Thursday, September 27, 2012

Do I Still Have the Receipt? You're Kidding . . . Right?

Do I Still Have the Receipt?  You’re Kidding....Right?

Years ago while shopping, I noticed my 18-month-old was barefoot.  She hated shoes, and somewhere among the aisles she had shed her Barney sandals, bought at the same store a month before.

Granted, Velcro is the greatest invention of the 21st century—how else would one secure the fly of men’s swim trunks?  However, Velcro on kids’ footwear was the bane of my existence.  Easy on, easy off.  

We could’t find the sandals, and we were late meeting friends at the zoo.  So we hit the shoe department to buy something cheap.

I saw a pair of Barney sandals just like my daughter’s.  Same size.  They even had my dog’s teeth marks on the sole.  An employee must have put them back on the shelf, thinking they were new.  

I could’ve walked out with the shoes, but a blue-haired clerk was watching me like Lindsey Lohan in a jewelry store.  She resembled Maxine, the grumpy old lady on greeting cards.  Since she’d raised children before the miracle of hook-and-loop technology, she didn’t understand my frustration at a toddler unstrapping her Velcro shoes 83 times a day.  

Chuckling, I recounted the incident to Maxine.  Frowning, she asked me for the receipt.

“I’m pretty sure I lost it,” I said.

She assessed my baggy sweatpants and yesterday’s mascara and shot me a “that’s-what-they-all-say” look.  If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen that condescending look, I’d slap a For Sale sign on the kids, board a plane incognito, and relinquish my muscles to the capable hands of some Italian masseuse.

After I'd originally bought the shoes, I remembered the receipt falling out of my purse in the store’s bathroom.  My three-year-old got on her knees and sucked it up with her lips like a vacuum cleaner.  My expression of sheer horror didn’t scare her.  She’d seen that look on my face a million times when the grocery store was out of my favorite crullers.  She crammed the dirty ticket back in my purse. 

During my conversation with Maxine, my preschoolers ran amok pointing at all the sales associates, like Donald Trump from The Apprentice, and yelling, “You’re fired!”  

Maxine, judging me mercilessly over her reading glasses, told me to take the shoes off my daughter and take my children outside where they belong. 

Really?  With that comment, Maxine was officially up in my bizness, seriously underestimating my “back-in-your-face” skills.  

“Oh, wait, I think I do have the receipt,” I said, gingerly pulling it out of my purse along with the hand sanitizer.  “My daughter sucked it up off the store’s bathroom floor.”  I added nonchalantly, “She says it has brown spots on it because she’d been eating from the Nutella jar that we’d just bought.  But I can’t be sure.” 

I pushed the receipt into her hand where it stuck like Velcro.  My crew and our Barney sandals swaggered away.

I thought I delivered a pretty clever payback, if I do say so myself.  I bet Donald Trump would love me on The Apprentice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Is a Lack of Gray Matter That Hysterical?

Is a Lack of Gray Matter That Hysterical?

  My friend, Angela, has three kids and is continuously frazzled. Last spring, she dropped off her second-grader, Marcus, at his Catholic school for May Crowning, a religious ceremony dedicated to Mary. She dressed him in a suit and purchased the requisite bouquet of flowers to take to class.   

Angela’s memory is “over the hill,” but she remembered May Crowning, and she felt pretty darn “mother superior” about it.  She silently gloated, I have got it goin’ on! I’m sorry you other moms aren’t as organized as me. I’ve come a long way since all that Show and Tell business from September.  

The previous fall Angela forgot about Show and Tell so, of course, she gave Marcus an eyelash curler from her purse. A girl in his class used it and pulled out all her eyelashes because they stuck to the mascara caked on it. His teacher, Mrs. Uppington, who overblows everything like Stephen Spielberg, flew into an unnecessary panic. Angela thought, What’s the big deal? I mean, eyelashes grow back.

Then there was that incident on Career Day. Little Doogie Howser swiped a bottle of blue pills from his parents’ bedroom nightstand as a visual-aid for his presentation. 

The next day, he announced to his class, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this “scripshun” is for Vy-ag-rah.” 

Mrs. Uppington overplayed a case of trauma, and Angela’s husband can’t show his face at parent/teacher meetings anymore. 

After dropping Marcus at school, Angela enjoyed a latté to celebrate her alpha female dominance over the other loser moms. Shortly, Mrs. Uppington phoned.    

“Mrs. Peterson, are you aware that today is April 27th?”

“So??” she said. Here comes Spielberg.

“Well, I just wanted to inform you that you sent Marcus to school today dressed up and with flowers . . . ”

“Yeah??” Angela said, annoyed that her latté was getting cold. 

“And as a rule, Mrs. Peterson, May Crowning occurs in, ahem, MAY.”

A few hours later, Angela slinked through the lobby with Marcus’ school uniform, past the PTA Taliban moms who were at a school meeting and had heard about her memory malfunction. She also needed to check her fourth-grade daughter out of school for an appointment.

“Ha! I guess I thought they moved May Crowning to April,” Angela joked as she greeted the grinning moms. “It’s SO Friday! Ready for the weekend, ya know? Wow, what a hoot! Soooo, I’m mostly here to pick up Claire for an orthodontist appointment.” 

They laughed together a little longer, and Angela headed home. Great. I had to face Miss Uppity AND those Super Sally’s Gift Wrap groupies.  A few miles away, she worried she’d forgotten something. The orthodontist. She forgot to pick up Claire.

Angela slipped back into school and the PTA extremists were still in the lobby doubled over, laughing hysterically at her lack of gray matter.

I bet those Taliban moms experience their fair share of brain cramps. So they should watch out. Angela might devise a radical plan of her own and drop an undisclosed number of little blue pills into their husbands’ sweet tea glasses at the next school auction.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

When Age Sneaks Up

When Age Sneaks Up

I used to have a friend, Penelope, who had four kids and always seemed perfectly pulled together, like June Cleaver in size zero rhinestone-studded jeans and stilettos. She was typically the team mom, and she’d cook breakfast for the whole class on the first day of school. She also competed in triathlons and made charming scarecrows from milk jugs. I bet she didn’t have any moldy vegetables in her refrigerator either.


     “Perfect Penny,” as I’d sneer in a nice way, consistently kept her composure and never threatened to run away like I did. She never yelled at her kids and always remembered to throw away the  Halloween pumpkins on her front porch before they caved in. That’s because she was much younger than me. In my thirties, I did it all, but lost my sanity and memory in the process. Back when I had a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a newborn, I could’ve medaled in Olympic multitasking. I was Flo-Jo in baggy sweatpants running the race of my life every day. Except for the running part. 

I could put a toddler in time-out in the supermarket, estimate the cost of my groceries, soothe a sick baby, and decide which AP classes my two-year-old needed to take to get into Vanderbilt, all without forgetting when the dryer would finish so my clothes wouldn’t sit and wrinkle.  Now I can’t even contemplate about how my thighs rub together without overflowing my coffee cup. 


I used to rock at reading maps as well, but age has stolen my geographic intuition.  Sometimes I rely on Sasha, our evil GPS home wrecker with the sexy voice. She lurks in my dashboard and leads me down dark roads that end with 500-foot drops. My husband says I just misunderstand Sasha. He’s enamored with her because on trips she doesn’t wake up and scream at him when he veers slightly onto the rumble strips fringing the interstate. Just the opposite. No matter what happens, Sasha always sounds like she’s leaning on a barstool in Mexico, exhaling a ribbon of smoke from a Marlboro Light. I’m sure she is much younger than me too.

Through the years I also lost any coolness I had. When I snap “self-takes” on my phone, my kids immediately tweet to their friends about how weird I am and how they’d go live with Amber if it wasn’t for the fact that I buy them stuff. I guess I am pretty cool at the mall—especially in my track suit when I do my early-morning power-walking.

My kids don’t realize that they are the ones who made me old. When they eventually move out of my house, I’ll exude my old vibrance. I’ll have hobbies and watch R-rated movies. I'll go on girls' trips and do the Macarena with my friends. I’ll be Flo-Jo again, making up for lost time. Except, of course, for the running part.