Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why I'm morally opposed to being set-up.

So I’m sitting at the front desk of the church childcare center, basking in my 1.5 hours of the workday that do not involve snot-nosed busted-lipped crying whining 3-year-olds. I love the baby chillens, I do. But I’m constantly amazed by their sheer and utter grossness. (If you have a strong stomach, be sure to ask me about the day Joey forgot that he’s potty-trained. Yeah, that was epically disgusting.)

But I’m sitting there, and in walks a parent of one of my favorite baby-chillens. She stops to talk and starts chatting about work or weather or some other such nonsense. Then, without word of warning she says, “So Miss Frankie, how old are you?” (The baby-chillens call me Miss Frankie, and thusly so do their parents.)

Immediately I become apprehensive.

If you’re happily married (or at least married in some capacity), you may not understand my aforementioned apprehension. But. I’ve been blissfully single for most of my adult existence, and I’ve therefore learned the DANGER! DANGER! signs that indicate I’m about to be propositioned with someone’s uncle’s cousin’s half-brother thrice removed who is also, GASP, single. And when somebody new to my life starts a sentence with “so” and ends it with “how old are you,” it’s safe to assume the next words out of her mouth will be, “well I just so happen to have this friend…”

So I pause, give myself a brief BE STRONG THIS IS A TRAP mental pep-talk, and say, “I’m 25.”

“Oh really? Miss K thought you were 20. Well I just so happen to have this friend…”


“…and he’s a great guy but he only ever dates psychotic girls.”

Long pause. This is when I’m supposed to be complimented by the subtle inference that I’m not psychotic, therefore allowing her to blindside me with her upcoming proposal. Luckily and/or tragically however, I’ve been tricked like this countless times before. You ain’t getting me that easy, lady. I am an experienced evader of set-ups, and implying I’m not a psycho just proves you don’t know me from Adam.

So I say, “Oh yeah? I completely understand…I only ever seem to date psycho guys! That’s why I’m on a dating sabbatical. “ And just in case “sabbatical” isn’t a word familiar to this stay-at-home mom, I add “meaning I’m not dating. At all.”

(After countless awkward conversations where I’d admit to being available, get set-up with the King of the Douchetards, feign illness or unexpected travel, piss off my set-upper and then be deemed “too picky to find love,” I finally developed a strategy for these type of scenarios. Now whene’er I sense the DANGER! DANGER! signs meaning I’m about to be set-up, I act jaded and deeply cynical and say things like “I’m never dating again” and "men are pigs.” Nobody wants to mess with a woman scorned.)

So she looks at me, cocks her head and asks, “bad break-up?”


(I’m intentionally vague in hopes she’ll assume my last dating go-round ended in arson, mandatory anger management classes and/or restraining orders.)

She nods the way people do when they don’t really get what you're saying but would like you to think they do nonetheless. “Well I guess that makes sense then. I was just going to say that my husband’s friend Blane is a great guy, and you’re just such a sweet girl that I thought I’d get y’all together.”

Things get very awkward for a moment as she waits for me to succumb to the pressure and say, “ahh what the hell, my number’s 555…” But though the take-this-as-a-compliment-and-say-you’ll-go-out-with-him silence is deafening, I stick to my guns.

'Yeah...I’m just reeeeeally not dating right now.”

“Hmm. Okay. But he really is a nice guy...he’s got a great job, and he’s really cute!”

And just as my armor of cynicism begins to break under the awkwardness, she decides to elaborate on my potential manfriend, Blane.

“Yeah, Blane’s great…I think he’s good looking-"

(“I think” means “he’s really not but I don’t know how to tell you that and still get you to go out with him.”)

"He’s 35-"

(Umm, did I stutter? I said I’m twenty-five! A 10 year age difference does not a good match make.)

“He has a two-year-old but never sees her-"

(He’s a dad…and he’s a deadbeat dad at that.)

“And he's got a fantastic job. He’s a prison guard!”

..........and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m morally opposed to being set-up.

Much love.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


So I’ve started my new career as a daycare worker, and to everyone’s surprise (but especially mine) I’m really getting the hang of it. If (when) they cry, you hug them and say “So and So, it’s Lydia’s day to be Line Leader.” If (when) they fight, you threaten to make them take another nap. And if (when) they hurt themselves, you tell them how brave they are and always give them a band-aid…band-aids are the kid equivalent to a stiff drink; they make them feel invincible, courageous, and slightly superior to everybody else.

And though I know it’s uncouth to pick favorite baby-chillens, I do so on a daily basis. (What? They’re not my offspring.) Today my favorite is Matthew.

Matthew is not technically one of my kids. I work in the 3 to 4-year-old room, and Mathew is a semi-potty-trained-terrible-2-year-old. However, I also have the pleasure of working Aftercare. This means from 3-6:00 PM every night I have the responsibility of keeping twelve 2 to 10-year-olds alive. It’s harder (and more maddening) than it sounds. Fortunately Matthew is one of my captives, and thus I have a ray of sunshine to break up the “but Travis said we COOOOOULD” whining I receive from the 5th grade girls.

(Incidentally, 5th graders are the teenagers of 2009. DAMN those hormones in our drinking water.)

But despite my newfound adoration of him, Matthew and I actually got off to a very rocky start. He came to me on the playground, white-blonde hair standing on end and a severely distressed look on his dirt-smeared face. “Thaaand inma choooo!” He said to me. Umm…..what? “Thaaaand inma CHOOOOOOO!!” Then he grabbed my leg for balance, pointed to his sandal and yelled “CHOO. CHOOCHOOCHOO!” But I was still massively confused. So I looked at him, used my 25-years of tried and tested logic to analyze his sign language, and finally deduced his wailing to mean that there was sand in his shoe. Ahha! You’d think it’d be easier for a grad student to understand a toddler, but nay. So I hoisted him up into my lap and carefully removed the accused sandal. Then I wiped off his tiny (and filthy) foot, shook the sand out of his shoe, and said “There ya go, sweet boy. All better.” Everything seemed on the up and up; he was smiling and saying words I didn’t understand, and I felt as if I’d done right by him.

Then I went to put the sandal back on.

Immediately his toes curled and he let out a scream almost too high-pitched for human ears to register. I instantly froze; 2’s are not my forte, and I was afraid I’d inadvertently broken this mini-person’s leg or ankle or foot or what have you. Then my worst fears were realized. He looked at me with pure disdain in his eyes, and in the loudest voice he could muster said “DON’T HURT ME AGAIN.”

Well that pretty much made me want to quit life.

And yet I was confused…I couldn’t imagine what I’d done to hurt him, so I tried to shake it off and be the Grown Up. “We have to put you shoe back on, Matthew” I said. And he said “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NO SHOE!!!! NO HURT ME AGAIN! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! YOU HUUUUUUUUURT ME NO NO!!!!”

By that time the other teacher on duty was looking at me warily; it was clear she didn’t want to expend the energy to intervene, but she also didn’t want me to kill the poor child (which is precisely what it sounded like I was doing). But thanks to Jesus, after 7 more excruciating minutes of “DON’THURTMEDON’THURTMEDON’THURTME” wails I finally succeed in velcroing the damn sandal back on Matthew’s squirming foot. The cries stopped immediately. He looked at me, glared, and hopped down from my lap to reenter the sandbox…and I spent the rest of the day fighting back the assumption that I’d soon be visited by DHS.

But that next afternoon I learned a valuable lesson about 2-year-olds; despite the fact that they know some words (and use them, loudly), they don’t necessarily understand what they mean.

For when I ventured back into Aftercare and was met again with the challenge of monitoring scary-breakable-2-baby-chillens, I heard the familiar screams of “DON’T HURT ME YOU HURT ME IT HURTS DON’T HURT ME” emanating from deep within Matthew’s being. Poor Miss Christie looked just about as terrified as I had felt the day before; she was tugging gently at Matthew’s hand saying “we need to go potty,” and he was responding by accusing her of child abuse.

And that’s the moment when I first realized I speak Toddler.

Matthew knows that being hurt is bad. Matthew also knows that, when it’s not what he wants to do at that moment, things like putting on one’s shoes or going to the bathroom are also bad.

Hence, anything that makes Matthew unhappy…hurts. And whoever is the culprit of said unhappiness…is hurting him.


Now he and I understand each other almost flawlessly; when I tell him to stop throwing rocks and he tells me “DON’T HURT ME AGAIN,” I raise an eyebrow that means I’m not falling for it this time, and he puts down the rocks with defeat and anger in his eyes. (Kids can give THE BEST “go to Hell” looks.) But beyond his terrible-two’s tantrums, he’s really an adorable kid…he speaks a language all his own and has a laugh like you wouldn’t believe, plus he loves to crawl up to me on all fours and bark with every ounce of his might. He’s playing dog. It’s freaking adorable.

Now that my DHS investigation scare is passed, I feel relatively confident with my abilities to keep small baby-chillens alive…and even happy (except for the 5th grade girls, who hate me with a passion and are conspiring to have me fired. You can’t please everyone…especially when dealing with hormone-crazed spawns of Satan.)

But despite my success with Matthew, I'm sure there will be countless other Epic Fails over the summer when these precious lil Monster Babies and I do not communicate properly. And especially now that I have two (count them, two) childcare jobs, I assure you God Willing will recieve the brunt of my "welp, I pissed off another one" stories. So, keep checking in. Maybe next time I’ll tell you about Kavith, who has never spoken a word of English to me but who likes to sit half-nekked on the bathroom floor and sing jibberish to himself. Imagine the possibilities...the possibilites are endless.

Much love.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Just another reason for me to hate Texas

Where is it written that one great event must be followed by a horrendous one? WHERE. Is it biblical? Did God say unto Abraham, “thou can have one good harvest, but the following year's will make you wish you’d been a car salesman”? DID HE? I swear to the God of Wonder Beyond Our Galaxy, I always, ALWAYS pay for it later when e’er I have a super-awesome day.

Now I’m not saying I believe in karma. As a rule I don’t ascribe to such cosmic fancies; I don’t think there’s a wizard of right and wrong saying, “op, you did this or that and now your dog is going to die.” I just don’t buy that the world is so logical. For A) such thinking creates a universe of vindictive cynics clinging to the hope that lighting and/or premature balding will strike down their deserved exes, and for B) I have several such deserved exes, and none have yet been afflicted negatively due to their heinous dating behaviors against me. Well…save for the premature balding, but that’s probably just because of all the hormones in our drinking water.

But. The pattern of my life has caused me to admit a certain amount of balance in the human existence; for this much good there seems to be this much bad, and there is truth to the adage that into each life some rain must fall. (And some sunshine will shimmer of course, but we’re realists here; we like to focus on the rain and drizzle and muck.)

So case and point. Last Saturday myself and my comrades loaded up Twiggy’s Jeep, double-checked to make sure I’d brought my toothbrush (as I absolutely love to forget my toothbrush when on vacation), and headed for a weekend of swanky hotels, overpriced entrees, and thrill rides not rivaled anywhere else in the Southernmost part of the Midwest. (Ehh, it’s better than Frontier City.)

That’s right, lads and ladies…we road-tripped it to Six Flags.

And it was FUN. It was so fun in fact that I started feeling apprehensive about it; I wandered about Texas with some of my New Favorite People on Earth, smiling and laughing but always looking over my shoulder for the BOOM that was bound to drop. There comes a point when a person feels too old to have ridiculous amounts of fun without cost, and I reached that point on my 25th birthday. Yes, it is sad.

(But I was RIGHT; there was a cost, and I’ll explain said cost and my subsequent belief in a celestial-directed system of balance in a hot minute.)

The first leg of our trip was cost-free; we ate terribly unhealthy food, laid by the pool, ate some more food, talked, laughed, wrassled (just enough to prove I am SWOLL), and had a generally kickass good time. But little did I know I’d soon pay for those carefree moments of bliss.

Day 2. My apprehension began quite promptly upon our arrival at Six Flags. Riding on an endorphin rush from my AM workout (I am a badass fitness guru now, so WATCH YOUR BACKS), I trotted in the gates of Rollercoaster Rapture with my head high and my sarcasm in overdrive. If you know me at all you know I can be a bit flippant at times, and on this particular occasion the combination of personalities and theme park goodness had me at my back-talking best. So we walk in the gates, Twiggy FLIPS HER SH*T upon being approached by that scary-ass old man in all the Six Flags ads, I make hella fun of her (as do all my comrades), and we embark towards our first ride of the day. I am bullying with the best of them, and all is well.

Then, in a spur of the moment decision the group opts to go on the age-old ship ride. All agree it’s a little lame, but we are SO FLIPPIN EXCITED to start our day of screaming and it’s the nearest thing to us. So we pile in, I’m still wisecracking Twiggy for being a sissy pansy, and I start to feel as if this day is going to be the most awesome day…ever.

And then the Six Flags bastards come to strap me in.

At first I’m okay. Three (THREE) immobilization contraptions seems a little excessive for the effing ship ride, but safety first and all of that. I’m chillax. Then the not-so-enthusiastic Six Flags employee says “ahoy matey” (or something else entirely as I was by then starting to focus on steady respirations), and the over-the-head immobilization contraption- the one that strikes fear in the hearts of claustrophobics around the world- tightens. And it tightens A LOT. Boobs, ribs, lungs and all are crushed…Twiggy turns to me and says with mild concern, “I can’t breathe…can you?” And come to think of it, no I cannot.

And then I PANIC.

This was a low point in my life for two specific reasons. First, I had up to that moment led my Six Flags fellows to believe me quite tough and brave. Hence, when a terrific wailing emanated from within my very core on the ship ride I inadvertently admitted to them that I’m full of chit. And second, I’d also led myself to believe me quite tough and brave. Yes I’m afraid of heights, and yes I have some claustrophobic tendencies, but those bits of baggage had never hindered my awesomeness before and I thought surely, surely that wouldn’t change simply because I’m now an old maid.

But alas, I was very wrong.

So the ride starts, and at first my comrades think I’m just being comical. “Oh look at Frankie, she’s convulsing and turning purple. Such a kidder, that one!” But as the torture persists and the damn ship turns UPSIDE DOWN (ships do not go upside down where I’m from; Six Flags is full of dirty tricks and lies), my hysteria builds and those around me start to realize that wait…she really is having a conniption fit.

Lucky for her Mammy is laughing her head off, 3 seats away and entirely unaware of my condition. But dear Forrest is close by, and he has that 6th Big Brotherly sense that tells him when women are FUH-REAKING out. (I think it’s an evolutionary response to PMS…some men get a WARNING! WARNING! message when females are going off their rockers.) So Forrest starts talking to me. He says “close your eyes, Frankie. You’re okay…it’ll be over soon,” and I say “OMYGAWD OMYGAWD I’MGOINGTODIE OHSH*T OHSH*T!” (That is a direct quote.) Then Twiggy says “SERIOUSLY GUYS I CAN’T BREATHE,” and that freaks me out even more so I just start yelling swear words. Which, by the by, can get you evicted from Six Flags…future note to self.

But I didn’t get evicted, and I didn’t die either.

So we get off the ride, my legs are visibly shaking, I tell the group I’m juuuust a smidge freaked out, nobody believes or cares and onward we proceed. The next ride furthers my panic attack; the rollercoaster itself isn’t so bad, but Twiggy precedes our departure with a cute lil story about a girl who GOT HER FEET CHOPPED OFF by a Six Flags ride. (And it’s true, see?) So the entire time I’m on this Tony Hawk WTF ride I’m thinking of all the manners in which it could amputate my feet. If our cart derails, if that cable breaks, if my safety-harness snaps…I mean, you’d be surprised how many ways one can be de-limbed on any given theme park ride.

The coaster ends, I peel my eyes open (incidentally I never opened my eyes on a single ride, all day long), Twiggy says “oh Frankie, you look like you’re about to cry,” and I laugh in a way to conceal the fact that actually, I already am. (Just a little though…I’m still tougher and braver than your average Jane.)

At this point I’m on the verge of stroke or seizure. But though I’m indeed appalled by the scores of rides I now have to endure through newly developed phobias, I’m even more appalled by my apparent sissy-pansiness. I mean, what self-respecting twenty-something is scared of Six Flags? What could possibly be left to live for if I’m THAT much of a wet blanket? So as we trod onward, a bit less spring in our steps as I’m now glowering at my feet and talking minimally, I make a pact with myself and with God. I absolutely AM NOT a sissy. AM. NOT. That is not my MO and never will be, and if I have to ride every effing rollercoaster in the park I’M GOING TO GET OVER THIS. I will not be defeated. Not by Six Flags, not by anybody. Damn. Straight.

All this mental bullying commenced whilst Mammy and Twiggy rode Mr. Freeze. Forrest and I opted out (which was okay as my pact had not yet begun)- him because he was sick and me because helllllstotheno, that ride wasn’t going to help ease my mania. I felt alright about peacing out on that one; I remembered some distant memory of it breaking and people falling and bleeding and dying and such, plus I just don’t voluntarily get on vehicles that shoot STRAIGHT up in the air. Not gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent. But after Mam and Twigs emerged, cackling and windswept but otherwise unharmed, I made my silent oath to ride any and everything they rode from that point forward.

I am such a freaking idiot.

First we hopped on the Batman ride, as it so conveniently neighbors the Mr. Freeze, and that singlehandedly almost made me break a promise to Our Heavenly Lord. In case you didn’t know, the Batman ride makes your feet dangle. So what was I thinking the entire time I spent on it? “OH DEAR SWEET JESUS JUST DON’T LET IT CHOP OFF MY FEET.” So yeah…that was fun.

Then we headed for the Texas Giant. And let me just say this: if you have any, any tatas of which to speak, DO NOT RIDE THE TEXAS GIANT. Though not typically one to grope myself in public, I was crossed-arms-hand-cupping both sistas by demonic drop #1.5 of that thing. (Mammy was too, although her hand-cuppage runneth over more than mine.) It was brutal; not the least bit fun, and not even scary as I was more concerned about developing Amazonian boobs than I was about dying.

After that we went on some less physically damaging rides…Mams and I were still pissed off at the Giant, and poor Forrest’s face was an increasingly ominous shade of green. But after our break (which included a lunch of greasy cheesy bread…brilliant), we set off for the eminent dropping BOOM of which I spoke earlier: 25 and ½ stories of pure steal wickedness, featuring “one of the world’s mightiest drops at hyper-speeds of 85 miles an hour.”

In layman’s terms, we were headed for The Titan.

I can’t speak in too much detail about this one, as I may or may not have lost consciousness at least twice whilst on it. But I do know I thought, whole-heartedly and quite literally, that I was going to die before getting off that cursed device. As the rollercoaster climbed it’s 7 bajillion stories I started choking on panic-spit again, and just as we reached the top Mammy started wailing, “OH GAWD…OH LORD OH GAWD OH GAWD HELP US JESUS!” So I screamed at her to SHUT THE HELL UP…she was the bravest one among us and her terror was only escalating mine. Then I felt the coaster level, and then I felt it drop…and the next thing I remember I was clammering off of the ride with reeeediculous hair and a bruise on my arm that made me look like a battered girlfriend. For a while I had no idea what caused it, until I recalled holding Mam’s hand on The Titan’s initial decent. I refused to let go of it at first…and then I couldn’t let go of it, as the coaster had by then reached light-speed. Hence, my arm got smashed into my immobilization contraption.

The rest of the day was gloriously uneventful; having mastered all of the most horrendous thrill rides at Six Flags, we dawdled about until twilight and then set off for the hotel. Everyone piled into Twig’s and my room that evening to watch “the game” (don’t ask what game because to hell if I know), and I’m told I fell asleep almost instantaneously and began muttering about like a fevered 4-year-old. I don’t think I believe it (though I also don’t remember any of the aforementioned game. Not even sure if it was baseball or basketball...hmm).

But it goes unsaid that the cockiness I boasted upon entering Six Flags was absolutely nonexistent by the car ride home. And here, I guess, is the type of instance in which I do believe in that karma crap; The day before had been simply fabulous and I was being a pain in the ass to boot, so it only goes to reason that I was going to get mine. When, I ask you, will I ever learn?

And though I mastered the thrill-ride threat that day, I have a sneaking suspicion my time as a daredevil is through. I just like my feet too damn much to continue testing fate much longer. Le sigh.

However. If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Six Flags and were wondering if I’d like to join, don’t count me out just yet. Let me know the time and place, and I’ll be there. I’ll be there with freaking bells on, I say! I’ll do the car ride, stay in the hotel, wander through Six Flags and arrive at The Titan. Then we’ll all look up, you’ll say “mother of God this is going to be FUN,” I’ll smile knowingly back…

And then I’ll hold your purses, because LIKE HELL I’m ever getting on that thing again.

Much love.