Empathetic

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Alpha struggling with the back door)

Me: (confused, looks over his shoulder) Oh, thanks for bringing in the garbage cans. Your sister was supposed to do that.
Alpha: (stands in doorway, exhausted) I don’t think I want to do my service hours tonight for Scouts.
Me: Are you getting sick?
Alpha: No. (pause) We watched a movie about Anne Frank and it showed what happened to her after she got sent to the camps.
Me: (compassionate smothering mom hug) People are evil. Our great goal in life is to not be evil. And to stop other people’s evil.
Delta: (awkward toddler run, hands Alpha a lollipop)
Alpha: (takes lolly, rubs Delta’s head)

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Mom Joke

(scene opens in kitchen, packed with family doing a clean)

Alpha: (bags garbage)
Beta: (bags recycling)
Me: (wiping chairs)
Husband: (supervising)
Beta: Should I take this recycling out?
Me: Yes. Take it around town. Take it to a good movie. Maybe a nice dinner.
Beta: Wut?
Husband: I love you so much right now.

The Music Speaks to Them

(scene opens in chaotic mudroom)

Me: Ohmigod, its going to be 50 today (starts stripping Gamma of arctic layers)
Alpha: Maaaam!
Me: (sighs) What?
Alpha: Beta turned the song into a gothic rock song!
Me: What? What song?
Beta: No I didn’t!
Alpha: He did!
Me: (exasperated) Beta, what song?
Beta: (summoning a voice from the gravel pit) Mary had a little Lamb! She cooked it until it was no more!
Me: Oh, that’s not gothic rock. Might be a little more Viking Death Metal. And that’s okay.
Alpha: (disappointed)
Beta: (preens)

O+

(scene opens in early morning kitchen, everyone in pjs)

Husband: Did you have fun on your trip yesterday?
Me: (fumbles tiredly with coffee cup) Oh yeah. We had a blast. Everyone was disappointed we weren’t spending the night, but I feel like I passed a test with all these road trips I’m suddenly being invited along on.
Husband: (sips tea) Oh yeah?
Me: Maybe I’m easy to travel with? I don’t have any feeding restrictions. I can sleep anywhere. I have no conversational filters and have limited hot button issues. I’m always up for an interesting side trip. I can tolerate a wide range of music.
Husband: (mildly) You are good at putting up with being annoyed.
Me: (ignoring implications) Oh, that reminds me. Pregnant Friend told me I’m #2 on her speed dial for when she needs back up on going into labor. Apparently husband faints at the sight of blood and not am I the only one she knows who’s done it a few times, but she’s betting I’m perfectly fine with casual random nudity.
Husband: You’re like the Universal Donor of Friendship.

Karma she is

(scene opens in dim dining room, argument in process)

Me: (exhausted) Now what’s going on?
Beta: (from behind a protective wall of cereal boxes) She never shuts up! She just talks all the time! Doesn’t she understand no one wants to listen to her non-stop talking?
Gamma: (looks heartbroken)
Me: (sips coffee, without inflection) You’re right. Its totally awful to have to put up with someone who won’t stop talking about something you have no interest in. Worse when you tell them to be quiet and they won’t. (sips coffee again)
Beta: (scowls above the cereal boxes)
Me: Beta, I’m pretty sure the Gods sent me Sera so that way you could better understand what you’re like and what the rest of us have to go through. She’s your mirror. In Girl Form.
Beta: (slinks into a pout)
Gamma: (raises arms) Yay Girl Form!

Someone reminded me what I once said

I wrote this January 2, 2016 – before I caught up with new-fangled things like blogs and Twitter – so I’m pushing it on in case someone finds something useful in it.

******
Dear Millennials and Younger,

I believe in you.

I know, I’m taking a different route than the endless “What’s Wrong With America/Kids These Days….” I didn’t/don’t much like it when Boomers say it to me, so I’m not going to say it to you. You are the product of the younger Boomers/older Gen-Xers and “kids my age” are already talking shit about you guys as if we were the ones storming beaches at Normandy and you’re pinko commies because you dare read FB while riding the bus. I used to read books on the bus and hated it when some stranger thought they could talk to me. Don’t believe the meme-y bullshit that not talking to your seat partner is bringing the decline of civilization. Utter and complete bullshit.

Yeah, ok, you have the internet and better video games than we did at any age you want to compare to, but I also had it better than my parents than I did at whatever age.

For example?

None of us ever lost a classmate to polio or measles. We had Mtv. Hell, we had tv. We had the start of mobile phones, so it didn’t matter if they weighed a ton and came in their own tote bag. You just have way better/cheaper versions.
You guys live in a future that I could only dream about. Nothing in the cut-rate science fiction I loved was ever going to come true. Not in my life time. It hurt knowing that. But now I can watch new Dr. Who episodes on my Star Trek-like communicator device. I can sit in my yard with a computer that weighs as much as my shoe and catch up with friends I’ve not physically seen in 20 years and talk to friends on the other side of the world. In real time. Without a long distance phone bill. Do we even have a long distance charges any more, or are they just now “roaming”?

I cried the day I saw a picture of a sunrise from the surface of Mars.

Of Mars.

Do you have any idea how fucking amazing that is to someone who thought we’d never see the surface in my lifetime?

I live in the fucking future and everyone who’s hit middle age who can’t see that over bitching about how awful you guys are are narrow minded old-before-their-time miserly scared-of-the-dark fearful curmudgeons that, quite simply, embarrass me. Go ahead and be embarrassed of them and dismiss them for giving up. For being afraid. After all the bitching we got from those that came before, you think we would have learned something. Learned how to be better, learned how new isn’t automatically the worst thing ever. Seriously, older generations have been bitching about the younger since the Roman Empire (documentable) and likely before. If we never had evolved and “did something new” then only unlettered barbarians would be wearing pants and “real men” would be rocking the office toga. Take that as a simple “Don’t learn history, doomed to repeat” example.

And go ahead and rock that office toga if you want.

I’m sure there’s some stuff that you do that mystifies me. I’m sure you’ll be doing something that I hate. Your music will supplant mine. Your culture will supplant mine. Your fashion will supplant mine. It is a reminder that all my generation will pass away. That once we were important and once we had power and once we had influence. The Greatests didn’t like it, the Boomers still don’t like it, we are now getting a taste of it, and one day you too will hate what the next wave will be. You can give up and insist that the “best music ever” just happened to be during those years you were in High School/College and you’ve never moved past it, or you can hear something new right now and like it and not only is it not selling out, but it’s not giving up on yourself.

Don’t hate them, those that are coming after you. Accept that seasons come and go and listen to new music and wear new clothes and embrace that new technology that your science fiction suggests could now be possible, understanding it’s probably already being attempted somewhere. There seems to be less of a gap between your world and your science-fiction and I envy you that. I envy you all the things that I might not live to see you experience because I am already in my 40s. It’s just not possible it’ll come fast enough.

You are the ones supplanting the Boomers, not us, and I gladly make way for you to see what you do with it. You have the numbers, you have the vision, you still have the youth and all that supposed optimism and potential that theoretically goes with it.

Give me something awesome, Millennials.

I know you can do it.

If she gets the jokes, we’re bad parents

(scene opens in chilly kitchen, hear Gamma off screen talking to her new Kindle)

Gamma: (runs into kitchen) Daddy! Daddy! Look at my boobs!
Parents: (freeze, share concerned look)
Husband: Your…what?
Gamma: (proudly) Boobs! She’s my new pet! (turns Kindle to show off screen and cartoon blob dressed as Harry Potter)
Me: (at Husband) Boos. As in scary ghost “Boo!” The game is called “Boos”.
Gamma: Mom, I want to change her name from Boos, but it won’t let me I want to name her after me!
Me: Let me try. (several minutes of trying to edit a stubborn profile)
Husband: Just put her name after Boos if it won’t let you erase it.
Me: Awesome. Now we have Boos Ser as a name and it won’t let me erase that either.
Gamma: (impatient) I’ll just play mom. (Grabs Kindle) C’mon, Boos Ser! Let’s play! (runs off)
Husband: Boozer. Good job.
Me: Well, now she’ll want to show off her Boozer instead of her Boobs. (throws up hands) Not my fault the clicky game has a shitty interface.

Understanding fate

(scene opens in the foyar)

Gamma: (looking at all the Christmas cards on the glass door) Momma? Who’s this?
Me: (surveys cards) That’s Krampus. He takes away all the bad children and eats them.
Gamma: (alarmed) Then how will you get me back?!
Me: ….I think you’re missing the point.
Gamma: (outraged) Then what happens to bad adults?!
Me: I think they become Krampus.

Maybe if you just listened to me

(scene opens along dark suburban sidewalk)

Me: So what do you think of your potential Jr. High? Excited?
Beta: Yes!
Me: So why did you sign up for AVID as an elective? I’m glad you want study skills, but its geared for kids who’ll probably be the first generation of their family into college.
Beta: Exactly.
Me: (considers) …Daddy and I both have college degrees.
Beta: (astounded) You do?!? I didn’t know that!
Me: Clearly I have failed to impress upon you that I might know a thing or two.

Doc, can you help me?

(scene opens in ophthalmology exam room)

Doc: (clicks on the eye chart) Can you read those letters?
Gamma: Nope. I need glasses

(repeat through four different lines of various sizes)

Doc: (studies clipboard) Has she been complaining of not being able to see the chalkboard?
Me: Not really. She came home about two weeks ago and claimed to have failed both vision and hearing test, but the school never sent home anything or called me for a retest.
Gamma: I need glasses.
Doc: (winks at mother) Well, let me try something. (pulls out a pair of ophthalmology glasses, removes lenses, settles them on Gamma’s face) Is that better?
Gamma: It is! (reads four lines perfectly at 20/20)
Doc: That’s what I thought. See you guys in a year.
Me: Thank you, Doctor.

Shameless promotions: Mint Edition

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Beta accused me of being “overly jolly” the other day. In the doom and gloom of a withering 2017, with no hope that 2018 is going to be much of an improvement, and terrified for the future of my spawnlings, I spent a little more on Christmas than was probably necessary. I’m especially susceptible to magical holiday eats, the more festive the better.

A bit of backstory on this impulse buy: I had caught Alpha spiking his hot chocolate with peppermint extract and only just stopped him before he poisoned himself. While it smelled lovely, I’m sure that the digestive horror caused by a tablespoon of extract doesn’t bear thinking about. A week later, during a Thanksgiving baking extravaganza, I discovered I had no vanilla extract. Why you ask? Because Alpha had drunk it in his hot cocoa. How my children stay alive is a mystery. Please don’t report me.

I was forced to explain the existence of flavored syrups for just such a thing, Torani’s for example, but had not yet brought any home despite continued begging. So just regular, boring, plain old cocoa – until I found Bobs Sweet Stripes, peppermint flavored stir sticks! I know, stir sticks. What sort of ridiculous extravagant thing is this? Just stick a candy cane in the cocoa! But no – these are so much better.

First, they come in a variety of flavors. I brought home to my precious darlings the standard peppermint and a chocolate mint as my budget allowed for only so much whimsy. I had seen a cinnamon on the shelf as well, but hadn’t brought it home for fear of its being too cinnamon-y in the aggressive God Hates You kind of way that cinnamon candy tends to be, thus no one in the house would eat it. Contrarian Beta, however, objected to this executive decision, declaring that he hates mint in all its forms and prefers cinnamon.

Long story short on that is that I brought him around on the chocolate mint sticks and converted him. Both minty flavors are gentle and subtle, not at all overpowering, with the chocolate mint being less of the pepper variety, giving way to a stronger chocolate. Who doesn’t like more chocolate flavor in their hot chocolate!?!

The major difference between these stir sticks and just sticking a candy cane into your drink is that they’re soft. The kind of soft of those weird old butter mints that always seemed to be at weddings when you were a kid. Or in that crystal candy dish on grandma’s coffee table. I’m a sucker for weird old lady melt-in-your-mouth candy and this fits the bill. It doesn’t dissolve instantly, but will erode quick enough that if you linger on your drink it will have have disappeared, flavoring your hot cocoa.

I give this a Carrot’s “Its taking a lot of self control just to eat them straight up” and recommend it to you – and your obnoxious smalls – this holiday season.

History is a spiral

(scene opens in dim basement, closing credits of Atomic Blonde playing)

Me: Man, that movie made me sad. I can’t believe I’m nostalgic for the Cold War.
Husband: You mean back when we knew who our enemies were? Don’t worry, the Russians as still the bad guys.