Hooters, children and me being the greatest parent that ever lived…

Yesterday was the last day of my children’s freedom, and incidentally the last day of my imprisonment.  As I counted down the dwindling hours of winter break, I was also counting down the hours till my head was going to stop throbbing and my voice would sound human again (oppose to a hissing, barking, and squealing-female version of a prison guard type of a voice).

So, I decided to reward my boys with a lunch at Red Robin (mainly because I had a coupon) to celebrate their last day of vacation!  Even though they didn’t seem to appreciate my goodwill and sarcasm about the whole thing, they still agreed to go.  What a tough life!  Poor little children being taken out to lunch after having endured two weeks of fancy shmancy activities, trips, restaurants and who could forget not one but eight nights of Hanukkah.  Next year, I already told them that they will be taking a little trip to Skid Row for the holidays; and later I will re-wrap their already played and forgotten toys for Hanukkah.

After being seated along with the many other Moms who had the same exact idea, I tried making conversation in between Atari’s Breakout and NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower; yes they are over Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies or whatever the hell their names are.  Let me tell you, it requires some serious mad skills to be able to carry on a conversation with your Mother while building a whole condominium at the same time, and don’t get me started on those pesty little people walking around needing something every ten minutes, the alarm on Tiny Tower is the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard in my life, right next to a child crying and whining at the table next to me while I’m trying to enjoy an ‘Adults Only’ dinner.  Why is it that its perfectly alright for the child to throw a fit in a public place, but it is NOT alright for me to come over to it and smack it on the head?  My theory is if the child’s parent isn’t going to do anything about it, that clearly means they want other adults to do something about their annoying child’s behavior.  You with me on this?  Good, moving on.  Oh wait, one more thing before moving on…  As my Father likes to say quite often, “When I was a little boy in Lithuania (FYI, we lived in Latvia, but that’s not the point) if a child ever talked or cried in public, any adult was allowed to come up and shut that bastard up!  End of story.”  Alright, so I added the last part from myself but you get the point here.

Somehow I managed to get my kids’ little eyes away from their iPods long enough to have a five-minute dialogue about our adventures in Florida back in the day.  Specifically, my oldest wanted to know why I took him to a ‘HOOTERS’ restaurant in Orlando one day.  His words: “Mom, I just don’t understand.  I was only like 7 or 8 at the time!  Why would you think it was appropriate for me to see girls in very short shorts and boobs everywhere serving me food?  If I wanted to see that, I’d stay at home and look at you.”  First of all let’s get something straight, I’ve never in my whole life worn short shorts or shorts of any kind.  My idea of shorts are pants that come up to my calf, I believe they are called ‘Mom shorts’ a.k.a. Capris.  Second of all, I have never until that day been to a Hooters restaurant, nor have I heard much about it.  Sure I’ve heard the name, but didn’t know what it was about.  Believe me, as soon as we walked in I realized it was not your typical place to eat.  Maybe we stayed because I was curious, and maybe it was because we were both starving and the other closest restaurant was not close by.  After explaining such to my twelve-year-old, he seemed pretty satisfied with the answer and immediately after went back to destroying aliens, or building a house for them, not quite sure which one.  After a minute, he looked up and added this interesting fact: “It’s OK Mom, I am not mad at you.  Turns out most of my friends have been to Hooters with their Dads anyway, so it wasn’t just me that was put through that torture.  And to tell the truth, I like girls now so its OK.  Let me know if you’d like to go there again.”  Oh thanks son, make me feel like the worst parent ever, then reward me with that little announcement…

My six-year-old caught wind of ‘boob talk’ and decided to chime in, specifically wanting to know where there’s such a place with girls in short shorts and boobs everywhere, and more importantly why I’ve never taken HIM there?  Oye, how can one brother be so different from the other?  One is all about the rules and structure, and the other only wants to have a good time.  Boy I sure hope the older one doesn’t find out about my new tattoos, there is a lecture I’d like to avoid.  Last time it only lasted a week, who knows how long this one will take…  I plan on keeping a shirt on whenever taking him to the pool, beach and anywhere else that requires a swimsuit.  Stay tuned for that conversation, I am planning on recording it…


Supermarket Memories…

Every time I’m at the Supermarket, I start to remember my very first trip to one just like it.  When you come to America from the former Soviet Union and enter ANY grocery store, you are bound to go into shock.  As I’ve written before, the shelves of U.S.S.R.’s grocery stores were usually empty so when you see rows and rows of food completely untouched, you wonder how its even possible!  I kept thinking why do Americans need five different brands of Raisin Bran?  Isn’t one enough?  Aren’t they all the same Raisins and Bran?  I didn’t know that they made different kinds of stool helper?  What my Mother wanted to know was why in the world anyone would want to mix milk and bran together?  According to our Jewish stomachs, that would put you in a “diarrhea coma” for at least 3 days!  Why would Americans want to do that to themselves?

My then 10-year-old brother wanted to know why Americans can’t share and ship some of that food over to Russia…  It only makes sense, I mean when shelves are never empty, doesn’t that mean there is plenty of it?  If you don’t need it, share it.  That’s the Communist way.

These days when I stand in front of a cereal isle, I still find myself pondering which cereal to get.  Too many choices, too many varieties…  I am not good with too many choices, but give me two items and I can pick one with no problem.  Other people seem to know what they want, I watch them go down the isle, grab a box and leave.  Me?  Well, you can usually find me still standing there fifteen minutes later.  I guess when you grow up without any options, when you are given whatever it is that the government thinks you need… its tough to make a decision.  And it doesn’t ONLY apply to cereal, everything in life that requires a choice between many options, I have a hard time with.  America is overflowing with tangible things, I don’t know how anyone can ever make a decision.  That’s why I usually send my husband to do grocery shopping because if I go there, I won’t be seen for many hours.  But, I am learning and getting faster at it.  Last week it only took me ten minutes to pick out bread!

Voicemail and My Father’s Outgoing Message…

The other day a friend of mine told me that I am the only person she knows that still owns an answering machine…  Apparently, everyone else in the world has long done away with those and only using electronic voice-mail now.  I’m a bit slow with technology, I admit.  However, I refuse to give my phone provider an extra $12 per month for voice-mail when I have a perfectly good answering machine!  Who cares anyway, not a soul calls my land-line and they haven’t since 2008.  The only reason I still have a land-line is because I get a huge package discount for having cable, internet and phone service.  A whole 10 Bucks!

My pre-historic answering machine reminded me of my parents outgoing message back in the day.  Our first answering machine in this country was a memory I will not easily forget.  My Father had to record the outgoing message, being the man of the house and all.  However, after months of listening to one hang up after another we finally decided that my Dad’s threatening  and a bit disturbing message had to go…  This is what he recorded (now do this with a very heavy Russian accent): “You have reached the Beynarts, WE NO HOME.  WE COME BACK AND FIND YOU!”  For the audio version, CLICK HERE   Would anyone leave their name and number on this machine?

I always wondered why my friends NEVER left messages.  The next day at school they’d say: “Hey Julia I called you and called you all night.  I think I got the wrong number, it was some KGB hotline.”  Um, no its my Dad.

My brother and I pleaded with him to let us record a new message, “Dad, you are scaring off all our friends.  Can’t we just record a Normal message?”  Here is how that conversation went (again, do this with a heavy Russian accent):

Dad:  Are their parents lawyers? 

My Brother and I:  No. 

Dad:  Are their parents Doctors? 

My Brother and I:  No, I don’t think so. 

Dad:  Are they engineers? 

My Brother and I:  Not sure Dad.

Dad:  Are their parents FBI?

My Brother and I:  No, we are pretty sure they are not.  

Dad:  You NOT need any friends. 

Case closed.

Date Night Phenomenon?

I had to write about this phenomenon called ‘Date Night’.  Every couple I know has date nights where they spend an evening away from home, kids, pets, etc, while throwing money away doing it…  Only in America do people label every activity including a simple night out with their partner.  Everywhere else in the world its just known as ‘going out’!  Why do people need to schedule quality time with their significant other?  What’s wrong with just spending time when you feel like spending time with that person?  What if I don’t feel like spending quality, alone time with my partner on that particular Wednesday penciled-in on the calendar?  What if I feel like doing that on a Monday, but oh wait its not on the calendar for Monday… therefore I have to wait til Wednesday.  Absolutely moronic…

More importantly, when you’ve been together for many years, have children, pets and other responsibilities together, who the hell cares about date night?  All ‘date night’ really means is that at the end of it, the man is hoping his wife is drunk and relaxed enough to actually have sex with him!  And the woman just wants a night off.  So the way I see it is this: Men, go wash your kids dirty butts, put them to bed, clean the dishes, put away the laundry, while your woman relaxes on the couch with a beer.  I guarantee you won’t need to spend money on a sitter and fancy dinner for her to put out!  She might even surprise you with something she hasn’t done since you were dating, trust me on this.  Now go do it, and get back to me with the results.