Tag Archives: fish out of water

One fish, two fish, dumb confused fish

I am often out of my element. Just a perpetual fish out of water, even when technically still in the water. So when my friend Melissa asked me to help out at our kids’ school fundraiser, I couldn’t think of a place where I’d fit in less. 

For one, I am less a parent than I am just three bewildered 12-year-olds standing on each others’ shoulders in a trench coat. 

Two, I am new to the school parent game. My oldest just started kindergarten. I’m still shocked I managed to fill out the 167 pages of paperwork it took to enroll him. 

And three, school parents who have it together enough to help at a school fundraiser are on a whole other level. A somewhat intimidating level. A level that usually involves packing a snack for their kid that isn’t leftover french fries. 

So when she asked me, it was essentially like asking a fish to climb a tree with a bicycle. Or worse, asking a fish to put on pants without ketchup stains and to not curse for two hours straight. Absolutely not, I immediately thought.

She then casually yet cruelly mentioned that there would be beer at the event. 

So I said yes.   

You know, come to think of it, maybe fish out of water is the wrong terminology. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? Where a person constantly feels like they’re faking it? It’s like I have that. Or like I’m a confused fish with that. Five-and-half years in, and I’m still faking being a parent. Every single time I drop off and pick up my kid, I’m convinced I’ll be found out.

Any Other Parent: “Hello. How are you?”

Me: “Good. Great. Mostly because I have kids. I’m totally a parent. The hospital just handed them over to me. I didn’t have to take a test or anything.”

Any Other Parent: “OK then. Nice meeting you.”

*awkward edging away by all parties involved* 

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But there’s strength in numbers (and in craft beer alcohol content), so I bravely put on my last unstained pair of pants and walked directly behind and slightly crouched behind Melissa into that bake sale like a boss. 

Unfortunately that slinking courage lasted for all of two minutes before they put a money box in front of me.

“So, everything on the table is a dollar, except for the bracelets, which are five dollars,” the beautiful school mom without undereye bags and tangled hair affably told me. 

“Awesome. Perfect. Could you repeat that?” I replied because I am always too busy thinking about what an idiot I am to actually listen to people. 

“Absolutely. All the baked goods are a dollar. All the raffle tickets are a dollar. And the bracelets are five dollars.” 

“Yup. Got it. Thank you.”

I then turned to Melissa. 

“Did you catch any of that?”

Melissa, however, was busy being rudely competent by already tending to our first customers and figuring out the mobile credit card swiper on an iPad. 

I was about to feel super sorry for myself and steal a brownie to sad-eat in the bathroom when another impeccably put-together mom appeared and started asking me about my kids. I made a few awkward jokes at first (“my oldest is five and my back-up auxiliary kid is three”) but she seemed genuinely interested. So I kept talking. And as I kept talking, something magical happened. I relaxed. And as I relaxed, I started asking her questions about her kids. Soon we were having a full blown conversation about our kids. And then other people joined in.

And BOOM. Suddenly I was humaning with the best of them.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Not because I abruptly became a fully functioning adult. But because I was surrounded by them. People who were good at making conversation. People who were warm and approachable. People who were really good at ignoring the yawns of the new school mom who suffers from insomnia and include her despite her overall vibe of “they think I’m a people, just like them!” 

But most importantly, people who love to talk about their children as much as I do. Because the one thing I never have to fake is how much I love my kids. 

And how much I want to murder them when they ask for spaghetti for dinner and then throw a tantrum at dinner because they just remembered that they hate spaghetti. 

 

 

Catwoman loves my hair

You know that old saying, “This is why we can’t have nice things”? Well, my husband and I are the poster children for the phrase “This is why we can’t do nice things.”

We are, to put it nicely, casual people. We’re the Gap of couples. The Olive Garden of lovers. The Netflix of man and wife.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this. In fact, we prefer it this way. There is no shame in our footie pajama Saturday night game. But it does make for several rather interesting “fish out of water” tales from time to time.

For instance, take our recent trip to New York City. See, even typing that previous sentence felt weird. We’re not the kind of people who say “our recent trip to New York City.” We’re the kind of people who say “our recent trip to Target.”

My husband, however, causal though he is, happens to be a very talented artist and designer. On a lark, he had entered into a poster contest for the new FOX show “Gotham” and ended up winning, scoring us a free mini-vacation and tickets to the New York premiere of the show.

And it was going to be fancy. Not fancy-fancy, but fancy enough that Ryan had to borrow a suit and I spent hours scouring my closet, trying on different things and asking him things like “would it be inappropriate to wear a dress to the premiere that has a curse word on it?” Not to mention the fancy driver who was going to pick us up from the airport in his fancy car and the fancy Manhattan hotel with its fancy shower that didn’t have any major clogs (like SOME showers I know) we would be staying in.

All this for two people who don’t know how to tip a doorman or a driver without looking like huge dorks. (In fact, my husband’s preferred method is to just loudly state “Here.” while awkwardly stuffing a fistful of cash into their unsuspecting hands).

Luckily, we clean up pretty good when absolutely forced to, so we made it to the “Gotham” premiere without embarrassing ourselves too horribly. I even made it up the five flights of stairs to the post-premiere party in five-inch heels without stopping halfway through (just lying breathless on a step, telling people to “just leave me here, go on without me, remember me when I’m gone”) like I really, REALLY wanted to.

Now, as far as I can tell, the main goal of a movie or TV premiere party is to skulk around the room until you weasel your way close enough to one of the stars to ask them to take a photo with you. Unfortunately, Ryan and I are those people who like to think we’re above having our photos taken with celebrities. That’s what we tell ourselves, at least. Yeah, we’re way too cool for that. What with our own personal websites and curse word dresses and all. They’re just people, people. How lame.

In reality, however, we are totally those people who want our photos taken with celebrities. We’re just too scared to ever actually ask. So instead we just awkwardly stood around, drinking our fancy drinks that we awkwardly grabbed off some waiter’s tray and awkwardly sipped while trying not to cough because it was a grown-up drink and we’re used to “cocktails” that have pop as one of the main two ingredients.

Even the liquid courage from our fancy, grown-up drinks didn’t help. It did, however, help us come up with an ingenious idea. One that we call “reverse photobombing.” We sat at a table, camera phones at the ready, and when a celebrity (or pretty much anyone with really, REALLY straight teeth) walked into the background, we would take a photo.

Ahem…

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Needless to say, we were quite proud of our cleverness.

And drunk. We were very, very drunk.

But then, while my husband and I are snapping photos and giggling like a bunch of third-graders who just stumbled upon a stack of nudie magazines, suddenly the young actress who plays Selina Kyle sits down at our tiny table. She’s close enough for us to touch her. Close enough for us to touch her in such a way that we could get slapped with a restraining order. We immediately both give each other “The Look.” The look that only couples who have been together long enough to know each other’s bathroom schedule can give one another. Here was our chance.

He looked at me and with one raised eyebrow silently said “Should we ask her to pose for a photo?”

To which I looked at him and with two raised eyebrows (because I can’t raise just one because it’s a stupid skill I can’t master no matter how much I practice in front of the mirror) silently answered “Nope. I’m still too chicken shit.”

I did, however, work up the nerve (after downing yet another drink) to say, directly into her face, “You were wonderful in the show.”

And then, dear reader, and then, she looked at me, and directly into MY face said, “Thank you so much. I love your hair.”

Naturally, being the mature and sophisticated 30-something woman that I am, I calmly yanked my husband’s arm out of its socket and said “CATWOMAN LOVES MY HAIR!”

To which he lovingly replied, “You’re not being nearly as quiet as you think you are being right now.”

And so, the moral of this long, rambling, semi-pointless story is this:

Catwoman loves my hair. And that’s pretty much all that matters.