The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2012

5 Steps to The Perfect Holiday Cards

Step 1: Make an appointment with a photographer for a professional family photo.

Step 1a: Email really close friend who is an amazing professional photographer. Explain to her you know she is completely booked for the holiday season and you should have taken her up on her offer to schedule you in a spot months ago, but at that point you were still pretending Christmas was a mythical villain that didn’t actually exist, like dragons, the boogie man or the fiscal cliff. Tell her you wish you had it to do over again, but now you’re going to probably hire someone else and you don’t want her to think it’s because you wouldn’t rather it be with her. Hope she doesn’t think you’re trying to guilt her into scheduling you in. Secretly hope she’ll feel guilty and schedule you in.

Step 1b: Try to decide if you’re going to hire another photographer (the good ones are probably all booked anyway) or just have your mom shoot a picture of your family.

Step 1c: Determine that actually what you need to do first is make an appointment for a hair cut because you definitely cannot have your picture taken with what’s going on on your head right now. And if you’re going to make appointments, you should probably just get them all over at once and make one for your endocrinologist, the gyno and the dentist, because you’re far past due in all of those areas and pretty soon your thyroid will turn black and die, your uterus will fall out and your teeth will start growing backward. Spend most of the day on the phone with your calendar.

Step 2: Choose adorable outfits for everyone in the family to wear.

Step 2a: Realize not a single child has pants that are both long enough and do not have holes in the knees. Pile all children into the car and drive them to Kohls. Spend 4 hours trying on every pair of pants in the boys’ section. Pants that fit child 1 in the waist are 4 inches too short. Child 2 hates pants that touch his belly button. Child 3 is still wearing pants that are made for toddlers and this is disconcerting.

Step 2b: Try to decide if you should go matchy or just nice outfits. Or maybe you should have some kind of a theme. Maybe you should find funny novelty shirts online for everyone to wear. How long would those take to get to your house if your order them right this second? Maybe you should make novelty shirts. That would probably be quicker. Maybe you should knit everyone ugly Christmas sweaters! That seems like it would probably be the best use of time right now.

Step 3: Pick out adorable cards to mail out.

Step 3a: Wonder if maybe you shouldn’t do Costco cards again this year. You’ve done them for the last 5 years and everyone does them now. Last year you got 3 other cards with exactly the same design you sent out. That’s kind of embarrassing. If you’re going to go to the trouble of sending out holiday cards, yours should be the best, right? Look online for 6 hours to find the cutest, most original cards that are also financially doable. Ultimately figure out there’s not enough time before Christmas to get them delivered to your house and then mailed out to people. Decide maybe you should just have your husband design them custom. Then no one will have the same cards you do! Wonder what you’d have to do for your husband to talk him into doing this.

Step 3b: Decide what you really need to do is design a whole, clever, costume/theme/photography shoot with the family that will serve as your holiday card. Like you could all dress up like characters from A Christmas Story and reenact the scene where Ralphie shoots his eye out! Or you could each be a character from Star Wars but in a traditional Christmas setting with a tree and stockings and everything! This is definitely the way to go, it just needs a little more brainstorming to get perfect.

Step 4: Order calendars you can affix your business card to, to send out with the holiday cards.

Step 4a: Realize your current supply of business cards has your old brokerage listed on them. If you’re really going to do it right, you need to order new business cards, too. But you decided you’re going to pick the brokerage you’re going to stay at (versus the one you’re at now that you got merged into) before the end of the year. So really what you need to do is pick a new brokerage and THEN order business cards. Of course this will mean getting your head out of your ass, interviewing brokers, doing the math and actually making a decision. Plus, if you’re going to order new business cards, you really should get a new headshot. Remember that photographer you used like 6 years ago who made you look so good sometimes people look at the photo and look at you and look back at the photo and go, ‘uh… that’s not you, right?’? You should definitely call her to schedule headshots. Maybe she does family portraits too…

Step 4b: Decide maybe the solution is to order calendar magnets that are preprinted and don’t require you to attach a business card. Sure, they’re 10 times as expensive and probably can’t be ordered in time, but did you read Step 4a?

Step 5: Do the math and realize there’s literally not enough hours left before Christmas to send out holiday cards for 2012. Determine if you start now, you might be able to get them out in time for 2014. Day drink and eat marshmallows leftover from Thanksgiving instead.  

Thx.

Alright, already. I’m thankful:

1. I’m thankful it is finally cool enough I can order my children to play outside without concern they might actually burst into flames.

2. I’m thankful for push-up bras.

3. I’m thankful there are people I can hire to clean my bathrooms.

4. I’m thankful the boys are old enough to go downstairs in the morning on the weekends and watch TV without waking us up.

5.  I’m thankful for Youtube tutorials on how to do your hair. Especially the ones by Asian girls because then I know it will probably work on my hair, too.

6. I’m thankful I have a large family who I actually kind of like to be around.

7. I’m thankful I’ve already eaten almost all of the lemon bars I made so I can soon stop making myself ill with lack of self-control on them.

8. I’m thankful for people who understand I’m mostly kidding. Sort of.

9. I’m thankful they still let adults do things like learn trapeze and ballet, even though we’re really too old to ever be any good at either.

10. I’m thankful we can buy booze at the grocery store and don’t have to screw around with our clocks twice a year.

11. I’m thankful my husband is willing to be the man and kill the spiders. I’m all for gender equality, except in situations involving arachnids or insects.

She tried to eat me when I was cleaning the backyard on Wednesday. I may have had a small nervous breakdown. Luckily Jason is handy with a hammer and a ball of tape. He also took a picture first. For that I’m thankful.

12. I’m thankful for soft blankets (even though we don’t really need them yet).

13. I’m thankful for fluffy white cats and lint rollers.

14. I’m thankful for health of loved ones, smart kids, general happiness with life and all of that other boring, trite shit.

15. I’m thankful that November is almost over and soon my Facebook feed will cease to be clogged with posts of people being thankful for their moms and socks and eating soup.

Christmas Complaints

You know how when you use those teeth whitening stripes they make your teeth extra sensitive to cold and pain? Like you’re normally fine eating ice cream and drinking soda, but after two weeks of white strips either is excruciating? I develop a similar sensitivity to ‘over-sentimentality’ the closer it gets to Christmas. Usually I can sit through an entire Hallmark commercial with just a slight wince, but around Christmastime merely being in same room as a Precious Moments Nativity scene tends to activate my gag reflex.

Yep, I’m a scrooge. And with Thanksgiving early this year and the general public intent on celebrating for a full 6 weeks before we actually partake in my least favorite holiday, I’m already completely wound up about how much I want to take your decorative Santa-wearing-jams lawn statue, douse it in lighter fluid and burn it in effigy.

So I thought I’d get this out of the way before we get too close in and people are drunk enough on eggnog they decide it’s a good idea to lynch me.

Here are my complaints about Christmas:

1. When we were kids, Christmas was all about getting up early to open presents and then having friends and family over all day to just eat and hang out. We had new outfits to wear and new books to read and there was like a whole bunch of junk food out for us to gorge ourselves on. Usually by the evening, when the festivities had tapered off, we would all go see a movie together (or just rent a movie and fall asleep on the couch). It was fun and carefree, is the point.

But now that I’m the mom, I’m the facilitator of all things fun and amazing. It’s my responsibility to ensure a joyous and happy day for everyone. It’s SO MUCH PRESSURE. If my kids don’t feel like the whole thing is magical and fantastic, there’s really no one to blame but me. All I want for Christmas is to not ruin Christmas for everyone else. Is that too much to ask?

2. I feel like I need to brainstorm The Perfect Gift for all 892 people on my list. I never shop early because you can’t just buy The Perfect Gift when it’s on sale in June or the day after Thanksgiving. No, you have to be struck with inspiration to find the gift that simultaneously reflects how much you care and shows that you know what he or she is really interested in and might love. That takes true effort and genius. You can’t rush genius.

But of course once it gets to December 22nd and my head is exploding with the stress of things that haven’t been accomplished, 75% of the people on my list end up getting The Mediocre Gift I Found At The Discount Mall Near My House rather than The Perfect Gift.

Every year I tell myself, ‘Start early! Get it done now!’ and every year myself says back to me, ‘I just need some time for it to marinate in my brain. Then I’ll know just exactly what to buy for the men in my family that isn’t an old-fashioned shaving kit or tickets to a sporting event they probably don’t give a shit about.’

3. I actually sort of like driving around looking at Christmas lights (especially in the passenger seat with a peppermint mocha liberally spiked with peppermint schnapps). However, to get even a string of small, tasteful white lights up on my house, I have to have this fight with my husband:

Me: Can you put up Christmas lights this year?

Jason: Sure. As long as you arrange for me to have a large block of time on a weekend during which I am responsible for nothing else. Just point me in the direction of that block of time and don’t bother me at all during it.

Me: OK, that sounds good. But just so you know, I can no longer take the kids to the doctor or make dinner unless I have an appropriate block of time during which to do this where I’m not responsible for anything else and no one bothers me. So the kids won’t be looked after medically and we won’t be eating dinner until you can arrange that for me, cool?

And that argument is tedious and I’m tired of having it. So sometimes I just don’t and then our house is bare and my kids are sad and feel like the holiday is magic-less.

4. THE MUSIC IS AWFUL. No, like really THE WORST. If I hear a sleighbell I start to twitch. Any mention of a ‘yule log’ set to a tinkly tune causes me to repeatedly smack myself on the side of the head until I’ve gone deaf and it can no longer torture me. Stop the madness, People.

(Except for Peace On Earth sung in a round to the lighting of candles at the midnight service at church. That makes me a little misty just thinking about. And also The 12 Days of Christmas, but only because Gray and I sing it 1000 times as loud and as fast as we can every year even though we can never remember the order of the last 5. OK, some of the songs are acceptable. But so many others are so bad they ruin it for all Christmas music.)

5. Oh the Christmas Cards. The horrible, never-ending process of mailing cards to my 200 closest friends, relatives, colleagues and clients. My very least favorite part of Christmas. So far this year I’ve done not a single thing to prepare for this beast of a project. No family picture, no calendars ordered, no contact database updated. I just typed out all of the steps it will take to get them into people’s houses, but I almost hung myself with a holiday-patterned tie over the tedium of it all, so I figured I shouldn’t put you all through it. Just know it involves a lot of death threats, bribery and paper-cuts on my tongue, which, now that I think about it, isn’t really that different from anything else in my life. Just kill me now.

I think that’s mostly it. Those are the worst parts of it. Maybe I just needed to vent it all and now I’ll be able to get through the holidays with a smile on my face. *Snort* I know. That was a funny idea, right?

Random Friday Thoughts

My relationship with Life of Pi

Everyone I know: You haven’t read Life of Pi? You totally need to. It’s so good and you will love it so much.

Me: I dunno. Sounds boring. Sometimes you like boring stuff. Remember That awful Eat, Pray, Love? You talked me into that and it was more like Sleep, Die of Boredom, Put a Gun in My Mouth.

Everyone I know: For reals, I promise, you’ll like it.

Me: Alright, I’ll give it a try.

Me (after reading Life of Pi): That was so amazing!! I totally loved that book! Everyone has to read this book! You haven’t read it? You totally need to read it. And you and you and you!!  

Me (five years later, when the movie of Life of Pi is being released)Meh. Looks boring. What was that book about? I remember that I liked it, but I can’t remember why. Was there a talking tiger in it?

Everyone who’s read it: The tiger doesn’t talk.

Me: Boo. Don’t want to see it.

 ***

It’s like really messed up when a song has a peppy, fun beat but gross violent lyrics and you don’t realize it until you’re singing along loudly and cheerfully and have an epiphany that it’s about child porn and murder. Right?

Yesterday I went for a long run (7 miles, FTW!) and I was listening to Pandora (the ‘Fun.’ station if you have to know. Yes I realize it’s way cooler to be backlashy about Fun. right now but I don’t care because I like them and they make me happy) and that song ‘Pumped up Kicks’ by Foster the People came on. I was jogging along sort of jamming to the tune, in the zone, when I realized the words I was singing were, ‘All the other kids with the pumped up kicks better run, better run, faster than my gun.’ GUN. Like someone’s shooting kids? Gross.

So then I started thinking about someone chasing people and shooting them and what would happen if I randomly got shot while I was out jogging. Would someone find me and call 911 or would coyotes just eat my rotting carcass? Would my kids have the sense to call their father when I didn’t come home in a timely manner? Would I just wake up in the hospital a victim of random violence? Or maybe it wasn’t random? Maybe there’s someone with a reason to want to shoot me?

After that I spent literally the entire rest of the run (which was a long time because it was SEVEN MILES and I’m real slow) coming up with an elaborate story about someone who would want to shoot me and how they would be arrested and I would have a gunshot wound scar that would be really hardcore and cool and I would have to testify in court and it would all be very dramatic.

I blame bands for not making their music match the lyrics. It should be a law.

 ***

Yesterday I was paying our credit card bill and I was scrolling through charges (which I never do) and I saw that one was pending for 1-800-Flowers. Since I did not order any flowers, I knew this could only be for one of three reasons:

1. Jason bought me flowers for no reason but to be nice.

2. Jason bought someone else flowers.

3. Our credit card number had been stolen.

Obviously I didn’t really want to call Jason and ask him about the charge just in case it was option one. But, I didn’t want to do nothing in either of cases two or three. So I decided to wait it out a couple of days and see what happened.

Today I went to lunch with a BFF, Amanda. When I told her the whole story, she was skeptical.

Me: So what would you do?

Amanda: Well, you know that’s how they steal your card number. They charge something innocuous and then if it goes through they charge more stuff. That’s happened to us before.

Me: Really? But maybe he really just wanted to randomly send me flowers?

Amanda (eyebrow raised): He could pick them up at the grocery store. And when has he done that?

Me: True… and maybe once before. In almost 11 years. But he did once! And I don’t want to ruin it if it is him.

Amanda: Well, you can usually dispute that for awhile on your credit card if it is fraud. You could give it a couple of days.

Me: Yeah. I might call the card company anyway. Now I’m thinking it might not be really likely.

Me to the card lady: So… here’s the thing; I saw a charge for a flower company on my card, but I don’t know if it’s my husband sending me flowers as a surprise for no reason or someone stole my credit card number. Is there anyway for you to check if it’s fraudulent?

Card lady: Um… no ma’am. (Clearly thinking my husband’s probably cheating on me.) But if you discover it’s fraud you’re 100% protected.

Me: Ok… I’ll just give it a few days.

Literally 15 seconds after I hang up with the card lady – *Doorbell ring*

Delivery man: I have a delivery from 1-800-Flowers for Elizabeth Newlin.

Me in text, to Jason 10 minutes later: The flowers are really pretty and I love them. I’m so glad you were sending me flowers and it wasn’t just our credit card being stolen.

Jason: This, THIS, is why men don’t just randomly send flowers. It’s just not worth the goddamn hassle.

Damned If I Don’t

In the car, on the way to pick up Ben from school yesterday -

Jonas (5): Mom, what’s ‘terch’?

Gray (8): It’s not ‘terch’, it’s ‘church’.

Jonas: OK, what’s ‘church’?

Me: Uh… it’s a place some people go to worship.

Jonas: What’s ‘worship’?

Me: Well, it means like praying and… stuff…

Jonas: What’s ‘praying’?

Me: *SIGH* Ah… praying is talking to god.

Jonas: Alright. But what’s ‘god’?

Me (realizing this conversation is not going to end quickly or easily): So, some people believe in a higher power. Like a sort of guy in charge of it all. And actually some people believe in multiple higher powers-

Gray (interrupting, which was good because it wasn’t going anywhere particularly eloquent or sensical): Lots of people in my class go to church.

Jonas: Why don’t we go to terch?

Me: Uh, well because Daddy and I don’t believe in organized religion.

Gray: Like almost all of the people in my class go to church.

Me: But I bet they don’t all go to the same church, right? And I bet a lot of them are different religions from each other. Belief is a personal decision and it’s ok if we all believe different things.

Gray: I don’t believe in god.

Me (Wincing, wondering if this means he also doesn’t believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy or if this is less critical thinking and more knee-jerk “I think what my parents think” talk. Worrying that maybe an 8 year old needs to believe in a higher power to cope with some of the harsh realities of life he’s going to encounter. Sure, religion has that whole guilt thing as a negative, but it is really comforting when someone you care about dies or something unfair happens. Maybe I’m too obsessed with what I feel like is the truth. Do kids really need the truth as much as they need to believe in nice things and that the world is an ok place? Maybe I should invent a religion without all the guilt and indoctrination regarding evil that still lets them feel like there’s a reason behind the madness and something beyond this life. We could sing and it wouldn’t even have to be early Sunday morning. Then my kids could grow up through their formative years feeling safe and comforted and make the decision about what they believe when they’re older and have the tools to really understand and cope with life. Maybe this is why L. Ron Hubbard invented Scientology. Shit. I probably should have thought of this sooner. I think that ship has sailed.): Well, I don’t either, but it’s a pretty complicated thing, so you might change your mind some day, and that’s OK, too.

Gray: I wouldn’t even want to go to church. We went once with Grandma, remember Jo? We had to get dressed up and it was really boring.

Jonas: I don’t remember.

Me: I went to church when I was young. I liked it. There was lots of singing and my minister told nice stories. And all of my friends went to my church. If you ever decide you want to go to church, I could take you. You might change your mind.

Jonas: Mom, can I have a capri sun when we get home and can I ride my bike in the front yard?

Gray: Can you turn this song up on the radio? I like this one.

Me (exhaling shakily): I need a drink.

The sex conversation can’t possibly more uncomfortable or nerve-wracking than that, can it?

 

 

Problem Solving

Home Inspector: The seller didn’t repair the water heater. It’s still leaking.

Me: The seller says the dripping from the pipey thing is the water softener auto-clean feature flushing out. There’s no repair needed on the water heater.

Home Inspector: There’s no water softener at this house.

Me to Seller: Home inspector says there’s no water softener.

Seller: Of course there’s a water softener. It’s right next to the water heater.

Me to Home Inspector: There is most definitely a water softener.

Home Inspector: Oh right, there is totally a water softener. It’s right next to the water heater. But that’s definitely not why the pipe is leaking. Also the band gasket at the pool pump that the seller agreed to fix is still leaking.

Me to Pool Repairman: The home inspector says the band gasket you were supposed to fix is still leaking. Can you go out and look at it again?

Pool Repairman: OK, I went out and looked and it is most definitely not leaking.

Me to Home Inspector: The pool guy says it’s not leaking.

Home Inspector: It’s definitely leaking. I saw it leaking today. I was there and I saw the water dripping down.  It’s not an expensive or difficult fix, but it’s leaking and it needs to be done.

Pool Repairman: If there was a leak, it would absolutely be easy and cheap to fix, but there’s nothing leaking about it. Everything is bone dry. It’s in perfect working order.

Home Inspector: The buyers and the buyer’s agent were all with me and we witnessed it leaking. We touched the side of the band gasket and could each swear in court that we saw leaking.

Pool Repairman: I took a 5 minute video that I can email you of the band gasket not leaking.

Seller: I am also willing and able to take a video of the water heater not leaking.

Me: … OK, so I’m going to need you just to be straight with me. What sort of sexual favors and/or bribes is it going to take for you people to just come to an consensus one way or the other?

Oversharing Is The New Black

21 inane things I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about:

1. Where would I loot first if there was a zombie, alien or vampire apocalypse; Chandler Mall or Scottsdale Fashion Square?

2. How much wine is too much? Is there such a thing?

3. What will the dress look like that I wear when I win an academy award for best screenplay adapted from the novel I wrote?

4. Do I still look on the youngish side or is that just wishful thinking?

5. Is the fact that my husband never gets jealous about anything because he’s not really that into me or because he’s just a more evolved and understanding human being?

6. Why do famous people never get stretch marks when they’re pregnant?

7. Can my neighbors hear everything that’s going on in my house or just the really loud stuff?

8. How does Facebook pick the people who show up in the chat feature on the side of the page? Is it people who I’m stalking or people who are stalking me?

9. Is there any chance anyone can read minds and hear what I’m thinking about right now?

10. Will the aspartame in Diet Coke eventually give me cancer and I’ll look like a total asshole for drinking it wantonly for all these years?

11. Is the reason Jason didn’t just answer his phone when I just called because he got into a car accident on the way home from work?

12. Why did Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell never get married? Is it really because they don’t believe in the institution of marriage or do they have some kind of wacky open relationship? Or is one of them sort of still keeping her eye open for something better to come along?

13. Can I get away with a dark lip or does it look whorey on me?

14. If I was Alicia Florrick I would probably forgive Peter because Chris Noth is still really hot for as old as he is and all powerful and political and he seems pretty sorry.

15. How many miles would I have to run to burn off all the calories in an 11 serving bag of Chili Cheese Fritos?

16. Do my kids’ teachers totally hate me for being ‘that mom’ in about 16 ways? If they do, do they take it out on my kids or just feel sorry for them for having me as a mom?

17. If Bravo and MTV got married and had a baby network I might never leave the couch.

18. Will I someday regret not having one more baby?

19. If I lost 8 more pounds would I be perfectly happy with my body? Is there any weight I could possibly be where I wouldn’t obsess about it?

20. Does my husband ever check my browser history? I wonder if I should go check his browser history. I don’t think I have any idea how to check browser history.

21. Is this post that I’m writing right now funny, funny and embarrassing or just embarrassing?

Important Election Issues

Last night when I got home from dinner with my dad for his birthday Jason was on the couch watching The Cooking Channel. Jason feels about politics similarly to how I feel about baseball; he’ll pay minimal amounts of attention to it because everyone seems so worked up over the whole thing, but he usually has to ask, “So where do I go and which propositions do I vote yes on?” in the same marginally disinterested tone of voice I use when I ask, “So which team do we want to win if the Yankees are out of it now?” But as when it’s World Series time and I let him control the remote, he let me take over and flip to election coverage last night.

About half an hour into the coverage I noticed he was growing more and more discontent with what he was watching unfold. He sighed heavily several times and even switched positions and threw up his hands and one point in a grumbly sort of frustrated agitation. I had been expecting him to be asleep after approximately 8 minutes of forced news coverage, so I started to get a little excited that he was so engaged. Aw, look, he’s emotionally invested in this election, too! He has an opinion about what’s going on! We’re like actual, responsible adults who vote and care about the future of our nation, I thought to myself with a touch of The Smug. Maybe we should discuss the issues and how they will impact our life in the future or something. Isn’t that what responsible adults do?

Me: So… it’s not good, huh?

Jason: No, it’s terrible. I mean really awful. I just don’t understand how some people can live with themselves.

Me: Yeah, definitely. But I mean, there’s some good points, too, I think, don’t you?

Jason: I don’t think I can see anything. It’s just disturbing. I mean look at the numbers!

Me: Well the numbers aren’t good right now, but it’s early in the night… they could get better. Which numbers are you talking about specifically?

Jason: All of them! They’re just everywhere and moving all of the time! It’s ridiculous and offensive.

Me: …we’re not talking about the election results, are we?

Jason: The results? No! The layout and design of the graphics on the news coverage is AWFUL. How is anyone supposed to get anything from any of it? It’s all just so much red and blue and there’s too much movement and the fonts are atrocious. And the flags waving in the background aren’t helping anything. It’s liable to give someone a seizure! Whoever is in charge of this shit should be fired and then executed. I bet he sends emails using Comic Sans!

Me: Ah, yes. That actually makes more sense. 

Jason: And don’t even get me started on Tom Brokaw’s tie. Black and yellow and red? With all the blue and red around it? Is he just trying to be different or does he want to give me a migrane? 

Oh, right, we met in the art department at UA and went on dates to art museums and galleries, not political rallies. Discussions about political issues might have been reaching a bit. I don’t know what I was thinking.

The Yearbook Rabbit Hole

I dragged Jason to a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament at an old friend’s house Saturday night. The poker part didn’t go that well for either of us, mostly because we didn’t really know how to play. Although I think Jason picked it up pretty quick and didn’t embarrass himself. It took me most of my chips, however, to realize that buying into the hand regardless of what my initial two cards were just because I wanted to see the flop is not a game-winning strategy. Also apparently serious poker playing types don’t really like it when you say, “BORING” every time a hand ends before anyone has to show cards. (But I didn’t really care because it is boring and they needed to know.)

It was an interesting and fun night for me, though, mainly because about 50% of the people at the game went to my high school and several I hadn’t seen since we graduated (except for maybe at our 10 year reunion, which doesn’t count because let’s face it, I don’t remember anything about that night. Who ever remembers anything from 10 year high school reunions? I’ll tell you who, sociopaths who don’t drink too much when they’re nervous, that’s who).

When we got home from the game that night, I pulled out my senior year yearbook and showed pictures of everyone at the poker party to Jason, who indulged me even though he obviously could not have cared less. Ah yes, that’s the guy who was my table. He looks different now. Interesting. Can we go to bed now or are we going to look at more pictures of people I just met and didn’t know 16 years ago? 

Eventually I let him off the hook, but I quickly got sucked into a deep high school yearbook rabbit hole. I don’t even think I actually read that thing when I got it way back when. In fact, I remember I had a really hard time with the whole graduating and leaving home and my friends thing senior year (I’m not excellent with change) so I did some general avoiding of the whole topic. But now I’m fascinated by it. My stalkery voyeuristic* inclinations have SO MANY QUESTIONS. For instance:

1. Does that girl who wore super white face makeup and a rose temporary tattoo on her cheek, plus a dead-eyed expression on her face for her senior photo look at that picture now and think, “God, my mother was so right, that picture is completely embarrassing.”? Or does she still look like that? Maybe she thinks, “I was just too creative and too much of a visionary for high school. They didn’t understand me,” as she listens to Jack White’s new album.

2. Were those brightly colored cowboy shirts really a thing that was ok? It’s not just one or two people wearing them. They must have been something I blocked out of my memory because it’s too painful to think about them possibly ever being in style.

3. Did the girl who in her student profile described her future ‘Dream Job’ as an ‘administrative assistant working for an executive in a large company,’ ever realize it’s not 1945 and she’s allowed to have aspirations beyond being a secretary? Or is she just really happy as a secretary somewhere?

4. Was the stuff I wrote in people’s yearbooks as weird as the stuff people wrote in mine? Of course it was probably more so.

Dear anyone who let me sign their yearbook,

Can’t we just mutually agree not to ever read what each other wrote again? I don’t even really feel comfortable reading what you wrote to me, much less thinking about what I could have possibly written to you. It’s really for the best.

Awkwardly yours,

Liz

5. Why don’t Jason’s yearbooks have a single signature or mark in them? Was it mostly a girl thing to have people sign your yearbook? Or an Arizona thing? Or is it just more evidence that my husband is really a robot devoid of human qualities like feelings and sentiment? Or even more likely, did he know that one day I would decide I wanted to read everything anyone had ever written to him in his yearbook, so he carefully switched out all of the written on pages with blank ones just to torture me?

6. How many of the people I went to high school with married other people from our high school? I feel like that should be pretty rare, but it seems like I know a bunch of people who married either high school sweethearts or people they reconnected with after high school. What if one of my sons ends up marrying someone he is already in school with? I should probably look through their yearbooks also, to pick out the best candidates so I know which way to steer them. I hope Gray marries that cute little tomboy, Trina who’s been in class with him since he was a kindergartener. She’s so spunky and smart.

And oh so many more. I should really lock away the yearbooks. I could lose weeks inside them. That’s not creepy, is it?

*OK, I just had to look up the word ‘voyeur’ to spell it correctly and apparently it has an inherently sexual connotation to the definition. Like it means someone who likes to watch other people have sex. I always thought it had a sort of broader definition that referred to a person who liked to watch other peoples’ lives because she’s nosy and enjoys gossip and drama. I feel like I’ve used that word in a really lot of inappropriate situations. Mental note: stop telling people like my colleagues and parents’ friends that I’m a “voyeur”. Also probably just stop using that word in polite company.

So a Ninja, a Prisoner and Felix Baumgartner Walk Into a Bar…

I can’t decide if I love the fact that today 75% of my Facebook feed is pictures of the dressed up spawn of people I’ve known 15+ years, or if it makes me depressed that I’m old enough for this to be true.

Regardless, this is what Halloween 2012 looked like at our house:

Ben was a ninja for at least the third year.

What he lacked in creativity, he made up for in commitment.

Jonas was Felix Baumgartner, the space jump guy:

Gray went as a prisoner.

Here’s how that last one went:

Me: So what costumes did you get for Ben and Gray at the Halloween store?

Jason: Ben wanted to be a ninja, AGAIN. And this is what we got for Gray (pulls an orange jumpsuit out of a bag).

Me: …you bought our eight year old a felon costume?

Jason: It was the only costume he showed any interest in at all.

Me: OK, but did no part of you wonder if this was an appropriate costume for a third grader? Whether this is something we really want our kid to aspire to?

Jason: Well, no. It’s funny because the name of the penitentiary is ‘GOTBUSTED’.

Me: Oh yes, hilarious. It’s almost as funny as Calvin-peeing-on-things car stickers. I can hardly contain my mirth.

Jason: I’m not saying it’s high-brow humor…

Me: And what crime do you suppose our kid has committed in the scenario you’re proposing? Is he a murderer? Or merely a child molester?

Jason: No, no, nothing like that. Just… breaking and entering or something.

Me: Oh, right, so that’s why he has the fake, retractable dagger you also bought for him. Which is TOTALLY an OK thing, also. Why didn’t you buy him a wife-beater too and stop by the tattoo shop and get him a SAMCRO tattoo and he could just go as Jax Teller? Give me the receipt; I’ll take it back.

Jason: You can’t take it back. I bought it at one of those Spirit stores and they’re final sale…

Me: SERIOUSLY?!

Jason: Listen, now, this was a giant pain in the ass. I had to take the boys to three stores! And they complained about everything! I was just doing you a favor taking them so you didn’t have to and could get some work done and now you’re not happy with anything I did! Why did I even bother?

Me (as the whites of my eyes turn black, my head rotates around 360 degrees and blood leaks out of my left ear): I’m sorry? You were just ‘doing me a favor’? Oh, right, I forgot, because this is 1952 and our children and everything about them are my responsibility as their mother. Is that what you’re saying? And yes, I’m well aware it’s a huge pain in the ass to take the kids to buy Halloween costumes. I do it every year. Although I’m pretty sure I do it because I’m way better at it than you are and not because it’s ‘my job’!

Jason: Uh… that came out differently that I meant it. It’s not your job and I’m sorry. Can I get you a glass of wine?

Me: Yes. And he’s NOT allowed to have that dagger and I’m NOT being the bad guy about it.

Jason: Fair enough.

***

Jason and I also dressed up this year. Can you guess who I went as?

Every year for Halloween we go to a family friend’s house to sit in their driveway, eat chili and hand out candy. When I walked up this year:

My mom: Are you dressed as you from high school?

Me: No. But sort of close.

My sister: Oh you are totally Brenda Walsh, aren’t you?

Me: YES! Thank you!

My sister: Well I did watch two episodes of 90210 a day while I was home on maternity leave. So I’m sort of an expert.

So I consider the costume a success.

Can we please just celebrate the awesomeness of the high-waisted jean shorts I found at the Goodwill for a minute?

I sort of hope they come back into style. I didn’t have to suck in once all night and I could eat as much Halloween candy as I wanted. Plus there was no worry of any whale-tale incidents. I know, now you want to borrow them, don’t you?

Jason went as ‘Too cool to dress up’. It’s his costume every year he doesn’t go as ‘Husband whose wife is forcing him to dress up in a costume she picked out’.