Monthly Archives: October 2011

I am THAT mom

Happy Halloween Ghouls and Ghosts! Does everyone have their house properly decorated and all their spooky crafts all finished up? Yea, me either.

I did successfully carve 3 pumpkins that look like Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown, and I didn’t lose a thumb, so that’s a plus.

Anyboo, Declan has his school Halloween party tomorrow, and I’m super excited for him. It will be so cute to see him and all his school buddies all decked out and high on sugar before getting all decked out and getting high on sugar again that night. Awesome.

So since this is his first class party, I wasn’t sure what was expected of us moms. Since we all know I like to Aim Low, I was hoping the expectations weren’t great. Paul has been taking Declan to school most mornings (see how lame I am? I don’t even take my kid to school. Pitiful.), and a few days ago, he called me from outside Declan’s room to see if we should sign up to bring some things. The conversation went like this:

Paul: What should I sign us up to bring to the party?

Me: What are the choices?

Paul: Chips and dip, candy or decorated cookies.

Me: Duh. Not anything decorated. Chips and candy.

Paul: Two things? No one else is signed up for two things. Do we want to be THOSE parents?

Me: Yes. I’m buying their love, not earning it.

So reluctantly, Paul signed us up for the French Onion and Kit Kat Brigade. I’m so ok with being the mom that brings two things to the party, because I’m NEVER going to be the mom that brings beautiful homemade treats, trust me. Paper plates and Ruffles and juice boxes are much more up my alley.

So last week, I got my lazy butt up in time to take Declan to school, and while dropping  him off, I snagged one of his teachers to get the deets on this shindig. While talking to her about the party, I realized that not only am I THAT mom that doesn’t bring crafty snacks (and seriously, I commend those of you that do. I would be on crystal meth if I tried to do what you do. Kudos.), I am THAT mom that doesn’t hang for the party.

Me: So when do you need the snacks? Monday? Do I need to stay or anything?

Sweet Teacher: Of course you can stay! We love when the moms stay!

Me: Oh, um, yea, no, I wasn’t going to … the baby… plans … um, gotta go..

Look, I’m sure the party is going to be great and all, but what is this trend with parents having to mill around at these things? Birthday parties and class events are all overflowing with adults. Why? I don’t remember it being that way when I was a kid. Maybe it was and I blocked it, I don’t know. But honestly, it’s dumb. I’ve fallen victim to the trend of throwing parties for Declan, and really, it’s stupid. He would be just as happy if I let him run around Lowe’s and climb on the lawn mowers and then got him a cookie from the Kroger bakery as he would at a $250 bounce house party with 10 friends and 20 adults. And if I’m paying that kind of money to entertain my kid and yours, why do I then have to have enough food and drinks for the grown ups, too? You know you don’t want cheese pizza and a Capri Sun, yet I serve it to you on a Thomas the Tank plate and worry that you’ll judge me for not having a clown or a pony there.

This needs to stop.

So here’s my idea: No big parties til they start school. Then, they can invite like 5 friends over for pizza or hot dogs or whatever. No adults invited. Drop your kid off and go on a date, for Pete’s sake. Then come and get your kid, who is fed and exhausted from running around, take them home and put them to bed. Oh, and no goodie bags filled with cheap plastic crap, k? If we all agree to this, think about how many kids-free nights we’d get! Let’s take back our social lives, parents, and let the kids have their own. I’m sick of eating cold pizza on paper plates and pretending I enjoy watching random kids jump on a Dora blow-up mattress. I don’t. So next birthday party, let’s ditch the kids, hightail it to the nearest restaurant without a play area and have a party of our own, deal?

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I’ve made it.

Ya’ll, for real, I’m big time. Major. For realz.

My deep, dark secret is that my dream in life is to be a writer when I grow up. I don’t even know what kind of writer, just someone who gets paid to write something. So that’s where this little blog came from. It’s my starting point to living the oh-so-cliched dream and find my voice and all that crap.

I was already feeling successful because people I don’t even know are reading my blog and commenting. Total strangers! That’s huge. I mean, my family is obligated to read this crap and pretend that they care, but for people that aren’t even biologically connected to me to waste take the time to read my ramblings means I’m making steps toward living the dream. Watch out, MTV Cribs! You will be in Knoxville any day now! (Is that show even on the air any more? I have no idea.)

Anyway, imagine my shock when a couple of weeks ago, a HILARIOUS web site called Aiming Low accepted one of my blog posts and published it on their site. I mean, for an ego maniac like me, this was hitting pay dirt. And the site is called “AIMING LOW.” It’s fate. No one aims lower than me. No one.

So I have been feeling pretty good about myself lately, which is always annoying because then I get all showy and try to tell too many jokes and think I look good in straight leg jeans (I don’t), but I feel like I’m hitting my stride. I feel like I might just be able to, one day, make something of all this nonsense.

That day is today.

So, I get this notification from my blog hosting site that one of my posts has been “Pinged.” I, of course, have no clue what this means, so I go digging around on the site to figure it out.

Get this.

One of my posts (the same one Aiming Low thought was funny enough to publish) was linked in an article about talking to your kids about sex. Fair enough. BUT. My post was used in reference to what NOT to do in regards to what you should teach your kids to call their genitals. SCORE! I’m the “how NOT to talk to your kids” mom. Fabulous. I always knew nobody should listen to me.

The icing on the cake? The web site that linked to my blog is run by a group of moms who work for a sex toy shop, and the article is about a “Sex Positive Parenting Series” at one of the sex toy stores in Seattle. My little old blog caught the attention of dildo dealers on the West Coast!!!! Classic.

As if this wasn’t enough, and it really and truly is, I kept digging around on my site stats. I found that another site, unknown to me, was recommending my blog to its readers. I am a big believer that any publicity is good publicity, so imagine my delight when I saw that Treatmentforhemorrhoid.org features a link to my blog on their site.

Hemorrhoids and sex toys and me. I’m made it.

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Job perks

OK, I don’t have a job. Not a real one, with a paycheck and days off.

But I do try to do things that are productive (TRY, I said) and sometimes, things pay off.

For example, I just got a brand new pair of prescription eyeglasses for exactly ZERO DOLLARS.

Yes, free.

All I had to do to get them was promise to review my experience with the retailer, 1800specs.com. Easy peasy.

Here’s the deal. 1800specs.com is a GREAT web site. Their entire MO is making cute prescription eyeware affordable for EVERYONE. The average pair of glasses in the US sells for $150–and that’s including the Costco’s and Walmarts of the world– and of course many of us pay several times that. It’s outrageous, there’s no reason glasses can’t be made available for as little as $20 a pair. It’s a necessity, a question of health and often the ability to support yourself. It’s just wrong to make people overpay like that.

I know for me, I am lucky enough to have vision insurance. And so once a year, I can go to the doctor and have my eyes checked, and then decide if I want to purchase glasses OR contacts with my insurance. Not both. So I alternate years. But what if my glasses broke (if, say, one of my kids happen to grab them/step on them/eat them, which of course, has happened) after I’d already been to the doctor? I’d be screwed. Because glasses are SPENDY, and I know I would have just taped them to my head or something rather than pay for a new pair! But now that I know about 1800specs, if my glasses get broken/chewed/used as a slingshot, I can order myself (or Paul or any visitor at my house wearing glasses) a new pair for cheap!

The other thing that impressed me was the SELECTION! I seriously could NOT decide which ones I wanted. I was torn between the Larissa, the Patricia, or the Cynthia. And while they aren’t my style, I gotta love any place with the Tootsie as a choice! I finally decided on the purple Patricias, and I got them today, only 2 weeks later. They are fabulous.

I was afraid that ordering frames without trying them on would be risky, because let’s be honest, I have an enormous head. But miraculously, they fit perfectly!

All in all, this was a great experience. It was easy, seamless and fun. Anyone with a current eyeglass prescription MUST check out http://www.1800specs.com?tracking=ChristiPavliWampler before buying a pair from any store again! Whether you need a back-up pair, a new look, sunglasses or the perfect accessory for your Tootsie Halloween costume, 1800specs is the best!

Look how fabulous! You don't even notice the piles of laundry on the bed because my glasses are so fabulous!

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The scar remains

About 8 years ago, the newspaper that employed me, The News Leader, decided to give me space in the paper to write a column. I have no idea what they were thinking, but being an attention monger, I was all over it like white on rice.

Anyway, one of my favorite columns was my Halloween piece. Mainly because I thought it was hilarious. So every year for the past few, I’ve republished it and laughed at myself all over again. So here you go. My attempt at Halloween Humor.

First published in 2003. Or 2004. Or some time, who freaking cares.

Dear Mom,

As the holiday season approaches, I have something from my past that I need to reconcile with you. This time of year always brings back a very painful memory from my youth, and I feel that is finally time to bite the bullet and discuss it with you.

I am angry at you, Mother, for the humiliation and shame I felt when you had me dress as a California Raisin for Halloween. Not once, but twice.

Two times, in both fourth and fifth grade, at the tender ages of 10 and 11, you had me slip into my pink leotard and tights, and then, without apology, you made me wear a brown garbage bag.

Here I am, dressed in Hefty's finest.

How could you?

You were good at so many other things. You always cooked the best grilled cheese sandwiches. You let me stay up late on Saturday nights to watch “The Muppet Show.” Christmas and birthdays were great. But what happened on Halloween?

I know that you weren’t a make-your-own-clothes kinda mom. That’s fine, we didn’t live on “Little House on the Prairie.” So I didn’t expect you to whip up one of those homemade elaborate costumes that so many of my friends wore to Lauren Clayton’s fourth-grade Halloween party. But why couldn’t we go to the one-month-a-year costume store at the mall and drop $40 on a “Lucy” from the “Peanuts” costume that would rip in five minutes like my cousin Jennifer got? I promise I wouldn’t have suffocated behind that mask.

Or couldn’t I have gone through your closet and put on one of your favorite dresses and gone as Barbie? My clothes were out of the question. I had already utilized anything good from my closet in years past when I was a punk rocker and fairy princess. Would one cocktail dress ruined at the expense of your daughter’s Halloween dream be too much to ask?

I can understand dressing me in a garbage bag once, by the way. The California Raisins were all the rage in 1987. It was kind of clever, the way that you disregarded the danger of putting a plastic bag over your child’s head all in the name of trick-or-treating. But two years in a row? Weren’t you concerned that you shouldn’t tempt fate twice? What if I had tripped over my stylish Keds and smothered to death in someone’s yard? No one would have found me for days; they would think I was just a Halloween prop.

And surely you remember from your youth the importance of creativity and originality in choosing a costume. It would have been a major faux pas, I’m sure, for you to dress as Marsha Brady one year and Laurie Partridge the next, to use pop culture from your wonder years. So why have your only child adorned in the exact same outfit two years in a row? I know, I know. There was a whole bunch of California Raisins. But no one knew them apart. They didn’t have separate identities.

Which one was I supposed to be??

I can’t visit Hardee’s or even listen to “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” without getting a little bit nauseous.

But, despite this wrong-doing, I forgive you, mother. I will not let these two indiscretions erase all the good you did the rest of those years. Now that I think about it, you must have felt some guilt for what you had done. I think I recall getting everything I wanted those years for Christmas. Ahh, the give and take of the mother/daughter relationship. Who says only children are spoiled?

Your loving daughter,

Christi

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The Mommycoaster

The happy couple enjoying some sanity.

I don’t say enough how much I appreciate my husband, Paul. He is seriously so great. He works hard at a job he loves, he freelances on the side, helps IMMENSELY with the boys and around the house and he is total eye candy. I’m a lucky girl.

But despite all that work he does, the hardest thing that the poor man has to deal with is, well, me.

Look, I know to all of you I seem like a real catch. And I am, trust me. I mean, at least once a week, I put on some make up. Come on.

And while there’s no doubt that my personality is as stunning as my beauty, I can be a little, um, passionate.

Intense.

Crazy, if you will.

There’s no denying that Paul isn’t married to Stable Mable. But that’s ok. We have a great balance. He’s cool, calm and collected, and I’m screaming banshee who likes to freely express my emotions and thoughts to basically anyone who is listening. We are a modern day Yin and Yang.

And while I like to consider myself relatively normal for a mom of 2, sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself through his eyes, and I wonder why he stays. (He’s probably afraid of what would happen if he left, but I digress.)

Case in point: Paul just got back from his annual work conference, which takes him far far away for 5 days. Lucky guy. This was my first experience taking care of both boys 24/7, and while I wasn’t nervous, I was a little anxious about some of the juggling. I am fully aware of how much I lean on Paul. He walks in the door at 5:30 every night, not knowing what kind of disaster he’s walking into, and I typically throw a kid, a cat or some food at him before he gets his key in the door. He puts Declan down, cleans up the kitchen, often bathes both boys and does anything else to help out. So I knew nighttime was going to be a struggle for me.

Luckily, other than a couple sleepless nights from Simon thanks to teething (great timing, teeth), things went ok. I was only homicidal/suicidal for part of the week, and I don’t think any permanent damage was done to anybody (thanks to my Mom for rescuing me when things were bleak). Paul came home, and everything is just peachy.

Except me, who is a lunatic.

Paul told me numerous times that he wanted me to have as much free time this weekend as I wanted. He offered to watch the boys so I could go to the gym, go shop, veg out, etc. So on Saturday, I try to do that. Why do I say “try” to do that? Because, again, I’m a lunatic.

As a mom, I find that one of the hardest adjustments has been getting things done when working around EVERYONE else’s schedule. It’s maddening. If I want to go to the gym, I have to base it around the gym’s schedule, Simon’s nap times and the time it takes to get all 3 of us ready. Which is why there’s about a 15 minute window daily that I can get there. Same with just about any planned activity. So when I get the chance to just be free, I relish it.

Except I don’t. Instead, I tell Paul that I’m leaving him in charge of the boys, and then I override his every decision. So here I am, on Saturday, with a helpful husband and nothing scheduled to do, and I’m yelling at him because “I need to know if you are taking the boys out. If not, I’ll do it. But Simon needs to go down soon. And Declan needs to eat. So I’ll take them, but later. Or you can, whatever…” and on and on. Paul has no clue what to do. Do I want to schedule out the day or do I want to leave it to him? And if I leave it to him, why am I butting in? How can he take over if I won’t let him?

By the end of the discussion, I had NO CLUE what I was talking about. And he was trying to do the right thing but had no clue what that was. Finally, I realized that while I want him to take the reins, it’s hard for me to give up control of them, so I end up being dissatisfied with everything. Fun. Why he didn’t tell me to shove it, I’ll never know. It has to be tough never knowing which side of Sybil he is dealing with, but I am forever grateful that he tries.

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