Not to Imply That My Friends and I Are 6-Year-Old Children, But, Yeah, We Kinda Are

Last Friday I went to the movies with my friend ALW. She suggested that we go see Adam, which is a love story about a young man with Asperger’s. It was a phenomenal movie and I’m tremendously happy that we went to see it.

In some places, the movie was difficult for me to watch. In fact, I was stifling big, ugly sobs right from the beginning. But the ending was so honest, so perfect, so wonderful and inspiring that it made all of the tears worthwhile.

Unfortunately, that ending was slightly overshadowed by an incident in the theater in which ALW and I were sitting. Like I said, it was Friday night and the small theater was packed. There were very few empty seats. ALW and I were about halfway back on the left.

Here is our view of the screen:


It was maybe 20 minutes before the end of the movie, when this guy stood up:


Evidently this guy needed to get out of the theater. And in what I can only assume was an effort to not disturb the people on his left and right, he decided to go over the empty seats in front of him instead of sidling down his row to the aisle.

So the guy threw his leg over the seat in front of him. And everyone in the theater could see him doing it. Although his actions were not obtrusive. Yet.


We continued to watch the movie, while the guy continued to crawl over the seat.

Almost there!


And then, when he was aaaaalllllllmost there, he’d practically gone all the way over the chair, it happened. There he was…ass up in the air…silhouetted in front of the screen…right down there in the second row…in a practically silent theater…


…and he farted.

Loud.

And the entire theater heard it. And we all tried to act like it didn’t happen.

With the possible exception of ALW who was trying so hard to not audibly laugh that she was shaking uncontrollably. And I am not normally the type of person who is like, “Ha, ha, someone farted! Ha, ha!” (Evidently ALW is.) But I have never seen such an obvious fart set up quite so perfectly in front of such a large group of people.

It is, quite possibly, one of the top five funniest things that has ever happened near me.

The movie ended. I cried a little more. I accused ALW of acting like an infant. And we’re on the escalator headed out of the theater and ALW and I and the couples both ahead and behind us all started laughing about the fart.

It was, most definitely, the most distracting fart I have ever been witness to.

Photo from the movie Adam was borrowed from Fox Searchlight. (Go see Adam. It was a great movie, and well worth your time. Take tissues. And do not—DO NOT—climb over theater seats if you are feeling gastrointestinally challenged.)

School Prep

Friday was Team Stimey’s “Get Ready for School Day!” And in case you’re thinking I waited until the last second to get ready for school, you’re right. School starts Monday. (For Sam and Jack. Quinn has to wait until next Tuesday. Sigh.)

Our first stop on Friday was Target. School supply lists in hand, we waded through the by now depleted and disorganized school supplies. (Sorry, Jack’s teacher. There were no more 1-inch red folders. Maroon will have to do. It’s kinda red.)

Both years prior to this one, I’ve complained about the school supplies list and all the stuff we have to buy. Well, something happened this year, and the schools are no longer allowed to ask for as much stuff. Consequently, there were two lists: the much-shorter-than-last-year recommended list and then the very short “donation” list.

After doing all the complaining in the past about the lists, it was odd that my first response to the shortened list was remorse. Because now the teachers are going to have to buy those things that didn’t make the list. After seeing Sam and Jack’s teachers last year run out of soap and paper, I made sure to buy everything on the donation list that was still in stock at Target. (Sorry about the lack of hand sanitizer. It was all gone from the shelves. Hope swine flu doesn’t hit our school.)

We made it home from Target with about an hour to spare before our school’s open house, which is when the kids get to go in and see their classrooms and meet their teachers. About ten minutes before we left for the school, the sky opened up and it started to pour rain. I had to use an umbrella to get from our house to the car in the driveway. It was really bad. Quinn disappeared for a couple minutes and reappeared holding his parka that he had dug out of the winter coat box.

Then we were off. Of course because there were eleventy billion families at the school, we had to park down the street and around the corner. Then I had to wrestle my three kids, my purse, my four bags of school supplies, and my camera under two umbrellas and slosh my way down to the school.

Once we were there, things went well. Jack liked his classroom and gave his teacher, Mrs. P, several big hugs. His desk is right by hers and right across from his friend T.

See? Parka.

Sam nerded it up right away by retreating to the reading corner and finding a book while Quinn and Jack partook of the snacks Mrs. P had set out.

Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrdddd!

Then we went to Sam’s class, which is on the second floor of the school. Who knew there was a second floor of the school?

Sam barely noticed his desk or his teacher or the room. He went immediately to the reading corner and found a book. This time he had a friend.

Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrddddsss!

I love having readers.

Well, Sam finally met his teacher and looked at his desk.

Oh. Right.

Then we wandered around the school and said hi to the specials teachers. I was on such a high from my Thursday conference and how well things had gone in the new classrooms that I almost forgot to be nervous about school.

Then, while we were in the music room, Jack climbed onto a chair and jumped down, grabbing the flag on the way, nearly resulting in mass breakage and chaos. And I remembered why I’m worried about school.

Plus, whereas last year he just had to walk from the car straight over to the kindergarten playground (about 30 feet) at morning drop-off, this year he has to walk all the way down the length of the school and then find his class line among the many, many classes lined up on the basketball court. We did a dry run at open house, but it will be really different on Monday.

I’m really worried about morning line up. Sam will be with him, but I don’t want to put too much responsibility on him. That’s not fair. But I don’t want Jack to meander away from school because no one is watching him either. I’m not quite sure what to do. I’m almost considering putting him on the bus in the morning, because someone will be in charge of the kids on the special ed bus.

But then again, he has a great team. And they’re going to help him. And they’re going to help me. And we’re going to help them. And I was totally stressed about summer school and it went great. So I don’t really know what’s going to happen. I’m just going to cross my fingers, keep my faith in my amazing kids, and wait to see what the future brings.

DCMM: Tattoo You?

The other day I reminded my husband that I wanted another tattoo and that I was saving up my earnings from my videography business to pay for it.

“I know,” he sighed. Because even though he’s not a tattoo lover, he accepts my love of them. (I have three.)

I clicked my wrists together. “I’m getting bracelets,” I told him cheerfully.

And then his face dropped, he looked like I’d shot him, and he said, “You’re what? No you’re not.”

I was completely surprised. I mean, it’s not like my tattoos are all hidden away and demure. I have two black lizards tattooed on my left arm that even the tattoo artist made fun of because, “You’ll be able to see this from across the street.” But for some reason the thought of tattoos on my wrists made him cringe. It has something to do with the fact that they would be difficult to cover even in a long-sleeved shirt.
I’m not sure what it is about tattoos that are so off-putting to people. The way I see them, they are meaningful art that just happens to be on your body. Yes, there are a lot of bad tattoos out there and I could better understand my husband’s reaction if I had plans to tattoo, say, a naked lady on my hand.

But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m going to put some words on my left wrist (which is often covered by my watch and silver bangles anyway) and some words and small icons on my right wrist. I even promised to purchase conservative cuff bracelets that I could wear to cover them if he ever saw fit to invite his tattooed-lady wife to a work function ever again.

Ever since I was 18 and got my first tattoo at about the same time that I got my eyebrow pierced, people have been asking me two things: (1) Did that hurt? and (2) How are you going to get a job?

Here are my answers: (1) yes, but not too badly, and (2) I have never had an employer ask about or even mention any of my body art. 

Times have changed. We no longer live in a society where having a tattoo means that you’re either a marine or a biker. I don’t think that tattooing is a radical act anymore. Sometimes it seems like every mom at library story time is sporting art on her body. 

I do understand about regret and permanence. My rule for myself is that I have to want a specific tattoo for at least a year before I get it inked on my skin. I’ve held fast to that rule and it has saved me from a couple of ill-advised ideas that fortunately never came to fruition. I currently have three tattoos: the lizards I got when I was in graduate school, a dove based on a Picasso sketch I got when I was in college, and my first tattoo, a yin-yang encased in a sun that I got my first year at college. For me, all of them have stood the test of time. 

I’m curious as to what other “respectable” members of society think about tattoos. Do they have them? Do they worry about covering them? If they are in charge of hiring people for jobs (or, say, promoting their husbands), do tattoos play a part in that decision? 

I still believe that tattoos are beautiful if done tastefully and well and I still want to get my tattooed bracelets. I think one of the wonderful things about tattoos is putting them places that are meaningful, which is what I am trying to do by inking over my pulse points. 

I do have to put some thought into my husband’s feelings. He has acknowledged that it is my body and I can do what I want with it. But he has also said that he would be disappointed if I did it. I’m torn. But I do know that I shouldn’t ask my mother for advice because she would probably drop into a dead faint. And then side with my husband.

Original post to DC Metro Moms.

It’s Like I Won the Awesome-School Lottery

I would like to tell you two things:

1. I am terrified about how Jack is going to do in first grade. I watched Sam last year in first grade and I cannot imagine Jack doing the work that he did. Not that I care about him doing it on the same level (he’s capable of that, but…) but I cannot imagine him agreeing to do it. I cannot imagine the homework struggles we are going to have this year. I cannot imagine the behavioral struggles that are going to happen in school.

2. I am beyond happy to know that he has such a great team to help him.

Our school’s Open House is tomorrow, so we will go in and meet the teachers and see the classrooms, but the principal set up meetings today with parents of “kids who need a little extra help” to make sure that the teachers and the support staff all know the parents and so we could discuss anything we wanted to ahead of time. He said we could do it as an IEP meeting or as a casual parenting meeting.

Guess which I chose?

So we had a half hour meeting where I got to meet Jack’s aide and the rest of the support staff (most of whom I already know), and the principal went over Jack’s schedule, and I passed out my “Who is Jack?” document to everyone at the meeting.

I also have sections on general things about Jack, his struggles,
his strengths, our hopes for this year, and my contact info.


The meeting was wonderful. When the principal came in to fetch me, I went to shake his hand and he insisted on a hug. He also started the meeting by saying that the whole team loves Jack and is happy to have him at the school.

“He has a special place in my heart,” he said, putting his hand on his chest.

Everyone introduced themselves. They all said the right things. They asked my opinion on things that worked and things that didn’t. Jack’s teacher assured me that burping won’t bother her. Also, because Jack’s summer school teacher is a teacher at our school, they had all discussed what she was successful with over the summer.

Plus, they wanted to know what sort of things I did for him over the summer, so I was able to brag about Camp Stimey (without calling it that) and the structure I gave him over the summer.

Jack’s first grade teacher was Sam’s first grade teacher last year, so I’m familiar with her and she likes my family. (Hooray for Sam paving the way. He’s kind of a rock star at that school.) She gave me her cell phone number (and a hug). She’s excited that I’ll be volunteering in class. She has plans to get him a container of moon sand to keep nearby in case Jack needs to take some time to satisfy his sensory seeking ways.

Also, Jack’s buddy T is in the same class.

This school and this staff have gone out of their way to help Jack and to make things as easy and as positive for him as possible. I am so grateful. And so extremely lucky. I am still terrified about school, but it is lovely to know that there is such a wonderful group of people at the ready to help him.

Sigh

I can’t be a good parent today. I don’t know what it is, but I’m a nightmare. And so are the little horrors.

And I’m tired and my neck hurts.

I have to drag all three kids to Jack’s OT soon.

I’m annoyed.

I don’t know what to make for dinner.

I have a headache.

If I hear any more whining or crying I am not sure I can be responsible for my actions.

Ted Kennedy is dead.

Something in the trash smells really bad.

This is, like, the worst day ever.

(Did I miss anything?)

CSSS (Camp Stimey Summer Summary)

Well, Camp Stimey has closed up shop for the year.

I had planned to fill last week with Animal and Nature Week. But my vacation hangover lasted longer than I thought it was going to. Plus Sam and Jack’s school had sent home a bunch of activities to be done over the summer. I didn’t feel like it was super necessary to do all of the activities, but the reward for doing them is to be on the Wall of Fame in September and I know that really matters to Sam. Evidently it really matters to Jack too, because once I asked him if he wanted to do the activities and be on the Wall of Fame, he buckled down and started doing the activities without a lot of coercing.


Dammit.

It seemed harsh to make them endure an arduous Animal and Nature Week (Go see butterflies at the nature center! Go on hikes!) while also doing a summer’s worth of work at the same time. Plus it would have required me to do some planning. So, no more Camp.

I’m pretty proud of myself for the summer I gave my kids though. We didn’t do as much journaling or workbook completing as I thought we would, but I managed to get through the summer making my kids happy and excited to do things. We didn’t just sit around the house wanting to kill each other, which I think is a good thing.

In case you’re taking notes for next year, or maybe just to make myself feel good about what I did this summer, I now present to you my Camp Stimey Summer Summary! (Hey, I wasn’t APISS Woman of the Week for nothing.)

Week 1: Transportation Week! This was one of my favorite weeks because it was so easy to come up with activities. Camp Stimey 2010 will definitely have a Transportation Week. Maybe we’ll go skydiving. (They let 5-year-olds skydive, right?)


Week 2: Government & History Week! This week was also a great success, with museum trips, a tour of Alex’s office, a day out with Joeymom, and fireworks. This was also one of the most tiring of all the weeks. You try dragging three kids around the American History Museum two days before the Fourth of July when everybody else within a 50-mile radius of DC had the same idea. This was also the week of the most ill-advised outing we embarked on: a tour of the US Capitol. Oy.


Week 3: “Ology” Week! Remember this week? It was my excuse for dragging the family to Luray Caverns, a.k.a. The Most Awesome Place Known to Human- and Gollum-kind? We did manage to fit in some fun all-things-science activities, even though Jack’s summer school completely intruded on Camp Stimey’s time slot.


Week 4: Sports Week! Also a good week. Poor Jack didn’t get to participate much in Sports Week, aside from the WNBA game I dragged everyone to. (Funny how I’m always dragging everyone everywhere, huh? In my defense, they always almost always have fun once we’re there.) We covered a good number of sports that week though: golf, field hockey, vomiting, soccer, football, baseball, and basketball. You may disagree with me that vomiting is a sport, but in Stimeyland, it definitely counts. In fact, it is one of our more popular sports.


Week 5: Boot Camp Week! Also known as Stimey Half-Asses Camp Stimey and Gives Her Kids Some Squirt Guns Week! This might have been the munchkins’ favorite week.


Week 6: Geography Week! This is when it all started to fall apart. Okay, it all started to fall apart last week, but this is when it really started to fall apart. Here’s a tip: don’t do the week with all on-paper activities a month and a half into summer. Your kids will be bored to tears. We still have our half-finished map taped to the wall.


And there you have it. Let’s try not to focus on the fact that summer is far longer than six weeks. Remember that we were on vacation for two of those weeks, which I’m counting as The Most Awesome Camp Stimey Field Trip Ever! (With a side dish of disaster.)


We had guest campers and guest counselors and meet-ups and lots of ice cream. I think you can call that a success.

I May Have to Trademark My Name

My blog name that is.

I’ve been going by StimeyTM since the mid to late 90s. I’ve been blogging as StimeyTM since early 2007. I’ve been tweeting as StimeyTM since early 2008.

So imagine my chagrin when my Google Alerts and TweetBeeps (I learned at BlogHer that these are called your “ego feeds”*) started showing up with other Stimeys.

I know. You are as shocked as I. OTHER Stimeys? And if you are like me, your first thought upon hearing that was, “This is COMPLETELY unacceptable.” Of course, you may not be as invested in the name as I am.

There is, of course, Stimey.com, and I still can’t for the love of me figure out what that website is about. I think they post funny photos. But honestly, that site is so weirdly laid out that I can’t stay there for more than three or four seconds.

But you know who I’m really upset about? DJ Stimey. There’s been a lot of twitter chatter lately about this dude. He seems to be some sort of rapper. And all I can think is, dear lord, don’t let this guy hit it big and end up featured in US Weekly every issue or I am going to look like an ASSHOLE for going by the same name.

It’s bad enough that the Urban Dictionary lists one of the definitions of Stimey as “stupid” and uses the sentence “You look stimey,” to illustrate the usage.

But I just can’t take the possibility of someone else taking my super awesome, practically trademarked name.

A few months ago there were only a few tweets here and there about this Stimey fellow, and many of them were semi-threatening and insulting, similar to, “you think ur so bad stimey we’re all talking bout you hind ur back” and things of that ilk.

I’m saddened to tell you that now the posts are getting more frequent (and often retweeted verbatim over and over by the same couple of people) with links to videos and whatnot. Although maybe the best one I saw was the one that said, “Stimey birthday sex video,” which was followed by a link. That one freaked me out for a minute.

Turns out there’s a song called “Birthday Sex.”

The thing that almost all of these tweets have in common is that they are composed of terrible grammar and text speak. As someone who has used “LOL” exactly once in her life—and who has earned a living as a copy editor—these tweets make my skin crawl almost as much as the specter of someone else stealing my nom de plume.

So let’s all point our collective death rays at this dude’s career. Or maybe just start sending suggestions of other names for him: DJ Stupid (thank you, Urban Dictionary), DJ Obstacle (thank you, Free Dictionary), or maybe just DJ Let’s Not Get Too Upset or Retaliative at the Real StimeyTM.

* Ego? What ego? Ahem.