Monday, April 30, 2007

Crabmommy Debut at Cookie Magazine

After the heavy hinting I did earlier in the life of this blog, Cookie magazine finally agreed to let me blog for them, as of today, here. For which they will pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (Well, at least it feels like that compared with the $5 in Adsense I earn per 6 weeks on my own blog.)

Now, my dear seven readers, do not hate me for selling out to the media. I know it might seem odd or annoying for the Crabmom to start yakking away via yet another mom mag that covers such hot topics as the most darling minimalist bent-birch plywood bassinet or designer flip-flops or flourless chocolate cake recipes...but this crowd have something more to offer. Okay, they are paying me to say that. The point is, they will let me actually be Crabmommy on their mag and speak about things in a non-perky tone. That's saying a lot for mommy mags, the rest of whom have put a hex on me.

Now before you cast me off your RSS and get all peppery like, do note that I WILL CONTINUE TO BLOG ON MY OWN SITE. Right here.

Even though I shall have my bloglet at Cookie I shall continue to make Crabmommy's personal blog the impossibly delightful venue for useful information that it is today. Here's the thing: on my own blog I can write as long as I like whereas I have to be a bit brief on the Cookie thing. Also on my own blog, I can say anything I bloody well choose and I am not sure that will be the case at the other. Third, I can say things here in my own Crab-lingo without anyone getting jiggy with the way I use adjectives and so forth. For those of you who grow tired of my long-winded ways, good news: on the Cookie site, it will be sharper, cleaner, and it will be scented with lemon wood-polish.

Hence. If you like being here, please stay here. If you like me a whole heap, please also go to my Cookie blog. You will see a most strange rendition of my face by an illustrator but do not be deterred. There you will find snippets of the usual C-mom fare, but also a regular column in which I discuss some of the inventions I am working on to make momhood easier for all, as well as monthly advice -- where I tackle the nifty lists we all see all the time, lists designed to make us better, more efficient, and generally optimally functioning as mom-robots! Fantabulous!

So tune in here and there for the full Crabmommy Experience 360. I will be working extra-hard now to ensure a good spread of fun on both sites, so that no one can accuse me of slacking off at either. All this hard work means even more parental neglect on this end...which in turn makes for even more fodder for blogging...Yay!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Princess and the Bandaid

Once upon a time there was a poor, but beautiful girl with two nasty stepsisters...and her name was Singorillo.

That's right. Singorillo, according to Crabtot. Now, I have not yet taken to reading Singorillo stories or similar stories involving princes, dwarves, and sundry poisoned fruit because I thought Crabtot was a bit too small to understand such fare or care about the girl with the glass slipper. Turns out she's not too young. At her daycare they read "that book about Singorillo," to put it in Tot's words, and Tot is now quite entranced by the story. Which is a little different from the version Mom expected.

"What happened to Singorillo?" I asked.

"She jumps and jumps and breaks her bed."


While this storyline doesn't sound enchanting to me, it nonetheless has proven to be so for the tot, who, on a recent trip to Albertson's, stopped dead in front of the bandaids. "Singorillo! I want that one! Singorillo!" And so we reach a milestone. No longer is the generic pink bandaid an item of exotic wonder. It is time to move on to bandaids printed with characters. Specifically, it is Singorillo we want and only Singorillo will do.

That is, if Mom can find her. Standing in the bandaid wing of the store, I could not see the object of desire. There are so many, many options for owees these days -- Strawberry Shortcake, that piece of cheese thing guy with blue legs (or sponge or whatever he is), Donald Duck, blah blah. But Tot keeps pointing furiously until I find the wasp-waisted Singers with her bouffant mane. An amazingly tiny illustration, but the tot spotted it instantly and jabbed her finger in her direction until Mom landed on the right box.

Confronted with the staggering price of the Singo bandaids -- like, $3.99 for five or something -- I then do this lame retroactive pretending-not-to-see-Singorillo, and I quickly move my finger across to some store-brand generica and start talking loudly about gummi bears hoping to shift the Tot focus, but we all know that this is about as likely to happen as the morphing of a golden coach into a pumpkin.

And thus we now possess very very expensive bandaids. Decorated with that girl who jumps and jumps and breaks her bed! Possessing such very very expensive bandaids is a problem for any cheapmommy whose kid is very very into playing with bandaids, a stage, it seems that tots go through. I ration them out for play, but Crabtot finds new strategies to extract them. Last week she had a terrible owee, or so she claimed and could not be pacified, nor would she reveal the location of said owee. I capitulated and handed out the third Singo of the day. Tot retreated into the bathroom and came out with a bandaid right across her eye. "It's all better now," she said, unable to blink.

Naturally after the (very tricky) removal of this bandaid, poor Tot had a true owee on her eye.

The other favored use of Singorillo bandaids is to place them across the upper lip during a cold, when that area is particularly sensitive. Even though she has closed off her nostrils, Tot says she feels much better with Singers stretched across her upper lip in this manner. It's quite something to behold the Crabtot when she styles herself this way. A little different from the classic princess vibe, but it's an arresting look.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Congratulations! It's a...Gall Bladder!

...and it's 2" and 1 oz.

Slightly icky piece in the Times today.

Driving Me up the Bloody Pole

After driving Crabtot to daycare today, someone almost went into me by cutting in front of me at the 4-way stop. And then, don’t you love it when there is no reaction, no mouthed “sorry” or hands up in apology. As we say in South Africa, that really sends me up the pole, man.

And what I really love is the classic ECA – Eye-Contact Avoidance – when you then pull up next to them at the traffic light. There you are, side by side, bad driver totally ignoring you, staring straight ahead, as though something very interesting has landed on the windshield that bears intense scrutiny. This sort of thing happens quite a bit out here. I adore it when ginormous diesel-truck-wankers cut me off and practically mash me below their towering, roof-like bumpers, only to behave as if nothing has passed between us when we arrive shoulder to shoulder at a light. Crabmommy no like.

What does it take for people in cars to admit when a mistake is made? Me, I do this mega mea culpa if I accidentally run a red or get too far out into the road at a stop sign. I practically crucify myself over the steering wheel in my bid to show that I KNOW I AM WRONG AND IT IS MY FAULT. If the person looks peppery or my mistake was grotesquely dangerous, I amp up the mime tenfold and enact all manner of deferential poses and cringes in penance. Witness the change in someone’s sour, ticked-off expression if you admit that you know you just made a stupid driving move. And when you do, the offended party will likely nod and crack a feeble smile of acceptance and a frisson of goodwill will float between your cars on this road of life that we share.

A frisson of goodwill. So much better than that brush-off at the stop – where you see me, I see you, and we all know that you just pulled in front of me when you shouldn’t have and by God you'd rather eat a vat of maggots than say you did. But you know you did. And you know I know. And now here we are engaged in coordinated hate-vibery. Super!!! You are a super person!!!! Have a super day!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Moving House

Crabtot and I witnessed something amazing yesterday.

We live on the "wrong" side of town, meaning that our neighbors are drunk geriatric cowboys who work itinerantly at the nearby rodeo and at sundry ranch-related activities and then collapse into their cars with the cowboy hat plonked atop the face to screen out the brilliant Wyoming light.

I adore my street. I could spend hours staring across it from my porch rocking chair, a scarily rustic number made of bent willow trees or somesuch. Directly opposite us there is this whole cowboy-infested sprawling log compound with various attached and detached mobile homes, log cabins, and large trucks festooned with cowboys and then an assortment of truck-repairer types.

Now, one of these cabins has been the source of much town talk and much activity of late. It is a small ugly red-crappy-faux-shingled number and had caught fire shortly before we moved in. Anytime anyone asked for drections to my house, they would ask, "Are you kitty-corner to the burned-out cabin?" (I love this word "kitty-corner"...never heard it until I got here. Now I say it all the time. Kitty corner this, kitty corner that.) Back to the cabin: After it went up in a blaze of smoke after a particularly raucous night of cowboy card-playing and meth-sniffing or whatever, it stood silent and charred for the next year. When are they going to remove the cabin? Everyone wants to know. The plot thickened when the cabin saw recent activity and local good-for-nothings began chipping away at the hovel's exterior. After a spell, gone were the crappy shingles to reveal a perfectly respectable vintage cabin behind the 70s facade. Except that it, too, was badly charred.

You'd have thought these guys would chuck it in, but no. Diligently they chip away and strip the cabin back to its original 1920s condition – a burned out skeleton of it, anyway. In my house lives an architect and he, along with every visitor that came to see us wanted to know: WHY? Why are you lovingly trying to save this cabin? You have trashy mobile homes all over your yard. You have this completely bizarre main house that is leaning at an angle. There are horses banging about in trailers. So why the regard for the dead, blacked-out cabin? What are you trying to achieve? I mean, the thing cannot possibly be salvageable. It is not structurally sound.

Occasionally we would spot some geezer prowling about watching his workmen. We wanted to ask him why he was sinking all this money into the chipping of the char off the cabin. But we did not.

The denouement: Last week they began digging and drilling at the foundation. Concrete chips flying. Men peeling off layers of the cabin roof until they reach the vintage layer, ash-blackened and warped.

And then yesterday a friend comes over. "What are they doing to that stupid house?" she wants to know. The whole town wants an answer. Now I can finally give it and lay the SUSPENSE to rest!!

Just after my friend left, I was sitting at my computer ignoring poor Crabtot when out of the corner of my eye I see the cabin levitate. Yes, like the turd of my March 27 post, again – another levitation kitty-corner to my front yard. But it is not a turd this time; it is the cabin.

They are lifting it up. And then they put it – this whole little house – onto a ginormous trailer and sort of strap it on with bungee cords and begin trundling it down the street.

“What are they doing to that stupid house?" Crabtot asks. She is terrified of loud sounds and leaps into my arms. A complicated posse of men try to corner the van and take the cabin away. I encourage Crabtot to watch. This is a true Wyoming moment. In NYC you never get to see log cabins lifted out of their sockets and then trucked off. In Wyo, this sort of thing happens quite frequently, albeit mostly south of town where there are whole villages of vintage cabins that get swapped around and placed on various plots.

It's strange to peer into a house you have never been inside, that used to be across from your porch but is now to the side of it, and moving slowly toward your back yard. I take a look around my neighbor's pad...while standing in my own kitchen. Weird. Fun. Until the cabin veers toward our house and I suddenly worry that this might be dangerous. Our house is basically the same size as the cabin and the street is so narrow. Crabtot gets scared, but I speak to her in that mom-tone that suggests that this is all very standard – just another event in life that is nothing to be afraid of and perfectly normal, like a thunderstorm, or a low-flying airplane. "They're just moving the house," I reassure her.

"Where is it going?" she asks.

I could come up with something charming, about magic flying log cabins. I could answer "Where's it going?" with a fey, inspiring "Wherever it WANTS to go, my sweet. " But I don't.

"To the house doctor" is my answer.

"Is it sick?"

"Yes. It has a little owee. But the house doctor will fix him and bring him back."

I hope so. Because that yard, it looks quite bare. Fix him up nice, Doctor, and bring him home. We miss that stupid house.

Monday, April 9, 2007

He Hath Risen

And the nation has experienced yet another year of neon Peeps. I wonder what they do with un-bought Peeps. Do they go to the dollar stores, or do they, in fact, have the shelf life of Twinkies and last for another thousand Easters?

Here in Crabland, I am grateful that we missed the town egg hunt on Easter Sunday, which is held on the village green and sponsored by our local bank. Each year at 10:30, the children of Crabtown hunt for painted boiled eggs, an activity that should be very sweet with abundant frolicking of kids in a setting bursting with smalltown charm and innocence...but I have heard that it is in actuality an APPALLING occasion to be avoided at all costs. I was warned to stay away, because apparently parents of children get very competitive during the egg hunt and muscle in to block off whole hectares of egg-laden real estate, the better for their child to get as many as humanly poss in his or her basket.

"If you go, wear shin guards," a friend advised us. "And DON'T be late." The hunt starts at 10:30 but -- so we are told by several parents -- it is ALL OVER by 10:32.

Sensible Crabtot woke up with a fever on Easter Sunday and thus we were not able to make the event. Naturally a part of me wanted to go and was disappointed not to, since I wanted to give FULL REPORT on this blog. However, maybe it's better I didn't go: I heard that this year parents behaved themselves and the hunt was laid-back and fun for all.

Laid back. Fun for all. No thanks. Crabmommy can't write about that!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Happy Easter from Donnie Darko

Diego meets the bunny at the mall:
Thanks to mommy Adrianne for this. You are right -- it IS Donnie Darko!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Peter Panned

Do not take Crabtot to the local theatrical production about the boy who inspired Michael Jackson to reclaim his childhood (and the childhoods of others).

Okay, so MJ has nothing to do with this post...but Peter Pan, he is a big deal in this town, where a lot of the local men are referred to as possessing the PP complex because they put their BA from Boulder to use by skiing all day and working pizza delivery at night...and they are like...45. Suh-weet! (And they say things like "sweet!")

Anyhoo. So the point is, there is this PP production and everyone is gabbing about it because it is so a propos the town and is an important production for our new town theater...and a kind friend buys tix for me and the tot, and though I have a HUNCH THAT IT WILL ALL GO WRONG, I take Tot to the matinee. whereupon, after ten minutes, loudly into the silence, just as PP begins his first song, she says, "I want to go home."

Ordinarily this should not pose a problem. Matinee. Toddler "want to go home." You remove her, to the sympathetic gazes of other parents, take her out for a while, maybe go back in, maybe go home...and that's it, right? Except this is no ordinary town. In our vale of wealth, we have raised much bucks to build a very fine and professional theater and PP is the opening production, so it is like A VERY BIG DEAL, and they are taking it very much seriously.

Hence. The lady next to me, who also has a small one, giving me actual nasty glances and huffily winding up Crabtot. I am trying to shush the tot, and trying to stop her snapping the new velvet seats up and down, up and down, but it does not help to have a mom next to you who, when Tot puts seat up, snaps it down. Just, you know, to make the point very clear.

After Tot announces that it is time to go home, I proceed to try and get my way out of this PACKED TO THE GILLS theater...but non-compliant mom does not even move her knees one inch, and she has this tyke on her lap, and they give me the evil red-eye-in-the-darkness as I coldly sweat into my dress, trying to heave a two-yr-old out of there, a two-yr-old who is now cawing like a crow, an ugly broken sort of noise very unsuited to Tinkerbell and her attendant friends.

So I did manage to get the tot out, but then heard we had MISSED THE ACTUAL FLYING. I mean, they really flew up on invisible I said, many dollars spent...I think they hired a bunch of people from around the nation, lighting peeps from one of the Carolinas, costume directors and set builders from Pennsylvania and Chicago, respectively. (No, I don't know, man, but I know the new theater meant the shipping in of highly skilled people from hither and yon, no more amateur locals making costumes, certainly not.)

Anyway, as you all know, I am quite the tough mom and so I dutifully removed Tot when behavior was overly bothersome. I mean, I know she is not yet 3 and that perhaps this is too young an age for C-tot to enjoy a theatrical production, but I was aware of that and ready to bolt when the cawing became too loud. So I did.

Still... I wanted to see the flying. And I wanted Crabtot to see it.

And then I thought, so what if she is a bit on the naughty's a MATINEE. Of PETER PAN, fergoddsake, in a rural mountain town! It's not Edward Albee at the INSERT-NAME-OF-FAMOUS-NYC-THEATER. So we tried just one more time to go in, and at this point Captain Hook appeared upon his frosty island, a confection of green and purple with plashing waters and little giddy pirates...all quite impressive, to me at least. But Crabtot gave it the crow's response once again, so I hasten her to the exit, where a TAKING-IT-QUITE-SERIOUSLY usher asks me if I could maybe wait until the clapping before leaving the theater.

Okay, so I used to do vast quantities of theater as a teen and I was very into it and we had also a rather schmantzy theater (and I am still upset that I WASN'T ACCEPTED TO DRAMA SCHOOL) -- but even in my deepest Lady Macbeth soliloquy, I don't think I would have been knocked off my game by the subtle slipping out of a mom who just wants to get her noisy child out of there for the good of all.

Stressful. Hideous.

Needless to say, C-tot thought she wanted to return to the theater, but I was glad to leave and felt a mighty wind of freedom as we drove away. It looked to be a swell production, and the kids were great and very pro, with little Britney Spears mikes on their heads and all, but I guess the moral of the story is that one must really only take kids to a matinee production of Peter Pan in the tiny, weeny town where they live if they can behave.

In short, you can only see Peter Pan when you...grow up.


p.s. there was a blackout for TWENTY minutes after we left and everyone had to stay in their seats. Thank God we left. Thank YOU, sweet Crabtot, for cawing when you did and with that ugly timbre. I cannot imagine surviving a blackout with you.

Monday, April 2, 2007


Proof that Crabmommy is not all that she could or should be as a housewife.

Yes, this is a giant lint-wad, a veritable MATTRESS OF LINT, that the kind, unjudgmental, I-support-who-you-are-and-what-you-(can't)-do Crabhubby unpeeled from the tumbledrier to point out to me that I am missing something QUITE INTENSE when I do the laundry.

Posts are short and far between in the past week, I know, but I have been too busy sewing a BLANKET FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS OUT OF MY LINT-STASH!