Ever had one of those weeks, you know, the ones that make you break that promise to yourself not to scream the F-word while behind the wheel with the kid in the car?


Well, I have.  In fact, I had one just a couple of weeks ago.  I wrote this entry on Wednesday of that week…

“You know what?  Screw this week.  Oh, I just can’t WAIT to see what Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have in store.  [insert gigantic eyeroll here]

As many of you know The Peeshwank is currently starring in a stage production of “A Christmas Story“.  I tell ya, this cast and crew is absolutely amazing.  The show has so many more funny little moments than the movie, which I did not think would be possible.  Our first dress rehearsal was Sunday.  There were some trapdoor issues, costume change issues, prop issues, typical theater-ish issues.  Nothing too notable, it seemed everything would go off without a hitch.

Which brings us to… the hitch.  Or the first of several hitches.

The next night however it seemed everything went awry.  We ended up at the theater until after 10:00.  Costumes had been a mess, the lead actress had lost her voice to strep throat, and a variety of other “opportunities”.  I may be the cool, happenin’ mom when it comes to just about every aspect of his life, but let me tell you, the only time The Peeshwank gets to stay up past nine o’clock is when he’s at someone else’s house.  Yes, even during Summer break.  And thus the reason he begs to sleepover at friends’ houses as often as possible.  (Sorry, neighbors who harbor my kid about once a week.)

Ten o’clock on a school night is just crazy.  Add a shower, pajamas, another bite to eat after a particularly rushed dinner earlier in the evening and he was crawling into bed around eleven.  That’s pretty hardcore.

The next morning he was up and at ’em by six and on the bus by 6:30.  I waved him off to school and came back home to promptly engage in gastronomical gymnastics the likes of which my stomach hasn’t known in many years.  I was five pound lighter by the time it ended.  I spent the rest of the day on the couch, praying that I would make a miraculous recovery.  I still had to get the house cleaned and decorated for Christmas as our family Christmas is this Saturday.   (Something I should really be working on now instead of writing this.)

So the little man comes in from school and just the look on his face told me we were in for a long night.  Bags under his eyes, his normal beaming smile replace with a grimace, even his clothes were askew.  During dinner he fell asleep at the table.  We sent him to the red couch in front of the fireplace.  He was asleep in seconds.  We had to leave for rehearsal in 20 minutes though.  I woke him as late as possible and promised him we’d stop at the convenience store on the way and get him a Dr. Pepper and some wax candy (he’s old-school like that).  He was starting to liven up.  I drove on smiling at how proud I was of his tenacity.  Then the car started rumbling.  Then the smoke started coming out of the engine.  Because, why wouldn’t it?

We pulled into the first parking lot we could find and called our Knight in Shining Armor.  He saved us and drove us on to the theater where Peeshwank managed to get in costume in three minutes and was onstage for rehearsal right on time.

Fast forward to the rest of the week’s “hitches”…

Joe: “Honey, when you go to take your shower, the faucet handle is… well… loose.  Just turn it until it catches and it’ll still work.”

Joe: “Your phone was ringing off the hook while you were in the shower.”
Me:  “Oh, no, it’s the school.”  [listens to voicemail] “Preston’s lunchbox broke and fell off his bag on the bus.  He needs me to bring him a new lunch.  How does a kid literally lose their lunch?”
Joe: “Have you forgotten who you’re dealing with?”

Lowe’s/Home Depot/Google:  “That faucet handle you guys are trying so hard to replace… yeah, it’s discontinued.”

Joe: “Where’s the superglue?”
Me: “It was right here.  We used it recently.”
Joe: “For what?”
Me: “Um, yeah… nevermind.  Preston used the last of it to build his Dalek army out of legos.”

Car shop: “Sounds like a radiator problem.”

Costume mistress: “The tail on the bunny costume fell off.  Is your seamstress here?”
Director: “Yeah, but Jenn’s kinda had a bad day… just safety pin it for now.”

As Joe and I were coming home from dropping Preston’s lunch off, Lowe’s, and before going to meet the tow truck at my car, we saw a truck emblazoned with a logo for heat and air repair.  The “heat” looked like it was melting, the “air” looked like ice.

Joe and I both: “Did that say ‘Meat and Ice’?”
Joe: “Is this some new brilliant incarnation of the classic ice cream truck?  If so, I’m in!”

Hysterical laughter ensued.  I’m glad we can still find things to laugh about as the things around us fall apart.  I hope all of you have someone that you can laugh hysterically with through the ups and downs.

A Christmas Story

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I Should’ve Known This Was Where We Were Headed…

And… I’m back.

The past month or so has been completely crazy, so I have to give many thanks to the #whirlwind blog tours, that allowed me to entertain the word-hungry masses (all three of you) with guest posts from fellow authors.

What have I been up to, you ask?  Why, I’ll be glad to tell you.

First, as most of you already know, I made it through another NaNoWrimo.  I’ve still got a long way to go on the novel, but it’s getting there.  In my non-writing time I’ve been helping out The Peeswhank’s Odyssey of the Mind team.  Fundraisers, after-school practices, and lunch with the gang every Tuesday.

The biggest “Occupy Jenmac” perpetrator was The Peeshwank’s budding acting career.  As I mentioned in a previous post, he was cast as Randy Parker in our local theater’s run of “A Christmas Story”.  Yes, the “how do the little piggies eat” kid.  That’s my boy.

"I can't put my arms down! I gotta go weewee!"

We had loads of rehearsals and it was truly a great experience.  He and I both made lots of new friends and had a wonderful time even in the midst of working so hard.  (I ended up becoming the production seamstress and occasional backstage child-wrangler.  So I managed to keep pretty busy while at the theater myself.)

Peeshwank mentioned how much he loved being onstage and I thought back to his first live audience.  WAY back.  All the way back to when he was two years old and Debbie Gibson… er… pardon me, Deborah Gibson came to town with The Monkees for a lupus benefit concert for one of the Backstreet Boys’ older sister.  No, seriously.  It happened.  I promise I’ve consumed no alcoholic beverages yet today.

We were hanging out on the second row and P was playing with the fun bouncy theater seat.  “Look, I push it down, it comes back up.  Yea!!!”  Debbie… er…. Deborah’s backing tracks went all batty, so she decided to sit at the piano and play acoustically until they could correct the problem.

Just as she started to play a nice, soft ballad, SWAP.  The seat hit Peeshwank in the chin and he screamed bloody murder.  Debbie Deborah stopped playing and looked out into the audience.

“That didn’t sound like a happy scream!”  She announces.  I sweep P up into my arms, shoving his face into my chest to muffle his screams and haul ass for the exit.  (Of course, our seats were in the middle of the row.  Of course.  I’ve only ever sat on an aisle seat ever since.)  Debbie Deborah says, “Turn the lights up and let’s find that baby.  Then we can point and laugh at his mother and throw rotten cabbages at her for bringing a baby to a fancy benefit concert.”  She may or may not have said that last part.

The lights come up and she catches me before I can get out of the concert hall.  Then she uttered a sentence that I still have nightmares about:

“Bring that baby up here and let’s see if we can’t get him to stop crying.”

The building could’ve fallen down on me at that moment and I would’ve welcomed it.  I tried to make a run for the fire exit.  Alarms be damned, I’m out!  But an usher caught me by the arm and dragged me to the bottom of the stage stairs.

Heart pounding, face burning with embarrassment, I made my way up the steps onto the stage where Debbie Deborah had her stage manager bring out a bench for the screaming Peeshwank to sit upon.  The minute the lights were on him, though, he stopped crying and started waving at the crowd.  I realized at that moment that my toddler had planned this all along.  He was faking some grave injury just so he could get onstage and be in the spotlight.

So there we were – me, The Peeshwank and Debbie Deborah Gibson just hanging out onstage in front of a concert hall full of people thinking “What a dumbass!  We paid good money to hear ‘Electric Youth’ not see some damned kid and his idiot mother hang out on stage and hog the spotlight.”  I wanted to die.  In 1988 if you had asked me what my dream was, it would be to be at a Debbie Gibson show and get to sing and dance with her.  In 2002?  Not so much.

So Ms. Gibson sat down next to Peeshwank and serenaded him with “Lost in Preston’s Eyes”.  He ate it up.  He still refers to her as his woman.  He didn’t want to leave the stage.  Especially after she picked him up and hugged and kissed him and joked with me about how he was making her biological clock tick.  Yeah, that happened.  Me and Debbie hanging out, talking about child rearing in front of hundreds of concert-goers.

And thus began my son’s love affair with the spotlight.

Oh, and I know the big internet slogan “Pics or it didn’t happen”.  So here:

The three of us just chillin'. For a whole song. Me standing there looking over her shoulder as she sang a love song to my 2-year-old. Not awkward. At all.

While The Monkees were playing later in the evening, Peeshwank was unable to understand why he couldn’t just go back up onstage, so we wandered around in the lobby for a bit, where Deborah’s creepy-ass stalker followed us around and kept staring at Peeshwank as if he were going to lick him where Deborah had kissed him.

So, he got a taste of THAT side of stardom too.  I guess it didn’t scare him enough to rethink his decision to pursue acting though.

I guess it DOES make for an interesting bio…

The Peeshwank was cast our local theater’s production of “A Christmas Story”.  His director asked us to fill out a bio form for the program and the following conversation happened:

Me: [reading from the form] “Please list any spouse, children or family you wish to mention.”

Peeshwank: “Sparkles.”

Me: “You’re married to a girl named Sparkles?”

Peeshwank: “No, he’s my kid.  He’s a unicorn.  I found him in a pasture.  He [jazz hands] sparkles.” 

This is NPH on a unicorn, your argument is invalid.

I give up.