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Momo Fali's: January 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting Burned

This picture is a close-up of my right forearm. Please ignore the lack of muscle tone and the Lebanese arm hair.

Every weekday, I prepare meals for roughly 200 kids. Sometimes we go all old school cafeteria and heat up prepackaged, frozen food, but there are many days when the entire menu is fresh and made from scratch.

This picture shows my latest burns. I also have a scar on my wrist, a scar near my elbow and a scar on my left forearm. I decided to add some marks to the right side so that my forearms would match.

Earlier this week, in addition to my new burns, I was dicing tomatoes when I cut through my glove and into the tip of my thumb. I also sliced my palm with the wire tie that was holding closed the frozen corn.

And then, when we were eating dinner the other night, my 11 year old daughter finished chewing a bite and said, "Mom, this is really good! You should be a cook!"

All that suffering and I can't even get any props.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Looney Tunes

My mind is rarely at rest. As an insomniac, I have taken to keeping my phone on my nightstand so I can jot down the thoughts that pop into my head at 3:00am. It seems that the middle of the night is when I frequently remember that I need to pick up a birthday card, or that we need eggs or that the permission slip for my daughter's field trip is two days overdue.

During the day, my mind is constantly occupied as well. If I'm not reading, writing or watching television, then my brain starts getting busy. But, this isn't when I have coherent thoughts...this is when my head is filled with irritating music.

For instance, every day when I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at work, I sing "Bootylicious". That's right. I don't think you're ready for this jelly. On Sloppy Joe days, I channel Adam Sandler. When we serve fruit salad, it's The Wiggles.

The problem is that I don't invite this music. I don't ask it to come in, sit down and kick up its feet. But, it does. Sometimes it stays for tea, then grabs a pillow and plops down for a long nap.

Yesterday my day started with my son humming "Oh Susanna", which stayed in my head until I made the PBJ's. "Bootylicious" hung around until one of my co-workers asked if I had seen the guy on American Idol singing "Pants on the Ground". Maybe that song wouldn't be so bad if I knew more than ten words.

After school, my son mentioned how much he likes the song "Down by the Station". Which turned out to be awesome because it's completely normal for a 38 year old woman to be walking through Target singing songs about "little puffer bellies all in a row".

When I got home I found that someone had sent me a video of Justin Timberlake singing "Hallelujah" from the Hope for Haiti telethon. I knew it would be stuck in my head, likely for the rest of the day.

And after all that bad music, what was my first reaction when I saw that link in my in-box?


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Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Realizations: Dog Edition

1. If you once had a dog who ate a dead bat and you had to pull a string of wet, possibly-rabid bat out of her throat, you may think, "I have never seen anything so disgusting in my life."

2. When that same dog gets older and decides she likes to roll in other dog's poop and you find yourself giving her a bath and she does the wet dog shake and soaped-up poop goes flying all over your bathroom, you will realize you were wrong about the bat being disgusting.

3. And, 15 years later when you get a new puppy and see that she likes to roll in dead animals you may find yourself thinking, "If that's the worst thing she rolls in, things will be okay, because remember that one dog...who liked to roll in dog poop..."

4. Then on a day much like this past Saturday, your new puppy may roll around in horse poop and you'll think, "Well, it certainly can't get any worse than this."

5. But, it's possible that on the same day, after she's been bathed and sanitized, that puppy might suddenly decide she likes Mexican food and eat an entire bowl of salsa.

6. Which means you might stay up all night waiting for the explosive salsa-diarrhea you know will come.

7. But, it doesn't.

8. And you'll realize you stayed up all night for nothing.

9. Until the puppy throws up and it smells exactly poop.

10. And you may find yourself thinking, "Seriously? Why couldn't it smell like salsa?"

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, the cafeteria prefect at the school asked if it would be okay if she hurried my son along after he finishes his lunch. It turns out, that while I'm busily working 40 feet away, he is dilly-dallying through clean up.

Kids can't be dismissed until their area is tidy and although my son stays well into the next lunch period and gets back to class later than anyone else, he still feels the need to take his things to the trash by one.

First it's the straw wrapper, then he walks around the entire row of tables to get his straw, then his milk carton, then his tray, then his napkin. I don't think he's stalling. I think it's just an aspect of his OCD.

I will be the first person to say that he gets his compulsions naturally. Between me, my mother and my mother-in-law you could lay our compulsions end-to-end and circle the earth. Twice.

My mom took her dog for a walk the other day and told me that she went 845 steps. Then she went on to say that if she had gone around the block she would have taken over 1000. She doesn't wear a pedometer. She also has a morning routine that you do not want to mess with. Trust me. I'm more of a have-to-have-the-dishwasher-loaded-correctly or laundry-has-to-be-folded-nicely-and-put-away-neatly kind of chick. So, you really can't call me odd.

A true compulsion would be if I reloaded the dishwasher every time someone else tried to do it, so I would know that all of the forks were tines up, all of the sharp knives were pointing down, all the ceramic dishes were on one side and all the plastic ones on the other and that all of the cooking utensils were in the top rack. Or, if I went back to the drawer where I had just put away laundry in order to make sure it hadn't folded over on itself. Not that I would know anything about that.

I mean, it would probably seem as if I had issues if I did something like say the exact same thing to my daughter every single night before she goes to bed and give her four kisses on her forehead. It would be stranger, still, if the words I uttered to her were the exact same ones my mother said to me as a child.

Or, if I also gave my son four kisses each night and rubbed the back of his furry little head in the spot where I first touched him as a baby.

I'm certainly not crazy! I don't line up my shirts by color, or always cough twice, or crack my neck, or constantly rub my chin to see if another gray hair has popped out. Oh wait...

Now that I think about it, my son is doomed.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old and Out of Shape

Last month, my son's cub scout troop visited a local library for a "Go See It" task. A librarian read the boys a couple of books and then gave them a tour of the building.

One of the final stops was the archive room, where there were local artifacts and books. In the corner of the room was a card catalog. In the archive room. I have never felt so quickly propelled toward old age.

At last night's cub scout meeting, we talked about the food pyramid. Now, if you're old enough to have used a card catalog, you also know that this is not the food pyramid with which we grew up. The government went and complicated the heck out of it. Imagine that.

This is the new one...

I'm pretty sure all of this is unnecessary. Why do we have to go and screw up a good thing? Also, get off my lawn!

Luckily, the other parents at the meeting also had one foot in the grave and when it was time for us to create our own food pyramid, we created something like this...

I was feeling pretty good about it. Making it old school for us old folks, and all. Until suddenly my son asked, "Mom, I know you know what the bottom squares are, but do you know what exercise is?"

Clearly, I need to accept the fact that there will always be change and that the things I grew up with are now relics. I also need to accept the fact that it's time to get back on the treadmill.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Realizations: Photo Shoot Edition

1. If you happen to be home on a Sunday afternoon and are expecting a camera crew from a major national magazine to stop by, you may find it beneficial to empty the liquid from a glass like this into your belly. Twice.

2. Then you'll still be nervous.

3. If the photographer has told you that he will be shooting pictures in your kitchen and in your garage, make sure you spend two days cleaning your kitchen.

4. Then realize that you haven't touched the rusted paint cans, dried leaves and random pieces of cardboard in your garage until two hours before he arrives.

5. At which time you may beg your husband to clean it for you.

6. There may also be be shrieking involved.

7. If the magazine for which you're posing has a circulation of roughly 4 million, you may find it is a perfect time to a) wax your own eyebrows, b) experiment with liquid eyeliner and c) forget to test your hairspray nozzle so that it doesn't so much spray as it does shoot a solid stream of liquid into your fresh curls.

8. As soon as the crew sets up their equipment and has your kitchen completely blocked off with lights, wires and big umbrellas, your kids will tell you that they're hungry.

9. If you happen to be busty then, by all means, pick a button down shirt for the shoot so that every time the photographer asks you to put your hands on your hips it pops open at just the right spot.

10. Then it will be like you're posing for an entirely different type of magazine.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

At Least My Back is Safe

I was washing dishes when I looked over my shoulder to see my son tiptoeing across the kitchen floor, being careful to step into the middle of each tile while completely avoiding the grout.

I asked, "What are you doing, buddy?"

He replied, "I'm being careful not to step on any cracks, because I don't want to beat my mommy's butt."

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Married My Brother

It's not what you think.

His mother isn't my mother and his father isn't my father. We aren't related, by blood, in any way.

However, I am married to a man who is the ultimate competitor. A man who always has to be right. And, of course, there is the teasing and knowing just what will drive me crazy...and doing all of those things on purpose. More than anything, there is his enjoyment of doing anything "kid-like".

On Saturday, we took the kids sledding. Did I anticipate that my husband would come up behind me, tackle me to the ground and then shove snow in my face? Or, that he would put himself on a toboggan with two kids in order to be the heaviest, and therefore the fastest, sled on the hill?

Did I realize that he would make our SUV do doughnuts on the ice in the empty parking lot until our daughter was car sick?

Did I know that if I asked him whether he was going to smack his gum for the entire car ride that his reply would be, "Only if it irritates you"?

I should have.

My husband is kid in a 38 year old body. Don't get me wrong, he's responsible and he works hard, but he would rather spend the day having light saber fights with our son, or taking our daughter to see Avatar in 3-D while I stay home with the grumpy seven year old, a barking puppy and an old dog with a bladder infection. Not that I'm bitter about it.

In all honesty, I love it. My husband is the reason that our kids are kids. He is the one who plans the trips to amusement parks, takes them for bike rides and forces me out of the house on the coldest day of the year to listen to our children giggle on the sledding hill.

He is the person who took our children on a wild ride down the street on a furniture dolly that he pulled with a moving strap. He is the guy who took us fishing and had the patience to load the lines on all the reels, then redo every one of them when we (okay, I) managed to tangle them on our first casts.

He took our 11 year old daughter on a zipline canopy tour through the forest, he has gone skydiving and white water rafting and done all the things that I am too scared to do. My husband is instilling his adventurous spirit and enthusiasm for life in our children.

And if that means I have to put up with some gum smacking, then bring on the bubble gum.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Glamorous Life

My 11 year old daughter and I were discussing the insane amount of dog hair our vacuum picks up when I told her that after our puppy dies, her dad and I will likely never get another dog.

"But, you have to get another dog!", she cried.

I asked, "Why do you care? By the time Daisy gets old, you and your brother will probably have moved out of the house."

Then she replied, "Because when we come home from Hollywood or New York to visit, we'll want to have a dog to play with."

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


On Monday night, my mom, the kids and I went to dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday. We hit the local Chinese restaurant, where we were all happily chomping on rice noodles when my seven year old son took a sip of his lukewarm tea and started to cough.

I remember when I would cough like that as a kid and my mom would make me put my arms in the air. I do that with my son too. I also make him look me in the eye as I slowly count to five, then tell him to take a breath. I do anything I can to get his attention off of coughing because, with him, coughing almost always leads to vomiting.

I held my napkin under his chin, as if that would contain his bellyful of Lo Mein and mushrooms. He began to gag as his sister firmly shut her eyes and plugged her ears, as she frequently does. Then my son threw up about a tablespoon of liquid before calming himself down.

I was thrilled! I was so proud of him! His grandmother even gave him a dollar.

He didn't vomit, and vomit, and vomit some more as he did on the first day of Christmas break. He had a cold and started coughing in the car as we were leaving the school, which is where he started throwing up. He coated his jacket and his booster seat, then leaned out the window and threw up some more. He finished on the ground in the parking lot where I had hurriedly pulled into a spot. I undressed my son next to the car in the frigid temperatures before driving him home to do laundry and bathe him.

That scene, or one like it, plays out about once a week. If we're lucky. Sometimes it's more. You might think this is disgusting. But, these are the moments that define the mother I am.

I am the mother of a sick kid. I am the mother of a boy who weighs 38 pounds and will soon be eight years old, who is hard to understand when he speaks and who hears everything as if he is holding his hands over his ears.

I am the mother of a child with OCD tendencies, who easily gags, and chokes, and has horrible reflux, heart defects, hearing loss, a missing tear duct and stubby ear canals. I work as a lunch lady so I can be there to watch over him when he eats. I give him stomach and allergy medicine, sinus rinses, eye drops and ear drops. And, I carry special bags in my car to catch his vomit (when I can).

I am the mother who helps my kids with homework as I am making a dinner that I know my son can eat. Nothing stringy, nothing too spicy, nothing pasty or with an odd texture. Bites need to be dime-sized.

I am the mother who drives her daughter to basketball practice and makes sure to bring a blanket to keep her son warm, because his heart problems make him extra cold.

I am the mother whose son sees not only a pediatrician, but a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, opthamologist, geneticist, allergist, ENT...oh, and we were just told to consult with an orthodontist too. I am the mother who is a pharmacist's dream and a health insurer's nightmare.

I am also the mother who cheers when her son doesn't throw up in the middle of a restaurant during her sister's birthday dinner.

I am the mother who takes her victories whenever she can.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Is There Butter on Those Whiteheads?

My mom is known for being ever-so-slightly off on her pronunciation of certain words. Home Depot isn't pronounced, "Home DEEP-oh" but, "Home DEP-oh". "Nickolodeon" is "Nickolode-UM". And once, when someone was talking about the song "Back in Black", Mom started singing, "I want my baby back, baby back, baby back...". You know, the Chili's song.

It turns out that my seven year old son takes after his grandmother. Most noticeably, when he calls his AquaDoodle a "croc-a-doodle" or when he says, "I love you as big as the whole, wide wheeled".

But yesterday, he was more than just a little off. As my husband was eating popcorn my son looked into the bottom of the bowl and saw the leftover kernels, then he looked at his dad and asked, "Are you going to eat those pimples?"

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