M.I.L.F. Garage – Part Two

I like to drive fast. I just do. Lucky for me The Beast still has some get up and go.

My husband’s best friend was over the other night (as per the usual) and somehow our conversation drifted over to drag racing (don’t ask me how), and I mentioned that I think I could drag race The Beast. I really think we could sup him up and give him a flashy new paint job, and then he and I would rule the races. Aw, yeah…

At first they laughed. But, then I told them I would wear racing suits all Evel Knievel style, wear my hair like a 50s pinup,  and wear red lipstick and my aviators. I told them my little racing crew would be all chicks and they would be sexy but bad ass. That what I was proposing was the new roller derby for soccer moms.

Just think about it. Drag racing  is just like the drop off line at my kids school, and the demolition derby hasn’t got shit on the grocery store parking lot. One of us suggested we turn it into a reality show…. hence the title…

I think I would be a damn good drag racer/derby driver. I may be on to something.

-Shan

 

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M.I.L.F. Garage – Part One

I recently went three weeks without my beloved mom-mobile.  My 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe. Complete with tow package, grill guard, running boards, removable third row and suped-up stereo system. Aww yeah. Top. Of. The. Line.  Top of the line for 2002 that is.

This is the vehicle I have been driving through three company changes, a first house, first baby, second baby… It’s helped my friends move, it’s helped us move, gone on countless family vacations with my younger siblings crammed in the back, sandwiched in-between the car seats and all the crap a family with babies takes with them on vacation… It’s fast, it can be intimidating on the road, and after all these years the sound system still kicks ass (although I’ve had to replace a speaker here and there). I love driving it.  And I’m fairly certain it likes having me be it’s primary driver.

It’s name is The Beast.  He’s a boy.

Weird fact about me, I’ve only driven two types of cars in my lifetime. Toyotas and Chevys. My dad is a devotee of both so it stands to reason that my vehicle choice would reflect that.  My two Toyotas, a 1994 Corolla (it was a nerd-mobile, but it was cool) and a 2001 Celica (that little car could go so fucking fast), were both girls. My other Chevy was a 1994 Cheyenne pickup truck. It was a full-size, single-cab, and on the outside it looked pimp but on the inside it had no frills at all. Like NONE. But I didn’t care. I loved him from the minute I saw him.  I cried when I traded him in.  Like a baby. My dad loved that truck too; he still says he wishes he had just bought it from me. I always agree with him. Then at least I’d have gotten visitation rights.

People ask me why I would rather re-build a transmission than get a new car.  I give all sorts of excuses about how it’s cheaper than a new car payment (which, hello, it is). But the truth is, I know that The Beast has a few good years left in him yet. He’s worked too hard to be put out to pasture before he gets to see kiddo #2 enter kinder, the family it’s loved and schlepped all over the damn place move into a newer, nicer home… The Beast has seen us, me, through so much. If I could save him, I would. In this case. I could.

I am aware that me driving an ’02 Tahoe is the equivalent of those soccer moms driving a raggedy-ass minivan in the early millennia… I know that my trendier friends look down at me a little for still driving a vehicle that boats a body (gasp) almost 12 years old and two body styles ago. Yes, he’s a little long in the tooth. But as one of my friends told me, “It still looks nice.”  And as I mentioned earlier – the sound system still rocks. Yeah, I think there are some pretty sweet SUVs and trucks out there… But me and the Beast are going to be sticking together for a little while longer.

-Shan

PS – promise in Part Two I’ll explain the title. It is catchy, isn’t it?

Runs in the family…

My brother and I went to go visit my grandfather, Paw, the other day. It was a pretty typical visit. We filled him in on what had been going on in our lives; he gave us feedback in the form of grandfatherly wisdom and told us stories from his own life… Before we left I showed Paw a picture of the two of us my brother had come upon and sent to me.

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Paw looked at the picture, looked back at me, then looked back at the picture and said with a laugh. “Well Shan, I sure am glad your hair grew in. You sure would have been ugly without it.” Laughing myself, I replied, “Paw, I sure am glad you’ve kept all of your hair. You sure would have been ugly without it.”

He smiled, looked at me with a mischievous gleam in his eyes and replied. “You’re a smartass, kid.” I smiled back (with what I’m assuming is the same look in my own eyes) and said, “Runs in the family.”

I love visits with my Paw.

-Shan

Karen the Zombie

With Halloween coming up, and The Walking Dead returning (although I’ve actually never watched it, too scared) I thought I’d take a little break from Plain Jane (she’ll be back next week), and that a zombie story would be appropriate. Enjoy…

-Shan

Karen shook herself out of her daze and struggled to get up. She had taken a shot to the chest from a shotgun at almost point-blank range. “That stupid fucker,” she thought to herself.  As she hoisted herself up off the pavement she saw that her two daughters had taken care of the redneck asshole who had shot her.  Her youngest was slyly gnawing on a finger she had torn off, but the oldest was patiently waiting.  Isabella was like that, always so obedient and polite.

“Go ahead babies,” Karen told her daughters. They exchanged grins and dug into their meal. The redneck asshole, who wasn’t completely dead yet, started screaming in pain. Usually Karen would finish their prey off before digging in (she saw no need for them to suffer), but this guy had nearly killed her, which would have left her two babies orphaned. Pissed off, she figured he could stand to suffer a little. He didn’t look like he had been all that great of a human being anyway – tattoos of swastikas, confederate flags and other racist symbols clearly displaying his overall ignorance dotted what was left of his arms.

She looked around, lifted her nose and took a deep breath in, smelling no signs of other humans, or zombies for that matter. She cocked her head, listening for any sign of either… The redneck asshole abruptly stopped screaming. Olivia was greedily scarfing down the still-beating heart she had just pulled out of his chest. “Olivia,” Karen said in her best Stern Mommy voice, “Share that with your sister.” Olivia frowned, tore a chunk off and half-heartedly handed it to her older sister.  She had been hoping to eat the whole thing herself; the heart was her favorite part.

Karen listened and sniffed the air once more for good measure. The coast appeared to be clear.  She reached down and tore one of his legs off, then sat down to enjoy her meal.

It had been six months since the outbreak.  No one really knew exactly how it started, or how the virus that had affected 70% of the human population turning them into what could best be described as zombies had become airborne, but the first reports had come out of Texas. From there it spread quickly into the surrounding states and Mexico, after that communications and utilities had began to go dark. That is, until the zombie population took them over and brought them back up on-line.

As a human, Karen had actually been what her friends jokingly referred to as “a crazy zombie lady” and had taken measures against a possible zombie outbreak, but she was no match for the virus.  One minute she was fine and dandy, the next, she and her whole family were zombies. But not the kind she had expected.

They could still speak, still feel emotion, and still “function” for all intents and purposes as a human.  With the large exceptions being of course, they were no longer human, and the craving for living flesh. Her senses had become heightened, she was stronger, and they all found that they could move with surprising speed and agility.  Especially her kiddos, they could move lightening quick, and combined with their four years of gymnastics training they were incredibly lethal, but Karen had to remind them to be cautious. A shot to the head and they would be done for.

By now most of the zombie population had moved into the cities, which was where the best human hunting still was, plenty of pockets of the unaffected were holed up in them, however Karen still preferred the suburbs. Her friends had tried to convince her to move with them, especially with her husband Bill gone (he had gone hunting two months ago and hadn’t returned) but Karen felt safer in her own home. She also held out hope that Bill would come back.

Karen’s phone rang. She reached into her back pocket to grab it; it was her best friend, Anne. The picture that popped up on the screen was a selfie of the two of them on the beach, margaritas in hand, at their last annual girl’s weekend. How times had changed… “Hey you!” Anne said cheerfully before Karen even said a word, “Just calling to check in on you and the girls!” “We’re just finishing dinner,” Karen replied. “Remember that hermit-y neo nazi who lived on Shadywood?” “Oh, he was such an asshole! How’s he taste?” Anne asked as if Karen and the kids had just tried a new restaurant.  “Good. He took care of himself, that’s for sure. Hardly any fat on him. I took a shot from him, he ruined one of my favorite shirts, that f-u-c-k-e-r (she spelled it out since her kids were close by). The girls finished him off, though.” Karen laughed like getting shot was no big deal. There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment before Anne spoke. “Kar, I really wish you would move to the city with us, we got a great apartment with a view of Town Lake, the girls would love it. It has plenty of room for you guys and a pool and everything. At the very least you should come visit for a while – you could take a break from eating so many house pets…” Anne trailed off, trying to make a joke of her own (she did have a point, the remaining house pets were the most abundant food source in the suburbs). “I’ll think about it, OK,” Karen said, hoping she sounded somewhat convincing. “Look, I gotta go, it’s getting late and the girls need baths, they’re a mess. I’ll call you later, give my love to Fred and the boys.” They hung up, and Karen munched on the last bits of flesh still hanging from the bone before breaking it open to suck out the marrow. She turned and looked at her two little girls, who were doing the same with what remained of the redneck asshole. That shot had been too close, she thought with a shudder.  She had been careless…

“Mommy,” said Olivia, breaking Karen’s train of thought, “can we have dessert tonight?” Karen looked around, sniffed the air and listened.  Her girls did the same.  Isabella spoke up, “I smell a cat. Can we go after it? Please, Mom?” Karen smiled and gave in. “One cat. But then it’s home, baths and bed, got it? And be careful!” “Yay!” the girls shouted in unison and took off running in the direction the smell had come from.  Karen smiled to herself, feeling proud of her two littles, they were such good girls… “If only Bill were here to see them,” she thought to herself.

She took one last look at the carcass beside her, looking to see if the girls had left anything tasty behind. Something caught her eye then, something shiny, glinting in the light of the setting sun.  It was a ring. It must have fallen off when Olivia tore the redneck asshole’s finger off… She picked it up and with dawning horror realized, it was Bill’s. His wedding ring.

She heard the girls returning and quickly wiped away the tears that had started to fall down her face. “We saved you some, Mom!” Isabella called out. “Yeah,” said Olivia proudly, “Bella wanted to eat it all but I told her we should share.” “That’s very sweet of you, girls,” said Karen, quickly pocketing the ring. Isabella eyed her mother carefully. “Is everything OK, Mom?” “Yeah baby, everything is fine.” Karen mustered a smile and grabbed their little hands in her own. “Come on my little ladies, time to get home.”

Feedback…

I remember kindergarden as a kind of cast of characters you’d find in a John Hughes movie. We weren’t picked up by a bus so our moms had this intricate car-pool system worked out. There were four kids in our carpool in total, and we were all in the same afternoon kindergarden class.

Adam – the goofy class clown, I adored him

Roy – the Jake Ryan

Princess – I don’t remember her real name but she was always wearing pleated skirts, cardigans, hair in headbands and actually wore pearls (really, fucking pearls) in kindergarden. She had this long, thick brunette hair that I coveted something fierce. It was like Charlotte York hair.

Me – nerdy and slightly socially awkward… I like to think of myself as a less cool Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. Like maybe add in some Ally Sheedy from Breakfast Club, but not as weird and way more hygenic. (I’ve always been kind of a clean freak.)

Kindergarden was where I began learning something about myself though… I liked to make people laugh. And, it’s where I began to correlate that if I did x, people laughed.  And today I would say, I’m pretty funny. There are times I think I could be funnier, and times I think “nailed it”, and times I think I wasn’t funny at all… But overall, I think I’m funny. Nowhere close to the pure comic gold of Will Ferrell or shit even Paul Rudd (a Will Ferrell sidekick) – but funny nonetheless.

(Here’s your chance to tell me otherwise if you think I’m not. I once had someone tell me I remind them of “that funny girl. You know, that funny girl, she’s kinda blonde and you know… anyway, she reminds me of you. Except you’re not as funny.” How’s that for feedback?)

By far though, the best thing about kindergarden was that we got to wear our Halloween costumes to school on Halloween.  I’ve had some costumes that in hindsight weren’t the best choice (ahem, bag of jellybeans… don’t ask), but my favorite costume ever was in kinder. I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Aside from the fact I was blonde, I was a pretty damn authentic Dorothy. I loved that costume.

Adam was a vampire and Roy was a football player. Guess what Princess was? A fucking beauty queen. She walked in in this giant ball gown her mom had had made with a hoop skirt,  hair all done up in a crown and a sash that read “Miss Bear Creek” (the name of our elementary school) and I was like, “what the fuck?” (or the five year old equivalent of “what the fuck?”) – don’t get me wrong, I thought she looked beautiful, I mean she looked like a real princess.  My incredibly girly little girls would flip their shit over that costume. But come on, she could have easily been on Toddlers in Tiaras with that getup. (We moved to another city after kindergarden, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Princess and Roy went on to date in high school, became Prom King & Queen, got married and had cute little prom king and queen beauty pageant babies. I’ll have to look them up on Facebook. You can find out anything about anyone on Facebook.)

Dorothy, Vampire, Football Player, Beauty Queen – it’s kind of refreshing to know that some things will never change – I suspect I’ll see all four at my door this Halloween… This year I’m going to try to change it up and go as Scarlett from GI Joe (the 80s version, not the crappy live-action version). Although after a quick google search of available Scarlett costumes I’m thinking I may have to change gears… Why is it costume manufacturers assume that only stick-thin, size two bitches want to dress up?  And that they will want to wear head to toe spandex and parade around like sluts?

Hmmm… perhaps it’s indirect feedback – maybe they are telling us that slutty, stick-thin size two bitches are the only “adults” who should dress up… Man, feedback sucks sometimes.  Good thing I rarely listen to it.  😉

Happy Halloween!

-Shan

 

Side note: Upon reading this to the hubs his feedback was, “Good. (Dramatic pause) You sure like to use the f-word.” Ummm….. I think he must have forgotten who he was fuckin’ married to for a second.

 

The Best Mommy Ever

I can’t believe it’s already September. I mean really, where did this year go? I really thought that by adopting a new lifestyle that time would move slower, life would be less harried… But nope. Seems that there isn’t much you can do to slow down time.

It’s been eight months since I made the decision to leave my full-time job. A decision I made because I was unhappy and had grown ashamed of the person I had become.  An absentee everything – mother, wife, sister, friend… Work got 90% of my attention. Which I resented. Which in turn meant that I wasn’t the best employee and boss that I had the potential to be – how could I be if I was angry all the time?

Like many, I’m addicted to Pinterest. I’ll spend hours pinning all these cute little crafts, DIY projects and recipes – confident in my ability to execute them with ease even though my cooking skills are mediocre at best, I’m not nearly as crafty as I like to think I am and even though I have a sewing machine I’ve never actually sewn anything. I admit that at first my approach towards full-time motherhood was the same as I take towards those projects – totally oblivious of what I am actually getting myself into. I had all these visions of having a completely clean house, clean kids and healthy, homemade dinners every night. Of taking my kids on daily trips to the park for play dates, me gossiping with the other moms while we push our kiddos on the swings. Of hitting the gym every day… and never did it cross my mind that I would actually miss the career I thought I loathed.

It didn’t take me long to realize how hard my new “job” was. How much I had loved my old job. Even though I had been 110% sure I was doing the right thing for myself and my family, doubt crept in.

I started taking a good hard look at myself, trying to figure out why I am the way I am. How I had become a person I didn’t really like or care for. How I had let myself fall so out of touch with my loved ones, my children, especially. It depressed me that my husband knew them better than me. That it was him that they went to when they were upset or hurt, that it was him they went to with their problems or silly secrets, that it was him they would snuggle up to on the couch. It depressed me that I was jealous of him for it. It depressed me that my friends didn’t call me for dinner or lunch dates anymore, and that my once daily interactions with my BFF had become limited to a text or email every few weeks or so. It depressed me that my siblings had grown closer without me, and that I was now the last to know what was going on in each of their worlds when I used to be the first.

Mostly, it depressed me that I had done this to myself – that my situation was no one’s fault but my own. And it depressed me that it was something that was so hard to undo. And, to be completely honest, it depressed me that I wasn’t instantly good at all the things I wanted so desperately to be good at. On top of that I found myself getting angry again – angry at myself. I fell into a mean case of the summertime blues.

Luckily, my birthday is in July. I say luckily, because it gave me an excuse to do something I had always wanted to do. I wrote about turning 35 with a skydive, and how it’s funny that it took something as extreme as skydiving to help kick me out of my funk… But it worked. I’m not saying that I don’t still struggle with depression or doubt, but that day was also the beginning of me looking at things a little differently. Or trying to, anyway.

This year has been an exercise in learning to forgive myself for the past four years of disconnect from my family and friends. Of realizing that I can’t be instantly good at motherhood, wifehood, sisterhood, friendship-hood… That like all things worth having they require work and effort.  Of learning to lower the bar just a little and setting realistic expectations. Sometimes celebrating the small stuff.  Learning to let go of the anger I wore as armor. Accepting that life is not ever going to be perfect, but that you can have perfect moments.

I’m continuing to work on becoming the me I know I can be, Shan 2.0.  I know my journey has probably been a doozy for those closest to me, dealing with Happy Shan one minute and Sad/Angry Shan the next, so I’d like to say thank you to those people. Thanks for sticking by me, listening to my rants and sometimes calling me on my bullshit when I relapse or start to feel sorry for myself. Thanks for supporting me as I seek to find balance in both my work and personal life. Of those whom I’m speaking,  you know who you are and I hope you know how much I love you and how important each of you are to me.

The other week I made quinoa for my family, which my husband politely ate even though it really wasn’t that good (I’ve since learned from a foodie friend at one of those long overdue dinner dates that the secret to quinoa is to add citrus). Stella, my youngest, looked up from her plate and said, “Mommy, you aren’t a very good cooker. Can I have a pop tart?” Ordinarily, my first reaction would have been to tell her to be nice and eat it all anyway, and then sulk and stew over how my family didn’t appreciate the dinner I had made for them and hell even though it wasn’t that good they should eat it and keep their mouths shut. But this time, I gave in. She happily skipped to the pantry to get her pop tart, and then came and hugged me tight and said, “I love you mommy. You’re the best mommy ever.”

There’s nothing quite like the honesty of a 4-year-old to help you see how silly you’ve been acting. I still can’t cook worth a damn, and yes, my child ate sugar for dinner instead of a healthy meal, but for a brief shining moment, she thought I was the best mommy ever. Score.