Santa’s Not Her Bag

There once was a little girl, who was quite tiny and cherub-like on her very first Christmas.

Only four months old, to be exact.

And her very proud parents did what many well-meaning parents do.

They took her to see Santa Claus. Her older brother knew the routine one must follow in order to get the goods from the Big Bearded Man.

You write a nice note, you sit on his lap and chat a bit, smile for the pictures, and swear up and down that you’ve been nice (not naughty). This would be the first year her brother could add I’ve been nice to my sister to his list of good deeds.

This little girl, however, was not on board.

She was deer-in-the-headlights scared to be sitting on Santa’s lap, which then led to tears. So sad to see such a little one crying in Santa’s workshop.

Her parents chalked it up to her littleness.

Problem is, several years later she had never outgrown her dislike of Santa.

 And yet, we kept on taking her to see him.

For a picture like this, wouldn’t you?

This post is linked up with Tonya of Letters for Lucas and Natalie at Mommy of a Monster & Twins for their Santa Photo link-up!

Creative Kristi Designs

Christmas Perfection

As hard as we may try to create the perfect holiday experience for our families each year, the truth is it doesn’t really exist.

Unless you change your perspective on what perfection truly is.

It’s Wednesday, so I’m hanging out over at Moonfrye talking about the memories you’ll find in the Christmas chaos.

And a certain little girl who made me laugh.

I’d love for you to visit me over there today.

Days of Whine and Snotty Noses

Ah, those days with little ones. At times they feel longer than 24 hours.

Way longer.

But once your kids are older, those days seem like they didn’t last very long at all.

Hard to believe, I know.

I’m hanging out over at Moonfrye today with my weekly post Days of Whine and Snotty Noses.

This week? I’m talking about Cheerios, snot, and whine.

Come on over and see how they all come together.

At the Wrong Party

I’m pretty sure you’ve been there before.

Wistfully gazing across the restaurant at the table-full of Pretty People. They are all laughing, sharing fancy hors d’oeuvres, wearing clothes that hail from Nordstrom rather than Target.

Or maybe you are usually at that table.

Good for you.

In my work with elementary school students, I am lucky enough to attend an annual conference. We put a lot of work into this event, both putting on a workshop for other attendees and taking on another task related to the set-up or daily running of the conference. This year our “extra” task involved checking in and wrapping approximately 50 gift baskets that were to be auctioned off as a fundraiser.

We set ourselves up in a conference room the night before and prepared to put in the long hours necessary to get things ready. Armed with tape, scissors, yards of raffia, rolls of cellophane wrap, and large caffeinated beverages we were ready.

But we were not sexy.

We were comfortable.

After several hours of organizing, taping, sweating, and tying raffia bows a large group of hotly-dressed women peeked into our conference room, asking a one word question.

Allergan?

Not only did we have no idea who they were looking for, but they were quite obviously not with the elementary school employee crowd.

And they were seriously hoping we weren’t with their crowd.

They were totally decked out: shiny halter tops, designer jeans with miles-long inseams, cute wedge shoes, flat-ironed hair, and glittery eye-shadows.

We had flat hair that had nothing to do with an iron.

After several more groups came through, we finally determined that there was an event going on somewhere in the hotel called Girl’s Night Out, sponsored by Allergan. Three-course dinner, wine tasting, and goodies rumored to include coupons for free Botox, Latisse, and/or fillers.

Um, free? I was quite obviously at the wrong table.

Later that night, my co-worker was up in her room with the door propped open as she waited for a colleague to come by.

In walks a strange woman, who starts to chat her up about how nice her room is and helps herself to the snacks on the table. My friend isn’t quite sure if she’s being robbed or taped for a new reality show.

Turns out, this woman is a nurse who was hired for the Girls Night Out event and she’s pissed. They promised a free meal and didn’t come through, so she’s reduced to roaming the halls and scavenging for snacks.

Then she comes up with a revenge plan.

“OK,” she says to my friend. “Come with me. You’re my old friend Hannah, from out of town, and I’ve been waiting for you for hours. You’re finally here and ready for your consultation. Are you in?”

“Wait,” my friend says, “you mean I’m getting Free Botox?”

“Oh no, you’re not Botox material. You need fillers, for sure.”

On any regular day this comment alone might be deflating, but at this particular moment?

It’s a free ticket back to her youth.

And just like that, my co-worker came away from the conference renewed by the keynote speakers, energized by the informative workshops, and armed with a gift card for $600 worth of fillers.

I am envious beyond belief.

And I’m still waiting for my place at that table.

Gift Horse

Gifts.

Whether for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, Father’s Day, bar mitzvah, parole hearing, promotion, or just because we choose gifts for special people in our lives to represent our feelings about them on their special occasion.

Brides are given gifts that are useful in setting up a new home. College graduates might receive a professional-looking black leather briefcase or maybe a fancy pen.

And don’t forget the oohs and aahs associated with baby shower gifts of onesies and cuddly blankets.

What about someone going off to college for the very first time, learning to take care of themselves for the very first time with no parental involvement? No reminders of when-to-d0-what?

What would the perfect gift be for them?

Maybe an alarm clock, a bottle of multi-vitamins, laundry soap, an umbrella, an endless supply of clean underwear, or maybe a bottle of aspirin and a box of band-aids?

Nope.

Frogs.

Amphibious frogs that live in a tiny tank and spend their whole lives imitating fish with legs.

Apparently when you are just learning to be responsible for yourself, remembering to eat on a regular basis and do your own laundry, the next logical step is to give you two more lives to be responsible for.

My son came home from a good friend’s house with two frogs, given to him by the friend’s mother as a going away gift.

He thought they were pretty cool, but it was a total surprise to him.

And me.

I’m pretty sure this breaks section 5, article 23 of The Mom Code, which stipulates “under no circumstances are you to gift anything that breathes or poops to the child of another mother.”

But off to college the frogs went, sloshing around in their plastic prison tank and most likely getting carsick on the way.

I’m so skeptical they’ll survive life in the dorms that I’ve actually wagered money on them.

But at least I know what to buy a certain friend when he goes off to college in two years.

Want Fries with That?

First jobs. We’ve all had them.

Some of us even think we learned a lot from frying burgers or waiting tables.

With college looming this fall for my son, a part-time job was just the thing to help him save some spending money.

He didn’t realize that a part-time job is also perfect blog fodder.

Once he started telling me some of the stories I knew he needed to write them down. Because while we’ve all been at the counter ordering fast food, we haven’t all been that person behind the counter.

So I give you the inaugural blog post by my soon-to-be college freshman…ten bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.

 

Riffraff With Cheese

As you, the reader, may have heard from other posts, I’m Sherri’s 17-year-old son.

Unlike a previous post written by the dog, I’ve actually written this one.

Having recently ended a five-week tour of duty at a Wendy’s restaurant inside of a Shell gas station, I was naturally called upon by Mom to expound my newly-formed opinions in a blog post and make the world a better place.

Actually, I had to beg and plead and whine and sigh until she took this and posted it.

After almost three months of job-hunting, including over thirty applications, five or six interviews and far too many “Oh, we’re not hiring”-s, I was hired as a “front counter associate” (pronounced lack-ey) to work evenings and weekends at the aforementioned Wendy’s. Its convenient location next to a major freeway, several business parks, a construction zone and a community college made for an eclectic bunch of customers.

Sure, there were plenty of normal, polite, and unmemorable people who came and ordered food at one time or another. The others, however, were far more distinctive, including:

– Three vegans, each of whom wound up watching the cashier (me), the manager and the cook jabber at each other for several minutes to try and figure out how to ring up and prepare a “veggie burger”. Even worse, each one walked right past the gas station’s large rack of bananas.

– Five college kids with bloodshot eyes and clothes reeking of smoke. They all came in at the same time, about 10:00 PM, and ordered about forty spicy chicken nuggets each, concluding their transactions with a wheezy “Thanks, bro…”

– Two businessmen from the UK, complete with awesome accents. Cheers.

– Endless kids hell-bent on trashing the dining room, unrestrained by their parent(s). Some of them at least said “Thank you” when they got their food.

– Four acquaintances of mine. I only messed up two of their orders.

– Dozens of people who deemed their telephone conversations more important than their clear and concise communications with the cashier. For the record, though, one of them was an ambulance driver.

– Two customers in a row that decided the “Pick 2 Sides” promotion actually meant they could pick 3 side dishes for the same price as 2, and that neither the cashier nor the manager could read the menu, and that they would take their business elsewhere. Both were missing two or three teeth.

– One twenty-something-year-old man who, upon receiving $12 or so in one-dollar bills, remarked “Good thing I’m going to Vegas!”. The previous day, he had commented on his small bills being primarily spent in exotic bars.

– More than a few people with gas-station-related questions. Gasoline isn’t on the menu for a good reason. Talk to the guy with the “SHELL” vest, not the “WENDY’S” hat. Bathrooms and coffee dispensers aren’t our problem either.

– A handful of individuals who were displeased with the fact that, yes, we need a minute to cook your chicken sandwich. Should’ve ordered it raw if there was a rush.

– One health and safety inspector sent in from our corporate office. There has not been a more agonizing three hours in my recent memory. I believe the final score was 85%.

– And, despite many orders of chili, not a single finger comment. Dad threatened to come in after work and order a “large chili, hold the finger”. I informed him that he would not like the finger I would hold.

There are three Wendy’s restaurants in my college town. One of them might even be on campus. When it comes time for me to find another part-time job, I’ll know to look elsewhere.

Sending your Son to College: What (Not) to Buy

My son is leaving for his freshman year of college in four just a few days (who’s counting?).

I may have blogged about it a few times here and there (and maybe here too).

Some of you are overly concerned for my well-being after he leaves. I’ve been finding business cards from mental health professionals left under my front door mat.

I’m pretty sure that was Dr. Phil tailing me in his BMW as I drove to Starbucks yesterday morning to drown my sorrows.

But seriously, this is an exciting time for all of us.

For him because he gets to realize his dreams, get started on his future, move away from his oppressive parents, leave home just as his little sister hits her teens, stay up as late as he wants, and drink as much Dr. Pepper as his stomach can handle.

And for me because I can finally dig through that room, find the carpeting I’m pretty sure we installed twelve years ago, and open the windows to let the fresh air waft away the smell of boy.

I may even find that cat I think we used to have.

In the final days of preparing him to live on his own, we went on a bit of a shopping spree the other day.

His list was long and detailed and (luckily) we already had most of what he needed.

Cha-ching cha-ching.

But apparently there are certain items that a college-bound boy finds no need for, and should a mother mention them? Eyes will roll.

Kleenex tissues He has informed me that these are unnecessary, since he is taking a roll of paper towels.

Shower caddy Apparently no self-respecting dude would be seen with one of these handy totes for carrying your shampoo/shaving cream/toothpaste and brush/etc… to and from the communal bathroom. Who knew?

 Face towel If you’d seen the look of disbelief he shot me when I asked how many face towels he needed you’d have thought I asked him to pick his favorite shade of nail-polish. I suspect this has more to do with how many times he’ll have to do laundry than it does the actual usefulness of the face towel, because he does use one at home.

Ironing board/iron I still remember the cute table-top ironing board my mom bought me when we did our pre-college shopping trip. Come to think of it, I remember ironing things for several of my guy friends, which is probably why they don’t need their own.

Any items in any color other than black This kid’s got a black thing going on…not in a goth way, but just in a I-wear-black-all-the-time way. The only items he’s packing that aren’t black are white bath towels and a white laundry basket. Only because the laundry basket didn’t come in any other colors black.

Of course, this whole experience will not be of any help the next time I send a kid to college.

My 13 year-old daughter has already started listing all of the incredibly cute and colorful dorm room items she is going to get when she goes away in five years.

I’m pretty sure she won’t want that white laundry basket.