Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey... Don't You Forget About Me
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I told you my MacGyver would get that camera working. He's such a man at everything, even if he does push his guns around in a stroller. 

A few weeks ago, Victoria had her first homecoming dance.

I'm going to make a confession here, Internet, one that will make me seem like a terrible mother. I hated homecomings. With the Odawg, I learned that homecoming dances ain't your Momma's homecoming, anymore.

It is no longer this simple, sweet dance in the gym. There are now limos and updos and manicures and pedicures and costly dresses that will never be worn again and it is all one big mushy pile of stress! 

At least that's how it was with the Odawg. 

I've come to realize that with my first child, I didn't mean to, but I taught her how to be completely indecisive. She never had a chance to make up her own mind. I was always there doing it for her. I had her to myself for 4 years. That's a lot of hovering and boy, was I good at hovering.

She tends to have a great deal of difficulty making up her mind about everything. She still calls me from college when she needs to make a decision. I might not hear from her for days, but when she needs to know whether to go with the veggie quesadilla or the chopped salad for dinner, the phone rings. Seriously, this is who I have created. 

Homecoming shopping was something I dreaded about as much as my annual pap smear. There was nothing fun about it. She would grab every dress in the department store, which was many, so painfully many, and try on every single one of them, contemplating each one for what seemed like hours, twirling in front of the mirror with an "I don't knoooowwww." 

My eyes would roll back in my head. There would be yelling involved, that could be heard throughout the dressing room area. There were always tears and after several hours, there would be me, angrily slapping my credit card down, all the while sweetly commiserating with the salesgirl. 

It was the one thing I had in my control-the salesgirl. 

I used to be one of them. For years, I worked in retail and I understand those poor salesgirls' pain, especially when it comes to homecoming time and the hundreds of teenaged girls who parade through their department, throwing their dresses on the dressing room floor, never bothering to hang them back up, ransacking the orderly racks of dresses, and in just general terms making salesgirls' lives a living hell. 

I've always made a point to let them know I understood. I've always made sure to respect them and hang our dresses up properly, giving them back in the same orderly fashion we found them in. In return, in the crush of the homecoming crowd, we always got priority. A dressing room would be held for us. A size would be readily fetched for us. A register would open and we would be waved out of line over to it. 

Kindness and respect for others goes a long way in the world. I truly believe that. It is why I always make the time to say hello to the WalMart greeter and ask how their day is going. 

Unless, it's the crabby lady with the painted eyebrows and hair so red, it should not be allowed in the spectrum of dye colors. I swear, I think that color red is labeled, "Shockingly Butt Ugly Red" on its Clairol bottle. Does that greeter woman think glow-in-the-dark hair makes her look younger? I don't understand it. 

But, what I really don't understand is why a woman who is grouchy enough to yell at me when I choose a different cart because the one she shoved at me, has polio of the wheels-and shopping in Walmart is unpleasant enough, I don't want to add a directionless, thumping cart to my experience- why this glow-in-the-dark crabapple thinks she would make a fine Walmart greeter when she festers a rabid, bitter anger towards all of humanity and especially me. Whew, that sentence knocked the wind out of me!

So, to get back to my story, I was not looking forward to my newest homecoming excursion. But, then a wonderful thing happened. Debbie told me about a new shop in town, a local shop that was supposed to be some kind of wonderful. And since, I love local so much more than big boxes, I thought we'd give it a try. 

I now love Homecoming. 

The store, The Velvet Rope, was delicate and charming, just like their clothes. We walked in and were immediately greeted by the owners, Tammie and Cornelius. Scrumptious party dresses lined the wall and Tori fell immediately in love. Tammie helped us pick out dresses and Tori went to town while Julia and I sat on a plump couch and watched Tori model for us from the raised pedestal surrounded by a 3-way mirror. Tori loved this mirror. She wants that mirror and a pedestal for Christmas. I'm thinkin' somebody might just be a little in love with themselves, hmmm?

Tammie and Cornelius were accommodating, friendly and just plain darn good folks. And their shop has a little bit of everything, all at incredibly reasonable prices. Oh, and the best part of it: they registered her dress so that no one else at her high school could purchase the same one. Cause, we all know what a bummer that is. If you're interested, their story and location can be found here. 

Tori decided upon this piece of confection: 

As soon as she slipped it on, we all oohed and aahed and I exclaimed, "Tori, you look like a cupcake!" And she did, all sweet and frothy and scrumptious.

So, homecoming preparations were not as painful this time around, thanks to my new dress shop friends. Her updo was precious. Her nails and toes were polished and as always, Debbie, our personal makeup artist, painted her face in girly pinks. All went well.

The only bummer for Tori: The fact that her parents were the chaperones for the evening. 

That's right, Internet. 

The Hubby and I were asked to be chaperones. 

The school should really be more careful about who they put in charge of supervising children. 

Obviously, they were unaware of our high school Breakfast Club past.  We were both on the Breakfast Club side of life. I, was in no way, Molly Ringwald. She had designer clothing and a prim little attitude and red hair, all the things I lacked. But, like her, I was a nice girl with just enough wild Irish blood to counter my sweetness The Hubby was more of the Judd Nelson type. Seriously. He was a bad boy in high school and his early adulthood. I dated him because that's what I did best, dated wild boys. And after our share of wildness together, we settled down to become good citizens of the world, but if the school only knew . . .  We would have been put on the DO NOT CALL list for chaperones. 

Tori finally made peace with the fact we would be there, but only with certain caveats. 

We were not allowed to try and strike up conversations with her Homecoming gang.

I was not allowed to use the phrase, Homecoming gang.

Her father was not allowed to flash his gang signs to the kids. 

And, the number one directive:  I was not allowed to let her father dance-NOT FOR ONE SINGLE, SOLITARY SECOND OR HER LIFE WOULD BE OVER. 

Things went well, at first. I checked in the long line of kids while The Hubby stood behind me talking to the school police officer. I knew he was super busy when I heard him say, "So, what's your shooting choice, off duty?"

As we were checking in kids and talking up weaponry to the popo, we were suddenly summoned to the gym where we were told we were desperately needed. 

I'll stop this story right here, Internet, to say in years past, homecoming dances were usually at a fancy place off in the big city. Due to economic times, schools have been cutting back and most high schools held their homecomings in the gym this year which I found to be phenomenal. 

When we arrived earlier for our night of chaperoning, we were amazed at the magical transformation of the school gym. The party planners did a spectacular job! It looked more like a Miami hotspot than a sweaty high school gym. The bleachers were hidden behind these beautiful ceiling to floor white muslin fabrics, giving the basketball court a delicious Tropical feel. The lights were low. There were cool retro chairs and couches scattered around and tables with glowing built-in lava lamps. It was pure gorgeousness and I knew the kids would be so excited. 

But, it seems party planners don't know much about teenaged kids. They only know about camouflaging wooden seats with beautiful muslin drapes. Not only did they hide the bleachers, but they created a wonderful hidden niche that wrapped around the perimeter of the gym, perfect for making out and doing whatever other dastardly high school deeds, the kids don't want to be seen doing.

Of course, the kids gravitated to that hidden wall like Jon Gosselin to bad decisions. 

We were told they needed us soldier chaperones to patrol behind that wall. 

I was hooked up with an assistant principal, a fancy term nowadays for what was called in my day, The Dean. Deans were the ass-kickers of the school. And let me tell you, she made a kick-ass dean, all 6 foot 2 of her. 

I just walked beside her, making meek conversation, afraid I was going to do something wrong and get my own ass kicked. She was sweet to me, but she'd be in the middle of telling me about her puppy and suddenly she would stop and snarl and snap out a detention at some kid who was trying to hang from the drape. She wasn't letting kids get away with ANYTHING. I got to the point where I was walking a few steps behind her, waving frantically at the kids wrapped around each other in the dark corners, trying to get their attention before she saw them. I lagged behind her, too because I didn't want the kids thinking I was on her side of things, all tattley and such. 

Halfway around the gym, she took off after a kid who had made a break for it, out the back gym door. I took the opportunity to race away, trying to get lost in the crowd of kids committing suspendable activities. 

In the pack of hormoned heat, I found My Hubby, leaning against a wall, just giving the kids, a "What's up," as they made out around him. I took one look at him and he at me and we both knew why we are and will always be together. 

Because we were The Breakfast Club. We were the kids sneaking off behind the curtain. We were the ones shaking our fists at the world. That slight edge of misfit, that attitude of non-comformist- it never really leaves you, once you've had its taste in your mouth. And that's rarely a bad thing. Life will promise you no boring days if you decide to take that path. 

He looked at me and said, "I hate this gig. I'm no narc."

And I smiled and said, "I know, right? Me neither."

We left the netherworld behind the curtain. We stood on the periphery, genially smiling at the dancing crowd; the girls in their stunning dresses, shrieking to each other in hello; the boys who had absolutely no idea what to do with themselves; the pounding music; the stunning night club/gym and those kids, those certain kids who waited until they thought no one was looking to slip behind the curtain to the dark chasm teeming with the underbellied life of teenagers. 

We waited, just like those kids, those kindred spirits of ours, we waited until we thought no one was watching and then we slipped away into a velvety night, blanketed with stars. Hopping into our car, we cranked up the tunes. We've never grown out of loud music, one of our many teenaged traits. And we laughed as we drove away, knowing we couldn't get detention for skipping school this time.

It's funny how it all changes. We assume the yolk of grownup. We get real jobs, pay bills, buy a house and get married. We become parents, setting the same rules we used to break. We wake up one day with laugh lines and a back not as strong as it used to be. And yet the essence of who we once were lingers there in the well of our hearts. I liked that girl who broke a few rules, had more than her share of crazy nights, and slipped behind the curtain. I'm glad I've kept her around. I need to let her out a little more. 

Today's Magnificent Download: "Take A Bow" by the thrilling, thrilling, thrilling cast of Glee. Man, we love this show. If you haven't seen it, I highly advise it. You'll be addicted. 

This was originally Rihanna's hit and I'm sorry, but I am not a fan of hers. I think I'm the only person in the world that feels this way, but I think Rihanna's voice is just so one-tonish, it drives me INSANE. I never realized the beauty of this song, written by Ne-Yo, until I heard this version headed by the glorious voiced Lea Michele, the break-out star of Glee.

But mainly, because Tori loves this version. This is her newest song she sings night and day. Thank Heavens we've moved on from Paparazzi. (Don't even get me started on that one.) I love hearing her warble this one all over the house. Take a Bow, for my Tori Cupcake Girl.  


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the color of hair is directly related to the eyesight going. I think her sister works at my WalMart.

ProudSister said...

What a beauty she is, lovely as ever. Although, this is sort of similar to her every day look at times. The girl knows how to do it up! Love the chaperone stories. Although I am known to NOT be a rule breaker, I also would have also tried to give the kids a heads up. So gross to be caught making out by anyone in a teacher-ish position, much less a parent. Hilarious as usual! I like the props for the Velvet Rope. It sounds fantastic & hope it does well. We need one here.

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