Friday, May 29, 2009


My grandmother used to have a set of Melmac dishes. They were a muted sea foam green color. Only a few pieces remained in the set by the time I was old enough to remember. Melmac- for those of you who may not know- was popular dinnerware in the 50's and into the 60's. They were made from a substance called melamine that you could mold into any size or shape and dye any color. In the 40's a company called American Cyanamid Corporation harnessed this and began churning out a line of dinnerware. Part of its popularity had to do with its durability. It was touted as indestructible. This was where the joke came in for my family. You see my grandmother broke Melmac. I heard more times than I can count the phrase being uttered..."she even broke the Melmac." when referring to my grandma's latest debacle. And it was true. Even in her younger days she was not a graceful woman. She grew up on a farm in West TN in the 1920's working in the fields with her brothers- not a delicate life. She was a kind, compassionate, loving caregiver to everyone under her roof. Yet if it could be broken- it didnt stand a chance in her home. One didnt dare give her a present of something that could be broken.
In the days following her death and we were cleaning out their home ... I would venture a guess that 99.5% of all the items in her china cabinet were chipped or glued back together. They threw nothing away, if they could reassemble it with super glue- it was placed back together no matter how poorly. A product of the great depression.
I don't know why I've been thinking about them a lot lately. They've been gone two years now. Every now and then I close my eyes and in my mind I walk through their house recalling where everything was. I find myself remembering helping her hang clothes on the line and him in his garden tending the veggies. Sitting on the back steps snapping beans into a bucket. I don't want to forget anything, even the Melmac.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On Memorial Day

I'm home with my boys today. My neighbors have their bass thumping away in their gazebo. They have a hot tub out there with one heck of a sound system. For whatever reason whenever they soak or get ready for a party they feel the need to let the whole neighborhood feel the vibrations. The only problem with this, of course, is their gazebo is right outside our bedrooms. Luckily they generally only do it a handful of times in the summer but it is the top reason why we will move from this house to somewhere where we can have lots of land around us. It took CJ an hour to settle into his nap today. I don't know why but when they have a memorial day or labor day get together they do it that night- Monday night when we all have to work on Tues. They could have Fri, Sat or Sun night, but no...they pick Monday & will play their crap until 2 am.

Thursday & Friday I cleaned and readied the house for CJ's birthday party. This year it went off without a hitch, except that I made too much food-but several expected people didnt show. Saturday morning I was still in bed when I heard CJ stirring awake then WC's voice filled with excitement, "Today's your birthday party." Of course CJ doesn't know what on earth that is. And then WC says, "They bring you presents." The inflection in his voice priceless. The only thing I needed to do by the time Saturday morning rolled around was pick up the cake and the side dishes. I'd bought the hot dogs, buns, plates, etc from a nearby store that sells in bulk. All my early prep work came in handy when my lovely brother in law & his clan arrived one hour early. They are always an hour late to everything and he stated he was determined that they wouldnt be late this time...Since I had nothing left but to boil the dogs and throw everything on the table it really didnt matter. I sent the kids into the backyard to play. My other brother in law didnt tell us until an hour after the party started that they wouldnt be coming. It didn't surprise me. Their lives revolve completely around their 8 year old daughters soccer. They have her playing year around. Right now she plays for at least three or four different teams and they've had her doing "try-outs" for a couple other teams. They do soccer, I estimate five out of seven nights a week. On Saturday's four or so games in a day. The haven't attended a birthday party since WC's in Oct and they didnt have one for their other daughter in November, that I know of. This year they only invited her soccer friends to the 8 year olds party- no family. But I digress the party went well and CJ seemed to have a good time.
We started today with a trip to Wally World to pick up a couple extraneous items- new swim trunks for WC. It was forecasted to rain this afternoon but so far we still have sunny skies. But afraid we'd be cooped up in the house all day I let them go outside this morning. They blew bubbles on the back porch. Well, more accurately WC blew bubbles. I kept having to pull the wand out of CJ's mouth. When I go to wash him tonight I have this visual image of soap bubbles exploding off his skin when the water hits. They had snacks and juice outside. Then they played in the sprinkler- it still didnt seem warm enough out but WC wanted in his new sprinkler badly. CJ more or less just stood and watched, didnt jump in but inadvertently got a face full of water and that did it for him & the sprinkler. I dried them off & could tell CJ was tired. Inside they sat on the couch while I prepared lunch & CJ kept dozing off. After lunch & CJ was finally a sleep WC & I headed back out to draw on the driveway with the sidewalk chalk that Nana brought him to CJ's party. The two o'clock sun was hot on the pavement. So we went into the backyard for another round of the sprinkler. His swim suit had been left on the back porch to dry and I sent him to get it, next thing I know there he is butt naked in the backyard- pale skin reflecting the glow of the sun. I wrangled him into the new swim trunks but as I sat & watched him run around the sprinkler giggling I kept getting peeks of his butt crack until one pass around when the waist band had finally slipped its way under the little derriere. "Don't you feel that breeze," I asked him. He just giggled and started pulling them up. When the area of the backyard resembled marsh land, it was time to turn off the water. I sent pic messages to Jay on & off all day. He's bummed about having to work today. To make matters worse- they are slow. So he has to be away from us & they have no business coming in today. Bad on two levels.
WC & I ate ice cream while he dried. He wanted to watch the Iron Man movie. I'm less than enthusiastic about this. It's PG 13. But Jay let him watch it before. Sigh. I expect CJ to be up from nap at any time.
Michele--I'm thinking about you and praying for you.

A special thank you for all the men and women who have died in military service. I remember my grandmother referring to today as Decoration Day and they would go the cemetery and decorate graves with flowers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To Register, Clean and Destroy...Myself.

On Friday I had a plan. After I dropped WC off at preschool I would drop CJ off at my moms and on the way back home stop and purchase the Hoover Steamvac carpet cleaner I'd planning on getting for a couple months. Then stop off at the school and register WC for kindergarten this August then go home put together the steamvac and rock-n-roll. It took a half an hour to get WC out of the house (which isn't bad for him). Slightly behind where I'd hoped to be- not bad. Everything went according to plan- I even got in and out of the Walmart in under 10 minutes. It's been a number of years since I'd been in a school. When I was kid you just pulled the door open and walked on in. There was a sign posted asking visitors to please see the secretary. In order to get into the elementary school on Friday I had to hold my drivers license up to a camera to be permitted into the office. You do not get to bypass go or collect two hundred dollars. You go straight to the office and damn it they know who you are when you get there. I'm surprised a retinal scan or body cavity search wasnt required. This should make me feel good about the safety where my child will be attending- and it does. It also saddens me that this is the point the world has come to...even in the small towns. Only one minor snaffu in the registration process- I only have the mothers copy of the birth certificate they give you in the hospital. I'd never sent off for the one with the state seal & this is required. But they allowed me to register him as long as I produce this document in August. I also inquired about the after school program there run by the YMCA. I was told to contact YMCA directly and I should do it that very day because there might already be a waiting list. Added contact YMCA on my to-do list. I plan on not needing the after school program for very long, hopefully only through the end of the calendar year. At home I called the local YMCA they told me to call another YMCA & they told me I would have to go back to the school between 2-6 to register him in person. Add go back to the school to my to-do list. First thing I did was pull down the drapes and throw them in the washer (they get washed about twice a year). Now to the task at hand of assembling the steamvac. That was done without too much hassle. Then I had the arduous task of picking everything up off the carpet. Moved as much as I could off the carpet- pushed the couch all the back (plan was to move it forward and clean the back part of the room after), was able to move one recliner to the kitchen and the other I just had to push back next to the couch. I'd borrowed my friends steamvac the year before to clean before CJ's birthday party so this shampoo was long overdue between the kids the senile feline. I'm not a neat freak- but am totally ashamed of how bad this carpet looked- nasty w/ a capital N. The vomit stain of strawberry milk was my nemesis. When the full tank signal popped up I wasnt anywhere close to being half done with this one room. I use this opportunity to remove the drapes from the washer and put them in the dryer. I remove the collection tank from the machine and carry it to the back door to dump into the yard. Somehow, someway I fumble the tank. I drop it. In slow motion it hits the floor...the lid pops off. I'm watching the most disgusting gallon of water roll across my kitchen floor, splatter all on me, cover Jay's beloved birkenstocks...My mind is racing, I need to soak this up and paper towels would be no match. Then I see the bath mat in the laundry room floor waiting to be washed. I grab it and toss it onto the water that is running towards the stuff I'd moved from the living room into the kitchen. This buys me enough time to grab a couple towels. All I can think is that I just destroyed Jay's birkenstocks and the gallon of sludge that came out of living room carpet is on the kitchen floor. I empty the water out of them and lay them out to dry. The leather will never look the same again. All I can do is refill the clean water tank and finish the job. After I ran the next gallon on the living room I took a break for lunch. I put my food in the microwave and set about rehanging the drapes. While I ate my leftovers I read the owners manual. When I reached the section about how to clean out the hood if debris gets trapped in there and it stated to pour a cup or two of clean water on a hard floor surface and suck it up to wash the debris dawned on me. Dummy- you could have use the steamvac itself to suck up the dirty water spilled all over the floor. Sometimes I wonder about me. After lunch I worked on the hallway and back up into the living room. I ended up cleaning the living room carpet three times then because the manual suggested rinsing the carpet (I'd never done that before) I ran a clean water minus the soap over the living room carpet. I didnt do the hall just to see if I notice a difference. Jay called and I reluctantly confessed the possible demise of his favorite sandal but he was optimistic they would still be fine, even if the color of the leather was now different. While cleaning the carpet I'd been so caught up in the spots that I didnt think were coming out enough that I failed to notice how well the carpet as a whole looked- which I saw from the kitchen while talking with Jay. Seemed like an interesting parallel about life. When I'm focusing on only the one or two negative things I miss out on how nice the whole picture is.
My initial plan was to clean all the carpets- the bedrooms too. But at this point it was three o'clock and I still needed to get back to the school to check on the after school program. I had started cleaning at about 10 that morning with only the one small break to eat. Exhausted I gave up. And I still had to clean the cleaner itself. I'm not a neat freak but I do have to clean my cleaning equipment. When I read the owners manual and discovered I could remove the rotating bristles from the bottom of the steamvac and clean them- I've never been so happy. I disassemble the cleaner, flip the whole thing over and remove the row of brushes- disappointed that I could not get them as clean as they were fresh out the box but had to let it go. At some point that day I'd pulled a muscle in my back and didnt notice until I was getting ready to leave and pick up WC, go to the school for the after school program registration. We werent there five minutes he found someone he knew- while I filled out the paperwork he was off. I found him playing with a ball. He was perturbed that some kid there thought he was a baby. I called mom to see if they would kindly bring CJ to me but it seemed they had to go to the funeral home- so off we went to pick up CJ. And this was just the beginning of the weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Years

CJ will turn two years old on Saturday. It's been an amazing two years. Time is now travelling at a speed that breaks the sound barrier. Two years ago he was due on May 30th. but my OB had decided to take him on May 23rd. Rewind back to the beginning of the pregnancy at my first OB appointment where they draw the gallon jug of blood and run every test your insurance will allow they discovered that my body viewed my baby as a foreign entity and was mounting defenses to attack. In short my blood cells are missing something called "big c" and this is rare-according to them. So every month at my visit they drew more blood to check the titer level. As long as this level stayed below a certain number that meant the antibodies were not crossing the placenta. So I every month I had a mini nervous breakdown waiting for the results. And I read everything I could find online about blood until my eyes crossed and my head went numb. There was nothing that I could do to fix it. But I the grace of God we were making it to the finish line. Then May 15th. The night before my next OB appointment, Jay decided to cook hamburgers on the outside grill. He phoned while I was on my way home that he didnt have enough charcoal and wanted me to stop and pick some up (he already had a fire going & didnt want to leave it). Me being 9 months pregnant with a baby's head shoved into my pelvic region didnt care to stop and drag WC into a store- but I did. We finally made it home. He retrieved the bag of charcoal from my car (sure as hell not carrying it in) and went back to the deck. A few minutes later Jay appears in the kitchen running in circles, turning on the sink, grabbing a glass & yelling something about getting a bucket. I look out the door and realize there are flames that are not contained in the grill and I look at him and yell "get the hose." It was sitting right next to the back deck (duh). So off he goes & puts it out. Finally I get the story, smarty pants decided to pour new charcoal from the bag into the flames already going in the grill...a spark jumps up and ignites the paper bag the charcoal comes in which then goes up in flames in his arms & he drops the entire bag right on the wooden back deck (oh yeah...I couldnt make this stuff up). Luckily, when it was all swept away the sealer on the deck protected it- it didnt even leave a scorch mark or anything. So I decide (since I cant have booze) to make myself a milkshake. I get the blender loaded with milk and ice cream then my hand slips and turns the machine on (sans lid). I hear the whirl of the motor but in a half a second the contents of the blender flies everywhere- coats me, the counter, cabinets, floor... As my dad later pointed out I could have bought a hamburger, fries and milkshake for a lot less hassle.
The next morning at my OB appointment they discover my blood pressure was through the roof. They sent me to the hospital next door for "monitoring." But my blood pressure never would stabilize- not even with medication. At 10:29 pm my little CJ entered the world via c-section.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

My Grandmother used to say that she wanted her flowers now not on her grave. At that point I didnt get what she meant. I thought flowers were a ridiculous waste of money. Why spend it on something that was just going to die? It's been two years since she passed away and I think I get it. In the past year I witnessed friends lose children and a spouse. This morning my friend realized he'd forgotten his daughters field day at school and when he dropped her off the school was brimming with parents staying with their kids. By the time he got to work he was a wreck. And while I like to think that I'm sensitive I said to him there would always be next year. In hindsight it was terrible comment. Luckily he didnt listen to me. He followed his heart and left work to go back to his kids school and make memories with her. Because what if there isnt next year? His wife was a 41 year old healthy woman. Who would have ever thought that one day in February he would wake up to normal then in a few brief hours she'd be gone? It made no sense.
It isn't so much about the flowers, it's the gesture of appreciation. Make them now, while those you love are here. My grandmother wanted to feel that she was appreciated then. She knew how it felt to lose parents, siblings, children, friends. And knew that once they were gone you'd wish you'd had more time and shared love more readily. None of us knows what the future holds. Enjoy the time you have with those you love right now. My friend knew this and his priority was spending the time with his daughter, not sitting behind his desk doing some mundane job while she was alone surrounded by her friends who have a parent there. We're lucky enough to get time off work.
I ordered my mom and mother-in-law some flowers for Mother's Day. And had a mental cow at the cost of the shipping. But again, it isnt about the flowers. It's about showing those who I love how much I appreciate them in my life and I want them to know it now. Also, a lovely bouquet makes a room cheery and adds a nice warm, happy feeling.
Oh, and I did give my Grandmother flowers while she was still alive. It was in her later years, but I'm glad I did.
In this crazy world it can be hard to slow down. But take some time to let those who you love know.
And to all you moms out there everywhere...Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ramblin on...

Here at work administration went all blocking happy with our internet accessibility. No longer do I have access to Blogger or Facebook. I’m having a difficult time dealing with this new set of parameters surrounding internet usage. It’s not like I wasn’t doing my job but someone somewhere screwed it all up for the rest of us. So I setup my posting email last night and giving it a whirl today.

It’s three in the afternoon as I write this and I’ve hit a wall here at work. In fact I’m contemplating throwing myself against my cubicle wall repeatedly. Imagine a hamster against its glass cage- if you will. Perhaps they’d send me home early, obviously I’ve fallen off a cliff mentally.

Next week is shaping up to be a big week. My sister graduates her dental assistant training program on the 15th. A day many of us thought would never arrive. For WC its Kindergarten registration time. Saturday the 16th, CJ turns two. My babies are growing up at the speed of light. I’m not sure which bothers me more the fact that they are growing up or the fact they remind me that I’m chugging along in my 30’s now. I blog a lot about how they drive me insane but I’ve come to appreciate those moments with them. I couldn’t imagine my life without them driving me nuts.

We’re postponing CJ’s party until the 23rd because we have a family reunion on the 16th. And will be travelling a couple hours south with the young ones in tow. I haven’t seen most of these people in years and can’t imagine I’ll recognize half of them. But my great-aunt has been on my case for a year to attend. So I’m now in the market for a portable dvd player with two screens to keep them occupied.

Fingers crossed that this email posts appropriately to my blog page!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Adventures in Finding a Modeling Agency

Yesterday WC & I had our meeting with the modeling/talent agency. It almost didn’t happen because I couldn’t find the friggin place. I found the building. But their name wasn’t on it anywhere. It’s off of 12th Ave next to I-40. The area is sort of an island in that it is a safe place to be but it is surrounded by very undesirable areas. There’s a refurbished area of new brightly colored townhomes and things there. The agency is in the other part of Yazoo Brewing Company. Which I didn’t recognize the address but have been there to watch my friend, Neil’s band play. It’s an old car factory and I’m talking early car here. I love the building and think it’s cool. Jay describes it as “charming in the bombed out WWII sort of way.”
There we are parked in a gravel lot next to this building. I figure the place isn’t in the far end of the building where Yazoo is so I chose the door in the center of the building and we walk in. WC's cowering behind me- convinced this place is haunted. And I’m looking at the directory on the wall and there are several companies listed- but not the one I was looking for. So we go back outside and I choose the next door down & go in. And there we stand in a hallway lined w/ unmarked doors. Damned if I’m going to just start trying pull any of these open-this is how horror flicks start. Back outside again. This time I see a guy coming out the first door we went in & he’s carrying a trash bag. It doesn’t appear to have any body parts in it so I ask him where the agency is. He tells me it’s up the stairs next to a radio station office. So we go back in the first door and up the creepiest set of stairs to another unmarked door. I’m pissed. I pull open the door- WC poised behind me ready to haul ass back down those stairs. But there was a very nice, shiny hardwood floor hallway lined with doors that had signs of businesses. So we found it and the first thing I said to the pretty boy behind the desk was how difficult it was finding the place. He just looks up at me and goes, “We get that a lot. You should have called. I could have helped.” My first thought was to pick up the phone on his desk and hit him in his pretty little face with it. But, of course, I didn’t. If my life were a sitcom this would be the daydream point where the screen goes all wiggly then a scene that shows me slamming a phone into the side of his head repeatedly plays until the boy snaps me back into reality by clearing his throat or saying, "ma'am?". My cell phone had died from using the navigation system on it to get there and I couldn't have called anyone. I wasn’t announcing the fact I was without cell phone. It was hotter than hell in that office (I think but I still could have been pissed off) but I guess it’s hard to temp regulate a building that was built shortly after the dawn of time.
If being completely un-intimidated by new place/people is a requirement for child modeling than WC has that down. While we were waiting he strolled around that office like he owned the place and informed the guy behind the desk (in a disapproving tone) that there were no toys there. Then we went back and talked to two girls (mid-20’s I guess). And he went right on in there like he’d been there a million times. He hopped up on the couch and rolled around- feet in the air- and talked away. I neglected to bring more photos with me, which she asked me to email her. They will look those over and look at their client list also. They only take on so many of each type (5 yr old, blond hair, blue eye, Caucasian male). And if they feel they could use him then they will let me know the next step. I left with three pages of stuff to read: FAQ, policies and casting process. After reading over that I had a couple questions that I emailed her this morning. I need to gather some other photos to email her. I may take some new ones. I sent his info to two other companies as well. I wish I would hear from one of them because I would like to have something to compare it to. Will we pursue this? I haven't decided...