Wednesday, August 29, 2012

They Really Need a Parental Dress Code and Other Observations from the Mother of a First Timer

I used to work at a school.  Well,  I worked the after school program but I also some times did substitute teaching.  So I obviously didn't know about everything when it came to the inner-workings of the school system but I did know a lot.  Like, for instance, teachers gossip.  A lot.  I'm talking the lounge is like the popular girl's lunch table in the junior high school.  When Ja was getting ready to go to school I was all, "For the love! PLEASE be good.  Be good for your teacher and be good NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE SCHOOL.  Because, dude, the future of all Walker children in this school depends on YOU and how YOU act THIS year.  Even the FIFTH GRADE teachers are watching and they're not going to want you or your brother or your sister in their class if you're a straight up asshole."

Anyway.  This is my first year having a child in school so this is the first time I've really seen, paid attention to, whatever the whole parent angle of it.  And, people.  Lard.

Some observations:

1) When are they going to come up with a dress code for what you can wear to take your kids to school?  I'm not talking about dropping them off where you sit, all nice and cool in the AC of your overpriced, gas-guzzling SUV.  If you stay in the car, then I could care less if you take them to school naked.  Your prerogative.  But these people who walk their kids to school or, at least, get out of the car and walk the kid into the building -- they are the ones I'm talking about.  I've seen more booty shorts in the past three weeks than I ever thought possible.  Which also means I've seen miles of cellulite.  Dimples might be cute on your kindergartener.  The ones on your legs?  Notsocute.  (I feel like I can speak like this because I too have cellulite.  My cellulite has cellulite.  But.  Know what?  I COVER THAT SHIT UP WHEN I TAKE MY KID TO SCHOOL).  If you want to roll out of bed and walk your kid to school in your PJ's then START SLEEPING IN YOGA PANTS. 

At the total other end of the "booty shorts" spectrum are these parents who kind of . . . dress up . . . to take their kids to school.  It's one thing if they're going to work after drop off.  But, some of these, well they aren't wearing those get ups to work unless they're swinging on a pole.  And, in that case, I'm doubtful they'll be invited to career day.  I guess I never realized that elementary school drop off could be considered a meat market which is what some of these parents seem to have in mind.  Welcome to Memphis, y'all.

I never thought I would feel both overdressed AND underdressed by sporting my yoga-pants-and-tank-top uniform.

2) Dads are WAY more involved than they were when I was in school.  Way.  Now, my dad went to many a parent teacher conference and was involved in that way.  But these days dads are doing things like going into a work a little late to see their kids off on their first day of school.  On J's first day of school, there were just five kids in the class when we got there and FOUR dads -- two of them with fancy cameras out to snap pictures of their little ones.  Drop off and pick up is pretty much a 50/50 split between moms and dads.  The kindergarten meeting we went to a couple weeks ago, there were just as many dads there as moms.  I'm not trying to sound like I'm stereotyping dads as being the more hands-off parents.  I'm just saying they are more active than they were when I was in school.  And I think

3) Some of these dads are hot.

4) A dad wearing his younger child in a baby carrier while walking older child to school is automatically ten times hotter.  *Fans self*

Okay.  So maybe I didn't have a ton of observations to share.  And maybe I really just wanted to rant about all the booty shorts I've seen the past few weeks.  And maybe I wanted to talk just a little bit about the hottie dads.  But, there you have it, just a few observations about the Elementary School Parent from a brand new Elementary School Parent.  I'm sure there will be many, many, many more to come.

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Open Invitation to Prince Harry

Oh, Harry.

I'm assuming you're not one to appreciate being addressed as "your royal highness" or even "prince" so, with that in mind, I'm just going to call you Harry in this invitation.  Maybe even H-Dub? 

And, just so there's nothing uncomfortable between us, let's go on ahead and get this out of the way.  It's true.  Through my teenage years I was much more Team Wills than Team Harry.  Maybe it was his golden hair or his smile or the fact that he's closer to my age.  I'm not sure.  But, Harry, something happened over the past decade and you, my princely friend, are a Certified Hottie.  You sealed your status when you whispered to your bro during his wedding - ooh, prince Harry looking all studly AND talking when he's not supposed to?  You are a bad, bad prince, Harry.  Yes, you are.  Yes.You.Are.  It's like William got the girl (ball and chain) and the fairytale wedding (what kind of dude even cares about a wedding?) and, oh yeah, the crown (aka a whole lot of headache).  But you Harry - YOU got the title of hottie.  You get to be the bad boy.  And you, ya lucky SOB, have millions of women the world over clamoring for a look at your royal endowment.
Now.  Everyone in the world knows about your recent weekend in Vegas.  And everyone in the world - including, I'm sure, some remote native tribes on the Amazon - has gotten a starred-out peek at the family jewels.  Harry.  Harry, Harry, Harry.  I'm not even upset that you allowed yourself to get naked with a bunch of brazen hussies.  I'm not angry that you didn't stop to think that those (no doubt American) dimwits might, just MIGHT, catch a picture of your junk and sell it for millions.  But I AM ANGRY THAT YOU DID IT WITHOUT ME THERE. 

Unacceptable.  Un.acceptable.

So, this here is your chance to make things right again.

My girlfriends and I will be in Vegas in one month, the last weekend in September. Please consider this your invitation to join. If this were a proper invitation we'd address it "Harry and Guest" but this is the internet. H-Dub, your "and guest" is Ryan Lochte, mmkay? Clothing optional. For you both.

I feel like I should point out to you that we are not 20-something blondes. But, Harry, you have that all.the.time with Chelsea Davy. What you need in your life right now is a group of 30-something brunette moms with c-section scars. We appreciate your youth. We know just how to spank a naughty, naughty boy.  And, bonus, none of us are going to try to get preggers and slap some royal child support payments on you. Buh-leeeeeeve me on that one.

If that alone is not enough reason to convince you to join us, here are just a few more reasons you should accept our Vegas invitation:

1) Forget Wolfgang Puck, celebrity chefs, and all those fancy shmancy restaurants.  You have not eaten in Vegas until you have dominated a buffet with us.  Trust.

2) Did you get tanked on the cheap beer buckets at karaoke and sing Journey in front of a crowd the last time you were in Vegas?  No?  Oh, Harry.

3) I know you have family money coming out of your ears - and all your other orficies - but still.  If you want a plastic guitar filled with 100 ounces of Rum Runner, that shit's on me!

4) According to the interview those bimbos gave to Inside Edition, you requested - and wore! - one of their bachelorette party t-shirts.  DUDE.  H-Dub!  We are the QUEENS (royalty pun totes intended) of fun t-shirts!  We usually reserve them for New Orleans but I'm totally considering having "I Came to get Naked with Harry" shirts printed before this trip.  We'll have one waiting in your size.

Finally - and most importantly - while we can't promise that you won't be getting naked, we can assure you that any pictures taken of the royal scepter (does that as a euphemism for peepee?  Yes, no, maybe?) - and, Harry, you KNOW there WILL be pictures taken - will only be shared amongst our closest whores and not the world at large via TMZ.

See you in September!

B-Dub and Whore Island

P.S. I wasn't kidding about Ryan Lochte.  BRING HIM.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Reading List: Big Asses, The Tenth Circle, and a Little Bit of Sweet Valley

Before we begin with the books, I just hafta say one thing:


Harry, Harry, Harry!  While it still sort of pisses me off that you came out the hottie prince (I was totes #teamwills as a teenager back before hashtags were even a thing), you ARE in fact the hottie prince.  And if you're going to be stripping down in Vegas and being an embarrassment to the throne all the while endearing yourselves to everyone else in the world, you could have at least had the decency to strip down next month WHEN I AM THERE. 

Also, this little race you had with Ryan Lochte?  Totally could've waited another month.  Totally.  Seriously, why don't you guys rematch in September then we can all retire to your penthouse and play strip billiards while you charm us all with your accent.  Kthanksbye.

Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why do They Live Next Door to Me by Jen Lancaster - Okay, people, you know I totally have a girl crush on Ms. Lancaster.  I loved Such a Pretty Fat and Bitter is the New Black.  Loved them.  This one though?  Y'all.  I couldn't even finish it.  Parts of it were funny but most of it was just . . . painful . . . to read.  Like, I feel like she should give me the WEEK I wasted just TRYING to navigate my way through this thing.

Normally, in a book review, I would reserve the second paragraph for telling you a synopsis of the book.  Here's the problem with Big Ass: I have NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS ABOUT.  Presumably, according to the descriptions you see on Amazon and Good Reads, it's supposed to be about Ms. Lancaster's (she's totes Ms. Lancaster and not BFF Jen Jen after this book) life in the city.  Only.  It was just her . . . I don't even know . . . whining and complaining and carrying on and hating everyone.

Lancaster got off on the wrong foot with me in the very first chapter when she describes an interview for a temp job.  Her interviewer was very Texan and kept saying "y'all" when talking to Jen and only to Jenn.  Hi.  I'm from the south.  I have lived in Texas.  I'm 32 years old and have never EVER heard someone use "y'all" in the singular.  It just does not happen.  Nitpicky?  Yes.  But it bugged me.

As I got further in the book . . . oh, this is painful to write.  Not only does Lancaster ADMIT to reading Ann Coulter but she actually admits to wanting to have a sleepover with this horrible woman.  I'm not fickle enough to let something like that be the only reason I quit reading a book.  I "like" Lancaster's Facebook page so I arrrdy done knew she was pretty conservative.  I love a whole lot of conservative people -- I may not agree with their political views but that's okay.  We're still cool.  But when you openly admit - in a book, that gets published, read by thousands! - that you want to have a sleepover with Ann Coulter.  Bitch, please.  We gotta rethink this relationship.  The book as a whole - or at least what I read of it (a little more than half) comes across as so bitchy and snobby that it was impossible to read.  Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult - This book received some pretty horrible reviews on Good Reads.    This was my first ever Jodi Picoult book and I'm thinking, if it received bad reviews, then her other books must be truly bad ass.  On a scale of five, I would give this one a three and a half.  It was dark and depressing and I wanted to stab someone with the way it ended.  But.  It caught and kept my attention.  I wanted to know what happened.  And that alone is the mark of a pretty darn good book.  In my opinion anyway.

The Tenth Circle tells us the story of the Stone family.  Dad Daniel grew up as the only white kid in a native Eskimo village in Alaska.  His rough childhood followed him into adulthood but remained something he kept hidden from his wife and daughter.  His wife, Laura, is a college professor participating in some, shall we say, extra curricular activities with one of her students.  Daughter Trixie is 14, recently dumped by her first love, a cutter, and the book centers around the fact that she was raped at a party.  Yeah.  Not exactly a light little beach read, eh?

I could tick off a whole bunch of problems with the book.  Picoult doesn't delve deeply at all into Laura Stone's affair.  It's almost as if it shouldn't have even been included in the book.  Trixie Stone is very hard to feel sorry for as a victim and, as much as I didn't want to, there were times in the story where I almost sympathized with her rapist (a 16-year-old boy).  And maybe I'm just naive and things have changed a lot - a lot, a lot - in the decades since I was a 14-year-old girl - but the sexuality present in the book just seemed over the top.  I'm sure it's probably naitivite on my part but, as the mother of a baby girl and step mother of a girl not much younger that those in the book, I sincerely hope not.

All in all, this was a decent read.  I hated the ending but the story as a whole kept my attention and definitely made me want to pick up other Picoult novels.

The Sweet Life by Francine Pascal - Francine Pascal hates Elizabeth Wakefield.  And maybe Annie Whitman too.  I was always more of a Jessica fan (seriously, could Elizabeth have BEEN more of a goody-goody [I said that in my best Chandl-ah Bing voice]) but even I was totally put off with how old Francine just took a great big shit on Elizabeth's life.
The Sweet Life catches up with the Wakefields and an assortment of other Sweet Valley-ins three years after Sweet Valley Confidential.  Jessica and Todd, the parents of a toddler, are on the verge of divorce.  A rape scandal has Bruce Patman's career - and relationship with Elizabeth - in tatters.  Lila and Ken and Steven and Aaron have approximately four chapters each devoted to them in the entire serial -- seemingly to give us a tiny glimpse of what's going on with them but not enough to develop a real storyline.  Oh, and Annie Whitman?  She's still Easy Annie.
There's not much to say without giving away the story and, if you're a Sweet Valley fan, then you're not going want me to do that.  It's cheesy.  It's campy.  You'll want to call Francine Pascal all kinds of colorful names once you reach the final chapter.  Pascal has said there won't be a continuation of the story but she definitely leaves room - and a lot of it - for a follow-up.  I'm not sure if I love Pascal for bringing the characters I loved so much back to me or if I hate her for what she did to them. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I will take your Competimommy Lunch Bullcrap and Raise you by one MY KID IS BETTER THAN YOUR KID ANYWAY SO HE CAN EAT CRAP IF HE WANTS TO

I wish I could lie to you all right now and say something like, "I totally had not thought about it until a few minutes ago but, oh em gee!!!!, I have to pack a school lunch this year."  Believe me.  I have thought about the school lunch thing.  Because apparently, y'all, the Art of the Packed Lunch is the latest event in the Competimommy Olympics.  It's all over Pinterest.  And it is ri-expletive-diculous.

I read on a blog the other day - I blog I actually like and don't just read for snark factor! - where the author said something along the lines of, "preparing lunch is one of the most important thingamajigs about getting ready for school."  (Totes paraphrased).  Exsqueeze me very much?  I love food.  Probably more than the average bear.  But I kind of tend to think filling their minds is more important than filling their tummies with butterfly shaped sandwiches and organic beet paste.  (Is beet paste even real?  Cause I totally made it up).

I get it that my generation is a bunch of Fatty McFatFats who inhaled twinkies and lived off of packed lunches that contained my bologna has a first name . . .   But it's like so many people have gotten to the point that they want better for their own children that they - I'm assuming - spend way too much time (not to mention money) on lunch.  LUNCH.  There comes a point where you gotta ask -- is it for the kid?  Or is to look better in the eyes of the fellow competimommies who are, hello, NOT EVEN IN THE CAFETERIA?  Do you really think little Makayla is going to run home and give a full report on what kind of organic crap Tyler was shoveling into his pie hole in the cafeteria?  No.  Because Tyler is going to try to broker a trade for someone else's corndog and Jell-o.

Even though I don't (okay, okay -- try not to) buy into the competimommy bologna, I'm still stressing a little over lunches. For starters, I know my kid is an asshole when he has too much processed foods, a detail it would be nice to keep under wraps from his teacher until at least September. Then you add in the whole fact that you have to pack something that'll keep in the lunchbox. Oh, and he's in kindergarten. So they'll probably eat lunch at, like, 8:45 in the morning and therefore he needs enough grub to sustain him until he gets home at 3:00. If ya think the kid's a little shit when he eats too much processed junk, try being around him when he's hungry ...

Luckily, this is my child who'll eat just about anything. Next year when it's K1 who is in school I'll really be in trouble considering the kid doesn't like anything unless it starts with "hot" and ends with "dog." I let J pick out some lunch goodies the other day and he chose .... hummus, carrots, and celery. The only thing he wanted that would make the organimommy raise a (perfectly arched) eyebrow was Gogurt. This mom can deal. It's not like I really expected him to take a lunchbox full of alfalfa sprouts and tofu burgers (again, are tofu burgers real?). I'd have chosen the Hostess cupcakes myself.

I realize I'm obsessing much - I get that, I'm beginning to annoy myself - but, y'all, why didn't anyone tell me this kindergarten stuff would be so HARD?  We spent his college fund just in school supplies and uniforms.  There's this whole lunch thing.  There are my overwhelming worries that he's going to tell all of our (embarrassing) business to his teacher (believe me, y'all, I used to work with kids.  And guess what?  If your kids happen to know that you and Daddy took a shower together that morning, they can't WAIT to blab it to their entire class), that he's going to call someone an "asshole," that he's going to stick a crayon in his ear during naptime, that he's going to be THAT kid who eats glue.  I know that there will be tears (mine) when I take him to school for the first time tomorrow.  But you know what?  I'm to the point that I'm ready to just  I know the kid is going to be fine in kindergarten (please don't call anyone an asshole, please don't call anyone an asshole, please don't call anyone an asshole) but the way I'm stressing over lunches and the competimommies?  And I still have TWO MORE kids to put through kindergarten?  I might not survive!