Sunday, April 29, 2007

Let's Make a Deal: An Open Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe:

If you will only let me win the lottery--and I don't even need the BIG, GRAND PRIZE jackpot, first or even second place would be just fine and would solve so many problems--I promise I will give generously to reputable charities and that I will do so anonymously because my goal wouldn't be gratitude and glory but to give back.

I promise I would spend the rest wisely--not go out and purchase five or six luxury SUVs or wall-sized big-screen TVs and I wouldn't buy fancy shoes and jewelry and go on trips around the world. No, I would purchase a modest house--not build one, thereby using fewer of our dwindling natural resources and I would set up trust funds for my kids' college. Hell, I wouldn't even quit my sorry ass job--at least not right away. Cranky Boss Lady needs me, after all and, though I often dread going there, I know in my heart that if I didn't have somewhere I had to be, I might never get out of bed except to move to the couch where I would spend the entire day, except for forays into the kitchen and the bathroom, which I would literally have to talk myself into.

In short, Universe, I would be the most responsible, mature lottery winner of all time. And while I know that money doesn't solve all problems, I do firmly believe that some of the problems we have would be easier to solve if there were just enough money so that we could stop worrying about money and spend more time and energy on the other problems that need solving. And I would, Universe, I so would--I'd be the Superhero of Non-monetary Problem-Solving. You've never seen anything like it, Universe.

And, yes, Universe, I know (perhaps too well) how pathetic it is that playing the lottery is currently my only financial strategy, but for a variety of reasons, it's all we've got at the moment. So could you please add that in to your calculations as well?

Masked Mom

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Driving While Under The Influence (of Flatulence)

So I pick up the boys after their tennis match last night and I have to run in the store on the way home. As I am purchasing nutritious and inexpensive sustenance for these ungrateful brats, they are, um passing gas, breaking wind, whatever euphemism you want to use for filling my car with practically visible gaseous fumes. Apparently, they had stopped for burgers on the way home at a little burger stand a few miles from town. (As Son-Three said, to his own great amusement, "Now I know why they call it Rockburger.")

Seriously the smell was a wall that I had to push past to take the driver's seat. None of them had even opened a window, which I immediately did, gagging all the while. Nothing entertains them more than knowing they can make Mom puke. I'm backing out, still gagging when Son-Three says, "Mom do you think you should drive under the influence of flatulence?"

Between gags, I can't help laughing a little which only makes me gag more, making them laugh more. Then Son-Two says, accusingly, "Mom you told me 'flatulation' wasn't a word," reminding me of a conversation we'd had on the subject several months ago. (It's a running theme. Of course it is.)

I say, "Actually, when we talked about it before, I thought you were saying 'flagellation,' which is punishment, usually self-punishment, usually as a penance or in some other religious context. But I guess flatulation could be punishing someone else with your flatulence."

Sometimes it's so cerebral and intellectual around here I can barely stand it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Random Cuteness

Other Kid, the little boy we used to babysit, is not so little anymore. He's a five year old in size 5 shoes and size 7 jeans--at five, he's only a few inches shorter than 12-year-old Daughter-Only. Even though he's not here forty-plus hours a week anymore, I still see him fairly regularly and still somehow am stunned by how quickly he's growing up.

In keeping with his size, age, and gender he works at being mini-macho and usually is too grown up to have his hand held by an actual grown up in public. He made an exception during a visit this afternoon while he and I were out for a walk. He was balancing on a curb and grabbed my hand to steady himself. Once he'd returned to the regular sidewalk, he didn't immediately let go of my hand. We walked along for another twenty feet or so, hand-in-hand.

Then Other Kid said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "Let's not hold hands anymore. Someone might freak out if they see us. They might think we're married."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

Greater minds than mine will probably have much more profound wisdom to offer on this subject, but here I am to try anyway.

First, of course, my heart goes out to all the friends and families whose lives have been touched and forever changed by this horrific event. It seems silly and inadequate to say so but it's sincere and really all any of us can offer at the moment.

Second, I had to stop watching the coverage last night because of the way the media is attacking the decisions of the university police--were the proper steps taken, was notification made in a timely fashion, etc, etc. I would be the absolute last person to say we should assume that people in power have done the best they can do and are always operating in our best interests--I know for a fact that that's often not the case. Furthermore, I believe it is not only our right as Americans, but our responsibility to question and even scrutinize the actions of the people in charge of protecting us. And if those people have failed through incompetence or deliberate negligence, I would be the first to say they should be held accountable.

But here's the thing: in this case, first and foremost, not all the information is available yet. There are facts that haven't yet been released that may play a part in our understanding of the decisions made by the campus police. They have stated that they thought the original shooting was an isolated "domestic situation" and that there was no threat posed to anyone else on campus. We now know that that wasn't the case, so it seems obvious to all of us in hindsight, after the fact, that they should've done more to stop additional violence. We know it happened, we make all our judgments based on the fact that it was going to happen. But the officers in charge didn't have this additional information--they had only what they had before them to make decisions about what steps to take.

When something as senseless and huge as this happens, it's only natural to want to make sense of it--to point fingers and assign blame. If we can figure out whose fault it is (besides the obvious choice of the shooter who apparently removed himself from the equation), perhaps we can keep it from happening again. It is much more comforting to assume incompetence or negligence on the part of campus security than to assume that a determined and disturbed individual will sometimes be capable of wreaking havoc no matter what defenses we engineer.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Perfect Post For March

For a long time, I've had a theory about regret--it's pointless. First because you can't change the past (you can't do or undo or do differently anything you've done or failed to do in the past) and, second because even if you could change the past, to do so would put everything in your present at risk. I believe strongly that our present is built of all the tiny moments that came before it and to change one moment might change everything--including all the things you wouldn't trade for anything.

The problem with theories is that they're so theoretical and when you're living life, especially as a parent with all the second-guessing that comes with the territory, regret is inevitable, it's an emotional reflex--and theories tend to fall a little flat in the face of all that reality.

Some days the gap between what I meant to do (and who I meant to be) and what I've actually managed to do seems like an unbridgeable chasm that stands between me and whatever possibilities are out there in my future. As miserable as it is to look around your life and feel that you've blown a million chances to do things better, faster, stronger, and just plain righter--to make all the "right" choices so that all the people counting on you could suffer a little less--there is some comfort to be found in knowing that we all face those feelings of failure.

Jules over at Dirty Feet and Lilywhite Intentions reminded me of that in her post "intentions fall to the floor." In just one short paragraph (and a few spare sentences), she cuts right to the heart of that sick feeling I've had in the pit of my stomach more and more often these days.

So for saying so much in so few words, here's my button:

The Original Perfect Post Awards – March ‘07

And Jules, it's all yours.

Browse other winners from this month at Suburban Turmoil or Petroville. MommaK has set up a library of past winners so you can see a full year's worth of awards (and counting).