Archives for posts with tag: parents

moms car

For the past year, my daughter and I have been carpooling to work every day. We work a short distance from each other, and until she could figure out the means to buy her own car, this was our only option.

It worked out well, with the exception of our schedules. I work from 9:00 – 4:30. She has two radio shows; one from Noon – 2:00 and another from 4:00 – 6:00. Our usual daily routine was, she accompanied me to work, and sat reading at a local coffee shop until 11:30 or so, and then she’d take the keys and head to her job. At 3:30, we would meet at my office, and I would drive her to the station for her 4:00 show, and then return to my office for the last 45 minutes of my day.

That 3:30 shuffle sucks. The lot I park in for my job is 2 blocks away from my office, which may sound short, but in heat, rain or snow, that walk turns into a tiresome trek. And then, when I’m done at 4:30, I had the pleasure of waiting 1 1/2 hours for daughter to be off work. Most times I would grocery shop, but other times, when money was low, it was harder and harder to find creative ways to pass that time.

A favorite of mine was to spend a half an hour at our local animal shelter petting cats and kittens. Or sometimes I would just walk around the mall and “window” shop. For the most part that hour and a half would go by fast.

An additional burn? Sometimes our boss would let us out early.. like at 2:30 if there was little work to do. Then I’d be stuck in town for hours and hours when I could’ve been home with me feet up in front of Food Network. It also was not convenient for meals. We would not get home until 6:30 or so, and the thought of starting chicken piccata at that late time was a tiresome thought.

For a year I did this. My husband would pitch in when it worked for his schedule, but his schedule is ever changing, whereas ours was set, so most times it was me.

The commute itself would be great. We would usually spend the time talking. Sometimes we played music, but the commute was typically spent discussing a variety of things; upcoming vacations, plans for work; and it was really nice.

It all ended this week. Our children recently came into a small sum of money through the passing of a relative, and my daughter knew…this was the opportunity to buy her own car. She test drove quite a few, but in the end we decided to buy the same make and model as my car, which she was very used to driving.

I’m so happy for her. What a sense of independence this must give her. I remember when I owned my first car…you felt the world could be yours. You could go anywhere. But I’m also happy for me. While I really miss driving with her, it’s really nice to be able to just come home after work.

I’ll can always pet kittens on Saturdays…

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bad-day

Today I came back from my lunchtime walk to see several instant message alerts from my daughter in high school.

It seems that during her World History class, a boy who sits near her pulled her chair out from under her when she went to sit down. She was hurt and humiliated in front of her whole class. And me? I was furious.

I don’t understand why stuff like this happens. How a human being can think that it is ever a good idea to make another person look foolish when they have done nothing to you. Even that douchebag Trump waits until you criticize him before he throws you under the pussy grabbing bus.

Do you know the last time I pulled a chair out from under somebody? I was around 7 years old, and I did it to my babysitter to get a laugh out of my older siblings. The next day my parents tore me a new one, saying how I could have hurt her badly. I still remember that today, and I’ve never even contemplated pulling that stunt since.

I was a child then, but this kid? He should know better.

She spent that period crying, and trying not to show it. She texted me that she wanted to turn around and smack him, that she was really tempted to do it. I told her to think of what Michelle Obama said…”when they go low, you go high.”

She answered, “LOL true” and took the high road.

That’s MY daughter. A girl who is always friendly to others, who calls out bullies and who tries to be a good role model and top student. And what did she get in return? Some fuckwad who has no manners that thought he would brighten his day by humiliating my child.

I called the school to report it. See, it happened in front of a substitute and I didn’t want this little dickhead to think he got one over on her. Plus, my husband ranted to the assistant principal when he picked her up from school. He’ll get written up for it, and I’m fine with that. I didn’t expect him to get expelled or anything.

I just hope the school lets his parents know. I hope this “write up” goes home. Because mom & dad need to know that their little angel has shit on his halo. And they need to teach him how to respect people that have done absolutely nothing to him.

And my kid? She knows we’ve got her back. Big time.

spellingbee_library

As a parent, you are forced to attend a multitude of school events where you whittle the away the hours watching band recitals, talent shows, and peering at student art all the while secretly wishing you were at home with the remote in hand.

Okay, so Mother of the Year I am not.

When my oldest daughter was in 6th grade, she came home to tell me she’d won a spot in her school’s first ever spelling bee. Spelling Bee? Now here was something I could take an interest in. I’ve always been a halfway decent speller, and I took pride in the fact that my girl was good enough to have qualified for the finals.

We practiced during the weeks leading up to the Bee, and when that Friday night arrived, we drove to the school hoping for the best. Hubby couldn’t make it, because it was hockey season and that night he had to drive the Zamboni for the Richmond Renegades. Hubby missed a lot of these school performances…

There were about 10 kids participating – I think they were the top 2 from the different 6th grade classes. A few kids got out right away. My girl was sailing through the words she was getting, which were all pretty easy. I can remember each time it was her turn sitting there holding my breath hoping that she would not get something like “xylophone” or “chrysanthemum.”

At one point, she got the word “marmalade” and I was a bit worried. She wasn’t a jelly fan. She spelled out M-A-R-M-A-L-A-D-E, which was promptly followed by the tinkle of a bell. I remember thinking, “hmmmm. Last time I looked that was how you spelled marmalade.”

Should I say something? Was I really going to have to be one of THOSE parents? The kind who interupts an entire spelling bee? Luckily one of the other judges caught the error, and I silently sent up a “thank you” to the spelling bee Gods.

The bee went on for a good amount of time, partially because they didn’t know what they were doing. Kids were allowed to start over again if they felt they messed up, which you can’t do in the real Scripps bee. One annoying girl would repeatedly ask all the typical time-buying questions, like “can I have the word’s origin?” and “can you use it in a sentence?”

I was secretly happy when she finally got the bell.

The bee got down to two kids, my girl and a boy who had to wear hearing aids. At this point, while I wanted my girl to win, I would’ve been happy with either kid taking the prize. They went back and forth, back and forth for quite a while. I have to say, as a parent, it was tough to watch. Each word was like a bullet your kid had to dodge.

In the end, my girl won.

We don’t remember the word she won with – isn’t that stupid? But I’m pretty sure the boy messed up on the word “obstetrician” because it took him almost 10 minutes to try and spell it.

She won a medal, which she still has hanging in her room. My girl really floored me that night. I remember calling hubby as soon as we got in the car. I was so sorry he had missed it. His little girl had come out on top, and he wasn’t there to see it.

She went on to compete against the winners from other grades, where she lost on the word “stewardess.” Not only is that a sexist word, but we don’t fly, so she was pretty much clueless as to what a stewardess was.

She made the finals in the 8th grade spelling bee as well. She got out on the word “rhinoceros” which I didn’t know how to spell either. Oh well – sometimes you get the bummer word.

While we were sad that she couldn’t win again, nobody can ever take away that 6th grade win of hers, where she stood on stage and faced a dictionary full of words, and came out on top.

Vintage Dad

My mom did 95% of the cooking in our house. The other 5% of hash slinging came in the form of Saturday breakfasts, courtesy of my dad. I’m not sure when this weekend ritual began or why. Perhaps dad was trying to give mom a break one Saturday morning and his culinary creation was so well-received by his hungry brood that he continued the tradition. All I know is that during the majority of my childhood, I woke up on Saturday morning to the smell of something cookin’ in the kitchen.

Ah, the smells. They were very telling as to what Pop was preparing. He had a few specialties that upon your first waking, you could detect from their aroma alone .

My favorite Saturday morning breakfast was palacinky, otherwise known to the Bucek kids as “Nana’s pancakes.” They were simple and oh-so delicious; a crepe rolled up tightly with a filling of cinnamon & sugar, or a thin smear of jelly. Both were phenomenal. We could eat 5 each, and Pop was cooking for himself and four kids – that’s a lot of crepe rolling.

myVmpFBH0uIyoIkujSIfzfwIt wasn’t just the eating that made Nana’s pancakes a treat. Pop would go through a lot of cinnamon & sugar making these puppies, and he usually had to make a new batch and refill the shaker. Ah, that shaker…pale yellow and shaped like an army bugler, it sat on the window sill next to the stove for most of my childhood. I don’t know why it was there as opposed to the the cabinet where the other spices were kept – we only used it once a week. Yet, there it sat.

Once Pop had mixed up the cinnamon & sugar, he’d begin the science experiment. I’d watch as he dribbled a few drops of water into the cinnamon coated bowl, then roll it around. I’d watch the droplets of water become cinnamon coated balls. Another one of Pop’s palacinky tricks was what he did with the dregs of the batter. He’d drizzle it into the hot pan, creating a series of dots, splats and other rorschach type shapes. Despite the fact that I had just consumed a fair quantity of pancakes, I could not resist these organic, one-of-a-kind treats.

slanina-taraneasca-afumataAnother Saturday morning favorite was Slanina – a form of Slovak bacon that my dad would get from a Czech butcher in Astoria, NY. It was smoked, thus fully cooked, and rarely saw the heat of a frying pan in our house. We ate it cold, cut  into slices and slapped on a piece of rye bread with salt & paprika. Between the four of us, plus dad, we could destroy a slab of slanina, not to mention the loaf of rye bread.

I remember once when my friend Leslie slept over, we awoke to a slanina breakfast. I was eager to share this delicacy with her, but after presenting her with a perfectly sliced and seasoned slab o’ slanina on Jersey rye, she wrinkled her nose and said, “EW!”

“Ew?” Waddaya mean, “Ew?”

“It’s all fat!” she said.

Yes, there was a fair amount of fat…it’s bacon! She could not be persuaded to take even the tiniest bite, opting for a bowl of Quisp instead. I sat right in front of her, eating my slanina and spitefully licking my fingers.

Every now and then Pop would decided to fry the slanina – I don’t remember liking it this way, perhaps because of the smell. While cooking, the slanina smelled like B.O. Strong B.O. Have you ever passed someone on the street and caught a whiff of their sour, acrid body odor? You were thankful for every step that put distance between you and the offender. Now imagine that smell ten fold, but you had no escape. Those mornings I kept as far away from the kitchen as possible.

Another one of Pop’s breakfast staples that I was not a fan of was liver and onions. Pop would take a batch of minced chicken livers and slowly saute them in a huge pan with thinly sliced onions and what seemed like a pound of butter. When the onions were soft and caramelized, he’d plop the pan on the kitchen table along with a bag of rye bread (is that all we ate???) and my siblings would descend like vultures.

They didn’t even use plates. They would just grab a lice of bread and drag it through the pan, sopping up butter, onions and little bits of liver. It was the only kid that didn’t like this particular dish. I tried to like it…I really did. Oh well, it just left more for the vultures.

gridI’m sure Pop cooked simpler fare…things like french toast or eggs. All of our Saturday morning breakfasts weren’t so ethnic. But those are the ones I remember the most. No matter what wound up in the kitchen table, I knew that I’d come down on a Saturday morning to find dad, usually clad in a white under shirt and his frayed jean shorts, slinging hash on our very cool, ancient stove.

And I’ve continued the tradition. I try to make Saturday breakfast something more than just a bagel or a bowl of cereal. My kids love their palacinky as much as I did as a kid, and so does there dad. But I can tell you one thing. There will be no liver and onions.

Ever.

What the world needs now, is far fewer Biffs

I heard the story of Jamey Rodemeyer today, and it has left me pissed off. Really pissed off. So beware – this post may be harsh.

In case you’re unaware of the story, a 14 year old boy who was bullied for years about his sexual orientation not only in school, but also via social networking sites, killed himself.

To make matters worse, at a school dance a few days after his funeral, fellow students cheered for him during a Lady Ga Ga song, who was his idol. As they tried to remember and honor their friend and fellow classmate, his tormentors chanted “We’re glad you’re dead.”

Who does that? I mean, what sort of soul-less mother fuckers are we creating in this country? How could one person hate another one so much simply because they are gay? Or fat. Or smart. Or odd. When are we going to stop allowing our kids to torture each other?

I was bullied as a kid. There were times it left me terribly depressed. I would not let my parents get involved because I figured it would make me look like a huge weenie. However, I let my older (and bigger and tougher) sister corner the girls who were terrorizing me. She flatly told them that if she heard me mention their names in any way, shape or form, they were going to deal with her and her friends, and it wasn’t going to be pleasant.

They left me alone after that, but for all 4 years of high school they shot me dirty looks whenever we crossed paths and bad mouthed me at every opportunity.

I wonder if the parents of bullies realize what total assholes they have raised. Do they hear them talking on the phone with friends, berating classmates? Do they see that their little darlings post mean, hateful things on twitter and facebook that are meant to torment someone who is doing nothing to them?

A few years back my oldest told me about a new girl at school who was a bit eccentric – I don’t remember if she had pink hair or piercings or what – but she was what I would call “original.” My daughter told me how she and her friends were mispronouncing her name on purpose – giving it a weird accent point or something to kind of tease her.

And I went ballistic on her. Calmly ballistic, but I let her know in no uncertain terms that I would NOT tolerate her bullying or teasing ANYONE for ANY reason. I told her she should go up to this girl the next day, apologize, introduce herself, and make her feel welcome.

The following afternoon she told me that she had done it, and that the girl was nice about it. I’m not sure if they are friends or anything, but at least she knows my daughter has a conscience …and a soul. I don’t consider myself to be a model parent by any stretch, but more parents need to open their eyes to how their kids treat other people. If they find that their precious angels aren’t so precious or angelic, they need to sit them down and make them stop.

Lady Ga Ga is rallying to make bullying illegal, and I agree totally. Every one of those evil little wads who posted nasty, vicious comments on this boy’s facebook or twitter pages should be found criminally liable in his death. Their parents should hang their heads in absolute and total shame.

For one person to devalue another’s life that much makes me sick. In my book bullies are no different from murderers. They don’t kill the physical body with weapons, but they kill the spirit with words and actions. All the teasing I endured in high school has left me with a lot less confidence than your average gal. It changes you.

If we can’t punish these d-bags criminally, let’s take a cue from classic literature, aka The Scarlet Letter, and make these kids wear a neon, hot pink “B” – for Bully. Or Butthead. Or Bitch. Or Bastard.

Addendum:

I found this link on facebook today. Like it. https://www.facebook.com/meanstinks

Come on Baby Light my Fire

My husband has a very unique job skill…he drives a zamboni.

For those of you who have no clue what in the world that is, it is an ice resurfacer mainly used between periods in hockey games. But is also used in ice skating rinks around the world. He used to drive the zamboni for the Richmond Renegades (a hockey team) but the group disbanded a few years ago. However, the arena still carries Disney on Ice twice a year, and that is when he gets to drive his big, blue machine once again.

Last night we attended the latest version of Disney on Ice featuring Tiana, Cinderella & Rapunzel, otherwise known as “Tangled.” Hubby saw in the Thursday night show that at a point in the Tangled portion of the performance, they chose a child from the audience to hold a lantern out to Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder where they then proceed to set it aloft and the child receives hugs from both characters.

It’s one of those moments where every child is envious that it’s not them and every parent is pissed that it’s not their kid in the spotlight. But my balls of steel, filled with chutzpah husband pulled the necessary strings. He spoke to the guy who is in charge of selecting the child and made sure she would be the lantern wielding beauty for the night.

When we got to our seats, he met us, pulled Sasha aside and said, “do you want to be in the show?” After explaining to her what her role entailed she ecstatically agreed to participate. All through the first act of the show she would look at me with a dazed expression and exclaim, “I can’t believe I’m going to be the one!

When the time came hubby escorted her away, and I readied my camera. What made this all the better is that the “Tangled” portion of the show was by far the most spectacular. There was a portion that was half ice skating and half cirque de solei as the characters spun and flew above the ice from Rapunzel’s hair. The other acts got polite applause, but these feats brought the house down.

And then enters my daughter.

She stood on a platform at one corner of the rink holding the ceremonial lantern and the now short, dark haired Rapunzel and Flynn rushed to greet her.  The three of them set the lantern afloat and I was so proud of her sense of drama, and the fact that she didn’t act goofy or shy – she rose to the occasion.

My wish? That I had dressed her better. That I had a snappy outfit and a crown and a professional hair dresser – not yoga pants, a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and braids.

In any case, she rocked the Kasbah. We had a family or two approach us after the show – I think she felt a little like celebrity. And I’m so thankful that her daddy pulled those strings and let her feel like a star for a few minutes. That’s one of the few things mommy can’t do.