Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Luke's Nuts.

Luke’s Nuts.
Current mood: embarrassed
Category: Life

Luke was ecstatic to find his half-nut (some half-shell from some random nut from his Cub Scout camping trip last spring) in one of my desk drawers this evening. So much so, that he was skipping around the apartment, exclaiming, "I FOUND MY NUT!" (Well, YAY YOU, LUKE!)

I attribute half of his zany half-nut rediscovery to the lunar eclipse. Either that, and certainly the more logical explanation, is that my son is clearly almost as strange as his mother.

Cue bath time. Luke wanted to take the half-nut into the tub with him and wash it off. Getting impatient, I told him, "Lucas, get you and ALL OF YOUR NUTS into the tub, NOW."

Luke: "I have four nuts."

Me: "No, you have two, technically."

Luke (pointing to his butt): "No,, two, (pointing afront) three, four! And a half (pointing to the Cub Scout half-nut)!"

Me (and any of you modern Honesty Rules parents that want to email and scold me for my offbeat motherhood, screw try raising an inquisitve genius boy half-nuttedtly on your own): "No, Luke, your testicles are your "nuts," of which you have two. Your butt is your butt. Your half-nut doesn't play into the 'nut count' whatsoever."

Luke: "I'm gonna wash my half-nut anyway."

Me: "Great, wash all of your nuts in the tub and let me know when you're clean."

Luke: "Are my 'nuts' the things that have all the weird veins in them?"

Me: "Um......(scrambling).....your 'nuts' are your testicles. Case closed. Get washed up and ready for bed."

Luke: "My nuts are like the vegetables in Chinese food at a restaurant."

Me: "ACK!!!!!!!!!!!"

Luke: "I can hear the forest in my nuts."

Me: "I'll take your word for it. AHHHHHHHHHH!"

(Wiping brow)

(Distant voice from the bathroom...."MOM, ARE YOU BLOGGING ABOUT ME????"

Me: "Um.......(scrambling)"

Damn! Pop! Can!

Damn Pop Can!
Current mood: Sticky
Category: Sticky Food and Restaurants

(Scene: Unpacking groceries.)

Last random, single-serving can of Luke's favorite weird, generic fruity pops is about to go from bag to fridge. Bagger had genteely put can beside package of toilet paper.

Lightly put 2 fingers on the can to get it out and "BOOM!" Like, it totally combusted. This left me wondering if genteel bagger shook the shit out of the can when I wasn't looking. Probably.

Luke (in living room): "What the crap was THAT?"

Me: "Your can of creme soda just exploded on me."

Luke: "Where?"

Me: "ON. ME. ON ME. FUN!"

Luke: "That depends on what your definition of 'fun' is, Mom."

City Mouse, Country Mouse.

City Mouse, Country Mouse
Current mood: distractable
Category: Friends

Cows. Corn. Urban Girl Sounds Totally Dumb Conversing with Farm Raised Boy....

: barn rasing is more fun
me: did you ever pull calves out of cows when you were a kid?
Brad: usually don't have to. saw it done once, though
dad had to last month. cow almost took out him and the vet
me: oh my
can't imagine the cow would've been very happy at that point.
Brad: she had a calf hanging out of her for a couple hours
me: Ack. Hopefully not breech!
Brad: dad chased her around in the cold for about an hour crossing the creek half a dozen times
yes, breech
me: holy crap!
your dad's a bad ass!
Brad: he's 70
me: can't you just stun the cow?
Brad: with what?
me: I don't know!
Brad: a hammer?
me: a dart?
Brad: hah. no
i mean... why bother?
me: "Here, Bessie, you'll forget all about your crotch pain with a swift blow to the head!"
Brad: then you'd have to lift it somehow
me: oh this is true. Bad idea.
what's your dad's main crop or $$ maker?
Brad: corn and soybeans. that's what everyone grows there
me: knee high by the 4th of July, baby!
Brad: that doesn't mean shit
just a nice rhyme
me: I know, but my grandma used to say it all freaking summer
Brad: it's usually 5'+ by the 4th
me: So if you're 9 feet tall, then that's true.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day Massacre Hits Too Close To Home.

Valentine's Day Massacre Hits Too Close To Home.
Current mood: sad
Category: Life

I remember both my mom and I crying buckets the first day she left me at Knox in the Fall of 1990. That was my first venture away from home, and while she had been through the same separation anxiety four years earlier when she dropped my brother, Steve, off at Northern Illinois University, it's never an easy or smooth or happy day, resigning your child to being on his/her own for the first time.

And I can completely see myself turning into a pile of blubbering tears should I ever drop Lucas off at an institution of higher learning someday. Assuming he'll choose to go to college, of course. And who knows what worries or paranoia parents my age will have once our children enter college. Almost guaranteed, my mom wasn't worried about either Steve or I being randomly shot at college, certainly not in the 80's or 90's.

College is supposed to be a young person's entry into self-discovery, entry into adulthood and assuming self-responsibility, in addition to procuring some education that may or may not ultimately assist them in attaining a decent paying job at some juncture. It's not supposed to be a place where your parents plunk you after high school graduation, and then regret that the monthly care package didn't also include a bullet-proof vest and the emergency contact number of the local grief counselors because another local head case lost control of all reasoning and busted caps in innocent academics.

"What's this world coming to?" blogs are sort of cliche, but Good Lord, what's this world coming to?

Craig emailed me the link to the story about yesterday's shooting at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, IL, about half and hour after the shootings commenced on campus. Immediately, I blew a call into my brother in De Kalb. After his graduation from college, he stayed in De Kalb to work at NIU, where he is a shopkeeper for one of the large dorm's food service departments. He'd had a child with and then married my sister-in-law, and my nephew is now 15 and a freshman at De Kalb High School. So Steve and his family have lived in De Kalb, and been closely tied to NIU, for about 20 years.

My sister-in-law was frazzled answering the phone this afternoon, and she didn't know any more about the shootings than any of the rest of the public did at the time, and their phone was ringing off the hook. I understood and kept my communication with her brief, but I needed assurance that my brother wasn't somehow randomly involved as a victim of these random shootings. Fortunately, Steve was home from work before this chaos began, so we were all very relieved.

Every time I check the news feed, reports indicate that more students were injured or had died, or they update exactly how many shots each victim endured, and the news continues to grow progressively more grim. The campus is on lockdown, with classes cancelled for today, though I'm not sure if my brother has to report for work, because, after all, the tens of thousands of students living on campus still need to be fed.

Horrible enough that parents have to worry about the safety of their children whilst at college. Horrible, too, however, that henceforth, I'll worry about my brother's safety while he's working his benign, normal daily job at a large, fractured, devastated Illinois university.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Official.

It’s Official.
Current mood: drained
Category: Travel and Places

If one more morsel of snow befalls the City of Chicago, I will personally stick my head into my bass drum and let whomever wishes to pound the pedal until my gray matter explodes. I'm freaking serious.

Last night's snow was more wispy irritation (flurries, let's say) that causes even seasoned Chicago drivers to tread wimpily down the streets (myself included). Today's snow was sloppy/slippery yuckiness, which, if nothing else, allowed me to become best friends forever with my fellow snail-paced Kennedy Expressway travelers. I was ready to suggest we break into a round of "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore." Lord knows we had the spare time. And the newly fallen snow does help pad the 18" of solid ice in the driveway, which helps out those guests of mine who don't have the bitchin' all-wheel drive that I do, not that it prevents my van/SUV/station wagon (depends on which man you ask as to the species of car I drive) from slip sliding away around every snowy corner and getting stuck on a daily basis. Pfft, fuck winter.


I'm reading Eric Clapton's autobiography. I'm also reading Pattie Boyd Harrison Clapton's autobiography (both of which are now a day late at the library, but whatever). So far, the only points on which both agree are that 1) George Harrison was an incredible man of excellent character and full of love, and 2) Eric Clapton is a douche bag. But a good-looking, talented douche bag, who's been in the top 10 of my celebrity crushes since I was about 14.

In the mid 1980's, Clapton and Pattie's marriage was totally headed for destruction, exacerbated by the fact that he, whoopsie, impregnated another woman, while Pattie was chronically barren. And he was a raging alcoholic, et al. So long story short, some schlub got some hot intel on Clapton, and got his home phone in England and rang him up, claiming to be a mystical healer who could rid him of his addictions, repair his relationship with Pattie and engulf his soul with happiness. She told Clapton that a spell had been cast on him, and prescribed various detailed cleansing procedures he would need to do to rid himself of said spell, which he did, because, well, he was drunk at the time.

Clapton writes:

"She lived in New York, where I would be soon, so I agreed to meet her. I knew it was madness, but my rationale was still, 'What harm can it do?' She was an extremely strange-looking woman, quite fat with bright red hair, and she told me that sex with a virgin would be necessary in order to complete the spell. 'Where do you find a virgin in New York?' I replied, and she said, 'I'm a virgin.' God knows why I didn't just run then. I wish I had, but I was drunk and desperate, and still under the illusion that a reconcilliation with Pattie would solve everything, so I went through with it. It was humiliating, and I did run, but only after the damage was done."

File under "Why didn't I think of that to land Clapton in the sack?"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Driving in the Snow...

Driving in the Snow (Dedicated to Julia, of course)
Current mood: devious
Category: Life

Chicago got like another gazillion inches of snow yesterday, and no, I'm not exaggerating. I'm serious as a freaking heart attack, which is nearly what I had whilst shoveling my driveway out AGAIN yesterday. Seriously, we got about another foot.

Being the proactive thinking little girl I am, I dug the car out yesterday while the storm was tapering to flurries, so that I'd only have maybe 3-4 inches to dig out this morning as opposed to a foot. I had cleaned off my Pacifica all around, but I'd left the gazillion pounds of snow atop the roof. No big whoop, I thought.

Till motion and temperature started to melt and disjoint all of that snow. I'd gone to Happy Foods (why it's called this, I'm not sure. The personnel are rather grumpy) for a few sundries and upon pulling out of their itty-bitty, but happy parking lot, I kind of boomed into the curb, thereby dislodging half of the snow atop my vehicle. Which, as one might conclude, all avalanched down onto my front window, completely blocking my view and nearly careening me into the car in front of me.

Luckily, I didn't hit anyone, pulled over, flashed the hazards and took the brush to the snow and went on with my afternoon. But it nearly turned my trip to Happy Foods into a trip to Major Expensive Catastrophe Foods.

Once I was en route to St Paul to pick Luke up, I was at the red light at Canfield and Higgins. In front of me and one lane over was a black pickup truck, driven by your average white, mid 50's white trash fella. Said fella opened his DOOR, not just his window, at the red light, and proceeded to hock about 48 oz. of loogie out of his mouth. In public! At the red lght! Dude, if you can't handle your lung butter, give up the Marlboros! I let out an aloud, "GROSS!"

But not before I stopped to get more laundry detergent at YET another store, where I parked behind a very mommyish minivan that had a bumper sticker on the simply said, "SCREW GUILT." Right on, sister! Incidentally, guilt-free woman, it would behoove you to remove the ton of snow off of your van roof so you don't suffer the same slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune that plagued me this afternoon.

Ah, Chicago in Winter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

People With Three-Word Names Need To Beware!

People With Three-Word Names Need To Beware!
Current mood: angsty
Category: Dreams and the Supernatural

I had a very strange dream last night.

And my typing sucks, because I had to get a new keyboard today, and it takes some getting used to. Pfft.

Moving on.

In the dream, I was in my Gram and Pap's back yard in Chicago, when in walks Mark David Chapman, who had escaped from prison, still had no remorse about killing John Lennon, and when I threatened to turn him in, came after my throat. Except it wasn't Mark David Chapman, it was Anthony Michael Hall, just as he looked in "Sixteen Candles." In self-defense, and since he deserves an ass-whopping for his murderous past, I began hitting Mark-Anthony-Whoever's skull against the cement patio of my grandparents' back yard, untill he was dead.

Then my mom showed up, and I was complaining to her that those irritating 17-year cicadas were starting to eat at Mark-Anthony-Whoever's bloodied head, making the most awful chirping noises. I told my mom, "Where's the fucking medical examiner? The cicadas are eating his head!!!!"

The medical examiner, no shit, who showed up was Keisha Knight-Pulliam, from "The Cosby Show." (This all only creeped me out after I woke up--that everyone pertinent in this dream went by THREE NAMES!) Naturally, the death was ruled in self-defense, and that's pretty much all I remember.

That said, I fear for the well-being of folks like Daniel Day Lewis, Sandra Day O'Connor and Mary-Kate Olsen. I'd have included Anna Nicole Smith, but she's already six feet under. I think.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Luke, Meet Meltdown. Meltdown, Meet Luke.

Luke, Meet Meltdown. Meltdown, Meet Luke.
Current mood: bitchy
Category: Life

My son is fairly even-tempered, though prone to calm and pacifism (thanks to Dad) and prone to outrageous explosions of irrational and catastrophic outpourings of emotion (thanks to me). Today was the latter, amplified in a huge way.

The weekend was non-stop. Luke had missed three days of school last week due to illness, attended school on Thursday, and then Friday was a snow day. Should I have sat him down and made him do makeup homework on his snow day? Probably. But I let him play, for the most part. Friday night, he went to Dad's, and more play time. Saturday he went sledding with his dad and another dad/son combo, then came home fairly close to bed time. Sunday, both Craig and I had numerous, hours-long obligations at St. Paul from morning till night, requiring us to have Luke in tow and long story longer, not a whole lot of homeworking was accomplished. So add to that tonight's batch of homework, and the child has about 20 sheets to complete, tests to study for, an Academic Fair topic to decide on, etc. Second grade, ya'll.

With the clusterfuck of activity surrounding us this weekend, I didn't notice that Luke had a Cub Scout meeting after school, until Chuck, the leader, reminded me. So when I picked Luke up at 3, I had to break the news that he wasn't going home, but rather staying at school till 4:30. Luke's not real good with surprise, unplanned, ill-thought-out random changes of plan. Particularly not when he's overtired, overwhelmed and as too much shit on his plate. He'd awakened at 4:30 am last night after a bad dream, came into my bed, and proceeded to snore for the next 3 hours (trust me, I was awake to hear it). He cried when he woke up at 7:30 am and was acutely still exhausted. So it was no surprise that he started to cry when he heard he had a Scout meeting.

I employed the help of Wes and Chuck to cheer him up...a gaggle of mind-altering attempts to snap Luke out of his mood, which only apparently worked once I had left. Scouts went fine, but on the way home, Luke and I started to talk about how he needed to buckle down and get this makeup homework done. He claims that his teacher has given him 24 hours in which to finish it, or else he will be punished by missing recess until it's all done, which is, essentially, punishing him for being sick, or punishing him because his parents didn't crack the homework whip over the weekend. Either of which activates my inner anarchist, and gnawing desire to tell his teacher to fuck the fuck off, and the poor kid will hand the homework in when he's good and ready. "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?" (No, I didn't voice that to Luke, for once. I kept my damn mouth shut.)

In the meantime, I'm conflicted because I want my son to assume responsiblity for his school work, for his life....little lessons that will make him a good man. Preferably a smart, good man! And I truly feel I can guide without doing the work for him, or coddling him into a false sense that either Craig or I will make ALL the bad disappear when he's faced with conflict. That's not reality.

Once home from Scouts, he spent a few minutes talking on the web cam to my brother and my nephew, and then got to work and completed 3 pages of the makeup work, all the time ballyhooing that he was "aggravated" and "going crazy" and the tears were a'flowing, and his pencil kept breaking, and the world was a colossal pit of despair and agony, ya know, the usual.

Gracefully, Craig arrived a little early to pick up Luke for the evening, so I took him aside and explained the Horrors Of Our Son's Day, et al, and prepped him for what's sure to be a difficult night of Daddyhood. Then again, with any luck, Luke's mood will swiftly improve now that he's in the presence of his favorite buddy instead of his tyrant mother. I'll find out tomorrow.