Chicken Fried Vogue

For 15 years and most of her adult life, Bubblez lived in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city. She enjoyed taking her children to museums, parks, and dates at Starbucks. Then Bubblez moved to the country and her En Vogue attitude got chicken fried. Her yard is a park where the neighbor's rooster won't stop crowing, Starbucks is almost an hour away, and her large collection of fancy shoes is worthless. But, living in the acres of green has presented more opportunities for living "green" as Bubblez travels the path toward self-sufficiency (and bitches ((and prays)) along the way).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bus Stations, Boxes, Body Oder, and Love

A sequel to Giant Robot Pants

During the moving in process, there were lots of sweaty people around. That was also the week when temperatures jumped up into the hundreds every day, so yeah, lots of sweat. The back room smelled like BO.

I mean, every time I would walk through there I'd sniff myself thinking, holy crap, is that me? I'd get out of the shower and walk into that room and think, "how is this possible?" I even cleaned my deodorant stick because I thought it must have gotten funked up somehow.

Eventually, I realized it was the room.

This is the room that adjoins the mud room. It's like the bus station leaving box purgatory. It's always piled up with empty boxes, half empty boxes, and piles of stuff that need to be carried to another room in the house. That's a perfect analogy because bus stations smell.

I don't actually know that. I've only taken the bus from the station, once, and I barely remember it. We rode the bus from NY to IN, right after I met my future Mother-In-Law for the first time. My mind was on other things. I was sure she hated me.

In Minnesota, we used to take a commuter bus to the State Fair once a year. It smelled.

There are a lot of undefined spaces in this house, and one evening we were all sitting around discussing what each of the rooms should be called. Um, living room.. Uh, office..area. What about the room that leads out to the mud room? That, I said, is the house's arm pit. I'm calling it the arm pit. You can just call it the pit if you want.

Fast forward a few weeks. The pit has been mostly cluttered with an ugly assortment of box stuffs pretty consistently since we moved in, although, I did find a way to tame the smell. Today, I decided that I've had enough of the clutter and started cleaning.

Sometimes my kids say things that, if taken out of context, just sound hilarious to me. Nikpod's statement?

The armpit looks really nice.

I'm just imagining him with his future girlfriends or something. I like what you've done here.

God, please let there be a girl out there who would appreciate that, and maybe we won't hate each other. I'm convinced that my daughter-in-laws will hate me. I'm a huge pain in the ass, but even more importantly, I'm the mom.

I am one of the few people in the world who will ever be allowed to look into the heart of my boys. I know where all of their sensitivities lie and have slowly helped them learn to deal with the cruelties of living. Before they're ready to wed, I'll watch their hearts break and will be there to help keep them from losing their souls.

So, the first time that tramp he married gets mouthy with him in my presence, how am I ever gonna keep my cool? I'm pretty sure this scenario will happen because I've gotten plenty mouthy in front of my own mother-in-law, and it is only because of her graciousness that we aren't mortal enemies.

The Mama Bear runs strong with this one.

The only thing that will save her is love. If I can see that she loves him with her whole heart, I may be able to overlook the fact that she has no common sense, wears socks with her sandals, hates the water, and expects me to ride the bus.

Maybe once in a while we'll even have a little bonding moment, like the day when I was pregnant for one of the boys and the in-laws took us out to eat. Everyone had beer but me, and it was a really hot day. As I moaned about how jealous I was, she pushed her glass toward me. I didn't take it, but I'll always remember the gesture. As the menfolk stared, she said that it would be alright for me to have a little, and gave me a look that said, "let's be rebellious together," and "I understand."

I just know she's going to love this house. I hope she appreciates what I've been doing with the armpit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Graphic Sexual Content

Nikpod was kinda bummed today, not in a seriously down kinda way, just in a "well crap", kinda way. I guess he and his brother were watching some pretty funny YouTube cartoons when they were supposed to be sleeping last night, and when he got up this morning, they were gone. Banned. Shut down. Skaboosh.

He said he was laughing so hard his belly hurt. It was awesome, and he wanted to watch it again, but it was gone. Apparently, the owner of the account had typed something in the description along the lines of "Careful you guys or I'll get banned for life."

Sounds like something I want my 11 year old involved with.

"Well, son, websites will ban pages for 3 or maybe 4 reasons. One is if you're being mean to a group of people, like, if you're making fun of a certain race or because they're gay or something."

Nods of understanding.

"One is for lots of bad language, but I don't think YouTube does that. They just post that it might be offensive and that you have to be 18 to view it."

Nods again wondering whether or not to bring up just how many of the videos he watches have cussing.

"Also, they'll ban pages for sexual stuff."

Danger! How do I escape? flashes across his face.

"I mean if there are pictures of naked people and stuff."

"Ok. I get it."

"Well, like naked girls running on a beach or something. Or sometimes even stuff like naked baby pictures."


"Well, parents just see their babies as all cute and adorable, but there are some really messed up people in the world who uh, well, (shit...) well instead of being attracted to other grown ups like normal people, they're attracted to kids. I mean, Boots is 6, but I still think she's got a cute little tushy because I'm her mom, but she's too old for me to be posting pictures of her. Or like, even you. I'm your mom so I think you're just adorable and.."

"Ok. Stop."

"Well, I mean, it's not like I look at your tushy."

"That's because I don't let you." Warning look.

"And I respect your privacy."

"I appreciate that."
Another warning look and steps back a little.
"Uh ok. I really can't think of anything that was wrong with this video, though."

"YouTube will also ban accounts is if you're posting videos that someone else created."

"Ah. Pirating. You know, there are words for all of those things you just said. You didn't have to do all that talking."

Well. Listen to Mr. Smart Guy.

Sassy tone.
"Uh.. Graphic Sexual Content?"

"Yeah. There's a word for that."

"How else would you say it?"

Levels his gaze. "Porn."

"Oh. Well, ok then. Yeah. Well, the account could be banned for any of those reasons." My turn to step back.

"Right. Gotcha." And, he left the room.

So I told his father that they needed to have a talk. ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Being Real

My friend, the Commander, posted this on his Facebook wall, today:

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
-- John Wooden

Who are you? What is your character? What is your reputation? Are they the same? Are you honest about who you are? Do others know?

Lots of people clicked like on that post. Some of them are mutual friends of ours, and some of these friends are people who have encouraged others to "not give a shit what other people think" and to "let your freak flag fly, baby."

That's pretty awesome, isn't it? Don't we all want to be that way? Don't we wish that we really, truly, didn't care about what other people thought? A lot of people claim not to. I call bullshit.

Being real or honest about who you are takes a level of courage that a lot of people just don't have.

I used to be a member of a group called MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). MOPS is an Christian organization serving close to 90,000 mothers and their children, mostly within the United States.

One of the messages that got repeated over and over and over again was that we all need to stop comparing ourselves and our children to other people. Just don't do it. Don't set yourself up for disappointment when you don't measure up to your own imagined standards.

Likewise, quit acting like you've got it all together. If you are a woman with children who are under the age of 6, you do not have it all together. When you pretend like you do (because you're convinced that everyone is watching and judging) you just end up making all the other moms who know you and are comparing themselves to you, and yourself, who you are also not being real with, unhappy.

After my third baby, I was a wreck. I was an inside, outside, upside down, can't keep it together and it shows, wreck. I hadn't slept in 3 years. I had two kids in diapers, and one who I was running back and forth to school every day, AND post partum depression that I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone about because I didn't want to admit to myself that I might be seriously nuts, and crap was seeping through the cracks of my "got it together" dam.

I had this friend. She was cute and perky. She worked out every day. She was outgoing, friendly, and, from my perspective, very genuine. She had 4 kids. Some of them were the same ages as some of mine.

I had her on the phone one day. I felt safe. "You know, I really envy you," I said. "I'm seriously falling apart and you're so good at keeping it together."

Her response surprised me.

"Oh good!"

Haha! You're all like, the bitch said what?!

"Oh good!," she said. "I'm glad it looks that way. I try really hard to make it look that way. Really, I don't know what I'm doing." She proceeded to tell me about her difficult childhood, absent mother, and how she had just sort of envisioned what a good mom was like and tried her best to be that, and to look like she knew what the heck she was doing.

That confession meant the world to me, but I can totally see why she wanted to put up a front. Here she is with 4 kids, and what if people knew she didn't know how to be a mom? Furthermore, who wants to go around telling all of their very personal and heartbreaking stories of a faulted childhood? People don't want to relive that shit. But, fronting does come with a price. You're always worried about someone finding out.

Yep. Being really real takes a hell of a lot of courage.

I hate to break your bubble, but being a freak is trendy right now. Being "ill" is trendy. Think Finding Nemo: "Achoo! I'm H2O intolerant." (Please don't think I'm saying that people fake illness. I'm just saying that it is commonly acceptable to discuss it if you have it.) Being outspoken (ahem, obnoxious) about your political views is trendy. Being an activist of any kind, is trendy. So, if you're letting your freak flag fly and having a great time doing it, good for you, but odds are, you still aren't being real.

Most people only like to show the things they have control over. The only exception I can think of are the people who have mastered the art of gaining attention by playing the pity card.

Also, peer pressure is alive and well. Does your freak flag fly at work? How about at school functions? Family reunions? Funerals? Macy's? The airport?

Generally speaking, we act the way people expect us to act. That's ok. That's how we function and get along as a society. It's how we keep our jobs and strength in our relationships and procure good things for our children.

Being real doesn't mean being rebellious all the time. It means taking a look at who you are and being honest about it. Sometimes, it's even difficult to be honest about the good stuff, especially if you are part of a peer group that glorifies rebellion.

Back to the Commander's quote. Does your character match your reputation? Are you what people think you are? Are you less than they believe? Are you more? Are you sure about that?

The easiest way to be real, to have a reputation that matches your character, is to accept the truth about who you are and who you want to be and to be honest with yourself about how big the gap is in between those two persons.

I'm pretty sure that's all. You can make changes if you want, but you don't have to. Simply accepting the truth and not trying to hide it from yourself is probably enough to throw the wheels into motion which make your reputation match your character.

That's bull.

After you get real with yourself, well, that's where the courageous part comes in; getting real with the rest of the world.

Before you can do that, maybe you need to make improvements. You may have some bad habits in need of a good beating. You may need some counseling to help you manage your emotions better. You may need to offer or seek forgiveness for something that's been eating away at you and making you a lesser person.

Or maybe you need to accept that you're actually pretty damn cool, and nobody is looking down on you because you whatever or never whatever. It's all in your head, and you actually have a good reputation that you're not living up to.

In the words of Petey Pablo "I'm not quite there yet but I'm getting better at it."

Personally, I do not under appreciate myself. Ask me if I'm awesome, and I'll start passing out buttons. Why deny the obvious? Exactly. And even with my astounding awesomeness, I see areas that need improvement. I'm pretty sure other people are aware of that, too. For example, it occurs to me that I might be a little vain.

I also have some trouble admitting that I am something of a social misfit. For the longest time, I didn't have a niche. I have something of a REPUTATION for being eclectic, because I am.

My kids are a little older, now. I'm part of a new group of moms: Moms Who Drink And Swear. Check it. ;)

I'm uncomfortable telling my Christian mommy friends about my drinking and swearing habits. It's even harder to admit to enjoying (and I mean REALLY enjoying) a few drinking and swearing adventures. I'm also uncomfortable telling my drinky sweary mommy friends about my love for Jesus. But this is who I am, and I have a lot more inner peace when I can look the world in the face, and tell the truth.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Giant Robot Pants

I was working in the mud room, last night. I call it the mud room because I don't know what else to call it. The guy who showed us around the house, before we decided to buy it, called it the keeping room, because it's where you keep stuff you don't know what else to do with or don't use every day, but he admitted that he didn't really know what you ought to call it, either. I believe a real mud room has a place to clean up after one has gotten muddy, like a shower, a sink, or at the very least, a washing machine for your dirty clothes. This room has none of those things, however, I have plans to run water out there, someday, so as to justify my naming of said room.

I was working in the mud room, last night. This room is fairly large, the size of a single car garage, roughly, and it is situated between the house and the garage, and is attached to both so that one may pass through this room while traveling from the house to the garage and vice versa.

When we moved to Indiana a year ago, the majority of our belongings were boxed up and stacked into storage units. When we moved from the rental into this house, those boxes were loaded into trucks and stacked in the garage, and the mud room became box purgatory, where opened but still packed boxes sit awaiting judgement before being assigned their location within the home. It's a mess.

Another thing you should know about this room, is that there is also a door to the outside, and that door has a large window. This may or may not be important later.

So, I'm out there, last night, working, in the mud room. It's getting late and the kids have long since gone to bed. It's very very quiet. After a while, Shel pops his head out the door, looks at me sleepily, and says, "organizing?" and I say, "yep. You going to bed?" and he says yes and closes the door.

Here's a thing about me. I'm an organizer. I organize shit. I like to organize. Organizing stuff makes me feel at one with myself. Another thing about me is that I'm convinced that God blessed me with too many personalities. It's not the weird abused childhood multiple personality disorder kind of shit. It's just me and me and me, and anything that calms me down and makes me feel at one with myself, is a good thing. Everyone around me benefits by not having to live in chaos and always knowing exactly where to find things.

So, yeah. That's what I was doing. I was organizing. The mud room has peg board. It's glorious.

It was late, about a quarter to one, in fact. It was dark. It was quiet. I could hear the occasional passing car. And then, maybe I just watch too many cartoons, but suddenly I heard it, what seriously for all the world sounded like a Giant. A mutherloving GIANT, taking slow deliberate, Bubblez crushing footsteps toward my house! I glanced toward the door, saw nothing but blackness out the window, freaked the frick out, and ran inside.

Once I got inside, I realized that being inside the house, as opposed to inside the mud room, wasn't going to do me any good if I was about to be stepped on by a giant. I also realized that there was no way on God's green Earth there was a giant tromping through my yard. First of all, I live practically in the middle of no where, and everyone knows that giants are pretty much always, either off on some distant and remote mountain or in an urban area where they can really do some damage. Secondly, I'm not that special or important that anyone would send a giant out to get me, because that is the only way to explain what a giant would be doing out here in BFE, if it was SENT by someone. Thirdly, giants don't exist. Let that sink in. Giants don't exist. So, what DID I hear? I don't know, but it was clearly time for me to give up and go to bed.

Today, I walked into the kitchen, poured myself a bowl of cereal, and pulled up to the table next to Nikpod. Nikpod is my 11 year old son. His hand is permanently glued to his iPod Touch. He eats with one hand and scrolls with the other. He's often wearing earbuds and sort of resembled a small Frankenstein without the scars... or green skin.

Anyway, I started telling Nikpod my story about Mom's crazy imagination and the totally impossible giant.

"It's not TOTALLY impossible, mom. I mean, I suppose someone could build a giant robot or giant legs and go tromping around in giant robot pants."

I consider this a moment. "I don't think robots really need pants."

Nikpod stares at me. He gets this adorable 'what the hell is wrong with you?' look on his face. "What?" (Shakes his head) "Tha- that's not what I meant. Wait. You're joking aren't you?"

"Um no. What else would you mean by giant robot pants?"

"Oh geesh. Nooo. Not pants for robots. Like giant robotic legs that have a little control seat or something at the top for someone to drive around like they're wearing pants."

(You know, at the time, he had me convinced that I was the crazy one.)

"Oh!" (laughing) "I get it! Giant robot pants! Right!" (more laughing)

"Mom. Sometimes, I just don't get you."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Country Song Pelvic Party

Since having moved to Country Song, USA, I have yet to schedule my annual. You know what I'm talking about, right? The exam that beats all exams? The one where Dr This Might Be A Little Cold goes spelunking through my lady parts in search of mysteries unknown? I'm also almost due for my very first garage door treatment, the one where they attempt to squish out whatever perkiness might be left in my boobs after growing older and nursing 4 kids (as if).

Where it's never a treat, I do tend to be generally responsible about my feminine health. But living in Country Song, I've run into a dilemma. In a world where everyone knows everyone, how many of those people do I really want to know details about my nether region?

It's awkward enough knowing that I might run into an old boyfriend (or his wife/sister/mom/grandma/cat: cat knows more than anybody.. Cat was there), but when my kid plays soccer with the doc's kid, I just don't know. Do I really want to be passing out cookies at the next first grade holiday party with the person who was just recently cranking antique power tools around in my wahoo?

So, I realized I have two choices. I can either drive an hour to another town where no one knows me, OR I can just say what hell and make it a party. That's right. I'll invite all of my closest friends and we'll have cocktails. It's Bubz's Pelvic Partay and ManHandlagram. And really it's only fitting seeing as I did first meet my doc's nurse when I traveled to the casino to watch male strippers during a friend's Bachlorette party.

I mean, shoot. If I'm gonna show one person who I see around town, I may as well show everybody. Right?

So, what do you think? Martinis? Should be fun. I'll let you know the date.