Silent Treatment, Shmilent Treatment

July 31, 2008

Every morning, when James wakes up, he likes to stand at the top of the stairs and scream some sort of news in my general direction.


And I think to myself, "Am I happy? Well that goes without saying--because I've been sitting here, just hoping that someone would come into my kitchen and stick their entire fist into my bowl of Special K...and now my wish comes true!"

But really I say, "Of course I'm happy! Come on downstairs, buddy!"

This morning, however, our conversation was completely new and different. James stood at the top of the stairs and yelled, "MOM! MY ROOM ES NASTY!"

Let me stop and point out that when a person who regularly licks the soles of his shoes, takes one bath a week, and earns time-outs for touching the dog's rectum describes something as "nasty," you can very safely assume that you have a major issue on your hands.

"Why is your room nasty," I asked?


"That's okay, buddy," I calmly replied. "We'll wash it."


You know what? My three-year-old son was absolutely right--his twin size bed is far too large for the barrel of my Kenmore. Since I was no longer sure how to handle the problem, I tiptoed back into my own bedroom, shook my husband awake and said, "Hey babe...James is asking for you. He only wants you."

Summer Fun

July 30, 2008

I'm so unmotivated to blog these days--and I'm not totally sure on this, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it's the summertime. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and I spend several hours a day chasing a half-naked James up and down our street. The neighbors must love it. I'm like, "Hi Betty! Beautiful day today!........JAMES DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH BETTY'S HYDRANGEA WITH YOUR PENIS!.....Really Betty, your flowers are breathtaking."

See? I'm having too much fun to blog.

Speaking of fun, I've developed a new summertime hobby that is also absorbing a great deal of my time--fattoo watching. Unless you're a close family friend, you probably don't know what a fattoo is--after all, I made it up myself.

A quick Google search will tell you that a fattoo is a face tattoo, but let me tell you, Google is completely packed with shiz. When you're in a state like Maine, where there are precautionary signs at the State Fair urging you to "Eat Responsibly," then fattoo = fat + tattoo (but only if the owner is wearing a teeny-tiny string bikini)

Let's review the math:


Got it? Genius, I know.

We are lucky enough to live one tenth of a mile from the public beach, and we are doubly lucky because that place is a hotbed for teeny-bikinis and out-of-this-world fattoo artwork. As far as flamboyant body exposure goes, our little beach is really quite similar to muscle beach in California--but also very different. I would have to venture a guess that my beach has a few more cans of Pringles floating around.

So that's my new hobby, and that's where I've been spending the bulk of my time. And now it's official--I'm a horrible, horrible person.

The Glue Factory

July 26, 2008

We've always enjoyed family walks, and as such, we try to take one every night after dinner. We usually do the same route--down the hill, past the lake, turn right at the ice cream shop, turn right at Ted's Restaurant, and then head home.

Half way between the lake and the ice cream joint sits a tidy, little funeral home that gets a whole lot of play. That's just the name of the game in a town where fifty percent of the population drives an Oldsmobile, forty-nine percent of the population drives an automated wheelchair, and the other one percent of the population is named Amy, Jared, or James.

Last night as we approached the funeral home, I noticed a congregation of our neighbors wearing golf shirts and standing around in the front parking lot. Some were laughing, a few were crying, and there was quite a bit of hand-shaking and shoulder-patting going on. Obviously one of my neighbors had "relocated"...if you know what I mean.

As we approached the crowd, I bent down to James and said, "James. You need to get off of your tricycle so Daddy can hold it. Fold your arms, use your quiet voice, and be very, very reverent as we walk past these people." You would have thought my kid was in a shock collar, because he followed those directions like an arse-kissing employee with a raging case of OCD.

As we worked our way past the crowd, Jared carried the trike and I walked the dog. We offered up a few smiles and waves to our neighbors, as well as a couple of sympathetic head nods. As we gracefully passed our neighbors, serving as a reminder of life's true joy, I felt a sharp tug on Gracie's leash--like it was attached to a brick wall instead of a sixty pound greyhound.

When I turned around to investigate the cause of the leash tug, I was absolutely mortified. My dog--you know, the one with chronic canine IBS?--decided to take a big, fat, watery dump right there on the front lawn of the funeral home. In front of fifty-or-so grieving souls.

By the time she was finished, the poo had the approximate circumference of a regulation frisbee--or in other words, a little too much for my Target bag to handle. But rest assured, I did every possible thing I could with that Target bag since fifty grieving souls were watching to see just how well I handled the situation.

James earned a popsicle for his flawless demonstration of reverence last night--but Gracie? Let's just say that the old "glue factory" threat is becoming more heartfelt with every passing day.

Not Very Exciting

July 26, 2008

There's really nothing new to report from my neck of the woods this morning.

The lawn needs to be mowed, our vacuum exploded, and I wish we could take a family vacation to Disney World. What can I say? I have a major soft spot for huggable, lovable, life-sized cartoon characters.

See? Not very exciting.

As of a few nights ago, James decided that he'd rather sleep in a tent in our basement than in his newly decorated bedroom. And seriously, why would I say no to that?

Before you start freaking out, please understand that we have a finished (albeit tacky) basement, and there's a potty down there too. I check on James throughout the night to be sure that he's not curled up next to the hot-water-heater, and he really doesn't seem to mind the colony of beetles that are large enough to wear backpacks.

James has been sleeping like a baby on Benadryl, I'm raising a future Bear Grylls, and Jared couldn't care less about any of it--that's what I like to call a win-win-win situation.

See? Not very exciting.

Other than that...James loves to eat pickles (who knew?), and I've taken up napping during my 4-hour shift at work. After a many year hiatus from soda, I've rediscovered the lusciousness that is Coca Cola Classic, and James now insists on eating four different kinds of cereal every single morning. And Jared's still kicking around here somewhere, too.

See? Not very exciting.

Monster Truck Dreams

July 23, 208

I've recently developed a new and overwhelming interest--driving over things.

I should actually say that I've recently rediscovered an old interest--because in the days before motherhood I drove over every damn thing in my mother-lovin' site. If you haven't already, you really should totally try it--gives you a whole new perspective on the world. And you don't need a 4x4 Blazer to do it, my Toyota station wagon works perfectly well.

I'm not totally sure, but I think this new hobby developed as a result of living in a house with a driveway. James loves to play in our driveway, and consequently it's littered with cups, bowls, plastic animals, bikes, Legos...everything.

I've been telling James for weeks that "if toys stay in the driveway, Mommy will run them over with her tires," and hot-damn, I wasn't lying. It started with a sippy cup. I wanted to see if I could aim the car well enough to squash it--I could. Then I moved onto a ball. I wanted to see if it would pop when I ran it over--it didn't. And then, it evolved into a large, rubber dinosaur. I wanted to trap him under my wheel so it looked like he was having an emergency--mission accomplished.

Rather than feeling sadness at the destruction of his toys, James found it to be completely awesome--and now we work as a team. James takes the time to set up obstacles for me to hit, and jumps up and down when I do it. I've come home to find strategically placed rolls of toilet paper, leftovers from the fridge, and my favorite sweater--which is precisely where I had to draw the line.

We've also moved on to bigger and better "drive-overs." We specialize in lawns, embankments, and when the winter rolls around I'm sure we'll do loads and loads of snowbanks. At work I've stopped pulling out of the paved entrance/exit, and upgraded to a lovely little strip of grass.

Last week, when I cautiously pulled out in front of a little convertible, the driver actually had the nerve to put down her cell phone and give me the finger. While I'm sure she wasn't expecting a car to pull out from between two pine trees, there was absolutely no need to flip me off--I totally used my blinker! Ho.

I guess I should mention that there really is no moral to this story, I'm simply suggesting a new activity to brighten up your day. Go ahead and jump a curb at lunchtime or something. You'll feel very, very powerful.


July 18, 2008

Yes, I know that the story of Jake and and Pooper is getting old. But I won't mince words here--nothing new is coming anytime soon. I'm on vacation. Eating onion rings. Letting my mother do my laundry.

Keep it real in the cubicles my friends.

Jake and the Pooper

July 15, 2008

On Sunday morning, Jared and I were right where we normally are--teaching the two-hour Sunbeam Sunday School class at church. We have a group of eleven three-year-olds, and I won't mince words here, it's complete chaos.

We try to teach them about Jesus, we really, really try. But usually, we miss the mark by a pretty wide margin. Our conversations usually go something like this:

US: Does Jesus love you?
THEM: No, Barney loves me.

US: Does Jesus live in heaven?
THEM: No, Jesus lives in my mailbox.

US: Who's this? (pointing to a picture of Jesus)
THEM: I need to poop.

Our doctrinal lessons might not be moving along so well, but I will admit that the Sunbeams' behavior has improved by leaps and bounds.

For example, this past Sunday, little Jake had to use the potty. Jared took him by the hand and led him to the bathroom. When they arrived, Jake immediately attempted to open the door to an occupied stall. Jared explained that someone was using that toilet and asked Jake if he knew how to use a urinal. Jake indicated that he did indeed know how to pee standing up by kicking off his shoes, socks, khakis, underoos, and doing his business.

When Jake finished up, Jared was busy washing his hands in the sink. He looked over toward the little Sunbeam and said something like, "Put your pants back on, buddy and let's wash your hands." But instead of heeding Jared's request, Jake charted a course of his own.

He made a bee-line for the occupied stall and crawled under the locked door because, duh, that man--you know, the one who was pooping in the stall?--Jake assumed that he might like to have some company to make the time flow by.

Jared heard a man's voice say something like, "Heeeeyyyyy! Whoaaaa! Whatcha doin' buddy?" And heard Jake exclaim, "Just sayin' hello!!!" And when he looked over, Jake's entire body, with the exception of his feet, we're sharing the inside of the pooping stall with this poor, innocent church-goer.

Before he had a chance to process the situation, Jared grabbed Jake by the ankles and pulled him across the tile floor on his belly and out of that unsuspecting man's personal bubble.

A moment or two later, the pooper, who happened to be an older gentleman, emerged from the stall, said hi to Jared and asked, "So is that your boy?" And Jared was all, "NO!"

See what I mean? That type of behavior is a huge improvement compared to previous weeks. I think we're definitely gaining control of this group.

A Round of Hot Dogs! For Everyone! On Me!

July 11, 2008

Wow, looks like there are some fantastic fantasy job ideas floating around out there.

Now get your head out of the clouds and start those quarterly reports, people! Just kidding, just kidding. I think we should all quit our day jobs and follow our hearts. That would be great--we'd have a world full of party planners, gift basket makers, and cardiac surgeons. And really now, what else would we need?

Since we're on the topic of work and jobs, I'd like to point out how wonderful life has been since Jared opened his office last week. It's true--he's only seen five patients so far, and yes--we're no where close to covering the operating expenses, but damn guys, life is good.

My husband gets up in the morning, takes a shower, eats breakfast, and heads out the door swinging his bagged lunch.

He's all like, "Bye Amy! See you tonight!"

And I'm all, "Have a great day, Jared!"

I know that might not sound exotic or exciting to you, but holy crappers, it bowls me over each and every morning.

You see, we've been married for six years, and during those six years we've never actually functioned as a "normal" family. When we tied the knot back in '02, I was 21 years old and one semester shy of finishing my bachelor's degree. Jared was 23 and only one year into his. He waited tables to pay the bills, and I had a job that paid $8 an hour and left me trekking all over the state of Maine.

We decided to work in a vacation spot one summer, since Jared could make $12 an hour as a restaurant manager and I could pull in $13 as a pirate impersonator. In the course of those three months our combined income came to $10,000 and hoo-boy, we thought we had a thing or two in common with The Donald.

After a few more years of earning silly-small amounts of money in Maine, we sold our house (our $40,000 house), we packed a 6x12 trailer, hooked it to the Blazer, and took off for Dallas, Texas. I was sort of excited, sort of freaking out, and sort of pregnant with James. Six weeks to be exact.

During our time in Texas, we cooperatively earned a master's degree and a doctorate. All the while, my husband worked on and off as a--and I mean this--dog food stacker at a locally owned pet shop. I would have to say that I had the more prestigious job at the time--you know, a babysitter. But for all of the grunt work we did, I'm proud to say that James never stepped a teeny-tiny baby foot into a daycare, Jared made it through school with no major delays, and I somehow managed to keep the impossible ship afloat.

I was sorting through a pile of mail last week, and came across one of those social security statements that we all occasionally receive. This one was addressed to Jared, and it outlined his total salary for each of the last five years. When I read the figures I couldn't help but laugh out loud, but the laughter quickly transitioned into grateful sobs--because somehow, somehow, this family has survived with a hard-working and devoted man who has never earned anywhere close to $20,000 in a year.

How? I honestly don't know. But we've never had an overdue bill.

People have asked us that question over, and over, and over again. Yes we drive an old car. Yes we sold that $40,000 house for a pretty hefty profit. No, our parents have never bankrolled us. And yes, we have some serious student loan debt to show for all of this. But really, when it comes down to the details, they're still an unsolved mystery.

So, yes. It's an amazingly huge deal every single morning when my husband says, "Hey Amy, I'm leaving for the office. Did you make me a lunch?"

And I say, "It's sitting right in front of you on the counter, Jared."

And he says, "Thanks hon. I'll see you at dinnertime."

And I say, "Okay. Good luck today!"

It's a really, really, really big deal.

And then, when he starts earning a paycheck, it will be such a big deal that you're all invited to my house for a party with hot dogs and a slip n' slide.

Mark your calendars, it'll be soon.

Dream Job

July 10, 2008

Do you ever find yourself slumped in your chair at work, admiring the troll collection that you've lined up along to top of your cubicle, and thinking, "Man...this is, like, totally lame."

Me neither. I don't have a troll collection.

But every once in a while I do stare at the weird girl who sits across the hall and think, "Damn...she needs some updated glasses frames." And then I inevitably find my thoughts drifting toward my wild n' crazy dream jobs.

So here's my question of the day:


Unless you happen to be Brad Pitt's personal bathroom assistant, I really don't want to see responses like I LOVE WHAT I DO or I'M ALREADY FULFILLED. Also, I'd rather not hear about your dreams of accounting, supervising, or lawn mowing. Let's stretch our imaginations here, friends. Let's get a little bit nuts.

I'll go first...

I would like to be a New York Times food critic. I think it would be fun to be a writer for the Ellen show. I've always wanted to be a nun who runs a third-world orphanage. I think I'd make a great inner-city, Spanish-speaking medical doctor. And finally, I'd like to be a stand-up comedian.

There. Now I'm totally embarrassed.

So quick! Before I erase this post, talk to me about your dreams of plus-size modeling...or race car driving...or scuba diving.

Prayers, Prayers, and More Prayers

July 9, 2008

If you're the praying type, please take a minute and send one up for my blog friends Megan and Marc. After trying to conceive for five years and navigating the long and complex road of adoption, they've found themselves pregnant with twin girls. SURPRISE!

The twins, Elliana and Emmaline, have recently been diagnosed with a serious condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and need to undergo surgery before they're even born. The laser surgery is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Please pray that the surgery will thoroughly correct the problem, and that Megan and Marc will be cuddling their two, healthy, miracle babies in a few short months.


Family Relations

July 9, 2008

Last night I sat in the bathroom with my mother-in-law while James and his cousin played in the tub. All of the sudden, without a split-second of warning, James picked up a rubber fish and used it to shoot a fat stream of soapy water right into my mother-in-law's eye.

She squealed, she jumped, and she reacted to the situation with the typical drama-level of a Lawson female--high.

As soon as her face was dry and her eyes were desoaped, she turned to me and asked, in all seriousness, "Amy. Did you do that to me?"

I kind of snickered and replied, "Do you really think I would randomly spray soapy water into my mother-in-law's eye?"

She nodded and said, "Yes."

Well, it's good to know I'm well regarded around the Lawson house.
The next time a child farts at the Sunday dinner table, I'm planning to claim the gas as my own. The next time a grandchild stuffs their spinach under a chair pad, I'm going offer up a satisfied nod, point to my chest, and mouth the words: it was me. And the next time my mother-in-law discovers a crayon-drawn mural on her living room wall, I'm going to ask for permission to sign my work.

You know, just to maintain my reputation.
(I love you, Meredith!)

They Don't Float

July 7, 2008

Yesterday afternoon I was lying in the grass at our local lakefront park, pondering the meaning of life and watching the clouds roll by. Jared on the other hand, was wedged into a port-a-potty attempting to clean up James's latest mishap without the assistance of running water. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.

Just as I was trying to decide whether a particular cloud looked more like a pony or a minivan, I was snapped back into reality by a loud and intricate string of serious swear words. I sat up, scanned the horizon for the culprit, and quickly laid eyes upon the guilty party: a teenage ghetto-hick.

In case you're unfamiliar, a ghetto-hick is a country-person who speaks, dresses, and attempts to act like an inner-city gangster. The primary difference lies in the fact that they must take routine breaks from "ballin' with da homies" to feed the goats on their grandma's farm, attend 4H meetings, and scrub their graffiti from the barn doors.

This particular ghetto-hick was about seventeen years old, wore a blingy hat that was perfectly crooked, and from what I could gather, he had just been dumped.

He was all, "Eff her that effing b-word! She's gonna drive me effing insane! I'M EFFING INSANE! Do you see me?! I'm effing losing my effing mind! Eff her. EFF HER!"

After sixty straight seconds of listening to many variations on the eff-word, I had my fill. I took a deep breath, mentally reviewed some key moves from my TaeBoShred video, and walked toward the potty mouth. I was primed to put an end to that speak, because the last thing I need is a three-year-old with an extra-spicy vernacular.

Just as I got to my feet, the perp was all, "I'M EFFING CRAZY, DUDE. SHE EFFING MADE ME EFFING INSANE!" And with that proclamation, he planted one foot on a guard rail, hurled himself into the air, smacked his head on a traffic sign, fell, landed with the guard rail up his schnuts, and rolled into the lake.

One eighth of a second later he emerged, obviously soaking wet. And without missing a beat he emptied out both high top sneakers, crookeded his hat, rung out the front of his shirt, and kept on bobbing down the sidewalk.

And just like that, the swearing stopped.

Are You Sure Your Back Doesn't Hurt?

July 3, 3008

As promised, here are a few pictures of Jared's new office. Please refrain from commenting that we need more pictures on the walls...we know we do. I'm thinking about ordering some prints of dogs playing poker, Van Gogh's Starry Night, and Pamela Anderson wearing nothing but sticky tape.

But seriously guys, doesn't this place just make you want to throw your back out?

Think about it. If you sustain a musculo-skeletal injury, this 132-pound hottie will actually touch your body. I bet that's enough to make you want to step into oncoming traffic, and that's totally okay.

Here is a picture of the main treatment space. If you're concerned about farting, jiggling, or screaming during a chiropractic adjustment, then you're in luck--there are two private rooms in the back. And yes--if you come for an appointment, James will be there watching Blues Clues on his tiny DVD player. Saves us a boatload on childcare expenses.

I bet these would be the tables Jared would sleep on if I ever decide to kick him out of the house. They're heated, and if you push them together they turn into a queen.

Some people have suggested that this space could use a coffee table with some magazines. I understand the suggestion, but really now, how are people supposed to jump for joy if there's a coffee table in their way?

This is where our front desk lady, Jared Lawson, sits. She looks exactly like my husband, and she doesn't ask us to pay her a cent. Not a bad deal!

So there you have it--the office that will pay off our student loan debt, replace the Blazer (possibly), buy me some jeans, and hopefully send us to Disney World someday.

Wish us luck!

Lessons in Professionalism

July 2, 2008

As with any new business, things are slow at Jared's office these days. He's landed one new patient this week and we think that's unbelievably stellar, so please don't tell us otherwise.

This morning, as Jared was getting ready for work, he mentioned that he has no patients on his schedule today. So instead of doing clinical, back-cracking kinds of things, he's planning on doing some man things around the office. You know--painting, drilling, screw-driving.

"Hey Amy," he said. "Since I'm not seeing any patients today, do I have to dress fancy?"

"Uhhhhhmmmm. Probably not," I replied. "But you should still look presentable. You know, in case people walk in to ask you a bunch of questions or something."

"Okay. So like jeans and a t-shirt and a Red Sox hat would be acceptable?"

"No. Nice jeans, and a button-down shirt, brown shoes, a brown belt, and some product in your hair would be acceptable."

Three minutes later my husband walked out of the bedroom wearing blue athletic shorts, brown shoes, and the free orange t-shirt that was previously featured in this post. In Jared's defense I will admit that his hair was very nicely tussled with the perfect amount of spray gel.

After some serious resistance, I finally managed to make Jared look presentable and sent him on his way with a turkey sandwich, a 'go-get-em' slap on the ass, and a clear reminder that he "would be totally lost without me!"

And it's true, he would be lost without me--and that's exactly why I took the liberty of clapping my sandy running shoes over his side of the bed when he had the audacity to mock me yesterday afternoon. Just a little reminder, ya know?

I'd like to thank my sister, the professional life coach, for her creative (and effective!) suggestion to deal with a stressful marital moment.

If you're interested in my sister's professional services, because she really is a life coach, drop me an email and I'll be happy send you the details--when I'm supposed to be working.

I Buy Local Because...

July 1, 2008

I'm the Executive Director of a regional "Buy Local Campaign," and at the risk of sounding stuck-up I'll admit that I get paid pretty well to do it. But what can I say? I'm good.

I've convinced more than a few Mainers to invest in a share of community supported agriculture and buy their grass seed at the Farmer's Union instead of Home Depot. I'm certainly not a sales person by nature, but I completely believe in the "Buy Local" philosophy, and as such, I've had no reservations about shouting my message from the proverbial rooftops--with an occasional break to peruse the handbags at Target, of course.

Based on my professional profile, I should have know better than to walk into a WalMart--but I needed birthday cupcakes, coat hooks, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse underpants in size 4T, a letter opener, some WD40, and a folding chair. I also happened to be driving by the WalMart on my way to meet Wally the Green Monster. So really now, at four dollars a gallon, what's a girl to do?

As I stepped through the automatic doors, I felt a little bit sick to my stomach. I'm still not sure if it was the sight of an obese man wearing a too-short concert tee, the Dunkin' Donuts employee licking his gloved fingers, or the fact that I was compromising my values--but either way, the nausea was authentic.

As James and I wove through the isles, I had to consciously dismiss my enthusiasm every time I saw a screaming deal. So instead of thinking: 'Whoa! These towels are only three dollars, I'm buying four of them right this minute!' I would think: 'My word, how many minimum wage workers were exploited to produces these low-quality towels?' as I loaded four of them into my cart.

Aisle by aisle my cartload grew taller and wider and generally more voluminous. And with each item added, my disdain for the catch basin of all things redneck faded a little bit more. In fact, by the time I reached the coat hook isle I was feeling pretty good.

As we navigated the wide variety of hangers and hooks, I quickly realized that this aisle was much thinner than the others. And based on the size of my load I was having a hard time keeping it all together. As I slowly and deliberately pushed, I peeked up over the top of my pile and noticed a woman standing in my way.

I politely glanced around my goods and said, "Excuse me, ma'am." She willingly moved, we exchanged quick smiles, and--bless her heart--she complimented my very dirty toddler.

"Well aren't you handsome," she said to James.

To which he replied, "Move out of da way you cwazy owd wady!"

"What was that, sweetie?" she asked, pretending like she hadn't heard him loud and clear the first time.

"I said....MOVE out of DA WAY you CWAZY OWD WADY!!!"

For a three year old boy, I must admit that he enunciated exceptionally well. And as such, the Crazy Old Lady clearly understood James's toddler speak the second time around. How very fabulous!

As of Saturday, I've renewed my commitment to shop locally. Not because of tax theory or economic principles, only because I don't want to lay eyes upon that lady ever, EVER again.