At 45, I picked up my first stamp and that was it: Now, I can throw the word ‘ephemera’ around with confidence, yet struggle with inappropriate feelings for chipboard. I'm not very polished and I'm still trying to get the hang of 'winning friends and influencing people', but for some crazy reason, this papercraft thing and I FIT! My kids are covered with glitter, my husband wonders how you injure yourself with Stickles, but we all agree on this: I'm a MUCH better person when I'm here!
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Friday, May 9, 2014
Starbucks, the Devil and Preschool, Oh My!
For your reading pleasure while I'm trying to finish up mother's day prep...enjoy!!
Diary of a Desperate Housewife Series
by Carmen Conners
Before I was fired and
decided to become a stay at home mom, I maintained that women who stayed at
home were nothing short of Saints.
I was a liar.
I alternately envied
them for what I considered ‘that luxury’ or snubbed them, thinking they
couldn’t cut it in the professional realm.
There. The truth is out.
Work was exciting,
demanding of all my talents and, best of all, came with a paycheck. Staying at
home was day after day of cleaning, laundry, cooking, bill paying, negotiating
with a six-year-old and nary a dime for my efforts.
I wasn’t impressed.
I bore the income
reduction with as much dignity as I could muster until the day of reckoning. My
husband and I stood toe to toe. Staring straight into his eyes, I told him I
refused to start another day, along with another load of laundry, without a
damned if I’d let the Starbucks go.
every angle of getting my hands on extra cash. Garage sales, Ebay, getting the
Kid to call Grandma to sell her on a fictitious college plan, everything. No
my failure was due to the stress being created by my husband’s obsession with cutting
In one week, he did away
with our cleaning service, the professional chef that delivered a week’s worth
of gourmet meals (neatly labeled and ready to heat and serve) right to our
door. He rubbed the last bit of salt in an already gaping wound by refusing my
written request for a darling pair of Jimmy Choo’s I found for half off.
Don’t get me wrong; I
understood that we’d have to tighten our proverbial belts. What I didn’t know
was that my husband intended to squeeze a quarter so tight, the eagle screamed
I’d expected the end of
luxury vacations, dining out and a reduction in my clothing allowance.
husband, however, this new budget meant minimal heat, even less light and
hunting the wooly mammoth for food.
Oh, and he also cut out call
I pulled the wooly
mammoth out of the oven (it was actually ‘rump roast’ but I was afraid to ask
too many questions) and tried to think proactively. I warmed my hands in front
of the oven and thought about how I could earn extra money. The dryer could
only provide me with so much from my husband’s pants pockets. As it was, he
could barely get through the door before I yanked them off to wash.
The caffeine withdrawal
headaches were misery. The Inquisition was foreplay compared to being forced to
start my day without a caramel macchiato.
I learned to embezzle
from the grocery allotment by going with the ‘Loops of Fruit’ and
‘Starch-A-Roni’ instead of name brands, but it still wasn’t enough. I had to
find other avenues of income.
I was still thinking
about money the next morning when I took the Kid to school. Mrs. Parisi, the
Kid’s teacher, waved to get my attention. I looked around, hoping it was
someone else she longed to victimize, but no such luck. Mrs. Parisi always
treated me with the same consideration she would a hangnail. I, likewise,
appreciated her about as much as I would a butt boil, but I had to tolerate
her. I was convinced she’d personally tutored Mephistopheles, Hitler and Hillary
Clinton, but I kept that theory to myself.
“Would you be interested
in helping us out a bit?”
“For money?” She
Well, she may have been
related to the Devil, but Starbucks would accept any form of cash and the Great
Deceiver’s money was green as any.
I should’ve paid more
attention to the gleam in her eyes.
“One of our after school
care workers is out sick. We just need someone to help with the children from 3
to 6pm. Your son’s welcome to stay in there with you. Interested?”
“Absolutely!” I said,
cups of white mocha dancing before me.
It never once occurred
to me that since I was having a hard enough time mothering the one I’d birthed,
it would be better to avoid large groups of children. Period. However, much
like the addict I was, common sense eluded me as I focused on the ‘fix’.
I showed up the next day
with cropped jeans, sparkle tennis shoes, striped oxford shirt and a scarf tied
to my ponytail. I looked like a manic Sandra Dee.
The group of five year
olds sat in a circle and scrutinized me. I felt I was being sized up for the
“Okay, kids. How about a
They just stared.
“Um…okay.” I said
nervously, reaching for my carefully packed tote. “I brought some books you
I took care to move
“How about, let’s see, I
have Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Slave of Love…oops…not that one…”
“Harry Potter.” A tiny
voice piped up. The others nodded.
I began the story of the
orphaned boy who would become a great wizard and battle the evil Lord
Voldemort, the murderer of his parents and general threat to the free world.
The children sat wide-eyed and silent as I read the book with as much theatrics
as I could muster.
“You murdered my
parents!” I wailed, feeling pretty confident I captured the angst of young
I was right
in the middle of the final battle, resplendent with bolts of lightning, spells
and wands spitting jets of green death, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“That is NOT appropriate
reading material.” Mrs. Parisi said through gritted teeth.
“But it was in the
children’s section.” I said, weakly.
“I doubt it was next to Pat the Bunny which, by the way, is appropriate material for five and six
The kids, bored with the exchange, had begun
playing. Several boys were whacking each other with their ‘wands’. A child in
the corner burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” Mrs.
Parisi rushed to pick her up.
“My mommy and daddy are
gonna die like Harry Potter’s and a bad man’s gonna try and kill me and I don’t
know any magic.” She wailed.
I felt faint.
Mrs. Parisi tried to
soothe the girl while glaring daggers at me but a shrill cry made us both jump.
One of the wand whackers was holding his eye and howling.
I frantically began
scanning the floor for a loose eyeball.
As Mrs. Parisi rushed to
him, there was a crash behind me.
“I am Lord Voldemort.”
The voice belonged to a small boy who’d costumed himself in a sparkling,
princess dress. He was holding a broom. “I am coming to kill you all.” He began
clubbing the children nearest him.
I ran after
‘Lord Voldemort’ to try and disarm him. I followed his destructive wake of
stunned children with head injuries.
Mrs. Parisi was trying
to comfort the small girl in her arms while trying to check the eyeball of
another. I caught ‘Lord Voldemort’ and managed to wrest the broom away. I began
to reprimand him when something smacked me on the head. I threw my hands up for
protection, dropping Lord Voldemort on his rear end and causing him to scream
like a banshee. Two little boys had rummaged through my unguarded backpack,
found my stash of tampons and a rubber band and were using them as projectiles.
“What in the world is
going on here?” Someone yelled. It was the first mother of the day arriving to
pick up her offspring.
The little girl in Mrs.
Parisi’s arms pried herself loose.
“Mommy! You’re not dead!
“What?” The mother’s
eyes bulged and a vein began throbbing at her temple.
“That lady said that the
bad man was coming to kill everybody.”
I opened my mouth to
explain but was interrupted by ‘Lord Voldemort’ handing my book to the enraged
is.” He said, helpfully.
It was Slave of Love
voice boomed. It sounded so evil it momentarily silenced the room. I looked
around expecting to see the actual Lord Voldemort.
“YOU.” Mrs. Parisi said
again, baring her teeth. “You. Sit. There.”
She pointed at a chair
in the corner. I sat.
A few mothers wandered
in, assessed the situation and went immediately to work restoring order. The
new mothers were told, in terse undertones, of my indiscretion. They threw
occasional glances at me as if I was a slug and they were wishing for a box of
When the last child had
gone, I exchanged a worried glance with my own kid. We were both concerned
about my fate. Mrs. Parisi gave the Kid her best smile and asked him to step in
the hall so she could talk to me. The Kid wasn’t fooled. He knew I was in for
“We will no
longer require your help. I took the liberty of cutting you a check for today.”
Mrs. Parisi handed the check to me with trembling hands.
sorry…” I began but she waved the apology away.
Just go home. Now. Please.”
She went to the door and
opened it. The Kid looked me up and down for any sign of mayhem. Mrs. Parisi
smiled “We’ll see you tomorrow, dear! Thanks for lending your mommy to us
“Does mommy have to
teach again tomorrow?”
“No…she’s all done.”
They both sighed with
“Are you going straight
home?” Mrs. Parisi tried to make small talk as she propelled us toward the
door. The Kid shrugged and looked at me.
“I think we’ll stop by
Mommy’s special place first.” I said, winking at the Kid. He knew I meant
“Oh! Yes, we’re going
somewhere special.” He said, walking out the door. “We’re going to Mommy’s
special place we go to all the time.”
“Yeah.” The Kid said.
“That’s why Mommy needed extra money!”
Ms. Parisi looked puzzled. “Oh?
Kid opened the car door, smiled and said “Yeah. Mommy says drinking there’s
expensive when you do it everyday.”