Thursday, December 20, 2012

Musings on The End of the World

It appears we are now T minus fifteen-some hours from the end of life as we know it and in the iconic words of REM’s Michael Stipe, “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”   According to a series of wackos, crackpots and loons all over the thing we call the inter-web, sometime tomorrow we should be blowing up into a red-hot fireball by the end of the day.  All of this because the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012 and a bunch of fools at the Discovery Channel decided to make a series of catchy documentaries with shocking titles like “2012 – The End.”   Or more creative titles like, “2012- Is It The End?  By topping the various hard-hitting docudramas off with some high quality reality shows showcasing unstable nut-jobs such as Doomsday Preppers,  we suddenly find ourselves with a large segment of society who honestly believes that the end is near.  I think it’s also important to add here than only in America would we decide that Armageddon would occur in conjunction with our time zone.  If this were really an issue, wouldn’t China already be gone by now?  It’s already the 21st over there.

For those of you who are not quite up on your full-on Armageddon crazy, here is the gist of what is going to happen tomorrow.  We are going to fall victim to solar storms that will knock out the power grid.  We will be hit by a dwarf planet.   Jesus is going to make an appearance and instigate that whole Judgment Day thing.   We will get sucked into a black hole in the center of the galaxy.   The earth will reverse on its axis and our toilets will swish like they do in Australia.  The zombie war will begin at midnight.  The crazies will kill off the rest of us before hiding in their bunkers from aliens here to take over.   According to the interweb, it’s not clear if one or all of these things are going to occur so just to be safe, I’m going to do a little low-level prep for all of the above.

-I’ve purchased a few new Christmas candles to give that scent of holiday happiness to our home.  These should work nicely in the event the power grid blows in which case we will have light and the fragrant aroma of cinnamon and cranberries. 

-I’m only 5’4” so if we’re hit by a dwarf planet, chances are strong that they might take me in as one of their own. (Unless of course they are hostile about my constantly referring to my short son as the Midget. Then I may be screwed.)  

-As for Jesus and the whole Judgment Day thing, I’ve made plans to attend Mass on Christmas Eve and the Midget has learned a few bible stories in Preschool this year so we’re tight.  

-A black hole would work well with my predominately black wardrobe.  It seems like the ultimate slimming solution.

-In preparation for the reverse toilet swish, I’ve cleaned them thoroughly and launched a fresh Ty-D-Bol man.  Full disclosure, I’m kinda hoping this one happens.  How cool will that be to have reverse swish?

 -In the zombie arena I’m totally cool.  My parents owned a funeral home in my formative teen and young adult years.  So I’m totally ahead of the curve when it comes to knowledge of the dead and reanimated.  I am all over any zombie war.

-As for the crazies killing us all off before hiding in their bunkers, well, that one is the only thing that terrifies me because as we’ve seen, the chances of that happening are too real.  Just to be safe, I’ve cleared my calendar and I’m staying home for a few days far away from any gun nuts or public arenas.

Perhaps I should be a bit more alarmed.  Perhaps I should be building a bunker and drawing up a battle plan for the zombie war and putting the Turk and the Midget though training exercises in our garage.  Perhaps I should be stocking up on canned goods in the event that we only mildly blow.  But I’m not.  Instead, I’m looking at the positives of Armageddon.

Should tomorrow actually be Doomsday and I am not spared by the overstocked concrete bunker in my backyard that I neglected to build, here are the positives I see.

  • My tumultuous relationship with that bitch Sally Mae will finally be over. 
  • All those whack-a-doodles who believed and developed scary websites and held signs on street      corners will be validated.
  • No one will ever make me disclose the true number of peanut clusters I have consumed this holiday season. 
  • I won’t have to tackle our ridiculously difficult tax return again.
  •  Those crows-feet concerns will be over.No more worrying about when the end will come because it already did.
  • My toilet might swish backwards, even if I’m too dead to see it.
  • No more guilt about irresponsible retirement planning.

Conversely, if tomorrow does turn out to be The End, there are a few things that I will be truly pissed about.

  • I bought awesome Christmas gifts this year and actually kept them all a secret – which is a shocking feat for my big mouth.
  •   The 13 dozen cookies I baked in the past 3 days will be obliterated instead of resting for eternity on one’s thighs as they were intended to do.
  • I will be forced to spend eternity with those extra 15 pounds I never managed to work off.  
  • No after Christmas Shopping. 
  •  I never got to catch up on Downton Abbey Season 2.
  • No more peanut clusters

It’s a crazy time in which we live, but if NASA says it’s not the end I think we can be pretty certain that it’s not the end.  According to Wikipedia, the New Age belief is that the December 21, 2012 date is not the end of the world, but the end of the world we know, as mankind suddenly makes a turn for a new and better world.  The hatred breaks way for love and we are all renewed.  I’m not a crystal-believing, hemp wearing, incense burning kind of New Age gal, but I like this thought.  God knows we need it.  So maybe as we all tuck in tonight, instead of hoping for the world not to end or for reverse swishing toilets, we can hope for a new world tomorrow.  That’s will certainly be my wish.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Costume Drama in the Snowman Ranks

By my calculations, I have about three, maybe four more years to be a rockstar in the eyes of my son.  I am relatively certain that the onset of 2nd grade math homework will reveal my true incompetency and simultaneously thrust my engineer/math genius husband into the spotlight relegating me forever to the realm of tambourine girl.   If not the math then it will most certainly be when we begin competitive soccer.  I was a chubby kid with low to moderate athletic ability while the Turk is the son of a professional soccer star.  How can I compete with that?  I know, I know we’re both his parents and it is  not about who he loves more...but is soooo is.  I was a teacher for many years and I’ve seen it firsthand.  Moms get all the glory from their sons for those first years and then one day- boom- it’s all over and it’s man-time with dad.   I know my time is waning so I try to make the most of it and perhaps, try to buy myself some extra time. 

I make him his favorite cookies every week, spend hours in torturous games of UNO and recently I created a bed-sheet fort that encompassed our entire living room and then proceeded to eat lunch in said fort with the Midget.  But none of that compares to what I will do for my little Turk when he needs a costume.  Having a mom who is a professional costume designer for a kid who likes to dress up must be the same as having a mom who is a pastry chef for a kid with a sweet tooth.   The other day the Midget was distraught because he had to wear his blue Batman cape when he dressed up as Darth Vader.  “I need black.  Darth Vader can’t have a blue cape.  The Storm Troopers will laugh at him.” So I whipped him up a brand new black one and a very happy Mr. Vader has been seen at various meals in our kitchen ever since. 

 Do I dote?  Well yes, but it not my fault.  I began this whole motherhood thing trained by Turkish mothers.   Turkish mothers are the ones who bring their 5th grade son’s lunches to school and feed them between shots on the soccer pitch.  Turkish mothers run across the room to wipe a nose well into their son’s teens.  Turkish mothers iron their son’s underwear until their wife takes over.  (Trust me on that one – I lived it.)  Only a stupid woman would attempt to come between a Turk and his mommy.  So yes, I dote because I learned from the very best.  

Last week the Midget needed a costume for his upcoming play.  I enrolled my little comedian in an acting class at the community center and for the past 6 weeks, every Wednesday he and nine other 4-6 year olds have been rehearsing their Christmas show with a short-tempered Russian woman.  Thanks to having a foreign father, mine is the only kid who can understand a single word spoken by Ms. Svetlana and thus he has the meatiest role.  The Midget is playing the role of the Friendliest Snowman complete with 5 lines and a couple of musical interludes.  When Ms. Svetlana informed us that we’d need to come up with costumes, I assured the Midget he would be the most fabulous snowman in the entire show.   Thankfully, this was one task I had in the bag while the other parents went into panic mode.   In an early chat during class, I subtly revealed my current career path.  One mom had the good sense to make a note of it and cornered me in the Ladies Room to ask how I intended to execute the final product.   She was tall and intimidating so I immediately sang like a canary giving her a basic sewing lesson in front of the hand dryer.  I knew I’d made the right move when she said –“Good idea.  Now, don’t tell those others how to do this.  I want our kids to be the only ones who look good.”  Now that is a mother after my own heart.  In contrast, another mother – that nasty hag who spent days complaining about how foreigners with accents should not be in charge of teaching children because no can understand them, before I smacked her down- looked at me and in her nasty hag voice said- “Hey, we know what you do for a living and you don’t get to make some awesome costume that will make our kids all look stupid.  That’s not fair.  Got it?”  She might as well have just said – “Game on.”   Oh and, PS Nasty Hag, mocking foreigners isn’t fair either unless you’re married to one!

With a bit of textile engineering genius and some fiberfill, I made the cutest little snowman this side of Frosty.  I even made him a fleece top hat and contrasting scarf.  I successfully sculpted two snowballs and tacked on some coal-like buttons and when I shoved the Midget inside, it was perfect.  In my eyes- in the eyes of the Midget, not so much.  

“Is everybody going to have a snowman like this Mom?”

                “No honey, everyone else will have a crappy snowman.  You will be the only one with such an awesome snowman.”

“But will the other kid’s costumes be fat like mine?”

                “Probably not sweetie because their mommies suck at making snowmen.”

“Are you sure this is what Ms. Svetlana wants?”

                “I’m sure this is what she wants, she just doesn’t know this is what she wants.”

“Ok Mom.  If you’re sure.”

Fast forward to dress rehearsal.  The snowman on the right was wearing a white sweatshirt stuffed with grocery bags.  I assumed he was playing the Hoarding  Snowman.  The snowman on the left was clad in a Hawaiian shirt with a pillow stuffed beneath and a black ski-cap.  I surmised he was Breaking and Entering Snowman.   The snowman who’s mother accosted me in the bathroom was a distant second runner up to mine but without the proper training his mom didn’t have the skills to form him into 2 snowballs so he looked more like a fat kid in a white t-shirt but he was cool with it.  And true to form, Nasty Hag’s snowman didn’t have a costume because she claimed to not understand Ms. Svetlana’s instructions due to her heavy accent.  But without a doubt, my SnowMidget was the most dazzling.  Parents and kids alike were jealous.  Everyone was enamored except for the Midget.  From across the room at the end of the lineup of snowmen I heard a little yelp and then a “Mommy, can you come here?  I think I’m going to cry.”

“Why are you going to cry buddy?   You look great.”

                “But I don’t look like everyone else.”

“Damn right you don’t.  You’re a Sax 5th Ave snowman and they’re all Dollar General snowmen.”

                “But Mom, I think I need to be a Dollar General snowman too.”

Ugh, the burden of greatness.

One week later we returned to dress rehearsal with an unstuffed snowman, still more fab than the Dollar General Snowman Brigade but not nearly as adorable as the Sax 5th Ave snowman of the week prior.  Mommy once again spent a few hours stitching coal eyes, a carrot nose, whimsical mouth and little mittens onto a plain white shirt.  Boring.   I was sad about my loss until the Nasty Hag’s snowman showed up in a karate uniform 6 inches too short and a hat that lost it's ball-fringe before the opening number.  Clearly the foreigners had this one in the bag.

My willingness to make a second costume and then stand in the backrow and cheer like a Muppet on speed has kept me in my rockstar status for a while longer.  And this Wednesday when the Midget struts it for the final performance, I will probably be too busy weeping with pride to care what his costume looks like.
 Though in the end I did get something out of my original creation – an hour long Christmas card photo shoot in our back with the Midget clad in full snowman.   I may be a sucker but I still have the power.

Friday, November 16, 2012

There Was An Episode. A Turkey Platter Was Involved.

Since crossing the threshold and traversing further into old age, I’ve begun having more frequent “episodes.”  These “episodes” are often unsettling and can throw me off for extended periods of time.  Generally, these episodes occur in dressing rooms with unflattering light and when I am scantily clad before full-length mirrors.  They often catch me off-guard and a sideways glance leaves me saying, “What in the hell happened to me?”  As I ponder the answer and attempt to justify my deterioration, I typically begin to shudder before collapsing into a pile of torment.  The episodes often end with medicating myself via peanut M&Ms or life-sustaining Chardonnay.  Recently however, the episodes, which have long been triggered by thigh dimpling or saggy hooters, began occurring while I was totally clothed and in no geographical relation to a full-length mirror.  While yesterday’s episode did occur in a retail outlet, there was no clothing within 200 yards and no mirrors either.  Rather than dimples or fun bag slumping sending me into trouble, yesterday’s trigger was a simple turkey platter.  I should have expected it.  The warning signs began in the wee hours of the morning, but I was oblivious.  Caught up in my adrenaline rush, I was blind sighted.  Thankfully, I lived to tell.

At about 6:00 am yesterday, as the men in my home snored through a few last glorious moments of sleep, my eyes popped open in horror.  Tablecloth.  I do not have an appropriate tablecloth.  We were exactly one week out from Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year (next to ┼×eker Bayram – the Turkish holiday rooted in the consumption and sharing of chocolate – I think my favoritism there is, as the kids say, obvi) and all I had upon which to serve my bird were 3 different linen variations in red and green plaid.  I may be a reformed Martha devotee, but the brainwashing remains.  Without a doubt, serving a Thanksgiving feast upon a tablecloth clearly intended for Yuletide joy is simply a travesty.  This would be our first Thanksgiving in our new home, our first Thanksgiving in which no one was working or overseas in many years and I’ll be damned if I was going to destroy it all by serving up a table full of fabulousness on inappropriate linens.

Once upon a time I had appropriate linens.  Unfortunately they disappeared.  Some are still in storage in Turkey (yes, I get the irony that my Thanksgiving tablecloth could very well be trapped in Turkey) and some just seemed to get misplaced in all the moves we’ve executed over the past few years.  Regardless of what once was, now, I got nothin’.  Budgets being what they are, would not allow me to frolic off to Macy's and secure myself a matching apron and tablecloth from the Martha Stewart Collection.  As I lay in my bed, I began to panic about the impending doom facing my Thanksgiving table.  Divine goddess of large birds, guide me.

Then, as if it was a Thanksgiving miracle, the answer revealed itself.  Amid the ads for erection enhancers and news of my having inherited millions from a distant relative in Zimbabwe, I received notice of the rare 3 Hour Tablecloth Sale at World Market.  For three hours only, 5pm – 8 pm,  50% off all tablecloths and a $4.99 Turkey Platter with coupon.  I wept. 

I spent much of the day planning.  Would I hold off making dinner and hit the beginning of the sale or wait until later and go sans Midget?  Would the Midget slow me down or did he have an opinion worth hearing in the area of linens?  I went online to evaluate my options.  Prussian red or burnt orange?  Solid or a festive print?  And that platter?  Gorgeous in its simplicity.  The options were setting me a twitter.  

As the 5:00 hour neared I began to get nervous.  I decided to wait until after dinner and go sans Midget but what if it was picked over?  What if I missed the turkey platters?  Oh Lord, what if they were mobbed with other women sharing my same horror and they sold out early!!!!

The Turk and I have long shared a strange and unexplainable bond.  I attribute it to having spent years completing his sentences when he can’t find the right English word, but regardless, he and I are linked. Like the Long Island Medium, he heard my cries from the other side.  At 5:00 on the nose, my Turk in shining armor arrived home – an hour and a half ahead of schedule.  His seminar ended early and for the first time ever, he was home early.  It was an act of fate.  I met him at the door, uttered, “There is a sale.  Tablecloths!  Turkey platters!  Three hours! I have to go!  Now.  I will be back.”  Accustomed to my bouts of crazy, he nodded and with the appropriate amount of urgency said, “Take my car.  It’s warm.”  How I love that Turk.

5:07 and the place was filling up.  I b-lined to the table cloths to find only one other woman pawing through the selection.  The tall, dark-haired woman was clutching a 3 foot turkey platter as she marveled at a row of Indian inspired linens.  She looked right, then left, then leaned uncomfortably close and whispered, “You here for the turkey platter?”  Realizing the covert nature of the situation, I leaned back and whispered, 


“Better go now.  The guy in the green apron over there told me supply is low.  They’re going fast.  Don’t get left behind.”

I thanked my fellow domestic warrior and followed her directions to the booty.  Her tip-off was invaluable.  There were only 3 left.  As I secured the platter large enough to hold a 2 year old, I looked around and saw 20 other warriors in the same stance.  We were an army of middle aged moms in yoga pants and hoodies with turkey platters at our sides and a need for an ideal holiday in our hearts.  While it was comforting to be part of such an assemblage, it was unsettling.  Ten years ago, before I underwent extensive training with the real housewives of Turkey, I would have kicked a motorcycle boot at a troop like this.  I would have thumbed my nose-ring at anyone who obsessed over securing a turkey platter for 4.99, even if it was a stunning value originally priced at 19.99.  I would have suggested medicinal intervention to any friend dealing with an obsessive need for appropriate table linens.  Now? There I stood in stretch knits and sensible shoes clutching a porcelain treasure and wondering “What the hell happened to me?”

As I stood in line pondering my fate, suffering the pain of the "episode" and trying to put my finger on the moment it all changed (November 10, 2006 – Happy Anniversary, honey!), I wondered if avoiding this purchase would send me back to my former reality.  Could beating the obsession erase the damage?  

“$19.77 Maam.”
      “Excuse me?  How much for both the 90 inch, 100% cotton, Indian inspired, citrine tablecloth and fabulous, porcelain, full-bird, turkey platter?”

“$19.77 Ma’am.”

                Now I’m no math whiz.  I failed Algebra I, twice.  But I did rock Consumer Math with Mr. Bartels back in 1988 and within seconds I knew that 50% off a $37.00 tablecloth and $4.99 turkey platter, with tax, could in no way come up to $19.77.  “Are you sure about that?”

Sparky the sales boy began to get huffy.  “Yes Ma’am.  That’s the price.  I double checked.  There is a problem with the register so I did it by hand.  I know it’s right.”

Clearly Sparky didn’t take Consumer Math with Mr. Bartels back in 1988.  Who was I to argue?  The mom mob behind me was getting restless.  Ugly things can happen with an angry mom mob.  Ever been to pee wee soccer?
Isn't she beautiful, especially with the sun on her like that...

I carried my new purchases to the car with a cautiousness I no longer even use for my offspring.  I strapped my platter in the empty car seat and drove home, 5 miles below the speed limit.

Upon the grand reveal, my Turks both looked at me with raised eyebrows (which can be pretty intense when you’re talking about Turk eyebrows).  Both were unmoved by my monologue about the importance of a grand tablescape.  But I am undaunted.  I may have lost many battles in recent years- the battle of the bulge, the battle of the sag, the battle for staying cool, to name a few, but I did not lose this battle for appropriate Thanksgiving table linens.  Not only did I win, but I won with change to spare and a girth of Shopper Points to use towards my next purchase.  

But the question remains, what the hell happened to me?  Simply put, I seem to have been overcome with a change of priorities.  But just to keep things on track, I plan to crank up some old school Metallica as I froth my egg whites and brine my bird next week.  If only those leather pants still fit…

Happy Thanksgiving!!!