Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What are Big Sister's For?

I'm coming out of my cookie-filled, scotch tape abyss for a moment to let you all know a very important, yet lesser-known holiday is today.

Today is my little brother's 30th birthday. Yes, December 21, 1981, I was dethroned as only child and given a baby brother, who was brought home Christmas morning. In a stocking.

All I wanted was a record player.

This day is also significant, as it is the first thing I can remember, chronologically speaking. It was that traumatic. (Like how I can take his birthday and make it about me? It's a talent, I swear.)

Growing up with Ratboy was either irritating or fun, depending on what age you asked me that question. As little brother's go, he was pretty typical...following me around, fanning me with palms, fetching me cold drinks, and handling my fan mail.

Strangely enough, he tells a different story.

He would tell you about the time I rammed his face into the bathtub when we were left alone in there while our mom answered the phone. He was just learning to walk, didn't speak, and when I was asked what happened, all I said was that he "fell."

There's also the story of how I chipped his front tooth with a purse mirror. We were playing around, shoving it in each other's face and saying "look at that ugly face." Except my aim and eyesight have never been what they should, and I got him with the mirror. We both just sat there, stunned, knowing full well we were both in deep doo doo.

This is the pose we all call the "Uncle [Ratboy]" face. I have about 20 of these particular pictures of him. Also, see that front tooth? I did that.

And he may be the only freshman in high school to get detention his first week of school for being late for first hour that many times. I had a car and a first period teacher that didn't care how late we were, and I was his ride. After a few more detentions, he eventually starting taking the bus.

I'm just that awesome of a big sister.

Somehow he survived childhood with me, but even more surprising, he survived me going away to college and leaving him to fend for himself with our parents.

(Although he did visit me in college once, where, as the wonderful big sister I am, I got him raging drunk. I believe we were doing shots in homage to dead pets of ours and our grandparents. "To Pepper! To Benji!" Sorry Mom.)

He's having a big party tonight, and I can't go. I feel bad about this because he came to my 30th birthday extravaganza. (Though, to be fair, I begged him. But it was also a Saturday night and we were doing karaoke. He walked in from the parking lot, did a shot of whiskey, slammed it down, and proclaimed, "Okay, now I can deal with your friends!")

Ratboy now lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and step-dog. He is everyone's favorite uncle, no matter what age...mostly because of his vast collection of obnoxious t-shirts and video game systems. He is the youngest of the siblings when we are at my dad's, and one year, my step-sister asked a table full of nieces and nephews, "Who wants to be like Uncle [Ratboy] when they grow up?"

They all raised their hands, every last one of them.

Happy birthday, Ratty. May this be the year you get to sit at the adult table.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Municipal Genius

I'm a proud mama.

(Not that I'm not normally a proud mama. I just hate to give praise for everything my kids do. "Way to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, honey!" You know what happens to those kids? They become pain-in-the-ass adults who think they need to be rewarded for every little thing they do, and when they don't get it because it's the real world they become depressed, attention-seeking narcissists. Come on, you all know someone like this.)

Larry Potter won the district spelling bee last Thursday. He gets to advance to the regional spelling bee in January. And, if you hear him tell it, ONCE he wins that, he goes to the state competition. And from there, he goes to Washington, D.C. where he will win the Scripp's Spelling Bee and be famous.

No, my son doesn't have a big head at all.

It was nice to watch this feat. There were 43 contestants, all fourth and fifth-graders. LP was number 43, so every time he spelled a word correctly, the round was over and a new round began. The look on his face when he realized he was in the last two was absolutely priceless, and I wish now I had taken a picture of it.

When practicing for the bee, I asked him to spell "genius." He gave me a shit-eating grin and spelled his own name. ::sigh:: I shared this on Facebook. At the bee, he was one word away from having to spell that very word. His teacher and I exchanged glances when the next person in line got the word. (His teacher knows all about LP's ego. At the beginning of the year, he told her that she wouldn't be able to find a spelling word he didn't know. A proud moment for any parent, I assure you.)

LP isn't an athlete. Sure, he takes karate and likes to play soccer in the fall, but we knew when he was a baby that athletics would probably not be his calling in life. He used to fall over on the rocking horse, and later, a tricycle. He didn't learn to walk until he was 16 months old. He's been hit in the face more times with a ball than I care to remember, and once when I asked if he wanted to go out for pee-wee football, looked at me like if I just asked him to go re-shingle my roof.

But from a young age, I knew spelling bees would be his scene. Back when I was a reporter, I had to cover this very competition. In my story, I wrote the word with which the final contestant won the bee. I went home and asked LP if he could spell the word (I don't remember what it was). He was three. And yes, he spelled it correctly.

I stole this from the newspaper website. This is LP spelling at the bee. I'm so glad he wore a clean shirt that day.

He has been patiently waiting for fourth grade so he could participate. And secretly, I've been waiting along with him. Every parent wants their child to feel personal success, and though LP has always been bright and gotten good grades, I knew he needed something slightly competitive. Any competition he's been in has always been athletic, and let's just say he doesn't feel great when he's through.

I was nervous for him at the bee. Every time he was up, I held my breath. When it came down to him and the last girl, my heart about beat out of my chest.

For the last two contestants, it's a sudden death situation. If the person spelling the word gets it wrong, the other person has a chance to spell it right. If the second person spells it wrong, nothing happens and they move on.

One of the words the other contestant had was "municipal." She got it wrong. LP, in his big-headed glory got up to the mic and proceeded to tell the official that he didn't need the definition again, because "I'm pretty sure I can spell THAT word."  (Remember folks, Disgruntled Husband won the election for Municipal Judge earlier this year.)

And then Mr. Cocky spelled it wrong.

In the end, he won with the word "adequate," which I found fitting.

He now has 6 weeks to study for the regional bee, which I'm sure will be more cocky moments for me shudder at.

But for now, I'm proud of my son for his accomplishment. He got an enthusiastic round of applause from his class that day, his name on the announcements the next, and his picture in the newspaper.

He's pretty proud of himself, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pin this, Sucka

JDub and I have a new obsession: Pinterest.

If you're not familiar with Pinterest (which JDub and I differ on our pronunciations...I say it's pin-ter-rest, she says it's pin-trest), please don't rely on me to explain it. My explanation is really lame: it's a thing on the internet with good ideas you can virtually pin to your virtual bulletin board.

See? Lame.

I suggest you go check it out: .

There are different categories to search through, and different people to follow. I generally peruse through the humor category and then maybe Holidays or Fitness. There's a way to link what you see on the internet and put it on Pinterest, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Many hours have been wasted on this site. It's the new Facebook. If you're crafty, this is your mecca.

Just one of the many things I've found on Pinterest that express how I feel on a daily basis.

If you're like JDub, you can pin paint colors and organizational ideas you'll never use. If you're like me, you'll pin really funny, yet inappropriate sayings and household hints to make life easier than it already is.

From what I understand, you may need an invite to join. If you do, email me at and I'll see what I can do. Also, if you want to follow me on Pinterest, my name to search is Mean Jessica.

(Yes, Mean Jessica. It's also what will show up if you get an email from me. This is thanks to JDub's friends that I've never met.)

Come discover the newest in time-suckage with me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My friend Lexapro


I'm here. Really.

I know I've been away for awhile without any explanation. Like I've explained in the past, I have a real life off the internet. And like any real life, it gets a little hairy sometimes.

Between all of Hoover's issues, my reunion freak out, and general adult issues, I've been left a little ragged.

Okay, a lot ragged.

Okay, it's a lot more than a lot ragged.

I was in a very dark place. Issues with myself, my marriage, and my kids all came together in one horrible gloomy November cloud. I think it's more of a mid-life crisis kind of problem, only not mid-life (because that would only have me living until I was 64, and I need to be around long enough to drive my kids crazy at their own houses).

"I'm not crazy, M'Lynn. I've just been in a very bad mood for forty years."

I was on a liquid diet for awhile of coffee and red wine. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. (Which normally would be awesome, but I wasn't trying to, which honestly, I've been waiting my whole life to say those words.)

I spent most of my time in bed. I couldn't face my blog because this is such a happy place. I felt like a traitor.

I've started coming out of it this week, thanks to some old friends and some good medication. But also, I've kinda sorta figured out a path for my life, and it involves going back to the ideals I had at 20-21. I think that was the hardest part of all of this; looking back at what I was going to do with my life and realizing I hadn't done it. As my friend D said, "You can't live in the past, so get over it." Blunt, but true.

I just thought I was having a bad day...for three weeks. It wasn't until I realized I didn't want to do Christmas that I figured out it was more than just a bad day. Christmastime is my most absolute favorite time of the year. And being a former RA, I know one of the signs of depression is loss of interest in normal activities. (Well, being an RA and all of those wrist-slitting depression commercials.)

So here I am, making cookies and trying to find the Christmas radio station on my sad little radio on the top of my fridge.

It's good to be back. Now, if I can only keep up the depression weight loss...