United States of Motherhood: October 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Burning One's Husband's Shoes & Obsessing On My Own

It must be known that CG is not a fashion-plate, but I entered this marriage with full disclosure.

He was a white sock wearing Mechanical Engineer major at Berkeley when I met him.

He did have some cool style at the time wearing Doc Martens 10 eye boots, skinny jeans, wallet chain, and black watch cap going for him too. By engineering department standards, that made him very cool. There were other reasons I thought he was cool, so I married him...

...with the unwavering intent of a full makeover.

Over the years, he has succumbed to my charms, feminine wiles, and downright pouting to change his style. We took baby steps with Old Navy then Gap. We snuck Eddie Bauer in here and there. Banana Republic became a friend. Finally, with no suggestion of my own, he went out and purchased a black casual sports coat to dress up jeans at J. Crew all by himself this summer.

Eureka! He's cured...

Sigh. Except for...we don't call him geek for nothing...

...except for footwear.

In particular ratty shoes and white socks. With a Geophysicist/Geologist Dad and Mom with a masters in math, have I mentioned CG likes him sum math?

Heh! In fact, his high school hero was his math teacher. Yes, the math teacher's memory has been invoked many a time during this marriage. Most particularly, in CG's mind, was this math teacher was the coolest ever...and he wore white socks.


Then let's get to the shoes. CG had four pairs of shoes when I met him:

Black Chuck Taylor High Top All Stars
Doc Marten Oxblood Red Steel Toe 3 Eye Shoe
Doc Marten Black Steel Toe 3 Eye Shoe
Doc Marten Black 10 Eye Steel Toe Boots

Something similar to these:

He kept that same repertoire of shoes for the first five years of our marriage. In fact, I think these still reside in his closet. I, of course, am not counting army boots and running shoes. He had plenty of cold-weather, regular, and desert army boots. Army Captain's need those.

Then, he, on occasional started to buy a skate shoe, perhaps an Airwalk, for more casual comfort. Fine, until he started only wearing said sneakers....until they were stinky and holey and in ghastly shape.


Have I mentioned I have over 100 pairs of shoes and my husband loves this because he has a thing for women's shoes? Heh! Women's shoes on me. He especially loves stilettos--achingly painful--stilettos.

But for him? It's all about comfort--both fit and staying in the same old rut.

He is resistant to change and more importantly resistant to shelling out money. Hence every sweater and button down shirt he owns was bought by me as a gift. He'd never buy them. He'd still be wearing Levis, Doc Martens, and a raggedy white pocket t-shirt from the 90's if I had left him be.

Compounding this problem is that he now works from home. The work khakis and button downs went away. It's now comfy jeans, old t-shirts, and ratty shoes.

About 1 1/2 years ago, he came home with these really ugly Vans:

I was pissed because once he buys a shoe, it's around forever. These shoes looked like they belonged to Mr. Rogers. And in fact, more so with CG's fugly white socks.

He wore them constantly. Every day. No other shoes cut it. Until they started looking like this six months ago:

And still they persisted. CG did mention once he thought we should go shoe shopping, but then nothing. I was embarassed to be seen in public with these shoes. He'd wear his nice jeans, his blazer, and those holy fugly shoes. They actually let water in which is not good in Seattle.

This Sunday, I could take no more. I picked out 10 pairs shoes at Zappos. Zappos is the best place on earth, second only to 6PM.com, on fabulous shoes on sale.

I demanded he choose three.

I was a cold-hearted task master. No, no PUMAS. So stoopid Adidas soccer shoes. No skate shoes. I wanted decent shoes I could live with for two years. And damn if he wasn't going to have more than one pair, so they could be alternated.

We bought three with the idea that Zappos provides free shipping on returns. They would be here on Thursday. Then, as if a gift from the gods, Zappos, knowing my desperation, sent me an email yesterday saying they'd determined we were the most needy marriage on the planet in need of newshoes to save our marriage new customers so they had upgraded us to next day air.

The shoes? They came today:

Did you get that? Ordered late Sunday afternoon and arrived Tuesday before 10 AM? I almost had an orgasm when the UPS man arrived. The invoice said:

(Daniel C, you're allllll-right in my book.)

They came with a gift receipt from yours truly:

I immediately ripped open the box, flung CG's office chair around, and started playing shoe salesman. Thankfully they all fit and two were particularly good. One return, two keepers. Mission accomplished.

CG did lament that they felt funny. With arched brow, I pointed out that was because they weren't "ventilated" from wear. They weren't broken down, nasty old Vans.

"Ahhh," he said, "These new shoes just aren't broken in."

Yes, whatever. Isn't that I just said?!

Ummm...yeah...just a little broken in!!

Then, I snatched those fugly Vans up and said I was going to burn them. He says almost longingly that, "No, I wasn't."

But, oh yes, my friends I did:

What catharsis:

Who knew one's arch nemesis could be a stenchy, trench-foot infected skate shoe.

CG seemed a little in shock and awe:

But then he put on these beauties:

(Please note the persistence of the white socks. Sigh. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.)

And he has these beauties waiting in the wings:

I am happy. Now the only thing about shopping for shoes, is you find alot for yourself. I found no less than $500 in shoes for me. Then there were some for the kids. I whittled it down to $300 in shoes I didn't even know we needed. Heh.

Bad economy? What bad economy? I am going to stop the recession right now with my mindless shopping.

So 6PM.com, I am waiting for my 24 pairs of shoes. Twenty of which are mine:

I know, ridiculous yes? Until you realize these shoes retail from $60-$110 each and I got them for $9.99-$14.84, plus no sales tax and free shipping. Can't resist a bargain.

And for the kids:

Yes, my friends, six pairs for the kids including Unlisted, Sketchers, and Rip Curl and twenty for me including Kenneth Cole, Roxy, Hurley, and RSVP for less than $300! Yes, shoe whores out there, get thee hither to 6PM.com and, no, I received no free shoes, schwag, or incentives for promoting them. It's just pure shoe-lurving.

So, looking at these pictures, I realize who might have the problem. I, with too many, he with too few. He is the sneaker Yin to my Jimmy Choo Yang.

So, back to the burning. Burning one's husband's shoes in effigy is quite invigorating. Or maybe that was the toxic smell of burning rubber with two years of foot sweat.


Still quite a release, if I must say:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yep, I Call My Kids Spawn

It was a pretty rough week-end for me and CG with the kids. I was pretty sick on Saturday and spent the entire day resting on the couch. The kids responded by whining, teasing, and acting obnoxious. A particular twelve year old especially.

Mom's sick, so what does a 12 year old do? Relentlessly throw trash into his sister's room while she squealed and shrieked when they were both supposed to be cleaning said rooms.

Not enough torture for Mom? How about said 12 year old rockets handfuls of Crayolas down the stairs for it to pelt the wall on the landing in rainbow hues? Why? He had no reason. Just because.

Talking back. Immediate disobedience. Acting as if his brain had been sucked out through his nostrils the night before. Sent to his room for the entire day and still the onslaught continued.

We won't talk about spraying water with hose in the backyard when he was supposed to be cleaning his room FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.


I expect this of two year olds, three year olds, and, yes, even perhaps a six year like Li'l Man. However, a TWELVE year old?

He also decided to use scissors to cut up a marker. Ink all over his body. It's like delayed toddlerdom. Is this similar to how 40 year old men have a mid-life crisis? Is my Eldest having a mid-pre-teen psychotic episode?

He's acting like a hamster, nay, a gremlin in a hamster wheel, wondering what he can next destroy or what sibling he can disturb.

Please, my friends, tell me. I need some reassurance. The neighbors...heck...the neighborhood has to have heard us shouting this week-end.

Help! I've fallen sick and I can't get through to my twelve year old.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Dozen Anniversaries

It's my 12th anniversary today.

Yay Computer Geek and me!

We made it a dozen years. Yes, a dozen. As in twelve...

Today our little PB had an epiphany. You see, PB is gooder (taking from my six year old's vernacular here) at math than the other spawn. Heh! I like saying gooder. Heh. Easily amused I am. Heh! Okay, you got me. CG made Bloody Marys for breakfast.

Anyway, PB raises an eyebrow and asserts, "You've been married for 12 years. Eldest turned 12 years in August. That means (highly arched eyebrow now) he was born before you were married?"

Three innocent, rounded sets of eyes turn to look at me as I am about to take a salty-rimmed sip of that Bloody Mary. Gulp!

Fug! Fug. Fuggernautical banshees. Fug. Okay, trying not to use the f-bomb is gooder when you haven't drank Bloody Marys because stuff funny to you might not seem so funny to those depressingly sober on a crisp Sunday morning...

Ummmm.... Whatever! If you disapprove of drinking at 10 AM on Sunday, why the fug aren't you judging other people in church services rather than reading here? Huh? Huh?

So, to set the record straight, CG and I were technically married before 1st spawn. For medical insurance reasoning, we had a quickie at Berkeley City Hall. We did it for the insurance and we don't consider it our true wedding.

Our true wedding was twelve years today.

We kept the expedient technical ceremony a secret because it was none of anybody's fuggin' business despite my soon to be mother-in-law suggesting by not marrying immediately when we found out we were impreggo, we were setting up our "bastard" child up for not "being allowed to enter the Army." Her reasoning: In 20 years they might not let bastard children in the Army.

Seriously? Puh-lease.

So, first off, although CG and I were in the Army, it was not my long-kept wish for my children. Second, woman, we take kids without high school degrees in the Army. We take slight criminals, thugs, and even 17 year olds with waivers. His parents not being married would not incent any recruiter to tell our "bastard" son who technically wasn't a bastard to go fug himself.


We also had people who showed their true colors and boycotted our wedding because of Eldest's arrival. Joke's on them.


We were married. Again, though, we consider our church wedding in front of friends and family and yes, our infant son, to be the true point of our union.

Back to PB, I distracted her. I told her that my married hyphenated name today was the name, "I had when Eldest was born."

Did you get that? She didn't. It was confusing enough that she decided it wasn't worth the brain cell energy and went off to eating her madeleines.

Yes, my husband makes french cookies for breakfast. Ever since he saw it in a movie, he's felt it was a legitimate breakfast.

Sigh. I guess we could tell her, but we decided long ago that we would only acknowledge and celebrate the real wedding and keep the other a secret. Umm, so if you're reading this, zip your lips.

Back to the breakfast, CG and I tried to figure out if we were exchanging gifts. He had one. I had one that was technically for Christmas. To exchange or not exchange. So fugging romantic.

We exchanged. I hurriedly grabbed a gift bag and a gift from my super-secret hidey hole known sometimes as the bar.

No silly, I didn't give him a half-opened bottle.

We exchanged, as oldly-married couples do, very appropriate and sensible gifts. CG gave me a book pinpointing every winery in Washington. There was a brief moment of worry when the first word I saw on the title was trails.

If it had been a book about hiking, he would have been sooooo fugged. Luckily, it was maps of driving to wineries. Whew!

I gave him a Henckels Pro S Santoku knife set. He had hinted about it before he started hinting for ridiculously priced REI snow shoes. Those stayed in the hidey hole.

He seemed to like the knife. He likes chopping and I like sipping. So, we tried out the knives while slightly inebriated and made an amuse bouche.

What you haven't heard of an amuse bouche? Top Chef much?

So our amuse bouche was decidedly less high brow. We chopped potatoes like buttah with the new knives.

We fried 'em up in a pan. Add ketchup. So good with Bloody Marys.

Know what's even better? Being married way too young, pregnant, poor, and in the military and twelve years later, still going strong.

Yay CG and I! I heart you, my Computer Geek...

...Even if my back hurts because you hogged all the bed last night.

...Even if you came dangerously close to giving me a hiking book.

...Especially if you made cookies for breakfast.

And definitely because you rock.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cotton-Candy Spiderwebs No More

I mentioned on a post earlier this week that I wasn't feeling the seasonal decor energy needed to put up my eight (I kid you not) crates of Halloween/Fall Decor.

Yesterday, while Li'l Man was playdating and Wii fighting in the family room, I got my act together. It must have been the high from the cake served after school from celebrating our school being named "A School of Distinction." Whoop. I was on a Costco-cake sugar high. Sooo much for dieting.


So, I spent an hour getting a farking spider web to adhere to our front entry way. We have two brick pillars and it took a 20 foot ladder, but that cotton spidery-webby stuff likes brick...until you stretch it too far. My shoulders ached. My neck cricked. But it looked beautiferous. Then I added candy, pumpkin, and bat lights to the tree and entry way. Marvelous!

The kids were happy. They have asked for years for a spider web. I always declined, but this year I did it. I even added spiders into to the web. It sparkled in yesterday's fall sun. I smiled and stood back to enjoy my work and ignore the voices in my head saying what a bitch it would be to clean up.

So this morning, living in the Northwest, surprise, it rained.

It rained.

It rained and someone had put the spiderweb where it would get the wettest.

It looks like someone dragged their tampon on the front of my house.

Seriously, white, sodden masses of cotton clumped on my pillars. Doesn't look anything like a spiderweb.

Life does have it's silver lining. I'm looking for mine in a clump of tampax on my roof.

This Is Why The Economy Is Shit

I just read the following in a forum from our old town in California:

"I was wondering...

if you sell your house for less than
you owe, do you still owe your mort-
gage company the remainder of the
loan? I'd hate to sell our home
and still be in debt! We were just
curious. Thanks!"

I am shocked. This is what's wrong with our economy.

As with driving, parenting and home buying should come with a test.

Honestly, they should require an IQ test before allowing people to take out half-million dollar loans.

People should also have to save and put down a down payment (like the old days), so they might educate themselves on what home loans mean while they save and wait.

Study, my friends. Does variable interest rate really sound like a good idea? Does 5 years with no interest sound too good to be true?

Um, yeah, let's do the math (practice time before you sign the line) when your interest rate gets hiked up and your mortgage triples in three years after that initial five years, eh, then what? Study hard! What happens when you owe more than the house is worth? Keep studying and doing what-ifs?

Gee-suz! Yes, commenter from above,(we'll call you Virginia), you still own the loan...

Unless you do the fashionable thing and let yourself get foreclosed upon so the banks get stuck with the difference...

But wait, then the government and both presidential candidates will then bail them out and pay the difference....

Soooooo, then we the taxpayers that didn't recklessly get a loan that we can't/won't pay for will pay for it through the nose...

Until we die, then our kids will still be paying for your dumb-fucking mistake.

I'm a little passionate here. Did you notice?


Now, I hold harmless people who legitimately tried to hold on to their homes and pay sky rocketing interest. However, the stupidity in the passage above is killing me. "Do you still owe the mortgage company the remainder of your loan?"

No, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus and he comes down on fairy dust and pays for your bad debt.

This is why the economy is shit.

Not Republicans. Not Democrats.

Stupid Americans thinking they SHOULD have the American dream--whether they can pay for it or not.

It starts in college where they get their first taste for the good life with credit cards and continues to the point that they buy homes at zero percent interest in shit hole neighborhoods for a 1/2 million dollars and then are confused when common sense prevails in the economy--FINALLY--and that shit hole goes back to less than 1/2 of what it's worth. Been to California lately?

My husband and I, despite qualifying for federal aid with what the Army paid my husband, with two kids, still managed to save over $10,000 for a down payment. We also had the advantage of getting a gift from my parents and a loan from my husband's parents to get into the house we bought in California. In less than five years, that house more than doubled and we got out. Our search for good schools and basic common sense about what California houses were really worth left us with no choice.

I had several friends who were not so lucky. One in particular bought her house in the 90's when the housing market bombed and now it's bombed again. I admire her. She sticks with the house and I hope one of these days, when the market is high again, she'll finally get out.

I have another friend who also was unable to sell, despite trying her hardest. She kept her house and when she decided her family needed to move, rented a house in another city. See! She didn't expect others to pay for her loan, but found a solution.

Her outlook is the solution. Stick with your mistake, Virginia. Ride it out. Don't sell and expect someone else to absorb your bad judgment, Virginia.

Don't worry, stupid is contagious. I have little doubt in 10 years, housing prices will rebound and you'll get all your money and then some. But for now, your penance is to stick with your mistake or sell it and then, YES Virginia, STILL OWE.

Thanks for the Flicker pics from by FotoRita [Allstar maniac] and by TheTruthAbout... and by Renegade98 and by v i p e z

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