Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mom Vision

They can spot a dust ball from fifty miles away, detect a dirty sock behind a couch and find keys faster than a speeding bullet. They can see a mess where no mess has been seen before. They’re Mom Eyes. The phenomenon is called Mom Vision. And it’s an affliction that I’m apparently stuck with.

At the risk of not being scientifically accurate, (and scientific accuracy is something I know you’ve come to expect from me) this particular form of keen perception is a phenomenon exclusive to women, especially women with kids. Here’s how you know you have Mom Vision: Everyone in your family can nonchalantly walk around the same hairball six times without “seeing” it. But you see it every one of the six times you walk around the same hairball.

Okay, I know. Your family members probably see the hairball, too. They’re just pretending not to see it. But this is not fair. And here’s why: you see it and know who will be cleaning it up. And here’s the part that’s really unfair. They know who will be cleaning it up too. If you guessed, “Me, that’s who!” You’re 100 percent right! Congratulations! And condolences. You are afflicted with Mom Vision.

Sometimes seeing crap (and by crap I mean stuff and also, sometimes, actual crap) on the floor doesn’t bother me. This is usually when it’s my crap (and by this I mean stuff, not actual crap.) If I see my jacket draped over a kitchen chair, I don’t get angry or upset, because I know who will pick it up. That’s right! It will be me! This is also the same reason I get angry and upset when I see someone else’s jacket draped over a kitchen chair, or on the floor or a countertop. Because I know who will pick it up. That’s right! Me again! And I also know that if I’m not the one who actually picks it up, I will be the one who facilitates its getting picked up, using a method I kindly refer to as “screaming.” (e.g. “Get down here and get your d%&* jacket off the kitchen floor, or countertop, or chair!”)

Yet, my sons and my daughter and my husband have the ability to walk past this jacket (or dirty socks or piece of trash or small dead animal, or, please-fill-in-the-blank-here_____) on the floor of the kitchen many times during the course of a day.

On some level, I think this is because they truly can’t see it. Perhaps their heads are filled with something better—the next new thing they’re heading toward. Whatever it is, I want some of that. I want to fill my head with something better, something that will allow me to walk through my house and not see dirt, detritus, or even worse, a project in every room.

I hate projects. As I’ve mentioned, I am not Craft Mom. Yet, no matter where I go in the house, I see a project. Even though these projects don’t involve yarn and Popsicle sticks, I still loathe them. In my husband’s office, I see the picture that’s needed to be hung on his wall for the last six months. In our bathroom, it’s the light bulbs in the ceiling that need to be replaced. (I’m convinced that if it weren’t for me noticing and replacing light bulbs, we’d have been living in total darkness beginning about six years ago.) In my sons’ bedroom, it’s the door on their closet that’s been missing. For eight years.

It feels endless and there’s at least one project in every room, sometimes more than one. Some are small—put the files in the filing cabinet. Sometimes, they’re huge—insulate and finish out the attic. Yet my husband and family can walk through our house on a daily basis and not see a single project. Not one! It’s like they have project blinders on.

If there were a way, I would trade my Mom Vision for Kid/Husband Blinders. I want to wear what they’re wearing. I want whatever it is that will allow me to not see mess and chaos and disarray. I want to not see a task, a to-do item, a project everywhere I look. I want to leap over messes and projects in a single bound.

I want to back a virtual car over my mythical Mom Vision Goggles—but then I know who would end up cleaning up the ensuing mess.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fight Shoes

The cutest pair of shoes I own are a pair of silver Brian Atwoods with four-inch heels. I don’t know from Brian Atwood, but the lady at the store that sold them to me told me he was “all the rage.” When I saw the price, I understood the “rage” part. Fortunately, the pair that caught my eye had already been worn. Only once. By a little old lady to church on one Sunday. No, actually they were worn only once by a model in a fashion show and therefore, I received quite a price break. The saleslady told me they were runway shoes. Cool, I thought. Runway shoes.

These days, I call them my Fight Shoes. Not because I believe that, with the correct amount of torque, I could skewer the worthiest of opponents with an appropriately placed roundhouse, but because every time I wear them, anywhere, my husband and I finish the evening with a fight.

My pair of silver Brian Atwoods, with four-inch heels, make my feet hurt. A lot.

Being more of a Keds kind of girl, the same dialogue runs through my head every time I pull them out of my closet. (Picture a Good Shoe Angel on one shoulder and an Evil Shoe Devil on the other.)

Good Shoe Angel: “Don’t wear those shoes! They’re impractical!”

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

Good Shoe Angel: “They make your feet hurt and when your feet hurt, you get crabby and dare I say it, sometimes even—unreasonable.”

At this I gasp: Unreasonable? Moi?

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

Good Shoe Angel: “It doesn’t matter how good they look, or how well they go with your outfit, you know by the end of the night you’ll end up in some dumb fight with your husband, about him walking too fast, or making you walk too far or not hailing a cab quickly enough.”

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

As for who triumphs on any given night, all the smart money should be on Evil Shoe Devil, which now that I think of it, would be a good name for a racehorse.

On the evenings that Evil Shoe Devil does triumph, said pair of silver Brian Atwoods wait by the front door, the very last thing I put on before we leave. And when I put them on, they do look fabulous. They make me feel fabulous—the way they lengthen my legs, accentuate my calf muscles and finally, for once, put me eye to eye with my husband. I continue to feel fabulous wearing them for ten, maybe fifteen steps. That’s all it takes before the pressure on the balls of my feet is extreme, my arches are in flames and I can’t feel my toes anymore. By then, I’m already anticipating the 3 a.m. wake-up call, when the aforementioned calf muscles twist themselves into vicious knots and seize up my legs with brutal cramps.

Each time I strap them on, I tell myself, Tonight will be different. I will be calm and rational despite my pain, that “Fight Shoes” is a misnomer, nothing more than a silly superstition. Yet my Fight Shoes have caused me to dance shoeless at weddings and walk barefoot through Lincoln Park. Less acceptably, they’ve also caused me to screech at my poor husband like a menopausal fishwife when he allowed a cab driver to drop us at the corner instead of right in front of a restaurant.

Whenever we’re preparing for one of our precious evenings out, the look of dread in his eyes is unmistakable when he spies the Fight Shoes waiting next to the front door.

“Not those,” he says.

I want to tell him, tonight will be different, that “Fight Shoes” is a misnomer, a silly superstition.

Helplessly, I stand there before them—torn between my kind, loving husband and my sexy pair of shoes. In the end, all I can manage is a pre-emptive apology and the words, ”Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”