I’m an over-educated, under-appreciated, divorced mom to two. (I used to say that I was “perpetually unemployed,” but I am now actually working quite steadily*, which doesn’t make for quite as dramatic a self-description, but comes in handy when paying the bills.) I have a lot of “how exactly did I get here?” sorts of moments. Trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up when you’re already into your 30s and two small demanding creatures underfoot assume you know and understand everything can be a daunting task. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta laugh. (Other times, you’ve just gotta scream. I prefer the former.)
About My Kids
What can I say about my kids? They are the most fantastic, wonderful, fascinating, aggravating people I know. If you read me for more than a day or two, you’ll come to know and adore them. But here’s your crib sheet.
Chickadee is eight years old. She loves reading, school, playing dolls, and bossing others around. Her picture appears in the dictionary next to “freaky brilliant.” As in, by the time she hits fourth grade she’ll be smarter than me. In the meantime, she remains convinced that she knows everything and is entitled to lie, manipulate, and cajole to get her way. She has been diagnosed with depression and oppositional- defiant disorder and a whole lot of other “maybes.” The bottom line for her is a lot like the old poem about the little girl who had a little curl… when she’s good, she’s very, very good. When she’s bad, take cover.
Monkey is six-and-a-half years old. He is the quintessential younger sibling–enduring his sister’s ministrations with patience and goodwill 99% of the time. (Beware the remaining 1%.) He survives on pop-tarts, french fries, and air. It’s probably his gastrointestinal issues and serious food allergies that caused him to be a picky eater, but I prefer to believe he’s just testing the limits of my sanity. As of Fall 2005 he has officially outgrown the last of his food allergies, having passed a Peanut Challenge with flying colors. Although he claims to hate peanut butter, I pack it in his lunch on a regular basis just because I’m so excited that I can. He enjoys action figures, fighting crime, drawing aliens, Pokemon, and turning garbage into priceless art.
*What do I do? After having worked as a nanny, software engineer, technical writer, mortgage broker, and marketing drone, I may have finally found the job I don’t hate. I’m a freelance writer and copyeditor. I love to show my resume and portfolio to pretty people who want to give me money. Do you want to give me money? Let me know. You’re pretty!
One more thing… actually 100 more
A while back, I did the obigatory 100 Things list about myself. I may revise it in the future, but for now, here’s the original:
1. I’m not sure I can think of 100 things to say.
2. As usual, that won’t stop me from babbling, anyway.
3. I wear glasses, and hate them.
4. But I can’t wear contacts because my eyes are too dry.
5. And I’m too chicken to consider lasik.
6. I hate having my picture taken.
7. So I often make horrible faces when trapped by a camera.
8. Most people do not find this charming.
9. I went to college as a major in theatre performance, and fully intended to become an actress.
10. A professor announced to me that I was “the homely intellectual type” in front of an entire class.
11. I believed him.
12. I shouldn’t have.
13. So I threw myself into other studies.
14. My parents were never so proud, I think, as the day when I was accepted to a Ph.d. program at Stanford.
15. But they weren’t as thrilled when I dropped out with my Masters.
16. My advisor at Stanford gave me a ton of flack for changing my name when I married, saying that it would just make life more complicated when I got divorced.
17. I wonder if I should email him now so he can say “I told you so.”
18. I believe in God.
19. I believe in extra-terrestrial life (though nothing like we’ve pictured).
20. I believe in paranormal phenomena (again, not necessarily what we think it is).
21. I believe every hardship is a necessary learning process.
22. I am incapable of shaving my legs without nicking my ankles.
23. But no hair grows on my ankles.
24. As a teenager I once put sunblock everywhere but my eyelids and fell asleep in the sun.
25. For several days everyone wanted to know why I was wearing red eyeshadow.
26. It’s possible that I am the whitest white woman on the planet.
27. I grew up in a very snowy area.
28. I hate snow.
29. I loved living in northern California.
30. Now I’ve settled down in another snowy area.
31. I never learned to ski (see #28).
32. I love to swim, but rarely do so.
33. In a social situation involving dancing, I will sit out and swear I hate to dance.
34. It’s not true.
35. I just figure I’m terrible at it and will embarass myself.
36. But I might dance if I’ve had a couple drinks.
37. Never on tabletops or other non-floor surfaces, though.
38. I didn’t drink at all for years.
39. My ex has never had a drink.
40. I’m a cheap date as my infrequent drinking means two or three gets me tanked.
41. One is usually my limit.
42. I’ve made online friends whom I consider as close as “real life” friends.
43. Some of those friendships have lasted longer than the “real life” ones, too.
44. I had a friend who taught me how to decorate cakes.
45. She stopped speaking to me one day out of nowhere and I never was able to figure out what happened.
46. It drove me crazy for a long time.
47. The kids think I’m SuperMama for being able to make any kind of cake they want for their birthdays.
48. Decorating cakes really isn’t that hard.
49. But it’s really cool that everyone thinks it is!
50. I never had a birthday party as a child.
51. My kids have a party every year.
52. I throw away Happy Meal toys, artwork, and other “treasures” under cover of darkness.
53. Sometimes I lie to the kids about it.
54. I want more than anything to be a good mother.
55. After that–in no particular order–I want a good night’s sleep, a fulfilling career, and for my house to stay clean for longer than an hour.
55. People who feel no desire to raise children baffle me.
56. I could never be a contestant on Fear Factor or Survivor.
57. I’m pretty sure that if I had to eat bugs I would throw up.
58. Blood doesn’t bother me, though.
59. I love sushi.
60. I also love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
61. Not together. Sheesh.
62. I am a chocoholic.
63. I am also a bargainaholic.
64. Target is the happiest place on earth.
65. I have never carried a balance on a credit card.
66. Those telemarketers who want to give me 0% APR on balance transfers think I’m lying.
67. It also made it difficult to get my first car loan.
68. My very first car was a 1978 full-size Ford Bronco named Dino.
69. I paid for Dino with $1100 in cash, most of which was babysitting money.
70. Every car I’ve owned has had a name except for the minivan I traded in after the divorce.
71. My current car is named Sylvia.
72. My parents insisted that I learn to drive on a standard.
73. Sylvia is the first stick I’ve had in a long time. And I love it.
74. I love to paint my toenails weird colors.
75. I almost never paint my fingernails.
76. I enjoy painting walls, fences, etc.
77. I am incapable of painting a recognizable or interesting picture.
78. The house I grew up in had a Dali painting by the stairs which alternately fascinated me and gave me nightmares.
79. I lived in that same house from the time I was born until I left for college.
80. My children have already lived in two different houses (and that’s not counting Daddy’s house).
81. I hate moving.
82. I can’t remember the last time I wrote an honest-to-goodness paper letter with a stamp and everything.
83. Somewhere in the basement are boxes upon boxes of letters I wrote and received in college.
84. My daughter’s baby book is dutifully filled out for the entire first year.
85. My son’s baby book is empty save for his birth stats.
86. Two summers ago, the local news talked to me and the kids at a local ice cream stand.
87. Those sorts of “wow it’s hot, let’s try to make it a fascinating story” pieces annoy me.
88. But as I am lousy at memorabilia, I was thrilled to be able to tape the clip and save it.
89. Memorabilia is a funny word.
90. My favorite “grown up” author is John Irving.
91. I love scary movies.
92. But I don’t do amusement park rides.
93. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of the “sky slide” we always went to when we visited my grandparents.
94. That slide scared the crap outta me, but I didn’t want my brother to tease me so I pretended I loved it.
95. Eventually, I did.
96. In 1976 I got my first two-wheeler… a bicentennial celebration bike in red, white and blue.
97. My current bicycle is buried in the garage somewhere with two flat tires.
98. I prefer my rollerblades.
99. It’s safer for everyone in the vicinity if I remain on two (wheel-free) feet, however.
100. I made it to 100!