Tuesday, December 29, 2009

They say it's your birthday

It's my birthday too, yeah!

Really! It is! I am 30sh. And get ready to be wowed because this picture is great:


That's me and my mama 30sh years ago.

Birthdays should really be all about the moms. (After today, of course. Today it's all about me.) After all, they are the ones who did all of the hard work what with the puking and the getting fat and the stretch marks and the labor pains and the squeezing of something the size of an extra large squash out of their you know what.

Moms should be the ones patted on the back and toasted. We should make them a cake and get them a gift and say, hey, thank you! Thank you for enduring what you did... sore nipples and late night feedings, potty training and bed wetting, temper tantrums and lego messes, the brushing of snarly hair and the reading of the same story over and over again, the constant ridicule of their cooking and the scrubbing of barf out of the carpet, the payment of all that money for braces and retainers, the sitting through awful band concerts, the showing up for piano recitals, and so much more.

(Thank you, mom, especially for not disowning me when I dropped baby Joshua. On the head. I think he turned out okay despite that incident. I was seriously only trying to help.)

This morning, my mom brought us bagels and juice and gave me gifts and then proceeded to wash all my dishes and clean my kitchen while I sat like a lump on my new furniture. Then she came back later in the day to watch my kids while John and I went over to a friend's house.

I'm a lucky duck.

This is kind of a lame thank you, but thanks mom. And congratulations on the whole being a mom thing for 30sh years. Here's to 30sh more, together.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Now With Better Resolution...

I think one of John’s great disappointments in life is that he married a woman who cannot tell the difference between high definition television and standard television.

John received a blue-ray player for Christmas from his parents and has been downstairs popping various movies in the thing to demonstrate its extraordinary capacity for enabling the ultimate cinematic experience.

“Look! Honey, come see!”

I go look.

“The Star Wars dvds look so amazing with the blue-ray’s up-convert technology!”

“Pardon me there?”

“Up-convert technology. The blue-ray takes our dvds and makes the resolution better than in our old dvd player. It’s not as good as if they were blue-rays, but the picture is much better than before.”

“Okay then. I’m going to finish this here pumpkin pie now.”

“You don’t notice the difference, do you?” The disappointment in his voice is palpable.

“Not so much,” I say.

He proceeds to pop in the new Star Trek blue-ray he bought, and then Cars, which causes a frenzy among the younger crowd dwelling within the confines of these walls.

It’s so amazing,” John whispers.

Right.

This week, he somehow conned my father out of his old speakers- behemoth monstrosities that now loom over us in the living room.

The sound is so amazing,” he whispers.

Right.

I can’t complain, however, because my ever-loving other half bought me the yuletide gift of furniture. I now have a micro-fiber loveseat and couch and a bountiful assortment of cushions.

He moved the recliner from the living room into the already crowded library/ dining-room/ piano room. I am opposed to this. Really opposed to this. But I can’t say anything because HE BOUGHT ME FURNITURE! I am in such a state of bliss that I am letting this go. (Until a couple of weeks from now when he starts traveling for work. Then, I will simply move the recliner back to its rightful spot in the great room and he will inevitably become annoyed and move it back next to the piano and then I’ll move it back where I want it and this will go on until he gives up because I am more stubborn than he is. And more right than he is, too.)

Ahhh, the holidays. No better time to have meaningless, trivial battles of will with one’s spouse. No better way to end the year, either.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Songs that Make Me Happy & Crabby


There are two types of people in this world: people who hate Neil Diamond and people who love him. I am not ashamed to admit that I am in the latter category; however, even I will admit that Neil’s version of "Oh Holy Night" is an unholy travesty.

I happened upon this version while listening to the radio in the car on the way back from a rather mobbed Target store. Does anyone else still listen to the radio? I’m an avid fan, at least in the car. I haven’t yet quite glommed onto the whole MP3 player thing. I only listen to mine at the gym (on the rare occasion I go the gym and the stupid thing is actually charged.)

I like the radio because it’s a journey into the unknown. What will they play next? Will it be some relic of my youth? A song I’ve never heard before? Or some crap by Kings of Leon again? 90% of the time it’s the third, but I am eternally optimistic. (They played Cake a couple of months ago: I like a girl in a short skirt and a looong jacket! I was happy for like a week.)

Every year, I devise a mental list of my very favorite Christmas carols and songs. Unfortunately, one can have a favorite Christmas carol, say "O Holy Night," and have it butchered by the likes of Neil Diamond or Jessica Simpson.

But here are this year’s personal top five faves anyway:

5. "I Wonder As I Wander": Sort of a haunting melody. My favorite verse: If Jesus had wanted for any small thing/A star in the sky or a bird on the wing/ Or all of God's Angels in heaven to sing/ He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King! (I’ve been enjoying Harry Connick’s version this year.)

4. "O Holy Night": A song you can imagine the angels singing in the skies. Angels who sound nothing like Neil Diamond.

3. "What Child is This": Gorgeous lyrics put to the melody of Greensleeves. What’s not to like?

2. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing": Because it’s just a great hymn. Because they sing it at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Because there’s an old sheet music ornament with its lyrics on it on my mother's Christmas tree. Just because.

1. "Silent Night": This is the first year my son can sing the first verse all the way through. And that’s the main reason it’s my very favorite carol this year.

Okay. Let’s discuss worst Christmas songs now, as there are some songs that surely would have made baby Jesus cry.

5. "The Little Drummer Boy": I just don’t like this song. It’s always struck me as annoying and ridiculous. “Me and my drum!” Blah.

4. "Wonderful Christmas Time": Paul McCartney’s famous Christmas song is overplayed on the radio. It is so awful in so many ways. The lyrics make you dumber for having listened to them. The synthesized music and horrific tune grates on my nerves.

3. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town": This song is creepy. It makes Santa sound like a weird stalker. He sees you when you’re sleeping?

2. "The Christmas Shoes": They made this song into a Hallmark film. That should tell you something right there. I just don’t buy this kid’s story. His mother is dying and he wants to buy her shoes? She probably can’t even walk.

1. "The Chipmunk Song": I don’t really think I have to explain why.

What’s your favorite/ least favorite Christmas song and why?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

But Caleb, I AM YOUR FATHER!

video

I'm very seriously considering adding a "Star Wars" sidebar category. The Star Wars theme is now the soundtrack of my life. If the kids aren't singing it, it's playing in an Xbox game or on the stereo.

I found my "Spacetaculars" cd. What cd is this? Why, it's a compilation of "space" music I purchased a long time ago through BMG. Because I am a geek. This cd has music from John Williams's soundtracks, including E.T., StarTrek, 2001 Space Odyssey, and of course, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi.

No Superman, though. If E.T. is a space movie, Superman should be considered a space movie, too. They are both aliens. Christopher Reeve was just a much BETTER looking alien.

But I digress.

Caleb came home from school yesterday and made me turn off my Linda Eder Christmas album for some Spacetaculars. He then proceeded to listen to the Star Wars main theme, count it, 9 times. (Someone was quoting from Ferris Bueller the other day... Niiiiiine Tiiimes.)

Other Star Wars activities include: the drawing and cutting out of Star Wars figures and going ballistic when they inevitably rip, an interminable discussion about the dual personality of Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader, and of course, the time-honored art of Jedi Light-saber fighting. And Caleb has been practicing. He even has an impressive spin move.

We're going to hold off on showing him the Princess Bride, I think.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Zombified


John called me about twenty minutes ago.

"I have incredible news," he said.

YESSSSS! I thought. He got his bonus and it's, like, really, really HUGE! Snuggies for EVERYONE!

"Natalie Portman has agreed to star in the film version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," he said, almost gleefully, I thought.

Well, I had guessed Jennifer Garner for the film version, but Natalie Portman is pretty darn close.

Christmas sure came early this year. (Sarcasm intended.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

And the Award for the Worst Mom of the Weekend Goes To....

Friday morning

8:40 am

Caleb is dressed and ready for the snowy tundra that is our driveway. He had been jumping around the house with his backpack wide open, and one of his shoes fell out somewhere. I send him outside to wait for the bus as I frantically search the wild terrain that is our floor. After all, one can’t participate in gym if one is wearing winter boots. It’s just not done. I find it as Caleb is getting on the bus. I run with superhero speed, in my bare feet and pajamas through two feet of drifted snow, waving my arms and shouting like a looney-bird. The driver stops and everyone stares with wide eyes as I march to the door and hand Caleb his shoe.

“Oh. Thanks, mom,” he says nonchalantly. I go back inside and stand on the radiator for a good five minutes.

One Hour Later

I am sitting in the back of a church sanctuary with all of other moms whose husbands and parents can’t get out of work to go to their child or grandchild’s Christmas program. My camera is primed; I am ready to shoot video of Ben singing “Rudolph,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” My friend sitting next to me bites her lip through “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Her son has admitted to swinging his arms a little too vigorously during the song, previously injuring the little girl who sits next to him. I peer over at them and, indeed, the little girl looks a bit anxious.

Daniel sits and plays with his gowack but Ella thinks Ben’s Christmas program is a wild party and she dances in the aisle. No one seems to care.

In the crowd later, Santa arrives. I coral the twins and Ella is picked up by Mrs. Claus. She stares in awe. Santa asks her what she wants for Christmas and she shakes her head.

“No,” she says.

We go home after slipping and sliding through the parking lot.

11:00 am

I spend a good two hours at my favorite lunch bistro, McDonald’s, with Janet. Ella climbs the elaborate jungle gym and won’t come down. I stand below bribing her with a candy cane.

1:30pm

I drop the kids off at my mom's so I can go to the dentist.

2:00 pm

No cavities! The dentist wants to know how I chipped my front tooth. I can’t remember. He seems to think that is odd.

3:00

I run to the mall to find a pretty dress to wear to a Christmas gala that evening. I find one at Sears. It is brown. I don’t try it on.

3:45

Back at my mom's, bundling the kids. I look at the clock and am astonished to remember that Caleb is getting off of the bus in five minutes, and I’m twenty minutes away. I get hysterical. My mother slaps me across the face and says,

“Pull yourself together woman!”

I pull myself together and call my wonderful friends and neighbors who live around the corner. Chris literally races the bus to my house and grabs Caleb. Thankfully, the bus driver doesn’t call the cops when Caleb gets into a strange car with a man who is not his father.

4:00- 5:00 pm

I sob at what an idiot I am. I vow it will never happen again. I don’t vow it to Caleb, because he has no idea what almost happened. I vow it to Ella, who nods, solemnly.

5:30 pm

I squeeze myself into my new dress. John, who is a bit cool toward me, probably because of incidences that occurred earlier that afternoon, zips me up but doesn’t tell me I look pretty. I totally deserve that. Plus, my eyes are bloodshot and the dress is a bit tight and I really don’t look pretty at all.

6:00-10:00 pm

At the Lakeside Hospital Christmas gala, a woman at the bathroom says:

“Has anyone told you you look just like Renee Zellwegger?”

Actually, yes! When “Jerry Maguire” came out, another woman in a bathroom told me I looked just like Renee Zellwegger. It was one of the happiest moments of my small life.

The woman in the convention center bathroom turns to her friend behind her and says:

“Renee Zellwegger. You know. Bridget Jones.”

It’s come to this. I used to look like “Jerry Maguire” Renee Zellwegger. Now I look like “Bridget Jones” Renee Zellwegger. If someone ever compares me to “Cold Mountain” Renee Zellwegger, I may do something hostile.

Laura Bush is the keynote speaker. She comes out and places a bobble-head of herself on her podium.

“It has come to this,” she says. She explains that the bobble-head was purchased by a friend at a gift store in Washington D.C. It was on the clearance rack.

How utterly sad.

I lose the silent auction I was bidding on, but win the table’s gorgeous centerpiece. John forgives me for my past transgression and we go home kind of tired.

Saturday

6:00 am

John leaves for Buffalo to speak about constitutional freedoms at a men’s breakfast.

7:00 am

Everyone is up and eating oatmeal.

11:30 am

John comes home and Ben and I rush off to swim lessons. Ben now jumps into the pool, doggie-paddles in the deep end, floats on his back, and practices blowing bubbles in the water. He has vastly improved in just a few weeks.

12:30 pm

Back home… I leave John to spend the day Christmas shopping with one of my best friends. I eat a St. John panini at Cibon and later a slice of lemon raspberry cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.

5:30 pm

Back home. John leaves with boys to get a Christmas tree. I tell them to get a BIG one. They come home with not such a big one. Ben and Caleb are pleased with their tree.

“It was the best one!!!!” says Ben.

“They had to have this one,” says John.

It occurs to me that the tree does look huge to the boys.

7:00 pm

John leaves to hang out with friends. I curl up with a book I bought for somebody else for Christmas. I intend to read all of the books I have purchased for others before Christmas. Is that wrong?

Sunday

8:30 am

I’m off to sing in the church choir. I come back in between services to grab Caleb. Ben sounds croupy so John decides to stay home with him.

1:00 am

Caleb and I grab lunch at Wegmans after church: white cream-filled donuts, and head over to Supercuts so Caleb looks less like mountain child and more like a nice little boy. It grosses me out that the hair hasn’t been swept off the floor by Caleb’s salon chair. I am standing on someone else’s hair.

1:40 pm

Back home. Ben and Ella are napping. The Bills are winning. I intend to take a winter’s nap. Ben comes down from his nap wheezing. He can hardly talk and seems to be struggling to breathe. Since I am leaving later to go with Caleb to his Christmas piano recital, John decides to take Ben to Urgent Care.

4:00 pm

Urgent Care takes one look at Ben and calls an ambulance. John and Ben ride over to Strong. I start cleaning the house because what else can one do when one feels like throwing up because her small child is away from her, in an ambulance, fighting to breathe?

5:00 pm

The doctors at the hospital are alarmed by a constriction in Ben’s throat. At first, they think he might have actually swallowed something that got lodged there. It turns out his throat is just very swollen. He has severe croup. They give him albuterol and steroids and wait.

6:00 pm

My dad comes and picks up Caleb for his recital. They are going to play “Jingle Bells” as a duet together. Caleb is okay that I’m not coming.

7:00 pm

Ben is released. The twins and I bundle up and ride to Strong to pick them up. We then grab John’s car at Urgent Care, stopping to pick up some popsicles for Ben. Ben is spry, but is milking his illness for all it’s worth.

“Mom,” he says, “I am still very, very sick.” He gives Renee Zellwegger in “Cold Mountain” performances, sometimes. Oscar-worthy, I mean.

11:30 pm

I am so tired but I can’t sleep. I read more of the book I am giving to someone else, being very careful not to bend one single page. I am thankful that everyone is safe and under one roof. I have apocalyptic dreams, where all of the banks in the world crash and utter chaos is the new normal.

Monday

I am glad it’s Monday. Caleb, who was incredibly neglected this weekend, doesn’t want to go to school. He’d rather stay home with, of all people, me. We watch his performance at the recital again and again.

I’m sorry, buddy.

I’ll do better next weekend.



video

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why We Do the Santa Claus Thing


Most men and women, before they embark on the glorious journey that is marriage, have necessary and important conversations. The most important, possibly, is the “are we gonna have kids?” conversation. Such a talk might go something like this:

“So, how many kids do you want?” she asks.

“Two is good,” he replies.

“I want five,” she says.

“Three it is,” he compromises.

“Fine,” she says. “So are we gonna do the Santa Claus thing or what?”

“I really could care less.”

“All right, then! Let’s do this thing!”

At least, that was pretty much the conversation John and I had. And then, ha ha to him, we had twins.

I don’t ever remember ever believing in Santa Claus, although my younger brother and sister did, and I do recall delightly in the consumption of the cookies they left out for Santa after they went to bed. After they grew up, I couldn't wait to do the Santa Claus thing with my own kids, and now I delight in eating the cookies they leave out for Santa. It is good, clean fun. A little fattening.

As I got older, it seemed every parent or parent-to-be had opinions about the jolly old white-bearded man with the wicked cool red winter suit. Some believed he distracted from “the true meaning of Christmas.” Others didn’t like lying to their kids. We all know I have no quandaries about lying to my kids, so that brings us to “the true meaning of Christmas.”

As fellow blogger Michelle recently pointed out, Christmas did not begin as a religious holiday and nowhere in the bible does it indicate Christ’s birth should be celebrated. (Let’s put Christ back into Christmas really doesn’t make sense- he was never there in the first place.) Christmas was initially a holiday that celebrated winter solstice; Christmas as we know it today is simply Christianity’s reaction to a popular pagan holiday. (Jesus was actually born in the fall.)

Santa Claus, on the other hand, is based on a bishop lauded and subsequently sainted for his extravagant gifts to the poor. (This was before the Reformation.) The idea of Santa Claus actually has roots in Christianity. Christmas, um, doesn’t really so much.

I love Christmas. I love the carols, I love the story of Jesus’ birth, I love nativity scenes and lights on the houses and the smell of Christmas trees and decking the halls and all that stuff. I applaud Christians for turning Christmas into their own celebration of the greatest event in the history of the world.

I also love to spur my children’s imagination. Is there a greater gift than a really good, really primed, imagination?

One of my favorite books is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The main character is a poor little girl who lives in the Bronx. No, I’m kidding. She lives in Brooklyn.

See? I have a compulsion.

Anyways, she is a “storyteller” and these two paragraphs illustrate her parent’s differing opinions about spurring on their daughter’s fledgling imagination:

Lately, she (Francie) had been given to exaggerating things. She did not report happenings truthfully, but gave them color, excitement and dramatic twists. Katie (her mother) was annoyed at this tendency and kept warning Francie to tell the plain truth and to stop romancing. But Francie just couldn’t tell the plain undecorated truth. She had to put something to it.

Although Katie had this same flair for coloring an incident and Johnny (her father) himself lived in a half-dream world, yet they tried to squelch these things in their child. Maybe they had a good reason. Maybe they knew their own gift of imagination colored too rosily the poverty and brutality of their lives and made them able to endure it. Perhaps Katie thought that if they did not have this faculty, they would be clearer-minded; see things as they really were, and seeing them loathe them and somehow find a way to make them better.

The next chapter, noticeably, begins with: Christmas was a charmed time in Brooklyn.

Caleb is slowly putting two and two together. He was pretty sure the Santa Claus we saw on the street last week isn’t the same one that made an appearance at his school. He asks me strange questions, like:

“When Santa sees a reindeer in the woods, does he grab it so he’ll have even more reindeer on his sleigh?”

“No. I think he’s happy with the eight he has.”

“But wouldn’t more reindeer make him go even faster?” Caleb asked.

“I really couldn’t say.”

“Nine, anyway.”

“Pardon?”

“Nine. There are nine reindeer. You forgot Rudolph.”

“Yes. I guess I did. Nine, then.”

I’m so prepared for the day Caleb no longer believes. I'm prepared for the inevitable accusation that I, ahem, lied. I have a great book to recuse myself of any responsibility: it is called, Santa? Are you for real? The answer is happily non-committal.

In the meantime, I’m truly enjoying watching Caleb work it out for himself.

The Possible's slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination
~
Emily Dickinson

How do YOU feel about the jolly old white-bearded man with the wicked cool red winter suit? I won't be offended if you think I am totally off my rocker... it's been known to happen before.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Three Funny though Mildly Disturbing Thoughts from this Weekend

The Entrepreneurs

My husband and I are fledgling entrepreneurs. We spent a good part of the weekend brainstorming a novel idea for a brand new game for the Nintendo Wii.

Here’s the premise: it’s kind of like PGA golf, only not really at all.

First, you choose an avatar: any one of a variety of gorgeous blonde models, or if you would prefer, a feminine looking man. Next, you start the game. You are in a posh mansion. Your first quest is to run about the mansion in search of a five-iron golf club. Once you find it, your next quest is to find Tiger Woods within the mansion and begin chasing him while screaming like a looney-bird. If you can catch Tiger and smash his face with the five-iron BEFORE he escapes down the street in his SUV, you advance to the next level which is called “staving off the paparazzi.” (You can use that five-iron in this level, too.) You can employ a variety of different means to stop the SUV Tiger may try to escape in. However, if you accidentally kill Tiger, you lose.

We call the game “Tiger Woods Golf Re-imagined.” It’s a working title.

We think we are brilliant. We are meeting with the Nintendo people early next week.

No Seat for You

We went to church yesterday. We are cautiously becoming involved, but still don’t know the majority of people who worship there. Yesterday morning, I found a comfy pew to sit in while John went off to “powder his nose” before the service began.

As I sat down, the woman on the total opposite end of the pew said:

“These seats are all being saved!” There was nary a purse or a coat that indicated this was the case, and there was a good five feet between my tuckus and hers. Nevertheless, I stood up and said:

“O-kaaay.”

As I walked away she said,

“Sorry, sweetie.”

Just to make things clear: I am not her sweetie.

And who does that? Who tells a complete stranger IN A CHURCH not to sit in a pew because seats are being saved? WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Later that evening, I told my story of woe to my friend, Mary. The name of our new church is “Open Door.” Mary rolled her eyes and said,

“Open Door. Where the doors are always open, but the pews? Not so much.”

Like a Virgin

Caleb is singing “Silent Night” with his class for the school Christmas performance.

Friday, after school, he asked me what a virgin was, which brings me to believe that perhaps “Silent Night” is not a children’s song, per se. “Away in the Manger” would be more appropriate. “We Three Kings?” Good. “Silent Night” just opens the door to a world I don’t want to go into yet.

I told Caleb a virgin meant someone who is pure of heart and body.


“What does pure mean?”

“Very, very clean and good,” I said.

A contemplative pause from Caleb.

“Are you a virgin?”

“No, Caleb. No. Mommy is definitely not a virgin.”

Fa la la la la. La la… la… la.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letter to Mister Waste Management Recycling Man



Dear Mister Waste Management Recycling Man,

I am writing to you to discuss the event that occurred last Thursday, which is the garbage day on my street. Iwould also like to discuss the event that occurred the first Thursday you ever came to my house, you know, after we first moved in.

It was a sunny September day and my husband was out of town. You may be wondering, what does that have to do with anything? Well, we had just moved in and my kids were starting new schools and there was crap strewn all over my house and I was exhausted. And teary. I was very teary because the move was a very stressful experience and because my husband had abandoned that week me to go on a business trip with his cantankerous boss.

The buyers of our previous house? Not nice people. They demanded extra stuff at the closing, you know, when they’re about to make everything legal and binding? BOOM! They wanted a hot water heater or they were going to walk. This was after they demanded a new furnace. When I drove by my old house later, I saw that they had also gotten an air conditioner. Probably one of those two-for deals places have going every once in a while.

We could’ve done that to our sellers. They were especially desperate because they had no choice but to move out of town were therefore stuck with two mortgages. We could have taken total advantage of their desperation. But we didn’t. We like to take the high road.

Anyway, the whole process was emotionally, and more importantly, financially draining.

That particular Tuesday, right after we had moved in, I hauled a ton of garbage and boxes to the curb. Usually this is the husband’s job. His ONE household task-taking out the garbage. But sometimes he goes out of town and then I have to do it.

Later that same morning, I drove my son to preschool and when I came back, you were there, putting my milk cartons into your truck. Which is really loud, by the way. This will be relevant later.

I got out of the car and waved to you, because I am friendly. I wave to everyone. I wave to my neighbors. I wave to little kids at the supermarket. I wave to all the parents I pass in the school parking lot. I am a nice person.

You did not wave back, but you did motion for me to come over. Honestly, in my hopeful naivety, I thought you were going to welcome me to the neighborhood- to say a friendly thanks for choosing Waste Management and not Suburban Disposal or Boon and Sons.

You gave me a three-minute lecture on bundling the cardboard boxes.

You did not take the high road.

Okay. Perhaps I didn’t read all of the Waste Management literature. It may have been that I didn’t receive the literature in the mail yet, as we had just made arrangements for you to come two days before.

You may not realize this about yourself, but you are an intimidating presence. You are large and burly and have long, crazy hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… that’s your style and I respect that… but your appearance and your tone made me feel one-foot tall.

I guess I’m the kind of person people can tell right away that they can push around. I’m pretty meek. My body language gives me away. You start talking about how it makes your life ten times more difficult when I don’t bundle the boxes and I bite my lip like a guilty child. The fear radiates from my body. And people like you smell the fear.

You didn’t even acknowledge that my own children were crying for me to let them out of the car.

I bet you would not have lectured me if I were a large, scary looking man. You probably would have left one of those obnoxious notes on my garbage can instead.

You yelled and I nodded and then you told me you were giving me ONE warning but that I’d better bundle from now on.

You made me cry. Okay, lots of things make me cry, but you made me feel like an idiot. Couldn’t you have let it go, seeing as I had just moved in? I have avoided you since then. Honest to God. If I get ready to leave the house and I see your monstrous truck heading down the street, I hightail it back inside.

Except last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The husband has gotten into this horrible habit of only occasionally taking the recyclables out. I realized this had occurred last Friday and hurried to remove some, ahem, cardboard boxes out of the garage so I could park my van in there. There were four of them (cardboard boxes, not vans) and I dragged them all out to the curb just as you pulled up. I let my guard down. Probably full of the holiday spirit. I cautiously waved to you and turned toward my house.

“Hey!” you said.

I should have pretended I didn’t hear you.

I slowly turned and you immediately started lecturing me again. On bundling. And then you insinuated I had not rinsed my soda bottles.

You went on and on and I couldn’t hear half of what you were saying because of your horrifically loud truck. I didn’t say a word. Finally you vacated my premises. I shouted “Happy Thanksgiving” to the back of your truck. And then I just stood there, befuddled and livid that I had allowed this to happen to me twice.

Let me tell you something. I hauled those stinking boxes down to the curb all at once. You are twice as big as I am. I don’t think bundling would have made a difference as to the successful transferal of said cardboard boxes to large monstrous truck.

I am writing this letter to inform you that tomorrow will be the last day you pick up my recyclables because I am switching garbage taker-awayers.

And I’m going to tell them, the powers that be, why. And ALSO, I’ve come up with lots of forthright comebacks since we last met. They’re really quite clever. And I’ve been practicing “look tough” faces in the mirror. I almost hope we meet again.

Sincerely,

Holly

p.p.s. I always rinse my soda bottles, you cretin.