Guns and Pedicures Don’t Mix

I’m not a fan of guns. Years ago I went to a firing range with some girlfriends as part of a “Charlie’s Angels” day (shooting followed by mani/pedis and tarot card readings). While a few of the ladies loved shooting those targets, I was completely turned off. There was something about holding a weapon capable of blowing someone’s head off that didn’t appeal to me.

Unfortunately, my kids haven’t inherited my disdain for firearms. In fact, they can’t get enough of them. I suspect it’s my karma for trying to provide a “weapon-free” home for my children (stop with your laughing).

My son is now eight, but before he could talk he would pick up anything—a spatula, a rock, a cracker—and point it at me while making a “pew” sound. He didn’t watch TV and we never had guns as toys, so he didn’t even know the word “gun” (he called it a “pewer”).

The Serb advised me to go with it (“Kids love guns. Plus, he’s half Serbian.”) but I was compelled to make my son understand the inherent danger of guns. My solution? Bambi.

It was the first movie I ever saw and I’m still scarred by his mom’s death by the hunters. Since my kid had to leave the theatre in hysterics when Wall-e left his little cockroach buddy behind, I figured one viewing of Bambi would scare him straight.

We set up a movie night and I snuggled in next to my son. He was riveted as Bambi’s mom approached the clearing. The shots rang out and I felt him jump beside me. He slowly turned to look at me.

“Mommy, is she dead?” he whispered.

“I think so, sweetie,” I answered.

“Did the hunters shoot her?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “They shot her. Dead. Bambi’s mom is dead.” The time for subtlety had passed.

He looked back at the movie. Bambi was scrambling around, calling for his mama. I was risking an aneurysm trying to hold back my sobs.

Finally, my son looked at me.

“Do you think the hunters will cut her up and eat the meat at the campsite, or take it home first?”

Feck.

If you can watch this without hyperventilating in a fetal position, then we may be fighting.

How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket Without Throwing Your Panties

You know how some women complain of Dummy Mummy syndrome when they’re pregnant? When they can’t remember/find/accomplish much of anything because most of their brain power is being siphoned by a 3-ounce fetus? I suffer from a particularly virulent strain of Dummy Mummy that has lasted well past gestation, through toddlerhood, and appears to be settling in for my children’s tween years.

I can lose my keys when I’m holding them in my hand. I once put a package of mushrooms away in the dryer. My kids play Let’s Find Mommy’s Glasses on a daily basis and, more often than not, they are found on my head. My point being, I’m often operating at a level that would suggest I not operate heavy machinery.

A few years ago I was driving my son to school—stuck behind a school bus going the speed limit—and we passed a speed trap. I slapped on a mental post-it to slow down on the way home and promptly forgot all about it. Ten minutes later I blew past the police car going 45 kilometres per hour over the speed limit (29 miles per hour for you non-metric types).

The officer who pulled me over was not impressed with my Daisy Duke driving demonstration. He was even less amused when I couldn’t find my registration. After spending ten minutes in his cruiser, the officer came back and informed me that not only was I speeding and lacking proper registration, but my driver’s license had also expired. Sixteen months earlier.

At that moment I did what women (and more than a few men) have done in my situation since the first Model A Ford rolled off the assembly line: I cried.

Through my tears I explained that when the license had expired I was pregnant and on sick leave with pneumonia, impetigo (!), pink eye, strep throat and a host of other maladies, leaving me barely able to stand, let alone take notice of a renewal notice.

The policeman told me that by law he should confiscate my car on the spot and release it only when my paperwork was in order. Then he glanced in the backseat at my sleeping nine-month-old daughter, and at me with my uncombed hair and stained pajama top, and he took pity on me.

The speeding ticket was reduced from $250 and four demerit points to $70 and no demerits. Driving without registration was going to cost me a whopping $600, but he advised me to fight the fine with my medical records in court.  Since I’d been stopped only a few blocks from where I lived, the officer followed me home (rather than impounding my car) after I promised to get new registration that day.

A few weeks later I showed up in court and faced the judge. With one smack of the gavel my charges were dropped. Lesson learned: if you get stopped by a cop, try crying. If that doesn’t work, blame your spawn. If all else fails, throw your undies. As a last resort, put the three together. Game, set and match.

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Now this is my kind of speed trap.

It Ain’t Easy Being Amish

Like Kim Kardashian and turtlenecks, technology and I do not mix.

I don’t get TIVO, literally or figuratively, but I use my VCR several times a week (fun fact: I still have The Bachelor’s Andrew Firestone proposing on one of my tapes). I had an answering machine until last year, when my phone company informed me I’d be getting voice-mail and call-waiting whether I liked it or not. My 89-year-old grandma had to bully me into joining her on Facebook and I was on Twitter for a month before I dared to tweet.

My home life isn’t the only casualty of my technical no-how. Before getting knocked up nine years ago, I worked for a huge telecom company as an account director for their eBusiness clients. The day I was offered the position, I ran (no joke: I got shin splints) to a bookstore and bought Internet for Dummies, however…it did not help.

I muddled along for a year channeling Amanda Woodward* while spouting terms like “Portal” and “UNIX” but I was a disaster. Getting my husband drunk (and getting myself pregnant) was my only way out that mess.

Now I stay home with my kids and write fiction, but I don’t understand how Kindle works—can I order a book to read online if I don’t have a Kindle? Who’s keeping track of all these eBooks? Where’s the *&$#*  library?!?

Google Connect is on my blog because it’s on every other blog, but I have no clue what Google Connect really does. (p.s. to the twelve of you who’ve joined? Thank you for justifying the three days it took me to get it on there.) As for this Google+ hullaballoo: is it even a real thing? Do I need it? Why is Google trying to take over my life?

Two years ago I got an iPod from my justifiably appalled sister and it took me six months to figure out iTunes and how to upload (download?) music. It’s not like I’ve simply fallen behind in recent years: I missed the entire CD Man trend in the 90s because I was loyal to my Walkman.

Also? I’m a fossil.

*For those of you unfamiliar with the deliciously malicious Ms. Woodward, first of all: how dare you! Secondly, sit back, relax, and learn from the master:

Bunny & Buford: A Love Story

It was a bleak Saturday afternoon many years ago. My brother-from-another-mother (we’ll call him Ho Boy) was despondent because the most recent lust of his life had jilted him. On his birthday.

I’d already bought tickets for us to attend Tony & Tina’s wedding* that night, but HB was not in the mood for a party. That’s how I knew things were bad: HB usually was the party. He was a former army engineer studying to be an ER doctor who served as a big brother to kids with special needs and acted in murder mysteries on the side.

We’d met in a university ballroom dance class and became fast (and platonic) friends. At our end-of-session shindig, we ditched the dancing to play darts in a pub across the street, where we proceeded to convince the patrons that we were brother-and-sister Latin dance champions with a background in porn. Obviously, this Tony & Tina thing was just what HB needed to wash that skank right outta his hair.

After a few hours of cajoling and a vat of wine, HB agreed to go with me to the “wedding” on one condition: we couldn’t just dress like the other guests in everyday wedding finery. We would have to wear costumes and improvise characters as though we were part of the show. I swallowed my wine, along with my dignity, and agreed to his terms.

Raiding my mom’s closest, I came up with a dress that would’ve made Rhoda Morgenstern proud and stuffed my bra enough to make Dolly Parton blush. HB threw together a few mismatched pieces, topped it with a cowboy hat, and we were good to go.

At the church, other guests nudged each other as we sauntered to our seats. HB greeted everyone like long-lost friends. For some unknown reason we adopted southern twangs, despite the Italian-New York backdrop. He introduced himself as Buford, a Zamboni** driver, and me as his wife, Bunny, a Mary Kay beauty consultant.

The cast didn’t know what to make of us but once they realized that we were there to enhance the guests’ experience rather than disrupt it, they brought us into the action. The night was a blur and a blast. As they say in the biz, we killed. Other audience members assumed we were part of the cast and by the end of it, we felt like we were, too.

Not only did I give HB one of his favorite birthday presents, he gave me the confidence to give acting a try—which led to me dancing on stage in fishnets less than a year later. And for that, dearest Ho Boy, the Serb thanks you.

*An interactive and improvised play where audience members “attend” a faux-Italian wedding.

**The ice tractor you see on the rink at hockey games. Why someone with an accent from Georgia would be driving a Zamboni, I do not know.

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A match made in Value Village clearance bin Heaven.

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