Monthly Archives: March 2011

On the road again…who knew.

Unlike the song, I CAN wait to get on the road again.  Usually I am Mrs. Travel Pants Pavlov but not this time.  We are embarking on a road trip to New York, New York to visit my handsome, SINGLE brother-in-law (Ahem, all the single ladies…)  Check out my post We Thought We Were Good for a video of Mr. GQ. Sorry my dear brother-in-law but payback is in order!

The preparation has been insane and stressful.  Anything that could go wrong has.  Dogs: our pro-table surfer, food consumed Lab, devoured an entire package of buns and developed itchy earitis due to the yeast content.

Kids: our youngest son, Tres cozied up to a female classmate (Darn, his sister for creating that ‘Hot Mess’ wristband – see Twitter status on right).  Who knew she had Strep?!?  Obviously not Tres.  Now, the biggest germ-a-phobe of the Pavlov family has created his own Strep breeding ground.  

I breathed a sigh of relief and gave myself a pat on my muscle knotted back when I caught it five days before our departure date.  Antibiotic therapy began and everything should have been good to go.  Who knew that he would develop antibiotic induced diarrhea?!?  Yep.  It has been lovely around here (I’ll let you use your imagination to conjure up images of never-ending, foul-smelling, exploding, liquid feces).  Who knew that Yogurt products/probiotics are only minimally effective this time?  The older siblings can mimic the wide-eyed expression and butt grabbing maneuver of Tres almost perfectly.  When we witness these two things, we charge him screaming and hurling his little body in the direction of the bathroom.  Sometimes we make it but most times…NOT. 

Packing: our suitcases are too small.  Who knew they would shrink since we used them last? I suck at packing.  I can never seem to make it work.  Then there are people like Mr. Pavlov and my Grandma who simply breath on the items and they fall perfectly into place with plenty of room to spare.

We are leaving disgustingly early tomorrow and I still have a horde of things to do.  My mind is mushier than it’s baseline mushiness.  I thought I would zip off a post because I don’t think I will be posting for a few days.  The thought of posting on my smart phone is not appealing.  The buttons are too small even for my petite fingers and the screen makes me dizzy.  In addition, we will be on a bus (for a LONG time) and smart phone posting combined with the movement = projectile vomit. 

I’m somewhat twitchy about this bus ride.  The last time I was on a bus was in the Philippines.  It was 100 + degrees with 150% humidity. The air condition was broken and the windows were sealed shut. As if that wasn’t hellatious enough, a small child seated in the aisle across from me, decided to vomit….repeatedly…the entire trip.  Who knew the smell of vomit would hang in the hot, humid air and persistently cling to my nostrils long after the ride was over.

Why are my bus rides filled with erupting bodily fluids?  I will likely have diarrhea toosh duty (Oh dear God, I hope they have bathrooms on the bus!) so if you happen to think you are having a bad day remember me and I bet your day suddenly becomes brighter!

I’m sure it will be fine once we begin our journey.  I’m sure it will….I’m sure it will…I’m sure it will.  Tell me it will!  If not, I can always pop some of my conveniently packed Tylenol (PM).  Because Who knew they’d put you to sleep? 

And above all, I’m sure I will have much to write about.  This, I knew!

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Only a boy…..

…would put a suction cup on his forehead AFTER it made a similar mark on his chest! No doubt this branding will last for several days.  I just couldn’t resist this posting and I apologize to my Facebook and Twitter friends who have already viewed the physical work of art.

The boy who branded

 

A close-up of the suction cup hickey

Some may say that girls have engaged in suction cup play as well.  This is true.  My daughter created the exact same masterpiece, unbelievably in the exact same spot, when she was this age.  The key difference is after leaving that one mark on her face she never repeated the creative act. 

The third eye is the second mark that my boy, Dos here created.  The first was on his chest.  WHY would you repeat the act? And of all places ON YOUR FACE?

In addition to the child now having a self-created target smack in the middle of his forehead for all of his classmate to slap, hit, or poke, we are going to conduct a little experiment.  We are going to see what it may be like for an individual who has a permanent facial birth mark (thank-you Lynn for the idea).  Thus, I am parading him and his third eye in the most populated areas I can find…and of course Wal-Mart, the location where all of mother earth gathers.  I will post updates but I suspect that other than learning  it’s not wise to place a suction cup on your face, my boy will receive valuable insight and empathy for those with permanent markings during his temporary time of branding. 

Don’t worry – I won’t emotionally ruin him.  I actually prevented emotional ruin by stopping my daughter, who was in route to his forehead with her entire cosmetic ensemble.  I had images of foundation running down his face as he sweated profusely during PE class.  Somehow I believe that running foundation would damage his social life more than the suction cup hickey.  

True to the testosterone surging through his veins, he is owning the mark and wearing it proudly. Yet, I highly doubt that this boy will permit a suction cup (and if I have my way, all future females) to give him a hickey again!

Brewing through life one Starbucks mistake at a time

It’s no secret that I like my Starbucks a little too much.  I look forward to these trips and while I’m not an everyday user, I hit the brew more often than I should. 

By the time I enter the crack house, I have my pre-consumption expectations roaring.  The primal slurping sounds and ahhhs which, I inherited as involuntary reactions to coffee exposure (thanks Dad), are soon to follow each sip.  Now, what is most disappointing and totally throws a punch to the addicted gut is when the Barista screws up the order, especially when it doesn’t taste anything like this user knows it should. That is one expensive cup of disappointment and the reason why I stalk certain Baristas who can create liquid works of genius. 

I don’t know about you but I have had my share of Barista mess ups.  I am usually very gracious with the stressed out Barista because I can only imagine what it must be like to serve a bunch of shaky, twitching, sniffling nosed addicts who are on the verge of jumping the counter and snorting some grinds.   My exchange of words typically goes like this:

Me: “Um, excuse me….I ordered a White Chocolate Mocha not a Vanilla Latte.”

Barista appearing annoyed: “OOOkay” Followed by silence. 

After several minutes of awkwardness the Barista presents a new drink, the correct drink, with a slam-dunk-splashing-my-precious-coffee on the counter maneuver.  Usually during these mistakes one of two things happen BUT never both.

  1. They make a new drink
  2. They make a new drink AND I’m given the old, mess up to take along for the road

Yesterday, the second scenario occurred.  I ordered a Vanilla Latte and the Barista made a White Chocolate Mocha.  She gave me the mistake and because, I kid you not, I could not find anyone to give it to (unbelievable!) I force drank my second Grande.  I was NOT about to waste the liquid gold.  As a result, I had the heartbeat of a frightened rodent and was shaking like a Chihuahua for HOURS!!

After both of these I stuttered like Elmer Fudd

Mr. Pavlov also enjoys Starbucks only on a very controlled level.  Even with his controlled intake, he has experienced his share of Barista mess ups but his scenario plays out quite differently.  He always, always, always orders No Whip.  Period.  He informs the Barista several times of the NO WHIP preference like so:

“NO WHIP Grande White Chocolate Mocha NO WHIP…(clearing throat) I don’t want any whip “

However, seven out of ten times the Barista delivers him a frothy whipping.  To which the scene of events then goes:

Mr. Pavlov sternly: “I said NO WHIP.”

Panicking Barista: “OMG, OMG.  I am sooooooo, so soorrry.  I’ll get you another one and give you a free card to use the next time you come in AND you can keep the whip coffee too!  I’m very sorry. I really apologize!”

Did you get that?  Mr. Pavlov’s mistake experience is a three-way win.  Each and every time the same options are given him by a very apologetic Barista.

  1. He gets a new cup of coffee
  2. He gets to keep the mistake
  3. He gets a FREE card!!

He has accumulated his own personal deck of free coffee cards that he enjoys taunting me with.  With a big smile, he waves the prized card in my face just before shoving it down his pants.  I guess he expects me to act like a legit junkie and card dive. Not gonna happen – at least not in public.  I do the proper public thing and hold out my hand indicating that Mr. Pavlov needs to fish out his hidden prize and promptly deposit it into my ready palm.  He does.

So I must ask why the difference?  Is my experience or Mr. Pavlov’s the norm?  What happens to you when the Barista makes a mistake?  Are you treated like Mr. Pavlov, like myself, or another way????

Is it a man thing?  Mr. Pavlov does appear more intimidating (when he’s not stuffing things down his pants) than myself and he utilizes the “you can hate me as long as you fear me” approach.  If I were a total beeotch would they treat me better?

I feel an experiment brewing.

Tanning beds make my white parts tingle.

My daughter, Uno, has wanted to prostrate herself on the hedonistic bed of lights for a couple of years.  I understand her desire for some vitamin D because I began my heated affair with the sun in 8th grade. Actually, the tan was a bi-product of my devotion to stalking the hunky older neighbor boy during his outdoor activities.

I was a dedicated voyeur who spent hours peering at the bronzed god through my Uncle’s high-powered hunting binoculars and subsequently became very tan!  After experiencing the sun’s kiss, I was a committed follower who didn’t cheat until  reaching the age of 16yrs.  At 16yrs I entered my first tanning bed in the name of Prom preparation.   The then 30 min (gasp) fake bake occurred during an era prior to public awareness of the dangers associated with sun exposure.  Given that education has enlightened me on the evils of tanning, I really don’t want my virgin skinned daughter to fry. 

Being the awesome mom that I am [and showing nauseous pictures of old prunes and oozing skin cancer], I have always managed to divert her longing for skin sabotage.   Plus, the child is 1/2 Filipino.  She merely has to look at the sun and she bronzes.  But let’s face it, winters are too long and that type of parenting [fear based pictures of nauseous prunes threatening oozing skin cancer] only works so well for so long…and I knew it.

The day came when she could not be deterred any longer.  Well, I am PARENT and deterrence is always an option but I figured the bake would be a good learning adventure.  I parent the leave and cleave way. Life must be lived. Lessons must be learned.

Sun trackers

We walked into the tan place prepared.  She didn’t falter even when the girl presented Uno with the sun tracker (stickers applied to track tan progress) choices of a Playboy bunny, heart, star, or Hemp leaf.  I knew the heart and star were nixed and I was hoping she didn’t select the porno bunny.  That left the Hemp leaf.  

Wait, what mother secretly hopes for their daughter to pick a brain cell killing marijuana leaf?  The kind who takes her to a place that kills skin cells.

I waited. 

Uno said, “No thanks.  I don’t like any of them.”  Success!  Now, that’s the beauty of proper parenting and preparation baby!

However, what I wasn’t  prepared for was Uno’s “Hey Mom, will you tan with me ’cause I’m kinda afraid.”  Ugh, I have spent years absorbing UV and have the fine lines and wrinkles to prove it.  Miraculously, I appear much younger than my birth age and I’d like to keep it that way.  

How about you?  Do you guys take the risk and tan or avoid the sun at all costs?

My soon to be 40yr old face

With continued tanning this will be me in a few years

Utlimately the yearning for that UV high of old (and Uno’s begging eyes) outweighed the developing lines and wrinkles. Before I could exhale, I found myself horizontal, butt naked and dermally absorbing some rays.

Uno was happily golden after one exposure and with my white parts tingling, I remembered that I deeply dislike tanning beds.

Motherhood: it’s spelled that way for a reason

My son, dos, recently watched a show about gangs, their history and the hand signs they use.  This, of course, caused a fascination with gang hand signs and he began to throw down the bloods, crips and west side like a true gang member.  The throw down occurred in the privacy of our four walls so I did not feel any need to prevent the charades.  Plus it doesn’t help matters that certain family members appear to amuse themselves with gang signs.

Mr. Pavlov and my cuz throwin' down some version of West Side.

Of course dos’s throw down preoccupation did not escape the all observing eye of tres.  Like the sponge that he is, he utilized his super absorbent powers to perfect each sign.

The next day while uno, dos, tres and I were waking through a city parking lot, tres decided he would throw down to random people.  He began with the sign for the bloods and continued with whatever signs for who knows how long before uno spotted the finger action.  Then the scenario went something like this:

Uno “Stop that you’re going to get us killed!”

Tres ignores the request  and continues throwing down

Uno “MOM, make him stop!  You can’t throw signs in public!  You will get us shot! They kill over those signs”

Tres persists with the [now] over exaggerated hand signs while giggling and effectively dodging her grasp   

Uno: a slew of insulting adjectives then “MAAAUUM, he won’t stop!  Stop it NOW!” looking at dos “See what you did…help me get him!

Screaming and wails ensue as dos joins in pursuit of tres, who is quickly caught and overpowered. 

Tres “waaaaha, oowww, let me go!  MOM, help me….pleeeeasee, oh pleeaase…for the love of God, help me!”

Tres agrees (in the spirit of anatomical preservation) to stop throwing down and the older two release him from the death grip.  They prolong the event longer than my distracted nerves permit and argue back and forth…each one trying to get in the final word.  I believe there was blame, anger, insults, shoving and maybe a death threat or two….

Welcome to my hood.

Montana, like I KNOW you’ve never experienced.

Spring is approaching which means so is the time to plan our summer activities and vacation. Yes, that’s right.  I do not have our summer trips planned  because I procrastinate, a total fly by the seat of my pants type B.  I blame this personality trait on the Radon.  I blame everything on the Radon.

Radon?

 It all began in the summer of 1982.  The Steel Mills were booming and 13 weeks of vacation were the norm.  My dad jumped up and down when he discovered that 13weeks were his for the taking.  My brother and I were on summer break so our parents decided to pack up the 1970 Buick Skylark and embark on a cross-country road trip to…..Montana.

The Skylark blazing a trail of glory in the West

My dad was a man on a mission.  He drove long and hard and much of the scenery was a blur.  I can still recall my mom saying “Oh, kids look at tha…” but there was nothing to look at except squashed bug guts on the window.  Whatever she had attempted to show us was a speeding haze left behind.  

During Dad’s space  travel, I became very thankful to Wall Drug and the dedication to highway advertising that this company maintains.  The “Have you dug Wall Drug?” and other variations of roadside billboards were, if nothing else, predictable.   Even with a Buick space shuttle cruising at the speed of light, one could effectively read these expected signs in advance.

The Buick taking a quick rest while we rested inside this remote cabin

We made it to Montana in a mere four days.  Dad was proud.  Mom was haggard and I’m surprised that none of us developed bladder infections from the lack of pee stops.  Mom laid down the law.  She made it known that on the way home we WERE going to SITE see by getting OUT of the car!  We WERE going to take as long as we required to enjoy this unique trip even if it meant stopping at every statue available….even the ones of cows. 

One of the many cow statues we "milked"

But there was a reason for Dad’s impatience.  We had reservations at “the mine.”  I’m sure it had another name but I only knew this place as the mine.  It was a family operated business located in Bolder, Montana. 

Out of towners, like us, stayed on-site in small apartment style homes for as long as one’s budget could manage. I recall that the place was critically small and seriously deficient in the privacy department.  But most frustrating to my stuck up on a mountain in the middle of nowhere child mind was the TV.  The man in the main home controlled the TV and we had to watch what he watched.  He, like all males, loved to channel surf and we had to ride his satellite wave.   There’s nothing that makes you want to hurl yourself off the mountain peak than getting interested in a movie only to have the channel changed mid-way through. Which is why, to this day, I will dismember anyone who attempts to channel surf in my home…twitch, twitch.

My brother, the Buick and the "abode"

This little abode lacked in just about every department imaginable and I’m surprised that we managed to stay as long as we did without killing each other.  The lack of…everything was overshadowed by hours upon hours of unlimited access to….The Mine.

THE MINE

My mom discovered The Mine in a newspaper article.  The article claimed that after breathing in the mine’s air, individuals with incurable aliments became well.  She was desperate.  I was in horrible pain (thanks Arthritis) and nothing the medical community had to offer was helping.  Looking at these pictures I quickly gathered, I do remember those awful days.  The swelling, the stiffness, and the inability to feel anything except terrible pain.  Desperate times call for desperate action and some special air!  The medicinal property in the air was Radon. Radon was golden. Radon was good. Radon was safe.

My mom, brother and me with the mine staff getting ready to enter the elevator

Radon was deep underground so deep underground my family of four went, like sheep to the slaughter in a rickety shaft elevator to our  mine destination. Here, in the dank darkness we spent 12 plus hours of Radon sucking fun… each. and. every. day. for. weeks!  I just have to comment on the photo above because looking at it now my mind is screaming RUN, I can’t believe we experienced this wonder of the world. Notice the sign about No smoking in the Mine (to the left partially cut off), and the 12 passenger shaft elevator limit but if one began to question or have any inner doubts then  the conveniently placed quote above the elevator reading “Happiness is to be pain-free” erased all fears.  Radon was the proposed ticket to pain-free happiness.   

Out of extreme boredom I took up cards.  I became quite the lil’hustler and could beat anyone (but the Chinese tourists were the most fun) at poker and Rummy 500.

Learning the game in our abode

 

In the mine...breathing.

Thankfully cards were not the highlight of the trip.  We left the mine behind and toured the beautiful west during the eight days it took us to get back home.  It was a trip to remember and one I hope to do with my family minus the radon exposure, of course.  Out of all the trips I’ve experienced as a kid, this one was by far the best and the most memorable….

Buddy, the psycho horse

Me and the bro OUT of the car with Mt. Rushmore

 

Me, Mom and Bro with Mt. Rushmore

 

Dad, bro and the Buick with the Mountains of Montana

 

We even stopped for Tee Pees

 

Dad, me and the roadside scene

….Along with Mt. Rushmore, The Battle of Little Big Horn, The bad lands, Trail rides on wild, crazy horses, Grand Canyon (Which they let me SLEEP through but I heard a lot about!!!), and statues of cheese,  I think the public health alert released within the last 15yrs stating that Radon is dangerous to your health and should be avoided along with the recommendation for home Radon testing and subsequent removal somehow added to the memories.

We went underground in Big Sky country to suck Radon.  That ain’t right.

The day repurposed words saved my arse!

I am thankful.  Yes, thankful for all of the usual things but right now I am breathing a sigh-of-relief-thankful, that I am a clever parent.  Thankful that I have the foresight (due to scores of embarrassing moments) to remedy a potential situation.

You see, number Tres has a fascination with the skin tone of the elderly.  The lines of facial cannons and valleys mesmerize him as do the moles and other weird growths that begin to sprout with age.  He fixates on these elderly faces with open mouth gaze and while barely breathing, he visually tracks their physical blue print like an architect reading himself for a big project.  When they speak to him, he becomes lost in input mode and often experiences a delayed reaction.  Eventually he snaps out of his mental voyage to elder land (as evidenced by drool suckage, and mouth shutage) and almost always brings a comment or an observation with him.  These observational comments are most awkward.

Zoned out in elder land

Having been present for one too many of his “Wow, is that lady old!” I decided to take Tres by the verbal horns and rodeo his butt.

The set-up was simple.  I informed him that we call really, really old ladies, with cracks and craters, wrinkles and moles galore, “Lovely Ladies.”  In fact, I told him we refer to all older women as Lovely Ladies.  To my surprise, he nodded in agreement without so much as a single question.

We were menu surfing at the gold standard for Breakfast, Bob Evans when it happened.  Behind us, in a booth, I spotted an elderly woman.  She was an ancient one who looked as if she may reach the annals of ancestor.com soon.  

She did not escape Tres’ watchful hawk eye. He got up on his knees, turned around so that he was facing her booth, and looking directly at her he  proclaimed (in heightened decibel) “Look mommy, I see a Lovely Lady!”  An immediate eruption of “Ahhh’s,” and “how sweets” flowed from her family members and she blushed so hard that her pasty face actually turned pink.  A demure smile lightly spread across her face and she waved at Tres with girlish embarrassment.

Tres was satisfied because he got to express himself, the lovely lady and her family were gleefully glowing shades of cherry and suddenly, I was the Mother of the Year!

Yes, I am thankful.