July 22 - Sunday
I recently found out that I've been spelling stationery wrong ever since I was born.
In other news, being a single mother isn't easy.
I've been thinking about it a lot, though, and I feel that I have the creativity and the logic skills to handle it. Sometimes stressful things occur and I automatically resort to Stressed Mother Tactics. Then I realize that, with a little preparation and creative problem solving, I could have avoided the negative situation altogether.
For example, let's say my kids are in my office at around 5 o'clock (or Hell Hour, as I sometimes think of it) and they're getting bored and antsy so they make paper airplanes and throw them and hit my superiors in the eyeballs with the pointy parts of the planes. My first instinct is to respond by turning my head and saying, "Quit it!" in a loud voice, with my teeth gritted and a mean look on my face. Then one of my kids will say something like, "Why? Why, Mom? Why can't we make paper airplanes, Mom? Why can't we make paper airplanes and ignite them with lighter fluid and throw them and set Dr. Ransom's hair on fire, huh? WHY? Why do we have to come to your office and not throw things? Why do we have to live with you? I wanna go live with Dad!"
And then, in a hypothetical situation like this, it seems like I might possibly reply, "What's wrong with you? What -- it's not enough that I'm busting my ass for no pay at this sorry job where I get treated like shit so I can make enough money to buy you cheeseburgers and springrolls and electricity for your Playstation? And then you just fight with each other and throw shit all over the place and don't even bother to carry your chocolate-milk-soaked dishes to the sink? That's it, dammit -- you're not playing the freaking Playstation tonight!"
Then one of the hypothetical children in this totally fictional tale might say, "NO-O-O-O!!! NO, MOM! I WANNA PLAY THE PLAYSTATION! PLEASE!" and I would say, "THEN CLEAN UP THIS CRAP!" and then my supervisor would say, "Uh, Gwen, can you make these corrections on this press release?" and then I would say, "GAAAAARGH!!!" and throw all my press release edits from all my supervisors up in the air and then throw myself on the carpet which has been littered with my children's vending-machine-cookie crumbs and then scream until I fell into a catatonic state that could only be dissolved with two solid hours of Pavement CDs and one piece of Eatzi's cranberry-orange bread or, barring that, one smile and one corny joke from the super hot-n-sweet guy who works at Copy Dot Com.
So I was thinking about all that, and I went to Texas Art Supply and bought my kids stuff to keep them busy while they're forced to hang out at my office. Then I went to K-Mart and bought them a backpack to put the stuff in. Then I went to HEB and bought snacks to feed them (and myself) when they (and I) get cranky due to delayed meals.
And I think everything's going to be okay. (Spending money solves everything, right?)
This evening after work we went to a BBQ place that advertises 99-cent kids' meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. I figured the kids' meals would be lame-o, but my kids don't always eat a lot, so... Well, one of my kids does eat a lot, but the other two don't, so the one who eats a lot just cleans their plates. But we went, and it was the regularly-$3.49 kids' meals that were on sale for 99 cents, and I ordered them three chicken-fried steak plates, and oh my god, they were huge. And my whole bill was ten something, and I felt compelled to eat fast as hell as if the manager was going to come out and tell me, "Ma'am, you need to leave. When we put that banner over our front door, we didn't intend for you to drive your single-mom ass over here and feed yourself and your three kids for the unheard-of rate of less than eleven dollars. Get out."
But that didn't happen, and so now I know where we're eating every Monday and possibly Tuesday for the rest of our lives, or at least until the BBQ place staff figures out that there are people in Houston who are actually crass enough to take advantage of cheap kids' meals in that way.
Souper Salad is another place where we can eat for less than eleven bucks. I get tired of Tuna Skroodle and that sweet bread with the honey butter for dinner all the time, though. And why do the baked potatoes at buffets always smell like coffee grounds?
The other day we went to Van Loc for dinner, even though I really couldn't afford it (I didn't get the second order of spring rolls my oldest son wanted, and we all shared my entree. But each kid got a bowl of soup, which is all they ever really want, anyway.) and then some stranger paid our bill. Stranger, if you're out there, thanks a lot. That was really so shockingly nice of you, and you can't even imagine (or can you?) how helpful it was. I have to thank him here because I didn't in the restaurant, because he did it anonymously. And the waiter told me who he was, anyway, but I still didn't thank him because I felt that it wouldn't be ladylike. I thought about it for a long time afterwards, though. I suspect he paid because my youngest son spilled his wonton soup all over himself and the waiters weren't around to help and I poured my water glass over his chest to keep him from burning and then I wrung his shirt out and he cried for more soup and I poured him a little from each of his brothers' cups and then they all ate in silence while I started to pick up the dropped spoon. And then I threw the spoon down in tired disgust and passed around the last pieces of my cut-up pork chop to my sons in silence. So maybe the guy felt sorry for us. Or who knows. Maybe he decided to pay our bill when we first walked in and sat at the table next to that of him and his friend. I felt kind of guilty and crappy thinking about that because when we'd first walked in, I'd noticed the guy looking at me, and I'd given him a dirty look back because I'd immediately assumed that he was dreading the thought of having a single mom and three potentially noisy kids sit at the table next to his. And I do that all the time -- I think the worst of people, and I expect them to think the worst of me. And see what happened? I should learn my lesson, for the millionth time in a row.
Actually, though, my kids are always well behaved in restaurants. The trick to that is to start taking your children to restaurants two days after they're born. Then it'll never be something unknown and weird to them and they won't feel the need to run around and do karate kicks on each other, like certain little brats were doing at the BBQ place this evening.
God, is this entry long enough? No... I don't think so. Not yet.
I started up my Cafe Press t-shirt stores again, but this time with some new designs. Feel free to go to one of my stores and purchase a t-shirt or whatever because, to be painfully, gauchely honest, I could really use the money.
Do you like the background image? I know it's sort of horrible, but it's also beautiful and funny, isn't it? I found it in a free pamphlet designed to arm parents who read Korean against the peer pressure to which their kids will undoubtedly be subjected by their drug-addled peers. I just love that words and phrases like bong, weed, Mary Jane, and skunk were parenthetically included. I imagine it was in case the parents who read Korean were to find, tucked among their children's backpacks and things, notes from junior drug addicts. "Hey man wazz up? Dude did you do that algebra homework that was fukt up. Anyway come over to Eddie's house tonight everybody is gonna be there and their gonna have skunk and Mary Jane as well as model airplane adhesive for us to inhale. C ya their okay?" Then the parents would be warned because of the studying they had done from the pamphlet, I guess.
Also, I just like the way it looks. The shapes of the bongs in the red and the clear green with the warm soft gray background and the thin purple border. It's nice.
Someone recently asked me why I spill my life online for anyone with a computer and an ISP to read, and I only have one thing to say, and that thing is, "Because, Jack, there's never enough time to spill my entire life to friends on Saturday evenings after I've been forced to attend productions of the Pirates of Penzance, which I can not even spell." Actually, though, that's a lie because I really have two answers to that question. The real one is, "I don't spill my life at all. I just skim the details off the top and pass them out on paper plates. Here's a napkin to go with yours. Thank you so much for writing. Talk 2U later, okay?"
Talk to y'all later, okay? My AC's broken or some shit and I have to go unglue people from the Playstation and make sure they urinate thoroughly before they go to bed. I love those people very much, though. Sometimes it may be hard for them to tell, but it's true, I really do. (Ooh, ooh, ooh.)