Friday, April 15, 2011

I'd Like to Thank the Little People...

It’s time once again for the award shows to come pouring out of Hollywood like a tsunami of ooey-gooey-back-patting excess guaranteed to raise your blood sugar level just by watching the promos.

‘I’d like to thank all the little people….without whom….”

I’m one of the little people. Ok, not little as far as size goes, but you know, little as in not famous. I’m about as little as they come. No one gives out awards in my category. They don’t even HAVE a category for me, but if they did, I’m sure I could come up with a doozy of an acceptance speech.

I’d like to thank the academy for this honor—I know there are better mom’s out there, those who’ve given their kids a Wii, cell phones with unlimited texting and a bazillion gigs of music as well taking their kids on vacations to Hawaii, Disneyland, Disneyworld, the Bahamas and have sold their own blood to get them Hannah Montana concert tickets. They deserve this honor for always stocking their pantries with oodles of food from Costco, never making them clean up their rooms and letting them have anything they want for breakfast, including ice cream.

All I did was refrain from killing my teenage son for totaling the car while texting his girlfriend.

(Wild applause)

No, no, stop please. It was nothing, really. Oh sure, I could have easily taken him out, but I didn’t. Besides, there would have been witnesses and juries are prone to believe state troopers when they say things like “…she began to chase him around the damaged vehicle yelling that she’d had enough and wasn’t going to take it anymore and those stretch marks just didn’t seem worth it now. Then she got him in a headlock and began dragging him around while yelling something about labor and delivery, c-sections, blood and then she tried to strangle him your honor”

Thankfully, such testimony wasn’t necessary because as you can see by this lovely award, I did not throttle my teenage son that day. Or that night in his sleep, although I did pause by his closed door at one point around midnight, lay my head against the cool wood and quietly cry for a few minutes.

I’m sorry, that wasn’t what you came here to hear was it? I really would like to thank all the little people who helped me win this award. My mother for teaching me patience and the penal code, my father who made it clear that there are always extenuating circumstances and my husband for quietly reminding me that we didn’t have life insurance on him yet.

Of course that wouldn’t be the only award I’d win. I’d be up for Best Supporting Wife for Excellence in Laundry and Kitty Litter Scooping. Naturally I’d be getting the Lifetime Achievement Award for Embarrassing My Children Just By Being Alive. (I’ll spare you the acceptance speech on that one)

Of course there aren’t award shows for us little people. We don’t get to be patted on the back and congratulated by our peers for staying up all night with puking 9 year olds and managing not to toss our own cookies at the same time, (all without benefit of a nanny or other support staff) or for putting up with the extreme stress of attempting to cut through the lies of a teenager trying to tell you that of course they were at Jonathon’s house all night and didn’t we trust them? (the correct answer to that one would be no)

The award that I’d be most proud of though, second only to the one for not strangling my son, is for Sensitivity and Maintaining Composure Until After The Incident. The votes will be tallied and I’ll be the clear favorite to win this for not cracking one smile as my 11 year old earnestly explained to me that the reason she’s not popular in her sixth grade class is because she doesn’t have boobs yet.

“Everyone has them except me”
“Everyone? Wow, even the boys?”
“Ok, sorry. So all the girls but you, huh?”
“Yeah. Boobs make you popular mom”

Oh, if she only knew.

Wait. I think she does.

Darn it all. There goes my composure award.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Death by General Tso

My tongue needs a bandaid. And some burn cream. Perhaps a four hour ice bath would be useful as well. Do they make bandaids for lips? Because I could use a sterile covering over them too. Powerful analgesics, the kind you can only get with a prescription from a doctor, would not be out of the question either. I'd prefer that they be applied directly on my lips, tongue, and oh heck, I'll just gargle with it.

You see, tonight I nearly met an untimely death by Chinese food. General Tso's Chicken to be exact. It started out innocently enough. My husband, children and I went out to dinner with my father, my sister and her children, twelve of us altogether. Thankfully there were enough people there to make sure my agony did not go unnoticed. The only thing that would have made it all more bearable would have been if they had managed to catch my writhing on video for later replays at family reunions.

I love Chinese food, and I've even eaten General Tso's chicken in the past without needing medical attention. Tonight was not such an event.

I'd finished my chicken and then noticed a piece of chicken that I'd missed off to the side on my plate. At least I thought it was a piece of harmless, tasty chicken. I picked it up and popped it into my mouth, grazing my lips with the napalm like material. The second it hit my tongue, I spit it out. Yes, spit. Right out. On to my plate. Right in the middle of the restaurant. Surrounded by other patrons. Then the real fun began.

Searing, scalding, skin-scorching pain erupted below my nose. My mouth had disappeared and in it's place was a pyrotechnic display, worthy of any Chinese firework show put on for thousands of people. I'm not certain just how many people the restaurant held, but suffice it to say that what my family lacked in numbers, they more than made up for in noise as they mocked my pain.

I know you're supposed to stop drop and roll when you're on fire, but unfortunately I was physically unable to turn my mouth inside out and press it to the floor of the restaurant. So I did the next best thing. I shoveled in some bland white rice. It didn't help, so I spit it out. Yes, spit. Right out. Into a napkin, then I frantically searched for something else to quench the fire. Sweet and sour chicken? Nope, spit it out. Noodles? Uh uh. Into the napkin it went. Water? Yeah, that was like tossing H20 onto a grease fire. Now the unbearable pain had spread to my entire mouth and it felt like my lips had melted off.

“Stop doing that!” my father half-laughed half-yelled at me as I spewed out another non-fire-retardant morsel of food onto the table.

For the record, broccoli with beef, fried wantons, egg rolls, and breaded scallops will not help you in this situation. My first relief came when my husband shoved a giant bowl of vanilla pudding at me. I spooned half a gallon into my mouth and then rubbed some on my lips. The Hispanic family to our right were staring at me in morbid fascination, probably relieved that the pudding didn't get spit back out. Oh, blessed peace. Then I swallowed the pudding and the burning returned full force. More pudding. More lip covering. Ahhhh. Sweet. When I swallowed, there was more pain. Did I mention that my eyes were watering? I had the Niagara of tear ducts during this event. Each time the pudding went down, the pain increased and the more I cried.

My youngest daughter brought me a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Heaven! Sweet, icy, heaven. I ate two bowls of frozen bliss, holding most of it in my mouth for as long as humanly possible.

It took some time to beat down the flames, but beat them down I did. When the taste buds on my tongue come back, and after my swollen lips have healed, I plan on finding that General Tso and giving him a piece of my mind. Then I'll start marketing lip bandaids filled with vanilla pudding for other victims.

This column was originally published in several papers in 2007 and is being posted here today for Jeri Lynn and Teresa Pyper