Scene: I get home from work, systematically dispossess myself of my wretched work clothes and hook up my computer at my desk. The child, who systematically ignores my existence other than the dead look she musters to throw at me when I walk through the door, is informing her friend that she will call her back.

Bay: Mom, I have another one of those geography map test things tomorrow, so I’m going to go in my room and study.

My interpretation: Mom, I’m going to my room to burn up about a thousand talk minutes and another 200 texts before I spend the requisite 4 minutes looking over this map and hoping for the best tomorrow.

Me: OK.

Bay: It’s Canada this time. I NEED to do well.

Me: Canada is easy. 7 provinces and 2 territories with only a handful of cities that are of any real consequence.

Bay: Easy, huh? Show me the provinces.

I start in the west and name them off as I head east. Because I am a geography rock star.

Bay: Now the territories.

Me: There is Yukon Territory and there is … what the hell? What’s the deal with the Northwest Territory? Why is it divided like that?

Bay: Because it’s the Northwest Territory and the Nunavut Territory.

Me: The What-a-vut territory??

Bay: Nunavut.

Me: Well, when did THAT happen??

I knew Europe had totally jacked itself up since my last geography class in 1984 and I made a small attempt in the mid-90’s to re-learn it but quickly lost interest. I figured I’d keep Europe on a need-to-know basis and as of this writing, I’ve not needed to know.

Canada, though…that one threw me for a loop. Apparently, this new territory showed up almost a decade ago. Did you all know this? I sure as hell didn’t. I do not recall seeing anything about the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act on Or Or any other web-page I frequent.

I have an odd relationship with Canada. I’ve been there, which tends to give one some sort of identity with a place…you know, having been there. I’ve also dealt with a large number of Canadians, having lived in such close proximity to the border. This doesn’t mean I like Canada, though. I don’t. I have no real affection for Canada other than feeling a need to root for them in some international competition once the United States has been removed from the mix (usually at the hands of Finland or some other Icelandic nation).

Despite my feelings on Canada, I find it offensive that I wasn’t notified about this geographic alteration. Then again, perhaps no one outside of those actively taking geography classes have been informed of this.

I imagine this is because Robin Williams was right when he said that Canada was like a loft apartment over a really great party. No one cares what’s going on in the loft.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 5:45 pm  Comments (2)  

The Violent IQ Downgrade

According to reports, my IQ is 125. This means approximately nothing to me, really. It’s just something I keep in my head, much like my ACT score. It serves no practical use in everyday life, nor is it high enough to make me a Mensa candidate. Essentially, all it really means is that I have some verifiable proof that I’m not the stupidest person roaming the planet (although at times, this would appear to be debatable).

For the sake of this particular diatribe, however, I deem my IQ score as relevant. Why? Because I am going to explain to you what has happened to my IQ score and why I no longer have one.

At age 26, I became a mother. Automatic 10 point deduction, as you have to give the child something to start out life with. Nutrients, blood supply and 10 IQ points. Similar to $100 and a bad suit for parolees leaving the pen.

So, I dropped to 115.

Throughout the next decade or so, I did a combination of waiting tables, bartending and managing restaurants. To wit: customer service. To that end, I had to deal with a LOT of people. Not all of those people were very bright, so the pull on IQ points was fierce. What saved me, however, was that I was in school during that time, so the combination of undergrad (when I showed up, which was rare) and law school served to balance out the loss/gain of points.

NB: Yes, I know that IQ is allegedly a native score, so you can’t simply ‘lose’ or ‘gain’ points. If you’re all itchy to leave a comment about how I’m totally misconstruing this whole IQ phenomenon, settle down. I’m aware of that. I’m using it for illustration only, so please just work with me here.

Assuming that the idiocy was counter-balanced with educational pursuits and academic stimulation, I remained at a constant 115 (because the kid stole 10).

Enter today.

At 6:00 this morning, I had all 115 points intact.

At the time of this writing (approximately 6-ish p.m.), it’s a wonder I can type. Or breathe on my own.

The drive to work was fraught with the usual idiocy, including the dummy in the Ford Expedition (so, how do you like paying 200 bucks each time you fill up that tank?) who couldn’t be bothered to stay in the thru lane and had to cruise over to the turn lane and then try to wedge his great big ass back into the thru lane five cars ahead. I have no idea why that pisses me off so much, but it does. If people would just stay where they’re at, things would move along a lot faster…but NOOOoooo, they have to shave that whole 1.4 seconds off of their commute time by being an asshole.

Once I got to work, things were fine. For about an hour. Then it just got ridiculous.

I won’t bore you with the specifics, but suffice it to say that nearly every single time I answered a phone call or opened an email, 5-10 IQ points would vaporize right from my brain. By 1:00, I was down to about 85 points.

I’d like to say that the IQ vaporization was a painless process and that I didn’t feel a thing, but I’d be lying. It was totally painful. As an added bonus, the loss of each point was directly proportional to the rising level of my blood pressure. I’m guessing it affected the diastolic more, but I know absolutely nothing about medicine, so that’s really just a shot in the dark (in reality, I’ve looking for a reason to use the word ‘diastolic’ all damn day).

Then the mail came. As a result of the unfathomable and jaw-droppingly stupid things I received in today’s mail, 15 more points joined hands, looked at each other gravely, put on their track suits and Nikes and simultaneously drank the Kool Aid. At the same time, I had a minor stroke, a massive coronary and probably developed a stress goiter (although, the goiter could simply have been the result of accidentally swallowing my own tongue while on the phone with someone who shouldn’t be allowed to use a phone).

I attempted to console myself by breathing in and breathing out. That ultimately turned into a one-woman Lamaze class and I had to stop doing that, as I was beginning to hyperventilate. In hindsight, I think the better option would have been to just hyperventilate myself into a short-lived fainting spell. At least I would have gotten a little nap out of the deal and perhaps just enough respite to re-gain control over things.

By 3:00, I had simply given up. I wandered around the office being useless and parking my ass in my boss’ office (which was completely stupid, given that his office lacks air conditioning). At 4:50, I felt I had put in sufficient time to call it a day.

The drive home was rather unremarkable, until I saw the latest price for gas. 3.69. God. I try not to get too agitated about things that I have no control over, but it still annoyed me for about 10 minutes.

Once I got home, the child showed me her science project. My role in this was to procure poster board, which I did on Sunday during my usual weekend economy-boosting. Apparently, my OTHER (and until-now unknown) role was to not kill her when I discovered what was now scotch-taped all over the poster board:

The guts of my hair dryer.

Yes, she took my hair dryer, unscrewed it (or, in the instance of one wily piece, broke it apart) and pulled out all of the wires, fan and random pieces of hair dryer innards. She then taped them to the poster board and labeled them.

The Guts

Here is what remains of my hair dryer:

What Remains

I don’t know what the little popsicle stick is for, and I probably don’t want to.

I think it goes without saying that my head exploded at that point.

It would behoove me to take a shot of NyQuil and call it a day and hope that tomorrow presents itself as redemption for today, but that’s just not in the cards. I have a good 3 hours or so of actual work that has to get done…so that’s what I’m going to attempt to do. With any luck, my headless body will be able to type up appropriate things in appropriate places and the finished products will not get anyone sued.

Kind of a lot to ask for a headless woman with an IQ point shortage, don’t you think?

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Uh Oh

So, in preparation for gearing myself up for a big night of legal writing, I decided to cleanse the palate a bit between the office and resuming where I left off there here at my command center, featuring the oh-so-lovely pink Vaio (the fact that I own a pink computer will serve me well at the end).

I read through the blogs on this site as well as my other site. I checked out Facebook. I read most of the stories on CNN. I also read the Grand Forks Herald (everything you wanted to know about the farm bill and a story seeking information from anyone who happens to know about the three dumpster fires set last night (yes, that’s newsworthy in GF)). Finally, I had to check out my msn horoscope (which, since reading the horoscope telling me to let my loved ones know I do, indeed, love them because life was short and getting shorter, I’ve been a bit more reluctant to read). Before I could get to the horoscope, however, I happened upon two articles regarding the worst places to take men and women on dates.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on a date, but I anticipate it will happen one of these days, so I like to be informed of any new rules…you know, so I don’t screw anything up.

Let’s start with the list of places never to take a woman. I will list these in the order in which they appear in the article.

1. Sports Bars. Uhh…are you kidding me with this?? Perhaps I am in a minority, but I happen to love sports. I also happen to love sports bars, especially when there is a great game on (read: hockey). I’m a fan of wings, beer and bar trivia. I’m also a fan of gigantic screens featuring uniformed players of (pick a sport) doing battle over a (puck, football, etc.). In the article, it states that women don’t want their cute outfits spilled on and have no interest in competing for their date’s attention. I take the opposite approach. If you, as a man, interrupt my game watching with some whiny need for attention with 30 seconds left in a game, I’m going to spill my beer all over YOUR cute outfit.

2. Theme Parks. Again, I must disagree. Who doesn’t love a theme park? Particularly a theme park with rollercoasters and churros? Apparently the writer of the article is prone to motion sickness and makes reference to churro-hoarking after a ride on the rollercoaster. Bummer that she can’t hang on the Vortex, but don’t drag the rest of your gender down with your weak constitution. If you’ve got a couple of tickets to Six Flags, I’m there!

3. Chain Restaurants. Well, this one may be a bit of a regional problem for me. Yes, now that I live in the City that Oxygen Forgot, there are a number of eateries that don’t feature “kids night” and flair; however, I grew up in a place where that was pretty much all there was. It’s never bothered me too much. I’m not particularly picky if I’m getting fed. Not being, in any sense of the word, a foodie, I’m more inclined to like a place where I can pronounce (and identify!) the food I’m eating. I get that this makes me sort of white trash. I’m pretty ok with that, though.

4. Gross-out Comedies. WHAT? Chicks don’t like gross-out comedies? I totally did NOT get this memo. The funnier the movie, the better and if that involves some spooge serving as hair gel, then so be it.

5. Paintball. I can’t give any sort of educated opinion on this one, but I’m inclined to think that I wouldn’t be completely opposed to chasing someone around with a gun full of paintballs and shooting at them. In fact, I am almost certain I would enjoy this immensely.

6. Meeting your Mother. This is the only one on the list that I am in COMPLETE agreement with. I don’t want to meet your mother for, like, a year…at least. Probably longer than that. I have nothing against your mother, of course, but until you know where the hell you are as a couple, bringing more family members into the mix just complicates shit and adds pressure that isn’t necessary.

So, that’s the women’s list. By all accounts, I am the anti-female. This probably explains a few things. Maybe I need to go to charm school or something so I can learn to eschew and become offended by the things that make me happy. Or, maybe not. I’ll be at the sports bar mulling this over.

OK, on to the men’s list. The following are places men allegedly do not want to go on dates. As I am not a guy (well, biologically, that is, as the above list would suggest the contrary), I have to attempt to step into the shoes of an actual guy. I’ll use a hybrid of a few guys I know and give it a shot.

1. Hiking. According to the article, men feel this activity ranks up there with reading Aristotle. The real life men I know do not appear to agree with this. In fact, most of them hike of their own accord, with no prompting from female acquaintances. Then again, I live in Colorado. There’s apparently something seriously wrong with you if you’re not down with hiking, so maybe that has something to do with it.

2. Opera. This one is probably true. I don’t know many people, of either gender, who can tolerate a lot of opera. I could probably get through an hour before wanting to kill myself, which means that my hybrid man would have offed himself about 10 minutes in. In this instance, Aristotle TOTALLY wins the “which is better” contest.

3. Travel. BZZZZZZZZZZ! The answer is…LIE! My hybrid man LOVES to travel. He likes going to Vegas for the weekend, road-tripping through 2 states for no real reason or jetting off to the Caribbean. The article cites money and missing work as the reasons men hate this activity so much. Lame argument, in my opinion. Men dig traveling. In fact, most people dig traveling.

4. Clothes Shopping. I’ll concede this, although various parts of my hybrid man don’t seem too bothered by this, but then again, if this is where you’re going on a DATE, then yes, this activity sucks. In fact, it may be the lamest date ever.

5. Relationship Workshops. This is one of those items on a list that is such a freaking “duh” item that it shouldn’t even be included. It ranks up there with, “trip to the morgue,” “pouring lemon juice in paper cuts” and “root canal” as massively un-fun things to do on a date. Granted, I’ve never actually BEEN to a relationship workshop, but I can only imagine that all they serve to do is point out everything you’re doing wrong in your relationship and you end up leaving bitter and angry, which then morphs into “action plans” and long talks about “where this is going” and “how to fix our problems,” and God, it just exhausts me to think about. I can’t blame a single man for wanting to avoid this activity like the plague.

So, there it is. What have we learned? Well, I think the biggest lesson learned is that whomever put pen to paper and came up with these ridiculous lists is even worse off in the creativity department than I am. Second to that is that I’m apparently a guy.

Except I’m not.

No, seriously. I’m not.

I have a pink computer, for God’s sake!

Oh, and I did finally make it to the horoscope:

Suddenly you have found your energy again and your engine is oiled up and ready to go, dear Scorpio. Put yourself into high gear and don’t let anything stand in your way. If disagreements with others arise, try to keep focused on the lessons that come from the situation, instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of it. Take things to a higher level and don’t be afraid to suggest radical change.

I did crank it up to high gear at least twice today, but things stood in my way. I also failed at keeping focused and not dwelling on the negative. I was dwelling on the negative like a sumbitch…sadly, all over my boss, who got a somewhat unwarranted bitch-fest thrust in his face. Note to self: apologize for that.

Maybe I can redeem myself and take this day to a higher level by getting my work done before midnight.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 9:54 pm  Comments (3)  

The Care and Feeding of Teenage Girls

My child is 12. I’m already pretty much done with the attitude and the unending requests for her to do things that I refuse to allow her to do (including, but not limited to, dying her hair blue, wearing makeup and text-messaging her friends 3,000 times a month*). Each day is a new challenge, as she comes up with new things that deem me more and more ‘uncool.’

Our current issues are music, clothes and her attitude (although, she does not feel any of these things are ‘issues,’ in particular, the last thing).

Each morning, I drive the princess to school and each morning I am on the receiving end of her forked little tongue informing me that whatever song is on the radio is the worst song in the world and only 90-year-olds like myself think it’s cool. This playlist is wide-ranging and cuts through every genre, from the Beatles to Barry Manilow to Green Day. It really doesn’t matter if she LIKES the song. What matters is that I STOPPED on the song before she could submit her vote.

Apparently, the previous 11 years have taught her nothing about the sanctity of Car DJ. If I own the car, I get to pick the jam, amiright? Being the immature asshole I am, I retaliate the best way I know how…singing along to the worst of the lot. If I happen to be super lucky on any given morning, I’ll find a little diddy from Culture Club or Rick Astley (she has a white hot hate for Rick Astley…which, as it turns out, MOST people do).

Clothing choices also rank fairly high. I’m quite tempted to take a picture of this child’s closet so you can see the absolute wealth of clothes this kid has. She has way more clothes than I ever did at her age…hell, she has more clothes than I do now. Between me, her grandmother and her 17-year-old cousins, she is on the receiving end of a LOT of really cute stuff. However, she chooses to wear either black track pants or black cut-off track pants and a sickly gray-brown colored hoodie. With wheel-less Heelys. All winter, I couldn’t get her out of flip-flops and now that it’s spring, she insists on wearing these clunky, ugly-ass shoes.** I’ve asked her numerous times to shake things up a bit and add some color. She’s having no part of that, so I send her to school each day looking like she’s about 3 steps away from changing her name to Pestilentia and spending weekends in the woods drawing pentagrams. You can understand my reluctance to take her shopping at Hot Topic, no matter how much she whines about it.

[sidebar: Have you ever sneezed so hard you snap your spine clean in half? Yeah, I just did that.]

I get that she’s in some sort of ‘finding herself’ thing that all girls go through around this age. I don’t have to like it, though. I’m also fully cognizant of the fact that this is the karma my mama always warned me about coming back and biting me square in my big ass. I was admittedly pretty rotten and smarmy as a teen. I’m paying for it now, fo’ sho’.

It’s only going to get worse, too. Today’s amateur goth is tomorrow’s black-leathered human tackle box. Of course, in MY house, she won’t have the ability to pierce and ink herself until she no longer resides in my house, because that’s how my conservative ass rolls. However, there will be fight after fight after fight about why I’m so unfair and so uncool and OMGWTFBBQ everyone ELSE’S mom lets them do whatever the hell they want! As I have informed her numerous times, she seriously drew the short straw getting me for a mother…if total freedom and no discipline were the goals.

My co-worker sent me this video today:

(I hope to hell that works, as I have no idea how to embed on this particular blog…if it doesn’t, no worries, I’ll keep editing it until I finally get it)

He put the caption: “Do you think your child will want to wear this to HER prom?”

I took a short respite from creating legal masterpieces (HA!) and watched the video. A couple of things struck me.

1. Does this child have a mother?
2. Has her mother seen this “dress?”
3. What was the purpose of that ass-cape?
4. Flip-flops? Really?
5. Did she buy it or is it, like, Pretty in Pink gone tragically awry?

Once I was able to move past those initial thoughts, I considered what would happen if my child tried to leave my house on prom night in that thing. I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the details, but in the end, I would win. Even if I were unable get the point across myself (because teenage girls have a pretty hearty ‘mom-filter’ that turns actual words into something akin to the Charlie Brown teacher noise), thanks to modern technology, I could simply snap a picture with my camera phone, send that off to my mother and the phone call that would follow would be one for the ages. If I were a betting gal, I would say that my child’s phone would literally burst into flames in her hand as my mother gave her a ‘what-fer’ like no other ‘what-fer’ has ever been delivered.

On the other hand, my mom may just call me, glass of merlot in hand and laugh her ever-lovin’ ass off at the fruits of the curse finally coming into full bloom.

She would, of course, be completely justified.

I was talking to another co-worker this morning about how snotty my child has gotten over the course of this school year.

“Have you seen the movie, Thirteen? she asked.
“Yes, and it scared the holy shit out of me.”
“Me too, and I’ve got a BOY.”

It’s only the beginning. I’m going to try to focus on keeping the battle scars to a minimum and the neighbors from calling the authorities when our battles reach fever pitch.***

Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ve got about six more years worth of teenage angst to bore you with.

* OK, I already sort of accidentally allowed that but didn’t realize I was allowing such a thing until I got my $750.00 phone bill. It should go without saying that we’ve now remedied that particular problem.

** I’ll admit that I’m not entirely unhappy that she eschews the wheels, as the last time she had the wheels in, she rolled herself right off the top of a flight of stairs. While tragic, it was maybe one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

*** This is a totally false statement. I rarely yell and she is the queen of the silent treatment. In fact, if there is no noise in our house, it means that someone is in some SERIOUS trouble.

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 6:35 pm  Comments (2)