Friday, September 25, 2009

Remember My Name?

One of my earliest memories is of me, at four years old, putting on a dance show in the kitchen of the little home I lived in with my parents just before their divorce. I would finish one "routine", change my dress, and transition into the next one. My paternal grandmother once reprimanded my preschool aged self for getting jiggy with it in the aisle at church. But there was singing and music and when that happened, I would dance. Didn't matter where I was or who was there. WWJD? He would bust a move, yo.

In May of 1980 I saw a movie that changed my eight year old life. Fame. I watched in wonder and marveled at those dancers. Envied the voices of the singers. I shook with excitement. I quite literally danced in my seat. It's okay, it was a drive-in [gawd I miss drive-ins!]. That's what I wanted to do! I wanted to act. I wanted to sing. Play the cello? Eh, not so much. But more than anything I wanted to dance! I wanted to go to THAT school! I wanted to wake up everyday and live, eat, and breath DANCE! Soon after the movie's release my mother brought home a book of ballet positions from the second hand store. I practiced them endlessly in the bedroom I shared with my brother. I forced my limbs into submission until I could do a perfect split. You could often find me doing cartwheels in the courtyard of our apartment complex and leaping of the steps in a grand jeté. And trying to teach myself how to spot so that I wouldn't get the dizzy spins.

But if I really wanted to do this. If I REALLY wanted to BE a dancer. I was going to need lessons.

Growing up we didn't have a lot of money. Make that, no money. My mother was single and raising us on her own from the time I started kindergarten. She worked long hours for not very much money and struggled just to put food in our mouths, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. We often had to scrape together our last dimes just to walk down to the corner market to buy milk. We had to walk because there was only enough gas in the car to get us to school and her to work before the next paycheck. She drove the same Ford Pinto [that's right, the barbecue that seats four car] until she remarried in 1986. She often owed our babysitters money and, subsequently, we spent many summers in the stock room of the small local pharmacy where she was employed; until I was old enough to stay home without supervision and in charge of my younger brother. In hind sight probably not the wisest scenario but she was left with little to no options. She was a survivor. She did what she had to do. WE did what we had to do.

And that meant there was no money for dance lessons. I know it killed her that she couldn't provide that; couldn't afford to foster my dreams. I know this because whenever she COULD manage it, she would sign me up for lessons at the small dance studio up the street. But few and far between intermittent instruction does not a dancer make. And as the other girls my age progressed, it became obvious, that even though I loved it with all my heart, we were throwing good money after bad. I was jealous of those other girls. I wondered if I wanted it more than them but simply couldn't have it.

It didn't keep me from performing. I was in every school play. I sang in chorus through my freshman year [ninth grade, y'all, not college] and duuuuudes, I cannot sing - I mean, for reals. But I wore those robes, and climbed up on those risers making sure my knees didn't lock, and gave it my all for every school function. Even taking the show on the road performing for retirement homes. I recruited other children in our apartment complex and put on plays, making props out of anything we could find in our collective bedrooms, for anyone willing to watch.

I sometimes wonder if circumstances had been different, if lessons could have been easily afforded, if I still would have had the love, the drive, the determination, the PASSION to MAKE IT. Or would I have taken it for granted only to eventually lose interest? I'll never know for sure since circumstances are what they were.

But, Readers? Whenever I HEAR the theme song, or see a trailer, for the re-make of the move, Fame? I get all verklempt. My insides quiver. My eyes well up. I get all tense and jerky. My heart RACES. And, Readers? I don't think my drive and determination would have petered out one tiny bit.

This weekend I will take my own children to see the movie. And I hope? Wonder? If it will inspire them to tap into their creative being and want to give it ALL THEY'VE GOT!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Argument Reason #43 in Favor of Hiring a Housekeeper

Now that Girl-Child is in first grade and no longer done with class by noon, I've got about six hours five days a week to get those household chores that I've put off, for quite literally YEARS, done. No more excuses [like, I'd love to get started on that but I have to shower by 11am, so no time] to avoid collecting the hair away from my face in a messy ponytail-headband combo, rolling up the sleeves and tackling some filthy, dirty shit. The cleanliness of my home is an optical illusion. The surface areas are dusted, swept, vacuumed, washed. Bathrooms are usually sanitary... but for all that is holy and for your own piece of mind DO NOT LOOK behind the entertainment unit, or up at my ceiling fans, or too closely at the window blinds, or under the fridge. And sometimes the brownies contain a hint of the baked chicken from three days ago the night before. And unless you've taken a moment to visit your special place of courage DO NOT LOOK UNDER MY STOVE. The kitchen is tiled and I swear to GAWD there is a layer of carpet under there and it's probably violating some kind of fire code.

Then there is the grout on the tiled kitchen counter tops.

And because this task is the most visible and IN MY FACE and ON MY MIND every time I'm in there; I chose this as job numero uno. I hosed them down with a heavy dose of Dawn Power Dissolver cuz it works like a champ on the stovetop. And I let it sit. Permeate. Penetrate. Do what it does. I know, I know. Right now some of you are all, BLEACH beesh! I considered it and was immediately met with visions of an unfortunate over-inhalation of fumes followed by passing out and subsequent smacking of the back of the head on the island behind me and ending with a cracking of the skull when my head bounced off the ceramic tile floor. Then I was like, who will pick the kids up from school? What with my being dead and all. And my husband would be all, huh, maybe I should have let her hire that cleaning service afterall because I don't even know the kids classroom numbers or their teachers names and then he'd have to remarry too soon to someone he probably didn't even love but just needed to pick up my slack.

But maybe I should have risked it. It took two hours to scrub and make mostly clean about twelve square feet of surface area. And about halfway into it I was like:


Giving myself pep talks to JUST GET IT DONE all the while sweat is dripping from my brow and down my nose. My arm is fatigued and just can't go on. And you would think that with all that work those counter tops would sparkle like the goddam Hope Diamond! But NO! There are spots that I CANNOT get clean!

I give up. I suck at labor intensive housework. The fire hazard beneath the stove is just going to have to live on. No seriously, there probably is shit living under there. At the moment I DO NOT CARE.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boring the World with My Boring Boredomness

A few months ago I finally got with the program and purchased several reusable grocery bags to take to the market and use in lieu of the plastic variety that are clogging up landfills and clinging for dear life along the highways. Half the time I remember to bring them INTO the store with me. The other half of the time I remember mid-checkout. At least they're in the car! Except for those times I clear out the rear of the vehicle to make room for beach going items or putting the back seats down to accommodate extra bodies. Then they sit on a shelf in my garage [the bags, not the bodies].

Mr. Farklepants commended me on my new found environmentally friendly habits until one day, while helping unload the groceries, he noticed that most of the items were in the reusable bags, however, there were also a few plastic bags in use.

Mr. F: You finally buy reusable bags but you didn't get enough.

Tootsie: Yes I did.

Mr. F: Then why are these plastic ones here?

Tootsie: Because I didn't remember to give them to the box-boy until he'd already started bagging the groceries.

Mr F: ......

Tootsie: See, I didn't want to have him transfer the stuff since it was already bagged.

Mr F: .............

Tootsie: Because I didn't want to hold up the line by being THAT PERSON.

Mr. F: .................

Tootsie: Are you even listening to me?

Mr. F: Oh. Wait....what?

Tootsie: I know it's not very interesting but I'm a full time housewife and mother and these are the stories I have to tell. ...This is THE MOST EXCITING THING that's happened to me today.... AND STOP SMILING AT ME LIKE THAT.

Vintage Thirty would like to ask you know how many times Tootsie has told this story? Oh gah someone stop her. And also, is "box-boy" still politically correct, Vintage Thirty forgets.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Not Like I'm Telling People We KNOW

We always knew that Boy-Child#2 was smart. He was born with the gift of abstract thought which is something that is usually learned over time; one reason why critical thinking courses are usually saved for the college years. He's a problem-solver, which clashes severely with his alter ego: the troublemaker. He made first place in his category in the school science fair with his kindergarten. The pictures he draws look as if they could be created by someone with years of experience. He also has this way of speaking that forces those on the receiving end to ask questions. Like, he figured out how to ENGAGE someone in conversation, totally. Early on. I just happened to volunteer in the classroom this past school year when his class was given a math packet, several pages thick, in preparation for state testing and he completed it that first morning - then spent the next two days reading a book while the rest of his peers soldiered on. And I was like, huh, musta got that from his dad cuz me and math? Not so much...we are not close friends.

When he brought home a form, in Spring of 2009, that asked for permission to participate in the OLSAT test for entrance into the GATE program [and I'm just gonna say it, the Gifted and Talented Education program]; I figured it was a flyer that everyone brought home. Turned out that his teacher had recommended him for the program bless her heart. Then I had to Google GATE to find out what it's all about - and to be quite honest, I'm still not sure something about extra classes before school and groupings and cluster groupings and planned and organized as integrated differentiated learning experiences within the regular school day and may be augmented or supplemented with other differentiated activities related to the core curriculum and so on and STUFF.

I will be one of those parents at the meeting later this month going, that's right my kid is smarter than me and I don't even know what is going on and GEE I hope I understand what they are saying here tonight.

And because everyone just LOVES hearing about how someone's child is gifted, Mr. Farklepants and I agreed that we should just keep it between us. I mean, it's not like we HAVE to tell anyone [says she with the blog]. And if that kid wants to go to Harvard or MIT, he better get a job, like, right now. Cuz we just put a mouth full of braces on Boy-Child#1 and we're tapped out.