Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Love My Mom And Other Ironies

If you're like me, you have several lists running through your head at all times: Stuff I Have to Get Done Before The Kids Get Home, Stuff I Can't Ignore Anymore, Stuff My Clients Will Melt Down About If I Don't Send That Email, Stuff I'm Going to Deal With As Soon As I Do This Other Stuff. And stuff like that. Unlike me, you probably do not have a list labled "Stuff That's Completely Outside My Control But Drives Me Bananas Anyway." I do have that list and thought I'd share a few items with you:

Bathroom stalls where you have to straddle the toilet to close or open the door.

Are you kidding me? What life-sized penguin invented this crap? Should we talk about how it's made all the more acrobatic and ridiculous when one is wearing boots and a heavy coat and carrying a purse and briefcase? I look like a new born colt with bad hair trying to turn, hold my stuff and put my tush down. And I'll not get more graphic than that, but you and I both know I'm from the generation where my mom told me to put paper down, so I do, and it ain't pretty. If I were being video taped during one of these exercises I would expect an applause lamp to go off because I'm pretty darn sure several of those teeny Cirque babes are getting paid an awful lot of cash to do that in a quarter my size and a shiny leotard. Try it with an accordian file folder under your chin, then I'll pay $125 a ticket. Also, did an army of ant-sized toilet-paper installers corner the market on installing the paper rolls? Why, why, why are they six inches off the ground instead of at hip height which you could reach without having to crack a vertebrae or two? As a public service, I think this stuff should be addressed, and soon. Adding those extra five minutes of stress to my pottie experience only makes the rest of the world more suceptible to some outrageous act of frustration on my part. (I bet if you polled all the crazy women on the Broadway bus, a large percentage of them had some recent encounter with a bad bathroom stall. )The most mind-splintering effect of going to the bathroom like this is that by the time I'm done I've either tinkled myself or spent so much time arranging myself in and out of the stall that I have to go again. Look for me on the bus.

Children and Laundry.

Yesterday I went upstairs and told the kids to finish putting away all the folded clothes they'd left languishing in the three baskets scattered throughout their rooms and the hallway. I'm sure that sounds rational, but the way I did it had a little more flair to it, bordering on the diagnosable. Suffice to say that certain medical conditions were threatened and I'll thank you not to discuss this with any child protective authorities. Some time later, my oldest came downstairs to dig through the one basket of unfolded laundry at the bottom of the steps. I started laughing and asked what she was doing. "I'm looking for pants," she looked at me with the 'duh' expression one can only wear so perfectly at that age. "You just put away all your clothes. Go get pants upstairs," I looked at her puzzled - a look we wear so well. "I'm saving those," she said to me plainly. "For what?" I didn't get it. "For the week," exasperated. "So you have twenty pairs of pants upstairs folded and put away but you need to come dig in this one basket to get pants?" "Yes." For the record, I did not leap over the couch, shake my exceptional child and scream unintelligibly at her. But I wanted to. Real bad. The real comedy here? This morning when I went to smell the clothes to make sure they were clean so I could fold them I ended up with the business end of a pair of jeans perfuming the rest of my day. So she was digging in a basket of dirty clothes. Nice.

Phone calls with my mother.

I'm a visitor to a blog labled "Texts From Bennett." It's filthy, foul stuff, but it's really quite hysterical if you can get past the vernacular. It's given me the idea that I ought to, in some way, record conversations with my mother so that others can derive joy from my pain. I love my mom. Honestly. But the conversations are a little muddling. Today for instance, we had this: Mom: "Well I just fed you a bowl of toxic soup from your family and now all you're going to do is go be social with Tony's family. It's just sweet cereal with them." Me: "What?" Mom: "I know they're all so cheerful and all you get from me is toxic waste. Our relationship consists of you taking me to Jewel." Me: "That's not right, mom." Mom: "Well that's what it feels like." Me: "Mom, have I done something to upset you?" Mom: "Did I tell you your uncle and I are not speaking to one another? He won't let me talk to my sister without getting on the phone. Isn't that goofy? Who's goofy like that? By the way, honey, before I forget, do you want me to save the Smithsonian magazines for you?" Me: "What?" Mom: "I don't want to take up your time at work. Although when I used to work you would spend so much time with me on the phone, even if I was busy." Me: "Mom...." Mom: "What, Carmen?" (exasperated) Me: "Mom, I have to go." Mom: "Yes, I know. You're always too busy. I can never talk to you."

Great. Now I have to go to the bathroom.