Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Old Orchard Beach Airbrush Booth

My brother in law Jeff loves Old Orchard Beach

This was not something I knew about Jeff until about a month ago when he and my sister Felicia moved into their new house in Saco.... a mere 4.8 miles to Old Orchard Beach 

Old Orchard Beach (OOB) is, in Jeff's words, The Bangor State Fair with water, sand and Canadians in speedos

He could not wait to take us there

The water and sand are, well, beach like 
 Jeff and Felicia taught Lucy how to Boogie Board 
Luce had an absolute blast and laughed every time a wave knocked her over and gave a victory whoop when she caught a wave and rode it into shore 

The Fair element is located at one end of the beach 
It is a permanent board walk of rides run by carnies who are apparently imported from the Slavic countries 

And I totally forgot OOB is indeed a vacation destination for Canadians...and they do indeed sport speedos 

On top of that, as if the Fair and foreigners in speedos were not enough, the streets are lined with food booths, kitschy stores and, the ever present booth at which you can buy some of the classiest art ever created on a T-Shirt, a License plate, a hat, coffee mug, key ring.....

That's right 

I'm talking about the Airbrushing Art Booth
The booth you can't ever imagine purchasing anything from but you are so mesmerized by the process, you stand there for extended periods of time enthralled with the artistic process unfolding before your very eyes

I'm talking beach sunset scenes complete with the names of the two young loves
Unicorns, monster trucks, and/or cartoon charters personalized with your name in big bubble letters

At some point, when we decided we would make a trip to OOB, Jeff started talking about getting my sister just such a license plate.... maybe the orangey/yellow/brownish sunset beach scene with her name 
Or a rainbow and unicorn and hearts with her name and Summer 2016 
Or their names surrounded by hearts and the words Together Forever blazing across the airbrushed night sky

In any case, Jeff planted this seed of airbrushed wearable art in my head 

And by the time we arrived at the OOB Boardwalk, I had convinced myself that Lucy's summer would not be complete unless she had a personalized airbrushed something....

So we wandered through the Fair 
We spent $15 on games that we were a bit too cocky in thinking we could beat and walked away with a stuffed shark I'm pretty sure I saw in the dollar section of Target 

We decided to wander up the street to poke our heads in a couple shops
But before we hit the kitschy stores that lined the street boosting boogie boards and beach carts for $9 and hemp pullovers (2 for $15), we stopped at the Old Orchard Beach Airbrush Booth

I brazenly told Lucy she could pick out whatever she wanted 

She immediately honed in on a cat design

And though it was a tabby cat in the sample book with a yellow background, she convinced the guy she needed it to be a black cat like her Ziggy Boy with an orange background because orange is her favorite color 
Oh an if they didn't mind, could they do her name in cursive...she loves how her name looks in cursive 

Sure, we can do that the cranky balding guy with bad teeth told her 
For $28 he said to me with a snarky scowl on his face and a tone of indifferent impatience in his voice 

I gulped 


Then I saw Lucy's face 

And I saw his face peering at me out of his portable booth daring me to ruin my child's summer by denying her this one of a kind airbrushed T-shirt

So I pulled out my last two $20s and handed them over 

And Lucy's summer is complete

And Uncle Jeff, you owe me $28

Inner Peace

Lucy has a blue folder in her back pack
It goes back and forth to school with her everyday 
Her teacher places in it any notices we as parents need to review
Homework that needs to be completed 
And any packets or worksheets that were completed in the classroom 

Below is one which came home today 
Lucy walked me through it:

Bill and Deb are the characters

Bill likes be quiet and sit still  
Deb likes to be on the move and make noise

She is way more like Deb than Bill but sometimes she does like to sit still

The lines behind Deb are to illustrate she's running 

And Lucy informed me she tried to draw Bill sitting down with his legs crossed because that is the best way to achieve inner peace but her time was limited so he had to be standing up....

New Rock Bottom

September 15, 2016

Thought I hit rock bottom the (second) time I woke up in a hotel lobby not quite sure of where I was or how I got there
Turns out I have a found a new rock bottom
Just now
Like an hour ago
I was wandering through the supermarket crying because I am a hot mess of a 44 year old with feminine hygiene products in one hand and ice cream in the other when Bam!
I bump into a guy I used to date
I was way more into him than he was me
Fucker dumped me at a baseball game
Right on the third base line
And there I am in the frozen food aisle with puffy eyes, a tear streaked face and Always Overnight Pads because apparently I'm 12 again
So I make small talk for 4 minutes
I have no idea what he was saying
I was actually trying to figure out how to hide what I was buying
When I realized I really couldn't because I had no cart, no basket and not one but two containers of ice cream
So I briefly consider telling him I have a teenage daughter to justify my purchases
But then I realize, I could give two shits what he thinks
So I interrupt him
Tell him I really have no interest in catching up
This is just not a good time and I have to go because I have cramps, my ice cream is melting and the baseball game is on
I speed walk to self checkout, add a Twix bar to my haul and then eat that Twix on the drive home
Who are we kidding
At the self checkout, the pads would not scan properly and of course it was a 20 year old boy who had to come over and punch his secret code in to get it to work
Not once but twice
Then I knocked over the bag holder thingy in my haste to throw my stuff in a bag
So I just grabbed my things and walked out
And ate that Twix bar on the way to the car
Only to realize Joe was walking a couple steps behind me and saw me eat the whole thing
Turns out he was parked next to me
More aptly, our driver's doors were side by side
He let me get in my car first
I glanced in the mirror to see if I looked as badly as I felt
I did
There was a chunk of chocolate in the corner of my mouth and a string of caramel stuck to my chin
My new Rock bottom
Until I got home
Where I was greeted with a big hug from Lucy
And Sean turned the baseball game on for me
And insisted I sit down
Then he made me dinner
And listened to my whole tale of woe
And only laughed once

Parent in the Hood

September 9th, 2016

I do drop off in the morning now
And I.hate.it.
Even though I know Lucy loves school more than anything, I hate dropping her off
There's always this pang of guilt, fear and worry that courses through my veins as she hops out of the car, slings her backpack over her shoulders and bounces to the door of dear old Linscott
Fortunately, that pang is tempered with the love I know she has for school and the love and pride I have for this little person Sean and I created who is thriving in spite of us
This week was the start of school
I've walked in with her each morning, lingered for a few minutes then gone to work
This morning, as we crested the hill to school Lucy informed me she would like me to just drop her off and she'd go in on her own
Oh honey, I think I should go with you
Mumma! You have to realize I am in second grade now, I can do things on my own without you
I know kiddo, I just want to make sure....
Mumma! I am 7, I am in second grade, I do not need you parenthooding me any more! Now I love you but stop the car without parking, I will just hop out and you go straight to work
Mumma! You are going to have to let go some time
I couldn't answer but just thought indeed I am little one...but please, not today
So instead of parking, I pulled into the school yard, waited for her to jump out of the back seat and just opened my door to lean down and kiss her good bye
Lucy placed her hands on either side of my face and pulled me to her so we were nose to nose
I'm always gonna love you and you are always gonna be my mum but I am gonna have to grow up
I know honey, I said kissing her nose, and I am super proud of you
I'm proud of you too Mum
Thanks honey...*gulp, she said Mum not Mumma.....
She stepped back, clicked her tongue twice, winked and gave me a double finger gun and then turned and ran to the door
I love you I heard her yell to me and I'm going to be fine Mum!
She was in the door before I could yell back
I love you back kiddo....and I never doubted you for a minute......

Second Grade

September 7th

Lucy started 2nd grade this morning
She was ready to go to school at 7am
We did not need to be there until 8:15
So we compromised and left the house at 7:55
She is excited because she got the teacher she wanted (Mrs Plamonden)
Nervous because her classroom is on the second floor and she could potentially trip going up or down the stairs
Her backpack is bigger than she is, but I think her grin shall carry her through the day
I keep asking her to please slow down, to not grow up so fast
She informed me she has to because this is how God made children (to grow up)
I stood back and watched her in the sea of children this morning as we all gathered in the gymnasium
Moms were smoothing the kids hair down and snapping pictures The Dads were just trying to stay out of the way
The kids were content to yell back and forth at friends they had not seen all summer
Some shared hugs and giggles
New haircuts and backpacks were shown off
I watched Lucy out of the corner of my eye as I chatted with a friend
Believe it or not, she looks awfully young compared to some of her classmates
The grin never left her face....and she was surprisingly quiet as she often is in a crowd
I bent over at one point and asked her in a whisper are you ok?
She nodded
I just can't believe I am in second grade Mumma.....my belly feels funny
Thinking we were having "a moment" I said
Oh honey, that's because you are a bit nervous and excited at the same time...I bet some other kids feel the same way
Actually Mumma, it's because I have to fart and I'm holding it in....
Moment over
Let second grade begin

The Day Before School Starts

September 6, 2016

For Lucy, the first day of school rivals Christmas Eve
She's been talking about the first day of school since the beginning of August
She is so excited to be in second grade
Are you nervous at all? I've asked her
No way she assures me!!!
But then she says well, maybe just a little nervous
What are you nervous about kiddo?
Second grade is on the second floor...what if I trip going up the stairs or coming down?
Hmm, that is a legit concern I say
Yeah well, that's what I'm nervous about
So we devised a plan to hopefully avoid any such falls
Now she's not so nervous
Today, she woke up and spent most of the morning bouncing around the house giggling and laughing and hooting and hollering about tomorrow
She took an inventory of her school supplies
She laid everything out on the bed and counted it twice
She admired every pencil, marker, glue stick and notebook like they were the crown jewels
When I told her we needed to stop at school to drop something off, she got so excited, she may have passed out
And when we walked in and she saw her 1st grade teacher, her principal and her new teacher all at once, her head almost exploded
There was a bit of a battle of what she would wear tomorrow but we finally reached a compromise And spoiler alert, her outfit will have cats on it
We celebrated the day before school starting like it was a holiday
We went out for dinner and there was chocolate cake for dessert
She received text messages from Noni and Papa and Auntie Cheetie wishing her a happy first day of school
Auntie Flea (who is a teacher and started school today) Facetimed Lucy and she was happy to show off her new backpack and lunch box
Lucy showered, brushed her teeth and read stories with her Dad
Before bed, we had Lucy try on her outfit and shoes (because unlike responsible parents, we did not have her try on anything at the time of purchase...no no, we like to play that game of we'll try it on as soon as we get home and return whatever does not fit.....three months later, I'm giving away clothes with tags still attached)
I put her to bed and as we lay there, Lucy wiggled and giggled and was just so excited to start school she could not lay still
I suggested she say a prayer to see if that would help her settle down
She prayed that she would have a good day, that she would do her best and asked God to stay with her to help her get through the day
She closed her prayer by saying and God, if you could, please make sure I don't trip going up or down the stairs that would be great.....I don't want to get blood on my new backpack
She was asleep in less than ten minutes
But, she has been downstairs twice since we put her to bed
Once to see if it was morning yet
I assured her it was not I thought I slept through the first day of school she said in a sleepy voice
I assured her I would not let that happen
She went back upstairs on her own pausing to look out the window to make sure it was still in fact night time
The second time she came down was about twenty minutes ago 
She asked if it was morning yet so she could go to school 
No honey, not yet
She stamped her foot at me and legit started to cry 
Why not???
Why not what honey?
Why isn't morning?? I want it to be morning!
Well, the earth is still rotating on its axis Luce....we have to wait for it to complete its turn before the sun comes up and its morning...
She stared at me
She stamped her foot again 
I gave her a hug and a glass of water and assured her if she went to sleep, morning would be here before she knew it
She glared at me
Where's Daddy?
In the basement sweetie
Fine, I'll just go get him, he'll make it morning for me
So she went to see her Dad
She came back up a minute later and looked out the window
Still night I see
It is Luce
Well, guess that didn't work 
Guess not...why don't you head upstairs honey, I'll be up in a minute
Honey, come on now 
You know what, you won't let it be morning, I won't let you take me upstairs!
Oh, Ok well, that sounds reasonable 
I don't want to be reasonable, I want it to be morning!
Ok well honey, I'm not sure what you want me to do....I just want you to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow......
And I just want it to be tomorrow 
Ok well listen little Orphan Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow but first, you need to go to bed
What? Why do you say such weird things Mumma? You don't even make sense!
I know.....but it's part of my job 
Great, you don't make sense and Daddy tells bad jokes and you two are supposed to take care of a child??
What is happening right now Luce?
I don't know Mumma.....I might just be tired.....I don't even know what I am saying.....
Sean took her upstairs
She was asleep within five minutes
I anticipate at least two more visits from her before the sun rises
Pretty sure those conversations will make even less sense

Bless You

August 27th, 2016

Sean is in Maine as he is every year at this time for the American Folk Festival
Historically, every time Sean goes out of town something happens
He left this past Tuesday and things have been pretty uneventful
Up until 20 minutes ago
That was when Lucy clogged the toilet
And I seemingly forgot to put the pot on the coffee maker before hitting brew
Then the cat ran into the closed sliding glass door
So I cleaned up the kitchen and made a fresh pot of coffee
Unclogged the toilet and wiped down the bathroom
Then soothed the cat and gave him a treat
I parked Lucy in front of the TV and came out onto the back deck with my fresh cup of coffee
That was when the acorns from the tree over our deck started falling onto my head and into my cup of coffee
And then the cat sneezed and somehow threw up at the same time
On my foot
I did not know a cat could sneeze and throw up at the same time