Punk Rock Girl

Free dress days are always either a total joy or a total headache depending on two things – the theme and the preparedness of the woman who can’t dress herself in the morning. Luckily today’s free dress had no theme. When there is a theme it is usually sports and in this house a sports theme can be problematic. I always have a shirt or two for my mini me to wear from my alma mater which is diametrically opposed to her school colors. My husband has no alma mater and no opinion about what clothing she should wear on free dress days. He sneaks out of the house to work before she even wakes up. Luckily this morning was a non-themed, wear whatever the hell you want to school kind of morning. Naturally my daughter picked black tights, a black dress and little black ankle boots. She is definitely her mother’s daughter.

We were driving to school listening to Modest Mouse and talking about concerts she wants to go to this year and all of the bands she wants to see. I was thinking about her holding my phone to her head at five months old rolling around on the floor in pure bliss listening to Black Flag  and I told her about how she got to hear bands like Tokyo Police Club and The Dead Weather when she was in utero. She couldn’t see Alison Mosshart on that stage, but this little seven year old sure carries herself the same way down the hallway walking into school. She is most definitely her own person. She likes what she likes and she doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks about it. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that she is so self-aware at such a young age and that she can just be herself and do her own thing.

She takes her style from many places. Today is Wednesday Addams and tomorrow will be Harley Quinn, but she makes it all her own, my independent little girl. She is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

*This post is brought to you by brownies and lots of punk rock.

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I Want Candy

My daughter busted us eating her candy at least three times in the past week. I would like to say that this only happens around Halloween, but it’s not true. It’s an ongoing battle in our house. Whenever our daughter brings home candy she puts it in a cup in the cupboard. She has her daily piece from this stash. My husband also has his daily piece from this stash. I might also dig into the cup now and then depending on which side of the bed my little mini me crawled out of. All of a sudden the candy is gone and everybody is blaming each other for eating it all. The same thing happens with cereal. Anything sweet just seems to disappear in our house. It’s like living with magicians, or burglars.

This year on Halloween we went trick or treating with one of Riley’s classmates. Her parents were gracious enough to have us over even though the Mom was due with baby number two a few days later. We had pizza and salad and the dads took the girls out trick or treating. The moms hung back and passed out candy. It worked out pretty well because I could jump up and get to the door pretty quickly and let preggers take her time to get up to see the kids. After a few hours and several tumbles in the grass our girls and their handlers returned with their loot.

My daughter considered the candy hers and hers alone. My husband figured since he had to follow her around in the cold he deserved some of the candy as well. She tipped us out with chocolate bars that she didn’t like and sent us on our way that night. Since then the bag has been sitting in our kitchen, and all three of us have been eating from it, quietly when nobody else is looking. The bag has started to sag as the candy has gotten up and walked away on it’s own.

Last week my daughter finally organized all of her candy. She gave some to me, some to her dad and the rest she put back in her bag. I don’t know if she has created a candy spreadsheet, but she is definitely trying to control her inventory. She has taken stock of the laffy taffy and starburst, the jolly ranchers and twizzlers. She knows exactly what should be in that bag. I’m not going to tell her about the skittles wrapper I found while doing the laundry last night. I think her dad may have helped some little rainbow candy escape a child’s mouth. The wrapper was tucked into a box of dryer sheets. The garbage can was two feet away but I’m sure he had just been scolded for the wrappers she found in the kitchen garbage can while he was trying to hide the evidence of his latest theft. For a sugar junkie he’s really bad at covering his tracks. I mean, come on man, it takes two seconds to wrap it up in a kleenex or something else gross she would never touch while looking in the garbage. Total amateur.

Over the summer she bought herself a little locker to protect her valuables. She doesn’t keep her jewelry or money in it, she hides her candy from her parents. I’m guessing she will put some of her Halloween candy in there. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that the bag is dwindling at night. Luckily she has given me the combination since she thinks it is only her dad who eats her candy while she sleeps.

 

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Loyalty

When I was in high school I got into a lot of trouble. I was young, immature, and doing stupid stuff all the time. I was in detention a lot, mostly for being out of uniform because I wore combat boots with my plaid uniform skirt and I always wore black socks instead of navy blue or my shirt was pulled out just a little too far so it could be considered untucked. I didn’t really mind detention because it was a place to get all of my homework done in peace and quiet. The one detention I am proud of was for throwing another girl up against the lockers. Now I know this is probably not something most people would be proud of, but to me, then, and now, it still is.

I threw that girl up against the lockers because she walked up to my friend after religion class where my friend had just asked us to pray for her cat who had been run over by a car and whispered in her ear “I ran over your cat”. To this day, I do not remember that bully’s name or why she would say something like this to my friend, but in that moment my reaction to someone hurting my friend was to throw her into the lockers. I served my detention for fighting in school. Sometimes people just need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to say mean things to other people. 

Years later I still have this kind of loyalty to my friends. Years later I am also still the one a lot of people look at twice because I wear Doc Martens with my jeans or my sleeveless band t-shirts to the gym. And most importantly, years later I still don’t care what other people think about me. I like me. If other people like me, that’s great, but if they don’t, I’m okay with that too. Just keep it to yourself. It’s really not my business if you like me or not.

Last week a friend of mine shared a post on facebook of a picture collage of a bunch of famous people who have had mental health issues and died. It was to break the stigma attached to mental health and was a positive post. Some woman who she didn’t even know but was a friend of a friend of a friend asked her if she had mental health issues in a comment on this post. I read it and asked myself “who does that?”

I know who does that. It’s the same people who call me weird because they don’t understand why a middle aged woman still loves punk rock and wears doc martens with her jeans. It’s the same people who think that their worth as a person is based on how much money they make or what kind of car they drive. It’s the same people who are not okay enough with themselves to just be themselves, flaws and all. My favorite parts of people are their scars and their imperfections because that is what makes them truly unique.

My dad has a scar on his forehead where he went through the windshield of his car when he crashed racing to be at his friend’s side after his father died. I loved hearing that story growing up, not because my dad was hurt but because he was going to be with his friend who needed him. That story taught me how being loyal to a friend in need is important. I was driving to the hospital to see a friend who needed me over the weekend when my phone rang and my friend who posted the facebook post asked if I knew who this woman was who commented. Apparently the bully and I went to high school together. It would be really funny if it was the same bully who picked on my friend years ago, but it wasn’t. It was just another mean girl who grew up to be a mean woman and bully people on the internet. In that moment I did the same thing I did as a teenager, but instead of throwing a girl into the lockers I commented back to her on facebook and asked her if she had Asperger’s Syndrome. If she does I can totally understand why she asked the question and she would have gotten a pass. That wasn’t very nice of me either, but sometimes people need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to be mean on the internet and attack people publicly. My husband has commented that it’s possible that both my father and I have Asperger’s Syndrome because we don’t pick up on social cues and focus on what we are interested in very intensely. Personally, I think we are both just sarcastic assholes who are loyal to our friends. She never responded and she deleted her comment so mine went away with it.

I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom…

I would consider myself a kind person. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes before I open my mouth and I know that everybody has their own stuff that they are going through but that woman just really needed someone to put her in her place and I don’t mind being that person every now and then. Yes I was being childish too, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. I had just been in a situation the day before where some people were passing judgement on me for dressing like an angsty teenager when they don’t know me as a person at all. I am still sometimes an angsty teenager and that is what makes me unique.

I thought my days of detention were over years ago, but alas they are not. My husband put me in detention after I told him this story. I guess sometimes when you act like a teenager so much you better accept being treated like one sometimes. Hey at least I got some writing done in my detention!

**I wrote this story while drinking lots of coffee and listening to The Interrupters “Fight the Good Fight”

 

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Full Circle

Turning into my dad is scary enough, but I have also married a man just like my dad. I don’t even want to think about the psychology behind that one.
Years ago we used to make fun of my dad after my mom came home one day to find him painting one of the bedrooms in the house completely naked. He was home alone and didn’t want to ruin another shirt with the little paint splatters that accompany a paint roller. It has been a running joke to never show up at my parents’ house if my dad is painting. My mom has told everyone she knows about the day she came home and found her husband painting naked, so even her friends would joke about stopping by unannounced. They would say things like “I’m dropping off some paperwork in your front door. Pat’s not painting is he?” The poor Old Man has been the naked painter for much of his adult life. Luckily, nothing embarrasses him.

I don’t know if this is something other people do because I am never the one who paints the bedrooms or the furniture or anything else. When the paint comes out I typically head in the other direction. I have had to clean up my daughter after she helped grandpa paint and I can see where the naked painting thing could be the way to go. My husband does the painting in our house, and I think that’s the way it will probably always be. He has been a painting madman over the last week and I have hidden in another part of the house and remained busy so he could not ask for my help.

We participate in an annual trunk or treat event at my daughter’s school. Our themes have ranged from KISS to My Little Pony. Our daughter picks her costume every year and we go with that theme. It’s a lot of work, but we get to create something as a family and our daughter is always so proud of what we put together. This year was a Harry Potter theme. My husband constructed an entrance for the back of the car from wood and fabric to look like the wall for platform 9 3/4. The kids enter through the tunnel to get their candy. He built and painted all week. A few nights ago after I got our daughter tucked in I walked down into the basement where he was painting the fabric pieces that make up the walls of the set. He looked up at me from the floor where he was squatting over the fabric spong painted brick wall wearing nothing but a smile and declared “I totally get it now!” He went on to explain how he had to hang the pieces to dry from the ceiling and didn’t want anything to touch his clothing which was balled up on the floor.

I guess the naked painter torch can now be passed to my husband. If anyone needs to drop anything in our front door during the fall or any other time we may be working on a project, it may be best to call ahead, or don’t go peeking in the window if nobody answers the door. I would like to say this is strictly because of the naked painter thing, but truly I also vacuum in my underwear so it may just be a family thing. Again, I married a man just like my dad and I have turned into him as well.

Our trunk or treat car was a success, mostly because my daughter has a dad and a grandpa that will do anything for her. The guys got the car set up at the school. They assembled the structure and hung the fabric while I got the props set up and the pumpkin juice and candy ready for the littles. I scared some kids as Bellatrix and John was mistaken for a mad scientist by more than one kid who wasn’t familiar with Harry Potter, but we had a lot of little wizards and witches who loved the theme and most of the parents had at least seen the movies if they hadn’t read the books. And my entire family was able to keep their clothes on for the entire event. Miracles will never cease!

**This post is brought to you by lots and lots of punk rock and mass amounts of coffee. They are the two things that keep me going on a daily basis.

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One Track Heart

I love my father, but man is that Old Man stubborn. In his mind he is a young man and his body should be able to do what he wants it to do. But he is getting older and he really shouldn’t be doing a lot of the things he wants to keep doing by himself. He owns two homes and maintains two properties, cutting the grass every week at his house and at the lake house, bagging leaves at two houses in the fall, and caring for all of the other little things that come up. His motto is don’t pay someone else to do something you can do yourself. The problem is, he thinks he can do everything. A few weeks ago we took the boat out of the water and his brother helped, which was great. The problem is when you get these two brothers together, somehow the process of everything we are doing becomes twice as long. It’s like the two of them together creates a space time contingency where everything slows down.

We would normally have taken the dock apart and gotten the boat lift out of the water on the same day, but my mother-in-law was in town and we didn’t want to keep her waiting. Ironically, as soon as my husband and I walked into the house our daughter was mad that we returned so early because she wanted to play with Grandma alone. The weather was warm and it was a great day to be outside, so they spent the day playing in the yard.

The following weekend was not so nice. It was cold and windy, so naturally that was the best time to get the dock out of the water. My dad has three sets of waders just for this job. Two pair are more rubber and less fitted and one is like a scuba suit. I immediately grabbed the scuba suit and headed for the water. I’m no fool. My husband and dad were left with the rubber pants. I had worn these same rubber pants in the spring when we put the dock in the water, so I knew they were great for keeping you dry, but not very good at keeping you warm. Since my husband had only ever worn the scuba suit, he walked out barefoot in his bathing suit only to find the rubber booted waders waiting for him. Instead of putting his jeans and shoes back on, he threw the waders on and headed for the water where my dad was already trying to dismantle the dock by himself since he’s clearly a young, strong man who needs no help. 

We spent the next three hours hauling the dock and boat lift out of the water, where anything that could have gone wrong did. My husband was freezing and forming blisters on his feet, my scuba suit feet were flopping around in the water in front of me as I walked because the suit was made for someone at least a foot taller than me, and my dad was bleeding on his forearms after having the dock scrape him. At some point we also disrupted a bee hive between the rocks on the beach so we were being attacked by angry bees as we carried the dock out of the water. My mom was running around trying to bandage up my dad, kill the bees before we walked in with another piece of dock, and make sure that my dad was not over exerting himself. At one point she was even trying to help us pull the boat lift out of the water with the lawn mower, but she was nervous about giving it too much gas and knocking one of us down or pulling the lift into the wave runner lifts which were also lying on the beach. Putting a nervous older woman behind the wheel of anything is never a great idea. It’s an even worse idea when you have three idiots in rubber pants standing behind her yelling.

By the end of the day both my mom and my husband were looking up companies who could come out to take care of all of this work next year. Between the two of them I’ll be surprised if my dad doesn’t wake up one morning in the spring to find his dock and the lifts in the water, having been put there by people who actually know how to do this stuff.

It was a good thing that my mom was occupied on the third weekend we went out to finish up our lake winterization project. She probably would have had a heart attack watching my dad climb around on the boat lift like a monkey removing the canopy. My husband did his best to stay ahead of the old man with the ladders and tools, but peter pan moves pretty quickly and was standing on top of a ladder pulling at bungy chords and pushing the canopy off the side of the frame in no time. I was beginning to see why my mom is on high blood pressure medicine after that day.

My husband added up all the hours that we spent and decided that it was well worth the cost to pay someone else to do this next year. He told me all about it but I wasn’t really listening because I had been preoccupied for the last week and a half trying to get the videos on my phone onto my computer. I’m not great with technology, so things like this take me hours upon hours to resolve. When I was finally frustrated enough to throw my phone out the window, I asked my husband for help with tears in my eyes. He said “no problem Pat Jr. You realize I fix these types of problems at work for people all week right?” Oh crap. Just when I thought my biggest fear was turning into my mother, it’s not. It’s turning into my father and I already have.

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