Friday, January 24, 2014

Where Have All the Good Brain Cells Gone?

I am super-stoked.

My friend Becky asked Joe and me to be on her trivia team tonight and I LOVE trivia.

For years, I kicked ass watching Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

My brain had no problems regurgitating the phases of meiosis, the capitals of each state, and just about every pop culture reference EVER.

Yet as we draw closer to the big event, I did forget one little thing.

My brain is rotting.

Since having kids, I pull into the wrong driveway on a weekly basis.  I balk at leaving messages because I can never provide my return phone number ("I know there are a bunch of 3's and 7's....uh....hang on, it'll come, it'll come....uh....").  I waste laundry detergent constantly because I can never remember if I already dropped a fresh cup in.

So much for the old Marianne who once rattled off the entire Periodic Table by symbol and atomic radius.

Because now?  If I can go a week without losing my phone I consider it a triumph.

Just the other day, Joey bumped his head.  I kept insisting on patting him there, forgetting that he had a sensitive goose egg.  Frustrated and annoyed with my medical amnesia, the kid provided his own version of the Post-It Note:

Translated: Touch my head again, lady, and there will be hell to pay.
I really should have given this whole trivia thing some more careful thought before committing.  I hope Becky can forgive me if I turn out to be a miserable failure.  What if I screw up and let the team down?  That kind of personal shame can stay with a girl forever.

Unless you're me.

My memory is now only two days long.

The whole thing will be forgotten by Monday.

Now what was I talking about?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Setting Things In Motion

See what I did there?

TOTALLY used a volleyball term in the title.  I'm super-cool that way.

But this weekend, I needed a little more than my Fonzie-esque qualities to sell the kids on a sport that I like because it doesn't cause brain damage.

Photo credit: Mary Neumann

I may have succeeded.

Full story click HERE in today's Chicago Parent.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Tale of Two Wedding Anniversaries

Without going into too much complicated detail, Joe and I have two wedding anniversaries.  They are several months apart.

This has led to years of ongoing confusion about expectations and acknowledgment.

Joe prefers to celebrate our church wedding where friends and family were there to witness two sordid Catholic souls coming together as a single lapsed one.

I, on the other hand, prefer to honor our earlier legal union.  That way, I am granted full credit for time served.

This unsettled dispute, combined with our inability to keep track of things, has resulted in many missed anniversaries.

I realized just today that we completely forgot our milestone 10 year anniversary (the "legal" one).  This is the one I was responsible for commemorating.  I texted my husband at a fundraiser tonight:

MARIANNE: Happy late 10 year anniversary.  Wow.  That one sucked.

JOE: You're right.  I'm sorry.  Happy anniversary.  I won't be out late if you want to have a few drinks.

MARIANNE: Who is this and what did u do with Joe??  10 years is aluminum.  I used the last of our Reynolds Wrap for Jack's diorama.

JOE: Beer comes in aluminum.

MARIANNE: Works for me.  We need bread for lunches tomorrow.  Stop at the store for me?

Joe: 10-4.

Better than roses if you ask me.  Especially when delivered by this guy:

Happy belated 10 years, Joe!  May it be the first of many! (or in our case, two).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Don't Do Glue

The much-anticipated 3rd grade diorama project guidelines came home yesterday.

Anyone want to put money on how much I get involved with this baby?'s Jack's  project so far:

It's a White Tailed Deer, though I understand how you might have actually missed that fact seeing it doesn't really have a white tail.

Full story click HERE in today's Chicago Parent.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Marianne & Kari's Excellent Adventure

Read what happens when two Chicago mom writers get invited to the big, fancy Dyson offices by clicking HERE in today's Chicago Parent. 

What I didn't mention over on that far more reputable site was the fact that Kari and I couldn't find our way back from the bathrooms because we were way too distracted by the cool key they gave us. 

The Dyson people probably figure we don't eat enough fiber.

Coolest keychain ever.
We learned all about what inspired Sir James Dyson in his designs:

Look out, Vanna White.

And more importantly, we learned about an innovative and free engineering program for Chicago-area kids. 

Check it out HERE!

But next time we visit?  Kari and I are leaving breadcrumbs.

And bringing a map.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snack Moms Now, Snack Moms Forever

This article appeared in the October issue of Chicago Parent magazine.  It is also one of my columns that is being submitted for a writing award in the humor category by my awesome editor, so I'd appreciate any positive joojoo, prayers, or sacrificed chickens to help put me over the top.

I'm a little competitive.

And crazy.

With three sons firmly entrenched in their respective sports, I am suddenly reminded of Michael Jordan’s famous “For the Love of the Game” clause.  In his early professional career, Mr. Jordan refused to limit his passion for basketball to the regular season.  He sought to ensure he could play his sport whenever and wherever he so desired, and had it included in his contract. 

I admire this kind of dedication in athletes.  However, I am now finding that the grammar school crowd has replaced Mr. Jordan’s clause with one of their own, aptly titled “For the Love of Snack Moms.”

Snack moms are those earnest individuals who play an active role in their children’s sports by putting together carefully designed charts listing every game day snack assignment.  I will never criticize this level of involvement as I am the parent who cannot even assemble soccer nets.  I also paint white lines in the grass like I have been doing tequila shots.

I understand that snacks help reinforce a positive experience when small children are first introduced to organized sports.  But now?  If a nine-year old is only motivated by CapriSuns and Cheetos, perhaps sports just aren’t his thing.

One of my mom friends complained how she, too, was sick of the kids coming home not wanting to eat dinner because of all the garbage handed out on the field.  When it was her turn to be snack mom, she thoughtfully sliced up carrots and brought along water bottles.  The team’s response?  No thanks.  She threw up her hands in surrender and packed a case of Coca Cola and Twinkies for her next at bat.  Naturally, she was a hit. 

With all due deference to snack moms who have organized this for centuries (or rather, since 1990 when anthropologists first documented the shift), I respectfully submit we put an end to the practice.  If the kids get thirsty, point them to the water fountain.  If they complain, tell them to suck it up.  It’s time to go 1970s tough love on their Twinkied butts.

I tried unsuccessfully to implement my vision when I was handed yet another snack mom assignment this month. 

“Aw, c’mon,” I begged, “Aren’t they getting too old for this nonsense?”

Snack Mom looked at me in disbelief and stunned silence.  She then turned and handed the sheet to the next dad who approached.

“Hey dad!” I called out, “How about it?  Want to stand in unison against snacks and injecting our kids with high fructose corn syrup after every game?”

He gave me that all-too-familiar “Go away, crazy lady” look.

After several more failed attempts to convert parents to my way of thinking, Snack Mom walked over.

“Just so you know, ma’am,” she told me, “my older boys are in HIGH SCHOOL, and they ADORE post-game snacks.  It’s just something little we can do to show our love and support.”

I hung my head in shame and slunk away, defeated.    

This weekend, my family sat down to watch the Bears play when the kids noticed the giant Gatorade container on the sidelines.  My oldest commented:

“I wonder who THEIR snack mom is!  That is awesome.”

Snack moms, it seems, rule the world.