Monday, August 27, 2012


Friends.  It's a funny looking word, isn't it?  We all have them.  We all want them.  We have best ones and good ones old ones and new ones close ones and long distance ones.  We have some we refer to as 'acquaintances'.  They come and go throughout our lives.  Some are for a day, some for years and some for a lifetime.  We have childhood friends, work friends, friends of friends and now, Facebook friends.  We can even 'un-friend' someone and they may not know for weeks or months!

As I watch my kids form and break bonds of friendship, I am reminded of my childhood friends.  Who they were.  How we ended up being friends.  What kept us together or led to our drifting apart.  What we learned from each other and what their purpose in our lives was and our purpose in theirs.

The first real friend I remember is my friend Tammy.  Our mothers were good friends so it made sense their children were good friends.  Sound familiar?  A pattern repeated over and over generation to generation.  We had a blast running in corn fields, playing dress up and dancing up a storm.  I remember chasing fireflies in June, an A-frame house in Vermont and her mother's love of owls and all animals.  We drifted apart because they moved.  I attended her wedding and baby shower.  We're Facebook friends.  There is still a connection, it's just not anything like it used to be.

Then there was Todd. They lived in the other side of the duplex when I was very small.  I remember sitting in a laundry basket with him, he and his friend locking me in the dog house (an actual dog house) when we played 'cops and robbers' and trying to pee standing up like he did.  I was unsuccessful, well, if you measure success by actually not peeing on your feet.

I remember my childhood friend Patricia.  We were in school together and she lived nearby.  Somehow, we ended up friends through elementary school and middle school.  We skated together, hung out together and discovered boys together.  We drifted apart in middle school due to different interests and different high schools.  I wonder where she is now and what she's doing...

High school.  That is where the lasting bonds were formed for me.  I still keep in touch with many friends from high school.  Some of them almost daily!  In fact with most of them, we shared but one or two classes in all 4 years, but forged the deepest and strongest of bonds.  We may have lost touch through the college years as we went off and got all serious with our S.O's and even got married (all of us in each other's weddings, of course).  Somehow, we've managed to stay in touch and connected all these years.  25, but who is counting?  Shhhhhhh.

College friends were transient.  As soon as we graduated, we lost touch.  The same is true of many work friends.  Until Facebook.

The age of Facebook has brought about an interesting phenomenon.  A re-friending of sorts.  A re-connection with many I've known since elementary school, but were never really more than an acquaintance with.  I am pleasantly surprised and touched by some of the comments they leave, the things they post, how we've all grown and matured and the many difficult life experiences we've all endured.  It's heartwarming to see how we can support each other virtually and re-kindle that childhood friendship via social media.  It's a bit odd, but it's nice to be able to support others in a positive way and learn about things and people we might otherwise never have had the opportunity to.  It's a shame we didn't have the same insight, maturity and compassion in high school as we all do now.

Facebook also brings about the 'fake' friends.  The ones that you friend or want to friend you just because they grew up in your town or know someone you know.  It boggles my mind how many young people have 500+ friends!  Really?  Are they really friends?  I don't think so.  Half my friends are family!  It cracks me up how people 'un-friend' you because they disagree with your philosophical or political point of view, or don't agree with your parenting style.  How hurtful some people can be toward one another.  It's ridiculous!  What ever happened to mutual respect?

Then there are the friends that are no longer friends.  Ones I 'lost' in the divorce.  Yes, it turns out some take sides.  Whatever.... I guess they were not really my friends if that's how it went down.  I really didn't lose any sleep over it.

The ones that I've had a 'falling out' with, because of our own baggage/issues, those are the hardest to integrate.  They are the ones I miss the most, at least now and again.  The ones that for whatever reason (there are many and not nearly enough time to explain here) are unable to confront the demons that led us away from each other.  Those are the most difficult because they meant the most.  I miss the nature of the friendship as much as the person.  I don't have that same relationship with anyone else.  I probably never will.  I know it's all for the greater good, but still, now and again, it hurts to not have that person to share my joys and sorrows with.  Do I reach out?  Do I let it go?  I trust when the time is right, I'll know what I'm supposed to do and when... In the meantime, the best I can do is surround us all with love and light and hope we all do the work we need to in order to heal and move on.  I must admit, I do hope someday we have the chance to open that door again.  Not only to resolve the things left on the table, but to move into the next place with a clear understanding of everything and maybe to forge a new relationship...

On the other hand, when one door closes, another opens.  The dissolution of that friendship with my former BFF, led me down a path of insight, spiritual development and personal growth.  It led me to new friends and more friends of friends, even if they are sort of 'borrowed', I do feel as if some of them are truly 'mine'.  Not in the sense of possession, but in the sense of the emotional and spiritual bond, the connection, the 'click' that happens to make it a 'right' relationship.  I guess it's confirmation I'm on the right path.

What I regret the most is how little time I have for any of them.  If it were not for Facebook and email, I'd have none since I'm terrible at keeping in touch otherwise!  Our lives get overtaken by our jobs, our kids, our hobbies and our spouses/significant others.  There are only so many hours in the day.  I love that I email almost daily with one friend.  Often multiple times a day! We mostly share our stress, our to do list and cheer each other on when we need cheering.  It's huge.  We 'hear' each other.  We are each other's sounding board and it saves our sanity.  Well, so we think.  As for some other friends, we can go weeks or months without talking or seeing each other and pick up where we left off as if no time had passed at all.

Still, we shouldn't neglect our friends or ourselves.  We need that support, that bond, that fun and camaraderie.  We need soul sisters and brothers to laugh and cry with.  Who *get* us.  Who know when to call us out and when to just show up with a bottle of wine and a box of chocolate.

What I do know is that I'm grateful for all of them.    

Summer's what?! Oh, and I said "NO!" to something!!!

10 pm.  August 27th, 2012.  Summer, as we know it in the school year, is over.  School starts tomorrow.  It is bittersweet.

I've got one starting high school.  HIGH SCHOOL!  How the hell did that happen so fast?  He has to be out the door at 6:25 am.  He hasn't been able to get out of bed without my prodding and nagging all summer.  I'm not driving his ass to school if he misses the bus.  How do you think it will go tomorrow morning?

I think he's nervous though he won't admit it.  I remember feeling that way.  He's going to a regional school from a class of about 100 kids to a class of 500 kids.  They are divided into two 'houses'.  Most of his friends are in the 'other' house.  He's got to deal with a rotating schedule, a huge school, soccer every day after school, 3 honors classes and a physics project along with his usual every day routine.  He's cranky as hell today.  He keeps saying it's because he doesn't want to get up early.  His ADHD isn't helping in the organizational department despite my providing every available crutch and facilitation I can think of.  I feel like a broken record with my reminders of "did you.."  over and over and over again.  We're both frustrated by it.  I keep reminding myself he has an executive function disorder.  His brain is not wired correctly.  It doesn't do any good to yell or get frustrated but Oh.  My. God.  It's exhausting and infuriating for both of us that it takes so long to get any one task accomplished.

I worry about him the most.  It's such a huge transition.  He's got so much to manage this year.  He's still only 13, having started school early because of his academic abilities and desire to learn.  Thus, he is emotionally immature.  Add to that the raging hormones of puberty and the delicate dance of a desire for independence as equal to the desire for parental support and guidance and nurturing.  This is why I get head bumps on the shoulder instead of hugs and a whole lot of sass.

He is also having to juggle being on the Freshman soccer team and a premier soccer team, both as keeper.  To be honest, I wasn't sure he'd make either team and although I'm proud he's made both and I think it's good for him on so many levels, it's going to be a serious challenge for him to keep up.  Practice after school or a game every day of the week except Saturdays.  At least twice a week, he has back to back practices or games.  When does he eat?  Do homework?  Have down time?  See friends?  Foster relationships? Do his honors physics project?  Wait.  I'm ok if the dating thing gets put on the back burner!

Then there is the fact he has a brother, who also plays soccer and has practice in direct conflict with and a half hour away two days a week.  I'm blessed to have a fellow soccer mom for him who is willing and able to pick him up from day care and take him to/from practice if I can't make it so I don't have to clone myself, have a nervous breakdown or make one suffer time/practice wise for the sake of the other.  I need to find the equivalent for the older one and time to reciprocate to all of these parents!!

The younger one is going into 5th grade.  A new school.  Technically still elementary but housed in the middle school building and he gets two teachers instead of one, a locker and chorus!  He is psyched!  He can hardly wait for the morning.  I'm sure he'll be up and ready long before the bus.  His back to school shopping is (mostly) done.  He has a new wardrobe he picked out painstakingly carefully and with a significant amount of purple and he couldn't be more tickled!  His clothes are picked out, his backpack and lunch box ready to go.  He went to bed right on time.  I didn't have to remind him of anything. Sometimes it's hard to believe I birthed both of them they are so very different...

All that said, summer went by too quickly.  We, they, were busy.  Camp was a blast and they both enjoyed their experiences and grew tremendously on many levels.  K attended physics camp for two weeks and was a leader in training at a day camp the rest of the summer.  He even got a 'girlfriend' out of it!  R had a blast attending the day camp and had a week in Maine with his father.  We did not take a family vacation this summer like we usually do and I really missed it.  We did a few day trips but it's not the same.

I feel like I failed somewhere along the way.  No summer vacation for the family.  No down time together.  No rest for mommy!  I'm really feeling the stress of it right now.  We've not had time off together since April Vacation.  Part of it is because I needed to save my vacation time for the wedding and honeymoon and time off at the holidays.  Part of it is because of the soccer and camp commitments and timing just wasn't in our favor.

Next year I shall fix it.  Two weeks of summer vacation together.  In a row.  Perhaps a family cruise and a week visiting my parents in Florida.  Some fun and some relaxation.

That's a long way off...

In the mean time, I said no to something!  I said no to a soccer outing, planned today for Thursday evening.  It'd be fun for my sons, but I just can't do it.  It's the one night we've got nothing else going on.  It's the first week of school.  I need a night for me!!  Even if it is just not having to drive anywhere after 5:30 pm!

So tomorrow morning my babies have another first day of school.  They are far from babies.  I don't cry anymore.  At least I don't think I do.  I do feel a sense of melancholy and pride and even a bit of relief all mixed together.  It will be nice to just shoo them out the door to the bus instead of having to drive them somewhere or to two different places.

Then again, I might just do the happy dance!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What the f*ck are we teaching our kids when it comes to school sports?

It's been a day.  No.  It's been a week.  An 8 day week to be exact.  So maybe, just maybe, I'm a wee bit cranky.  There.  Disclaimer out of the way.

8 day work week or not, I am sick and tired of the way adults in our society function.  Particularly those who organize and coach sports teams.  It's embarrassing.  It's dysfunctional at times.  Most infuriating is that it's downright disrespectful of others, their time, their commitments and their obligations.  How the hell are we supposed to teach our kids to respect boundaries, rules, time frames and be sensitive toward others' lives if their role models can't live it?!

I knew allowing my kids to participate in sports would be a time sink.  What I didn't know and cannot believe happens regularly, is the blatant disregard for the fact some parents actually work full time.  Schedules are vague and only detailed at the last minute.  Then, they are not honored, with running over time a regular occurence it would seem.  Changes are not consistently communicated or communicated in a timely fashion.  Hellooooooo coaches, captains and directors.  You are parents or have them, right?  Did they not teach you the value or respect?  WTF?

Some parents have other children they need to manage or who also have an activity they must juggle.  Some parents are single parents or have a spouse or ex-spouse who doesn't or isn't able to assist with getting kids to/from practices, try-outs, work outs or games.  Some parents work off-hours, weekends, travel or are on-call.  Not all families have the summer or evenings free to be at your beck and call for camps, practices, weight training games and over-time on already scheduled practices.  If you want to have a camp, make it all day for fewer days instead of 10-2 for 5 days! Or just consider the fact parents might actually want their kids to go to bed at a reasonable hour, have time to eat before they play or practice or the parent, might, God forbid, want to do something for themselves!  Can you imagine the nerve?  A parent who wants to do something for themselves?!

My frustration this week is exemplary of my experience with soccer in this area in general.  I need a plan.  I need a schedule.  I need it in advance, as much as possible.  I need consistency.  Once you make that plan, stick to it.  Honor it.  I'm bending over backwards to accommodate your time, you do the same to honor mine.

- Weight training at the high school has been every Tues/Thurs night.  All soccer players are strongly encouraged to go at least once a week.  We've made a valiant effort to make this possible.  This week, it was not happening.  Cancelled?  Over for the duration?? No notification given.  He shows up.  Is told it's not happening and has to wait for his ride.  After the huge inconvenience of having to get him there on time, it was all for not.

-  The younger one has soccer practice 6-7:30.  At times, especially when it was earlier, practice didn't always end on time.

-  I have a game schedule for one but not for the other one for their premier league games.  They play for the same organization but different age groups.  They start in 2 weeks.  I have a life, I have two kids playing on two different teams and likely needing to be in two different places at the same time for the entire season.  I'd like to know the schedule so I can plan since I have not yet been cloned (can you imagine?).  Why the bleep do they not know it yet?

- High school soccer try outs are today and tomorrow.  Today it was 12:30-2:45.  Seriously?  I work full time.  I had to leave work, pick him up at camp, drive 20 minutes drop him off (while he wolfed down his lunch and changed in the car), go back to work, drive back to the school, drive him back to camp, go back to work.  Mind you, this is during the busiest part of my day and I need a computer to do my job.  Add to that I got there at 2:43, try outs finally ended at 3:00.  I didn't have an extra 15 minutes.  I was livid, especially since this is not the first time this has happened.  I didn't have ANY of the time really.  No one else was going to bring him, I am his mother, I'm the one who always has to sacrifice my time when it's woefully inconvenient for everyone else.

It's important to note it's been made very clear if they don't attend all the try outs, it may adversely impact their ability to make the team.  Not that attending all of them is a guarantee, but it gives them the best chance.  This makes sense to me.

Oh, then he tells me they've added another try out Saturday am from 8-9 am.  I actually laughed out loud and said "No!".  He asked why.  I said "Because I am not giving up any more of my time, especially when it was not originally on the schedule.  I've bent over backward to accommodate these try outs as it is.  They can't expect people to just drop everything 2 days before".  If the coach has anything to say about it, he's going to be sorry he pissed me off...

- Tomorrow's try out is a double session.  9-12:30 and 3-5 pm.  The saving grace is he has Freshman orientation in between at the same place!  Maybe there is a Goddess...

Why couldn't they do these try outs in the evening?  It's cooler.  Transportation is much easier for the parents.  Oh, I know... it's inconvenient for the coaches.  Right.

How do we teach our kids respect for other people's time?  How do we teach them about balance in our lives?  How do we teach them to have an understanding for the sacrifices we as parents make to give them the opportunity to do "x".  Telling them doesn't seem to work.  Showing them doesn't always work because of things that are out of our control like soccer, the choices are make it work or don't play soccer.  It's their way or the highway.  I'm sure most sports are like this.   Why?

They are kids!  They should get to be kids.  Practice 4-5 nights a week plus games and conditioning and weight training are fine for college and professional athletes.  These kids are still growing.  They need to focus on school, family, friends and play equally with sports.  What are we doing to them? What are we doing to us?

There should be an easy balance.  This is their childhood.  They should enjoy it, learn values, be fit, learn to manage their time and respect their 'elders', peers and themselves.  The system is not set up to support them it would seem.

Thus, I express my frustration and explain why I'm frustrated.  I try to instill values in my kids but fear they are missing it.  I want to give them as many opportunities as I can, I just wish it didn't come at such a price.  Financially, physically, emotionally or spiritually.  I suppose, when it's game day, and they are excited and proud to run out there and play, it will be worth it.

I hope I live that long...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Alone at last!

Solitude.  A rare gift.

I am so happy that I am home.  Alone.  In peace and quiet.  Just me and the cats.  No kids.  No man.  No nothing except me and my own personal agenda.  I can't remember when the last time that happened was.

I.  So.  Need.  This.

I only wish I didn't have to work all day today and tomorrow.  I'd have much preferred (and really need) two entire days alone, but I had to work a weekend this month and this was really the only one that I could and not miss time with my boys.  Still, I had last night and this evening to myself.  No one to feed.  No one to pick up after or nag.  No one making noise.  No one to take anywhere. No one to talk to!  It's heavenly!

I've been productive!  Uninterrupted time is amazing for one's productivity!  I've crossed things off my to do list that have been there for YEARS!  Stupid, little but useful and ideally necessary things that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the list. I could do a happy dance!  I've made new lists, of course, as there is always more to do, but now there is a kid list, a house list, a wedding list, a shopping list and a ME LIST!  There is a also a priority oriented today list as my daily memory jogger.  Let's hope it works because at this rate, my dementia will be a significant impairment in a matter of months.

Today, I came home from work, having had a less than ideal day, and sat in the hot tub.  Sunshine on my face.  All by myself!  Stupid grin on my face.  A hummingbird happened by.  I delighted in watching it hover and zip about, stopping to partake of the nectar from the feeder a mere 3 feet from where I sat.  It made the faintest little chirp!  They are so fascinating to watch!  I also enjoyed watching the rabbits frolic in the yard and the other birds flying about the yard.  An all too rare opportunity to be IN nature and soak it up.  I love the wildlife and enjoy watching it.  It's something I rarely have or take time for.  I miss it.  Animals can teach us so much.  Oh, and hi Uncle Dino!  ;-)  As I write this I hear the night creatures singing and a pack of coyotes not too far off.  My cat is purring next to me.  Silence affords you the opportunity to really hear things.

I'm heading to bed soon.  Earlier than usual.  I plan to meditate and sleep peacefully in solitude.  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  Maybe I'll hear those messages I know I'm not paying attention to...

It's been too short lived.  By the time I return from work tomorrow, my fiance will have been returned from his bachelor party weekend.  My kids will return shortly after I do.  My solitude and peace will be no more.  But then, I am reminded there is balance.  Something I must work harder at.  I love my fiance.  I love my boys.  I love me and my sanity!  What I need to do is find ways to carve out more 'me' time, more solitude, more uninterrupted rejuvenate your spirit and soul time.  I am grateful for all of it.

It's funny.  Men plan the pre-wedding party that is non-stop fun and games and they all come home exhausted, but happy.  Women either have the traditional shower or a bachelorette party.  I think what I want is some soul nurturing.  Don't get me wrong.  A chocolate martini bar or a wine tasting with friends would be fantastic, but I need some 'me' nurturing with Reiki, chanting, readings, energy healing and a few hours alone would be heavenly!  I guess I need to figure out how to do that!  Perhaps it will come to me during my meditation.

Take some time for you.  We all forget to nurture our own souls.  It fills us up so we can cope with all that life throws our way.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Bachelor parties, strip clubs and relationship harmony. Tips from the inside!

My fiance has been abducted!

No, not by aliens.  Although that would be a possibility...No, by his friends.  This is the day he has been waiting his entire adult life for.  The day he thought for a long time he'd never see because of his vow to be the eternal bachelor.  Today is the start of his bachelor party weekend.  Yes.  An entire weekend.  My parting words to him?  "Have fun, babe.  I love you!"

This said, knowing that at this very moment or very soon, he will have a naked woman in his lap and will be enjoying every second of it.  In fact, he will have several, all night long and maybe tomorrow night, too.  Not only does it not bother me, I support it, because it's what he wanted to do.  And because I trust him.  Oh, and because I benefit later... :-)

I didn't always feel that way and I'll explain why in a bit.  Stay tuned, you'll love my 'inside the strip club' commentary!

While I support a party thrown by his closest friends in his honor, I marvel at the extent the men went to in order to keep me in the dark about the plans for him.  They avoided questions I asked out of pure curiosity and a desire to be sure he was going to get the party he really wanted (there were some planning snafus and dis-coordination that were valid cause for concern).  They spoke in code.  "Oh, yea... we're going to give blood and feed orphans..."  Seriously guys?  You're all 40-something ish.  Learn to be straight with the women in your life.  I'll let you in on a secret.  I'm not afraid of other women!  Even if they don't have clothes on!  Some of the wives had the courage to tell me what you wouldn't (and probably didn't tell your wives), because they *get* it and me.

My biggest concern is I don't want anyone driving if they are going to an establishment and drinking.  Odd, I never got any assurances about that and THAT is what bothers me the most!

My rant thus should be... Men, learn to fess up.  Women, learn to loosen up and trust your man! This is the key to relationship harmony and a successful return from the bachelor party!

Bachelor parties are a rite of passage for men.  Everyone loves them.  Everyone wants to be invited to one.  Everyone wants to have one.  Why?  Mostly because it's about doing all the 'forbidden' things with a good excuse to give their girlfriend or wife.  An opportunity to do something they might not otherwise be 'allowed' to do or even admit to doing, even in the case of a bachelor party, to their female companion.  Why is that???

Women, on the other hand, fear the bachelor party.  It fills most of them with anxiety.  It brings to the surface their own self-confidence issues, their insecurities, jealousy and frustration that their man doesn't tell them the truth, or won't.  Some forbid them to go to a strip club or to a party where strippers come to them (yes, that happens and it's quite the wild time from what I understand).

What are you afraid of ladies?  Does he love you?  Do you love him?  Do you trust him?  Do you have bounds established in your relationship that you both vow to honor?  If so, you've nothing to fear.  If any of those points are wishy washy, you have a serious conversation ahead of you and some truth to face.  It's not all about him...

Oh, wait.  I'm making assumptions.  I'm making the blanket assumption that when I say 'bachelor party' you think 'strippers'.  Is that a fair assumption?  While it may be true, at least in part, for many, many bachelor parties, it is not true for all.  Nor is it the only part or even the most coveted part of a bachelor party.  Of course if the guys don't talk about it like it is, they are not cool.  *sigh*

What I love about most bachelor parties these days is that they are multi-day events that are truly about spending time with the man of honor, doing things he enjoys.  It may be a round of golf, some time at a casino, attending a concert, bar hopping, gaming or yes, ogling at naked women and throwing obscene sums of money at them to get them to touch them or bestow a lap dance for 3 minutes.  The opportunity to spend time male-bonding with your best buds is special.  For my man, it will be emotional in the sense that he'll be grateful for who was able to attend and all they went to in order to give him the bachelor party of his dreams.  Let's hear it for friendship!

So, back to the strip club part.  Ladies, listen up!  Here's how I got over my 'other women' and 'naked women in any form' anxiety.  Mom, if you are reading this you may want to stop now.  This may be TMI for you!

I always feared if my man wanted to go to a strip club, it meant I wasn't good enough.  I wasn't attractive enough, sexy enough, anything enough.  My ex cheated on me with an 'escort', so I have a bit of a trigger.  I worried that he wanted some other kind of woman and I was just 'sufficient' and, well, you can't date the strippers.  I had this vision strippers were all gorgeous, stacked and talented.  I didn't understand what actually happened at a strip club or how diverse the girls and their 'talents' were.  So, I went to a strip club!  A very popular one in a neighboring state.  I went with my fiance and another couple and we went more than once.  I am so glad I did!  I learned so much.  Not only about the whole strip club scene, but also about how the men behave and how the women behave and the motivations behind both.  It alleviated my anxiety and removed the mystery.  It was a fascinating study in human behavior and sexuality.  Perhaps you should consider it, too.

Inside the strip club:

**Disclaimer, I can only speak of the one I've been to.  There are different rules in different states.  There is a difference between a 'stripper' and an 'escort' and what is allowed in a club vs a private home and there are plenty of Web sites out there where your man could find a woman to cheat with without having to go to a strip club, so consider the root of your concerns as well as what flavor of naked play time he may be engaging in and where**

First, let me assure you, there are large bouncers everywhere and unless invited by the girl, you don't touch them.  IF you are invited to touch them or if they touch you, they expect to be rewarded financially.  Handsomely.  The more money you give them, the more attention they give you.

Secondly, there are hidden cameras everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.  There are rules to be followed or the entire place could be shut down and the owners don't want that kind of trouble.  Does some bending of the rules happen, I'm sure.  Is he having sex with the stripper?  I don't think he'd survive if he tried. (refer to bouncer)

Thirdly,  it ain't all that sexy.  Well, most of the women are not all that sexy.  I don't think they are treated all that great by the club either, which may explain the turnover. Granted, everyone has different tastes but here's my take on it:

Guys walk into a strip club and all they see is "boobies, boobies, boobies, boobies, BOOBIES!".   Kinda like that commercial where the dog says "I see BACON!  bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, BACON!"  Yeah, like that.  They don't care about anything else it would seem.  Her hair, her face, her body shape and size are completely secondary to the fact she's mostly or all naked.  How she moves around on the stage may or may not make a difference. They go on auto-pilot and practically drool if one comes to talk to them.  They throw money like monkeys throw poop.  It's hysterical.  I laughed out loud.  A lot!  All the men are essentially the same.  Some more skeevy and obnoxious than others.  They all have no idea how ridiculous and dorky they look! The skeevy ones freaked me out!  There was this one guy there once who came in with two dozen roses and was handing them out to the girls.  The police/bouncers made him stay 3 feet from the stage.  The girls avoided him like the plague!  The bouncers do a great job protecting the girls.

The girls come in two flavors.  The 'shooter' girls, who are dressed and remain so, in adorable and sexy little cocktail dresses.  They are the cocktail waitresses.  In my opinion they are more attractive than the strippers.  They'll put a test tube shot between their breasts, climb in your lap and you can take the tube from their bosom and drink it.  No touching allowed.  They can't linger and chat but they will seek out couples for a 'rest' for a few minutes.  We had some great, but brief, conversations with some.  Tip them well.  They deserve it. They'll even give you a shot of water!

Then there are the strippers.  They wander around the club in some kind of slutty cocktail dress.  At least at this club, they are long and 'elegant'.  Some clubs are not so 'high class'.  They have nothing on underneath it.  They wear ridiculously high lucite come fuck me platform heels.  I don't know how some of them walk in them!  I did learn they start with small ones and work their way up to super high platform ones.  They each get individual stage time that lasts a few songs.  The DJ runs the show.  When it's their turn, they strut around then walk to the back of the stage, unceremoniously take off their dress and drop it on the floor and walk back out naked or with a g-string so she has somewhere to put her dollars.  There is a pole and bars along the top of the stage.  The men sit as if at a bar around it on stools or chairs.  The girl does her 'moves', most of which are just not sexy, to the men sitting there.  They wave or throw their dollars to get her attention.  It's pathetic, really.  They might get to tuck a dollar in her g-string.  Most of the women have this far away look on their faces while they 'dance'.  Some are more engaging than others.  They make the most money and deservedly so.  The ones who can really work the pole/stage are both sexy and impressive.  The bouncer sweeps her dollars with a broom when her time is up!

There is a point where they all get introduced and strut around the stage like models.  Except they are not models.  No, they don't use their real names.  While some are attractive and hot overall, most are average and don't look as hot as you'd think.  Their real goal is to help the guys target their girl and for the girls to get the men to buy a lap dance.  They don't care about your man.  They care about how much money they can get out of him or his friends.

Lap dances are held in the 'back rooms'.  They are like big dressing rooms.  There is no door.  There are cameras for security but they are hidden.  You pay by the song.  Not sure what the going rate is but the fee is to the club, the tip is to the stripper.  She will probably take him by the hand and lead him to the room all seductive and playful like.  They love it.  The men are putty.  The women work it.  Yes, I experienced a lap dance with my man, too.  It was...interesting.  Tip her well and you might get another song.  She typically takes off her dress and does a private dance.  You can tell her what you'd like and don't like (ass, breasts, etc) She will rub parts and touch the men, or women, or both.  She spells out clearly what is allowed and what is not.  If you step out of bounds, she walks out, the bouncer appears and you are tossed out on your ass.  After the song is done, she puts her dress on, takes you to the 'cashier' and you pay for your dance and she's off to the next guy.  Buh-bye.

There is also 'the shower'.  I'm not sure my man would go for this but I suspect his friends may have other ideas.  It's humiliating.  They put a man, usually a bachelor, in this all glass shower on a stage in his boxers.  They handcuff his hands above his head.  Then a naked girl gets in the shower and torments him.  It's not really all that sexy.  They dump ice in his boxers. They cover him with shaving cream and 'wash' him.  They whip him with his own belt.  They are not gentle. The more money his friends throw on the stage, the more the girl abuses the poor guy in the shower.  After a time, she sets him free and he changes and returns to the land of the clothed and humiliated. I've witnessed it.  It's both amusing and yet kind of disturbing.  To each his own, I guess.

Here's the thing you have to remember ladies.  While the men are thinking 'she wants me' or 'I could totally take her  home', or "I so want to do her"  the strippers are making their grocery lists, day dreaming, talking back stage about who they are going to target because they are likely to give the best tips and aren't scary looking and who looks dorky and who looks handsome.  Many of them are doing it for a higher purpose.  It's good money.  They are paying for college or doing it so they can stay home with their kids during the day/week.  They are all ages.  From 18 (?21)-40 something.  Many are married or have steady boyfriends who support their work but the women have no intention of taking your man home.  It's a job for them.  They don't want your man.  They want his money.  They know how to work it to get his money.  Because men are primal and stupid when it comes to naked breasts.  The girls exploit their testosterone haze for their benefit.  They probably feel the same way about their job as you do about yours.  It pays the bills.  It allows them to have a lifestyle they want.  They do it part-time and probably not for very long over all before they move on.  How long could you deal with throngs of men who just want you for your body and what they fantasize they could do with it?

Here's what went through my mind as I watched them dance.  "Where's the strip tease?  That's not sexy!", "Those are so fake", "She's had a c-section", "I think she's pregnant", "She's cute!",  "Wow!  She can really work that pole.  Do you know how much strength that takes?!"  "How the hell do they walk in those shoes?!"  "Eww, does she really think that dress is attractive?",  "Why are the shooter girls way cuter?",  "don't you find *that* guy an embarrassment to your gender?"  "Why do they look so bored?"  "Ooh, that's gonna hurt tomorrow",  "I thought they were supposed to dance sexy.  That's so not sexy.  That's not dancing, either."  "Wow, how'd you get so soft?" and  "What kind of fragrance is that?" (to the one that did the lap dance) "Really, you think she's attractive?" Yeah, he and I have different ideas of what we find attractive in women it turns out.

I got the chance to talk to a few of the girls.  They sat with us for a bit and I asked a bunch of questions.  Some seemed to appreciate the reprieve and the chance to talk 'girl talk'  Yes it was a way to get our men or us as a couple, but still, it was nice for all of us.  They can't 'rest' for long, they are supposed to be making money for the club.  But they try to 'win' you over and if they like you, they'll keep coming back to see if you are interested in a lap dance.  They do love the couples because they are generally 'safe' and more fun.  I also talked with a girl on the stage.  She danced while we chatted with her.  It was early, so there wasn't a lot of guys at the stage.  She was really sweet and attractive, too.  She was married and had a 2 year old son.  She danced on weekends so she could be a stay at home mom during the week.  Her husband supported her dancing because he wanted her to be home with the baby.  She knew she wouldn't do it forever, and she wanted to have more kids, but it was the best part time job for her at the time.  I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to deal with intoxicated men who don't know how to treat a woman , even if she is a couldn't pay me enough!

GUYS. LISTEN UP.  You need to learn to be honest and straight with your women.  Don't lie about where you went or what you did.  Don't talk in stupid man-speak code.  If she's upset or you think she will be, TALK about it with her.  Before and after.  Check in with her periodically so she knows your safe and thinking of her. You know, act like an adult.  Find out what her fears are.  What yours are.  Tell her why you enjoy strip clubs, make an effort to understand why she feels the way she does.  Put it all on the table.  Invite her to join you.  If your relationship is not built on trust, honesty and open communication, it will eventually fail.  I trust you love her or you wouldn't be with her.  The same could be said for her.  So fess up!

LADIES.  LOOSEN UP.  Whatever your fears are, confront them.  Forbidding him to go to a strip club probably guarantees he will lie to you.  Engage him in conversation about your fears if you have them.  Make an effort to understand his motivation.  Be honest with each other.  Go to a club with him sometime.  If you don't have any concerns or fears, excellent!  Sleep well!

I have no worries about what this weekend, or any other bachelor party or event where my man has the opportunity to ogle, fondle or touch other naked women.  Why?  Because I love him and he loves me.  Because I trust him.  100%.  He knows the boundaries I'm comfortable with. I trust he will honor them, even if his penis or his friends are telling him to do something else.  If he does not, he knows what the consequences will be and they are harsh.  He knows lying to me will fail.  I know I have no power over him or his choices.  He's an adult.  I don't 'forbid' him to do anything.  He has free will.  As do I.  Trust.  It's all about trust.  I want him to have fun and enjoy his time with his friends this weekend.  I want him to have a fantastic bachelor party. He's been waiting his whole life for this event!  He deserves it!

The secret to the success of any relationship is honesty, trust and open communication.  If you don't have that, you don't have a recipe for success.  It's that simple.

You know what the best part of this weekend will be?  When he comes home Sunday evening, all riled up from the other women.  You know who is going to benefit from this weekend then?  ME!  Wa-hooo!

Now, what about the bachelorette party?!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I am a failure. Or I'm brilliant! The price of my sanity.

I am a failure as a woman.  No.  I'm a failure as a housewife.  Well, I'm not a wife yet.

Ok, I am a failure at cleaning my house.  There.  I admit it.  Mom, you were right.  I'm a slob.  I hate it.  It kills me.  I used to be able to keep up.  I used to love cleaning.  It's therapeutic!  It's exercise!  That was before.  When I was a SAHM.  When my evenings and weekends were my own.  When life wasn't so crazy over-scheduled.  When the kids were not involved in high level travel sports teams. Things have changed.  I admit, I can't keep up.

I have a decent sized house.  I have two young, active, messy and dirty boys.  I have two long haired indoor cats.  I have an adult male, who is the neatest of them all and a tremendous help.  He wields a fierce vacuum!  We both work full time.  I have something on my agenda every single night and most weekends, more often than not having to do with those two boys.  They are a priority and I wish to support their passions, but I do not wish to live in squalor!  I try desperately to keep up with the laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming.  My amazing fiance helps.  Still, I fail at the bigger picture.  Bathrooms get neglected.  Floors and dusting get ignored.  Clutter builds.  I get more stressed that it's messy and even more stressed that I've no time to deal with it effectively.  I won't even address the state of my yard.  Anyone else feel my pain?

After months of trying and being frustrated that there were just not enough hours in the day for me to clean the house the way I wanted to, after months of build up of dust rhinos and cobwebs and dirt in the tub, I hit the wall.  I cried.  I admitted my failure.  I confronted my guilt.  I looked reality in the eye.  I decided I needed help if I was going to remain sane.  On that particular day, I didn't really care what it would cost, I needed my house deep cleaned. I joined Angie's List. I hired a house cleaning service.  There.  I came clean (no pun intended).

I did this once before.  When I was pregnant with the twins and on house arrest.  I felt so guilty.  I should be able to clean my own damn house!  Then, I had an 'excuse', one that was temporary.  I was so excited when I was able to resume my house cleaning responsibilities with three children!  Then, the boys grew, joined premier soccer teams, I went back to work full time and I have NO free time.  None.  I was trying to clean at 5:30 am before work.  It wasn't working.  I need a solid 8 hours to really clean this house.  I haven't been home for 8 hours in a row during daylight in so long I can't remember!

Today, I am so excited and relieved I hired a professional cleaning service!  All the strife seems so ridiculous now.  They arrived at 10 am.  Four hours later, my house is amazingly clean.  No more dust giants.  No more cobwebs.  The fur is off the ceiling fans!  My floors are washed! I repeat, my floors are washed!  The bathrooms damn near sparkle.  The baseboards are really wood, not gray with dust!  My office is beautiful!  The kids rooms look...nice!

The sense of relief I feel is difficult to describe.  A clean and de-cluttered home is a quiet and de-cluttered mind.  I feel so much more relaxed and centered without having to worry about the cleaning I should/have to do looming over my head.  They accomplished in 4 hours what I have been unable to accomplish in 9 months.  Was it worth the cost?  Believe me, I thought long and hard about it and the answer is unquestionably, yes!  It's inspiring really.  To try to minimize clutter and better organize.

As much as I'd love to have someone clean my house all the time, I cannot swing that financially.  But periodic professional cleaning will help me to remain sane and feel as if I might be able to keep up with the day to day cleaning more easily.  I know I can't do it without their help and not be crazy stressed about the state of my house.

So maybe I'm not so much a failure as a house cleaner.  Perhaps I'm a success as a parent and a wife-to-be and a friend and brilliant because I'm wise enough to realize I can't do it all.  Some things need to be delegated.  There are only so many hours in a day.  There are only so many opportunities to share with your loved ones and I know all too well how those can be gone in a heartbeat.  Yeah, I'll go with brilliant!  Go me!

Now if only I could find someone to cook for me and a personal shopper...Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?