Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flour Bombed

4:54 PM:  Pull into the garage after Michael's swimming lessons
4:55 PM:  Help Michael untie his swimsuit so he can make a run for the bathroom
4:55:30 PM:  Help Matthew and Leah out of their car seats
4:57 PM:  Get everyone inside
4:58 PM:  Head to the bathroom myself
5:01 PM:  Michael calls from the toilet, "Mom, there's something wrong in here!"
5:02 PM:  Walk into the bathroom to help Michael
5:04 PM:  Help Michael resolve his issue
5:05 PM:  Wash hands and leave bathroom
5:05:27 PM:  See this mess in my kitchen:

5:05:29 PM:  Pull the suspect out of the pantry
5:05:35 PM:  Try not to explode with anger
5:05:45 PM:  Take said suspect's mug shot:

5:06 PM:  Decide he looks too happy for someone who is about to be incarcerated for life
5:06:23 PM:  Take another picture, for evidence:

5:07 PM:  Remove suspect from crime scene
5:08 PM:  Remove suspect's clothes and confiscate weapons (a teaspoon and a few measuring cups)
5:10 PM:  Begin sweeping
5:25 PM:  Realize I'm going to have flour in the cracks between my floorboards until about 2027.
5:25:10 PM:  Give up
5:30 PM:  Make dinner
6:20 PM:  Allow suspect out on bond to attend his brother's soccer game
6:45 PM:  Suspect displays poor judgment by spending half the game trying to eat fertilizer pellets off the grass.
7:25 PM:  Arrive home
7:30 PM:  Find suspect standing on top of the kitchen table, playing with the chandelier
7:35 PM:  Bedtime routine commences
7:58 PM:  Suspect is behind bars
7:59 PM:  Warden determines he does not look sufficiently repentant:

8:01 PM:  The criminal in the adjoining cell looks like she is plotting something:

Notes relevant to crime scene:  Yes, I do have a child lock on my pantry.  Yes, I did forget to make sure it was engaged before I left the suspect alone in the kitchen.  Yes, I have learned my lesson.

And yes, I do need some chocolate and a massage.

How did you guess?

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Defense of Kirk Cameron

This is the type of blog post I am loathe to write, not because I don't think it's important, but because it is the sort of mine field that gets people so lathered up they could start their own soap factories. 

One of the things I often lament in this world is that 99% of the population has an inability to have a reasonable, polite discussion about something without resorting to name calling and personal insults.  Don't believe me?  Read an article on the worldwide web.  Any article.  Then read the comments.  Discover it for yourself.

If you really want to get into trouble, read an article about gay marriage and make a comment that, based on your sincerely held religious beliefs, you believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.  Then duck.  I mean it.  People will throw bombs at you, your house, your kids, and your fluffy little puppy named Gizmo who wouldn't hurt a fly.

Of course the opposite is true as well.  Someone comes out in favor of gay marriage and a bunch of rude "Christian" snakes slither out of their cellars and start acting like evil bullies throwing punches in the name of Jesus.  (Because we all know how much Jesus likes it when we are jerks to each other).

But whether gay marriage is right or wrong is not the point of this post.  (My sincere belief, which is founded in scripture and the words of living prophets, is that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.  To paraphrase the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", I believe the family is ordained of God, that marriage between man and woman is essential to God's eternal plan, and that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor their marital vows with complete fidelity).

Yes, I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but that does not mean I think that anyone has the right to go around on a holier-than-thou crusade abusing or injuring others in any way.  No one -- I repeat -- no one, is justified in treating another human being like garbage.  For those who declare themselves Christians and yet lash out in hatred and vileness to those with whom they do not agree, I say they are not living up to their so-called "faith".

On the flip side, to immediately brand someone who objects to homosexual behavior or gay marriage as "bigoted" or accuse them of spewing "hate speech" is unfair and unwarranted.  No one would say that someone who objects to premarital or extramarital sex is bigoted or hateful.  And yet this is a label that gets tattooed on the forehead of anyone who believes that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, a fact which actor Kirk Cameron recently discovered when he spoke about the issue.

Cameron, who found fame on the sitcom "Growing Pains" back in the nineties, was promoting a new movie on Piers Morgan's CNN show when he said, "Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either."  When Morgan asked him whether he thought homosexuality is a sin, he expanded on his comments by saying that he felt that homosexuality was "unnatural" and that it's "detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."

Cue public outcry.

But no one stops to think for a minute.  If you sincerely believe in God, as Cameron does, and you sincerely believe that God has set limits on our sexual behavior (including that sex should be reserved only for a man and a woman who are legally married to each other) then it follows that you would be opposed to gay marriage.  It also follows that anything that goes against the pattern God has laid out is "detrimental" and "ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."  This isn't bigotry.  It's logic.

Responding to the accusation that his words would encourage others to "terrorize" homosexuals, Cameron had this to say:  "Nobody should mistreat anybody. We all have our convictions formed by different things and mine are informed by my faith. They're formed by the word of God, and I found that to be an anchor for me, a compass, and a guide for me. When people start bullying one another and calling each other names for those different convictions, then I think you get into problems."

He's right.  Respect goes both ways.

It's time we all start remembering that.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Falling Short

For her birthday this year my mother-in-law requested that each of her descendants and their spouses write something about themselves for her to keep in a book and read over and over again.  Worst.  Assignment.  Ever.  Not because I don't like writing, but because I have a hard time being serious about myself.  She wanted to know my goals and dreams and aspirations and all I could think of, literally, was that my life's ambition is for my boobs to stick out farther than my stomach.  Somehow that doesn't sound as noble as "Be the world's best mother", which I'm sure someone else was bound to write, being as pretty much everyone else is more noble than I am.

And honestly, I've approached my life's ambition in the way that I approach 90% of the goals in my life -- that is, it would be nice if it happened, but I don't actually want to do anything about it.  (Especially not eliminate brownies from my diet, because a life without brownies is no life at all, in my opinion).   I briefly considered giving my mother-in-law a blank piece of paper with http://www.overlys.blogspot.com/ written at the top, but decided that would only expose my various ineptitudes in greater detail and make her wonder even more than she already does how someone like me could snag someone as wonderful as her son.  Not that I blame her.  Sometimes I wonder myself.  (And if I forget to wonder, she reminds me ;>).

Don't get me wrong, I think my mother-in-law likes me.  But I think she understands me about as well as the average citizen understands the tax code, which is to say, about as well as your average squid understands Keynesian economics.

So I tried to think of something better to write.  But it was hard once I started thinking about what everyone else was writing and what everyone else in the family does well, and then I got a guilt complex about the fact that I've never made a quiet book and that playing Candyland with my kids makes me want to stick pins in my eyes.  Sooooo boring.  They don't tell you that about motherhood, you know, that a lot of it is totally mind numbing.  And then you get on Facebook and see all the zillions of cute things every other mother is doing with her kids and you're like, "All I want to do is hide in the bathroom with Time Magazine.  What is wrong with me?"

But that is not exactly the type of open-ended question you want to ask your mother-in-law. 

Then I came to the realization that too much of our perception of self comes from whether we are superior or inferior to someone else.  Too many of our goals don't move us forward because they're based on what someone else might think of us.  And too many of our flaws rise to the surface because we've stacked them on top of everyone else's strengths.

I may fall short a lot, but I'm trying.

And sometimes that's all you can do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Enslave the Whales

Animals are not the same as humans.

I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but it's true.  I know we've all grown up on a steady diet of Disney movies where all the animals talk and dream and hope to break free of their cages, but that's fantasy, not reality.  Unfortunately, the folks at PETA appear to have missed that memo again.  (Funny, you'd think actual humans would know how to use more than just the emotional cortex of their brains).

Yes, our friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have a new crusade:  Save the Whales.  And it's not what you think.  You see, they feel that Shamu and his pals, who have lovely homes at SeaWorld where they are fed buckets of fish without having to lift so much as a flipper (and buckets more if they actually do lift a flipper), along with great medical care and no one trying to spear their young, are being held against their will in violation of the 13th amendment, which bans slavery... of humans.  Since, obviously, whales = humans, PETA sued SeaWorld. 

Of the lawsuit Jeff Kerr, PETA's general counsel, said:  "By any definition these orcas are slaves -- kidnapped from their homes, kept confined, denied everything that's natural to them and forced to perform tricks for SeaWorld's profit.  The males have their sperm collected and the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young which are sometimes shipped away."

Poor whales.  That is so much worse than the wild where their babies never get devoured by sharks, they never die from their injuries, and they can always find food to eat.

I'm not saying we should go around mistreating animals - we should treat all of God's creations with respect.  (Except for houseflies, cockroaches, and things with stingers, because ewww.  I'm telling you, there's a reason that no one has ever complained about the mistreatment of cockroaches.  It is because the level of outrage someone feels over the poor treatment of animals is directly related to that particular creature's cuteness.  Bugs are disgusting.  Thus, no one is ever like "Save the cockroaches!" or "Free the scorpions!").

Thankfully a judge saw fit to toss this ridiculous lawsuit in the deep end of the ocean where it belongs.

To Shamu's great relief, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Dumb and Dumber

How to ruin your marriage:  post a video on youtube in which the sole purpose is to make fun of your wife and her lack of brains.

Oh, I know, we're supposed to watch the video and think it's so hilarious.  Ha ha ha.  Clueless blond girl can't even do a basic math problem!  So funny.  Wow, she is dumber than a box of hair!

But the problem with this video is not that she is a few brownies short of a full pan, it's that her husband has now shared this fact with the entire world.  Two million people (so far) have watched this video and are now mocking and insulting his wife.  Maybe she crochets hats for orphans.  Maybe she volunteers in a preschool for underprivileged kids.  Maybe she makes cookies for her neighbors and takes in stray animals.  But we'll never know, will we?  All we know is that her husband thinks so little of her that he would post a video like this so that everyone can take a shot at her.

What a nice guy.

This makes me sad beyond words.  Here is the man who is supposed to protect her and stand up for her and defend her -- who has vowed to do so -- and he is making her the laughingstock of the internet.

Way to go, Travis.  Husband of the Year.

Back in Training

As Leah has now gone more than a month without an accident I suppose I can declare that she is officially potty trained.  I hesitate to mention this though because you know how it is -- you say your kid has accomplished something and they immediately regress clear back to the fetal stage and forget how to hold their own sippy cup. 

But, she is trained.  And not only is she trained, she's like a walking advertisement for underwear.  She sings at least six songs about her panties, most of them set to the tune of "Ring Around the Rosies", and all of them involving happy screaming.  Literally, anyone says "underwear" and she goes running down the hall shrieking "Unnnnerwear!!!!  Unnnnerrware!!!!  I pick!!!"  Then she giggles and squeals as she peruses her collection of Hello Kitty panties until she settles on one that is juuuuust right.  Once that decision is made, she hugs the chosen pair.  She hugs her underwear.

Judging by the way Matthew watches this process in a bewildered sort of daze, I'm guessing the underwear thing won't work so well on him. 

I kind of let his training fall by the wayside because it was impossible to keep track of two diaperless bottoms every single second of every single day, and we all know that when it comes to potty training there is one unalterable law:  if a mother turns her back at any time for any reason, her child will use that moment to pee somewhere he should not be peeing.  (Seriously, it's like playing "Red Light, Green Light", only it involves urine and carpets so it's a lot less fun).

So I said to heck with this and I focused on Leah.  I focused on her so well that I managed to convince myself she still wasn't trained even after she overcame her phobia of public potties enough to pee at Wal-Mart on an automatic flush toilet.

Deep down I think I just didn't want to return to the training portion of my program.  I mean, I already trained one kid this year.  Can't someone else do the other one?  Anyone?

No takers?


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Wrong Conclusion

Life is sacred.

That we create it so cavalierly and, at times "accidentally" with the wrong person for the wrong reasons is a testament to how little we understand about the gift of creation and how beautiful it is.

Instead of being a miracle, oftentimes a baby is little more than an unfortunate side-effect of pleasure-seeking.  It's an "oops", a piece of tissue.  It's something to be feared and despised rather than something to be loved and nurtured.  And it can be eliminated.

So some do, because they don't understand the power they have taken into their hands.  They don't understand that a life at any stage is sacred.  They don't understand that a beating heart at eight weeks gestation is no less worthy of life than a heart which beats vigorously after being brought into the world.

They shun the responsibility that a beating heart would demand.  They silence it.  And they tell themselves it is little more than a choice, that it is somehow better, that no good would have come from allowing an unwanted heart to beat on.

So it's little wonder that, in a world where unborn babies are regularly swept out of existence by their mothers, someone would come to the conclusion that babies who have been born don't matter much either.  And this is how we get two "ethicists" arguing for post-birth infanticide.

According to these men,  "[Killing a newborn] should be permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."  Why?  A newborn, like a fetus, is only a "potential person," because she is not capable of "attributing to her own existence," and as such does not possess an innate right to life.  Parents should have the option of killing their newborns, these ethicists say, because to raise them might be an "undue burden" on the parents.

Perhaps these men would find friends in Deborah and Ariel Levy, parents who recently sued their healthcare provider when their daughter was born with Down Syndrome.  You see, they would have aborted her if they had known she would suffer from this disability (according to recent studies, around 89% of parents who make the prenatal discovery that their child has Down Syndrome choose to abort).

A jury awarded them $3 million for their misfortune

They say they love their daughter, but it is not love to say that a child with flaws is somehow less worthy of life than one who is whole.  Yes, they will raise her now because they have no other choice, but they feel that someone owes them for this "mistake."  That's not love.  That's selfishness so deep that no light could pierce it.

So you'll have to forgive me for wondering, but if they had had the option to kill her after she was born, would they have done it?

I can't think of anything more tragic than a parent saying to a child, "I wish you had never been born."  And I can't think of anything more sad than two men who have concluded that babies are not worthy of living.  Life at every stage, no matter how imperfect or inconvenient it is, is sacred.

To conclude otherwise is a tragedy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Soundtrack of My Life

This morning I decided to mix up a pitcher of Crystal Light.  Not for the kids, mind you, but for me, because I hate drinking plain water when I'm sick (the taste gets to me for some reason).  And it wasn't actually Crystal Light, it was Great Value brand, which is pretty much the only Wal-Mart brand anything I'm willing to let in my house due to the fact that they manufacture so many things in one factory that all of their products say: "May contain traces of eggs, peanuts, old banana peels, and granny's left shoe."  I even bought something at Wal-Mart once that said, "May contain traces of Amelia Earheart's plane and the Lost City of Atlantis".

Even their fruit is dangerous.  You pick up a bag of grapes and it's like Ingredients: rubber bands and three strips of bacon.  May contain traces of grapes.

But I digress.

Yesterday afternoon I actually felt decent enough to make an attempt at cleaning the kitchen.  This wasn't based on my physical status as much as the fact that walking in the kitchen was like stepping into one of those old movie theaters where you have to sacrifice your shoes to the floor gods in order to view the show.  That and I think David might have had a slight aneurysm when he came home late the night before and was met with a house that looked like it had undergone an atomic bomb blast -- if atomic bombs are filled with soda.  Trying to conceal the twitch in his left eye he said, "Let me clean up the kitchen for you."  Most wives would swoon.  I stuck out my lower lip and said, "Hold me."

So he did, even though I'm pretty sure it almost killed him to ignore the dishes pulsating in the sink.  And on the floor.  And all over the counter.  And the fact that his shoes were stuck by the back door.

So, today I sat on the floor, and I mopped.  While I was listening to this:

When David and I went to see the latest Sherlock Holmes movie, I leaned over during the pre-preview commercials and said, "I'm really excited for the music in this movie.  I loved the music in the first one."

"Me too," he responded, in a way that made me think he was mocking me.

"Don't make fun of me."  I said.

"I'm not!  I really like the music."

"Shut up."

"I'm serious!"

"Why are you making fun of me?"

"I'm not!"

This went on for about 17 minutes until someone leaned over our shoulders and said, "Will you keep it down?  I'm trying to watch the commercials."

But, it turns out David wasn't lying, as this song now has an honored place on his "Epic Soundtrack" playlist.  And he's not the only one who likes it - this is my kids' absolute favorite song.  Every time it comes on the itunes playlist they scream with delight.  Then they ask me to play it again.  And again.  And again.  I finally just put the thing on repeat so I could quit standing up to hit the play button again. 

I have to say, it strikes me as pleasantly ironic that the name of this tune is "Discombobulate".

Story of my life lately.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When the Cat is Sick, the Mice Will Destroy the House

This is what happens when Mom gets knocked down by a killer sore throat and a fever of 103.

I started feeling horrible yesterday afternoon, and by 5:00 that progressed to feeling like I was trapped right between 90-years-old and death.  So I let the kids watch Cars 2 twice in a row while I tried to rest a little on the couch.  I woke up to find Matthew and Leah in nothing but underwear, standing on top of the kitchen table, splashing around in root beer (we'd gone through the drive-thru on the way home from swimming lessons because I knew I wasn't up for making dinner).  I didn't clean it up.

This morning, with fever still clocking in at 103, I dragged myself out of the house to drop Michael off at preschool and then turned on the Disney Channel for Matthew and Leah and crashed on the couch.  One time I woke up to find them sitting in my bed squeezing out a tube of toothpaste.  Later I woke up to find they had dumped out a box of cereal and were stuffing golden grahams into the vents on my fireplace, which they had turned on.  And after that I woke up to find Matthew had pulled a chair into my bathroom and was making good use of my mascara brush.  (He looked like he was auditioning for a job at a cheap cabaret).  The rest of the time I tried to sleep while Leah sat on my head.

Later, after the tenth time I found my toddlers splashing things in the toilet, I threw them in the bathtub.  Then I left for a few minutes to help Michael with something (I could hear them laughing so I knew they were okay).  What I should have realized is that two laughing toddlers in a bathtub is not the kind of okay I was hoping for - they used their cups to completely flood my bathroom from tub to closet.  Even my bedroom carpet is wet.

That's the terrible thing about being a mom - when you are sick you still have to be a mom.  Today that meant wiping bottoms as needed and running through the drive-thru (again) on the way home from picking Michael up from preschool.  Although I did make soup-from-a-package for dinner.  Really, that's it.  That's all I was good for.  I keep wishing for David to come home, but he got home at, oh, midnight, last night?  I don't know.  I was asleep at the time.  He says tonight he will be late but hopefully not super late.  By that he means anything before 2 a.m.

Hopefully I'm not dead by then.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Divorced from Responsibility

Words of "wisdom" from the Facebook universe:

"Would you board a plane that crashed 50% of the time?  No?  Then why do people get married if marriages fail 50% of the time?"

I know, right?  Because strapping yourself in an airplane -- where you have no control over anything that happens on the flight -- is exactly the same as getting married.  After all, you have absolutely no control over anything that happens in your marriage either. 

Did I get that right?  Well, according to the self-centered philosophies of the day, I did.

Honestly, how did we get to a place where couples refuse to take personal responsibility for the health of their relationships?  It seems like all you hear these days is "my husband wasn't meeting my needs", without even a nod to the fact that the wife wasn't meeting a fraction of her husband's needs.  And suddenly the marriage is being shrugged off as if it were a coat that has been outgrown.  Like Heidi Klum, for example, who recently separated from her husband after seven years of marriage on account of the fact that they have "grown apart".

Now, I don't pretend to understand all the issues that are going on in someone's marriage, but taking the former Mrs. Samuels at her word, I have to say, this is one heck of a lousy excuse.

*Files it away next to "It just happened" and "I just don't love him anymore".*

Here's the thing -- if you fell in love once, you can fall in love again.  If you find yourself in a relationship where you have "grown apart" you have a duty, especially when children are involved, to grow back together again.

Obviously there are times when a marriage isn't salvageable.  But these are the exception, not the rule.  "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other" -- yes, a responsibility.  A solemn one.  Even when times are hard.  That means no treating your husband like garbage.  No talking badly about him behind his back (or in front of his back, for that matter).  And no berating him for the things he doesn't do instead of appreciating him for the things he does do.

As my wise mother once said, "It is not my job to make my husband perfect.  It is my job to make him happy."  And you can't do that when you are criticizing his every move.

Think about it:  Would you want to come home to you?

Of course there is responsibility on both sides, but getting married is not like hopping on a plane with fingers crossed and hoping luck will allow you to stay in the air.  In marriage you choose your co-pilot, you choose your actions and reactions, and you choose where you are going and whether you will enjoy the journey.  A happy marriage is a choice.

It's time we stop divorcing it from personal responsibility.