Thursday, April 26, 2012

Off Like a Prom Dress...

Over on my Facebook Page (which you should all go and "Like") I had a little contest as to what I should write about next.  And the lovely and talented Michele Clark Powell won with her prom theme suggestion.  She suggested I compare proms of today to yesterday and goaded me into posting pics.

This was easy as I have 3 teenagers who are in prime prom season.  Of course it's totally different nowadays.  Now, prom is a cross between a nightclub, wedding reception, bar mitzvah, and Teamster's Convention post stripper party.  I give you some examples:

It's turned into a God damn circus now.  Starting from the asking part, you can't just ask a girl to prom, you have to have a "prom proposal".  It's a gradiose gesture akin to a marriage proposal.

Ridiculous.  At least these days they will have the prom at a banquet hall or something with dinner included.  We used to decorate our gym, have it in there and go out to eat someplace else beforehand.  And that was usually at some stuffy old place that your parents thought was fine dining.  It usually featured velvet wallpaper.

Then there was transportation.  In my day the boy just borrowed his Dad's car and maybe double dated with another couple.

Now they do this...

It's like a modern day Joad family, where 18 couples pile into a stretch Hummer and party like it's 1999... er somethin'.

The main meat of the prom is pretty much the same  - dancing, awkward socializing, douchie dudes trying to get up and sing with the band, girls crying in the bathroom.  The only slight difference is now there is grinding and simulated sex on the dance floor (unless you have a school policy against it) and there is the occassional shirtless toolbag gymrat/spray tan guy attempting to break dance.

After parties have changed slightly.  When I was in high school, some kid might have kids over in his basement to drink, smoke pot, and makeout after the prom.  Or you just went parking, that's when Dad's old station wagon came in handy, back seat goes down.  What?  Don't tell me you didn't?  Hey, the drinking age was 18 at the time, it was a different era.  Didn't you ever see "16 Candles"?  I know they still do the drinking and stuff but now they are renting hotel rooms!  Sorry but I'll do whatever I can to keep my teenage son or daughter away from a hotel room.  Oy!

However one thing remains the same over time... if all goes well the night will end like this...

Actually I knew a girl in high school that never even made it into the prom, she spent the whole time making out with her date in the car in the parking lot.

Anyway, here is a little glimpse into my past lameness.  My high school had 2 "proms" a year, a winter ball and Spring prom.  Here is my very first winter ball in 1979.  I was 14 years old, my boyfriend was 2 years older, that's why I went to so many proms.  Check out his lovely maroon tux:

Here we are in the Spring of 1980 at prom.  I've always gone for the stylish ones.  My gown was made out of white cotten eyelet material, the stitching around the eyelets was a light green.  It was actually a bridesmaid dress from my sister's wedding worn by another sister 4 years before.  Hey, I was frugal:

Then we come to the winter ball of 1980.  Wasn't I uber preppy in my floor length plaid skirt and black velvet vest?  How he could resist my hotness, I have no idea:

And our final prom together, Spring 1981.  That gown was a beautiful baby blue, you can't really see in this pic.  And of course John was so handsome in all white. lol  What's with the fence?:

My junior year, I moved to a new school which totally sucked.  My boyfriend went off to college and eventually dumped me by the end of his Freshman year for a college coed. :(  So I went to prom in Spring 1982 with a friend who acted like a putz after I rejected his romantic advances, so I don't feel the need to show him here:

Why does my hair look different in all these pics?  Some look dark, some look light.  I swear I never did any coloring except for the chlorine from the pool, I was on swim team I was in it twice a day.

Spring 1983.  My senior year, I had a new boyfriend from another school who I was all set to go to the prom with but he was messing around with his sister and broke a window at his house so his punishment was that he couldn't go to my prom.  Seriously?  Your punishment is to not let your girlfriend enjoy her senior prom?  His mother was an f-ing idiot anyway.  I still hate her, even though I haven't seen her in 29 years.   Oh well, I had already gone to 5 proms.

So, what are some of your proms stories?  Worst prom?  Best prom?  Share a picture with me!  If you can't post it here, (which I'm sure you can't) send it to me at  And I'll post it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Whole Life Has Been a Lie!

I love to watch some reality shows that concentrate on people's behaviors.  No, I'm not talking "Hoarders", that gives me anxiety... and the creeps.  I'm talking about like the matchmaking shows where they get people to understand their own behavior and try to make them more acceptable to others.  Also the business makeover shows like "Tabatha Takes Over" or the "Kitchen Nightmares" type shows.  Where the owners are made to realize why their business sucks so bad and it's usually because the owner is a putz or inept or just oblivious.  Don't judge me.  I'll tell you why...

People's perception of themselves can be wildly out of whack with reality.  Those people with mental disorders like anorexia or plastic surgery addicts, not withstanding... everyday people don't always think of themselves the way others do.  Good or bad.  So I love when these shows secretly videotape people, then show them the footage and how they come across.  "Wow I seem like a real (insert any of the following) - asshole, loser, whiner, prick, arrogant jerk, Debbie Downer!"  That's usually the result.  Then you have some narccisist (read: douchebag)  in denial that still thinks they were in the right and it was the editing, or that the behavior was still warranted.  Mel Gibson, anyone?  But sometimes the opposite can be true, a person can be surprised when they see themselves on film and they are oblivious to the fact that people do like them.

 It all made me realize that I would probably be pretty horrified if I could see video of me dating a few years ago.  It made me realize I was a girl behaving badly.   Yea, I cringe when I think of it now.  No wonder that guy never called me again because I sat there regailing my tails of woe for hours about how crappy my marriage was and how poor I am.  *face palm*  It's a wonder I didn't come back from the bathroom and find the guy dangling from a noose.  I'm sitting here flogging myself right now, trying to atone...

Our behavior is a combination of things... stories people have told us and stories we've told ourselves.  If you were like me and had nuns telling you what an evil child you were all through grade school, you start to perpetuate the myth and tell yourself the same story.  In reality, a nun could have said that only once, but I kept believing it and perpetuated it in my head.  So when I would get in intimate conversations with people I would starting relaying to them what a degenerate I was/am. 

Truth is, I've never done anything really bad my whole life.  I only ever got in trouble for performing my own version of Pop Up Video in class frequently (I always had a factoid, joke, or side comment about the subject at hand) or I was caught laughing at someone else's remarks.  I never skipped school, never did anything illegal like stealing or drugs, never dated bad boys, didn't drop out, didn't get pregnant, never got arrested.  My only crime was that I was sort of a class clown.  Does that make me bad?  NO!  And God damn it, stop thinking it does!

I guess the other thing that makes me feel bad sometimes is that I had an unsuccessful marriage.  However, I am not responsible for his behavior, I can only own that I recognized it was bad and got away from him.  I also feel bad that for the past 10 years, I've been broke because I've had no big huge career.  However, I did have one pretty successful career and that was being a parent, because I have raised some really great kids, I have a son going to NYU next year (are you sick of me saying that yet?).  I'm just broke because their Dad stopped paying his half, and I have stepped up my efforts to try and make up for his half of the money.  *subliminal message - hire me for marketing writing and social media now!*

Sometimes I can't accept my successes though, it must be that Catholic guilt.  For instance I feel bad being on my boyfriend's country club membership or that my kids go to private school because I still receive foodstamps.  See, how I am?  The kids got scholarships and aid to the private schools because they are extremely smart, and it doesn't cost my bf any extra to have us on the membership, so shut up, Madge!  The people at the club and school don't know I get foodstamps, well I guess now they do!  I can still act dignified, can't I?  Does being on government assistance mean I should immediately start shopping at Wal-Mart in slippers and ratty, dirty jeans, hanging off my ass?

I realized all this the other day when my 15 yr old daughter was talking to me about dating, and I said yea my boyfriend in HS was 2 years older than me.  She was very impressed, so I elaborated.  I said "yea, I was on swim team, cheerleading, and track, he was junior class president, a football player, captain of the swim team".  She was very impressed and asked what he looked like, so I pulled out an old picture album.  "Whoa, he's hot Mom!  Even for an old picture, he's hot!"  I said, "Yea, I guess he was."  And I realized I did have it good.  Until I moved to a new high school jr. year and everybody was mean to me, but by the end of senior year I was in the popular crowd again.  I persevered.  It's what I do.  So I thought to myself, I guess I am good.  I need to remember that and portray that to others... without becoming a douche.  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Even That Man vs. Wild Dude Wouldn't Take This Task On...

I am not really afraid of anything.  Except for frogs and rejection.  Don't ask me why but I've had a strange fear of frogs since I was little, I think it's the unpredictable jumping at you thing.  And rejection, well that's why I suck at selling anything except myself.  I was the worst commercial print salesperson ever, but I was a decent realtor.
Anyway... I mean, after raising 3 kids on my own, I usually accept any challenge without reservation.  Maybe a little anxiety but really no fear.  But I have one challenge coming up that I'm a little concerned about.  Oh Christ, more than a little, a lot.   I pride myself on being a one man band, chief cook and bottle washer, mostly because I'm a broke single Mom with a deadbeat ex-husband and can't afford any other solution.  But for this... *gasp* I am considering a third party alternative.
The problem... I live in upstate NY, and my son is going to college in New York City next year, NYU to be exact.  Now, I have absolutely no fear of the city, but this... this is different.  I am going to have to drive into Manhattan with a carload of crap and probably a rooftop carrier since my 2 daughters want to go to see big brother off as well.  NYU has you make reservations for check-in time.  You have like a 15 minute block to drive up in front of the building and schlep your junk to the 22nd floor or whatever.  
I've driven in Manhattan several times but it's so much easier to just park somewhere on the outskirts (NJ) and train it in.   That saves on expensive parking garages and it's just faster.  I can navigate the subway like a purse snatcher on the run!  But this... oy, I mean I can't stop anywhere, I can't leave the car unattended with all the stuff in it.  And I won't be able to see well to squeeze in a left turn or something.  I'm getting hives...
I'm seriously considering, dare I say it.... taking the basics that will fit in the car and shipping the rest.  *clutch the pearls*  I know, I know.  But I'm just getting tightness in my chest thinking about driving a loaded up vehicle like the Griswold's station wagon with the crap tied to the roof into Manhattan.  Then after I unload, where the hell do I park?  Sure, probably some $35/hour garage nearby.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I need a drink.  
Maybe it's not fear, maybe it's just being smart and realizing the reallity of things.  I guess if I were afraid, I wouldn't let my son go to NYC in the first place.  God bless him for having no fear either.  But he has his Mother's sense of adventure.  Maybe it's just my common sense saying, "You've done this before, you know how the traffic is, make it easier on yourself."  So maybe instead of being hard on myself for being anxious about it, I should give myself credit for trying to prevent a disaster.  
I used to think the only good, honest, honorable way of accomplishing something was to tackle it head-on the hard way, wrestle it to the ground with my bare fists.  But I guess I'm discovering sometimes the smartest and most sensible way to tackle something is to get help and create the least amount of stress for all involved.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Here's Your Holiday Frozen Dinner Kids, Now Pour Mommy Another Drink...

This is going to be a post with a very small demographic that will be interested in the subject matter.  A niche blog, if you will.  Or maybe I'll be surprised and more people will agree with me.  It's about how I am totally over "Mommies with Small Children" talk.

Yes, yes, I know I'm totally being a hypocrit because I used to be one.  But that's why I hate it now because I've done my time, I'm over the whole poopy diaper talk.  Don't get me wrong, I loooooved being a Mom of small children, I was even a stay-at-home mom for 5 years when my kids were babies and toddlers.  But now they are 18, 15, and 13 and I've raised them 90% by myself with their Dad being MIA, so yea, I'm done with the whole "I found great crafts to do with my kids" stuff.  Screw you, and your crafts.  I enjoy laughing and talking and discussing music and movies with my kids.  They are more entertaining than most adults I know.

I have to say that even when I had small children I was mindful of not incessantly talking about the latest bed wetting incident or how when my son said hockey puck it sounded like a bad word.  And seriously stop making every Facebook status about that stuff too, I'm about to defreind your ass.  I just knew that it was annoying to other people, because honestly when all of my much older brothers and sisters were having kids when I was still in HS, college, and after, and they talked about it all the time, I wanted to punch them in the pancreas.

I don't begrudge Mother's bragging (hell I do that one all the time) or trading stories about their children, but when every new Mom acts like they are the first one to ever have kids it gets on my last damn nerve.  Holy cow, you're right!  You are the first one to ever have a kid dump their entire dinner off of the high chair!  Oh my God, PLEASE tell me what it's like!  *eye roll*

So I'm a bitch.  Yea, say it.  It's just that... I'm tired.  Been there, done that.  And now even when I'm talking to Moms who have teens like me and they talk about all the great crap they are making for the holidays for the kids, I want to get out the ice pick and start stabbing.  I've never been a Suzie Homemaker, but I always tried to make things as special as I could with being broke and no domestic motivation.  I've played Santa and the Easter Bunny all by myself for the past 15 years.  I even played a damn leprechaun on St. Paddy's Day, 'cuz that's how we Irish do.  *thumps chest*  But again, I say to you...

I'm tired.

I put all my energy into working full time, running kids around to every activity and appointment under the sun, and trying to have a relationship, but let's face it, men at our age are just like having another child.  When they start asking you to put ointment on sh*t, it's all over for you in the romance department. 

But with my kids, I put my energy into different areas now.  I am at every event they have, every sport, every concert, every fundraiser at school.  I dry their tears over romantic rejection or frustration with a class.  I know all their friends, I have to because at this age, you let one little scumbag get near them and it can change their whole course of history.  You think I'm kidding?  How many times have you heard the phrase, "I got in with the wrong crowd"?  I rest my case.  Also, I've spent hours upon hours filling out FAFSA forms for these kids to go to their awesome private schools and for my son to go to the college of his choosing next year because he's smart and works hard, (which will probably be NYU).  I'm driving him down to NYU next weekend for an admitted students weekend.  So, you'll forgive me if I don't make God damn homemade Easter baskets!

Oh who am I kidding, I'll still buy some peppermint patties and peanut butter cups on my food stamps and fill up their old baskets.  But I won't be happy about it!  And I don't want to hear about yours! *grumble grumble*  I try to be nice and fein interest, I really do, but please don't make me feel like a big pile of crap because I'm not still in the storytime and playgroup mindset while making Christmas cookies.  I did my time... now get Mommy another drink...