Monday

I Kissed the Bathroom Tile and I Liked It.


How to be a Domestic Goddess, even in the face of food poisoning...



Despite my efforts of makeup and hair, green is the color my face decided on.




I don't get out much.  It's an ordeal.  I have to run all day to make sure that everything is done, taken care of, set up for a successful night of me being away.  It also helps ease the guilt of being gone if I have all of the laundry done and put away, dinner made, baths done and time spent with children making up for the few hours I might be gone.

 It has literally been months since I have been out, without children (or hubs) for an evening of fun with the ladies, so you can imagine how happy I was to get an invite from a close friend to go to a party - this time, it wasn't Tastefully Simple, or Pampered Chef, or any of those - it was a Norwex cleaning supplies party.  My, how my life has taken a turn.  The really pathetic thing is how excited I was to go.

Pretty Much.

After a full day of running kids here and there, guitar lessons, grocery store, etc. etc. I had one more stop to make  - the local pizzeria to get a pie for dinner - easy enough.  The smell of the place is intoxicating.  I ordered a large roni for them, and after walking around and waiting for it, I spied something in the deli case where they proudly displayed their specialty slices.  It had my name on it.  A beautiful slice with roni and my weakness - jalapenos.  I didn't care how long it was in the case this afternoon, I figured I would just heat it up and enjoy it at some point before I left. Once their pizza was ready, I added that to my order, paid for the stuff and was on my way.  I finally made it home to get ready for the big night out.  This involved putting a little more effort in than I am used to, makeup application, hair in hot rollers, picking something out of my closet full of nothing to wear.  I get everything done and head downstairs to feed the kids.  After dishing out for everyone, I realize I'm famished from running all day on an empty stomach.  I don't want to go to the party starving because I would have to fight my urge to snack on a bowl of chips while trying to carry on adult conversation and I didn't want to have to deal with that.  I shoved that heavenly slice of pizza down my throat to give my grumbly stomach something to hold it over for a few hours.

Hubs and the kids were finally all set.  I was ready with 5 minutes to spare before my girlfriend came to pick me up.  I savored the quiet while I waited by the door.  And then, all of a sudden, it happened.   Do you remember in Along Came Polly when Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston are eating at that restaurant and his belly started to grumble in that funny way?  That's the kind of grumble that I felt just before I got picked up.  I totally brushed it off as a little indigestion and hoped for the best - nothing was going to get in the way of my night out for a glass of wine and some girl talk with people my own age.  Nothing.


Along Came Polly Restaurant Scene..only I wasn't sweating.  Yet.

 I got in the car, happy to be out of the house, ecstatic to see my friend and catch up on things.  We discuss the weather, and how the snow and ice are not going to be a damper on our night out...the roads are a tad slippery, but she takes it slow and we get there safely - hopefully we don't have to leave too early from the night out due to the weather.  I get distracted, and my belly settles.  Crisis averted!

We get to the party, and it is warm and cozy with a fireplace, wine, kind faces and happy laughs.  I can feel my shoulders start to loosen, my face glow with enjoyment, and the excitement start to build.  Keep in mind again, I don't get out much, so this is such a nice change from the madness of bedtime that I am usually doing at this time of night.  We chit chat, talk about what else, our kids, and of course how nice it is to have a night off from them.  The wine bottles open, glasses get filled, the room starts spinning. Wait. What?  What the hell is going on...I'm feeling...ummm....woozy.  Food poisoning-type-of- woozy.


 I start to panic.  Oh my God, I am going to be sick. At this party. With complete strangers. On my one effing night out in months.  I start to think I'm going to cry - but I hold myself together and dedicate everything that I have to keeping calm.

Almost an hour passes, and finally the person representing the cleaning company decides to take the reigns and start the presentation.  I sit calmly on the barstool, afraid to make a move, continuing to participate in idle chit chat while suppressing my urge to lose my cookies.  Have you ever been in this position? The sheer will needed to put off the inevitable is overwhelming.  It is physically draining, and mentally almost impossible.  Flashback to the movie Bridesmaids.  I was living it.  Why, why the hell did I have to eat that damn piece of pizza. Why, Jesus, Why?


Remember Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, how she was trying to keep calm even though she was shaking and sweating? Do you see where this story is going? (imdb.com)



She starts her spiel...only to me, it is in a long, drawn out, deep robotic voice.  I am fading, and I am fading fast.  I need a bathroom.  Great - these people are probably like - ummm you've been here for an hour..and you already have to go to the bathroom? Who brought the lightweight?  I excuse myself weakly and head to the bathroom.  I don't know which end it is going to come out of, but it's coming.  I pray it's the tail end..I cannot bear the thought of my loud,  ungraceful way of  vomiting to send shrieks of panic through the party.  Please God, don't let this turn into the Excorist.  I get to the bathroom and break out into a cold sweat, the demon makes a quick, but violent, liquid exit from the rear.  By the grace of God and every good deed I'd ever done in my life, it was quick and relatively painless. In under a minute, my entire intestinal track was evacuated and I was left weak, void of any fluids and completely disoriented.  Thank God the hostess had a beautiful array of strong Yankee Candles in her bathroom. I composed myself, washed my hands and face in cold water, and reentered the party just a few short minutes later, with no one even noticing. I had lost so much fluid in such a very short window of time, I nearly fell over.  I pulled myself together just long enough to get back on my stool and smile looking around at the fancy free expressions on everyone's face.  How I wished I could be back home in my yoga pants right about now, lying on my bathroom floor, with my cheek on the cold tile. I needed water, and I needed it fast, but alas, this was not a playdate - this was an adult ladies' night - no water to be found - just wine.  I wasn't strong enough to just ask for it - all I could do was sit still.

I couldn't help but ask myself what the proper etiquette for this scenario might be? Had I driven myself, I could've said that I had a sick child that I had to get home to, or something to that effect.  But the poor girl who brought me deserved a night out too didn't she? So I had to wait it out.  Carefully and patiently.  I sat there with visions of me projectile vomiting all over the hostess's beautiful wine and cheese spread on the counter.  I was a sick mess hiding inside myself just yearning to be free.

We made it through another half of an hour, ordered some ridiculously priced cleaning products when my miracle finally happened, my friend looked at me and said we'd better get going because of the weather.  I was in the home stretch and just had to keep focused for a little longer.

We said our pleasant goodbyes and thank yous and what not, only to walk out into a wintry mix of the worst type of precipitation for driving.  The home where the party was set up on top of a mountain and the only way out was a very long steep narrow driveway, winding and whirling through the woods. My girlfriend looked at me and apologized for the very, very slow drive home we were about to endure.  Cue the cold sweats. Again.  My stomach gurgled again.  Please God, be merciful.

I couldn't tell if it was the snow, or the nausea that made the drive home so blurry.

The drive that should've been a ten minute one, turned into a thirty minute adventure as we braved the unsalted roads.  We arrived home where I managed to act well enough for a sincere thank you and other pleasantries as I nearly fell out onto the driveway from relief mixed with exhaustion.  My husband was waiting for me in the kitchen, not only relieved that I was home safe and sound, but also anxious to hear how my once-in a-blue- moon night out with ladies tickled my fancy.  I fell into his arms and collapsed, crying like a baby.  I got just enough of what happened out for him to be up to date on the severity of the situation, before I ended up hugging the comforts of my own toilet  while vomiting the devil himself out of my stomach.

As I embraced the floor of the bathroom, and gave the tile a gentle kiss, I had time to reflect.  Maybe I wish, too many times, to get out more, to be in the company of friends more, to have a life outside of my realm..maybe this was just  a reality check that truly, there is no place like home.  360 some odd days that I spend in my own home, with no vomiting and free-of-the runs, and it has to strike me the one time I actually get out to do something for me...what a cruel joke.  Maybe it was just bad timing, bad luck..bad whatever.  I don't know...but it'll be a while before I go out again - it's just not worth the trauma. 

Older and Wiser, and a Little Bit Lighter,
~DG

Friday

10 Easy Ways to Be A Domestic Goddess

Getting back to the basics...here are some general guidelines for being a Domestic Goddess, and rules I try to live by.  And as Martin Luther King said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
1.  Be Kind.  You never truly know what someone is going through or has been through.  A simple smile is    no skin off of your back and could make someone's day a little brighter.


2.  Learn how to make several dishes really well - even if it's a simple pasta, lasagna, or colorful salad.

Easy greek salad  takes literally 10 minutes to make:  Cut up tomatoes, cukes, and red onion optional.  Take romaine hearts and cut them up, top with greek olives and feta, and greek dressing.  Make your own dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Finish with pepproncinis.  Voila - a beautiful, healthy centerpiece on your dinner table.

3.  Always be ready for a coffee date - Invite a neighbor or a friend for coffee.  Keep a box of Pepperidge Farm cookies in the pantry.  Talk less about yourself and be a great listener.  Say something kind and send them on their way.  Know how to throw a party and be a most gracious hostess.  It doesn't take that much effort to put out some cheese and crackers, chips and dip and a bottle of wine. A small gathering of friends can bring so much joy to others and yourself.



4.  Treat the person you are speaking to, wherever you are, like they are the most important person in the world at that moment.  People won't soon forget how special you made them feel.
There is one person in my life who I can honestly say makes everyone she speaks to feel like the most wonderful person in the world.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  She is loved by so many in return.


5.  Speak up for the underdog.  Know someone who is being bullied? Mistreated? Abused even? Reach out, speak up, stand up.  Do Something.  If you notice someone is in need of clothes or help or hygiene products, give a little of what you have...twenty dollars worth of something is worth millions to someone in need and won't set you back that much.


6.  Love your children so much it hurts - tell them a happy story at the end of every day.  Always tell them you love them before they leave, and how happy you are to see them when they get home.  Try not to forget that you are the center of this very crazy world, even if they don't know it.


7.  If you have been the recipient of a kind gesture, or if you are moved beyond words at something someone did for you, then write a thank you note.  It takes no more than five minutes and less than fifty cents to mail, and it makes someone feel like doing it again in the future. Everyone likes to be appreciated.


8.  Call your grandparents or parents to say you were thinking of them. Even if it's just a five minute phone call or even a message - it tells them you took the time to show you care- you'll be glad you did.


9.  Put the wind in your spouse's sails.  If you are not encouraging each other to do well and do the things you love, what's the point?  Does your wife love to paint, urge her to take a class once a week while you bond with the kids...if your husband loves soccer, encourage him to participate in an indoor adult league.  Don't stop doing what you love because you're married..encourage the child in your spouse to come out and play.


10.  Did someone in your life make a difference in yours?  Was it a teacher? A neighbor? An aunt, a boss or friend?  Tell them.  Let them know that because of them you see things differently, or better, or perhaps they changed the course of your life and you never told them.  Showing appreciation for someone going the extra mile with you or for you is an amazing act of repayment.

Tell someone that they made a difference in your life.

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here.
~DG

Tuesday

I Blame Julie McCoy for My Bad Decisons.


Looking back, The Love Boat was where it all began to go terribly wrong.


In the 4th grade, our teacher told us that Career Day was coming.  We were to go home, think about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and plan a costume to wear.  I was so excited - beyond excited..I was giddy  with excitement.  This was going to be my day to shine - I didn't even have to put much thought into it.  I wanted to be Julie McCoy, Cruise Director of the Love Boat.

You know, back then (in the early 80s), we didn't have the Internet...we didn't have the ability to just type in "cruise director costume" and boom - three days later, even sooner if you pay for overnight shipping, a costume good enough for a party is waiting at your door.  No, we were left to creativity and originality, and hopefully, a parent who could sew. I looked in my closet at my church clothes and found a plaid skirt and a white blouse topped with a navy sweater that was monogrammed.  Boom!  There it was.  I was going to be the most perfect little Cruise Director ever.  I was so happy.

How sad.  I really thought I looked like Julie McCoy...don't you?  Sigh.

I ended up being the laughing stock of the class.  Not sure if my moustache and olive complexion indicated I would've been a better "Isaac the Bartender" or perhaps my unwaxed eyebrows would've made for a better "Gopher the Purser" but no one knew who I was trying to be.  Damn you Julie McCoy, another blow to my happy childhood. 


I think it is therapeutic for me to admit that I had a love/hate relationship with Vicki. She was the luckiest girl in the world because she got to LIVE on the Love Boat.
I recovered from that trauma, and kept my eye on my goal.  Every decision I made in school, whether it was learning a foreign language, or studying my Geography extra well, would all pay off one day when I became a Cruise Director.  I never wavered. (Never once did I think - I can't just be a cruise director, I have to work my way up from waitress on a cruise ship, etc...I just went right for the number one spot thanks to Julie).

My Senior year of high school I was ready to apply to travel school.  My mom delivered the blow that was felt around my world.  "You are the first girl in this family to get to go to college, when you finish that, if you still want to go to Travel School, then you can go."   That was almost as big of a blow as having Judy McCoy, Julie's cousin take over for her as Cruise Director (due to Lauren Tewes' coke habit). What did I know about the value of a college education?  I was Greek.  All I knew was how to cook and clean and wait on my brother and father so they never had to lift a finger in their lifetime.  I did, however, understand, that my mom wanted a better life for me and education was the gift of a golden ticket to wherever I wanted to go.  How could I argue?  My dreams of some day docking for an excursion to Puerto Vallarta were sailing away...temporarily anyways.

I went to college.  I studied Social Work ( it was a no-brainer since I loved helping people, not to mention it was the only major I could choose where I didn't have to take any math classes).  My Junior year I was stricken with a severe illness called PTC (Pseudotumor cerebri (SOO-doh-too-mur SER-uh-bry) occurs when the pressure inside your skull (intracranial pressure) increases for no obvious reason. Symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but no tumor is present. Pseudotumor cerebri is most common in obese women of childbearing age).   I ended up in the hospital for about a week, and then I had to leave school to undergo the treatment needed to get better.  While in the hospital, I saw a window of opportunity through the fear in my parents' eyes.

Hospital bed-side requests.  The loop hole I was waiting for.  That flukey illness changed the course of my life.

"When I get better, can I go to travel school?"  I asked.
"When you get better, you can do anything you want to do, "  my mom said with a quiet hope.
I smiled and thought, I am finally going to be a cruise director.

I went on to Travel School in Pittsburgh.  I loved every stinkin' minute of it.  I loved the classes, what I was learning - the whole travel industry itself.  I had finally found my passion.  I changed courses a little and decided being a flight attendant was more my calling.

Wings and a Bottle of Champagne.  The beginning of my demise. Boohooohhaahahaha!

I was recruited by an airline in the Northeast as soon as I graduated, and moved away to begin a life of glamour in the air.  The Pre-9/11 days of flying were different.  Everyone was in a good mood, most of the time.  Passengers still had rights, no one was on edge - it was footloose and fancy free flying.  Until I ended up with a Captain who was (later) diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  He kept falling asleep in flight and we'd experience these quick drops of altitude - leaving me either hitting my head on the overhead compartments or throwing a glass of wine on someone's lap.  I was constantly dealing with things like that and my sense of humor served me well in those days.

Once, upon returning from a four day trip, I returned to my apartment to find the door wide open, all of my shit was gone.  I ran to the phone to call 911 but they stole that too.  My underwear was thrown all over the floor, my bed was slept in, my mantle cleared off of any odds and ends, and cigarette butts ground in my carpet.  When the police arrived, they asked me if I had rental insurance (which I didn't) and told me that's too bad.  I tried to stop them before they left, and asked them if they were going to take fingerprints and they answered, "Lady, you watch too much CSI."

Damn you Julie McCoy. 

Here's a funny factoid.  Remember Steven Slater - the infamous Flight Attendant on Jet Blue who went out the way we've all fantasized quitting a job - by telling the passengers to go eff themselves, grab 2 beers and popping the emergency slide to freedom?

Here's a pic from Steven in our Flight Training Class.  He is the perfect example of the dangers of internalizing your stress from being a flight attendant.  Good kid...bad stress management skills.
 He and I were in Flight Training together in New Hampshire.  I learned a lot from him - he was good peeps.   I love that when Hubs asked me if I saw the newsclip about the F/A who flew over the cuckoos nest and showed me the photo, I fell off my chair and yelled THAT'S STEVENNNNNNNNNNNN! I know him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  


Cheers to you!

More on my flight attendant days to come...but that's all for my therapy today.  Thank you all for saving me thousands on a shrink.  Love and hugs, and all that jazz....
~DG

Monday

What Did You Do Today, Honey?



Everyday at my house is like the movie Groundhog Day.  I try to tweak what I did wrong the day before, only to hit a different snag. 

Not long ago, this cute little ditty buzzed around on email chains...and it got me thinking. How do you compare the day of a person who goes to work and the day of a person that stays home with the kids?  Read on..

What Did You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing
.
In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.

He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door.

As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap, and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel.

She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked:

“What happened here today?’”

She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?”

“Yes,” was his incredulous reply.

She answered, ‘”Well, today I didn’t do it.”
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Investopedia did this brilliant article on how much a SAHM actually is worth in salary terms:
The life of a homemaker is one that includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos. Depending on the size of the home and family, the position of homemaker can go well beyond the usual nine to five. We examined some of the tasks that a homemaker might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers. We only take into consideration tasks which have monetary values and use the lowest value for each calculation.
After taking into consideration the salaries of a chef, drycleaner, maid, taxi driver, lawn care, and child care, the total equalled almost $100,000!!

They summed it up with this statement:
The daily work of a homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace. Homemakers in general contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs.

We are PRICELESS! And for the record, working moms deserve double for trying to do it all!

Men:  Never ask your SAHM-wife what she did today. (How about rephrasing it like "Tell me how your day went!" And then sit back and be prepared to listen, not judge; just nod your head, laugh when appropriate, sigh when needed, and be ready to say, "I don't know how you do it.."
You should assume that she did not have a moment's peace, and if she did, she was most likely running in 10 different directions trying to get 20 things done while the kids were quiet.  Just think about it in these terms for a moment when comparing what you got done at work, in peace and what she got done at home with the kids.

 Did you have to fish out your stapler or any other object out of the toilet?

 Because after looking for 10 minutes for my favorite hairclip, I finally found it at the bottom of the toilet.

Did you serve as a Human Kleenex to anyone in the office today?
 Because Junior sneezed on me, cleaning out 3 months of bacteria from his nose.
 

Did you have to put a tv show on for your secretary so you could sneak out and pee in peace?
 I did, and after being gone for about 32 seconds, I heard loud screams asking where I went!
 

Did you go to pay for something and pull out a superhero's head out of your wallet instead?
I did, and at the bottom of my purse I also found several Lego Lightsabers that you accused me of vacuuming up last week. ((For the record, that wasn't a Lightsaber I vacuumed up, it was a Lego head).
 

Did an associate come in every 10 minutes and ask you for some juice? 
 Because I wasn't able  to go a half hour without at least two of our children telling me they were thirsty.

My Lord how much can children drink in a day?  It never ends!

Were you able to carry on a simple conversation over the phone? Better yet, did you get pelted in the back of the head with random flying objects during your conversation ?

 Because the second that phone hit MY ear, I was attacked by wild savages with Lego Dart Guns.

 
I'm on the phone dammit!

Did you spend 1/2 of your day looking for things?
 I did!
Mom, where's my __, have you seen my__, where did you put my__?

Finally, were you able to finish your sentences in a timely, orderly manner?
 Because, what was the question again? Sigh.
Let's face it, staying home with the kids  is work and alot of it. Yet, we have that heavy duty guilty feeling lingering over us because we have the greatest job on earth and are fortunate enough to stay home!  The only way to get through it is with humor and the fact that it does get easier and the time goes way too fast.  They are such precious little creatures and we ARE the center of their worlds.  We need patience, love, and the humility to know that we are not perfect, we are moms..just doing the best we can. 

Today's irony, is that I am off to sub at my kids' preschool, a job that I absolutely love doing, but a job that I could, no doubt ,answer YES to many of those questions to the working people.  Good thing I've been blessed with a huge heart, lots of patience and a ridiculously insatiable love of kids.  Make it a great day friends!  And have I mentioned how grateful I am to have you? 
Yours..
~DG




Saturday

Dear Baffled Nurse in Indiana...Gloveball is a Right, Not An Offense.


Whatever you do, don't you dare try this at a walk-in clinic or you will be called ignorant by Nurse Baffled!  This is just inappropriate and such Tom Foolery will NOT be tolerated any more!



Dear Annie: I am a nurse at a walk-in clinic. When did it become OK for parents to help themselves to exam gloves and tongue depressors for the purpose of entertaining their children?
It is not unusual to walk into the exam room and find several gloves that have been blown up and are being batted around and children running around the room with tongue depressors in their hands. These medical supplies cost the facility money and are meant for medical use, not party favors. It also is not safe to hand a 3-year-old a tongue depressor. We have stickers that are more appropriate.
When my children were little, I would never dream of opening containers in the doctor's office. Is this appropriate behavior? Do people believe they are entitled to these supplies because of the cost of medical care? Or are they simply ignorant? -- Baffled Nurse in Indiana


Annie - can I answer this one please??? 

Dear Baffled Nurse in Indiana,

Who is ignorant here?  Tis not I, but you, my dear.  This was an incredibly ignorant and offensive letter.

I am one of the mothers to whom you judge and condemn, so I will speak for others in my shoes to respond to you Nurse Baffled.

If someone brings their babies in to a walk-in clinic, they are probably pretty sick.  They wait in the waiting room.  They get moved to an examining room.  They wait.  And they wait.  And then they wait some more.  Children get antsy, they get scared, they get bored.  Have you looked at the examining room of your walk-in clinic?  Most likely, there are no toys, no books, and there is nothing to look at it other than a "why you should quit smoking today" placard.  And that doesn't buy a nervous toddler much time.

Blowing up a hand glove into a balloon is a safe and easy way to make them giggle while they wait, not to mention the fact that it detracts from the fear they have of being sick or seeing a doctor. A glove balloon does not break anything, it doesn't hurt anyone, it doesn't make a mess, and it makes them happy.  I have bought boxes of latex gloves before and know they are very inexpensive, so I am going to go ahead and assume that if every child that walks in that clinic takes one glove, it is not enough to sink a clinic for poor money management.  If anything, it is a brilliant, money saving investment that helps the clinic get through the day successfully without screaming toddlers disturbing other patients.  Who wouldn't spend pennies a day to ensure that?

Due to the increasing rise in health insurance, we pay almost $100 a visit, per child.  So yes, to answer your question, I most certainly do think I am entitled to a stupid latex glove during my visit!   Oh, and your bright idea of a sticker that you give the kids AFTER the appointment doesn't help us at all during the 30 minute wait to see the doctor.    
 When my youngest was 18 months old, he had to have a serious procedure that was terrifying for all of us.  One simple blown up latex balloon brought him more joy in the prep room than one could possibly imagine.  Lucky for us, our nurse was only too happy to oblige, unlike you, who would've been pissed if we chose to ease our child's pain with one of your precious gloves.  Of all of the countless, crazy, disturbing things that you must see as a nurse, this is what you choose to focus on?

Regarding Popsicle sticks, our Doctor made it his routine to come in, say hello and give the children a Popsicle stick to hold on to while he examined them...  It was something they came to expect when he walked in.  I would've never let them reach into a container to get one, but knowing how much they enjoyed getting one, I encouraged them to take it when the Doctor gave it.  I realize that some idiot parents let their child 'run around' as you stated, the whole perimeter of the tiny box of an examining room, thus risking injury, and you are lumping all of us into that because you are trying to prove a point, but that doesn't mean the majority of us can't handle our toddler having it in their mouth for a few minutes. If you are so worked up about the Popsicle sticks, then suggest to your clinic that they lock them up in the cabinet so the kids can't touch them.  Wow.  That was an easy solution..but you chose, instead, to prove your point by writing to an advice columnist and chastize thousands of parents who have committed this terrible crime.  

No running allowed in this huge examining room!

In conclusion, I will give you my suggestion . Why don't you get out of Nursing and find something that doesn't involve people...perhaps since you are so worried about the bottom line of  walk-in clinics, etc, you should be an accountant!  Now there's something you clearly have the personality for.  That was my two cents, and here's another two cents to pay for the cost of the 4 gloves I have taken in my lifetime. 

Consider me paid in full.
Don't spend it all in one place.    Signed,  Guilty  in New Hampshire

Thursday

Pushing Gifts: Forget the Baby, I Want A Bauble.

Congratulations! A Bauble is Born at 2:05 am!
 Weight, 3 Carats
We are SO proud!


Am I the only one who is annoyed by the concept of a "pushing gift?"   I mean, if we, as a society, don't think that the greatest gift of a baby is enough, I don't know what to say.  Where do we draw line?  When do we say enough is enough.  I am certain this started in the Upper Snobbery of Wealthy County and has trickled down onto the rest of us to now deal with.  As if it doesn't cost enough to get a crib, a nursery set up, clothes, diapers, gadgets, car seats...nope, now dads need to spring for a pushing gift!?  This is crazy. To answer your question, no, I'm not bitter that I never got a pushing gift with any of my three babies, instead I got hemmoroids and stretch marks. What I did get, however, are three healthy beautiful babies.

What about these pushing gifts? The gifts aren't even simple!  Women are dropping hints of jewelry and Tiffany gifts, and suggesting they need a rock to thank them for all of their labor.  Honestly, the only rock I wanted, was my husband.  I needed him to be strong through the delivery, and even stronger in the days, nights, and weeks to come!  So here, take the bauble, and bring me your brawn.  I need you..save the jewelry for my birthday or Valentine's Day, or better yet, surprise me some day just because.

Nothing says "all I did to contribute to this baby was ejaculate" quite like a gift from Tiffanys.

I'm not saying everyone is an asshole that gives or gets pushing gifts - but do we really need to insist on it because "everyone else is doing it?"  What are we, back in Junior High?  And if we are going to get rewarded for pushing, why not really get the gift that we deserve? How about the "oops, I- just- crapped -in the- delivery- bed-gift"?  Or how about a shirt that says, "I lost my dignity at Cedars Hospital and all I got was this stupid tshirt?"  I know, how about some nice plastic Mardi Gras beads for showing your tits to anyone and everyone who walks into your birthing room during your stay?  Now those are some fun gifts worth a laugh or two.

Should we get beads for every time someone walks in on us manuevering our boobs around the baby?

Can we get real for a minute?  This is borderline offensive.  Women who have to have a c-section don't get a gift?  Whoever coined the term Push Gift gave a big F U to C-section women.  Sorry ladies, there is no I-Ripped-Opened-My-Abdomen Accolades Gift!  You get a nice scar to wear around your belly instead of a Tiffany's diamond belly button ring.  Try harder next time for a vaginal delivery!

Sorry C-Section Ladies!  NO GIFT FOR YOU!

Let's be honest.  Your wife just gave you the most incredible gift in the world, a baby, after carrying it and suffering for nine long months from heartburn, nausea, constipation, etc.  There is NO gift that you can give her to pay her back, except being a great husband and father.  Want to give her a gift? Super, do it. But do it because you want to, not because you are expected to!

That's all the ranting I have for today.  If you get a gift, enjoy it..but let's stop the madness and appreciate the gift of life and of healthy babies! 

Love and Loyally Yours,
~DG

Wednesday

Pedicures: Speedy-cure or Spa-dicure, That is the Question.



Last week, I finally got around to getting a much needed winter pedicure.  I decided to use a gift certificate that Hubs got me for Christmas to an upscale spa in town.  Usually, I go to what I call a Drive- Thru Nail Salon - you know what I am referring to, I'm certain you do. Walk-in, quick -but not necessarily painless spa service.  I've been going to a number of them for years because quite frankly, as a SAHM, my guilty conscience has a much easier time of paying $30 for a pedicure at a Drive Thru than $75 at a Swankalicious Spa.  What could possibly be the difference anyway?

I'm about to tell you.

When I go to a Drive- Thru Spa, the moment I enter,  I am pushed around with simple, charade-like gestures.

"YOU, go sit there and wait."
"YOU..go pick color for toes." 
"YOU..take shoes and socks off." 

Disclaimer: (Let's take a time out for a moment.  I have friends from all walks of life, I respect all people, all kinds, all races, all accents.  I am telling a story and giving my critique of pedicures.  Can we look past my decorative details, and give me the benefit of the doubt that this is NOT an anti-anyone rant? I am Greek, and when the day comes that I do another story on Greeks, I will use the same figurative, descriptive language to tell the story of my own people.) 


I admire these girls.  Most of them come here for a better life, with the promise of riches and freedom and all of the liberties that come with living in America.  I think they are brought here from another country by family members and friends before they are able to learn the language.  Once they have learned the skills needed for this exhausting line of work, they are put in a salon to endure long, hard hours, probably for peanuts, but who knows.

That being said, I would think it is very hard to try to go through the day-to-day functions at a salon without being able to speak to their customers to make them comfortable.  So what is left to do to pass the day? 

Talk.
To each other.
Fast.
In another language.
And Laugh.
Hysterically.
Probably at your feet.

So here's the thing, do we really feel so insecure about our feet and ourselves to think that these girls have nothing better to do than to sit and talk about our feet every day, all day long?  How many times can they snicker and say to each other in their native tongue, "you're lucky, I'd rather be working on your girl with the hammertoes instead of being stuck with bunion girl."

Next time you think they are talking about you, keep in mind they probably are not, they are probably talking about how much they hate the Kardashains and how they wish they could change the channel to something other than E! on the tv behind them.

Moving on..to the drive thru experience, where was I?

 Oh yes, I've been motioned to go to a chair, to sit, to wait, to pick  a color. I am seated in a massage chair right in front of a blaring tv.  Not sure if this is the most relaxing background I could hope for, but how bad can it be?  It's a pampering pedicure right? 

Wrong.

 I get the feeling she's in a rush as she starts scrubbing my feet in the water tub. She was taught the monetary importance of turnover...quicker pedicures, quicker turnover...more turnover, more money.  She starts clipping my toenails, fast and furious, and is going to cut me.  Happens every time.  On to the bottoms of my feet.  She takes some kind of sawing device and starts shaving the bottom of my feet sending me into a seizure off of my chair.  She knows a word for this.

This tool is abusive and torturous.  No, not ticklish! PAINFUL!

Ahh, Ticklish!
"Yes," I say painfully.

You need a callous remover, ten dolla extra?
"Sure, why not?"  Someone is telling me my feet are a disaster while holding them in her hands. Am I really in a position to say no?

She puts on some crazy heavy duty gloves AND a surgical mask and reaches for a bottle of callous remover.  Problem.  The active ingredient, which I can only assume to be some sort of Acid, is literally chewing through the bottle causing the bottle to erode before my eyes.  I can only wonder in horror what it is going to do to my skin.

The surgical mask and gloves should've told me to decline the callous remover treatment.

She slathers on thick cream while I watch in fear.  She then quickly removes it with paper towels, taking 6 layers of my skin with them.  Our eyes never make contact, it is like our dirty little secret.  She applies some illegal type of acid to my feet, I say nothing, and she keeps the condition of my heels under her cute little Hello Kitty bedazzled hat.  Shameful.

Next, to my favorite part - the leg massage. It starts off quick but gentle and suddenly takes a wrong turn.  She gets a call on her cell phone, starts talking and quickly becomes agitated.  I look up to the wall at the "no cell phones allowed in the spa" sign and can't help but wonder if this applies to patrons only or maybe she can't read English.  I keep my mouth shut and try to enjoy the massage.  She begins yelling into the phone.  Now I know she's not talking about my feet.  It's much worse.  She starts violently, aggressively rubbing my calves down to the bone and I am certain that I am going to have black and blue legs to match the blue sparkly nail polish I picked from the new OPI line.  Finally, she hangs up the phone and throws it in the drawer of her pedi caddy and slams it shut, startling me yet again.

"YOU GET MANICURE TOO."
Is this a question or is she making a statement. Regardless, I'm kind of scared of pissing her off.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"YOU NEEDA MANICURE TOO."
What is wrong with me..is she suggesting my nails look awful because I know this already..or is she asking me?
"Ummm, I do need a manicure, I know my nails look awful but not today thank you."
"AHHHA OHHO OK. NO MANICURE."
"OK."  I breathe a sigh of relief. That was akward.

Moving along, she paints my toes perfectly in record time and shellacs them with some crazy spray. 
"YOU go sit with foot under dryer fie minutes then leave."

I move quickly, swiftly, like a good soldier and take my place next to the other women staring into space.
The sweet older lady next to me leans over to me innocently.
"I can't help but always feel like they are talking about me."
"I know, but I'm sure they aren't."  I say, reassuring her and myself.
Her pedicurist starts yelling about something and comes over to the poor lady next to me.
"YOU DONE NOW. GO."
She quickly grabs her things and does as she is told.   They run a tight ship here at McPedicures...over 10 billion served.  Next in line please!

Changing gears.

The Swankalicious Spa Pedicure.

From the moment I walk in to the waiting room I am greeted with two things.  The soft warm smell of lavender and the soothing sounds of the Pan Flute.  Ahhh, yes, this is the life.

The girl behind the desk ever-so-calmly takes my name, tells me how glad she is that I am there, and says to please, find a comfortable spot by the fireplace, someone would be there soon to take me back to the pedicure room.

The swanky spa waiting room..much quieter approach than sitting on a couch in a packed waiting room staring at Koi fish.

I take a spot near the fireplace in the most wonderful fluffy chair that gently hugs me as I sit down.  I am certain my eyes are about to close when I feel a slight touch on my shoulder.

"Hello.  It's time."  She places a heated, weighted neck wrap around my shoulders that magically starts to help me decompress.
What a difference from the cattle prod I got at the drive-thru!  And no one is yelling at me or around me.  I don't know how to react.
Instead of the hot pressure-washer to violently clean my feet that  I was used to at the drive-thru, she gently placed my feet into a Pottery-Barn-type basin and washed them like they were tiny babies.

She is quiet and gentle with a peaceful disposition.  It is the most heavenly, relaxing touch my feet have felt in years.  She tranquilly (yes that is a word) begins rubbing my calves that are no doubt still traumatized from being mutilated at the drive by months ago.  The Pan flute continues and I find myself drifting off.

She gently cradled  my feet like newborn babies.

When I wake up from what appears to be a catnap, my toes are done. And dried.  I slept through the last 45 minutes of the pedicure.  I am groggy yet tranquil. Confused yet content.  This is clearly the difference between a speed-i-cure and a spa-dicure. 

Until the next time, I remain callous free and yours truly,
~DG


Tuesday

How to Raise a Great Husband



They don't have to be perfect, but we can teach them to be pretty damn close.

I got lucky.  I got it right...the second time around.  By some miracle of will and wish, I made it out of my first miserable marriage in one piece.  I remember praying to God that if He could get me out of this mess, I would forgive and forget, and march forward with my chin up and my head high.  And so I did.  I was wise enough the second time around to know an amazing man when I saw him - and from the get-go, this man knew my worth and never wavered.  I would never be dumb enough to say that he is perfect, but he is pretty darn close and I'm good with that.  (But let's just say he inspired the following blog, some in a good way, some not so good). 
My first blog a few years back was called Three Good Men.  I never published it.  It was more of a way to keep sane during the early years.  I made it my personal goal to raise three young men that would be ready and able when the time was right, to settle down and be amazing husbands.

So I made a list with 10 basic, simple yet non-negotiable rules to understand.


HOW TO RAISE A GREAT HUSBAND

1.  Teach him to change a roll of toilet paper. If he's replaced it by using the last roll, either get a new pack out of storage or inform someone immediately that he has used the last one.  This also applies to paper towels, napkins and any other paper products.


Is there anything more infuriating then seeing this when you sit down?  Things could get ugly.


2.  Teach him that very last 'difficult-for-many' step of taking the glass or plate off of the counter space directly above  the dishwasher and actually put it in the dishwasher.  Too many times, that last 5 second step is overlooked.


Points given for getting dirty dishes IN dishwasher..points taken away for rinsing and leaving on counter above dishwasher.


3.  Teach him a fun game called Laundry Basketball.  Lift up the laundry basket lid - aim- shoot.  If his Laundry Basketball skills are poor, and it doesn't quite make it in, make sure he knows to then actually bend over, pick it up and physically place it in the basket.  Too many men suffer from poor aim and end up leaving their socks and underwear on the lid or directly in front of the basket.  So close yet so far away.  Just follow through and shoot.


Shot Clock!  It takes less than 3 seconds to fix this situation.  Bend over, pick up, toss in.


4.  Teach him to put his things away.  If he knows how to put his things away instead of leaving them for days...and weeks..and months on the counter or wherever, he'll know where they are when he needs them.  This way, he won't have to ask his wife every 10 minutes where something is.  Also teach him to look with two eyes open and scavenge the entire room thoroughly before giving up and asking where it is.  When this, emergency-only need arises, teach him not to ask in an accusatory fashion and imply she threw it out, just tell him to willingly admit that he can't remember where he put it and she will gladly help.

I have spent half of my life looking for other people's stuff! 

5.  Teach him to make the most delicious breakfast ever.  Include coffee, eggs, pancakes, toast and bacon too in your cooking lessons.  Not only will this make for an amazing treat for his wife and maybe even kids some day, but it will also guarantee he'll never starve or not know his way around a kitchen.

6.  Teach him how to go to the store with a grocery list and not use his cellphone to call with questions.  There are going to be times whether his wife is sick in bed or with an infant or post- surgery or God knows what, and he has to go to the store.  If the list says, "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter," teach him not to call home or text saying he doesn't understand what that is or can't find it.  This goes back to Rule #4 under looking thoroughly with both eyes open.  Teach him it's ok to use his judgement (within reason and logic) and make exceptions if there is a problem and they are out- of -stock or something.  Any decent wife won't flog him too much for that.


You are an adult.  You can read.  You can do this.  Don't Screw It Up.

7.  Teach him, that when his children wake up in the middle of the night, not to say "I've got this" and then fall back asleep.  Also, tell him not to ask 20 questions of his wife when she returns from checking on them.  He needs to understand that by sleeping through the crisis, he loses his right to know the details.

8.  Teach him that it is ok to get sick, but not to act like it's the end of the world.  Everyone gets sick.  Men do not need or deserve to have special above-and-beyond pampering when they are under the weather.  Teach him to take the Motrin his wife offers and sleep it off.  Moaning, weeping like a child and any extra theatrics are annoying to women, especially those who have given birth.  And for goodness sake...teach him how to pick up and throw away his nasty used tissues.


Man up, it's a cold.  Just deal with it, and easy on the moaning.

9.  Teach him to understand that time of the month.  Help him understand that he should never be insensitive or impatient during that time.  Tell him that until he starts bleeding out of his Johnson and has to insert a Qtip into his urethral orifice every few hours, he is not to question any moodiness, bloating or irregularity.  Embed it into his brain that it hurts, it's miserable and it happens every month.  This is serious shit.

10.  Make him take a small engine repair , woodworking, or remodeling course of some sort.  Make sure he knows how to unclog a toilet he jacked up, change a light bulb without being asked, jump start a car, change a flat tire, mow a lawn and grill a perfect steak.  Women like a man who can do things without bringing out the nagger in her.  Just get it done.

In parting, I will leave you with this...

All we can do is raise the best men possible and teach them to always be with someone that knows and appreciates their worth and puts the wind in their sails and to absolutely do the same for their wives.  To be kind to one another, respect one another, and love each other with everything they have to give. ~DG, circa 2008, Three Good Men

Cheers to Brilliant Men of the Future...
~ DG

Saturday

It's Not Easy, Being Greek


It's Not Easy Being Greek.

Life is hard enough without having to deal with people screwing up my name on a daily basis.

  I should be used to it.  I'm Greek.  I'm 100% Greek to be exact and I didn't necessarily grow up with the last name Smith or Jones..or even Pappas for that matter.  When I met the man of my dreams, by the end of a very nice long chat at a Greek Festival where we met (go figure), I asked him his last name and he told me.  It is 6 syllables.  Not impossible, but a bit tricky. 

He was so incredibly handsome and sweet, however, I would've signed up for 12 syllables.  See, I was at that enamoured stage, giddy and full of hope, I didn't think to fast forward a few years to the daily stupidity of the common man. Every day, I hear one of the following statements/questions.

1.  OH MY GAWWWD...HOW DO YOU SAYYYYY THAT?
2.  Your poor kids, how will they ever learn to spell that?
3.  Dear Lord! That is a long last name!
4. It must have taken you years to learn how to spell that!

It's hard, but 9 out of 10 times, I smile and answer the same things every time (while really wishing I could take out one of those "whack-a-mole" soft hammers from Chuck E. Sneeze and hit them over the head with it..)
1.  Sound it out.
2.  My children are smart, they will learn how I'm certain.
3.  He is very handsome so I don't mind.
4.  It actually took me about 5 minutes, to be honest.

Any of those above answers usually confuses them into wondering if I am being sarcastic or if they have offended me and the tend to shut it from there.

Would it be so wrong to carry a Whack-an-Idiot soft-headed hammer?

Looking back, it's never really been easy being Greek.  I had dark and hairy, manly legs at 9 years old.  As a cheerleader, I got many comments from the other girls as to why I looked like a monkey. Girls at 9 years old generally don't mince words or have a knack for being kind in their questioning.  They want to know what they want to know, whether it scars you for life or not.  That summer, we were on a cruise of the Greek Isles, where even though I was surrounded with other hairy greek kids, I finally took matters into my own hands, and took a disposable Bic to my shin - it was bloody, but beautiful.  My legs were finally hairless.

But my dark hair grew in other places.

I had a moustache in fourth grade.  My mom, who was born on the Greek island of Cyprus, was a bit old-fashioned.  She felt I was too young for wax, so she had the brilliant idea to bleach my moustache blond using Jolen face bleach.

 Here are the problems with that.
 1.  I now had a blond moustache instead of black one.
 2.  I had red blotches from where the bleach burned a hole in my skin above my lip.

 I remember walking around imitating Hitler with my pointer finger over my upper lip.  A popular little asshole that sat behind me, named Dave (who by the way is now a fat and bald asshole), got me to turn around and look at him as he imitated me with the Hitler lip.  "What did you do, try to shave and cut yourself instead? That was pretty stupid!"  (How clear that memory is to me is frightening, especially when I barely remember last night's dinner). 

Use jolen and make your black moustache blond.
Lunches consisted of leftover grilled chicken breasts, topped with yellowy jello where the juice solidified in the fridge.  Greeks cook everything in garlic and oregano, so my friends were always pelted in the face with the strong smell of this when I opened my lunch.  They would stare at me in horror as they munched on pb&j on Wonder with no crusts.  Sigh, I was doomed to fail.  How could I expect anyone to want to sit with me at lunch?

As if I didn't have enough going against me, I hit puberty at 10 years old.  Now I was a 5'5" (and never grew another inch, except in the early 90s when I had 3 extra inches in satellite hair), hairy, chubby, big boobed greek girl.

I was a 32D. In FIFTH grade.  Tell me, what is a girl supposed to do with those?  How is a girl NOT going to get teased.  It was like being the Dolly Parton of grade school - only she had a small waist, was blond and tiny.  I was not.  The boys tormented me daily asking me questions like, "do you ever camp in the mountains? or "can you touch your elbows together behind your back?"

It's never ok to look like Dolly Parton in 5th grade.

In 7th grade, while playing the dreaded Intramural sports, I was forced to participate in some kind of kickball/baserunner mutant fusion game.  I was up to kick and I was determined to blast that ball into the outfield of the gymnasium and I did...I ran my heart out, just wanting to prove that I could do it...I could be a worth contributor to the team that picked me last! I'd show them! I ran and ran and ran...and just as I hit third base, I tripped and flew threw the air, my boobs cushioning my fall and sliding in me just shy of home plate.  I was so humiliated that I laid there face down, arms out 2 feet away from home plate, and lost the game for the team.  I became known as the greek Pete Rose...sliding into home, but stopping just short.  It was painful...but I made it through even that torment.

Only I stopped sliding just short of home....just another humiliating day being me in Junior High.

In high school, the Greek jokes really gained momentum.  Hey, want some baklava?  Hey, are you having Gyros for lunch?...What are you stupid or something? Easter was last week! You're a freak!  By some miracle of God, I survived High School...I was everyone's friend and nobody's prom date.  I did end up going to prom with the son of my mom's good greek friend..he was kind to me and didn't mind that my hair and dress took up most of the room in our prom photo, leaving room for only his left eye and partial forced smile.  Good times.

When I left home for college, I realized that it was not normal to eat a pound of butter a day and a gallon of cream a week.  I lost weight just by eating normal food.  Instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost 15 pounds in the first year of school.  I had discovered wax, tweezers, hair removal in general, and dieting leaving me finally as the Swan after a long run as the ugly duckling.  I got older, the Greek jokes kept on, but on a more adult level. I didn't mind them so much.

The best run I ever had of being Greek was the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  All of a sudden people were coming up to me daily asking me if I saw the movie, if my life was like the movie, and speaking to me through random quotes from the movie.  It was great!  Finally it wasn't so misunderstood being Greek. The Greeks held the Olympics and catapulted us into the spotlight again with a magnificent show both for the opening and closing ceremonies..we were on a roll!   Then the Greeks went and f-d up their entire financial system and nearly took the Global Economy with them..then it wasn't so cool to be greek anymore.

He don't eat no meat? That's ok, I make Lamb.

These days, I am right back where I started, though on a different level.  When people find out I am greek they almost always ask, "oh, do you know how to make that spinach pie with that phyllo and stuff? I lovvvvve that!"  Yes!  We eat Spinach Pie and Gyros every night for dinner, followed by Baklava for dessert...every- single -day!  People mean well but come one with the stereotypes would you?

My neighbor once sent us a Happy Passover card since we don't celebrate Easter on the same day as everyone else.  Here's the 411 people: we go by a different calendar, that's all...ok, so most times we get to buy our Easter basket candy on clearance.  We are not Jewish, we don't celebrate Passover.  How was I supposed to kindly correct her?  I still haven't, but when I go over to visit, I wear a Flava-Flav sized Cross around my neck.  I love Jesus...get the picture neighbor???

Nothing says, I'm not Jewish like a big FlavaFlav size cross around my neck....Please stop sending me Passover cards.

Just wanted you to know - it's not easy, being Greek. Well, it's Saturday, so naturally, I'm off to a Greek Nightclub to break some plates and yell Opa now.


Big sweaty greek hugs!
~DG