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    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Fun Pants

    We did an exercise in a business class I took in college. Yes, an English major in a business class. Hardy har har har. We went around the room and took turns sharing the best part of the job we hoped to get after college. When it was my turn, I said, “Wearing pajamas all day.” Yes, by that time I’d realized that writing was about the only thing I was any good at so I better try for a career in the safety of my own home.

    Fast forward six years.

    You all know how fond I am of pajamas, but I have to admit, wearing them to drop my son off at school has gotten a little . . . embarrassing. Especially since there’s this one mom who, I swear, looks like she rolled out from between the pages of Vogue. There she is, every stinking morning, looking drop dead gorgeous when I haven’t even managed to brush my teeth. I hate her.

    Anyway, I don’t actually wear pajamas. I wear yoga pants (yeah, same difference.) I crawl out of bed, yank on my black sweats, put my hair in a ponytail, and then beg, threaten, and cajole the boys into eating breakfast, wearing clothes, going to the bathroom, getting in the car, etc. There’s no coffee involved, no make-up, and usually no toothpaste, as I mentioned before.

    After I drop Monkey off, I head home for some breakfast and teeth-brushing, and then Bubba and I haul our carcasses to the Y. As you might guess, yoga pants, workout pants, sweat pants, whatever you want to call them—they’re not exactly the highlight of my day. They’re the symbol of my mumsiness, my non-professional wardrobe, my desperately-in-need-of-weight-loss figure.

    But something Chunky said kinda changed my opinion of the blob wear. You see, Chunky has a pair of black sweats with green and gray stripes on the legs. He acquired these drawers when Kory and I were on a weekend getaway and the boys were out on the town with Mom and her assistant. Chunky had an accident of some sort, and they made an emergency run to Old Navy for dry clothes.

    Apparently, for Chunky, the whole experience was rather enjoyable, and so the sweats he got that night were reverently dubbed “fun pants.” He’d wear his fun pants every day if he could. He harasses me to wash them when they’re in the dirty laundry. He pairs them with dress shirts for Sunday. He wants them when he’s sick. He wants them when he’s happy. They’re too short now, but he insists on wearing them still.

    Chunky and I were hanging out on one of my bleary, rushed days when I never managed to change my workout pants into something slightly more presentable. He looked at me and said, “Mommy, you have fun pants on!”

    I don’t know why he never noticed them before, but one thing’s for sure, he was thrilled that Mommy had the opportunity to experience the joy of fun pants. And for a moment, I looked at my slouchy attire with different eyes.

    So I don’t look like that supermodel mom. So I don’t wear cute business clothes. So no one ever asks me what I do for a living because it’s obvious from the mac-n-cheese stain on my t-shirt. I got what I wanted, people. I can wear pajamas, or fun pants, all day if I want to. And according to one very smart four-year-old, that’s all you need for contentment—one comfy pair of fun pants.

    Friday, January 9, 2009

    The Year of the Spine

    Someone wanted my opinion this week and not just for one of those “Does my butt look big in this?” kind of questions. When I hesitated to get involved, she gave me a little metaphorical shake. Actually, what she really did was slap me upside the head and say, in the words of Mrs. Incredible, “It’s time to engage!”

    Now I’m a little slow, so it’s taken me until now to put some things together that might be glaringly obvious to more astute folks. It seems I am being prodded by the Powers That Be to explore a more proactive approach to life.

    I have one of those highly-opinionated and yet non-confrontational personality combinations that probably has produced a few lunatics over the course of history. I’m the kind of woman who will secretly hate the Christmas lights my husband picked out but not say anything for years and years because I wouldn’t want to upset him. Then one day, in response to a completely unrelated argument, I make some comment about cheesy blue Christmas lights (this is hypothetical, did I say that?) and poor Kory discovers the truth. And lo and behold, he is upset.

    I never said being non-confrontational was a good thing. In fact, that gets me back to my point which is good because it’s very easy for me to digress. Ooh, look, shiny!

    I wouldn’t call myself a doormat, unless it was one of those “We put the fun in dysfunctional” mats you see in catalogs. But I am passive, reluctant to rock the boat, wishy washy, namby pamby, gutless.

    This week I surprised myself by making a bold decision. I thought about it, prayed about it, and then, astonishingly, carried through. And you know what? It was absolutely the right thing to do, and I feel great about it.

    My friend’s gentle wake-up call came shortly after The Decision. However, I didn’t assimilate the whole “Get off your backside” message until I was slogging away on the elliptical. (Yes, Bubba and I find ourselves in need of serious fat reduction once again.)

    I was huffing and puffing on the lowest setting, listening to one of my favorite CDs, and thinking about my new work in progress. The novel I’ve just started writing is about a women who--through circumstances and her own choices--finds herself living in a muffled, hazy world. One day she opens a door and discovers life beyond her wildest dreams. It looks like this novel will require some very hands-on research. No, I’m not going to go around opening every door I find. (Whoops! Sorry. Didn’t see the ‘Occupied’ sign.) But I am going to try to recognize opportunities and respond to them with something more than the slurping, snorting sounds of a woman half asleep.

    And so I dub 2009 the Year of the Spine. I plan to finally grow one. And here is the song that got my attention and made me re-think the events of my week. It’s now one of two on my playlist for my new novel. I think I’ll make the chorus my personal mantra for the year.

    Dido - Life For Rent