Thursday, April 26, 2012


Please, for the love of conversation, can we stop with the emoticons already?!

I was fine when emoticons were simple smiley or frowny faces. I'm even okay with the wink. I think that's where we need to draw the line.

I'm not half witted. I do understand and value emoticons. I'm a sarcastic person, sometimes a little wink is needed to keep the reader in the loop of my intentions. And nothing follows the words No offense better than a smiley face. Such as, "You're not a very manly man. No offense :)"

I think the world would continue nicely if we smiled, frowned, or winked. Your text is no better because you emphatically smiled. You don't need to furrow your brow via characters. And what's with sticking your tongue out? When in real life converstation would it be acceptable to stick your tongue out at me? It's not. Ever. Not when you're 3 (Alice's latest) and not when you're 33.

Were you aware that someone has discovered a string of letters and punctuation that creates a cat face? Seriously. I can't, for the life of me, think of a text conversation where you couldn't possibly convey your message without a cat face. Maybe I'm slow and the jokes really on me. Somehow I doubt it.

Tuesday, April 3

Hatta: 8-|

Me: What's that supposed to be?

Hatta: It was the "eye-roll" emoticon.

See this is the problem with emoticons, trying to decipher the Morse code like symbols detracts from the original message.

My final plea to end the emoticon insanity is brought to you by, yet again, another text exchange from my dear husband. He is hopelessly in favor of emoticons it seems. We were...what do the cool kids call it? Oh right, sexting.

Hatta: I'd be happy to oblige.

Me: Sounds enjoyable.

Hatta: :-p

Hatta: That's me.

Hatta: This is u #:-s

Me: I think your attempt at emoticons caused me to rethink.

Hatta: Ugh

I think I've made my point. Nothing enjoyable happened, thanks to good ole emoticons.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Laces Out...I Mean, Handle to the Right

I'm a good wife...mostly.

I don't greet my husband at the front door in heels and my sluttiest hottest little dress, his favorite cocktail in hand. Dinner's never on the table when he gets home. Generally, he's greeted by a frazzled woman who vaguely resembles the person he fell in love with all those years ago.

The house is never immaculate. Ever. We have 2 cats, a dog, and preschooler. I do my best to keep the toys and the hair under control. Clean towels are always available. And we never run out of tooth paste.

What really matters, my shining moment, happens first thing in the morning. I make coffee, French press, everyday. I'm not going to sell you some story that I make coffee everyday for Hatta because I'm such a remarkable wife. It's not the case. I make it out of my own selfish necessity. I'm hopelessly addicted to coffee.

I drink my coffee as soon as its pressed. Then, I pour my husband's half into a travel mug. Every morning I consciously place the lid on his mug, handle to the right. And this, my friend, is why I'm a kick ass wife. For some peculiar reason, it bugs my husband when the lid is placed so the handle is on the left side of the mug. I don't get it. To me it doesn't matter, I'm not so particular. It matters to him. It's such a tiny thing, but I know it makes a difference. So I do it. I send him off to work happy. In my head I may be thinking a wide assortment of negative things regarding his peculiarity, but all that matters is that the lid to the mug goes on right.

When you hear someone say, "it was the little things," this is the exact moment they're talking about. What are the little things you do for others that show you care?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Everyone Heals Differently

I've been playing this game for awhile, maybe you've heard of it? It's called "How Long Can I Avoid Having My Wisdom Teeth Removed?" It's similar to another game I like called "How Long Can I Avoid a Tetanus Shot?" I rock at that game. I'm the reigning champion. I think the last time I was forced to get a tetanus shot was middle school. College was a close call with it being mandatory for admittance and all. I dodged it as long as I could. Just as I was about to be forced to forfeit, luck turned up on my side by way of a vaccination shortage.

You might ask why one would choose to play these games. Let me enlighten thee. It's rather simple. Either a.) You're afraid of needles, b.) You're afraid of hospitals and doctors offices, c.) You're afraid of pain or d.) All of the above. I can attest, avoidance is always easier.

Anyway, back to the original game I've been playing for quite some time. It seems, sadly, my time playing was all for nothing. I must graciously bow out, admit defeat. All four of my wisdom teeth will be forcefully sliced and ripped from my mouth a week from Thursday. Nevermind the months I patiently suffered while my wisdom teeth tore every filament of my gums just so they could break the surface and join the rest of my teeth. Forget about the extra minutes I was forced to spend every week brushing and flossing four extra teeth. All for naught, I tell you. All for naught.

Today, I found myself in the oral surgeons office, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, filling out pages 1,2,3, and 7 where I'm sure I agreed not to sue them if they cause me pain and suffering by accidentally removing the wrong teeth. I was trying to complete the paperwork with my legs shaking the clipboard (see letters a, b, c, and d from above,) when up to the counter walks this small, dark haired college girl. I guess she was about 19. I listen to her conversation with the office assistant and instantly, I'm sucked in like a moth to a flame. I could have given up rights to my second child in the paperwork for all I know.

She's trying to make an appointment to have her wisdom teeth out.

"I have an 8, a 9:45, and a 10:30."

"Don't you have anything later, I have class in the morning."

"No, I'm sorry we only do them in the mornings. Blah blah blah dehydration. Blah blah blah. And you know you have to have somebody here to drive you home after surgery," the assistant tells her with a tone in her voice.

"Oh, okay. I guess my mom could bring me and my friend could pick me up."

"No, no that's not going to work. Someone has to be here in the office the entire time of the surgery and then drive you home." This time she's a touch rude with the meek girl.

"Um, okay. I'll be able to go back to school after the surgery cause I have class, right?"

"No, no. You're going to have to stay home the rest of the day,"

"But the next day, I'll be able to go to class the next morning, though."

"It all depends, everyone heals differently," she says. And I have to applaud her for not laughing aloud in the poor, foolish girls face.

Has this dewey-eyed girl never known anyone who's had their wisdom teeth removed? I nursed a boyfriend during college through his recovery, I still shudder at the blood and the pain. I was friends with my husband when he had his removed. I watched him eat mashed potatoes and jell-o for days. This little girl has clearly not been playing the game. She's one of those that never even knew the game existed. I feel for her. On Wednesday, at 8:00am, she will experience what my mother referred to as worse than childbirth. She delivered three babies, naturally, without drugs. Wisdom teeth extraction worse than that. And this girl hasn't got a clue. Had she, she would've been playing the game right alongside me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dear Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. This is the first year since 2006, when my mother died, that I have honestly attempted to celebrate this day.

The first three years after her death, I pretended April 20th didn't exist. It seemed easier that way. If I ignored it, I could also ignore the pain I felt. After all, how can the day that is all about her exist if she's not even here?

The next few years, I spent April 20th in a state of depression and silent anger. Angry that I couldn't celebrate my mom's birthday like other 30 year olds and send a card or maybe flowers, go out to dinner together, at least a call to sing her happy birthday. I was angry at my husband for not recognizing the state I was in, for not seeing how this day could be a bad day in my eyes. It was a bad day. Right there with June 9th, the day she died.

This year, I suppose I'm making progress. I can say today is my mom's birthday, and even though my eyes well with tears there may be a hint of a smile on my lips as I say it. Because today should not be a sad day. It should not. Today should be the day to celebrate all the amazingly wonderful things that made my mom brilliantly unique.

I have never known anyone quite as optimistic as my mom. She was happy. One day, her and I were outside in the garden at Hospice. My mother was a florist and an avid gardener. We were leisurely walking around the path and my mom was telling me the name of this flower and that one. It was a beautiful spring day. The gardener was there working and my mom wanted to talk to her. She was asking her about multiple aspects of the job, how many days a week was she there, did they have volunteers helping, etc. Without even hesitating, my mother tells the lady, "when I'm well again, I would like to volunteer here gardening." The eternal optimist. We knew she was not going to be well again. But her? She wouldn't allow herself to believe it. I don't even know if deep down inside, in that place where your brain holds you accountable for reality, she accepted it. That's who she was. Never ending sunshine. my mother, who I miss more than imaginable, I sing this to you in my perk, perk, perkiest voice.

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday, dear Mom!

Happy birthday to you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Worst Thing Ever

My daughter has a strong passion for drama and the worst thing ever happened to her Tuesday at dinner. She scraped the top of a toe. My reenactment of the episode will surely not do it justice.

"Oh Mama! Look what happened!" Alice whines to me as she holds her foot up in the air.

I glance quickly. I see a scrape the size of a pencil eraser on the top of her middle toe, not even as big as a lima bean, more like a green pea.

"Put it in my lap, let me look at it. It looks like its bleeding."

"Noo Mama! Dont touch it! You can't clean it. Oh no!"

"Alice, just put it up here now. I'm not touching it. We'll clean it when we go upstairs to brush your teeth."

"I don't want Papa to come home. He can't hold me down! Hurry let's go to bed before Papa gets home."

"Well, if you just let me clean it a little, then no one has to hold you down," I try reasoning with her.

Alice stews over this injury for the rest of dinner. She is visibly stressed and anxious about the impending doom. As she goes potty and brushes her teeth, it sounds like this.

"You can't clean it Maamaa! Please don't. Oh Mama, it hurts. This is sooo awful. I don't know how I'm going to brush my teeth with this ouchie on my foot. This is sooo bad!"

Now she's in and out of tears, sad and pathetic and I can't help laughing, though I try to hide it.

"I don't ever want that to happen again, Mama. It's the worst thing ever. I don't want to get a splinter again either." She had her first splinter two days prior. "What am I gonna do, Mama? This is so bad. I don't want you to clean it. Pleeeease, Mama don't clean it. It's fine. I don't want a band aid. Oh it's gonna hurt. Please, no band aid."

My child is the only child I know that hates band aids. They are so feared that she would rather just sit and hold a tissue on the wound until it stops bleeding. Dora couldn't even persuade her. Without saying anything to her, because I'm laughing aloud now, I get a cotton ball and the bottle of hydrogen peroxide, shut the door so she can't escape, and make my way towards her.

"Mama NOOOO!! Please Mama, no. Oh this is the worst thing ever! It's gonna hurt. Oh it's...oh, please no Mama."

"Alice, you're fine. Just sit on the stool and be still."

"Oh it's so ouchie! It's ouchie! It stings. How am I gonna sleep tonight? This ouchie is so terrible! I'm not even going to be able to sleep. It's so bad! I don't want to get blood on my pajamas. I can't wear pajamas to bed or a pull up! Don't EVER let this happen again, Mama! I don't EVER want to get another ouchie AGAIN! This is just so terrible!"

It continues like this the entire time she gets dressed for bed and off and on during book reading. It's the last thing she whines about before I kiss her goodnight and walk out of the room. And don't you know, the first thing she tells me when she wanders into my room the next morning is..

"Mama, I don't like ouchies. They are the worst thing ever. I don't ever want to get one again. Splinters are terrible, too. But Mama, you know what I do like? Ladybugs. Except they don't think we're cool and they fly away."

God forbid, she ever truly gets hurt and needs real medical attention, we are all in trouble. She will be the child strapped down and sedated and yet still putting on an Oscar worthy performance.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What Was that Noise?

For a moment, let me state the obvious. It's the year 2012 and communication methods are extremely different for my generation than my grandparents.

We don't own a house phone, nor do any of my friends. I actually took 3 year old Alice to Best Buy, like it was a museum, so she could see phones with cords. It was a thrilling field trip. She knew what an old fashioned phone looked like, but that's where her knowledge ended. She was not privy to the sound.

You can imagine her surprise when at my grandparents house on Easter, the phone rang. We were sitting in the living room, Alice, my niece, my sister and her girlfriend, my husband and I, playing quietly when it rang out. Damn was it shrill. Alice jumped half a foot in the air, screaming "what's that?" Every adult in the room burst into laughter. The idea that such a simple and once essential piece of technology is now so foreign to this generation was rather amusing to all of us. In her daily life, she never hears a phone ring. Our cell phones are always set to vibrate.

After the laughter died down, we had a conversation on kids and today's technology. Things my grandmother is clueless about but my daughter expects, like touch screen. Alice assume all phones should be touch screen. Hell, so do I. When I have to use Hatta's blackberry, my initial reaction is to pinch to zoom. Alice will likely always have a digital camera. She isn't even aware of film. Instant gratification. My grandmother asked me for a recipe and I went to my bag and found my phone. She asked, "don't you keep anything on paper anymore?" And really, when I sat and thought about it, I keep very little on paper. This way of living is lost on my 80 year of grandmother, but Alice will grow up knowing no other way.

Tell me, do you find yourself thinking of how different the younger generations will be due to the technology they are growing up with? It's inevitable, really. In some ways it will be amazing, in others a little sad.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Drive that Drove Me Mad

My husband and I grew up in the same town, about a 3 hour drive from where we currently live. A good percentage of both our families still live there. We visit often. We have the packing and driving with a child down to a science. Remember in grade school when you made the volcano with backing soda and vinegar and it exploded all over the kitchen? Yeah, that kind of science.

Since it was Easter we decided to head back home, visit our families and have an Easter egg hunt with my sister and her almost 2 year old daughter. Two days before we were set to leave I get a text from my sister.

Sis: Do you ignore a child in the car when they say mommy over and over again after you've already answered?

Me: Yes

Me: I tell Alice, it's nap time mama and papa will not be talking to you anymore. And that's it.

Sis: We obviously do not have the system down for traveling.

Me: With travel, we do our best to drive in the nap time range. And that's the goal. We talk to each other minimally, we listen to mellow music, we don't eat until she falls asleep.

Sis: I love your rules!!!

Let me just take a moment of silence to listen to the laughter singing out in my head.

As you have guessed, the car ride did not go as planned. It started out well. She was tired, had her lovey friend. The rules were being followed. About forty minutes in, I started to become concerned. I checked the rear view, she was yawning.

Okay. Good. She'll fall asleep soon and still get a 2 hour nap.

Thirty minutes passed by. Still awake. She was making sounds that I imagine very large frogs make. Not quite a ribbit, something more growly but still from the frog family. It was obvious, Alice was actively trying to keep herself awake.

New tactic, we switched the iPod to Jack Johnson. No offense to Jack, but his music seems to help her sleep. Twenty minutes later, still awake. At that point, I turned around and ever so slightly yelled to Alice.

"This is eenough!! You need to go to sleep! You are going to be so grumpy. If you don't take a nap you will have to go bed early and you will not get to play with your grandparents. Now hold Peter Pan, sit still, look out the window, and fall asleep!!"

That's sure to work, right? Nope. Half hour later she was still awake and kicking the passenger seat. Occasionally thrashing in her car seat as if she was possessed. Blurting out random screams, which I can only imagine were intended to wake her sleepy ass up. It was bad. I think I may have turned Rage Against the Machine on at a volume loud enough to drown her out. I had stopped looking in the rear view at her, it was only infuriating me to watch her eyes get progressively more tired as her body grew more and more crazy.

And the I nearly hit a motorcycle.

She was holding Peter Pan (who, by the way, is just a brown stuffed bear wearing a Santa hat and a red scarf) above her head, waving it all around. I couldn't properly see out of the mirror and I just barely missed the motorcycle when I changed lanes.

Aw's smack down time!

I reached behind, ripped the bear from her hands, and threw it in my husbands lap.

"I will not tell you again to sit still and go to sleep! If you choose not to sleep and contine this crazy nonsense trying to stay awake, when the Easter egg hunt starts you will have a time out! And your cousin will hunt for eggs without you!"

The crazy nonsense continued. It was horrible. I wanted to scream. At one point we discussed, quietly to ourselves, the merits of drugging a child with Benadryl. I seem to remember saying out loud how I was going to enjoy watching her in timeout. The trip was not a shining moment in our little world. But we got through it and eventually arrived at my grandparent's house.

And when the eggs had been hidden and both girls were outside in their pretty dresses with their baskets, my sister said, "okay, go ahead. Hunt for eggs!" I rather calmly picked Alice up and plopped her in a garden chair to watch her little cousin gather eggs without her.

"You're in time out because you were being naughty in the car. You knew it was nap time and instead you were being crazy, kicking and screaming," I so calmly told her.

And she sat there. The rest of the family thought I was the wicked witch, but dear, sweet Alice didn't. She understood. Three minutes later she was up hunting for eggs and life was good again, for all of us.

I do believe next time we decide to take that trip things will go much more smoothly...I hope. Please.

Oh, and I did enjoy it, just a little bit of satisfaction.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Do I know you?

My dear readers, I know I've only just begun A Tea-Tray in the Sky, nevertheless I feel as if we've already met. I feel as if you know me, somehow. I'm certain I know some of you. And if all of this is true, you are already familiar with Alice, my lovely, albeit stubborn and vivacious, 3 year old daughter and my husband, Hatta, who I have to thank for so kindly shoving me in this direction.

I do hope my assessment of the situation is accurate, for I intend to pick up right where I left off telling my story. If, however, I'm mistaken and we've never met, I will do my best to fill in the blanks. My purpose isn't to confuse my readers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Deja Vu

Ever get that're walking along, mindlessly participating in daily activities, when suddenly you have this eerie sensation, you've been there before, you've done it before.

Right now, that describes me to a T.

I can't put a finger on it, but I'm quite sure I've done this before. Either that or I've just gone mad.

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."