Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Observations from a middle school dance

Ah, yes, remember those? The anticipation, the wondering if your secret crush would ask you to dance, the careful selection of your outfit meant to impress all who were lucky enough to behold your awesomeness. Even though it’s been a really long time since I was there, I still remember it very well. I was the awkward, gangly girl who didn’t feel like she fit into her body just yet. The one who wouldn’t stand straight because she’s a foot taller than all of her friends. Yep, that was me.

My son is in a private Catholic school for middle school. The Catholic Diocese here has monthly middle school dances for all children within the Diocese, not just the kids at the schools. The Catholic schools require a certain number of volunteer hours from every family to make the school a better place, and to also keep the parents involved. Fine, no problem. A dance came up, my hubby was working that night so I thought, why not? I’d just be sitting around a peaceful house all alone, so why not go torture myself for three hours listening to whatever it is that passes for music these days? Oh.my.God. I have just become my mother. You know what they say, ‘if it’s too loud, you’re too old.’ AAAAACCCCKKKK!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!! No, I refuse to accept that I’m old. I do not wear elastic waist pants or velcro strap shoes, nor do I have to keep my teeth in a bedside jar. Therefore, I am not old. Ha! You see… I’m not.

Oh, back to the subject of my post. Of all dances I could volunteer to chaperone, it was the Halloween dance, and yes, the children were in costume. From what I understand, they were expecting nearly 400 kids. That’s way bigger than any I ever went to ‘back in the day’. Before electricity. No, really, we had it. Before MTV. There. We didn’t have MTV when I was in middle school. Heck, we barely had cable. I think there were all of 12 channels.

Ah, but I digress. I signed in and found that I was assigned a door post. This post is to prevent children from going where they’re not supposed to. So I, and another lucky parent, were stationed in front of the double doors that led outside to part of the campus where no one was allowed. Oh, and did I mention they were right beside the dance floor? Yep, they offered me a great view of all of the action, and I use that term in a very innocuous and literal manner.

When I walked in, the DJ was already spinning some tunes, and OMG, I thought my ears were going to bleed it was so loud. Add to it the fact that I didnt’ recognize any of what he was playing and I was certain I was in for a monster headache in record time. I made a quick dash to the ladies and stuffed tissue into my ears, which they were eternally grateful for and made it much more tolerable for the most part.

The kids started filtering in and soon, it was really a hopping party. The costumes were comical and a lot were rather unique. My post was on the same side as the restrooms. I saw lots of clumps of girls rushing toward the ladies, huddled up and giggling all the way. You know it’s a physical impossibility for girls to use the restroom solo, and at a function like a dance, you must double it, easily.

The boys, well, most of them acted as if the girls had leprosy and didn’t go near them. I was expecting it to be more like the ones I attended growing up: girls on one side, boys on the other and dance floor in the middle. this one was a bit different, there was more mingling of the two groups.

Until a popular song came on, when they all rushed to the center of the dance floor, screaming all the way. And bounced. yes, that’s what I said, BOUNCED. That was their form of dance. A good song is on, and they collectively bounced as a group. I can’t help but wonder if the neighbors near the school thought there was an earthquake that night, repeatedly. When you get a group of 150 kids all jumping at the same time, someone should be able to feel it, right?

The costumes ranged from the undead, zombies, mummies and of course vampires. To nerds, lots and lots of nerds of both gender, Mr. Monopoly, an inflatable sumo (it was hilarious), and you know it wouldn’t be a party without Gaga. The young lady who was Gaga was at least a head taller than the rest of the kids, and that was out of her heels. Needless to say, she cut a path when she walked through. Oh, and I can’t forget the young lady who looked like she was an 80’s girl in her mom’s heels. They were not super high heels, but it was obvious that she was not experienced in walking in them, nor was she in on what happens when you wear high heels to a dance. Poor girl was walking like she had wooden legs.

At one point, they played a slow song and I was shocked, shocked I say, to see what happened. Rather than clearing the dance floor (what I expected to happen) they stayed! It was really comical. Boy-hands on her hips, girl-hands on his shoulders, at arm’s length, staying in one spot, swaying side to side. I looked over and saw the wooden-leg-girl swaying with a boy who was a head shorter than she was. I nearly went and told her to take heart, it won’t always be that way, that she won’t always be taller than all of the boys.

One of the biggest surprises of the night, when the DJ played Journey’s song ‘Don’t Stop Believin’. Really. I mean, you expect certain songs to be played at dances, YMCA, for example. It’s a requirement, I think. But when the Journey song came on, these kids screamed and rushed the dance floor and were singing it at the top of their lungs! I stood there, shaking my head looking at my watch and wondering where exactly that wormhole was that had just deposited me back in the 80’s. Crazy. But I loved it. I’m glad they’re enjoying at least some good music.

When will I chaperone again? Not for a few years if I’m lucky. Although, I have to say, it was rather entertaining to see what these kids are doing, and how different it is from when I was there.

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Observations from the public swimming pool 2011

Today we made our first visit to our local swimming hole, I mean pool. It’s a really nice pool, compared to the one when i was growing up. The public pool available when i was growing up was an indoor pool that was also used for the high school swim team. It was filled with noisy obnoxious kids who had no place else to go in the sweltering heat. Today, the public pool has a beach entry, two diving boards, a kiddie pool, a splash pad, and two, count’em TWO water slides! it’s amazing!

Today’s version of people watching was not as interesting as the past, it wasn’t crowded. Which is a good thing, it was a perfect pool day: not too hot, not too crowded, and the water was still refreshing. Sometimes later in the summer, after too many days of 100+ to count, the water begins to feel like bath water. Call me crazy, but I’m not in for the public baths.

I realized today that if I did choose to wear a bikini again, I probably wouldn’t look as bad in it as I thought I would! I think the key is confidence and not caring what anyone thinks!

Anytime a guy just a bit older than me calls me ‘ma’am’ and asks me for the time, I need to get my hair done!

For all of those kids there, I don’t remember seeing many of them using the restroom, which makes me thankful for chlorine

Tattoos, the arm band type, don’t make a young guy look tough. I’m not even sure they make him look cool.

Like last time, there were tattoos on many people. There was a woman who looked like she could kick my husband’s ass, who had many in various locations, including on her neck (shudder). And then there was one that made me kind of giggle. You see name tattoos in essentially any spot, arm, neck, chest. The woman sitting on the chair next to me had “Wayne’ tattooed on herself. It was the location she chose that made me laugh. I think it was the ‘I love you, but not THAT much’ it was on her foot, close to where the toes bend.

I’ve heard it said that tan fat looks better than pale, white fat. While that may be true, I think some people should look in a mirror before leaving their house for the pool. There are some things in this world we are just not meant to see!

If your very small child of maybe 3 or 4 yrs, cannot swim, he will not, and I repeat NOT learn to swim by making him jump off the diving board in 12ft of water and encouraging him to swim to you. Nor will he learn to swim while trying to catch you in the shallows as you walk away from him watching the water slowly cover his head, and telling him to keep coming toward you. That makes you look like a total jerk and will only serve to traumatize said child.

When playing catch with a wadded up t-shirt, you’d better have good aim, because if you hit me again, I’m going to hold you under the water til you cry for your mama!

Every time we arrive after opening, the only chairs left are the wonky ones missing straps so my butt falls thru. You’d think I’d learn better!

Here’s hoping that next year, we have a pool of our own to enjoy. And if my children dare to even think of using the bathroom in it, they will be banished!

How do you spend your hot summer days?

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Observations from the retail world

Yes, it’s definitely time for a new post and since everyone seems to be running around like ants these days trying to secure the ‘perfect gift’, what better subject to write about?

Is it just me, or do people to temporarily insane while in parking lots between Thanksgiving and Christmas? I have not seen any fisticuffs lately, but I’ve heard many angry horns and several obscene finger gestures over ‘stolen’ parking spaces. Is that really necessary? I mean honestly, would it kill you to walk a little bit farther?

When shopping, people PLEASE take the cart with you as you are leaving the checkout line. That is one of my all time pet peeves and it’s just plain rude.

And while I’m on the side of plain rudeness, when you leave the dressing room, take your things with you. That’s why there’s a person working in the dressing room, just hand them off, it’s really simple.

Whatever you do, do your very best to be polite to the customer service person. When the s— hits the fan, and it never has anything to do with them personally, they are the ones catch all of the crap. And having worked that position myself, I think it’s not uncommon for someone to just be having a bad day and want someone to yell at over something stupid that no one has any control over. Just remember, that could be you someday, behind that desk or cash register. Our economy is still kind of dodgy. So don’t turn into a raving lunatic the instant “Brenda’ asks ‘Can I help you?’

Here’s something I’m curious about. when you are looking for a particular shirt or sweater in a stack in your dresser/armoire/closet, do  you flip over all of them until you find the one you’re in search of? Or do you carefully lift them until you locate it?  I’m asking this because I’ve seen some really atrocious behavior in retail establishments. People who are well dressed and perfectly normal-looking in search of the last size medium of the purple argyle sweater flip over every single stack of neatly folded sweaters in their efforts. And when they come up empty, they simply walk away, leaving what looks like a tornado strike on that table. I implore you, please don’t do that. The retail employees are not paid enough to clean up your messes. Someone will have to stand there and refold that whole pile, cursing you as they do it. So it’s simple, be courteous and considerate of the employees who work there. Once again, some day it may be you folding the mess that others leave in their wake.

This happened yesterday, to me, so I know it’s true. When purchasing clothing that is on a hanger, don’t assume the little letter “M” or “L” on the hanger is really denoting the item that is hanging on said hanger. My BFF bought me a lovely cardigan, but alas, she did not have her glasses with her and relied on the hanger that showed an “M” on it. Imagine her surprise (and disappointment) when I opened the gift and saw the tag that read “XL”. Yeah. Two of me could fit in an XL. Not to brag, but I’m like the Weebles, remember them, heavy on bottom and light on top? Yep. I’ll likely never be accused of being an XL on top! No worries though, I’ll exchange it this week.

And always, always, try to keep in mind the reason for the season. As the corporate people who crack the whip on my husband may believe, the reason is not sales goals. I remind my children constantly, the reason for this holiday season is the birth of Jesus. Our savior. Not gifts. Not parties. Not shopping. Although all of those are fun. Let’s just try to remember what it’s really all about and do something for someone in need. Adopt an angel from the tree at the mall. Serve food at the homeless shelter. Volunteer to pack groceries at the local food bank. Pay it forward and pay the tab of the car behind you in line at whatever establishment you’re at. Do something selfless and anonymous. And, if you can’t physically do any of that, you can always donate money. Times are tight for all of us and when we pull together, we can do amazing things.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Love you all and I hope you have a very merry and safe Christmas and holiday season, however you choose to celebrate. xoxo

Cheryl

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Observations from the parking lot

I just got back from a trip to my fave local grocery store and, well, if you’ve been reading any of my posts you know my mind tends to wander and I notice some really off-the-wall things sometimes! Here are a few things I observed today.

Why is it that the people who drive the largest vehicles are the ones who are least able to park them between the lines? It’s always my luck that some knucklehead in a school-bus sized pickup/SUV can’t manage to pull in straight and ends up angled in a direction that is never beneficial for me!

Some peopel think they only have to look one direction when pulling out and invariably there’s someone coming from the opposite direction going entirely too fast and there’s either a collision or a near-miss that causes one or both drivers to need to change their pants.

The parking lot is not a garbage can, people! Don’t throw your dirty diapers on the ground because you’re too lazy to throw it in the garbage can that is most often right by the front door!

Blech! And in saying that, I can’t leave out the people who like to dump their ashtrays as well. Gross! I know most cars these days aren’t even made with ashtrays, but I still see those disgusting piles of cancer-inducing junk.

I think the same people who throw their nasty dirty diapers on the ground are the same lazy slobs who can’t put their carts in the cart corral that’s oh, maybe 10 feet away.  Oh, it just came to me! I know why they don’t take their carts, they’re trying to make a quick getaway before I can give them a hard time for using the parking lot for a toilet!

No matter how hard I may try, I always manage to park in the biggest puddle after a rainstorm, stepping out of my car and going ankle-deep in muddy, frigid water. There’s nothing like squishing your way through Target, making that wet shoe, squeaking sound all the while.

It doesn’t seem to matter that there is a crosswalk painted, or a stop sign, or even possibly both, there’s always some rude jerk who can’t spare the time to stop so you can cross. That one really burns me. You’re standing there in the rain/snow/scorching sun/freezing temps, and Mr. Jerkface is in such a hurry he can’t wait 2 seconds while you attempt to get where you’re going before getting soaked/frostbite/sunburn. Those people really piss me off!

And then there are the people you do stop for, because you are the courteous driver, who couldn’t walk any slower if they tried! What’s up with that?

Or how about those oblivious morons walking the middle of the drive, just having a leisurely stroll, as if they’re not about to become your newest hood ornament? I’m not sure which is worse, the middle walkers or the slow-as-freaking-Christmas walkers!

So, how about you? Have you had any interesting parking lot observations lately? Do share!

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Observations from the swimming pool

It’s hot this summer. Stick-your-head-in-the-oven hot. For years I was convinced that I didn’t want a swimming pool unless we could afford the pool boy to go with it. Well, a few weeks of a heat index hovering in the 450F range will change your mind pretty quickly! but since we aren’t movie-star rich, for now we’ll just have to settle for a visit to our local city pool. 

It’s so much nicer than the pool we had when I was growing up. It doubled as the high school swim team pool, so it was set up with locker rooms and bleachers. It was enclosed and the noise levels in there would reach  the ear bleed level the minute it opened. Our public pool is really nice, it has the gradual, beach like entry, two slides, two diving boards, a kiddy pool and a splash pad. See what I mean! We love it! Yesterday I loaded my pair and a spare to hit the crystal clear coolness for a fun afternoon.

Ok, first I just have to say, the only coolness you get at this point in time is if you let yourself bake and get really toasty and then jump in. Otherwise, it’s bath water. I”m almost surprised they weren’t handing out bars of soap on the way in!

I really like people watching and this is another good place to do that. Here are a few of my observations.

A guy sporting tattoos, nipple piercings and a beer belly, well, I don’t know exactly what to say. Kind of like a car wreck, you don’t want to look at him, but you can’t seem to look away.

The farther you are from high school, the younger the lifeguards look. I always thought they were so mature and grown-up. Ha ha! Yeah, for teenagers I guess!

You want your kids to stop spitting water on each other, and you, all you have to do is have them look around and see how many little kids are around and how many of them actually use the restrooms. Bet they don’t spit water any more!

If you’re saving a chair for someone, or just using the chair yourself, you need to put something on it, not just pull it closer to the chair with your junk on it, otherwise people like me are going to try to use it! Don’t get crabby when we do, k?

“Adult swim’ is ridiculous. The first 15 min of every hour, they blow the whistles and kick the kids out of the pool for  and adults only swim time. Stupid, really, I don’t think there were any adults there without children. HULLO, pool people! We don’t need adult swim time! We bring our kids to swim, we know they’re there! don’t call it adult swim when you really want it to be ‘snack bar break time’!

If you haven’t been in the sun all summer, use sunscreen, lots of it! And don’t forget to turn over! I saw one mom who was red on the front and white on the back. That’s no fun, and, well, not a good look! She looked like a half cooked hamburger!

If you’re older than about 20, a teeny, weeny, string bikini is hard to pull off.

Tattoos are everywhere! Man, I knew it had become really popular, but wow. The things you see on people are really incredible and odd. I could understand maybe your children’s b-day or something that’s really personal and sentimental like that. butterfly wings on your shoulder blades? A parrot on your hip? Barbwire around your bicep to make you look really tough (while eating a lollipop, chugging beer).  I thought once a very long time ago about maybe getting one. Long before they became so ubiquitous. But then I started thinking ahead, you remember I’ve told you about my brain vacations. I thought about when I’m an old granny lady and how they would look on skin like my grandmother’s, all wrinkled and hanging loose off my body. EEEWWW. And my loving grandchildren asking me what was the big dark blob on shoulder/hip/ankle. it makes me shudder just thinking of it! Two of my best friends have them, in very private and inconspicuous locations. That’s their gig. Not for me, thanks!

One more thing. If you are at a swimming pool with children, you are going to get wet, so just deal with it! It really makes me shake my head when I see the mom with the hair/makeup perfect getting upset because someone splashed her. Really? You are at a public swimming pool and don’t want to get wet? You are so in the wrong place!

Oh yeah, we just realized school’s starting in about a month! I don’t know if I should be sad that summer’s nearly over, or jumping with joy because it’s nearly over!

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Observations from a bar

This weekend I went to visit a good friend of mine in St Louis. It was a well-deserved girl’s weekend for us both. I mean really, she’s a working mom with two kids who is doing a temp single-parent thing while her husband has run away to ‘work’ out of the country. And well, my kids are out of state with my folks and my husband is working all weekend, sounds like a perfect time for a girls weekend!!!

We hit a bar because there was an awesome band playing. And what kind of music did they play, you ask? Only the best kind of music there is, 80’s! I could not stop smiling, it was cracking me up! I felt like a kid again and yet, like I was way old at the same time. The other thing that had me cracking up: the people. I have not been to a bar like that in, oh, about 50 years, and it was really very entertaining.  I’d like to share with you my humble observations, from the perspective of a married 40-something.

1. I don’t care how cute it looks in the magazine or what your friends may tell you, tube tops are never a good look. If your friend says it looks good on you, she’s lying to your face! Get a new friend!

2. When wearing said tube top, if you wear a cup size bigger than an A, you must, and I mean MUST wear a bra! Those girls were not meant to mingle with your belly button in public.

3. Every girl needs either a mirror that will tell the God’s honest truth about what she’s wearing, or a really good friend who will actually tell her that no, the  maxidress is not a good look for all 5’2″ of her.

4. When a rap/dance song comes on and you are over 25, white, balding and paunchy, don’t try to act all hip and gangsta like you’re black. You just look stupid. Oh, and guess what! You’re not black!

5. When you’re wearing a Harley shirt with the sleeves cut off to show off your tats and your ‘guns’, eating a lollipop in between swigs of beer makes you look totally gay, tats or not.

6. Old guys wearing tie dye and tops hats look creepy and should not be allowed in the door.

7. When you’re the idiot guy in the sleeveless Harley shirt eating a lollipop, you might want to think  before asking the guy who’s twice your size to move over so you can ogle the broad in front of him with her ‘girls’ on display, it could be his wife!

8. No matter how cute your strappy sky-high heels may be, they are gonna make your feet freaking hurt, don’t wear them. You look really weird standing on the dance floor, feet glued in one spot and you’re just  bouncing. Bouncing does not = dancing.

9. The 70’s are over, you can shave your pork chop side burns and cut your hair, the Doobie Brothers are so over.

10. Smoking will kill you. Oh, and everyone around you who gets the pleasure of breathing your pollution too. Just stop, or better yet, don’t start. And no matter how sexy/cool/tough you think it makes you look, you’re wrong. It makes you look gross and unattractive. Not to mention stupid.

11. I had a fun time people watching, but man, am I ever glad I”m married! I had really forgotten what that whole scene was like. Let me tell ya, going home smelling like an ashtray really sucks! Ick!

If you have an interesting bar-type observations, please, do share!

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