Monday, October 26, 2009

How I Was One Click Away From Being A Victim Of Sexting

I'm coming out of my week-long break long enough to tell you this. I don't think it can wait.

(Bear in mind as I tell you this story that it all went down just two days after I finished working on a big project where we invited a guest speaker to my school to talk to our teens about the dangers of taking naked or partially naked pictures of themselves on a cell phone. It adds a little irony-flavored seasoning to the tale.)

Saturday I came back from a yoga class knowing that my muscles were going to be sore. Who knew yoga taught by a charming young woman with a German accent could be such a kick-butt experience? I prescribed myself a hot bath to loosen up my tired muscles.

Our master bathroom off of our bedroom only has a shower, so for a tub bath I have to go three paces down the hall to our main bathroom. I stripped down in the bedroom, threw my workout clothes in the hamper, realized I had already taken my bath towel into the bathroom where my water was running, and decided to just sprint right quick down the hall before anyone could see me.

What I didn't know was that Jason was letting Ainsley play with the camera on his Blackberry.

I rounded the corner at full speed, completely naked, to run into my 7-year-old daughter holding her dad's Blackberry at arm's length.

"Smile, Mommy!"

I've never thought that I have quick reflexes. But I am pretty sure that the quickness with which I was able to grab the Blackberry away broke some sort of naked-Mommy land speed record.

I shudder to think how that would have played out had she snapped the photo. His co-workers could have gotten a very interesting attachment.

On the plus side, I got a much-needed laugh. Behind the bathroom door, with a towel around me, of course, lest my little photojournalist get any more bright ideas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm Off To Find Some Joy

Yeah, it's been a while.

I decided a week or so ago that until I had something (mostly) nice to say, I wasn't going to say anything at all. For the past month, during our string of unfortunate events, I've been all, "Whine, whine, moan, moan, complain, complain." Even in a blog called, "The Cranky Librarian," I have a limit for how much of my own belly-achin' I can take.

This week, I've been incredibly busy. I had a big project I was responsible for at work, a whole bunch of meetings, and a sick kid (just a cold, thank goodness, and not the dreaded flu of the swine.) But even with that, things were good. I had a few positive, perhaps even funny posts rattling around in my head, my luck was seeming to turn around (I won't a $50 Tar-jay gift card as a door prize at one of the evening meetings I had this week--score!).

Then I walked in the door at 9:30pm from the final long night of these past two weeks to learn that we'd just had a death in the family.

This person is someone I haven't even seen in a long time (though by all means should have taken the time to visit in her final years) so I feel all kinds of regret and guilt right now. My mom and sister had a closer bond to this person in life than I did, and they are both taking it very hard and making the trip "down home" this weekend to help with arrangements and begin to grieve. It may only be a small bombshell, but it's enough to shake my world a little bit.

So here's the deal, loyal readers. I can hear an Oprah-like voice in my head right now saying, "Go. Find your joy." That sounds very Oprah-awful, I know. But I think that's exactly what I need to do.

I am going to take another week off from the blog. I know only a few of you read it, and it's not something you can't live without, and all that. But I wanted to let you know. I promise that I will come back if you will. I am going to get my groove back, find my mojo, whatever you want to call it. On Monday, November 2, I am going to come back and start writing again. By then, I will have licked my wounds (as well as a load of Halloween candy) and be ready to look at the world with still-cranky, but hopefully newly-optimistic, eyes.

Take care of yourselves. And each other. And like the Terminator says...I'll be baaack.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In Memory of Ila, Queen of the "See"

On Ainsley's desk sits a little picture she drew of a big goldfish swimming in bright blue water, with the sun's yellow rays shining down on her.

At the top Ains has written, "In Memory Of Ila, Queen Of The See." Her goldfish died this weekend after a mercifully short battle with dropsy, which made her swell up for two days and caused her scales to stick out like the ridges of pinecones. It's a disease caused, so far as I can tell, by poor water quality. So despite the fact that it was only a $1.99 goldfish, and despite scheduled water changes and gravel-vacuuming, I feel sad and guilty that we could only keep our "fancy" goldfish alive for two years.

Ainsley, being seven, bounces back and forth between being sad and saying, "I really miss Ila," to asking excitably what our next pet is going to be. She misses the little (well, not so little at the time of death) golden wonder who bounced back from the brink of death twice before and who swam with such energy that it wasn't unusual for me to hear her gravel rattle against the walls of the aquarium in the middle of the night from the next bedroom. We can't have a dog or cat or hamster or guinea pig because of the asthma and allergies, so she's asking for an Ila replacement from various aquatic and semi-aquatic worlds: a hermit crab, dwarf frogs, snails, even chameleons.

And though I love animals, Ila was more work than I would have thought a fish to be, and against my better judgement I got attached to the stupid little thing, and I've really had it up to here with sickness and death, and I kinda want to put down the "No more pets, ever" stamp and be done with it.

But there's an empty aquarium in my kid's room, cycling through to hopefully get all the bad mojo out, waiting for our next victim. I mean, pet.

What's a parent to do? The ideal Ila replacement would require minimal tank maintenance, not have to be fed while we're on vacation, be pretty to look at, and live a long life. The last I checked, no super-fish meets this bill. Am I a bad person if I just throw some aquatic plants and fake ceramic fish in there and call it a glorified night light and be done with it? Maybe put a pet rock in there?

If any of you are experienced fish keepers and have a brilliant suggestion, I'm up for it. Otherwise, Ainsley is just going to have a vegetarian fish tank.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All Saints

This is going to be my second blog post in a week that mentions Catholicism, so let me just apologize in advance for that. The kid goes to a Catholic school and 99% of the time I love it and am glad I made that choice. Sometimes, though, I just stop and think...Really? You're really going there?

Today's "Really?" moment comes from re-reading the little classroom bulletin Ains brings home every Monday. It's a great way for her teacher to let us know about upcoming tests and projects and issues that have arisen in the classroom. The only downside is sometimes I don't read it through very well on Monday afternoon because the library is busy or the kid has a lot of homework. It's also on paper, which means that if I leave it lying around, I will often end up picking it up with other pieces of paper and tossing it in the garbage before I ever get a chance to read it. It's the downfall of being the opposite of a pack rat.

I read the bulletin this morning while Ains and Jason ate breakfast and came across a little nugget of information I missed yesterday. The day before Halloween, the school is having a "Harvest" party. It will not be a Halloween party this year; apparently, some Catholics have issues with their kids celebrating Halloween.

But wait. There's more.

That's not really that shocking; I've seen this trend in our area for a couple of years now either for PC purposes (it's also "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas") or because our part of the world is pretty conservative and some parents think celebrating Halloween is giving a day to the devil. That's not a joke.

What is surprising and irritating is that the priest at the parish wants to have a "Parade of Saints" that Friday, too. Instead of coming to school in a traditional Halloween or "harvest" costume or changing into one pre-party the way I always did at my heathen public school, the kids (at least in Ainsley's grade, since they're getting ready for first communion and are being picked on a lot with this stuff this year) have to march in a saint costume.

Yes. A saint costume.

Hey, you got a minute? Google "saint costume." Go into that first non-retail site it gives you. Check out the pictures of kids in holy (not holey) attire. I'll wait.

The picture on the home page of the kid in the priest costume, eyes cast heavenward, is worth the price of admission.

Seriously, though. How, exactly, am I to find a saint costume? The 2nd graders have to do a report on the saint they're dressing as, too, and Ainsley has chosen the patron saint of music for her report. Besides draping her in an oversized bed sheet and giving her a toy flute, I don't really know how to attire my kid. I do not sew, and whatever Ainsley has ever wanted to be for Halloween, I turn to Amazon or the Disney Store or the local Halloween costume shop. The last I checked, there were no Saint Cecilia costumes on the racks at Target.

The teacher did say in the bulletin that she wanted to tell us about this in advance because "saint costumes aren't easy to find."

You don't say.

If anyone has a brilliant idea about how to make my kid look like the patron saint of music, I'm all eyes. Otherwise, I'm making a veil out of an old bedsheet and calling it a day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out Of The Mouth Of Ains: True Colors

"Mommy, what are my school's colors?"

I was surprised that Ainsley doesn't know this; I have bought hair bows in her school colors to add some spice to her clothes those days that she just wears solid navy pants instead of her unform jumper, which features the school colors in a tastefull, subtle plaid. She was in her jumper when she asked me this this morning, so I pointed to the red and gold stripes running through the navy plaid.

"Your school's colors are red and gold," I said. "See? They're in your jumper. I thought you knew that."

It turns out the two little girls across the street, who I have nicknamed The Pestilentia because they're, well, pests, were talking about the school colors at their Catholic elementary school.

"They said their school's colors were pink and gold, and they had me confused."

"Why were you confused?"

"Their school color can't be pink," Ainsley said. "It has to be blue, black, white, red, or sometimes purple because those are the Catholic colors."

Ah, Catholicism. Prescribing even the most minor details of life, including accepted color schemes, to its devoted followers since the 4th century.

And what, pray tell, is a Protestant color? Fuschia? Chartreuse? Day-Glo orange?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Update...

You know how I did a lot of complaining yesterday? Like usual?

Just a few hours after I posted that entry about the mini nervous breakdown I had as a result of all the crap that has been going wrong in and around my house, I got a call from my hubby.

"So...ah...yeah. I just wrecked my car."

Here are things to be thankful for:

1. He doesn't have a scratch, for it was as minor as a collision with a semi could possibly be.
2. The car maybe isn't totalled.
3. We had renewed our AAA membership this summer, even though I would have bet money before the accident that we forgot and were no longer covered for towing.

But every silver cloud has a dark lining in my book, so let me just also add...


One friend of mine believes in past lives and is now convinced that I was a bad, bad person in a previous incarnation and am paying off cosmic debt right now. One friend suggested that I just wrap our house, our cars, and ourselves in large sheets of bubble wrap until our wonky mojo passes. And yet another friend says this most recent development in "bad things are happening at the Cranky house" is actually very good luck and not very bad luck because no one was hurt and our auto insurance has a pretty low deductible.

I just report. You decide.