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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Unfortunate True Spirit of Christmas?

I'm all about getting the best deal on toys, clothing, whatever I need for my house and family. But there are certain things I *won't* do to get that favorite toy for my kids. 

That includes killing people. 

I was shocked (although in hindsight, not really) to read in the news about how a crowd of roughly 2,000 people trampled a 34-year-old Wal-Mart greeter somewhere in New York. Or how two armed men shot each other in a California Toys 'R Us after the women they were with got into a bloody confrontation over who knows what. Officers at the scene apparently said it "wasn't over a toy," although it's hard to tell at this point whether it was that or a dispute between two people who already knew each other. At any rate, step foot inside a Toys 'R Us within even a month of Christmas and you'll see all kinds of hideous behavior, all for the sake of what their kid's flavor of the month favorite toy is. 

If you're a child of the 1980's like me, you might remember the dreaded Cabbage Patch Doll craze. My mother obtained one such "rare" doll after a shopping spree, only to be approached by a woman at the end of the checkout line asking how much she wanted for it. And this was probably 25 years ago. We've certainly escalated in our behavior since then: don't bother asking, just brighten someone's Christmas by whipping out a 9 mm pistol. That'll show little Johnny how much you care. 

And to think: last year for Christmas I was hellbent on buying my son the Blue's Clue's Memory Game. After searching several stores, including the hated Toys 'R Us, I gave up and bought another version - I didn't shoot someone over it. And you know what? A year later, we've found the cards are the perfect tool for keeping our roller blinds from letting in too much light around the edges. Who would have thought. I bet half the toys parents clamor over each other for will be relegated to the 'unplayed with' pile a year, maybe six months, later. 

That's the thing about toys. Sometimes it's never enough. I wonder, who wants the toy more - the kid or the parents? Maybe my kids are deprived, but whenever we go to friends' houses I'm always amazed at how many toys their kids have than mine do. One mother I know says she 'buys her daughter a new toy for getting through the week' or something like that. I hope my facial expression didn't give me away too much but I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing. No wonder my kids love going over to their house, because the place is like it's own version of FAO Schwarz. 

And it's obvious the Black Friday Walmart shoppers had nothing else on their minds than toys and good deals when they literally crashed through the electric doors that morning. Two thousand people. And now a guy is dead because they wanted to save money on some worthless gadgets and trinkets. What's even sadder is that they have to go over security footage to find the suspect(s) who are not turning themselves in. Perhaps they don't want to believe or admit that they behaved like animals and were part of a group directly responsible for someone's death. 

Sadly, this sounds more like the "true" spirit of Christmas nowadays. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Party at my crib, 2 a.m.

Ahh, those onesies are too cute. Unless the meaning is literal.
Lately, my two-year-old daughter has discovered the joys of springing from her crib the minute our backs are turned and cruising around her room (or the rest of the house) when she’s supposed to be asleep. Since she is normally a very good sleeper and bedtime routine guru, we are a little weary of her new habit.

Let’s see … I put her to bed around 8:15. Hubs and I took bets on how soon she would be out of bed – he said one minute, I gave her 15. Needless to say, he was right. With her bedroom right above the living room, we can hear everything. At last count, between us we’ve put her to bed five times. And it’s only been about half an hour. Sigh
The last I knew, she was standing in the windowsill looking at the moon. Hey, that’s great. But you’re supposed to be in bed. And after dealing with two kids running around all day, being exhausted as it is, I just want to sit on the couch and eat potato chips and drink pop and watch House, M.D. already. Lord, at least give me that.
It's hard to get angry at her for it, though - and I think she knows it. That's why she uses psychology on us: by smiling very cutely, waving her little hand and saying, "Hi, mommy!" she thinks, "I'm cute. I know it. She can't possibly be mad at me when I'm doing something this cute!"
This morning, I asked my son if she had gotten up during the middle of the night. I knew she had (because I caught her in the bathroom windowsill, looking at the *@&%@# moon again), but didn’t think she’d come downstairs.  My son confirmed that yes, she had come downstairs. I asked him how he knew, and he said, “Mom, I know everything.” Well, maybe you do – because there was a room temperature – yet unopened – yogurt container on the kitchen table at her place setting. As if to say, “Yeah, mom, I was here. But I got bored and came back upstairs to see you at 3 a.m.”
But we’ve tried just about everything to get her to stay in bed – letting her stay up late in hopes of wearing her out, not giving her a nap, putting up the baby gate – she evaded each of them like a pro. At one point I checked on her and found her sprawled on the floor, blanket in hand and thumb in mouth, sound asleep. I figured she’d give up, sooner or later.  The only remedies we have yet to try are the infamous crib tent and duct tape.  Letting her stay up proved amusing, if nothing else: at one point she was in her older brother’s room, poking his sleeping body and saying “Wake up, wake up!”  
Perhaps her absconding is a precursor of things to come in her teenage years? In which case, we’d better be prepared. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Motherhood of the Corduroy Pants

I am five months pregnant. And not in the mood. 

Today I spent a total of about four hours and who knows how many gallons of gas searching for maternity pants that fit. Specifically ones that didn’t make me look like I had either just rolled out of bed, was really wearing my husband’s oversized clothes, or was on my way to the Laundromat and wearing my last clean outfit.

Apparently this is a more difficult undertaking than I thought.

For me, a rather short person with an unbelievable 28-inch inseam, (probably shorter than that, even) pants shopping is a nightmare. When I’m pregnant, it’s like the next thing to being in hell – driving all over the area, wasting gas and time, and finding things that looked straight out of 1985. Either that, or a large collection of nice things … in size small. Obviously, someone out there is NOT a size small. That’s why all the larges are taken. Shouldn’t that tell the retail industry something? You’d think so, anyway.

Since Baby is going to be baking all winter long, I guess apparently I need to go searching for winter clothing in, say, August – when my baby is the size of a small raisin and I have no idea what will fit me and what won’t.

I have a mostly hate-hate relationship with the retail fashion industry. You know, the people who think that every woman is 5’8” and weighs 98 pounds. The same goes with maternity fashions. Our choices are as follows, according to my extensive search today: 
• t-shirts (Am I really going to be wearing short sleeves at Christmastime?!)
• stiff pants that are too long, feel like they’re made of sailcloth and convert to capris (yeah, that’d be great if I live in Florida!  But at least you can make them full length, which in my case, is practically the Capri length ….)
• absolutely NO dresses, unless you like ones that look like they have TV test patterns splattered all over them
• stripes, stupid saying like “I love my bump” (gah – I hate that euphemism for pregnancy!) or shirts with weird metallic designs that look like I had the baby and he or she has thrown up on me already. And if I’m going to be pregnant and wearing any slogans on my shirt, it will probably say something like “You DON’T mess with the pregnant lady!”)
Now, there are nice maternity clothes out there. I’ve seen them. In pictures. On models who were irrationally thin and didn’t look pregnant for real.
My first stop was the mall, a sprawling, rambling place that reeks of noxious fumes from candles and perfume and assaults the ears with blaring music that is decades away from “my generation,” whatever that means. Old Navy – blaring rap music at top volume. I thought to myself, If I worked here, I’d be playing 80’s music all day long! Most pregnant women, including myself, have suddenly developed a heightened sense of smell, and I thought I was going to go into epileptic fits after passing Yankee Candle.

Within minutes of arriving, I realized that the only real maternity store, Motherhood, has closed! What the …. I spent more time wandering around looking for my exit than I spent actually shopping for anything. But at least my daughter came away from the excursion with new socks.

My second stop was more by accident than anything else. In my haste to leave the mall, I happened across a maternity store up the street – one that combined the elusive Motherhood Maternity with two other stores. I groaned when I pulled up and saw “Mimi Maternity” and “A Pea in the Pod” on the window. Great. That meant I’d be able to afford maybe half a pantleg or even pair of socks.

I went inside and gravitated towards the cords, hoping to find something. I did – a pile of size smalls for $74. My eyes nearly fell out of my head and I turned to see that Motherhood Maternity’s line – which is much cheaper – was just across the aisle. Now, why would you want to buy the $74 Pea in the Pod pair of corduroys when you could buy virtually the same thing for $32 three steps away? (In today’s economy, who’s going to buy a pair of pants for that kind of money that you’ll only wear a few months? I’d have to wear them 7 days a week, sleep and shower in them to justify spending that kind of money.)

It didn’t matter in the end – even the petites were a bit too long. I asked the clerk about where to buy petite maternity pants, and she said that it would be ‘easier to have them shortened than to add length.’ Umm…I know how to sew (but obviously not well enough to make a pair of pants I wouldn’t actually be embarrassed to wear) and depending on the pants, shortening them does nothing. Had I been thinking like a rational person, I would have told her this – that if the crotch length is too low, you’re still going to have a pair of pants that necessitate you pull them halfway up to your tonsils to get them to fit right. (Picture Oompa Loompa pants.) Apparently the buyers at Motherhood have missed this concept?

There were some highlights of the trip, though. Like when my four-year-old son stared incredulously at the stereotypical pregnant woman advertising picture of her giant exposed belly and asked, “Mom, why is her belly so big?!” I said, “Because there’s a baby in there!” Then he asked to see mine, and then turned to look at me in profile, just for added emphasis. Or when I caught him looking quizzically at the maternity bras and touching the cups. Such things of the human body are mysterious to the young mind! 
In the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to be content to wear my three pair of warm pants and two long-sleeved shirts in heavy rotation for the next four months. So if you see me, please try to pay no attention to the fact that I’ve worn the same khaki pants for the past three days in a row.

Please allow me to introduce myself...

My first official blog post. Wow. 
I've been thinking about doing this for a long time. I am a "professional" writer by trade (which sounds absurd to me, although I do get paid to write so technically, that makes me a professional) and have blogged on other sites before. When I signed up for this account, I noticed there was another "Deranged Housewife," and after reading her blog, approached with bit of trepidation. But since they are completely different blogs, I decided it was still safe to proceed. That, and she hasn't updated hers since February of this year, so I figured maybe it was too difficult to maintain that deranged persona. Perhaps she couldn't get a refill on her meds?  (And maybe Blogger's content disclaimer scared off any potential readers.) I don't know. 
On that note, I hope someone, somewhere, gets some use out of this blog!