Murder in Ikea

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Busy here - things all right - working my ass off trying to make enough money to send my kid to summer sleep away camp. I mean I GOT priorities and all. One of my classics, I think.

"What do you think of this couch?"
"Don't like it"

"How about these chairs?"
"Yeah, hate them."

"And this? How does this strike you?"
"You seriously like this piece of shit? It's hideous."

"I kind of like this couch - it seems comfy to read on."
"That couch is awful. Who would want a couch like that in their house?"

"Here, try this chair. I like this one."
"It's the SAME chair you hated five minutes ago, just in a different color."

"Listen. I am 36 years old. I deserve to have real furniture. I do not want leather couches. I am sit of living on futons, mother fucker. I am not afraid to cut you."

"Did you just say that when you divorce me I can choose my own furniture?
It is O-N mutha-fucka...."

All right, so this may have been slightly more dramatized than the real event....but it was how it went in my mind. I think Ikea should have a lawyer on the way out, so you can draw up the divorce papers. Big ups to the Playmobil Playahs

On behalf of the Mean Mommies

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reprinted from my blog in the West Island Gazette


I am pleased to be before you accepting the "Meanest Mom in the whole wide world" Award. Words can hardly express the shock and honor I feel as I stand here, gripping this statuette of a weeping child.

The circumstances behind my nomination highlight the mercurial nature of the Academy of Disgruntled Children and their review process.

I will, however, give you a brief synopsis.

It was a Saturday morning, like most others. Sheets needed to be changed, laundry done, and folded. In addition, my husband asked our daughter to make her bed and pick up the "stuff" from her floor.

"I want to see all of the things on this floor picked up and put away", he said.

What she heard, however, was:

"I want you to take all of this stuff and shove it under, on, about, over and otherwise IN any other container/drawer/basket/bucket that is NOT the one in which it belongs."

Sadly, it was the initial and fundamental mis-interpretation which would ultimately lead us down the path whereby I am standing before you today.

I was in the shower when the first volley was fired across the parental bow.

Our daughter, operating under the second set of aforementioned statements, had shoved all of her toys, crayons, doll clothes, playmobil, lip balm, scarves, mittens, pencils and other bits and pieces into a wide variety of crevices.

Her father, a highly trained mess detector, walked into her room and immediately spied a bag with a myriad of items all shoved in. He called the child's attention to the bag, as evidence of her failure to accurately put her things away. He later opened her dresser drawers to find a hodge podge collection of socks (some dirty), underwear, school shirts and a forlorn mitten all rolled into one drawer.

I exited my shower in time to hear the child call her father a "Clean Freak" and that she could tell him "No" at any time. She was choosing this moment to tell him "NO!, NO! and NO!" She wasn't, she reminded him, HIS SLAVE.

"Oh dear", I think. "I better get my clothes on cause it is totally going down in there."

Following the next four hours, including lunch in her room, Emily was given the opportunity to re-present her cleaning efforts to her father and I.

I am sorry to say that it went very, very badly.

Her Father and I endured the accusations of being the meanest parents in the WHOLE WORLD. Parents who got JOY from torturing their only offspring, requiring her to put her things back where they belong. Parents who would not rest until things such as CRAYONS were placed back into the basket from which they had emerged.

Yes. We were those parents. Parents who required that dirty clothes NOT be mixed in with the clean clothes in her dresser. Parents who rejected the theory that "If I can stuff it into a Bag and then HIDE the bag in the closet so they can't see it" equated to actual cleaning.

In the days since the initial incident, additional demands have been lain upon the poor, beleaguered child. She is now called back into the bathroom to pick up the nightgown and underwear she has discarded and stepped over twice ( once while getting IN the shower, and once while getting out) to carry it the 15 steps to the hamper.

Spelling mistakes were pointed out and the child was told to correct them in a book report! Offensive Vegetables were placed upon her dinner plate!

Oh! The Horror!

So, it is in this spirit that I accept this award. I know other Mom's are as, if not more so, deserving of this recognition.

And Now I have to go and make my kid eat fruit salad instead of the ice cream she wants.

And in this Corner --- The Agitator!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Where the Fu Manchu has Dawn BEEN exactly?", I hear you all wondering."I mean, we all know that there is still SNOW in Montreal - she isn't out there skipping in the flowing green grass."

Aw, friends. It is true. There is still snow in Montreal. Partially decomposed pumpkins and Christmas Trees are emerging from gigantic snowbanks. I myself only just took down the garland, since I could finally walk over to it to cut it down. I would mock myself, except that- truly - the snow was so high and ridiculous that I couldn't GET to it.

I am interviewing a new psychiatrist. He puzzles me, this one. I have not yet decided if he is a genius who will actually help me move through some shit, or if he is an idiot. I lean toward Idiot, and then he says something which seems almost profoundly insightful and I think, "Hmmm. Maybe he isn't as stupid as I assume." I shake him up by using his full name when I address him to tell him that he puzzles me. He has, however, bumped my meds, which has helped, tremendously. I can't speak for all people with Depression, but when my meds are off...whoa Nellie. It ain't pretty.

This is one of the many reasons that I can understand my depression to be neurochemical in nature. I respond to medications within DAYS. Now if we could only correct my wonky sleep patterns.

The TA's at McGill are on strike and I say, THANK GOD! I was worried that if I had to be enclosed with one of the professors much longer I was going to say or do bad, bad things. As it were, I did file a concern with the Chair about some ethical issues I witnessed. My friend suggested that my Lucha Libre Name be "The Agitator". I found this to be very, very funny. I am sure it will be much less funny when I am never hired by the Department again due to my agitative ways. Of course, I take a small, mean spirited solace and knowing that all the exams are going to be marked by the Professor. I suspect after personally grading 75-150 exams and final projects, there will be sudden and immediate support by the Professors Union.

But you know what also make me Happy?

No, it isn't my obsessive dedication to getting my taxes filed last night, making me churn along until 2 in the morning - only to have to PAY the %$%^#$$@# government some moo-lah.

No, it isn't the tulips I bought to fill the house with - although that IS lovely.

It is the filling in of the summer calendar with Sleep Away camp. Whooo-Hooo. 2 Weeks of SLEEP AWAY CAMP!!!! Can you see me doing a jig of joy around my room? Yes, the baby that I so protectively held to my bosom, I am now flinging into the abyss of Sleep Away Camp.

Go Baby Bird! Fly Free!

And anyone going to Blogher? I may go and will not mope like I did last year, dammit (janet). Anyone need a roommate? I am still just thinking about it..but....

And now, I leave you with this little classic Dawn and Terrance conversation from Saturday morning:

Dawn: "Can you tell any difference in my skin after my mini facial?"

Terrance: "MMMfph"

Dawn: "Was that a Yes or a No?"

Terrance: "I don't know."

Dawn: "You didn't notice anything?"

Terrance: "You look fine."

Dawn: "That wasn't the question - Did you notice anything?"

Terrance: "You looked like you had your face washed."

Dawn: "That's it? My face washed?"

Terrance: "Yeah - like you do every morning after you've washed your face. You know - like you have a clean face."

Dawn: [Silence]

Terrance: "What?! What do you want me to say?"

Dawn (to Emily): "And herein lies how your father wooed me to be his wife. His masterful, sweet talking ways drove me right into his arms. Such flowery language, such astute observations! Can you see how I could not resist his charms?"

Terrance: "I still think you got the better deal."

I get called the "R" word

Saturday, April 05, 2008

In my last post, some anonymous person subtlety called me racist.

While I assume that this person was some random reader who clicked through and read the post, threw out a comment and left...the comment sat with me.

I have been with a man not of my own racial background for the past 17 years. In order to make our relationship work, we have had to discuss and be playful about the issues of race in America. While the normal investigations of likes and dislikes was part of our courting....we also had to explicitly discuss race and the implications of a mixed racial relationship. Moving beyond casual dating meant that we had to be aware of and ready to face the thing that no body wants to really talk about. What it means to be Black and what it means to be White in America.

To have pretended that no one noticed the racial difference between us in New Hampshire would have been ludicrous. In a state that is 97% white, I could be invisible while one could not help BUT to notice Terrance.

This has also meant that we have had to develop a sense of humor about race. Yes, I said it. We make JOKES about race in our family. I am often called a "trifling white woman" by my husband. We both tell our daughter to put lotion on her "ashy ass before her butt checks start a fire". I have even used the "n" private, when teasing my husband. These are conversations and jokes which would make many of my white friends and family extremely uncomfortable.

Does that make me racist? Does that make him racist?

Does noticing that there are "typical" Hollywood devices which reflect stereotypes about race in America make us racist?

Hell to the nizz-o.

The conversation about race is a continuing dialog in our house. I haven't stopped thinking about race for 17 years. Now, seeing as I am 37 years old that in and of itself is a shameful reflection on the ability of White American culture to subjugate and/or dismiss honest conversations about race. I got to spend my first 20 years fairly unaware of my position within a dominant culture.

So it is in that light that I take the "racist" comment. It is much easier to yell "racist" or "unpatriotic" and STOP the conversation than to carry it further. It is much easier to use race to block the honest discussion that Americans desperately need to be having. A sort of "We are all friends here" or "I am so progressive that I don't even SEE race" mentality is intentionally deciding to absolve the individual of the responsibility of looking at the implications of race in America.

Being called racist won't stop my conversations about race with my husband, child and family. Being called racist won't stop me from writing about the conversations that I have within my family. Being called racist won't stop me from seeing the humor in situations where there is humor to be had, nor will I stop joking with my friends in family about race.

Humor is part of the conversation, maybe some of the most important parts of the conversation. Without the ability to negotiate these conversations with playfulness, humor and open mindedness Terrance and I would have never gotten this far.

So, Anon commenter: I don't think White people are stupid....just incredibly uptight, defensive and humorless when it comes to the way they benefit from Dominating American culture and society. May I suggest that you remove the Politically correct stick out of your small, flat white ass and relax a little.

Suspended Disbelief

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Scene: Dawn and Terrance watching "Vantage Point"

Terrance: "Hey - Did Forrest Whittaker just pick up his Digital recorder and it still works? Wasn't he just in a huge explosion? Are we supposed to believe that it still works - OH my GOD - he's running with the recorder! And filming the person that the secret service can't catch! He must have the worlds toughest video camera....and Jesus, he is outrunning the secret service!

Dawn: "Its a sad sad day when Forrest Whittaker with his bad eye and gimpy leg are out running the secret service - Oh My GOD! IS HE STILL FILMING ALL OF THIS? How the hell is that recorder still working? Maybe he should wear his Idi Amin outfit."

Terrance: "I know, right. Most video recorders would have gone down with the first explosion, let alone all the running and jumping Forrest has been doing - and why the hell is he calling people in the middle of a terrorist explosion scene - Dude. Get the fuck out of there."

Dawn: "Thats totally a white person move - standing in the middle of an explosion and calling people. I do not believe that Forrest would seriously call anyone in that situation."

Terrance: "Yeah - white people do dumb shit like that."

Dawn: "Maybe the secret service needs to employ Forrest, since he seems able to follow the suspect more accurately than they do."

Terrance:"Too bad he likes trannies."

End Scene

Um. Thanks Honey..I think.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I was sitting on the couch braiding Emily's hair. She was making terrible noises. She ALWAYS makes terrible noises. Noises like I am branding her feet with a capital "T" for "tender headed". I am ignoring her.

Commercials are on. Some vague advertisement for skin cream which will make you look like a small Spanish actress are flashing before our eyes.

"Mama? What are those things FOR?"

"What things? The creams?"

"Yeah - what are they FOR?"

"Well - some people think that if they use certain creams, it will help them look young."


"Well - I guess for some people, they are really concerned about the way they look and they think that if they use this cream they will look better."


Pause. LONG Pause.

"You don't use any of those creams."

"No honey, I don't."

"You're not like other moms."

"What? What do you mean I'm not like other moms"

"You don't care about the way you look - you don't need to look young."

"Um. Thanks Honey, I think."
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