Before you read on, in my defense, I would just like to say that trying to fight depression during the Christmas season, especially when you are a teacher, takes Herculean strength and not a few brain cells. Plus, I was a bit pre-occupied with the world ending and a few other things.
One more party. Last night, we had one last Christmas party to attend. And I was so looking forward to being done with them all.
The entire Firepants family was invited to this one. I had inconveniently scheduled a hair appointment right before the party, but I had planned ahead to make sure we could head over there as soon as I was done. White Elephant gift bought and wrapped. Dessert prepared. Address Google mapped.
Before my appointment, I reminded Dimples that she needed to find a “dress-up” outfit and something to use to roast marshmallows before I returned home.
(If you are new to my blog, I must inform you that I have an overactive Dorfenbergerthalamus that overheats and explodes if I am late to anything. This may seem random, but it’s a pertinent fact.)
I arrived home 40 minutes before the party.
“Dimples, do you have your dress-up outfit chosen?”
“I thi-in-n-k so.” This took 5 minutes to sort out.
“What about the marshmallow roasters?”
“No. I told Daddy, but he hasn’t found anything yet.”
I strode to the pantry and grabbed some barbecue forks.
“O.K. It’s going to take about 15 minutes to get there. Is everyone going to be ready to leave in 10 minutes?”
Cap’n Firepants spoke up. “Yes, I’ll probably be ready. But we’re going to need to stop on the way to pick up some beer.”
“What?!!!!!!!!! You’ve been home for 2 and a half hours. Why didn’t you get beer earlier?”
“What was I supposed to do, take Dimples with me to pick up beer?”
“So, now you are going to take all of us to pick up beer?!”
5 minutes later – “Oh, I forgot I had some beer. So, we don’t need to stop for it.”
“Thank God!” This was not sarcasm. I was truly appreciative that we would not lose minutes picking up beer. My Dorfenbergerthalamus was beginning to smoke.
5 minutes later – “O.K., everyone. Let’s go.”
Wonderbutt is coaxed into the Kitchen Corral. Mrs. P.I.B. gives us the panicked look she gives every time we leave. Armed with our required and optional party supplies, the Firepants family exits stage right.
10 minutes later, as we are flying past the airport, a sudden realization hits.
“Oh, crap. I forgot the White Elephant gift!” I exclaim.
To his credit, Cap’n Firepants, instead of letting the expletives fly, says, “Do you want me to turn around?”
I won’t list all of the options that rattled through my brain, but they included stopping at a convenience store and grabbing a can of Pringles or wrapping up the marshmallow forks in a car mat.
“Yes-s-s,” I reluctantly whisper as I sink deep into the seat and wait for my Dorfenbergerthalamus to go nuclear.
“Don’t worry, Mommy,” Dimples assures me from the back seat. “According to my Girls’ Book of Glamour, it’s best to be fashionably late to a party. Twenty minutes is ideal.”
Yeah, tell that to my Dorfenbergerthalamus…
I have a problem with measurement.
Not an ethical problem. Although you probably shouldn’t get me started on the whole metric versus customary debate. I just really suck at measuring.
I never made the connection before, but pretty much everything I do horribly has to do with the fact that I have never been very precise at measurement:
Yes, hair. I am very bad at doing hair. And, if you think about it, it takes measuring.
Say, for example, your hairdresser says to use a dime-sized drop of mousse. I try, really, to do what he said. But that just can’t be enough. I don’t think he has really looked at a dime lately. So, I end up putting a half dollar size in my hair instead. And then, I look like either a bedraggled or electrified cat, depending on which million dollar product I experimented with that day. And then, it’s time to go to wherever I’m going, so everyone at the event gets to stare at me and wonder if I purposely left the house with two different colored shoes to somehow try to distract everyone from staring at my disastrous coif.
So, after thirty six years of doing my own hair, I have finally come to the realization that I need to do some practice runs before any big event. Like days before – not minutes.
This weekend there will be just such an event. The Office Christmas Party. Not my office. Are you kidding? I’m but a poor, lowly teacher. No, People. We are talking a fancy schmancy Christmas Party thrown by The Office of Cap’n Firepants.
So, I have been trying out do’s all week. Have you ever seen those ladies who wear their rollers out in public and wonder why in the world they are willing for the public to view them looking slightly unattractive for eight hours out of the day so they can impress whoever they plan to astonish with their sudden astonishing beauty for two hours that night? Think of someone doing that for six days. Well, not exactly the rollers, but the unattractive part for sure.
I have been approaching this like a science experiment. Note that one of the things on my list of detriments is chemistry.
Every day, I try one different product in my hair to see if I can achieve the perfect combination. According to everything I learned about the Scientific Method, it is important to make only one change at a time, so one can be certain what has effected the results. The problem is that there is one variable that I can’t control. The weather. The wet, humid, foggy, disgusting weather that we are predicted to have for the rest of this week.
Just in case you are unfamiliar with San Antonio weather, allow me to bring you up to speed. We are in the middle of a drought. It hasn’t rained for sixty-two years, twenty days, 6 hours and twenty one and a half minutes. But the week I need to do some important follicle research? It rains every day.
The good thing is that the weather will be just as damp and gloomy on the day of Cap’n Firepants’ Excellent Extravaganza. So, I have provided myself (and everyone else in my life) with a preview of every possible bad hairdo I could have for that evening. There will be no sudden intake of breath when I walk into the room with Firepants (no doubt at least 30 minutes late), no exclamations of surprise at the horrific frizzy mop surrounding my face. After a barely noticeable pause in conversation, someone will whisper loudly to his or her conversational partner, who is relatively new to the firm, “Oh, that’s just the wife of Cap’n Firepants. She has some sort of measurement disability for which poor Firepants is always having to compensate. Don’t ever to go their house for dinner if she’s cooking. If the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of pepper, she’ll put in two cups. And if you try to talk about football with her, she will start ranting something about yards and meters and you’ll wish you never brought it up.”
“Uh, why are her pants legs different lengths?”
“Well, she probably tried to take them up – she’s actually short despite the foot of hair frizzed out above her head – herself while she was kneeling on the floor. No one really knows why she does the things she does. It’s amazing, really, that Cap’n Firepants hasn’t left her by now.”
“So, uh, why hasn’t he?”
“Well, he has a bit of a handicap himself – have you ever heard of the Dorfenbergerthalamus?”
Today will be a relatively short post due to major goings on in the Firepants household. Dimples has a Synchronized Swimming water show today, and it’s an all-day affair. My Dorfenbergerthalamus is being stretched to its limits between getting to rehearsals, knoxing/makeup applications, and performances on time. Here’s a glimpse into the frustration of being the Mother of Dimples, a fourth-grader (note the current grade level, as it will help you to appreciate this conversation):
“Mom, when we go shopping tomorrow, can you get me some long-sleeved shirts?”
“Well, maybe one or two. I don’t want to spend a lot because you never want to wear them.”
“Are you kidding me? Every time it gets cold and I try to get you to wear warm clothes, you act like I’m abusing you. You insist on wearing a short sleeved shirt and a sweater. It can be a thirty degree day, and when I pick you up from school your sweater is stuffed in your backpack and your jeans are rolled up to your knees.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I remember there was a time in second grade I wore one.”
You know how They say that you can’t change someone? They are So Wrong. Maybe They just meant you can’t change men. Or that you can’t make someone change for the better. I don’t know. All I’m saying is that I am changing, and it is not intentional or voluntary on my part.
I have included this graph as a visual aid.
Note that before I got married, I was a very timely person. In fact, I was often way more than 15 minutes early for any event. I do not like to be late. There is a scientific reason for this. Apparently I was born with a Dorfenbergerthalamus, a minute but powerful portion of my brain that regulates my timeliness. The closer I get to the expected time of lift-off for any event, the more I sweat and nervously move my right leg up and down. You don’t want to be around me during the + or – 5 minute range, trust me. After -5 minutes, you’ll be fine – because I’ll be dead.
Now, Cap’n Firepants was not born with a Dorfenbergerthalamus, so he does not feel any sense of urgency to be on time for any event, no matter how important. It is only because my Dorfenbergerthalamus went into overdrive on the day of our wedding and my bridesmaids thought it prudent to kidnap him and haul him to the church an hour before the service that he was on time for that momentous occasion.
Note that, after the wedding, my cushion of time went down. This did not happen voluntarily. It is a result of something you young ‘uns and stubborn politicians need to learn about called COMPROMISE. Actually, in the teaching profession we call it ACCOMMODATION. This is what we do for people who are lacking in certain areas – such as Cap’n Firepants missing his Dorfenbergerthalamus. To accommodate for his handicap, I learned to deal with squealing up to the event just in the nick of time – just as Cap’n Firepants learned to deal with me snapping at him nervously during the entire interminable car ride.
Once we had Dimples, things changed even more. I don’t know if it was hormones, or what, but my Dorfenbergerthalamus went a little haywire. Added to its abhorrence of being late was a new fear of being too early. Because when you have a one-year old, you don’t want to have to spend any more time than you need to ANYWHERE. So, the calculations got a little more complicated, but I still got to places on time – barely.
And then we got Wonderbutt. Apparently, my Dorfenbergerthalamus is eroding with age or just cannot factor one more responsibility into my life; it now consistently miscalculates the time necessary to prepare to leave. It could figure in me, then Cap’n Firepants, then Dimples, getting ready. But Wonderbutt has overloaded my Dorfenbergerthalamus. So, although I am ready at the supposedly target moment, I then realize that I must make sure the appropriate gates are up to guarantee no border crossings occur while we are gone, and that Wonderbutt has adequate chewing materials so that he does not feel the need to resort to our furniture or other unpredictable objects – like the markers Dimples absentmindedly leaves around in case she needs to do spontaneous art projects.
Now it’s Cap’n Firepants who is in the car, claiming he is going to enforce the AIS (Ass in Seat) Law one of these days (see “Everybody Loves Raymond” for more specific information) as I scramble around the house at the last minute trying to determine why my Dorfenbergerthalamus has misfired once again.
So, don’t let anyone tell you that people don’t change. Once, I was a nervous wreck who was ridiculously early for any occasion. Now, I’m a nervous wreck who is regularly late and may or may not be wearing matching shoes with teethmarks in them.