Archive for September, 2005

the sad face of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Wow, I’ll bet you’ve been asking yourselves “Gee, I wonder what Karen’s been up to this week?”, and wondering how my latest persona of Soccer Mom is faring. Well, here’s a quick recap:

On Monday, I was in charge of decorating the soccer field for the homecoming games. After deciding to use the usual blue & white cups stuck through the little hole thingies in the fence to spell out “Go Blue Jays!!”, I thought it would be a good idea to make a drawing of just what it should look like. Being somewhat OCD (somewhat???) I decided it would be a good idea to mock up a facsimile of the whole project in Microsoft Excel. As someone who shall remain nameless commented, “Wow, you must have a lot of time on your hands”. Hmmmmm, an interesting comment, but what people don’t seen to understand is that spending a few hours obsessively planning out my project saved me untold sleepless hours worrying that I might not execute a PERFECT PROJECT. My biggest fear is going down in Liberty Soccer Mom history as the person most incapable of measuring up, and then being gossiped about for years to come (and ladies, you know that kind of shit happens). Besides, this is what you get when you appoint tasks like this to a total neuroic with obsessive-complusive disorder. So there. Oh, and I also made numerous drawings of the field showing the exact placement of 20 blue & white balloon bouquets. It was a magnificent sight indeed!!

Last night I attended our third game of the week in as many nights, and was feeling a little silly and ready for some relaxation! So I spent most of the game admiring the backside of a very handsome line official (usually these guys are nothing to look at, so this was a total bonus moment for me). Then I and my son’s girlfriend (who didn’t think the linesman was cute, but that was probably because he appeared to be over the age of 30) made sport of a couple of the opposing team’s cheerleaders – who were total spazoids. We came up with some really sweet nicknames for them, like “Tourettes” and “Stork Girl” and at one point Tourettes stuck a couple of Kleenex up her nose and left them there, so we got a pretty good chuckle out of that! There’s nothing funnier than seeing a person with Kleenex stuck up their nose! And yes, I know I shouldn’t make fun of people who can do things with their bodies that I’ve never been able to bring myself to do in public, but I needed – no, I DESERVED – a little fun.

Why? Because tonight is the All-Team Pizza Party and I’m in charge of that extravaganza also! We’re talking about feeding 60 players a meal and a dessert here, so the planning phase of this event has consumed a WHOLE lot of time, and lists, and spreadsheets, and diagrams, and phone calls and whatnot. Yes, I have help, and other people are bringing food and desserts and stuff – but still, I worry. I worry about running out of food. I worry about running out of plates and forks and drinks. I worry that people will show up too early or too late. Worse, I worry that no one will show up at all. OH, and I’ve also had a total of three anxiety dreams about this stupid party this past week. I’ve dreamt that the facility was being used by another group when we showed up; I dreamed that I got the nights mixed up and forgot to show up with the pizza; I dreamed that no one showed up at all! So I think it goes without saying that I’m SICK of thinking about this f***ing party, and am SO READY to get it the hell over with.

And in the meantime my dog has some kind of skin allergy causing him to scratch incessently, and my ex-husband hasn’t sent the blessed child support this month.

Anybody got a valium they can spare?

This post is dedicated to Roche Pharmaceuticals


dear oprah #5

Congratulations on the beginning of your 20th season!!!! I called in sick on Monday just so I could stay home and prepare for your show – you know, lay in some Krispy Kremes and buttermilk, and iron my favorite comfy mumu to wear while I watched. Your interview with Jennifer Aniston ROCKED but don’t you think she was lying about being “so over” her marriage with Brad? I mean, come on, it’s only been a few months since the breakup and we’re talking about Brad Pitt here – Mr Handsome himself. I personally don’t know how she keeps from crying herself to sleep every night knowing she screwed up her fantasy marriage to a stud like Brad.

But the best part of your show is when you talked about the horrible racial insult you suffered at Hermes last summer. It was a nice touch to have the U.S. president of the company on your show to apologize publicly to you, but don’t you think he was a little less than sincere??? Eurotrash – that’s what I think of him and the rest of the Hermes company! I’ve given this a lot of thought and decided that I will NEVER buy anything from Hermes – that is, if I ever get enough money to shop there. Ha! Ha!

You know, Oprah, it sounds like your friend Gayle was really the one who started screaming at the store employees that day. Are you absolutely sure she’s the right friend for you? Because you know, I think she’s kind of creepy. I didn’t want to mention this, but I think I saw her at the coyote Ugly bar in Austin last summer when my Large Lovers group went to Texas for a barbecue festival. There was this really drunk woman who looked SO MUCH like Gayle, and she was up on the bar dancing and taking her shirt off. And then this man came up and made her get down and put her shirt back on, and then he hustled her out the door – really fast. Come to think of it, he looked sort of like Steadman but I’m not exactly sure cause our group was there for the Pina Colada specials and free appetizers and we were pretty intoxicated by that time. Also, Big Bernie kept blocking my view. Thanks alot, Bernie.

Speaking of Large Lovers; Sharla, this really nice woman in my group wanted me to write you about her wildest dream of meeting Josh Groban. She’s pretty pissed that you already gave Josh Groban away to Gayle King for HER wildest dream last year, but really Oprah, don’t you think that’s a little unfair? Gayle King probably has at least one of her wildest dreams granted every single week, being your best friend and all. See, this is what I’m trying to tell you: I think Gayle King takes advantage of you and pretends to be your best friend so she can get her hands on your money and the other good stuff you have. She probably gets free samples of all your Favorite Things too.
Think about it.

Have a great season!!!!


PS: I still would like to respectfully request that you grant my Wildest Dream of having stomach-stapling surgery. I would really appreciate it.

men and machines

Here in my small, very unscientific laboratory where I study the behavior of the male species, I have observed a behavior that has never ceased to puzzle me:

Men who are otherwise quite good at using tools and machinery and can fix just about anything that’s broken, are struck dumb by a malfunctioning office machine.

I cannot tell you how many times, I’ve heard the pitiful refrain of “Kaaaareeen, help!” and have found a big strong man standing helpless in front of a malfunctioning (fill in the blank with one of the following: copier, fax machine, printer, shredder). As if I somehow magically know what’s wrong and how to fix it.

And sometimes I do, but most times I just whip out the MANUAL and READ IT. Perhaps the reading part is the problem, since it seems that most men are genetically programmed to resist reading instructions. I’ve wasted a lot of time and effort typing out basic instructions for men on how to send a simple fax or how to transfer a phone call to voice mail, but usually these instructions are just simply ignored and the refrain of “Kaaareeen, I forgot how to transfer a call” can be heard at some point in time during the week. I no longer even attempt to provide written instructions for ANYTHING.

I think he fact that no power tools are required to fix an office machine or use a phone is the real problem. Maybe men figure “why bother?” when faced with a problem that doesn’t require snapping a battery pack onto a tool and letting ‘er rip. Perhaps the ability to fix a problem simply by pressing a button is considered too easy and beneath their manly powers to attempt.

Any speaking of manly powers, I have also found that most men are terrified of answering a ringing office phone. They’ll answer their own cell phone in a split second, but it seems office phones are somehow different. I have observed men sit right next to an incessently ringing phone and expect me to answer it – even if I’m up fixing an office machine (for them) and have to sprint to another office to pick up a phone call that, inevitably, IS NOT FOR ME. Fortunately, I’ve identified their specific fear and this gentle reminder is usually all it takes to assuage their concerns about answering the phone: “Don’t worry, it’s been scientifically proven that answering an office phone does not make your dick fall off.”

Yep, this usually does the trick.

leave a comment

Back by popular demand (OK, one or two people want me to do this) – I have reinstated the comments section. Now that I’m on medication, I probably won’t sink down into another depression if nobody leaves comments on my posts, but one can’t be too sure about that.

So: Leave a comment. Or don’t. It really doesn’t matter. I guess.

letter to oprah #4

Dear Oprah, How was your summer? I hope it was a good one in spite of that nasty little incident at Hermes back in June. How dare those hoity-toity French people claim not to have recognized that it was YOU knocking on their door to let you in after they were closed! I just couldn’t believe it when they aired the story on Entertainment Tonight. You know, if it had been Brittney Spears who wanted special attention, not only would the Hermes store manager have recognized her, Brittney would have been invited into the store to do as much after-hours shopping as her little trailer trash, bare-belly pregnant self wanted to do. Talk about a racial incident! I’ll bet you’re glad you weren’t a poor old black woman living in New Orleans this summer!

Speaking of which, I thought your coverage of the Katrina aftermath was pretty good, especially when you told ol’ Ray Nagin what a tough broad you are. You really gave him the old smackdown when he tried to keep you out of the Superdome! Yeah. I’d just love to see somebody else try to keep you from doing the hard investigative journalism you’re so well known for. I didn’t see Part 2 of your Katrina show but I hear it was excellent, especially when John Travolta cried.

I’m sorry to say that I can’t donate any money to your Angel Network for hurricaine relief for those poor people, though. The price of gas is sky-high ,and although I know that a gazillionaire like yourself doesn’t have to worry about stuff like that, us regular folks do. Now I hear that the price of gas is going to start affecting the price of food, and if Krispy Kremes get any more expensive I just don’t know what I’m gonna do! I know that now’s probably not the best time to bring this up, but if you would just reconsider granting my wildest dream of having stomach stapling surgery I wouldn’t be able to eat so much, and I’d have more money left over to donate to the victims of Hurricaine Katrina! Now, doesn’t that sound like a good idea?

Looking forward to your new season!


fun with pender

The Mark Pender Band performed Saturday night at Jazz at the Corners in Grandview – an outdoor, FREE, jazz/blues concert – and, as usual, put on an energetic, exciting, shake-your-moneymaker kind of show. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life (well probably a hundred, maybe a few more, but definitely a hundred at least) and not many performers make you feel like a close personal friend. And even though I can say that Mark IS a close, personal friend of mine (well, maybe not a CLOSE CLOSE friend but he probably wouldn’t run the other way if he saw me on the street, at least I don’t think so), I know everyone in the audience felt like he was their good friend, too. That’s just the kind of guy Mark is.

Many of MY good friends were there including The Hestands (who I vote as having the Children Who Look Most Like Them), Pammy (who, with braces looks exactly the same as she did in high school and who keeps telling us how fat she is – to which I promptly gave her the finger), Dave (who teaches physics at UMKC and spent time at the JPL, and who I stupidly once asked if he knew Carl Sagen – who is dead, which I KNOW, OK?), Jim (who thinks Dave & I don’t remember him from high school but we DO, and who is as insecure as I am, which I love), and Nancy (who I don’t remember from high school but wish I did cause she’s really cool and she probably would have been fun to hang out with).

Anyway, as I was saying, Mark has a great rapport with the audience and managed to do what is nearly impossible these days: He got a bunch of almost-50 year olds to dance. OK, so maybe the fact that SOME of us had had a few beers helped to loosen the inhibitions, as well as the knee joints. But we did it. And we looked GOOD (I think). At least we had fun doing it, especially when Andi got us all to do The Mantony, a dance made popular by former classmate Roger Mantony, who would be pleased to know that we still remember him fondly.

Another great thing that Mark did was to invite any young people with their instruments to the stage to jam with him on a song. So five terrified high school band students sucked it up, got onstage with Mark Pender, and played “Baby”. It was a great show and, at 1 ½ hours, much too short.

I only have one teeny tiny complaint: At last year’s concert at the Blue Room, Mark played Rick James’ Give it to Me Baby, which really rocked, in my opinion. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of Mark’s and I bought TWO of his CDs and I can really belt out the lyrics to his songs when I’m in the car or somewhere where there aren’t any other people (I’m not known for my singing voice although I personally don’t think it’s THAT BAD). But everybody likes a little Rick James once in awhile, even if they say they don’t, and the reason why I know this is because when you hear Super Freak playing somewhere, just look around and everybody’s tapping their toes to it and singing along (except when it’s on the Old Navy commercial and they say Super Skirt instead of Super Freak – how stupid is that?). It’s just like that. Same thing with Madonna. People SAY they don’t like her but they can’t really resist singing along to Holiday, can they?

There, that’s my 2 cents worth.

So if you ever get the chance to see The Mark Pender Band live, do it. Or you can just watch the Conan O’Brien show but really, on TV you only get to see a little tiny bit of Mark playing and that’s not very much fun.

Everybody loves Rick James!

This post is dedicated to Roger Mantony, Purveyor of Fine New & Used Plastic Equipment.

soccer mom hell

The worst thing that could happen to me as a soccer mom has happened: I have been tasked as committee chairman of Homecoming Week. This is, in my opinion, he worst duty that could befall me as a Soccer Mom.

It all started last July. I had just gotten home from a relaxing vacation in the mountains and was listening to my messages, and there was one from a fellow soccer mom notifying me of an upcoming pre-season soccer meeting. I should have listened to the little voice in my head that said, “Don’t do it, Karen. Just back away from the soccer moms now and nobody gets hurt.” But noooooo. I had this noble, pre-meeting, pre-actual-involvement thought in my head that said “You Can Help! You can Make A Difference!” And the arrogance of that thought won over the much more sane reflex to slink away before anybody noticed me.

So I went to the first meeting and what happened? First I become the Treasurer of the entire Liberty Soccer Parents organization. OK, no problem. I can handle money. I’m a freaking expert at handling money. Then, I volunteer to word process the handouts for all the parents. Again, no problem. I can do that in my sleep. So far so good.

Then I volunteer to word process the dozens of sign-up sheets that will be needed for, what appears to me to be, an overabundance of parental responsibilities – Memory Book, photographers, food, concessions, Homecoming Week, Dinners – a lot of it seems to revolve around feeding three teams’ worth of hungry teenage boys. While typing the sign-up sheet for Homecoming Week, I make a mental note: Avoid signing up for Homecoming Week at all costs. Why? Because here’s what it involves: “This Blue Jay Tradition recognizes players on game days and throughout the week with treats, favors, decorating lockers/playing field, and at the school pep rallies. The biggest part of this committee is the Homecoming Parade” See what I mean??? Did you know that Homecoming isn’t just for football??? Oh noooo. It’s for soccer too. And it’s not just one day – it’s an entire freaking week of decorating the field, and feeding kids, and doing a FLOAT, and in general celebrating the wonderfulness of High School sports. I wanted NOTHING to do with it.

Luckily for me, one of the other moms stepped up and volunteered for Homecoming week right away. Like she WANTED to do it. I breathed a sign of relief and went back to my little Treasurer job. And then, a few days later, the unthinkable happened: Homecoming Week Mom’s son got kicked off the team, which meant his mother was also kicked off the team, so to speak. Knowing that we’d have a huge Homecoming Week hole to fill, I volunteered for what seemed to be the least objectionable part of Homecoming Week – the Homecoming Dinner – which involved getting parents to donate money for pizza. No biggie.

And then I attended last Sunday’s planning meeting.

In the confusion surrounding the loss of one of our main Soccer Parent Volunteers, and in my haste in volunteering for ONE Homecoming Week duty, everyone assumed I had volunteered for the whole sucky thing – all field-decorating, treat-giving, float-decorating and player-feeding bit of it. And what did I do? I took it. I took it all without even a peep of protest. “Don’t worry”, they said, “here’s a list of other parents who have signed up to help you!” OK. This means I have to figure out what they need to do, tell them what to do, then make sure they do it. And then I have to figure out what to do if one of them all of a sudden can’t do what they said they would do. This involves a lot of talking to people, which I don’t do well, which is why I like sitting back and typing things and dealing with money.

Somebody here at work said that this is probably what I get for not ever having attended a PTA meeting. Yeah, they’re probably right.

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