.  “Why would we worry about that?” Nick joined in.

“See,” my husband crowed, “it doesn’t matter what the gift card looks like, as long as it has money on it.”

At that point, I just gave up because:

Yes. This.

Yes. This.


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Dad Looks Like a Lady

Today, my father turns 74 years old. He’s been described in many ways:

  • Life of the party
  • The single greatest source of profits for Anheuser Busch
  • That poor dude who had 4 teenager daughters, a wife and a boatload of Tampax under his roof for about a 3 year span (click on the picture and read the sign he posted at the entrance to our driveway once all his daughters had left the nest)
  • Flava Flave (if Flava Flave wore a thermometer to prove how hot it was to tourists during his volunteer work at the local historic site)
  • Father-of-the-Bride wedding fashionista

You can see a bunch of other photos on facebook, in an album I’ve titled My Dad.

There are plenty of other moments in his life that I wish I had photos of. But the one that I was most disappointed I couldn’t find for blackmailing him into improving my share of the inheritance photographic evidence of his craziness was Lotta Flybox. Lotta Flybox (the NC-17 name he came up with) was a creation that sprang to life when his employer had a $1.98 Beauty Contest during a Christmas Party. My dad decided to enter the contest and spent weeks preparing to beat any and all people silly enough to try and compete against him.

However, this past Friday, a family friend — whose own father was a co-worker of dad’s — found the proof of Lotta Flybox in some of her dad’s old photos. Before you look, you should know that he borrowed the two-tone wig from my aunt, along with the bra. My mother made the skirt he was wearing out of some leftover material from a dress she had made for herself. (Editor’s Note: We never saw that dress on mom again.) He had cut out the nipples of the bra, and placed (working!) Christmas lights on either side – red and green for port and star board, as his company was a navy contractor. And he had a camera flash in his boxers so that at the end of his routine, he could turn his back to the crowd, lift the skirt and power up the light so he could “flash” the audience.

My only (?) regret about these photos is that back in the 1970s, the quality of the pictures was somewhat limited, so they are blurry.

On second thought, maybe that’s really a good thing.

So without further ado, I present Lotta “Dad” Flybox:

Those who wonder where I get my good sense of humor from? That’s right, it’s my mom. Who has put up with dad’s crazy antics for nearly 50 years now.

Happy Birthday, Dad!


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Things I Learned in 2011

In January, I learned that my sister puts the Jerseylicious animal-clad ladies to shame.

In February, I learned that the next time I host a birthday party for either of my kids, it certainly won’t be at my house.

In March, I learned that my resume was not nearly as updated as it needed to be. And I learned that my soon-to-be-former-professional colleagues offered me an amazing (albeit alcohol fueled) support system.

In April, I learned that by baking chocolate chip cookies, I could guarantee my oldest son a starting position on the travel baseball team. OK, maybe it just seemed like he was riding the pine a lot less. Or maybe he’s just gotten that good and my cookies have nothing to do with it.

In May, I proved I really had learned my lesson when I had my youngest son’s birthday party at the local bowling alley. And I learned that they serve Smirnoff Ice to the adults – win win!

In June, I learned how to explain to my youngest that not everyone makes the All Star baseball team. But that just means more hot dogs to eat as you watch your older brother play. Because he did make the All Star team, and yes, yes, I know, “life is like totally unfair!”

In July, I learned the heartbreak of watching your child lose in the state all star championship baseball game. But I also learned how resilient kids are.

In August, I learned that hard work, perserverance and a positive attitude will eventually pay off. And if that doesn’t work, plaster your resume everywhere and pester your friends for job leads. Or just drink a lot and everything will seem fine.

In September, I learned it is possible — tho highly unadvisable — to operate a football concession stand with hurricane Irene barreling down on the field.

In October, I learned confirmed that I am a total klutz.

In November, I learned that our 13 year old dog has a tumor/growth on her lungs. While she’s still spunky, we have to watch for an inevitable decline in her health. No matter how much we love our pets or will them to, they just won’t live forever. Damn it.

In December, I learned I should never label anything “Master bat” and then invite my friends over for a party where they may have access to a Sharpie.

Here’s to another year of learning, growing, experiencing, feeling, musing — and blogging about it all.


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Put This Bowling Party on Ice

To say that my husband and I learned our lesson after hosting our son Alex’s birthday party at our house would be an understatement. Never again will we go down that unsavory path.

From now on – and no matter what the cost – all birthday parties will take place at a venue that does not require me to do any cleaning or cooking. Oh wait….my house still qualifies under that description. Crap.

So when it came time to celebrate our son Nick’s birthday just 4 months later, the search for a new venue was on. Editor’s note: technically Nick’s birth date is 3 months after his brother’s, but because his parents can’t pull their heads out long enough to do anything in advance, we celebrated one month late. Please don’t report me to CPS. Again.

The bowling party went great. Nick got a duck pin with his name on it.

He worked on his duck pin form and mastered the art of knocking 4 or fewer pins down each turn.

The kids loved the choice of either pizza or hot dog, along with a soda.

And I loved that the bowling alley sold Smirnoff Ice by the bottle.

Even better? Having my husband be the designated driver. And that second bottle of Smirnoff Ice.