Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just Another Service Moms Offer

Dear Princess,

I know that I have annoyed you. Yes, despite your best efforts to hide your feelings this morning as you stomped down the stairs, then turned to glare at me before slamming the door, I picked up a subtle vibe of unhappiness.

By the way, the foul cloud of doom that followed you as you drug your backpack to the drive way left scorch marks across the lawn. A skull and crossbones is permanently etched in brimstone where you stood and grumbled while waiting for the bus. I can only hope the heat of your ire didn't permanently weld the doors of the bus shut.

I know you think I'm being unreasonable. You can not understand why (yet again!) I have not given in to the argument that "everyone else gets to." Or its corollary, "no one else has to." Or the "no one else's mom does that" argument. Or the "that's so unfair" argument. You have yet to play the "I hate you" trump card (out loud), but let me advise you, that won't work either.

I annoy you because I love you. There are spoiled-rotten children everywhere who would love to have a Mom that annoys them. No, I don't have any proof of that, but my "Mom-sense" tingles whenever I see a pack of teens roaming the mall texting the person walking next to them because they can't carry on a conversation with ear buds in and the volume turned up so loud I can hear it over the music pouring out of Abercrombie and Fitch. Sure, they're all giggles and smiles on the outside, but inside they are crying out for a Mom Who Says No.

I took the full series of "Annoying Mom" classes at Mom School: "Annoying Mom 101," "How to Annoy Simply by Breathing," "Advanced Annoyance Techniques," and "Annoying Moms in History" (George Washington's mom annoyed him, and look how well he turned out! On the other hand, the vast array of current pop culture "celebrities" is evidence of a decline in the ranks of Annoying Mothers.)

I graduated at the top of my class. SummAnnoy Cum Laude. The Queen Mother, an Annoying Mom herself, was so proud. We come from a long line of Annoying Moms. It's that strong German heritage -- big butts and Annoying Moms.

All those tales you've told me of other people who have "lost this expensive, electronic gadget," "broken that expensive, electronic gadget," "had such and such expensive, electronic gadget taken away," have put me on High Annoyance Alert. I never got to take even a single expensive, electronic gadget to school. Granted, that was because the carrier pigeons weren't housebroken and the console stereo didn't have wheels.

Some day you'll thank me.

No, not really.

That's just something they taught me to say in "Annoying Mom 101."

Some day you will forget about this. Yes, really. Of course, it will be only because I will have moved on to bigger and better ways to annoy you.

But I hope you will remember I only annoy you because I want you to grow up to be responsible and well adjusted, without having to mortgage the house or sell your little brother to help pay for repairs and replacement plans.

And because I love you.

What could be more annoying than that?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snooze Year Eve

Every party needs a pooper. That's why my family keeps me.

By some strange twist of fate, the New Year arrived without me on hand to toot a horn, raise a toast or toss confetti. I was snug as a bug in my bed by the time the calendar switched over -- in Nova Scotia.

I haven't been a big fan of New Year's Eve since I matured enough to realize it combines two of the things I dislike most: cold weather and staying up late. Add the potential for a hangover and you get the anti-fun trifecta.

Sure, I remember when I thought I had, had, HAD to go out on New Year's Eve. But eventually the complimentary sip of warm champagne and $5 cover charge for the chance to pack the bar with the other sardines -- I mean revelers -- just lost its luster. Did I mention how cold it gets in Iowa on January 1? Or how we always had to park and hike to find a bar that wasn't over capacity (or pretended they weren't)?

Not all my New Year's Eve memories are bad. There was that time in Jr. High when Princess (now Queen) K. fell off the top bunk because she was laughing so hard at Slim Whitman singing "Una Paloma Blanca --ahh AHH" (on the Johnny Carson show, on the black and white portable TV). I believe that was followed up by running out into the front yard to shout New Year's greetings into the peaceful, frosty, Iowa night sky.

Only to realize that it was midnight in New York.

Not Iowa.

Our bad.

You see, that's the thing about New Year's eve that has always rubbed me the wrong way. Why should New York get to celebrate it at 11 p.m.? You get all excited watching the ball drop in Times' Square, and then you have to sit around waiting for another hour. It just kind of loses its luster. I mean, it could be worse. We could be in California. Those poor saps have to wait two whole hours to toss their confetti. By then Times' Square is just a barren wasteland.

Think about it.

Anyway, I woke up this New Year's Eve morning with a resolution to make New Years fun for the Little Prince and Princess.

At 10:30 a.m., when I searched for "Fun New Year's Eve Crafts" online, I fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 1:30 p.m., when I was shopping for snacks and craft supplies with the entire population of Eastern Iowa, I fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 3:30 p.m., when I stopped at yet another store to search for the sparkling grape juice that EVERY store was selling last week but which I didn't buy then because "pffft, you can get that anywhere," became "arrgh, you can get that anywhere, but not at 3:30 p.m. New Year's Eve," I still fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 5:15 p.m. when I was the only family member still gluing sequins on the "Festive New Year's Eve" sparkle ball, the craft billed as "simple fun for the whole family," I fully intended to stay up until midnight to enjoy the heck out of my sparkly handiwork.

At 7 p.m., when I realized the TV offerings on New Year's Eve were pretty slim, I started to have my doubts, but I still fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 8:30 p.m., when the King fell victim to the power of the Puppy Dog Eyes and let me watch "Men In Black" again, I still fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 9 p.m., when I made the fatal mistake of stretching out on the couch to watch "Men in Black" again, I wasn't so sure I still fully intended to stay up until midnight.

At 9:53 p.m., when the credits started to roll on "Men in Black," I was up the stairs and in my jammies quicker than you can say "Arquillian Battle Cruiser."

I guess you could say I beat those New Yorkers at their own game.

Happy New Year from me and Nova Scotia.