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  • No Go On To-Go

    February 26, 2009

    Last Friday I had lunch with some friends at a Mexican restaurant. I ordered the spinach quesadillas and they were delicious, but I could only eat about half of them, so I had the waiter box up the rest to take home.

    Today, around lunch time, it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten those spinach quesadillas.  So I worked the inside of our overburdened fridge like one of those slide puzzles looking for those quesadillas.  But they were not to be found.

    “That’s weird,” I thought. “I distinctly remember leaving the restaurant with them and putting them in the….”

    Crud!  Crud!  Crud on a cracker crud!

    They were still in the car.  So I went out to the garage and there they were.  Under the driver’s seat.  Oddly enough my car did not smell any worse than usual.  It could be that the smell of rotting spinach quesadillas is actually a step up from how my car normally smells.

    But it begs the question, why do I even bother with the restaurant leftovers?  Is it hope or delusion that I ask for the to-go box?  Because I always fully believe that I will actually consume said left overs.  Even though I never do.

    Because Sr. Edwina never let me forget that poor children in China were starving when I was in the 2nd grade, I am psychologically obligated 40 years later to make the waiter box up food I won’t eat so that I can throw it away a week later, that is if I can find it, because by cracky, I paid for that food and I am going to be the one to throw it away to alleviate world hunger.   That actually made sense in my head. It’s complicated in there and the circuitry is circuitous.

    Now of course there is no real way to prove this without putting GPS on to-go boxes, but because this is a blog, I shall state it with some authority anyway,  as though it were fact:  99.9% of the leftovers taken from a restaurant never make it off restaurant property.  80% of to-go boxes are left on the table, 10% end up on the vanity in the ladies room and 5% end up in the parking lot after being placed on the roof of the car.

    What happens to the remaining 5% is anyone’s guess, but you might check under the driver’s seat of your car.

    Goose Eggs With A Side of Synthroid

    I don’t know what it says about me that two of the most popular search terms used to get this site are “child has goose egg on head” and “synthroid overdose”.  I thought I’d save the world wide web the trouble today and put this all-inclusive post right up at the top. It was originally published in April of 2007.

    * * *

    Two of the worst things that have ever happened to my child have happened when he was sitting on my kitchen counter and I was standing less than one foot away from him. Which is probably an indictment of my kitchen counter style of parenting.

    I wrote about The Goose Egg Incident recently. Apparently falling off the kitchen counter and whacking his head on the floor hasn’t impaired his memory as just yesterday when I hoisted him up onto the counter he advised, “You need to watch me better. I could fall off of here and get hurt!” It was the finger wag in my face that I thought was a bit much. Inside my three-year-old lives a Jewish mother who is a police officer in her spare time.

    The other incident I haven’t written about because… a) I don’t like to think about it, b) I’m embarrassed and c) it could probably be used as evidence.

    About a year ago, Sean was sitting on the kitchen counter while I was standing nearby doing some important parenting thing like watching HGTV from the kitchen. I turned my back for not more than ten seconds and when I turned back Sean had grabbed my prescription bottle of Synthroid and removed the childproof lid. He had his head thrown back like he was taking a shot of whiskey, little white powdery whiskey balls. Someone should really invent that, little whiskey pills.

    When I saw that he was foaming at the mouth and his little cheeks were puffed up like a winter squirrel, I of course, FREAKED OUT! My eyes bugged out of my head, all the air whooshed out of my lungs and sucked my brain right down into my esophagus.

    I pried open his mouth and dug out a handful of pills and then I grabbed him by the feet and turned him upside down and started shaking him like a saltshaker. Which he thought was de-light-ful fun. He giggled and squealed “Do it again Mommy!” He seemed absolutely fine. I was out $30 worth of medication, but he was fine.

    And then – then came the worst part of all. I had to call the pediatrician’s office. And give my real name. And explain. How. It. Happened.

    So while I waited on hold for the doctor, I Googled “Synthroid overdose” and continued to FREAK OUT, but now in a more quiet and controlled manner. And also a very sweaty manner. It’s hard to type when your fingers keep slipping off the keyboard.

    Finally, the nurse picked up and for some reason, when you are totally freaked out, people in authority either can’t understand what you are saying, can’t buh-leeve what you’re saying or go temporarily deaf. Because they keep asking you the same questions over and over. And this only serves to ratchet up the freak out level.

    Me: Hi, this AM. My son! My son Sean, he ate my pills, my Synthroid. He opened the bottle somehow – childproof ha! – and just ate them. Chomp chomp, just like a squirrel. A very hungry Synthroid-eating squirrel.

    Nurse: I’m sorry who is this?

    Me: Antique Mommy, my son is Sean.

    Nurse: And what is your son’s name?

    Me: Sean. S-E-A-N. Sean. He’s two.

    Nurse: And how old is he?

    That’s when I take the phone and start hitting myself in the head with it.

    Eventually she asks me how many pills were in the bottle, how many pills did he swallow, how many pills are left and lots of other questions about pills to which the answer was “I don’t know.” And she would say, “You don’t know?” And I would again say, “I don’t know.”

    After many precious minutes spent trying to convey my personal information to Nurse Killmenow and a game of “Questions You Don’t Know But I’ll Keep Asking Anyway” (which caused a flashback to fourth grade math class) she advises me to just watch him and that any extra medication would probably be excreted in his urine. Which is exactly what Mr. Google said.

    And then I hung up and waited for CPS to come and get my child so he could be raised by wolves or someone more responsible than me.

    Alas, all’s well that ends well, but I shaved a couple of years off my life that day and we all know I don’t have that many to spare.

    The Hospital Volunteer

    February 24, 2009

    Last week I had to go see one of my many doctors for a yearly check up so that he would continue to prescribe the pharmaceuticals of which I am so fond.

    He has an office in one of the large local hospitals and as I walked through the maze of halls that snake through a small city of professional buildings, I was struck by the fact that everyone I passed was dealing with some sort of medical drama, either for themselves or someone they love.  And as I looked into the faces of the people I passed, I recognized in them that expression of fear that comes with an uncertain future.  And once you’ve been down that road yourself, you become attuned to the look and smell of that brand of fear.

    When I got into the elevator, there was already an older gentleman standing in the back. I pushed the button for my floor and then turned to acknowledge him with a smile.

    The doors hushed shut and the elevator began to hum as it moved us upwards, just the two of us.  He pulled his collar back to show me where had just had a biopsy of some sort on his neck.  “Glad that’s over,” he said to me.  I leaned slightly forward to look at his neck, not because I wanted to, but because I knew he needed me to look at it.  He needed to show someone and I was there.

    “Wow,” I said. “Did it hurt?” I asked.  “Nah. Not too much,” he said bravely if not convincingly.   “Well you know what?” I said, “These docs here, they’re good. They’ll fix you up,” I encouraged.  It’s true. These docs here, they fixed me up a couple of times.  He pulled his collar together with both hands as though he were suddenly cold and stared at the floor.

    The elevator doors parted and he stepped off into his uncertain future.  I watched him walk away as the doors shut and I hoped that he had someone waiting at home who would look at his neck and ask if it hurt.

    When I got to my doctor’s office, I sat in the waiting room waiting to be called.  An older couple came in. The gentleman took a seat and the woman left with a nurse.  He sat down across from me and drummed his foot like a rabbit. I could see the worry etched deeply in his forehead.  He stood and walked to the window. And then sat down again.  And then stood again, turning one way and then the other but not going anywhere.  He literally didn’t know which way to turn.

    He finally turned to me and said, “I think she’s going to be okay. I think so… I hope so.” He looked at me for confirmation, for hope. I leaned forward in my chair to indicate interest.  He needed to speak those words and he needed me to hear them.  “Well you know what?” I said to him, “You’re in the right place. These docs here, they’re good. They’ll fix you up.”  He nodded and sighed deeply.

    Before I left the hospital that day, I had encountered several people who needed to express their fears, to release them to another human being, even a complete stranger.  Why me, I don’t know.  I don’t know if I had a particular openness to me that day or if in me they saw a kindred spirit, someone familiar with their brand of fear. Or maybe I was wearing a sign on my back that read, “Please. Tell me about your medical condition. I want to know.”

    As I was driving home I thought about how hospitals have volunteers to tell you how to get from one part of the medical maze to another or to validate your parking ticket, but I think what they really need are people to wander the halls and ride the elevators to look at necks and accept released fear and offer words of encouragement, people who would wear a sign on their back that says, “Please. Tell me about your medical condition. I want to know.”

    Minnie, It’s Time To Move On

    February 23, 2009

    Sometimes I let Sean watch The Mickey Mouse Club House to occupy him while I’m getting dressed or trying to get something done.

    Yesterday morning, while I was getting dressed for church, he turned and asked me if Mickey and Minnie were married.

    No, I told him, I thought they were just dating. Then I started thinking about it. They’ve been dating since 1928.  Someone needs to step up and be Minnie’s friend and tell it to her straight.

    * * *

    Dear Minnie –

    I know that you love him. He’s cute and he’s funny.  All the girls love him Minnie. He looks really cute in those little pants.  But let’s face it Min, it’s been 81 years!  Have you even met his parents? No. Do you have a ring? No. You haven’t even been to his apartment – only his club house!

    Mick’s got commitment issues sister.  He’s just not that into you. It’s time to move on.  And while we’re at it, I’m sending Stacy and Clinton over to talk to you about those shoes and that dress.


    Antique Mommy


    February 22, 2009

    This morning in church, we welcomed one of our congregation’s soldiers home from overseas.  Everyone stood and applauded to honor him.  What a joyous occasion it is when one of our soldiers returns safely home!  I am a big patriotic dork, but these kinds of things always bring tears up out of my crusty old heart to sting my wrinkly old eyes.

    I can’t put my child to bed without thinking about all the soldiers overseas who do not get to tuck their babies into bed at night. Many of them are missing out on entire seasons of their children’s lives. The magnitude of that sacrifice overwhelms me as I look at my own child snuggled into his tiny bed, drifting off to sleep secure in the knowledge that his mommy and daddy are within the sound of his voice.

    Every night since Sean was born, as I have tucked him into bed, I have prayed for our soldiers overseas. And now that Sean is older, he has made this part of his bedtime prayers as well.  Together we pray that God will watch over the children whose mommy or daddy is serving in the military far away from home and we ask that He provide them an extra measure of comfort. We pray that God will bring all of our soldiers safely home to their families.

    Of course, we know that our prayers will not always be answered in the way we petition. We know that every soldier will not return home to those who love them.  And this pains me deeply.  I simply don’t understand why a God who can do anything wouldn’t do that.

    But we continue our prayers anyway, knowing that sometimes praying does more for the one who prays than the one prayed for, knowing that God is at work in the world in ways we simply do not understand.  All I know to do is pray without ceasing as Scripture calls me to do and try to allow my faith to fill in the gaps where there is a dearth of understanding.

    And to rejoice with tears and prayers of gratitude for every homecoming.


    February 21, 2009

    For the better part of the school year, I have been sending Sean to school with a “lunch box” joke. I write a lame little joke on an index card (and by lame I mean suitable for 5-year-olds) and I put it in his lunch box and then the teacher reads the joke to the class during lunch. And hilarity ensues.

    One day I forgot to send the lunch box joke and I was met in the car pool line by a crowd of angry five-year-olds and threatened with a plastic spoon. No not really, but when I picked Sean up from school he demanded to know what in the heck happened to his lunch box joke.

    A typical lunch box joke goes something like this:

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the playground?

    A:  To get to the other slide!

    Ha! Ha! Hoo! Ha! Is that a knee-slapper or what!? Sean’s mom is SO funny!

    However, this morning I discovered that my gig as a jokestress may be over when Sean asked,  “Mom, why did the squirrel get a tummy ache?”

    “I have no idea.  Why?” I asked.

    “Because he ate too many ache-corns! Get it? Ache corns?”

    “See?” he explained,” It’s a little play on words — Ache? Acorns?”

    “Oh yes. I get it. Quite funny.”

    I asked him if he made that joke up. He claims he did.

    If so, my career as jokestress to the five and under crowd is over and he can start writing his own lunch box jokes.


    Lunch Box Joke by Antique Mommy

    Pathetically Uncool On All Levels

    February 20, 2009

    I’m at Red Lobster.

    On a Friday night.

    At 5pm.

    I am wearing the same Wal-Mart workout clothes that I put on at 7am that morning.

    But I never got around to working out.

    I look down and notice my shirt is on inside out.

    I am drinking a glass of house Cabernet. That is the Red Lobster house wine people.

    I, not my date, pay the tab. (He can’t find his credit card. Of course.)

    When the waiter returns with the bill and my credit card, he asks for my ID.

    I consider jumping on the seat of the booth and punching the air Tom Cruise style, but instead I just shout “GOD BLESS YOU MAN!” And then I whip out my license (out of a diaper bag) and show it to him and anyone who will look in my direction.

    In the Red Lobster house wine provided haze, I think I’ve been carded.

    And then he says, “Ma’am, the back of your credit card says Ask for ID.  See?” He holds the card out at a distance so I can see it.


    That is the sound of my ego deflating, adjusting to the appropriate level for a 46-year-old woman with a toddler wearing Wal-Mart clothes inside out at 5pm on a Friday night in Red Lobster drinking house wine, paying for her date and shouting God Bless You Man! for no good reason. That level is somewhere under the booth along with the stray Goldfish and dropped color crayons.

    I console myself with the fact that at least I didn’t jump on the booth. There’s that.

    “Oh. Well then,” I say. “I knew that. God bless you just the same sir.”

    * * *

    Originally published February, 2007

    Age Before Beauty Backfires

    February 19, 2009

    Awhile back, Antique Daddy and I went out to dinner with my friend Jennifer and her husband to a fancy steak house.

    As I may have mentioned before, Jennifer is nearly 6-foot-tall, skinny, has long blonde hair, perfect nose, perfect teeth.  And if that weren’t bad enough,  she’s smart, kind-hearted and funny.  She used to be a pediatric ICU nurse caring for the sickest of the sick children before she retired to have her own children.   And she’s 14 years younger than me.  When we hang out,  I choose not to think about how I could have been her babysitter.

    Normally, people like Jennifer intimidate me.  Normally when I’m around someone like that I’m painfully aware of what a dork I am and I get all nervous and develop a spontaneous case of Tourettes.  But she’s so nice and totally unaware of herself.  Therefore, it is impossible to hate her. Trust me I have tried and I just can’t.  Even when I went swimming at her house and we were both in swimming suits, I tried to work up a little jealous resentment.  But no,  couldn’t muster a drop.

    Anyway, while the men folk parked the car, Jennifer and I made our way into the restaurant.  When our table was ready, I followed the host to the table and Jennifer walked behind me.  You know, the whole age before beauty thing.  Since it was a steak house, it was packed with tables of manly meat-eating business men.  And as we walked by, the heads, they were a’turnin’.

    My little ole wrinkled-y ego inflated mightily.  I tossed my hair back and did my best run way walk and tried to act like I didn’t notice all the stares.  Until I realized that nobody was looking at me.  They were looking right over my head.  At Jennifer.  Who was oblivious to the men who had nearly fallen out of their chairs to get a look at her.

    As I took my seat at the table, I fluffed out my napkin and put it in my lap and then I neatly folded up my pride and tucked it into my purse.

    Tonight Jennifer is taking me out to dinner for my birthday, which was awhile back. We will enjoy a nice meal prepared by someone else and cleaned up by someone else and we will enjoy girl talk interrupted only by the waiter asking if one of us would care for another glass of wine (answer: Yes! And bring the dessert menu too!)  I am SO looking forward to it.

    But this time, when the maitre d’ escorts us to our table, I shall insist that she go first.

    The Med Student

    February 18, 2009

    So then, last week I had a doctor’s appointment.  I always take a little extra time getting ready for the doctor and dab a little Dr. Pepper behind each knee, don’t you?

    It was a mostly uneventful doctor’s visit except for the fact that the good doctor had a medical student helping him.   The nurse was kind enough to ask me first if I minded if the med student was in the room observing.  I said, “Sure, why not? The more the merrier!” Which made her laugh. Tip:  If you can make the nurse laugh, you can get more samples.

    The intern was 12-years-old.  Or maybe he just looked to be 12-years-old.   Doogie Howser comes to mind.

    With the real doc at one end and the boy doc at the other, I turned to see him not observing at all, but looking at his manicure. And a little green around the gills. I tried not to take it personally.

    To distract him from the unspeakable horror of seeing an aging woman in what can only be described as an awkward position, I asked this young child what kind of doctor he wanted to be when he grew up. No, not really. I didn’t say that last part out loud. I don’t think I did anyway.

    He told me he wanted to be a gas doctor.  I wasn’t sure if he meant he was studying to be a gastroenterologist or an anesthesiologist.  When no one said anything, he quickly clarified that he wanted to be an anesthesiologist.

    I wanted to tell him that if you are going to be a gas doctor, be a big gas doctor. Just to see if I could get more samples out of the nurse.

    But I didn’t say it. Out loud.   I restrained my inner 4th grade boy.  Until now.

    And now Antique Mommy is chuckling inappropriately and putting herself in time out.

    Why I Could Never Be First Lady

    February 16, 2009

    As I was writing the post about America’s First Ladies, I thought a lot about the various tasks and duties associated with the position.  I tried to imagine what kind of First Lady I would be.

    I think I would do well at being the White House hostess and entertaining foreign dignitaries. I know how to throw a party and make people feel welcome in my home. I would enjoy the public speaking part and traveling as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of my husband.  I could handle “other duties as assigned” and wouldn’t even mind doing it all as an unpaid volunteer.

    But I could never be First Lady. And the reason is because I bite back.  When all the world is heaping criticism upon her spouse, the First Lady has to smile politely and say nothing.

    The first time someone criticized my husband or God forbid my child, I would fire off a snotty response that would singe their eyebrows.

    I would use up all my official First Lady stationary in the first month writing notes of apology.

    Hostessing skills I have.  Self-restraint? Not so much.