What Did One Math Book Say To The Other Math Book?

“Dude, I’ve got a lot of problems.”

I love that joke.  Probably because I am a math book.  And one of my biggest problems keeps popping up lately… I am very ornery and I tend to bring out the ornery in those around me.  And that can get us into some hot water at times.

For example, I see Kid C and D’s elementary school bus driver every weekday morning.  He is a really nice, reliable man in his late forties or early fifties.   He drives safely and he keeps the kids in line and they all say he is a great bus driver.  Everybody likes him.  I even know his wife (she was the previous elementary school bus driver for Kids A and B when we first moved here).  We always exchange pleasantries and what’s-going-on’s, but we are usually limited to yelling just a few words back and forth to each other over the very loud diesel engine.

Prior to Spring Break he told me that he was going to Las Vegas for vacation.  For the last few days before school was out I would yell, “Vegas, Baby!” while raising my arms and laughing uncontrollably whenever he opened the bus doors.  The other kids on the bus looked at my kids and were like, “Is your mom drunk again?”  Whatever.  It made me giggle.  And, no, there is nothing else in my coffee.

So when we returned from Spring Break and all of the groggy kids were climbing onto the school bus on Monday morning I asked the bus driver how his trip went.  He smiled a wistful smile and said it was really fun, as if he had either lost a lot of money at the craps tables or he really wished he was still on vacation.  Or both.  I didn’t want him to be sad, so my ornery busted out with some bright-side support and I yelled, “At least you still have your pants on!”

He laughed out loud and then succumbed to my bad influence.  The engine was very loud but I think I heard him yell back, “Yeah, but I’m not wearing any underpants!”  …in front of a school bus full of little kids.  The poor man realized what he said as soon as it came out of his mouth and was mortified.  Imagine the face that a minister would make if he dropped the F-bomb in the middle of a church picnic.  The bus driver made that exact face.  Thank goodness all of the kids already think I am crazy and don’t pay attention to anything I say, so nobody was really listening to us anyway.  I don’t want anybody getting in trouble, so I will say again that the engine was really loud and I probably did not hear him correctly.  But if he did say it, then chalk up one more for my very bad influence.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Thank goodness.

Speaking of Vegas, Sheepdog gave a speech on food traceability and its impact on recalls in litigation at a food-borne illness conference in Las Vegas last week (I know, I know… how sexy is that?).  Now, I have shared a lot about Sheepdog over the past year, so I feel like you all should know him pretty well.  Even so, I can not stress enough how much of a square peg Sheepdog is in the holes of Sin City.  He does not drink, he is the married father of five children, and if he is not working like a madman to pay for all of those children to be housed, clothed, fed and educated, he is either running or riding his bicycle somewhere.  Not exactly the things that come to mind when you think of Vegas, right?

Sheepdog is more than a fish out of water on the Vegas Strip.  The place genuinely scares the crap out of him.  He went there only one time years ago for our brother-in-law’s bachelor party weekend.  He went out there with something like $200 “fun money” in his pocket (the most money he ever had in his possession at one time up until that point, and it was a big deal financially for us to send him there with that much) and then called me from a strip club or somewhere because he had already used up all of the money.  After only being there for an hour.  I won’t even say how much cash he ended up dropping that weekend, but it was not an itty-bitty number.  Apparently there was just so much of everything available twenty-four hours a day.  And apparently Sheepdog’s intensity does not translate into anything good in a place like that.

So Sheepdog and I were both joking how ever since that trip Vegas scares the bejesus out of him.  And it turns out that at least somebody was paying attention when we were talking.

On the drive home from preschool on Wednesday, we were talking about Sheepdog and I reminded Kid E that his Daddy was in Las Vegas.  From the backseat I hear him say to nobody in particular, “Daddy is a-scared of Vegas.”  For whatever reason, I found this to be particularly funny.  And I found it to be even more hysterical when Kid E asked what, specifically, it was that Sheepdog was a-scared of.  Cue the ornery me.

Now, I’m not proud of this (although I do keep laughing about it), but I told Kid E that Daddy was scared of “too much boobies and drinking and spending money.”  And being a four-year-old boy, he thought that me saying those things was absolutely fantastic, and he proceeded to repeat them over and over and over again.  And I, of course, kept encouraging him because he follows up saying “boobies” with that priceless little kid giggle that just melts my heart.  At least I did remind him that he wasn’t allowed to mention any of this when he was at his Lutheran Church-based preschool.  Fingers crossed that I don’t get a note from his teacher anytime soon.

“Dude, I’ve got a lot of problems.”  Trust me, I know.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Tell Us a Story

It is important that Sheepdog spend as much time with our daughters as possible, else they are more likely to become meth addicts or end up headlining at Delilah’s Den.  Without even being aware of it they are setting their own relationship standards for the future, and they are learning mainly by watching him.  So, technically, if one of them ends up grinding one-night-stands on the dance floor or is referred to as the girl who knows how to “hook a steak up,” it would be all Sheepdog’s fault.  No pressure there, right?

As I am acutely aware of this, I encourage any and all father/ daughter interaction.  Over the years they have tried many activities together.  They have done the standard dinner and a movie date many times, but it does not really allow for enough quality conversation.  They have also gone the more active route of biking and running, but those sports require that the parties be on at least similar skill levels in order for everybody to have a good time (you can’t really talk if you are constantly panting and on the verge of passing out just to keep up).  Hiking was a great alternative until the girls had to go in the woods and got all freaked out over squatting in public and wiping with leaves (they get that from their mother).  So on to other activities they went.  We are not giving up.

Recently Sheepdog has been taking Kid A out to practice driving.  I don’t care if your daughter is Danica Patrick, teaching a girl to drive is fraught with peril.  And frankly, Kid A is not exactly a natural behind the wheel.  She and Sheepdog did not do well together in an enclosed vehicle, especially after he yelled at her (in his defense, she almost ran over two pedestrians).  After I went out to practice with her a few times (promising myself that I would not raise my voice or clench or cry while sitting in the passenger seat, so as to not derail her already wavering confidence), I was so scared that I actually called the local driving school anonymously.

Instructor:  “Good afternoon, Johns Creek Driving School.  How may I help you?”
Me:  “Hi.  I am not going to tell you my name on purpose.  My kid has been practicing her driving for a while now and she is still really bad.  I mean REALLY bad.  Just awful.  I don’t even want to let her out of the neighborhood yet.  Actually, I don’t want to let her out of our driveway.  She took your class this summer and she only has three months in which to complete her six hours of behind the wheel.  I don’t think that’s gonna happen.  What should I do?”
Instructor:  “It is okay, ma’am.  This actually happens a lot.  We can certainly give you an extension.  But maybe you should have her start her behind the wheel lessons and let one of our qualified instructors work with her.”
Me:  “You don’t understand.  I would feel responsible if she hurt someone or crashed one of your cars.  And I feel fairly certain that would happen.”
Instructor:  “It’s really okay, ma’am.  The instructors have brake and gas pedals and they have no problem taking the wheel if need be.  I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
Me:  “I don’t care if Jesus takes the wheel.  This kid is high risk.”

Sheepdog decided he was going to try again to teach our daughter to drive.  He figured that he should get her driving in a more relaxed atmosphere, so he took Kid A and Kid C (Kid B was at dinner with her soccer team) to the Andretti Speed Lab in Roswell.  This place is as cool as the name implies.  They have rock climbing, video games, a ropes course, pool tables, bowling, basketball, a comedy club, and the main attraction – extreme SuperKarts, complete with 9 hp Honda GX-270 engines in them.  And it was a twofer in that he got to spend some quality daddy/ daughter time together with the girls.

Is it too much to ask Kid A to wear this while driving a regular car too? Cause I'm certainly gonna be wearing one in the passenger seat.

Round and round the track they went.  Sheepdog had a blast.  Kid C didn’t drive by herself because she was afraid at first, but she and Sheepdog have another date planned there so she can learn to drive soon.  Kid A apparently acquired some decent driving skills on the track, although she still has a way to go before we release her on GA-400.  All in all, it was a great plan.  Way to go Sheepdog!

On the drive home the girls were pestering Sheepdog to bond with them some more.

“Tell us a story,” they begged.  “Tell us a story like mommy does.” 
“I don’t know any stories,” answered Sheepdog.
“Tell us about your first girlfriend, ” prompted Kid A.
“Well… define ‘first girlfriend.’  Do you mean the first girl I took on a real date or the first girl I made out with or what?”
Always looking for the more salacious details, both girls responded, “The first girl you made out with!”
Sheepdog though for a minute.  Then he began, “I don’t remember the details, but I guess I was in fifth or sixth grade…”
From the backseat Kid C (who is in fifth grade herself) yelled, “Well, I’m certainly not ready for THAT!”

I don’t know if Sheepdog is going in the right direction with this whole father/ daughter bonding thing.  He may need a little more coaching first.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Sheepdog Does Not Like Pregnant Women

This is an email I received this afternoon as I walked into the grocery store:

To: Stacy
From: Sheepdog
Subject: List of 5
Beyonce is off the list effective immediately.  Please install either Gabrielle Union or Zoe Saldana.

That was it.  And I know exactly why he sent the message… he must have just heard that Beyonce is pregnant.  And he took her off of his list because he does not like pregnant women.  And I knew it was coming.  He is so predictable.

I take full responsibility for this.  You might find it strange that the father of five children has such an aversion to those who are ripe with child.  I give you that it may seem odd on the surface, but if you do the math you will realize that I have been pregnant for just under four of the eighteen years that we have been married.  That is almost a quarter of our whole marriage that I have been knocked up, craving weird things, and complaining about sciatica, morning sickness, swollen lady parts and Braxton-Hicks.  No wonder he doesn’t like pregnant women.  As a group we/ they are not always the most fun to be around.  I always say that I loved being pregnant, but Sheepdog remembers a completely different experience.

He also gets really disgusted about what pregnancy can do to a woman’s body.  I think he was in awe of the creation of life and all that jazz when I was carrying Kid A, but that sh!t got old fast.  He was affected more than I was by the weight gain, the body morphing, the waddle-walk… and that’s nothing compared to the horrific pregnancy phenomenon that occasionally occurs where a once beautiful woman changes from head to toe so much that she doesn’t even look like herself anymore.  It’s like the baby pokes them from inside with an ugly stick.

Debra Messing from the television show "Will & Grace," before

... and then this happened

Now, don’t go judging Sheepdog harshly.  Sheepdog is actually a man who thinks that all women are beautiful.  So much that I often have to tell him to chill about it.  I think that man was born with a little extra testosterone or something.  And he is wonderfully sweet to me no matter what I look like, even when I was about-to-blow pregnant.  He is just that much happier knowing that he will never be married to a pregnant woman… never, ever again.

So Sheepdog once again finds himself adjusting his List of 5.  His list at one time or another has included Selma Hayek, Jessica Alba, and other beautiful women who made the mistake of procreating and thus alienating Sheepdog forever.  I guess I’m lucky that he still likes me after all the times I’ve been pregnant.  Not so much luck for Mrs. Jay-Z, I guess.

I will confirm this with him when he gets home from work, but I’m guessing his inner-monologue reaction to seeing Beyonce round in the belly went something like this:

“Wait… what?  My dirty girl is pregnant?”
“Heh, heh… she did It.”
“Crap, now I have to change my list.”

And thus, the e-mail from this afternoon.  He really is predictable.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

I Like Nice Boys and He Likes Dirty Girls

The idea of a list of celebrities that you can get with and it doesn’t count as cheating has been around for a while.  Friends covered it in “The One With Frank Jr.” wherein Ross eliminated Isabella Rossellini before he laminated his list… which he did just before he bumped into her at the coffee house.

Ross: Oh no, no, wait, wait! Isabella, don’t… don’t just dismiss this so fast. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Isabella Rossellini: Yeah, for you.

The odds of us meeting and then hooking up with these celebrities are in the neighborhood of Slim and None.  That improbability is what makes the game safe for a happily married girl like me.  I don’t actually want to break up any families, starting with my own rather nice one.  But I do enjoy me some good-looking men, so I’m certainly up for playing.  Plus, it’s a great way to learn about people.

The kind of person that you are attracted to says a whole lot about you.  Are you drawn to bad boys?  Do you go for women with great personalities, regardless of their looks?  Are you drawn to rocket scientist types?  Does your ideal woman sport a sleeve of tattoos and a pierced anything?  Someone who is great with kids?  Mary Ann or Ginger?  Or are you looking for a big, strapping, manly man (who is perfectly good at expectorating)?

Sheepdog and I are always updating our lists.  Here’s my current one …

George Clooney

Ashton Kutcher (on the left)

Rob Lowe

Jimmy Marsden

Ben Affleck

That’s my list.  Obviously, I have a type.  And also I like men in their underpants.  For this purpose, I overlook their politics or their movie roles or their marital status, although I would like to point out that mine are all fairly well-behaved, nice, family men.  Kind of like Sheepdog, now that I think about it.

And speaking of Sheepdog, here’s his current list…

Minka Kelly

Blake Lively

Beyonce Knowles

Eva Mendes

Keira Knightley

Kind of not like me.  Dirty, dirty girls.  And that Beyonce scares me to death, frankly.  But this is his fantasy list, so go for it Sheepdog.

One last thing… this past Spring Jennifer Garner and her husband, Ben Affleck, were in Atlanta while she was filming a movie.  There were several sightings of each of them in Sheepdog’s office building in Buckhead, and rumor had it that they were working out at the fancy gym that is on the top floor.  Of course I took this opportunity to ride those elevators like it was my job in order to facilitate a chance encounter with someone who has been on my list for over a decade.  Sadly, it was not meant to be, because I never once saw him let alone got to tell him he was on my list.

Sheepdog quickly got sick of me showing up at his place of employment under the pretense that I missed him and wanted to take him to lunch.  He knew exactly what I was up to and called me out on it.

“So what?  You are riding on the elevator for like an hour (stalker), and Ben does happen to get on with you at some point.  What would you even say?”

I was not about to let him get the best of me.  So I said, “If Ben Affleck got on the elevator with me I would play it cool and very obviously and slowly look him up and down.  Then I would say loud enough for him to hear, ‘Very nice, but in my fantasy you were wearing one of those matching track suits, like in Good Will Hunting.'”

Then I would get off of the elevator and actually take Sheepdog to lunch.  Because I am a very lucky girl.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Having a Lot of Kids Will Almost Always Lead to Drinking

This past weekend we were heavy two cosmonauts (temporarily).  Sister C and her husband traveled to Jekyll Island for a wedding and her oldest two kids stayed with us.  My nephew is seven and my niece just turned five.  They are good and get along well with my kids.  So we threw them into the pot and told them to hold on tight for a bumpy ride.  Seven kids over three days was gonna be FUN!

Friday was Day One.  I was getting my hair cut and colored (I have the Catch-22 of giant Jersey Girl hair that grows super fast, yet started turning grey when I was only 25 years old) because my sparkles (what I call the evil grey hair when it shines next to my naturally dark hair) were lighting up like a Christmas tree.  My appointment was early, so I just asked Kid B (Kid A sleeps like the Teenage Undead until noon if you let her) to watch them all until I got back.  Sheepdog had made the mistake of deciding to work from home that morning without checking our schedule first, so he got roped in on the babysitting gig too.  Actually, the Wii ended up babysitting three of them, as the boys played video games until their eyeballs were just about to pop out of their heads.  The girls went upstairs and dragged out the $17,000 worth of American Girl Doll equipment, clothes and furniture that we have in a closet and played until their little fingers were bleeding from working those tiny buttons.  I gave them spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and ice cream cake for dessert, then they were off to bed!  Everybody was happy.

Saturday was Day Two.  We had a 1st Birthday Party to attend for my youngest niece later in the afternoon, but it was sunny and hot in the morning so we decided to get everybody dressed and ready for a day at the pool first.  Nine sandwiches, drinks, snacks, towels, bathing suits and eighteen flip-flops (well 17, as Kid E still has the boot on his left foot), and an assembly line of sunscreen later, we headed off to the neighborhood pool for some cooling off.  I was Mama Duck with my seven little ducklings marching behind me along the side of the road.  As we walked I heard the dreaded rumble of thunder off in the distance.  Crap.  We decided we could eat lunch at the pool while we waited the required 20 minutes before being able to go back in the water after thunder and we pressed on.  No sooner did we get to the pool than another boom of thunder rocked our ears.  Double crap.  The skies still looked blue and the clouds were not menacing, so everybody just ate lunch and we hung out for our second penalty.  As it goes, just seconds prior to the end of the waiting period, yet another thunderbolt crashed somewhere far away.  Despite our insistence that it was just a neighbor bringing in his trash cans, the lifeguard went all hard-core and shut us down again.  Third strike and all, we gathered our things and headed back to the house, never having even dipped a single big toe into the cool pool.

After our complete bust of a pool day the kids all complained that they were hot and sweaty and sticky from sunscreen and they all wanted soapy showers before the party.  Sheepdog was adamantly opposed and suggested we just hose them off in the backyard.  But I conceded to their request, mostly because they went straight into pj’s the night before.  By the end we depleted the hot water supply from our not one, but TWO hot water heaters, but everyone was clean, cool and dressed for the party.

Now the party for my other niece was in Kennesaw, which is forty-five minutes away no matter how you cut it.  The big monster truck that I drive all of the kids around in only fits seven (especially with all of the car seats), so we had to formulate a plan on how to get there.  We had the option to take two cars, but after much discussion we opted to take the truck and just put two people in the waaaay back, using body and boyfriend pillows for back support.  Sheepdog and I both grew up in the 70’s and have ridden seat belt-less on the hump in the back seat or in the empty bed of a pickup truck.  Hell, the “infant car seats” from when we were babies were basically laundry baskets that got put on the front seat next to the driver.  And we’re both fine, so we decided to Old School it.

I am considering this for my next car, as they say they were able to fit 13 people into it.

One dumb ass decision by Sheepdog and me, a driver who fell asleep at his wheel and two busted up cars later, we were getting a fire truck escort over to the right shoulder on GA-400S.  Our girls riding in the back saw that the driver was nodding off and called to Sheepdog to PLEASE GET OUT OF THIS LANE RIGHT NOW, DADDY.  He told them that it was fine, yet turned on his blinker and attempted to move over in the bumper-to-bumper traffic.  As the girls continued to let him know that they were frightened and he (and I) countered for them to calm down and that no one would really drive while asleep, but we were moving over nonethele… KABOOM!  He rear-ended us.  Fortunately we were going under 15 miles per hour and not even one person was hurt (the guy’s car is a different story – he lost his entire front end).  Oh there was some screaming at first from the jolt of the impact, but the kids really were troopers.

You really can’t even imagine how bad the sleeping driver felt when he learned that he just crashed into a car filled with seven little kids on their way to their cousin’s birthday party.  Why not just run over some nuns and orphans while you’re at it?  But, like I said, everyone was just fine and we went on to the party and had a great time celebrating and visiting with even more aunts, uncles and cousins.

So Sunday comes afterwards.  Day Three was a hot and sunny once again, so we decided to just go balls to the wall and attempt the pool one more time.  Suits, check.  Gear, check.  Food, check.  Sunscreen, check.  You know the drill by now.  Mama duck and baby ducks.  And on this day there was no thunder.  As a matter of fact, it was a fantastic day at the pool all around.  The kids had fun, swam like fish, and Sheepdog and I managed to keep an eye on everybody and we even got to spend some time hanging out together.  By the time we gathered out things almost four hours later we had four or five more kids who came back to the house along with us, everybody a little sunburned and everybody a little worn out.  It was a great end to a (mostly) fun weekend.

After Sister C came to gather her chickens and take them back home, and Kid A took off to go to dinner and the movies with her friends, and Kids B and C were invited to sleep over at their friend’s house, I made a simple dinner of burgers and dogs for Sheepdog, Kid D, Kid E and myself.  As I was standing at the grill I said a prayer of thanks that we were all safe, and I made a promise that no one was ever riding without proper seat belt restraints under my watch again.  And then I came back in the house and opened a giant bottle of wine and I proceeded to drink most of it.  Because having a lot of kids will almost always lead to drinking.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

No, He Didn’t

Mornings, "Mother's Day, Run Away" style. I'll never tell what is in my mug.

I also considered calling this post “Payback is a Female Dog,” but enough about animals already.  If you read Friday’s post, you would be aware that I have gone out of town every Mother’s Day weekend for four years now.  My weekend is filled with a whole lot of nothing but reading, sleeping, and pondering the wonderment of life.  I am actually still pondering right now.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I awoke on my own, had a great cup of coffee while watching boats go in and out of the marina, leisurely read the paper (Shout Out!  The Press of Atlantic City), and went to a fantastic Mother’s Day service at the church in which Sheepdog and I were married (Shout Out!  Rev. Ron Watts).  Then I came back and fell asleep on the deck for over an hour.  It was a fantastic day.

After a simple veggie burger and tomato lunch I decided to check in with the real world and read some emails.  Sheepdog always says that he is never quite sure that I will return from one of these trips (and rightfully so), so he is careful not to call me too often, leave too many messages, or generally bug the crap out of me.  See – I told you that Sheepdog is a very smart guy.  Yet on Mother’s Day, in a very uncharacteristic twist, this is the email that Sheepdog sent me.

To: Me
From: Sheepdog
Subject: Mohawk

Happy Mother's Day!

A friend saw the picture and after she stopped laughing hysterically she said that’s either the kind of thing that you find incredibly endearing, or the kind of thing that you will kill your husband over. (Shout out! Payback is a female dog).

Wish me luck for tomorrow (and maybe wish Sheepdog a little luck too)…