Thursday, August 23, 2012

On Being a Cruise Director. Or Mother. Whatever.

I had no idea when I entered the hallowed halls of motherhood how similar the undertaking is to being a cruise director. Lately, I have been feeling just like Julie from The Love Boat, that wonderful 70s and 80s sitcom that enthralled me during my youth and pre-teen years. And just for the record: I never wanted Julie’s job. I will never be as perky and agreeable as she was. (Not even with copious amounts of wine.) As a cruise director, she was responsible for entertainment and all socially related endeavors and activities on The Love Boat. She choreographed games, social outings, and parties. And although on some levels it seemed to be a cushy job (Hello, luxury cruise liner as my home? YES), having to continually herd others into activities that they may or may not enjoy is not my forte. However, I fear that is exactly what my life has turned into, right here in suburbia.

In my house, I am always the one saying “Hey, let’s go do ______________” (insert fun activity, restaurant, outing). I schedule the play dates, coordinating pick-ups and drop-offs. I ferry the elder Spawnderella to Girl Scouts and any other activities that she gets involved in. As the cruise director/mother, I am the one responsible for keeping things running smoothly and making sure the girls are getting along and having fun. (Because if they aren’t having fun they are bored. And if they are bored they start fighting. And if they start fighting over the same damn Barbie again, I swear to sweet baby Jesus that Barbie might just disappear forever.) Julie-the-perky-cruise-director may be responsible for hundreds of people, but I bet she hasn’t ever stepped on a motherf*cking Lego and howled in pain while toting a laundry basket that spills everywhere as she hopped on one foot with tears streaming down her face. Of course, I might be a wee bit jealous of Julie. She did work hard, but let’s face it: she also had a large staff to help her. I (along with most other mothers) do not have that luxury. On the other hand, if I had a staff they would be witnesses to some of my weaker parenting moments, like using bribery to get a few minutes of peace and quiet or threatening to hide the Wii remotes/Mario Kart wheels in places where the sun doesn’t shine because I tripped over them. Again.

But there’s an upside to everything. I may not live on a luxury cruise liner with Gopher and bartender Isaac, but I do live in a house that I do not have to share with hundreds of annoying tourists wearing ugly clothing and bad toupees. I may not get to travel the world and go shopping in exotic locales, but I live in a town with a kick-ass bike trail that I try to escape to on a semi-regular basis. (They didn’t have that on the Love Boat!) And neither motherhood nor my job require me to wear a hideous blue polyester uniform that would probably get really uncomfortable as I carry out my daily duties. And as any good cruise director knows, sometimes the best thing for their guests is to let them fend for themselves and do absolutely nothing. So there are times when I let the family zombify themselves on Mario Kart. (As long as I remember where I hid the wheels/Wii remotes.)

Hey, even cruise directors need a break sometimes. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Whore Heels and Spiked Lemonade

I’m just going to go ahead and say this: sometimes life sucks. Plans don’t always come to fruition. People let us down. Death and taxes are the only constants. (Along with bitter, annoying political ads; lack of sleep; and the fear of being accosted by Mormons – maybe that last one is just one of my little pet peeves, though.) Life is often like a roller coaster – full of twists and turns and ups and downs that make us want to puke. That’s been happening around (and to) me lately. In the last few months I’ve gotten married, (but I didn’t get a honeymoon) started a new job, (which I only keep until I graduate), took part in a writers workshop, and continued with my classes (and this quarter has been really intense). I’ve also missed copious amounts of quality time with my daughters  – resulting in some behemoth-sized mother’s guilt. Another sad fact is that I lost out on the house of my dreams, at the very last possible moment. Perfect size, perfect neighborhood, and affordable price – it was truly the “forever” home. And unfortunately, it’s something that might have been prevented with better planning and a bit more effort. So for now I’ll stay in my current ‘hood – replete with busy highway in my back yard that doesn’t allow for me to open the windows due to the noise and grime, not to mention the fact that we are busting out of space and I have some really sketchy neighbors, but I digress.)

I was lamenting my woes to one of my closest girlfriends, who happens to be going through her own set of aggravating incidents. Unfortunately she lives far, far away and going out for drinks or coffee isn’t feasible, so constant contact through texting is our only reprieve. (She is also a busy mother with school and a full time job.) During one of our many text conversations, she let me know that because of her recent toe breakage she couldn’t fit into one of her favorite pair of whore heels – the ones she wears when she’s in desperate need of an ego boost. As a female, not fitting into a particular item of clothing can be traumatizing. Especially when there’s no room in the budget for shopping. This circumstance can make us salty, especially if our need to wear our ego boosting hot heels is associated with a special occasion and/or a much needed night out. Many women will attest to the fact that a nice fitting, saucy, sexy pair of heels can make life just a teensy bit better when things seem to be particularly sucky.

Fortunately, there are no shortages of platitudes about what to do when life hands us piles of steaming shit. One of my faves is the old “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” (to which I add vodka because the combo of lemonade and vodka is absolutely delightful especially during these long summer months when it’s hotter than hell). But my friend has coined a new one, a phrase that I will be forever grateful for, especially when faced with certain types of adversity:

“Sometimes when your life sucks – you make room for whore heels in your budget.”

This is a truism that many women (and perhaps some crossdressers) can relate to and follow. Because really, who doesn’t feel better after buying a new pair of whore heels, especially if they’re on sale? So I decided to go ahead a purchase my own new pair of whore heels. (On sale, of course.) Will my new shoes help me find a nicer place to live or to write a 3 to 5 page paper extrapolating on social issues associated with speculative fiction? Perhaps not. But they will go perfectly with the lemonade and vodka I will be drinking.