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Monday, December 27, 2010

Manicures with Nancy

I like to think my title is a lot like Tuesdays with Maurie, but with a different spin. Now, I haven't read that book in years, and if the old man dies at the end, than disregard the association. I just like the title. Nancy is my mother.  She has been getting manicures since I can remember.  In fact, her manicurist was a guest at my wedding, so you get the idea.  It was something that my mom did to be sure she always looked polished (no pun intended). When her regular manicurist started getting too busy, even for my mom, and got involved in nail art ( insert questionable expression here),  my mom started going to another manicurist... well ok several.  She asked me to join her today for a mani/pedi ( she is hip with the lingo). So I left the house, which is quiet since Santa has already arrived and I have eaten  most of the chocolate, and met my mom at Meijer. Yes, the 24 hour super store that also houses her nail place. I arrived first and walked in.  They asked in broken English what I needed, and I said I was waiting for my mom. It was then that he saw her coming up from around the self check out lanes. You would have thought it was Oprah. "Oh...Nancy, you her daughter, ok, ok, we set you up. Wheres Walt?" Ok, already this guy has dropped her name and now my Dad's too? There was no language barrier between this man and my mom..and what does this guy already know about me?
As we sat down in our chairs, they picked up like they were old classmates..Which I'm pretty sure is impossible. 
My mom had just been to lunch with a friend and was filling me in on the latest news, I should know who she is talking about, but I have forgotten the names of the neighbors that lived on Chestnut St. Mainly because I didn't live on Chestnut, because I wasn't BORN yet... but those details are inconsequential really.  As another man filled my pedi chair with water, I couldn't help but think of the sharp contrast, from being in Australia, and now in Indiana. The scenery just isn't the same. I sat watching old men sit on a bench, waiting for their wives to finish shopping all while they were falling asleep, and thinking of how I was on the beach on a remote island. No judgment, how can I when that experience was a given to me, not something I'm even going to pretend I could afford to do, both with time, or money.  But I sat and listened to my mom for awhile.
A little history on Nancy.  She has a million friends.  As a child, she seemed to be on the phone forever, and it always seemed like she was talking about me or my siblings... She also always took time for herself but never but herself first, at least it appeared that way to me, but I am the youngest of my siblings by 7 years. She adored her parents. She took aerobics class, she got her hair done, and she took time to care for her friendships. She was a high school cheerleader, and the class secretary. She graduated in 1959, how do I know this? She is the President and (CEO, if they had one), of the 59'ers... the classmates still get together once a month and my mom arranges. She studied dance at Butler University.  My mom makes friends with just about everyone, she has a smile that can light up a salon:)  In fact, I specifically remember her being close with the manager at Taco Bell, my favorite "restaurant" as a kid.. She has sung in the church choir forever.. and she met my dad while modeling in Chicago. They have been married for 43 years. She doesn't drink, although I heard she used to like apricot brandy, she never swears, and she creates words and uses them like Webster had printed them years ago.   I was brought out of my own head when I heard my mom giggling, she is ticklish, although, she was finished with that portion of her pedi, I was in the midst of the scrubbing and she was experiencing sympathetic tickling.. She then told the pedicurist that I had just been with Oprah on a trip, he asked me where she gets her toes done. Seriously?  Then she proceeds to tell him about me and my achievements, "You know, she hit a bit of rebellious stage in high school, but graduated from college with honors, now she has 4 beautiful boys ( who can do no wrong)  and such a nice husband ( who if he crosses my daughter, could do wrong, but for right now he is A ok) . I felt like I was 5...but this shouldn't surprise me, she had told the guy at Verizon the same exact thing yesterday when she came with me to get my phone upgraded.
I just nodded.  Off she went to the manicure station and while over there, she had already told the man (who is expecting twins) that she will be dropping off the carseat we don't need anymore and other baby items he may need.  My mom exudes love and people can feel it.  By the time I arrived to the manicure side, she was telling him that I had been a "surprise", albeit a wonderful one, and when she first found out she cried, not because she was happy, ( which she apologized to me  for) but because she was 36 and back then that was really really old to have a baby.
After a few moments, she looked at me and said, are you tired? Something she always asks, then tells the man that I have a baby with an ear infection... the truth is though, this guy loves it.  He is enjoying every second of this conversation as she is and then she asks about his boys. She knows his life story too?
Before I had kids, I took for granted just how much my mom loved and trusted me.  Not that I questioned her love, but she would drop anything and has continued to drop everything for me.  She is selfless, and if she wasn't so pretty, with kids and a husband, I'm sure she would be mistaken for a nun..When my second son was hospitalized for RSV when he was 4 months, she flew home, instantly ( eriously, I called her from the doctor and by the time we were admitted to the hospital she had flown from AZ to IN) . For my son, but mostly for me.  Her love encompasses every cell in your body and gives every single one a little hug.
After she paid for both our services, she sat down under the dryer next to me. A part of me thought..how did I get so lucky?  I decided that I had been gone for 2 hours and it was time to go. I gave her a kiss and left. But its these little moments that mean the most. Sitting in a 24 hour super store getting our nails done...maybe that is what makes the store even more "super " :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas evolved

Today at my lunch break I sped to the mall, of all places, to madly search for a lego figure named Jango Fett.  I had to park about 2 miles away, I was temped to park in the handicap spot but I resisted temptation. I stormed into the mall passing the guys wanting to put lotion on my hands, ignoring the cell phone guy asking who my carrier was and arriving at what I hoped to be my last hope in finding the ONLY toy my seven year old wants. I did not find it.  I went in to Journeys.. I figured that they have Mario Bro. stuff, they might have Star Wars stuff. No luck, I did get a great attitude from the husky sales-teen in skinny jeans ( he should really re-think that). I then thought I would try my luck at Spencer's. When I was a pre-teen my friends and I would go into Spencer's and giggle at the farting reindeer, not so much anymore. They have a full on Adult section! No joke. I probably stood there about a minute too long with my mouth ajar.  So I left feeling defeated. How could I let this go? When I overheard Parker telling our Elf on the Shelf that he wanted this figurine I tried to say that maybe Santa had a high demand for this lego and that he might not be able to deliver it. He then reminded me that Santa was magic and could just make one.  Oh s*it, I have been telling him that Santa can see him torturing his brothers because he is "magic". I only have myself to blame.  So it got me to thinking.  Have we created a society with instant gratifying kids who want what they want and want it now? Is it really any different than when I wanted a cabbage patch kid and my mom was not willing to punch another mom in the head so unwrapped the knock off brand on Christmas? Maybe not.  Where it gets a little shady is the fact that when I googled Jango Fett, several options appeared, except they were not at stores, they were on Ebay and at least $199. So some tool-shed, albeit a smart one, figured that this may be the hot boy gift item this year, bought a hundred of them ( all from my local toy stores presumably) and now he is holding my poor little son's hopes and  Christmas dreams random.  So what do I do? I considered writing an IOU (typing it of course) to Parker saying that it will be on its way in 5-10 business days. But I really wanted that red rider bb gun moment for him Christmas morning.  I just don't know. Christmas feels different this year. Who knew it was so much work? Having specific wrapping paper from the gifts from Santa. Hiding the presents, planning to give them nyquil on Christmas Eve so we can at least wake up after 4 a.m. Just kidding.  But I have noticed a decline in Christmas cards this year.  The point of Christmas cards was to update everyone on what you look like, but with facebook being so popular, we already know what you look like AND what you  have been doing for the past year.
So leaving the mall I felt defeated. It was my last hope and as I passed the now filled handicap spot I was thankful that I didn't park there.  Its going to take a Christmas miracle to find Jango Fett, but after what I have discovered this past year, just when you least expect it, surprises happen

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flirting with Australia

I have to admit. I'm suffering from a bit of an Oprah hangover.  I just spent 3 months preparing for a trip and 10 days on a trip that all started when I was given the trip of a lifetime.  Now that I'm back to the cold and snowy midwest, I miss Australia. I especially miss being treated like a celebrity.  I experienced a fraction of what a celebrity experiences, and I have a new understanding of how they become a custom to it...fast. For example.  I didn't really need to think. Everything was thought out for me. From when to eat breakfast, to a person pointing in the direction I was to go. I didn't even need to put my napkin on my own lap.  Quite a bit different to my home napkin situation, ok  to be honest, we don't even have napkins. Just paper towels.  We had a rude awakening when my friend and I stood 10 minutes waiting for the elevator before we realized that neither of us had pressed the button.  But really celebrities must occupy their minds with something else, because the mundane tasks that we do everyday are not even done by the Brad Pitt's of the world....more time to memorize lines I guess.  So here we were, 302 Oprah fans out and about.  There was a common thread that held us together and that was our love for the same woman. But like any love affair, the honeymoon is over quickly. And I must say that although the majority of the people were lovely (and teachers I might add) some had a couple screws loose.  This became evident very early and my buddy and I stayed clear. On the final day I was able to meet the big O herself.  People asked if she is the same in person and my answer is No.... She is even better.  There is a reason that she got to where she is.  She has a magnetic energy about her and when she speaks to you, she is fully present and looks you right in the eye. That is more than I can say about half the people I work with.
They took the 302 of us and broke us up into 5 or 6 groups. I was in the adventure group.  This allowed me to shamelessly flirt with all that Australia had to offer. The barrier reef, the koalas, the food, the city, the Sydney Harbor bridge and the people. Oh the people. Australians seem to have sunshine coming out of their pores.  They are genuinely happy and healthy and seem to be fully present in their lives.  In sharp contrast to the Los Angeles airport when I mistakenly smiled at the Starbuck's person and told them to have a nice day...(gasp) how dare I?
Clearly there was beauty beyond words that a photo or my words could not do justice, but something of equal value to me was the friendships that were made.  On most reality shows relationships fizzle quickly when the cameras disappear, but I met two girls in particular that I believe will be in my life forever. The friendship was effortless and we seamlessly befriended each other.  Although we live in different states, what we shared will certainly live on.
I close on a thought, albeit, a bit morbid.  This trip has taken me, an ordinary ( from an outsiders view) working mom and wife and spiced up my identity. I don't doubt that in my eulogy, which I hope is 5 or 6 decades away, that my boys will reflect as one of the proud moments in my life. Perhaps that changed me. In what way, I will have to wait and see.