"Mom!" he screams from the second row of my mommy SUV, tethered to his car seat for his safety and mine. "I just saw the cwoss where Jesus died!"
I cringe a little. Just a couple weeks back at Holy Christian Loves Jesus Praise the Lord Preschool (HCLJPLP, for short) and the boy is all reverent and shit.
"Um... I don't think that's the exact one, but I could be wrong." I say carefully, making sure I don't deflate his Jesus balloon. For now he is satisfied with this answer and, as usual, our conversation returns to the normal, comfortable topic of Starbucks - or rather "Stawbucks" - where he's just asked the manager for a job application. Totally normal for a 4 year old. If he's mine.
It's been a good week or so since I've offended someone on the internets [see my tweet where I *joke* likening Lord of the Rings to being Star Wars on horseback and thereby am told I am "worse than tea party Muslim hater" on Twitter] so I thought I'd talk about that dude God. If you can't take a little humor mixed in with a bit-o-religion it's best you walk away now. This is my disclaimer.
I get asked often - especially here on this blog and on Twitter - why I have sent my three boys to a holy rollin' preschool like HCLJPLP when its religious views leave such a distaste in my mouth. (That holy water is bitter, y'all.) The truth is, there are many reasons why my boys have all gone there for preschool. First and foremost, beyond its religious teachings, it has an outstanding academic program (even at the pre-k level) that makes our local school district look incompetent. That is why I picked HCLJPLP. The religion came with that academic program and has, in all honesty, taken some getting used to. However, I feel strongly that even though I don't believe in the things the school is teaching my children when comes to "god," I know they have a right to be exposed to those ideas and make up their own minds about what they believe.
I am a born, raised, baptized and maybe, possibly even micro-chipped Mormon (they can track you down, people) who has not seen the inside of sacrament meeting since the day I turned 18. The rules in my mom's house included going to church every Sunday until you were 18 and... I didn't go a single day after.
I knew from an early age that it wasn't for me. I didn't believe in it - not just Mormonism, but god himself/itself. I had a hard time sitting in cold folding chairs every Sunday for three hours, listening to words I didn't agree with. I was incapable of nodding along, pretending to agree and so I would politely debate the 'facts' with those who would speak and my questions were met with not only surprise (no one ever questioned the teachings!) but disdain.
"I don't think you get it. If you don't believe in the bible, " one bishop told me in a private meeting, "you're not going to go to Heaven." I'm not sure if this was a tactic to scare me into believing or if he was genuinely scared for my eternal damnation or what but I looked him dead in the eye and said, "No, you don't get it. If I don't believe in heaven then I don't believe in Hell so I am really not all that worried."
I never got called to another meeting with the bishop again.
In high school I would pretend to be Jewish because being Mormon was so not cool. The Mormon kids all hung out together under the big tree in the lunch area, being good christ-like children by, ironically, judging others for their sins. Besides, Judaism was the smart choice when it came to choosing your religion - they had eight days (fine, nights) of gifts, not just one, and just about every one of my Jewish friends got a new car for their 16th birthday. The Mormons were clearly doing it wrong.
My plan of being a Jew went awry quickly and I had to quit Judaism when I started receiving gifts every day during Chanukah from a secret Jewish admirer. The Mormon guilt I was raised with set in and I had to stop pretending to believe in something I knew nothing about. And to think I gave up pork for this. [I would later find out that I am actually Jewish, but on my father's side which apparently doesn't count. THANKS DAD.]
But it didn't matter because really, I didn't believe in Judaism either. In all truth, I didn't and do not believe in anything. And here's the part people don't understand about atheists. Maybe not all atheists, but at least some atheists... Some of us don't believe in god not because we don't want to or because we have this overwhelming urge to go against society's grain. Some of us would really love to have something to believe in, we just haven't found it yet. Or, maybe, we've found something else; something different than god. That doesn't make us bad people or sinners or even lost souls.
And it certainly doesn't make me feel differently about the people in my life who do believe in god. To each their own. After all, I did marry a devout Catholic who attends church regularly. You know, Christmas mass every fourth or fifth year, whenever his grandma is in town or if there's a family wedding.
I take that back. I do believe in something. I believe in being a good person. That simple.
As it turns out, you can cause an explosion via a coffee pot.
1. Wake up way too goddamn early to begin the school schedule process after having been up at 4 am to handle a bloody nose you do not know how to handle because you are not a goddamn medic and all of twitter is fast asleep while your husband either a) never heard a peep or, b) pretended to never hear a peep. I'M GOING WITH OPTION B.
2. Stumble to the kitchen to make coffee because - you know - PRIORITIES while your 7 year old, fully awake and chipper as can be at this ungodly hour talks to you about ? What? Sure. Uh-huh. OK. Donkey. Right. $35. Certainly.
3. Empty yesterday's coffee filter and replace with a new one after cussing to help separate those thin papery suckers from each other AND GOD WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG.
4. Grab the Peet's coffee bag only to discover it's empty and cry a little. "Mommy what's wrong?" "WHAT'S WRONG? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT'S WRONG? IT'S STILL DARK OUT!" "Geez, I just wanted a PopTart." "Oh. OK."
5. Find reserve bag of Peet's coffee and wonder who thought it was a good idea to super glue the opening together in the name of sealing in the freshness. IDIOTS.
6. Pour in extra grounds because this is looking like an extra bold French Roast kinda day, hit brew.
7. Make three lunches, check three homework folders, pack three backpacks, feed three kids, set out three sets of school clothes.
8. Come back to the holy goodness sweet relief that is your first cup of coffee in the morning only to discover... the pot is empty. What? WHAT? Where did the coffee goooooo?
9. *head ---> counter* You realize you never actually put water in the fucking coffee pot. ROOKIE MISTAKE and you are, of all things, no rookie. *shrivel*
10. Open lid on coffee maker, pour in water and POOOOF! *explode* *steam* *spout* *hissssss* *facial* *not that kind of facial* *steam burn*
This is when you contemplate how taking a science class in high school might have been helpful. But no, you took agriculture instead - which technically counted for science credits - and never forced you to dissect a frog (nevermind that whole slaughtering a market animal thing) so here's to getting around the system! Didn't that work out! So now you know nothing about steam (clearly) or fire (clearly) or a whole barrage of other scientific matters but you still remember a hog's gestation period (3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days) by golly. So, you know. There's that.
So here I sit, in the seductively lit back corner of my local Starbucks, sucking up their free wifi and leaving my caffeine intake in the capable, professional hands of trained baristas. I'm pretty certain that's how the coffee gods intended it. And that's not something you'd ever learn in a science class. WINK.
In the world of Why does this shit always happen to me? (Or maybe it should be: This shit could only happen to me) I totally got earmuffed this weekend.
It was our turn for snacks for L-Dub's baseball team on Saturday. Candy Ass in his utmost anal retentiveness must have thrown out the soft cooler we own specifically for such events like snack duty while cleaning the garage at some point because when I went to grab it, oh say, 30 minutes before we were supposed to be on the field, IT WAS NO WHERE TO BE FOUND.
This is where I should pull off to the side of the proverbial road on a tangent of a turnout and explain that I do not like to be late to anything. In fact, I like to be early. I am always early. If I am late at being early, I am stressed beyond repair. Candy Ass, on the other hand, must have been born late, thinks it's fashionable to be late (and believe me, the man knows nothing about fashion) and likes to remind me that "we're the first ones here" every time, well, we're the first ones... every where. I DON'T CARE. WE'RE ON TIME, AREN'T WE?
Anywho, no cooler means the Gatorades L-Dub picked out in fifteen colors were going to be hot and gross by the time the game was over AND WHAT IN THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THREW AWAY MY GODDAMN SOFT COOLER YOU ASSHOLE! NOW WE'LL NEVER MAKE IT TO STARBUCKS TO GET MY **DECAF** TALL-IN-A-GRANDE EZ MILK, EXTRA SHOT, EXTRA ICE, ICED CARMEL MACCIATO ON THE WAY TO BASEBALL! MY PLAN! IT'S BEEN FOILED! This is when Candy Ass says calmly, "Why don't we get everyone in the car, swing by Target, WHICH HAS A STARBUCKS IN IT, you can get your coffee and get a cooler, then we'll go straight to the game?"
I look at the clock and I weigh my options: none. I look at the clock again and start barking orders. In the car now! Who cares about shoes! OK fine, yes bring your baseball cleats! Get! In! The! Damn! Car!
I white knuckle it all the way across town in our ginormous SUV while Candy Ass repeatedly tells me to "get off that guy's ass" on the freeway as I shoot him "you got us into this mess, just let me drive" death looks. By the time we enter the Target parking lot,
we I have a plan. I leap out of the car, leaving Candy Ass to sock-and-shoe all three boys as I make a beeline for the Target version of Starbucks and the cooler aisle. Oh, and Candy Ass needs Blistex. And we're out of gum.
He's so goddamn needy sometimes. Jesus.
I've got like 15 minutes to do this whirlwind shopping spree in Target, no less, and make it to the baseball field back across town. That's like telling a six year old they've got 15 minutes in Disneyland and that's all. So not fucking fair.
Of course a good five minutes are wasted at the Target Starbucks, which I have to say was very disappointing because the guy working the bar just didn't get me. He didn't understand my drink needs even though I was very specific. Or maybe he was just fucking with me because I was very specific. Either way, dude effed up my drink. Does he not understand that I am about to be LATE for something? The alert level has been raised the RED, bitches.
Good thing I was multi-tasking by talking to Tamara in GA on my cell while I waited for my drink. I know, I know, I was that lady in Target, talking on her cell waaaay too fast, hauling ass through the aisles, grabbing whatever I needed and hurrying to the next thing. I normally don't talk and shop, but this was important (although I can't remember what we were talking about now) and when I got to the coolers, I needed a second opinion. I mean, no, technically she couldn't see the coolers, being 3,000 miles away and all, but I was like, "Do I get the one that holds 38 cans or the one that holds 60?" And she was like, "What color is it?" And I was like, "You're so right, I'll get the blue one. It's prettier."
I hung up before I got to the checkout (thank you Ms. Manners, geesh) where I was shaking I was in such a goddamn frenzy, adrenaline-a-pumping knowing it was going to take a small miracle to make it to baseball on time now; we could forget about getting there early now. *sigh*
As I quickly swiped my debit card, the machine asked me forty million question to which I quickly tap-tap-tapped "no," and "no" and "no" and suddenly realizing I had just told that stupid little machine I didn't want it "all on the card," (Like what? I'm going to put some of my purchase on my debit card and pay the other portion with cash? I'M IN A HURRY MA-CHINE!) I said, "Oh shit!" to which the lady behind me in line, standing there with her 15ish and 14ish year old sons says to them "Earmuffs! Earmuffs!" as her boys snickered.
My head swiveled a full 360 degrees, finally stopping to look at her incredulously and say, "You know what? I'm sorry. But if you know what movie 'earmuffs'* came from, I'd say that's probably inappropriate too."
Then I ran like a mutha fucka out of there, because you know what? I don't like to be late. It's rude.
*Old School = Best movie ever
If you've read my tweets, lord knows you know I've gone off the deep-end since quitting the [whisper] C-O-F-F-E-E. It's bad.
Sure, you might have been like, Oh she's feeling 'stabby,' hahahaha, that's funny. But no. No, it's not. I feel like I could straight up stab someone without feeling a smidge bit remorseful and no coffee-lovin' jury this side of the goddamn Mississippi would convict my ass. And not only would I get off scott-free, but I'd set a new precedent and they'd name it "the percolatory defense" in my honor.
(To call me a bitch right now would be to mitigate the gravity of the situation. Think PMS to the eleventy-billionth power. There ain't enough Midol in the world to make me "relax.")
At this point, Candy Ass would love nothing more than to hear me whine about a debilitating migraine 'cause this 'no coffee' thing is making me a tad bit unfriendly.
And by a tad bit unfriendly, I do mean thou shall do whatever I meant to say which is sometimes different than what I actually said, so help me god if you can't figure that out for yourself.
*God help you if you even dare mention my post title being a play-on-words for that homewrecker of an actress' movie. I will jump through this computer screen and layeth the smackdowneth. Or something slightly less violent. Team Aniston.
So, it looks like I'm giving up my beloved Starbucks.
And those of you who know me either personally or through my blog know that this truly is sad news for me. I absolutely love coffee. It's my thing. My vice. But you know what? I think it just might be the cause of my DAILY migraines. And, as much as I love coffee, I can't live with DAILY migraines. It's miserable.
So, for the next week, I'm cutting out all Starbucks to see if my migraines go away. If they do, well, then that's that, I guess. If they don't, then yay! coffee! but damn! anti-seizure medication! So you know, giving up coffee is the lesser of two evils, really.
I'm going to be OK though. It's my husband and kids I'm worried about.
I witnessed The Great American Tragedy yesterday. I am still shaken.
Upon exiting my favorite Starbucks (where everyone knows my name), I saw a mother absent mindedly set her grande peppermint mocha (with whip) on the hood of her white minivan as she went about buckling her obviously unhappy little girl into her car seat. Flustered with having just complied with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's laws in regards to infant and booster seats, the woman climbed into her minivan, cranked the engine over and threw it into reverse, WITHOUT EVEN THINKING.
The abandoned coffee, in all it's minty goodness and holiday cheer, tragically tumbled off the car's hood, falling to its death on the parking lot asphalt, exploding and hemorrhaging four pumps of chocolate, two shots of espresso, steamed milk and foamy whipped cream, not to mention a spattering of those beautiful red sprinkles that practically scream "HAPPY HOLIDAYS."
I, a witness to this horrific scene, sat frozen behind the wheel of my own car, clutching my tall dry double-shot cappuccino, vowing to not loosen my grip until all the contents of the red cup with that familiar logo had safely reached my esophagus, the last few drips having long since danced past my tongue.
I wept quietly for this woman and her loss, sad to have watched helplessly as the tragedy unfolded in slow motion right before me. Fate had chosen her that day, and having been a victim of such grief a time or two myself - in that very parking lot even - I felt nothing but sympathy for her. What a crappy way to start off your day.
Such a shame...
Curiously, I watched the woman take notice of her bad fortune, throw up her hands in disgust (and what I believe to be pain fronted by anger) and peel out of the shopping center, most likely heading home to crawl into bed, pull the sheets over her decaffeinated head and cry tears of frustration. At least this is what I would have done, after getting myself another coffee, of course.
Big news from Starbucks that comes with a catch... a catch that's hardly a catch for most of us addicts. IT'S A GOOD DAY.
... you know I'd be doing the same thing if my Starbucks store were closing. Saw the "Save Our Starbucks" news story on FoxNews.com this morning.
Don't mess with peoples' espresso, biatches.
Thankfully, my store does not appear to be on the list. My condolences to those of you whose stores are on there. IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY. (I'm lying. It's going to suck donkey balls. Call your therapist for an emergency session now!)