Mr. Spock and Dance Belts

Trying to define the difference between smart and intelligent with my boys is like much like discussing the difference between jiggle and bounce. For the latter, I actually had a conversation with my ballet studying son, that he had to wear a dance belt to keep his balls from bouncing around. For those who don’t know what a dance belt is, it’s basically a jock-strap, a thong, a Brazilian bikini bottom but – for dancers. Boy dancers.

With tears in his eyes, he pleaded – no, screamed as loud as he could, “It goes up my butt – I HATE it. You don’t understand!”

I wish I could’ve told him that, of course, I understand. Because, no woman, especially at my age,  ever escaped some kind of moment where an uncomfortable thing went up her butt. But…that would be opening up a ten gallon tin of worms with that boy. Instead, I tried to explain how women have to wear (or should wear) sports bras to keep their boobs from bouncing – but he just couldn’t see how watermelons compared to eggs, so I finally told him: if he didn’t wear a dance belt, he’d forever have a tiny penis.

And that was the end of that.

By the way, boys will drop any argument when you talk facts about penises (I did Google the plural for penis and was sad to discover that it wasn’t penii).

Also, since I ordered his dance belt online, I get hit with dance belt ads, basically pictures of men’s crotches whenever I Google or go on Facebook. I don’t know about you, but I have to look over my shoulder when I’m simultaneously reading posts on family vacations next to a picture of balls stuffed in a canvas cup.

But let’s get back to failing miserably at conversing with my boys.

After they figured out that balls bounce and fat bellies jiggle, we moved on to the difference between smart and intelligent.To the boys’ unsophisticated mind, smart and intelligent is the same thing and so, I put it to them like this: an intelligent person is someone who could have a conversation with Mr. Spock.

I have no idea how they got it because they’ve never watched Star Trek, and by that I mean cheesy Star Trek – the only true Star Trek because everything after that is just – Mudd. Besides, the boys are Star Wars fans and I, for one, think the Trekkies and (whatever Star Wars fanatics are called) should not mix.

If I may add, Star Wars is smart, Star Trek – is intelligent.

After my comment, my Libra-boy asked me right away if Mr. Spock would find him intelligent and I said, “meh.”

Still, he continued to daydream of how that conversation would go. While he fathomed that Mr. Spock would enlighten him on lasers and teleportation, I moved on to pondering what the wages were for the Enterprise crew. Eventually, it lead me to conclude that intelligent people never get…paid.

Think about it – you were never lead to believe that anyone – anyone – on the U.S.S. Enterprise got a paycheck. No one ever talked about craving pancakes or…going home. They were always in space or on some fucked up planet, which coincidentally, always had oxygen, otherwise, worker’s comp – sheesh!

If they did get paid, then definitely, Bones made the most money. I’m sure Jim was broke after paying all his alien child support. As for Spock, I’m sorry, it’s just wrong to pay a Vulcan – they seem opposed to cash, don’t you think? Could you picture Mr. Spock at Best Buy or shopping for ear muffs? It’s just wrong.

By the end of Libra-boy’s pretend conversation with Mr. Spock, I gauged his IQ somewhere around sausage. It’s okay. With the way things are today, intelligence is a curse.

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World On A Ledge

Priorities change. We used to know that death was inevitable, we feared it, honored it – death was respected. Now we treat it like a homeless subway rider. We mumble about the inconvenience they’re causing instead of facing it head on. No more guts and glory – just subway slashers, obese children and grown men with hair buns. Seriously, what’s up with that?

Forget the zombie apocalypse, we need Planet of the Apes.

Or a really, really, really good movie that can’t be summed up in a preview.

Or a kick-ass guitar riff that makes you call out, “SHOTS FOR EVERYONE,” even at work.

When did we become so…lame?

Even the presidential candidates are as appealing as ice cold lime flavored Budweisers (who in their right mind would drink that shit?). My guess is that the same Americans who’d purchase and consume lime flavored piss water would also find anything favorable in what appears to be, the last two people on Earth who have the money to run for president. Plus, it probably goes great with their cat tranquilizer.

What’s more bothersome is the reaction and the rallies. These endless rallies with crowds of people who should be at work. I don’t want either of these lizards running our country either but do I have time to wave a poorly written poster about my feelings all day? No. The boneheads will figure it out when I vote for Pedro. Well, maybe not Pedro, but definitely Carol in The Walking Dead.

I love Carol. She’s so bad ass, I don’t even know her last name. Who cares, we’d just call her President Carol.

President Carol would probably kill and burn all the complainers after she becomes president. That’s the difference between her and you-know-who.

It’s as if we’ve plateaued. Sure a majority of us still don’t have quality health insurance, and an even larger number of us are unemployed and generally poor – but what’s the big deal? Government doesn’t help regular people and they’re certainly not going to start now.

For example, it’s been five months and I’m still waiting on our State refund. What’s up with that Missssster Cuomo? Ain’t got my money cuz you spent it on weed?

We must be the only country in the world with people who are simultaneously poverty stricken and getting fatter. I blame stupid.

Education is free, yet a majority of people are still confused on the use of apostrophes – so they just drop the s. Instead of saying, “Those are Oscar’s balls,” they’ll say, “Those are Oscar balls.” Yet, they add the s to mine: the drugs ain’t mines.

Oscar is my cat, by the way. We recently adopted him because he killed his previous owner. Of course, he tried to make it seem like an accident, but I know he has a secret plot to take over the world, one household at a time. Let’s just hope he doesn’t find his way to the White House.

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To The Pandemic Volunteer

A friend showed me a pen she received as a gift – it said, “Stop me before I volunteer again.”

“It’s a reminder,” she explained but its ineffectiveness was obvious as we realized, this was the second parent association we’re on together as volunteers.

As I handed back the pen, I sighed and already it sounded like a threat of resignation. But really, who am I kidding? We’re volunteeraholics. She probably signed up with that damned pen.

Every pandemic volunteer knows what I’m talking about. We call ourselves suckers, targets, 3D losers and we compare our tasks like they’re death sentences.

After serving my time on one thing, I say it’ll be the last and even tell my husband that I’ll take his advice and stop signing up for shit. But the truth is, volunteer work never ends. If it does, it ends badly because slaves don’t get fired.

Yes, I just compared volunteer work to slavery. If you think about it, there’s only one difference – gratification. No reasonable person would volunteer unless they enjoyed the work. They sign up year after year because it’s gratifying and good for the soul. Those are the volunteer gigs where you’re surrounded by like-minded, hard-working, good-willed people and they really are a life experience. Every once in while though, you’ll come across a douchebag who is a slave master and that can fuck with your head.

If that happens, you have to tell yourself that the only jackass who should be tolerated is one that signs your paycheck. Otherwise, walk. You need the aggravation like you need hemorrhoids. I have a friend who sorely needs to take this advice – not the friend with the pen – someone else who stayed on even after everybody left.

Now she’ll have to learn the same lesson I learned the hard way – don’t fill a void. If an organization needs you to fill an important role, the last thing you should do is stick around to find out why because I can tell you why. That role is vacant because the last person was a mistreated mule that most likely died under a pile of bullshit.

But for the rest, I toast my fellow volunteeraholics. You may not always be recognized or appreciated for that matter, but you’ve made a difference, a contribution that is far more valuable than money.

So – Thank You. Thank you, very much.

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A Parent’s Guide To Middle School

We need a new scapegoat. Our classic villains were once American Indians, then Nazi’s, the Russians, followed by Wall Street tycoons and finally, terrorists. But we can no longer target a particular race if we want to be politically correct. So I suggest we target politicians.

They’re the perfect villain. They lie, steal and generally ruin everything – even corruption.

Case in point – Middle School.

I knew the day would come when my child would be entering Middle School. I also knew, no matter what, there was going to be a tremendous suck factor.

The choices were, walk to our neighborhood middle school and hope to squeeze in with 2,000 other students in a building meant for half that – or go to school on the moon.

They must have a space shuttle that goes there, right?

Of course, I’m kidding – I know we euthanized all the astronauts. But I kid you not, my son’s commute to school is further than his father’s commute to work.

That’s the reality today – to get to sixth grade, kids will have to travel to Cuba because no one had the insight that Middle School would need a place to exist anywhere near their preceding school.

Did I mention they built a new elementary school smack in the middle of two other elementary schools and are in the process of building another elementary school nearby?

Let’s not even get into full day Pre-K. Like we need to send a four-year old to school all day only to offer him nothing when he passes the fifth grade.

Maybe because middle schoolers aren’t small and cute anymore, they’ve been banished to a place far, far away.

Out of sight, out of mind – and I get to take mine there.

We chose his Middle School because it’s a brand new building, the teachers are young and enthusiastic and so far he loves it. But every morning since he started, I’ve been religiously offering incense to our shrine. I figured if anybody’s going to look over my son, it’ll be my father’s spirit. My dad, the man who thought the best way to teach me how to swim was to strand me in the deep end of the beach.

I can imagine what he’d say about the situation, “Just let him go – if he gets lost, what’s the worst that could happen? He’ll crap his pants? Run into those topless women in Times Square? Better make sure he has some singles.”

And I want to just LET GO. But I know my son has a tendency to get “preoccupied.” It takes him ten minutes to put on a pair of socks, for crying out loud. He takes out a pair from the drawer and within a minute, he’ll forget where he left them. Then he’ll suddenly feel compelled to comment on baldness and completely forget to put on the other sock.

And I’m supposed to unleash this puppy on the subway?

So we’ll be giving him his own mobile phone to call us when there’s trouble. Some kids his age already had their own phone since fifth grade, but it wasn’t our intention to give him one until he grew underarm hair.

He’s got the odor – that’s close enough.

Maybe that was the plan all along – throw us to the wolves so we’d be forced to buy multiple phones and cars. Mind you, the cars we have already, have no place to park. The phones we’re trying to add are running out of available numbers – and we have five known area codes. By the time we figure it out, we’ll be buried in litter and dog poo and talking to the ghost of Christmas Future.

And I’ll bet he’s a politician.

 

 

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Layover Brooklyn

After obtaining her idNYC, my mom went on a sightseeing spree. She visted four boroughs in four days collecting her free memberships like an urban senior Zelda.

For a week she was texting me pictures of giraffes and sculptures and I had to figure out where she was. I think she got the idea from that Free Range Chicken in those Geico commercials.

Along the way, she devised a bright idea to take us on a journey of her favorites. Not one, not two – but three jewels of Brooklyn within the time frame of a layover. Crazy right?

First of all, Brooklyn is big and before you can even get to the edge of it, you have to go through most of Manhattan. That’s already too long of a subway ride. Then – there’s a million stops once you get into Brooklyn – it’s like a train in the Twilight Zone – it never gets to your station (cue cheesy music).

Still, we managed and began at the Brooklyn Museum, followed by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with a grand finale of Coney Island.

With 15 minutes to kill before opening, we enjoyed eating onigiri (Japanese rice balls) while watching the water works at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s amazing the effect water has on people, especially kids who are insanely unfocused. It must be like watching synchronized spitting. It’s more interesting than Teen Titans – not as noisy either.

Inside, we had time enough to go through the “Rise of the Sneaker Culture” and got caught for an hour playing pinball, video games and foosball in theThe FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. Who knew? That was worth the suggested admission right there because my guys could easily blow $50 for half an hour of arcade mania.

We entered the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from the Eastern Parkway entrance and went directly to the Japanese Garden. It was serenity beyond measure. Well, visually. By the time we got there, an outdoor concert in the adjacent parking lot was booming very annoying music. Not appropriate music, but a monotone, rap-reggae-what-the-fuck-are-they-singin’-about music that even annoyed the Koi fish.

To keep our visit to two hours, we skipped the Lily Pool Terrace. Probably regretful, still we saw the Cherry Esplande, Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Herb Garden and though we wished we had more time, we made it through the Discovery Zone. When they begged to play the xylophone that magically can’t play a wrong note for yet another hour, we simply said, “Guess you don’t want Nathan’s hot dogs!”

They clutched their empty bellies like an alien was busting out and busted out the Flatbush avenue exit towards the Q train.

A half hour later, we beelined towards Nathan’s Famous on Surf Avenue. Who thought that six dogs, two fries, hot wings, three medium Root Beers and a large Coney Island Lager would cost only…sixty-two dollars!

Or that the boys would actually eat all of that (minus the lager, of course).

What amazed me the most was that the cashier knew to pour me a large beer. And that it was less than eight bucks.

It was the biggest bill for one item of the day.

A whole seven dollars and fifty cents. That was treated by my mom.

The senior citizen.

With an idNYC card.

And that’s Zoltar.

Zoltar

 

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We Be Silly In Philly

Last week, my husband came home from the bodega pissed off more than usual.

He said, “Do you know what Mr. Singh asked me when I told him we were going on vacation for our anniversary – he said, what are you doing with the kids? Can you believe that?!”

As he’s huffing and fuming, he continues, “So you know what I told him? I said, they’re coming with us you asshole!”

I’m sure Mr. Singh didn’t mind being called an asshole. He’s a professional bodega man –  they can’t really be that sensitive when most of their customers top buying items are beer and Lotto tickets.

But I do understand my husband’s annoyance with the question.

I don’t understand people who go on vacation without their kids either. First of all, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to leave them home alone if they’re under 10 years of age and even if we did tie them to the radiator like the manual says, I know my boys would still manage to flood the basement or kidnap a three-legged dog by the time we returned.

Besides, kids get priority seating and since we travel like runaways, we take the Chinatown bus.

It’s ten dollars one way from New York to Philadelphia. Considering a subway ride costs $2.75 for getting you as far as Queens to Coney Island sweltering in an underground arm pit without WiFi (or a schedule for that matter), it’s a bargain!

Once we get to Philly, there’s tons of things to do and lots of places to see, but on a Chinatown bus budget, we skip the high admission prices and walk around the city comparing Philly’s homeless to New York’s.

We agreed that the homeless in Philadelphia have better signs. They take their begging a little more seriously, too because they might be drinking a Starbucks but they’re not texting on their iPhone 6 like the homeless hipsters in New York City.

While I looked into the City Pass and the Adventure Aquarium’s after 3 pm special, we decided that for less than the total admission price at the Franklin Museum, we could be enjoying – pub fare!

With boys, given the choice between museums and meat – there’s really no contest.

I have to be thankful that neither of my boys ever had issues eating out. They don’t squirm around, demand only white food or need to have an iPad playing a movie during the meal. The problem isn’t finding something for them to eat, it’s having enough to fill them up without going broke.

In Philly, that’s not hard to do – the restaurant prices are way more broke-ass friendly. Although, we did make the mistake of ordering breakfast sandwiches at a small coffee shop thinking it would be deli prices and came to realize it was in the ground floor of the Omni Hotel.

Six bucks for a bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant. Samu took three bites and sucked out all the bacon, the little prick.

In all, the weekend was about $600, including the Chinatown bus, accommodation that was too classy for us, enough food to produce an inhuman turd by both boys, medicating beer for the parental units, swimming in an actual pool, limitless bed jumping and all the useless knick knacks the boys duped my husband into buying, including a John 5 soda.

This trip we made it to McGillan’s, Monk’s Cafe, Dinic’s, Sonny’s Famous Cheesesteaks, Franklin Square Carousel, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and CandyBrave New World Comics and stayed at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District.

They. Never. Stop. Eating.

They. Never. Stop. Eating.

 

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Black And White Is Not Just A Cookie

Apparently, we can’t get rid of our cable because there’s nothing good on Netflix Instant Play. Everything we want to see is still on an archaic DVD, which we reduced to four per month plan because my thumb-head husband tends to leave the movie sitting around for two weeks before watching it.

He must think it’s wine. But no matter how long it sits, a crappy movie is still going to be a waste of time.

Since we’ve gone through every episode of “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers” I suggested watching “The Twilight Zone” – it turned out to be the original series – in black and white.

After the opening scene, Zuki asked, “When is he going to open the door and go into color?”

“This is not the Wizard of Oz, buddy. It stays black and white.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and sunk back into his chair. “This sucks.”

By the third episode, both boys “appreciated” the show and it’s integrity. It was about the story, not the actors or the set or the special effects.

I never realized how much the actors sweat on the show. Good old fashioned sweat – not spray on.

Alas, the intelligence of the show was too much for them. When they couldn’t figure out what Rod Sterling had to do with the show – or what he was saying for that matter – they asked if they could watch something else.

And turned on “Family Guy”.

They will probably never go near a black and white movie or TV show again. If they do, their brain will automatically go into zombie mode because everything they watch on the screen now is over-stimulated. In high definition. With scenes and action for people with a three minute attention span.

The only thing they’ll ever desire in black and white – is a cookie.

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Need Some Help Here

I was searching for inspirational dinner music when my 10 year old requested Eminem.

Eminem?

Where did we go wrong?

It’s my husband’s fault.

He’s too forgiving when it comes to policing the quality of ethnically fused products that we don’t know much about like Rap music, Chi-Mex food, Keanu Reeves and Jello shots made by an adult-baby on Halloween.

Not only will he take Jello shots, he’ll insist – insist – that I do one or five of them, too.

Clearly, I should judge his parental judgements. After all, we had a 10 year old Wolverine and an eight year old Deadpool to bring home.

Ergo, I need some help here.

When the same 10 year old who requested Eminem dinner music, asked that I define the word “ergo,” my reply was that it was the same as therefore.

My example went, “The idiot wouldn’t stop his daredevil stunts, ergo, he wound up in the emergency room.”

Then he asked, “Does that mean he’s dead?”

“What? No – it means,”therefore, he’s in the emergency room!”

“Yeah, but is Ergo dead?”

Literally, my jaw dropped. As in, my mouth fell open – not as in, “Literally, I don’t know how to use the word literally.”

It occurred to me that one day – one of these days – I will take this boy of mine to Glasgow, Scotland. I’ll bet you, my bottom dollar, that he – full blooded Glaswegians – and my husband – will be in full fledged conversation.

They’ll completely understand each other.

Drink each other under the table, too.

And my head will (not) literally be spinning because I’m not Linda Blair, feeling I’ve spent the night with AWADDs (Aliens With A.D.D.) talking Scotch bubbles.

Ergo, this girl is still working on her career.

For the record, I did concede and told my 10 year old that Ergo was, indeed, dead.

His answer was, “Good. He sounds a lot like Samu.”

Need Some Help

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Post Mother’s Day

Before you become a mother, the only mother you really had to care about for Mother’s Day was – your own mother. After you join the team, however, you have to wish every mother and their mother’s mother a happy Mother’s Day.

How many times could I use the word mother in a paragraph? Eight, apparently.

So what do mothers do on their “special” day?

After taking an unofficial consensus, most moms cleaned the house with one hand. The other hand was either holding a beverage or a barbecued drumstick.

But seriously, cleaning was top on the list. What mom has time to battle other moms for brunch and have to pay for it to boot? And breakfast in bed? Not after seeing my boys attempt to make pancakes! Just add water, my ass.

As for gifts, my ADD son gave me his card a week early – lest he forget. Sure enough, on the actual day – he forgot.

My third grader showed me the progress of his card starting Friday and finally attached it with a Dove chocolate bar before handing it to me on Sunday morning.

Every 20 minutes or so, he’d check on the status of the chocolate bar.

“Did you open it yet?”

“No.”

“Well – when are you going to eat it?”

“I don’t know – when I crave chocolate, probably.”

His leg started shaking the nervous twitch he does when he’s excited and his voice quivered as he asked me, “Is it going to be today?”

Alas, I told him I’d share the chocolate bar with him when we were alone, just the two of us. God forbid I should give a piece to his big brother, after all it was bought with his own allowance.

We spent the rest of the day sorting through old clothes – putting away the winter gear and filling the donation bag with the items that were too small for the baby of the family. It occurred to me that I was pulling out shorts sized 8 for “the baby.” For my big boy, we’re putting away his father’s hand-me-downs.

Where is the time going?

Before I know it, I’ll be that mom who gets treated to brunch on Mother’s Day – by her own children. For now, I’ll just savor every bite of my special chocolate bar.

Chocolate small

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The One Track Mind

Our school just finished its third Read-a-Thon. What’s a Read-a-Thon? Well, it’s a fundraiser like a Walkathon only the sponsors pay money for reading rather than reenacting the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Over the past three years, we had on average a rather low number of participants. Of eleven-hundred students, barely one hundred turn in their collections. I’d give you the percentage but thanks to Common Core, I’m not sure standard math makes sense anymore.

After much deliberation, we decided that the prizes needed improvement. My allergic-to-reading son came up with a sellable top prize.

“I’d read for a Harry Potter wand!” He said.

So it was said. So it was done. That’s the beauty of serving on the panel. You kind of expect Yoda to show up and say, “Your ass it doesn’t seem you always think out of.”

Not only did we secure a Harry Potter Wand, it f*cking lights up. Even better than a vibrating broomstick!

End result? Out of 97 participants, 54 of them were boys.

Yep. Even without common core, I know that means more than half – were boys.

If you have one, you know the beauty of that – boys don’t like to read. A boy who does, couldn’t be bothered logging it. And if logging isn’t an issue, then I assume he’s only doing it because he’s smart enough to bribe you into being “paid” for it.

Boys have a one track mind. They’ll do what it takes to get what they want and guess what? They’re happy when they get it!

My son hasn’t brought home a reading log since the second grade – let alone made a ritual of logging reading sessions as well as he does his poop volume. For the Harry Potter wand, however, he logged every – single – minute.

When he finally got it, what did he do?

For starters, he tried to change a stack of looseleaf papers into a million dollars. Then he tried to change his brother into a bug.

After epic failure, his brother took the wand and tried to magically grow a beard.

Finally, their dad asked for the wand and demanded to turn the lights off. He shoved the wand up his nose and lit it up.

With a flashing blue nostril he turned to me and said, “Quick. Take a picture!”

Intelligence at its best.

Harry Potter Wand

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