The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for December 2011

Once a year, almost every single person I know of makes a list of New Year’s Resolutions, whether they choose to write them down or simply daydream of things they’d like to change in the New Year.  We reflect on the past year and plan big changes for the New Year.
I do it too. 
I prefer to write them down, because it is a known fact that writing things down encourages the universe to give them to you.  Sometimes.  And wouldn’t it be great if you actually DID the things on your New Year’s Resolutions list?  However, you might want to be careful what you write down.  Nothing too personal.  In fact, perhaps hide the list, in case your snickering wiseass of a teenager finds it and decides to post it on Facebook for revenge, all because you didn’t buy Captain Crunch.
2012 Resolutions:
  • To stop telling the dog all my problems without politely offering to listen to his. 
  • To encase my credit cards in ice if I’m going to watch QVC.
  • To stop putting my Halloween decorations away and bring my Christmas decorations out on the same day.
  • To put gas in the car before the fuel light comes on.
  • To finally tell the loud, heaving, grunting weightlifters at the gym to pipe down.  Honestly. You’re not impressing anyone.  You sound like you’re giving birth. 
  • To tell my family more often how much I love and appreciate them.  Even if they sometimes make me so mad the cords on my neck stand out unattractively while I yell. 
  • To go to more garage sales than we did this past year, thereby increasing dramatically the chances of finding an old piggy bank that is stuffed with $100 bills.  That no one ever noticed before.  For a quarter.
  • To “unfriend” at least one fake “friend” a month and stop accepting friend requests from people I passed in the hall for one semester in middle school.
  • To become more regular by using Activia while encouraging (read:  making) my husband to try it too instead of having to slip Benefiber in his morning coffee on the sly when he runs with the sports page into the bathroom.
  • To match up clean pairs of socks sooner, instead of letting them sit in a laundry basket for weeks until I give up and just wash them all again.
  • To actually learn what “Occupy (fill in blank)” actually means.
  • To donate food to the food pantry more often, not just when I’m starting a new diet.
  • To be kinder to my children and husband, and not just when I need a refill on my coffee/wine/water.
  • To stop using sarcasm as a second language.
  • To resist the siren call of “As Seen on TV” items in the Publisher’s Clearing House mailings and ordering them, just because I think secretly it really does increase my chances of winning.
  • And as always, More Cowbell.
So, those are my resolutions.  I’ll even keep some of them this year, for a change.
What’s on YOUR list?
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The illusion is shattered, if it ever even existed.  The illusion that my children should have of me as the perfect mother is gone.  
During breakfast in Plainfield at Larry’s Diner this morning, (which has excellent food, by the way) my mother chose to share one of the more embarrassing stories of my childhood with my children, over our breakfast of eggs and ham.   
It conveys one event in a long line of humiliating things that have happened to me.  I was about 12.  Some of you may remember that McDonalds had come out with a contest to win a Big Mac t shirt.  To win the contest, you simply had to harness the courage to stride right up to the counter and sing “two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun” under a certain time limit.  That’s it.
How simple!  Even I could do that!  I had practiced and practiced and had polished my Big Mac song to a competitive time and I was ready.  That t shirt was all but mine.  They surely had never heard anyone sing it faster.  I would probably be asked to do a commercial.  Everyone would know of my special talent. 
My long suffering mother took me to McDonalds one day so that I might give it a try.  We chose the Crest Hill McDonalds for the mortification.  Savvy readers might notice mortification and McDonalds start with the same letter
Entering the McDonalds my mother nudged me up to the counter and before I knew it, and more importantly before I lost my courage, I was at the counter loudly belting out my version of the Big Mac song to the gum-smacking, bored looking cashier behind the counter.   She stood there with her head cocked, letting me sing it out and when I was done; I looked at her, hoping that I sung it under the time limit…
“That contest ended a week ago.” she said snarkily.   “Are you going to order?”
There would be no tee shirt.  No free Big Mac.  No commercial.  I had just sung a song in front of not only the amused McDonalds crew, but also several hungry customers who were studiously avoiding any eye contact with me.   It seemed like the McDonalds workers got a little more industrious with their napkin filling and ice replenishment.
It was over.  I had sung a song that would win me not a t shirt, but years of humiliation with a large side order of embarrassment.
However, something good has come out of that debacle at Mickey D’s almost 33 years ago. My kids laugh so hard when they hear a story like that about their mother that they have tears running down their faces.  Watching them, I laugh so hard I get tears in MY eyes, and my husband laughs so hard he gets tears in HIS eyes, and on it goes. 
And there we are, the day after a wonderful Christmas, my daughter’s 21st birthday, sitting at a table as a family and laughing our fool heads off. 
I wish I could go back in time to that 12 year old version of myself and let her know that the embarrassment would wear off, she’d get better t shirts than the Big Mac T shirt she tried so hard to win, her barely breathing social life would recover from that catastrophe, and she’d (eventually) be able to go back into a McDonalds without needing a Xanax.
I would also tell her to avoid ordering a certain fish sandwich at the Burger King in Melrose Park, but we’ll save that for another day.
Last year around this time, my 20 year old daughter got to see the ultimate example of the Christmas spirit in action.  Up until October of this year, she was a “comp peer” for a 13 year old girl I’ll call Becky through the Mildred Berry program in Rockford.  It works much like a Big Brothers/Sisters program.
To my daughter, it meant giving up half of her Saturday or Sunday every week or every other week to go do something with this little girl.  They went to a craft show, they went out to movies, visited the library, etc.  Sometimes they came back to the house, where Becky would play on the computer, or with our puppy, or watch DVD’s with my daughter.
For Becky’s birthday last December, my daughter took her to IHOP for breakfast.  As my daughter never has met a stranger, she was chatting with the older gentleman sitting close by, who had overheard my daughter and Becky talking.  She was explaining the program to him and the fact that it was Becky’s birthday.   Finished, he got up to leave, told them Merry Christmas and walked to the front of the restaurant to pay his check.
A few minutes later, my daughter asked the waitress to bring their check and was extremely surprised to hear that the mysterious gentleman who had been talking to them had very graciously picked up their check.  Their benefactor came back to their table to tell Becky to have a happy birthday.  
What happened next was truly a Christmas miracle, as he smiled and again opened his wallet to give Becky a crisp $100 bill to spend on her birthday or for Christmas.
It was more money than Becky had ever seen at one time.  She was in tears, my daughter was in tears, and even the waitress who had overheard the entire exchange was in tears.   A complete stranger had just paid for their breakfast and then gave this disadvantaged little girl $100.
Those two girls will never, ever forget what happened that cold December morning, and neither will I.  The Christmas spirit is alive and well, everyone.
ps…They finally did get his name before he left because they wanted to send a thank you note.  Being the internet sleuth that I am, (she said modestly) I did a Google search to find the address and found that there was no one by that name in Rockford or the surrounding areas. 
Somehow I was not surprised.
Dear Santa. 
I have penned several letters to you this year, all of them unanswered.  This time, I waited until my human went to bed to use the laptop.  Although you can’t read dog, I’m pretty sure you can read Times New Roman.   
Santa, I have been a very good boy this year.  I know this because my humans have told me so, over and over again, especially when I’m outside using the potty.   
Do you remember that present I asked for last year?  A new playmate?  And you bought the kitten we named Miss Whiskers?  The one that showed up with a red bow on her tiny little kitten head?   
It turns out that kittens are all cute and fluffy when you get them.  Harmless.  Tiny.  Adorable.  And then, before you know it, they turn on you. Santa, I don’t want bones or chew toys this year.  I don’t want a stuffing free animal.  (You and I both know I can tear that thing apart)  
What I would really like this year is this:  when you come to drop off the presents under the tree for my people, take that cat back with you.  Please.  That cat is a total beach.  I know this because I heard my human say, “That cat is a beach.  She never comes when I call.”  
And she is so mean!  She hisses at me constantly, tricking my owners into thinking I’m the one being naughty.  If I try to make friends and wag my tail at her, she tries to bite it.  Once I bowed to her (yes, I’ll admit I was being sarcastic) and barked, and she whapped me across the nose. What other choice did I have but to chase her throughout the house?  It got me nowhere but chained up outside for an hour.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like outside, Santa, but the cat laid on the windowsill the entire time mocking me.  It stung.  I was humiliated.   
She frames me for household crimes, too.  She unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper and left some by me while I napped.  I got blamed.  She got up on the counter and knocked down the box of dog treats on accident.  I know that mice can be a problem in the neighborhood so, Santa, I was merely keeping our home rodent free when I ate them all up.  Did they thank me?  No.  I got a newspaper swat on the rear. 
The worst thing, though, is that Miss Whiskers hides.  She hides.  And when I least expect it, she springs up from her hiding spot behind a door or whatnot and scares me half to death.  Twice now, the fright has been enough to make me piddle a little bit on the floor.  I bet you can guess who they blamed for that one too. 
As you can see, she has to go. 
Sincerely,  
Cooper (the Dog) 
PS  Sorry about the Christmas tree.  The beach knocked it over.
More random notes:
  • Went into Joliet/Channahon area this weekend to honor the newborn “princess”, Ashlyn Taylor Collins.  She’s my new niece, born to Joe “The Ox” Collins and Deborah “I’m really sore” Frayne on Nov 29. 
  • Ashlyn was a whopping 9 lb 13 oz…And what a bundle of joy she really is.  I wanted to put her between two pieces of bread and eat her all up.  Nom Nom Nom. 
  • I had to settle for gnawing gently on her little fingers.
  • My brother has had to unscrew pretty much every light bulb, cover every outlet, and install safety latches on everything.  It’s no use, because my nephews Cole and Aiden could take apart and put back together ANYTHING. They’re 4.  Have fun with that.
  • Aiden and Cole are going to install some track lighting at my house this winter. 
  • I went out in just my socks this morning to get the paper, slid a little bit on the sidewalk, and took all the skin off of my third toe.  Luckily it’s not my favorite one.  And now it never will be.
  • I am still, and forever more will be, on a diet.  Wait, that’s not the politically correct term…it’s a “life-change” which is diet speak for “sometimes I’m going to have a brownie, beeyotch.  Deal.”
  • I can run as fast as a Jack Russell terrier, but not by choice.  It’s just courtesy of my heaving, 90 pound, muscle bound black Labrador-who-saw-a-squirrel-he-must-chase. 
  • It is my fervent hope that no one sees me running as fast as a Jack Russell terrier.
  • I have finished approximately 8 percent of my Christmas shopping.  Wait, I took one thing back.  Damn.  Ok, 6 percent of my Christmas shopping.
  • My children are 22, 20, and 18 and they still get Christmas stockings from Santa.  And a little something from the Easter Bunny.
  • While helping Santa fill the stockings, I eat approximately 3/4 of a pound of chocolate.  I don’t think anyone knows except whoever is behind me at the gym staring at my rump.
  • I always think that I’m going to die by a freak kitchen accident with the hand mixer.
  • My kids have turned on the hand mixer accidentally, putting it away, so when I plug it in it whirs and it’s enough to make me pee a little in fright.
  • I think Christmas Story is hysterical and I would watch it over and over, and have, in fact, done so.
  • I want a leg lamp.  It’s a major prize.
  • My other favorite Christmas movie is A Diva’s Christmas starring Vanessa Williams.  It gives me a heart quake.
  • I love to scare my husband, or anyone else, for that matter.  But especially my husband.
  • I once owned a bank.  For about 1 minute.  Straw man, anyone?
  • I think the Target Chorus lady is about the funniest thing I have seen yet.

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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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