In Honor of Veteran’s Day

My favorite veteran of all time is my mother. She joined the Navy in 1973 at the ripe young age of 18, and worked as a corpsman. After having kids, she spent several years in the reserves during which time she also finished college. She was commissioned as a Naval officer in 1988.

In August of 1990 my mom, a single mother, had to leave her babies behind when she left for training in Virginia before heading to Saudi Arabia to do her part in what would become the Gulf War. I cried myself to sleep each and every night she was gone. My mom was a part of Fleet Hospital 5. And until I sat down today and actually looked it up, I had no idea how revolutionary her work in that desert truly was. Apparently, her fleet hospital was the very first that was ever mobilized and deployed. Pretty cool, huh? I don’t know a great deal about the time she spent there other than it was hot and the generators were very noisy. My mom doesn’t like to talk about it very much. Finally, after what felt like an eternity for everyone involved, she came home in February of 1991.

After returning from Desert Storm, my mom went on to get her master’s degree and become a nurse anesthetist. When she retired from the Navy in 2003, she was awarded with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for her years of service. I love to joke about my mom being the Hurricane and all, but what she really is to me is a hero.

My two new favorite words, muff and DILF

Several years ago, me, Cruggers, and Madeline visited Long Island, New York in December. We were accompanied by Crug’s extended family and best of all, Mommy Glo. This visit coincided with what even seasoned New Yawkers considered to be some really damn cold weather. All of us Floridians would finally get the opportunity to dust off our winter gear. We were eager to wear our cute hats, scarves, and puffy coats. And, oh yeah, our mittens and gloves, too.

Imagine the horror when then-2-year-old Madeline lost one of her precious new mittens! But it wasn’t Madeline who had a hard time getting over it. It was Mommy Glo who really struggled over the loss. She wandered the house day and night looking for the lost mitten. The only thing is, much like she does with me, she refused to refer to the mitten by its proper name. She kept calling it a “muff.” Now I don’t know about you but when I hear the word muff, something very, very different from a mitten comes to mind…hmm, I guess both are warm and cozy on the inside…oh, gross. I’ll stop there.

I still remember MG wandering all over the house like it was yesterday. “The girl lost her muff! Has anyone seen the missing muff? I wonder where she left her muff…” Needless to say, the whole family had many laughs over my girl’s missing muff. And I really started to believe that my child’s grandmother was indeed a pervert. And then earlier today my mom showed me an alphabet quilt she made with some fabric left over from the stone age a really long time ago. Here is the image for the letter “M”:

Maybe MG is not a total perv after all! Or maybe she still is, it’s just that her and The Hurricane are in cahoots with each other in their perversion. I don’t know. But even if they are not perverts, I do have a teenybopper girl cousin (“Horndog”) who definitely is.

So Horndog came to my neighborhood last night for trick or treating with some friends. When they returned to my house, Horndog excitedly announced that she wanted to move in with me. Not because I’m a fun cousin who lets her drive my car or pilfer my alcohol or anything like that. Oh, no. She wanted to move into my house because apparently my neighborhood is filled with “DILF’s.” Having never heard this expression, I was quite amused. (I know, it’s not a word, rather an acronym, release, people.)¬† And I won’t go into an explanation of what a DILF is. If you know, you know and if you don’t, you probably are better off not knowing. So, having learned some new lingo, I was feeling like a young hipster. I was thinking that I might start throwing this terminology into everyday use. Talking to my neighbor at the park, “Yo, Beck-Beck! Check out the ass on the DILF by the slide! Suh-weet!” Or at preschool pick-up, “Hey Shirley, did you notice Timmy’s dad’s biceps? That DILF must be on his way to the gun show.” I probably wouldn’t say anything so corny in real life, yes I would but learning a new word just gets my giddy sometimes.

And then of course, I had to do a google search on “DILF.” And I discovered this gem from the geniuses over at funnyordie.com

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Hurricane Maggi and my rebellion

In case you didn’t know, I am a total neat freak. Like, the creepy kind of neat freak, almost as bad as Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho, only not so murderous. Actually, I am not so much of a neat freak, more of a tidy freak. I like for things to be in their proper places. In my house you won’t typically find cluttered kitchen counters or an off-center dining room chair. But when it comes to dust and floor-care, I tend to let things slide. And unless you visit my house within a week of cleaning day, I would advise against lifting the toilet lid. For your own sake. And, oh yeah, cleaning day only happens about once a month around here, so you figure the odds. But on the surface things appear to be quite clean and bright and that works for me. I am all about superficiality, let’s get real.

My BFF and former roommate invented a fun game. It was called, “Oooh, I’m going to move around random items in the apartment and see how long it takes Kristy to figure it out!” She just got the biggest kick out of putting household items in the wrong places. “I’m really gonna get her this time! She’s gonna flip if I swap the positions of the salt and pepper shakers!” (In case you didn’t know, the salt is always supposed to be on the right. I learned this many years ago working as a banquet server, supposedly this is intended to help blind people use the correct seasoning. Remember, people- “white on right.”) One time my roomie even put an apple where the oranges go, ahhh that one still makes me chuckle.

Recently a friend reminded me that I once vacuumed my living room DURING a party. OK, fine, it’s happened more than once. This friend also knows my mother. She wondered aloud, “How in the world did you become such a fastidious fussbudget? I mean, considering the way your mom is.” My mom. Sweet Maggi. This woman wouldn’t know an organized cutlery drawer if a fork jumped out and stabbed her hand. (In my last post my wine glass pranced around on legs, now I’ve got a jumpy fork- What is going on in my kitchen?!) Anyway, my mom has earned an appropriate nickname over the years. My husband now refers to her as Hurricane Maggi.

Our house will be in its normal state, a few toys scattered about, kids glued to the TV watching quality educational programming Dora and then BAM! In comes Maggi. In 5 minutes flat she will have every inch of the kitchen counters covered in shopping bags, clothes, wine bottles, you name it. Granted, the bags are typically filled with gifts for my children so I am certainly NOT complaining. My mother is truly the most generous person I have ever known.

And also the messiest. To watch the woman cook is an exercise in restraint. I try my hardest to ignore the flying chicken guts as she separates chicken wings, I just tiptoe behind her to wipe the guts off the front of the toaster oven. You know, the toaster oven that is a full 10 feet away from where she is standing. As she then proceeds to peel some potatoes, I just sit back and watch. She doesn’t seem to notice as the peels pile up on the floor around her. As she gets up from her chair, she simply steps over them and never looks back. These peels and the horrific mess she has made are now invisible to her. It is not an uncommon experience to find sauce dripping from the overhead light fixture after Hurricane Maggi makes spaghetti.

Apparently when she was younger, my mother entertained the thought of becoming a stewardess. It’s probably for the best that she never did. I can just imagine her in the cute little uniform, opening an innocent can of soda, then ker-plam! dropping and spilling it all over the innocent passengers. I can even hear the disgruntled travelers, “I don’t know how she even passed her stewardess test! And did you notice the jelly stain on her lapel?” all snooty-like. I guess my mom decided that she would prefer that the people she serve and care for be asleep, so she became a nurse anesthetist. Hurricane Maggi literally puts human beings to sleep and wakes them back up again. That shit is no joke! My mom is also a retired military officer. Clearly she is a bad ass-type woman and I have the utmost respect for her. She is so cool I am confident she won’t get mad about this post…Right, Mom?

So how did I become an organized neat freak with a mom like Hurricane Maggi? Being tidy is simply my form of rebellion. I do this to get back at her. For nothing in particular. And guess what? It works!

The best parenting advice I ever received

This advice comes courtesy of my sister-in-law, Dorit and it is almost universally true. For most all parenting “rules” there are exceptions. So whenever I find myself starting to worry about whatever milestone my baby has not reached or stressing about¬† the latest tacky habit my 5-year-old picked up at school, I think of what Dorit said. “If you make an issue out of something, it will become an issue.”

My mother tried her darndest to make me afraid of the moody, depressed, bed-wetting teenager my daughter was destined to become one day. This because, at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, although potty-trained, my daughter wore a Pull-Up to bed at night. Had I freaked out and made a huge issue of the situation, I think my now 5-year-old would likely still be in Pull-Ups. (She’s not, although she does like to be swaddled like a newborn every night and still sleeps in a bassinet but that’s another issue altogether.)

AND once again it was Mom who tried to get me in an uproar because my 2-year-old son still drank milk from a bottle two times a day. Did I freak? Well, I started to. And then I remembered what Dorit told me. So I just figured there would be a point when he would lose interest in his precious “ba-ba.” Unless it took him until high school to get to that point, I wasn’t going to stress about it. Wouldn’t you know it, I was at the store the other day to buy some new bottles and I asked my son if he would rather get a few Toy Story sippy-cups instead. The kid made the right choice and hasn’t looked back since! (This story is clearly in direct-opposition to my last post about how much “over-marketing” bothers me…Whatevs, it worked in my favor this time, I’ll roll with it.)

I swear I’m not trying to Mom-bash. (I love you, Mom! I almost totally forgot about the time you sewed my colorguard uniform and made it long enough for a 6-foot-tall drag queen in heels. You know it all worked out fine! And don’t worry- I would never even think of blaming you for allowing me to color my own hair when I was only 10. Hey, what happens in 5th grade stays in 5th grade!)

So, my two children are 5-years-old and under…Clearly I have a great number of parenting challenges to look forward to in both the near and far future. Maybe as my children age this “best advice” will not hold quite so true…I mean, if my teenage daughter walked in the door pregnant courtesy of a 30-year-old heroin addict, I don’t know how I could not make an issue out of it! Maybe as my kids get older I will have to temper this advice with the perennial favorite “don’t sweat the small stuff” or even “when in doubt-kick them out!” Ha, ha, I made that last one up myself.

My Mom is right when she says, “little kids, little problems – big kids, big problems.” It’s almost like the difference between a toothbrush in the washing machine (little problem) and a disposable diaper in the washing machine (big problem). These are just examples of two random items my Whirlpool got to dance with in the past four days. You clearly don’t need to freak about the toothbrush, but a diaper?! You have my permission to go all-out nuts! Never experienced this? Consider yourself lucky. That shit’s a mess!