Thursday, January 31, 2013

If the Super Bowl Were a Romantic Comedy

It's Super Bowl week. Time to start feigning interest in football. It seems no matter how many times my husband and sons have explained the game to me (usually once annually, on Super Bowl Sunday), I just can't get into it.

I recently realized why:

There is basically no tangible relationship between the pigskin and the guy carrying it. Sure there's motive to bring it to the end zone and score your team a ring. The lure of jewelry, I totally get.

But where's the backstory that draws me in and compels me to keep watching? The witty repartee laced with sexual tension? The protagonist's inner demons that need to be battled? It coincidentally does not take place in a circa 1960's advertising agency where everyone broods, drinks and wears fabulous clothes. This alone could be a major contributor to the problem.

Yes, I know it's insane to think the Super Bowl could play like an episode of a TV drama like Mad Men. I mean, hello.....It's obviously got much more of a romantic comedy vibe. After all, the agony on the players' faces must have a cause. Who's to say it's not unrequited love? And have you seen what these guys wear and how ridiculous grown men look all piled up on top of one another? Comedic gold.

The viewing experience would be vastly improved by simply illustrating the relationship between man and football. These proposed tweaks would make me actually want to see what happens next during the game...Are you listening, CBS?

Picture this:
A quarterback and a football leave college to drive all night, bickering and bantering their way from Chicago to New Yor---er, I mean, New Orleans. The quarterback points out how he and the football can never truly be friends because their underlying attraction for each other will get in the way...a fact that will be driven home when the football fakes an orgasm at a roadside diner near the 50 yard line. The two part ways to head into separate locker rooms, and I'm glued to the edge of my seat because I just know they're meant to be together.

Close to midnight on Super Bowl Eve, the quarterback finally admits he's been in love with the football all along. He swoops her up and carries her an unstoppable 90 yards to the end zone, pushing all others out of his way...because when he realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, he wanted the rest of his life to start as soon as possible. The marching band plays "Auld Lang Syne" as they score the winning touchdown together. Afterwards, the quarterback says he'd like a coconut Vince Lombardi Trophy cake...with the chocolate sauce on the side.

All right, I'll admit part of that just isn't plausible. I mean, when do marching bands ever play "Auld Lang Syne" during the Super Bowl, right? Maybe Madonna was busy. Work with me here.

How about this? The football and the wide receiver have been fighting their attraction for a long time due to his emotional immaturity. When the quarterback throws the pass, the wide receiver leaps high into the air to catch the football. As the two tumble to the ground together, the football says, "You complete me." Later, in front of all the cheerleaders, the wide receiver explains the football simply had him at "hello."

C'mon, that could be the first Super Bowl in history where you'd need tissues. Hear that, Kleenex? Potential sponsor opportunities! You're welcome.

Still not convinced of the Super Bowl's romantic comedy potential? Okay, final suggestion:

A linebacker feels hurt and abandoned by his beloved football. Enraged, he charges the other team, being careful to avoid the quicksand, fire swamp and Rodents of Unusual Size. He tackles the six-fingered quarterback, and as the football rolls down the synthetic turf, the linebacker hears her cry out "" The linebacker realizes the football never really stopped loving him and had merely been forced to play a scrimmage with the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Tell me you wouldn't turn in for such blockbuster Super Bowl plots as these proven winners. I can't believe Hollywood has yet to call upon me for my screenwriting skills.

But something tells me the networks won't go for it. I've heard those R.O.U.S. are ruthless when it comes to salary negotiations, and the Super Bowl is certainly no place to throw billions of dollars around.

Guess I'll just have to resign myself that the only declaration of undying love during this Super Bowl Sunday is going to be mine...for the nacho platter.

Actual Length of Super Bowl:  4 hours...give or take eleventy-billion hours of pre/post-game commentary 
Real Feel:  36 hours
Real Feel If Super Bowl Were a Romantic Comedy:  30 minutes, tops
Chance They Will Change It into a Romantic Comedy:  There's always 2014

HOW ABOUT YOU? Which do you prefer...the Super Bowl or a romantic comedy?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Please Stop Asking Me What's for Dinner

Family of mine, I love you more than you could ever comprehend, but please, I beg of you, stop badgering me about what's for dinner. It's not that I mind your inquisitive nature. It's the eye-rolling and petitioning for alternative dining choices that aren't working for me.

Yes, I wholeheartedly welcomed you kids into this world with a promise to nourish your heart, mind and body. I'm more than cool with the heart and mind thing, but I have to tell you....the constant procuring of healthy nutrients to feed your growing bodies on demand has gotten quite exhausting.

Here's a tip:  if I'm still cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I am not, in any way, shape or form, ready to address the dinner issue. You couldn't possibly be hungry again already, so I can only assume you're simply preparing notes for the I Hate Broccoli Tantrum you've scheduled later that afternoon.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes when you ask me what's for dinner.....I honestly don't know yet! It's not like I have an inexhaustible source from which I can pull creative meal plans to begin with, and I'm horrible under pressure. As you may have noticed. Repeatedly.

And let's be honest. No matter what I finally do make for dinner, at least one of you will be unhappy. One of you might cry or flat out refuse to eat. One of you will bemoan that I always make that, and you're sick of it.

Secret #2:  I'm probably sick of it, too! But if has some protein, some fiber and/or vegetables, and it's relatively quick to prepare around all your sports and activities, yes, you are going to see it again.

To be clear, I am not, nor will I ever be, a short order cook. I can barely get it together to prepare ONE meal for the group. There's a lot of pressure to make something healthy and enjoyable for all...and it often proves impossible.

Here's another confession:  I don't live to make dinner. In the same way you don't like when I interrupt your video games, I detest having to stop the 40 other tasks I'm doing to cook...especially when it seems like you all just ate 5 minutes ago. (And PS: I don't really get a kick out of packing school lunches either).

Of course, we've watched Rachael Ray and others who make cooking look fun. What's not to love about each ingredient pre-chopped into its own coordinated mini-bowl?

Except no one puts things into neat little bowls for me at our house. Where do they even buy those mini-bowls anyway? Is there a mini-bowl store solely in business to supply cooking shows with a way to avoid adding ingredients from...gasp!...the container from which they were bought? Oh, that's right. They don't actually buy food. They grow it in their organic gardens...with all the free time they have while others are organizing things into neat little bowls for them.

I know you enjoy when I make dishes like homemade lasagna for the holidays. I've even cut out new recipes that look appetizing. Except these all require two things I do NOT have most days: time and energy.

Because what cheerful Rachael doesn't say, cheerfully, is that her 15-minute meals still require a good 20 mins prep followed by 40 minutes of clean up. The last time I checked, 20+15+40 would make it a 75-minute meal, dear cheerful Rachael. And I'm known as quite the math expert in these parts (cough, cough).

I've also heard it'd supposedly be easier if I planned our meals in advance. I do try. I may have even procured all necessary ingredients for a balanced meal and scheduled it for Monday. Then one of your coaches sets a make-up game. During the three-hour dinner-time window on Monday. (Calmly pick up imaginary pistol, aim and shoot plans to Hell).

Ergo, you see me repeatedly opening and slamming cabinet doors as if doing so will magically make ingredients for a healthy yet delicious quickie meal appear.

And it's not that I don't value your frequent suggestions for fast food. Contrary to popular belief, I do enjoy a burger and fries. I do love how the clean-up would only involve tossing wrappers into the trash. But I also value other things like our hearts and arteries, and the possibility of living to an old age. I can't, in good conscience, let you have utter junk as often as you'd like. I also can't ban certain healthy vegetables or meats from ever appearing, so stop asking.

It may not seem like it, but I put a lot of time and effort into shopping for and preparing your meals....Often only to have them consumed, complained about and completely unappreciated in ten minutes or less. Not a fun glow to bask in while you all go relax, and I'm stuck cleaning up.

Look, as a mom, I accept that "so much effort, so little reward" comes with the territory.  Let's just try to keep dinner from feeling like "ridiculous amount of effort and a public stoning," okay?

So that's why when you ask me what's for dinner for the eleventh time on any given day, I may seem a little cranky. I know my obligation to make dinner. And I do truly want to nourish you. But from now on, can we just assume that at some point it will be dinner time, and at that point, I will put some form of decent --albeit possibly uninspired-- nutrients on the table for your consumption?

Let's just leave it at that and the world will be a much more peaceful place for all six of us. Well, seven, if you include the dog (who has, ahem, yet to ever complain about anything I've ever fed him.....just sayin').

Actual Time Spent Preparing Dinner:  at least 1 hour daily
Average Time Spent Eating Dinner:  15 minutes
Actual Time Spent Dealing with Kids' Dinner Complaints: 30-60 mins daily
Real Feel:  the movie Groundhog Day sums it up nicely

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you sometimes find cooking dinner a thankless chore?

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Post-Holiday Newton Factor

Every January, I feel nothing but contempt for Sir Isaac Newton. If he hadn't started with all his theories about gravity, I wouldn't be elbow-deep in dozens of boxes and containers of Christmas decorations. But he just had to insist on the whole "what goes up must come down" thing. Now I can't leave my Christmas tree up until July nor sit back and relax on the couch until every item is packed. Thanks a lot, Newton. (But please do give my warm regards to your brother Fig).

Why does putting the holiday decorations away have to be so depressing...other than the obvious fact it's a inordinate amount of work and feels like you just finished putting all the crap up two days ago?  First of all, there's no endearing term for taking down the tree. When you put it up, you get to "trim" it. Cue the music for trimming the tree! Fa la la la la and all that.

Okay, you could still listen to music now, and sure, you can string a different set of words together that start with "f" (and often do), but where's the music specifically designated for yanking down the stockings and disassembling evergreen boughs? Where are Johnny Mathis and Michael Buble when you're winding endless yards of wooden cranberries around a warped piece of corrugated cardboard? Probably hiding from their wives, who've already asked them seven times to lug the holiday storage bins down from the attic.

Without holiday music, the same objects that brought you joy a month ago now bring you anguish. In early December, that Partridge in a Pear Tree ornament your 12 year-old son had painted back in kindergarten made you smile. Now as you encase it in plastic bubble wrap and try in vain to cram it inside a container three sizes too small, you can't help but note how quickly yet another Christmas has passed. The kids are a year older and let's face it:  another year closer to moving out, leading their own independent lives, and forgetting all about you....which, coincidentally, places you one year closer to debilitating illness, despair and death. Happy freakin' new year.

This prompts a bunch of promises to yourself in attempt to prevent this inevitable downward spiral. Next year, I'm not putting so many things up! Next year, I'm going to enjoy the holidays more and stress out less! Next year, I'm going to get all new containers specifically designed to store things in an easy, organized fashion instead of all this chaos.

This often just means you're not only depressed, but a liar, too.

Then there's that whole disorienting brain fog that accompanies wandering around your newly undecorated house. It feels naked and empty. Plus, you'd gotten so used to racing around at 100 MPH on very little sleep before Christmas, you forget what your "normal" non-holiday routine was like. You may ask yourself things like, didn't  I used to have a blog or something? Didn't I used to update that sucker at least once a week?

This may also erroneously cause you to believe that you could take on overly ambitious tasks to fill all the time that was just freed up. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. You do not actually have any more time now than you did back in pre-holiday October. It's all a time management mirage. (It's also no coincidence HGTV rolls out its new season of home improvement shows around now. But please do not take a sledgehammer to your kitchen cabinets, I beg you).

What you actually have in front of you is an immense amount of deep cleaning and catch up on all that got neglected in the holiday haze. Remember that corner you couldn't really access for six weeks because there was a 7-foot illuminated spruce blocking the way? Well, the cobwebs are waiting for you now. And they're extra disgusting.

Plus, you have to find a home for the 2,673 toys your kids received over the holidays. And now that they're back at school, they'll be assigned multiple long-term winter projects and reports for which they'll need your assistance, and you'll have to resume navigating their sports and activity schedules, remember?

See? More time on your hands = mirage.

Your only true solace is the sense of superiority you'll feel when holiday clean-up is complete. Go ahead and drive around judging all the neighbors who have yet to take their decorations down. I mean, really, what is wrong with these people? It's January for crying out loud.

They don't have to know you secretly envy that they're enjoying the magic of Christmas for a little while longer.

Actual Time Spent Un-Decorating:  48 hours
Real Feel:  1 week
Chance You'll Remember Where You Put All Items Next Christmas:  1 in 5
Number of Xmas Cookies/Chocolates Consumed While Un-Decorating:  274

HOW ABOUT YOU? What's your least favorite part of disassembling Christmas?

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