A Discussion With 35


ImageI turn 35 this weekend. I’m feeling uncomfortable with that. So I decided to have a sit down with 35 and talk it out. Yes, it’s odd, talking to an age. But, you know, it’s a humor blog, we can do that here.

Excerpts:

Me: So, 35, it’s nice to meet you. Well, sort of.

35: You too, sort of. By the way, interesting move choosing yourself to be the one in BOLD. We can analyze that later.

Looking forward to it. I’m hoping you can give me some insight into why I feel so uncomfortable with you. You’re not that old. Still, I think of myself as being much younger than you. Even though I am at this very moment using a heating pad. What’s up with how awkward I am with you?

You should really consider starting these interviews with something less insulting. But you are way ahead of the curve. Most people don’t freak out until they hit 40.

See, that’s part of the problem. I like to be impressive. 35 is not impressive. No offense. Anything I achieve in my career now won’t come off as “wow, that YOUNG woman did that.” It’s going to be, “yeah that lady over there—hey someone brought in cookies!”

What?

Or if I change careers, I’ll be that brave middle-aged woman who redefined her priorities. Ugh.

Do you have any idea how lame you sound?

Yes.

Besides, you became old at 29, when you had that kid of yours.

I am something of a prudish party pooper. But this year, all of a sudden, systems started failing. I mean, I hurt both my knees when I decided to try pilates. Not DOING pilates, just when I decided to try. What’s that about?

Not so long ago, a person your age would be pretty close to having grandkids. In a more basic human environment you’d probably be fairly near death.

Thank you, that helps a lot. You’re just like everyone else I know. Nobody has any sympathy for me. I’m now technically old enough to be president of the United States — I can’t even get the cats off the kitchen counter! I’m a failure.

Have you considered therapy?

For my failure?

For your INSANITY.

Does that happen when you get old?

Never mind. Are you using wrinkle cream?

Hey, I’m asking questions! I’m in a whole other marketing segment now. No more 25-34. There are people in their 40s in my demographic. What on earth do I have in common with them?

You arrrrrrre married to someone in his 40s.

…True. And 25-year-olds are typically baffling to me. All ramen-eating and bar-hopping.

And weirded out when you call them ‘honey’ and mean it in a maternal way.

Shut up. Maggie Gyllenhaal was born the same year as me. She’s awesome!

So was Brittany Murphy. She’s dead.

You know what, I think I’m just past all this. I’m beyond caring about my birthday.

Really? ‘Cause it seems like you care.

What should one be reading at 35? Because right now I’m reading Jane Eyre for the first time, along with 50 Shades of Grey and a manual about being a trustee for a nonprofit. And I’m preferring Jane and the trustees to Mr. Grey. Is that because of my advancing years?

That doesn’t doesn’t reflect your age. It reflects your general weirdness. At least you’re not reading parenting books anymore. Gave up on that, eh?

What, she’s 5, I got her through the “most important developmental years.” …I’m of “advanced maternal age” now, you know.

[laughs] Were you actually considering getting your insane, droopy self pregnant again?

No! I’m just saying–you know what, you are old and sarcastic and I don’t think I like you.

You’re just tired. Because of your old age.

I’m not old! I think I’m young! 25, to be exact.

Love 25. She’s hot.

I’m not supposed to get old like other people, that’s why this is so frustrating.

Ah, it’s becoming more difficult to feel superior to others. I see.

That is not what I said. … Yes.

You realize everyone who reads this is going to be pissed off, right? You’re younger than most of your mom friends–

–who are all skinnier than me–

–If any of them still read this dusty old page.

You know what, we’re done here, 35. Put in a good word for me with 40.


For St. Patty’s, Let’s Make the Kindergartners Cry!


I get too involved. It’s a fact. In the midst of everything but the kitchen sink coming at me personally and at work, I decided I should plan Sally’s kindergarten class St. Patrick’s Day activity. This was a busy week for their class, too, so I kept it simple–for them. I, however, spent three hours creating the perfect leprechaun shenanigan!

Which brings us to 1:30 p.m. in a room filled with shorty chairs. First, I very craftily showed the kids my decoy cupcake:

decoy plain cupcake

Don’t those look boring? Exactly! But I played them up: “Oh Thanks GOODNESS, the cupcakes are okay. I was checking on them ALL DAY hoping the leprechauns wouldn’t play any tricks on me. Let’s read a story and then we’ll eat.”

The kids sit in their spots on the rug, and I take the stool in the center, which I highly recommend if you ever need a power trip. Sally, as practiced, tells everyone the title of the book: Clever Tom and the Leprechaun. (It should be pointed out that I paid $23 for a used copy of this out-of-print floppy little book because it’s supposed to be the greatest leprechaun tale of all time or something. It IS cute. It also basically ruined my day.)

My first clue was the child who whimpered, “But I don’t like leper-cons.” I patted his head (Figuratively. I don’t know where those kids have been.) and assured him this story was not at all scary. I read the book, complete with terrible Irish accent that the teacher kindly pretended not to notice. Then it was time for our boring old cupcakes.

But wait! Did anyone see a Leper or a Con come in here while we were reading? Because . . . our cupcakes have turned . . . RAINBOW! I am the BEST MOM EVER! Let the elation commence!

awesome rainbow cupcakesEleven children appear amused if not ecstatic, and begin crafting their leprechaun sneakiness theories.

And two. Two burst into tears. It seems leprechauns are terrifying creatures who might destroy all of humanity with their hanky panky.  So I declare the obvious: “No, no, you don’t need to be worried, it’s FUN! THE LEPRECHAUNS TURNED OUR CUPCAKES RAINBOW FOR PETE’S SAKE!”

The Two set off several more who decide they, too, are scared. But these kids are quick to accept sugary treats that have clearly been tampered with by someone with questionable ethics. They calm down and eat. The Two, however, are still crying. I pat them on the backs (literally this time, risking lice) and reassure them that the cupcakes are harmless. When they cry harder, I give up. Empathy is not my thing. Besides, now I’m worried their parents are going to egg my house for introducing their kids to some heathen character. Maybe I’ve really done something wrong! At our house the leprechauns attack with vengeance every year, turning the milk green, messing stuff up. It never occurred to me this might be scary. Oh wait — because IT’S NOT. What is wrong with these kids?

Deflated, I cleaned up rainbow crumbs and took Sally home. “Hey Mommy, you know B, who was crying? His dad is a minister!”

Awh, crap.

Grocery Shoppers: An Analysis


The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and even if you don’t car a whit because the 49ers aren’t in it (sniff…) everyone should be extra cautious with their decisions about grocery shopping over the next few days. Seriously, if you don’t need deli meats or soda, DON’T go down those aisles. They’ll be filled with people wearing oversized jerseys and ugly slide sandals. But really, if you’re a parent, you always have to strategize about shopping. When you choose to go to the store can mean the difference between zipping through with your smartphone list, or banging your head on a germ-filled cart as you wait in line behind the lady who is sure those Lipton iced teas were a two-for-one.

So that you may shop at the best time for your personality, I give you “Who Goes Shopping When.”

Who Goes Shopping When:

  • Friday morning – Stay-at-home moms; old ladies paying with checks.
  • Friday afternoon – Harried parents who realized there’s nothing in the fridge and whose kids are pissed off to be shopping after a long week at school.
  • Friday night – Teenagers inappropriately dressed for winter; men who might be homeless.
  • Saturday morning – Dads and their kids, ruthlessly kicked out of the house by mom; oenophiles prepping for their dinner party tonight.
  • Saturday afternoon – Leisurely childless couples.
  • Saturday night – Partiers buying liquor; dateless singles buying the single-serving mini bottles of wine and a prepared stuffed chicken breast; defeated men buying tampons.
  • Sunday morning – Extremely efficient moms who follow the exact same path through the store each week; heathens.
  • Sunday midday – The people who were in church this morning, wearing their finery.
  • Sunday afternoon – People with no sense of urgency who park in the middle of the aisle trying to think of what they want; moms who think shopping should be a family experience; couples married more than five years who bicker over pasta brands.

Good luck, and good Super Bowl.

I’m Just Not That Into Me: Mom-Colored Glasses Takes a Break


Dear loyal readers, obliged relatives, angry spouses of marines, moody teenagers who ironically don’t understand sarcasm, moms up at 3 a.m. with nothing else to read, and anyone else who has tuned in over the past two years and three months:

I think we need to take a break. Lately, it has become a lot harder to find the time to post, and the imaginary publisher screaming in my head about my weekly deadline is, quite frankly, driving me bonkers. We’ve had a good run, you and me. And the publisher. Though he’s lost quite a bit of hair over the past 27 months. I digress.

I’ve written 127 posts. You’ve contributed 942 comments. I’ve loved every minute of it. Which is why I’m not totally ending things. I will still post, when I have something to say and time to say it, and I may have a bit of fun and stray a bit from the parenting path. I’m just relieving myself of the self-imposed schedule and deadlines. I’ve got some other projects and volunteer commitments I need to spend some time on. And I’ve got to beef up on my negotiating skills to keep up with Sally. That’s a full-time job.

Thanks for everything, really. You can’t imagine what an ego booster it is to have people read what you write, let alone be introduced at a party as ‘a really funny blogger you have to check out.’ Awesome. So this isn’t goodbye, just see you later. I hope you’ll check back in every so often, or even better, make sure you are subscribed so that you are notified when something new does happen.

Wow, I’m really bad at succinct goodbyes. Okay. That’s it. See you later. Bye.

What Not To Do: A back-to-school list


As the first week of kindergarten came to a close, I realized it was not just Sally learning valuable lessons from school. I, too, was being educated–mostly on how to live with a fire-breathing dragon. To help other parents who may be facing the overtired, extra-exhausted, ‘I’m adjusting to a whole new school year and cannot deal with anything else in this god-forsaken world’ child, I am providing a list of things to avoid during your sponge-brained angel’s first weeks of school:

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:
*Ask what she did at school today.
If you do… sobbing, claiming to not remember, declaring you must not love her anymore. Oh, also, they did circle time.

*Feed her anything but mac and cheese.
If you do… sobbing, declaring you do not love her and that she will never eat anything again, and she’ll move out and get her own apartment and eat mac and cheese every day. Oh you’re making tacos? Okay.

*Explain, define, or suggest anything, even if she asks.
If you do… You will be wrong.

*Wake her up. This often happens in the morning hours because she must return to school.
If you do… Sobbing, claiming school is an awful hell hole that is only slightly better than San Quentin Prison and why can’t you quit your job and stay home with her, don’t you LOVE her?! [Note: Later today you will go to school and find her skipping rope with her new friend and she’ll tell you they made play-doh with sparkles in it! Totally like prison.]

*Suggest she sleep. You know, because all the sobbing just maybe indicates she’s tired.
If you do… sobbing, declaring she’s not tired and maybe she could sleep if you’d fed her mac and cheese but HOW can she sleep at a time like this. Just read a fourth book tonight and then maybe she’ll be able to sleep. Now you’ve upset her so you’ll need to sleep with her, because that’s super comfortable, and it would be best if she could wrap her arms around your neck so that you can only breath at about half your lung capacity.

*Stop pushing her on the swing. Even though she can swing herself.
If you do… Sobbing, loudly whining that she can’t do it, it’s impossible, just push her higher. HIGHER. HIGHER!!!!

*Say that we need to leave the park because her behavior is ridiculous.
If you do… Actually I have no idea what happens, I was too afraid to find out.

What I Did This Summer


Now that schools are starting, I’d like to give you the report every fifth grader must present: What I Did This Summer.

Sally had her first ballet performance: I was terrified she’d never get on stage. Or that she’d get on stage and then lose her breakfast all over it. Or that they’d lose her backstage in a pile of tutus. Or that somehow I’d end up needing to run up there in front of 500 parents. Instead, the only thing I didn’t prepare for happened. She was perfect and I cried a gallon of happy tears, starting the moment she came on stage. It was the most moving performance I’ve ever seen. I’m that mom.

I bought three cute pieces of wall art for my kitchen: They look like country fruit-stand signs. And I got them on quadruple clearance, which made me feel like the bargain hunter of the century even though I came across them by accident. Then they arrived and I held them up to the wall. They blended in like oatmeal does when it gets splattered on the kitchen wall. (I know. That has happened.) So I boldly announced that I would be painting the kitchen. The Mr. was not fond of the idea that my $8 wall plaques were going to now cost $50 in paint and several days of my time. He declared he would not be participating in this fiasco. That was fine. I painted the kitchen yellow! Now the wall art looked great! Oooh, but the light switch and outlet covers looked terrible. So we replaced those. [Insert cha-ching of cash register.] Yay—ooh, look how bad the cabinets look. Wow. This fall I’ll be painting those.

I got a sewing machine: This means you can expect many more craptastic crafts from me. My first project was a tea towel that went tragically wrong and became a weekend bag for Barbie. That’s the kind of thing that happens around here.

Sally finished preschool: This involved 38 end-of-year parties. I am sick of end-of-year parties. However, I am incredibly grateful that our school does not have a preschool graduation. I’m sure if they did, I’d be bawling proudly at that, too, but since they don’t, I can be a jerk and say “What is with the toddler-sized caps and gowns? Are you savoring the moment because you’re worried he might not graduate from junior high?” I don’t get it.

Our microwave pooped out: So for two weeks while we awaited our new one, we had no microwave. That went surprisingly okay. Then the new one arrived. It goes over the stove (ooh, la la). And Mr. Embee would be installing that. . . . which is TOTALLY FINE with me. Yep. So that took about a week because naturally no home the Embee family lives in has anything STANDARD about it. After sawing and drilling and essentially remodeling the kitchen, the microwave was installed! We are all very proud of Mr. Embee. And the microwave works perfectly. Unless you run it longer than a minute. Then it blows a circuit and everything in the kitchen goes out.

I kinda took a break from blogging: Yeeeah, sorry about that. Even blabbermouths like me get writers’ block sometimes.

Emergency Doctors Here: Barbie Hospital


Lately, we play Barbies. Then we eat. Then we play Barbies. So you might see something of a Barbie “series” on this blog.

I am sorry.

But sometimes, Sally’s Barbies do some interesting things. This week, Mr. Embee and I had to purchase a new microwave. It came in a huge box, so naturally: BARBIE HOSPITAL!  It’s a little bit ER, a little bit Grey’s Anatomy. And a little bit like a mental ward. It’s fabulous.

Things you should know before your visit to Barbie Hospital:

Doctors must stay with their patients at all times.

You will come to the hospital with broken bones. Otherwise, slap a Band-aid on it and go home, wuss.

Your boyfriend may visit you naked.

As the sign clearly notes, visitors will bring their own chairs.

Medicine will be provided. Lots of it.

Please do not be concerned that your neurosurgeon is Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

Our dentistry department (Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog) and pediatric physician (Astronaut Barbie) are often without patients. They are facing lay-offs.

Our doctors have a 100 percent success rate of finding illnesses you didn’t come in for. Broken arm? Holy cow, you also have a potentially fatal sneezing disease!

Any artistic contributions to hospital design by Mommy will go unappreciated. Dude, OBSERVE the awesome first aid selection and lollipop jar. How can you not acknowledge my talent?

Our pediatrician may need to leave during your appointment to travel to the moon.

We are the leading hospital in treatment of Barbie roof-jumping injuries and Chronic Villain’s Disease, in which one’s bad guy-induced illness shifts to various body parts and is utterly incurable. CVD claims hundreds of Barbies every year. Be the cure. Donate to Barbie Hospital.

In accordance with hospital policy, your naked boyfriend should walk you home. Because he doesn’t have a license. …I just print the rules, I don’t make ‘em.