Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 19

Benjamin has been doing ballet for 5 or 6 years now, but other forms of dance for far longer. His ballet teachers have been trying to convince him of "proper ballet attire" for nearly as long. Since all the other dance forms he does are far more casual, he resists. Oh, he'll don a white t-shirt, and maybe some black athletic pants if black ones happen to be clean, but black ballet tights and a dance belt? No.

Just no.

[A dance belt, btw, is a balladore's version of a jock strap. Imagine, however, that a jock strap and a thong got together and hybridized. Visual confirmation NSFW.]

I am sure I'm biased, but Benjamin is a beautiful ballet dancer. (So is Caleb, but Caleb totally doesn't care about ballet other than to torture his poor teacher.) I can't be totally biased, though, because one of Benjamin's current ballet instructors wants him to audition for a summer ballet intensive that he seems to think Benjamin will have no trouble both being accepted in to and given a big scholarship to attend.

My son is feeling very flattered at the idea of such a thing and is planning on auditioning at one of the regional auditions in a couple of months. His teacher pulled him aside last week and said, "So, you know you're going to have to wear ballet tights and a dance belt to audition, right?" While I wasn't there for this conversation, I have this teacher for a dance class also, and I can imagine the gleam in his eye as he said it. There was probably internal clapping going on, too, as he thought, "Aha! I got him! He'll HAVE to come to class properly dressed NOW!"

This was the conversation Benjamin and I had following:

B: Mr. Adam says I need dance tights and a belt for the audition.

Me: Did he cackle maniacally as he told you? Or say, "Neener neener neener?"

B: No.

Me: You know he was doing it on the inside. 

B: Yeah.

Me: The time has come, my son.

B: It is the coming of the great and dreadful day of the dance belt!

Me: You poor thing.

B: There shall rain down hellfire and brimstone and dancebelts!

Me: I'm sure it's not that bad.

B: I don't even know if everything will stay in place given my lack of bottom.

Me: Maybe it will help your bottom look better.

B: I'll be in tights

Me: Yes. Well, we'll have to make time to go shopping for dance belts and tights one of these days.

B: Hellfire and brimstone and dancebelts. [heavy sigh]

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 18

It is election season again here in Franklin County, Ohio. Voting here is a big deal. It should be a big deal everywhere, but it is particularly big here. Although, a little less so since this isn't a presidential election year. Thank goodness! We still get mailings and door signs and people knocking starting in September and oh the number of phone calls we get. I pretty much tune out everything candidate related until mid-October, then pick up the guide written up by the Ohio Women's League of Voters, do a little additional research, and THEN decide for whom I'm voting.

I do have some very definite opinions on the issues we get to vote on, though, so those I have decided well in advance. The other day I received a phone call that went like this:

Caller: Hello? Mrs. Smith? 

Me: This is she.

Caller: I was wondering if I could give you a little more information concerning issue #-.

Me: No, thanks. I'm already planning on voting for it.

Caller: Oh, that's wonderful! Would you like a yard sign to show your support?

Me: No. My husband is likely voting against it. This is usually the case, so we try to keep the yard a neutral zone.

Caller: I see. That sounds complicated.

Me: It's not bad.

Caller: Well, thanks for your vote, Mrs. Smith. 

Me: No problem. I'll try to trip my husband on the way out the door on election day.

Caller: We would certainly appreciate that, Ma'am.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Conversations with Smiths - Part 17 (Or "The Walls Have Ears")

(There is an explanation for this conversation at the bottom of the page if you're interested, but could be classified as "TMI".)

 This occurred when Todd and I were speaking on the couch in the living room while Lilyanna was playing on the floor nearby. She was being loud enough in her play that I didn't realize she was listening.

Lilyanna: Momma, what does "horny" mean?

Me: [sotto voce muttering at being heard] It means something has a lot of horns.

Lilyanna: But you don't have a lot of horns, Momma. You said you were horny. What else does it mean?

Me: The other meaning isn't really polite for little girls to talk about, but I promise we discuss it when you are older.

Lilyanna: Like when I'm six?

Me: Probably twelve.

Todd: At this rate, maybe ten...

Me: Twelve.

Lilyanna: I think when I'm seven.

Me: Twelve.


Why did nobody warn me of the crazy hormonal surge that would happen as I approached 40??? Oh my goodness, for months I've had to have this constant mantra running through my head as I go out into the world, "It is NOT OKAY to grab strange men from off the sidewalk/in the store aisle/anydarnplace and have your way with them, Emilia! It is NOT OKAY!"  My body, however, does not seem to have gotten the memo. Good grief, this is crazy! It is way worse than teenage-hood, and that is saying something. (To be clear, no strangers have been grabbed thus far. So my brain is winning.) Still, I'm walking around in a nearly chronic hormonal miasma.

I heard on the radio last week that there is a new medication for women who suffer the opposite problem at this age and later I said to Todd, "Can you imagine if I took that medicine right now??  I would never let you leave the house!!"


Anyway, as I was discussing this with a similarly aged friend on Friday night, she was so happy that it wasn't just her, and I was equally relieved for the same reason. Another friend overheard our conversation and said, "Oh, I have something that could help with that." And all I could do was blink at her as I realized that I don't really want help with it. Is it distracting to be this randy at all times? Yes. But it's also kind of fun. And my similarly affected friend agreed. I don't know what this says about either one of us, except that if we're going to have to go through these crazy hormonal changes, we might as well enjoy them.

The realization makes me suddenly more compassionate towards people who suffer from manic depression. The depression part sucks, but the highs are just so high! Who would want to give that up? (I don't advocate not taking prescribed medication if you and your doctor think it will help you be able to function best in life, but I get not wanting to take the medicine.)

I assume that this will all crash at some point. Or perhaps it will just gradually trickle down. Either way, the meantime I will continue to appreciate this little part of being alive and in reasonably good health.

However, I apparently do need to be a little more circumspect about where I relate these stories to Todd. Because Lilyanna listens a little too well sometimes....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Conversations with Smiths - Part 16

Me: So, last night before bed I brushed my hair like I typically do right before bed.

Todd: Uh-huh

Me: This morning when I woke up to teach seminary, I put my hair into a messy bun. But I discovered that there was a horrible clump in my hair.

Todd: And?

Me: There was a partially melted dark chocolate covered almond in my hair.

Todd: Really?

Me: Yes. Is there something you want to tell me about last night?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Conversations with Smiths-Part 15 (Or "I Have the Creepiest Kids Ever")

Every couple of years my husband gets bored and switches jobs. So far, always within the same company and it's always other people coming to him and fighting over who gets him next. (This is a good problem to have.) But we also try to be open to all the possibilities, which means the idea of moving.

It also means that every two years I remind him of my list of acceptable places to live. Because I really am okay with picking up and going whenever. But I have a few places I'm not willing to live.

We've never really let the kids in on the conversation of where they would or would not be willing to live, but we were discussing it with them in the room this last week.

Todd: We could live in South or North Carolina if I work for [lists several companies]. 

Me: Or we could go back to NY and live in the city for a couple of years. Or England!

Todd: Well, yes, we could, but those would not be as easy.

Me: But it would be an adventure!!

Todd: [Gazes at me with more patience than I deserve.]

Me: I prefer North. The Yankee in me is traumatized by even thinking about living that far south of the Mason-Dixon line. Besides we have way more friends and relatives in North.

Nathaniel: Wherever we move, it just has to be a state without the death penalty.

Me: [Stares at Nathaniel]

Me: [Finally recovers enough to talk] Um, why would you need to live somewhere without the death penalty, Nathaniel?

Nathaniel: Because....Reasons. You don't need to know any more.

Me: Oh my gosh, you are so super creepy sometimes.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 14 (Or Why Emilia Keeps a Journal)

While we were in Europe, instead of writing in my journal, I chronicled our trip on postcards representative of the things we saw that day, so even though I had my trusty journal in tow, it didn't get opened much on our trip. When we arrived home, I discovered my entry from the plane ride en route to England. I'm SO glad I recorded this conversation!

This took place in the car on the morning we left the house of our friends, the Shropes. And after our bemused families and significant others sat and watched as my friend, Dave, and I pummeled each other for hours.

Me: It was so fun to wrestle like that again!! I never get to do that anymore!

Todd: Do you need to do that more?

Me: [Questioning eyebrow, wondering where he's going with this]

Todd: I'm not offering myself, mind you.

Me: Oh, really? Are you offering to get a wrestling partner for me?

Todd: Sure.

Me: Do I get to pick out what he looks like?

Todd: Sure. You can even pick out what color speedo he wears.

Me: Oh my gosh!! Best 40th birthday present EVER!

I don't turn 40 until next year, but Todd's been asking me what I would like for that milestone birthday. Unless he proposes something better in the meantime, I may need to remind him of this conversation in a few months. ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Conversations with Smiths-Part 13

I have always claimed to know nothing about football. It's not a baseless claim, despite the fact that I was in marching band for 2 years of high school and therefore attended all the Friday night football games.

Also, despite the fact that I dated a football player (although, it was off-season). He was very nice about and I think even a little amused by my ignorance of the sport. I regularly referred to him as My Big Dumb Jock, and he was nice enough not to point out that in this particular area, I was the dumb one.

And then in college I was surrounded by other music majors. The majority of us had been in marching bands, but we didn't talk about football. Until I started dating a guy (also a music major) my sophomore year who was appalled at my lack of football knowledge. We started dating in November, and he almost immediately began trying to teach me about it. I was not an enthusiastic student. I did, however, agree to watch the SuperBowl that year. I brought homework to do and only really looked up during the commercials, such was my enthusiasm for the event. 

He managed to teach me one thing. I think we were at a diner when it finally sunk in. There may have been sugar packets involved in the explanation. But, the one piece of football knowledge I have retained is this: A sack is when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage. 

At the wedding of this ex-boyfriend, my husband actually thanked him for working so hard to teach me that one thing, because he wasn't getting anywhere with furthering my football knowledge.

That's it. That's all I know. I know the definition of a sack. It's like my party trick. I now live in a land obsessed with college football, and when accused of knowing nothing, I pull out my one piece of knowledge. (Also, I knew that this year OSU managed to do very well with their 3rd string quarterback. But you can't really live here and NOT know things like that.)

Or at least I THOUGHT that was all I knew. Until last night.

Benjamin: So, while I was sitting outside the trainer's icing, I heard this really weird thud come from the football field and there was our one shining hope for a decent football season. He's an incredible linebacker and now it looks like he's out for the season!

Me: Oh, no! What happened? 

Benjamin: They think his ankle is fractured. It was an incredibly hard sack.

Me: [getting all excited!] But that wasn't a sack. He's not the quarterback.

Benjamin: Yeah, but it doesn't always have to be the quarterback for it to be a sack.

Todd: [reading the definition of "sack" from my phone] "Sack-In American football and Canadian football, a sack occurs when the quarterback (or another offensive player acting as a passer) is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass.

Me: Yes, but linebacker isn't an offensive position.

Benjamin: [glowers at me]

Me: Face it. I know more about football than you. [I totally don't, but it's fun to egg him on.]

Benjamin: You really don't, Mom.

Me: Apparently, today I do.

Benjamin: Okay, what's a wide receiver?

Me: Someone who catches the ball...you know, but far away from things.

Benjamin: I'm just not going to talk anymore.

At which point Todd and I high-fived and we continued with dinner. Also, it should be noted that I had NO IDEA that I knew what linebackers and wide-receivers were! They must put something in the water in Columbus....