Friday, August 18, 2006

Introducing Two new Characters!

You remember the back-to-school excitement of finding out who's going to be in your class when school starts? Beeb's two best friends are together in another class. This was hard for Beebie. There are some nice girls in her class, though, and Beeb's got a really good teacher.

But there's a girl in Beeb's class who has a mom I don't really like. I'll call her Stella Dallas, even though it would make more sense for me to call myself Stella Dallas instead, because that's who she makes me feel like. If you haven't seen the movie Stella Dallas, friends, you owe it to yourself to watch it, even if it's only to help you better relate to me. Seriously, watch it, and suddenly I'll make sense to you.

Anyway, the expression on Stella's face constantly looks like she just sniffed spoiled meat. She's reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally skinny and has a disproportionately large head, kinda like a heart-shaped light bulb.

Ok, we all know I have self-esteem issues, but I have seen her literally turn her back to me every time I walk into a room that she's in. R's witnessed it and he agrees. I'm not imagining it.

I don't hate her or anything. She's apparently a very nice person to everyone else, she's just really, really unfriendly to me. Now, I know I'm a little outspoken, even a little zany (ok, more than a little), but I'm a nice person. So if someone acts like they can't stand me and I have no idea why, it really bugs me. The only reason I can think of that would give her a reason not to like me goes back five years, to when Beeb was in Kindergarten.

I was determined to give Beeb every opportunity to learn new things and make new friends and have fun, so I went to the parents' informational meeting about the Daisy Scouts. Back in my day, they were called Pixie Scouts, but apparently Pixie was offensive to someone, so Daisies they became. Pie was still a baby, and I had JUST (literally just the day before) found out I was having Tito in four months, which is a story for another day, but I digress.

Several parents were at the meeting, including Stella Dallas and some other parents of kids in Beeb's class. The invitation was made for some parent to take over the duties of Troop Leader.

(crickets chirping)

Now, if no one stepped up at this point, there would be no troop. Everyone turned to look at the one person in the room whom they knew was just crazy enough to volunteer. Yup, me.

Ok, here's the thing, I HAD NEVER, EVER, DONE THIS BEFORE. I had NO IDEA what I was in for. NONE. I was absolutely f*ckin clueless, and they knew it. I said it, out loud, numerous times at this meeting. I made it clear from the beginning that I was COMPLETELY IGNORANT about how to run a Daisy troop. I'm sure there were going to be lots of National Policies and stuff I hadn't even thought about yet, and as a new mom who just found out she's pregnant again, I'd need a LOT of help.

Oh, you'll be fine! said Stella and the Other Moms. We'll ALL help you!! Great. Fine. Sign me up, since no one else loves their kid enough to volunteer. Sheesh. But hear me well - I'M GONNA HAVE TO QUIT WHEN THIS BABY COMES. Everybody got that? Good.

Later, I found out that the reason I was chosen as the sacrificial lamb had nothing at all to do with their confidence in my ability to lead 6 -year-olds. No, it was all about preventing the woman that Stella et al did NOT want in power from volunteering to take over Troop Leader Duties. I'll call this woman Dr. Eyeball because a) she's an eye doctor and b) the name sounds as creepy as she is. Dr. Eyeball looks a lot like Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives.

In fairness to Stella, Dr. Eyeball is a complete freakin nutjob, but I'd rather have an experienced complete freakin nutjob running the show than an inexperienced complete freakin moron like myself. A creative genius, yes, of course I am. A multitasking, meticulously organized, well-oiled machine, um, NO. I had the field trips and petal-earning projects down. But permission slips? Huh?? Dues? Snacks? Huh??? I left the meeting with everyone's phone numbers and email addresses, and a stack of papers and books taller than me.

After the meeting adjourned, I was cornered by Dr. Eyeball in the hall. She started by politely introducing herself. She seemed very nice and sincere at first, but as she kept talking I began to realize the enormity of the shitpot I had just voluntarily allowed myself to be pushed into.

She explained to me (her perception of) the group dynamic of the moms in the room and said she didn't want to volunteer to be the troop leader because in the past there had been some issues between her troop and her ex-husband's Cub Scout troop (red flag - ongoing domestic dispute), but she did want to help with the troop and she very kindly offered to assist me in any way she could, since she'd been the troop leader before.

Two more things I didn't realize at the time of the meeting -

#1 - Dr. Eyeball's creepy ex-husband and creepy new wife (who looked like she could have been his mother - ugh. Dude, aren't ya supposed to trade up?) were in attendance at this meeting. No wonder the awkwardness in the room had been totally palpable, I thought it was just me.

And #2 - This was a very cleverly calculated passive-aggressive move on her part, and I'd have to deal with this woman's unresolved bitterness bullshit for the next four months, simply because she was the first person to offer to help me and I obviously didn't know any better.

Oh, and #3 - NOBODY liked Dr. Eyeball. Nobody, not even me, but I was too foolish and polite to be mean to her like the other moms wanted me to. I was constantly pulled in two directions. I'd want to be nice to her because I'm a nice person and she'd never been anything but pleasant to me personally. And then on the other hand, I'd want to please the majority, including Stella, who was always coming up with semi-tactful propsals to exclude Dr. Eyeball from the troop's plans. The reality was that I was the Troop Leader in name only.

It was a fuckin Daisy Troop puppet regime, is what it was.

Oh, it was awful, y'all. Total disaster. Stella was, and still is, an uptight control freak who doesn't want to look like a control freak. And Dr. Eyeball was, and still is, just a plain ol' freak. And it was sad beacause the ones who really suffered were the kids. The kids... isn't this supposed to be FUN for them??

Fast forward four months to Baby Tito and my departure from the Daisy Troop. Although they'd had time to find a replacement for me, again, no one volunteered. So they tried to rope me into it again.

Oh FUCK NO. You couldn't PAY me. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.


I stuck to my guns and let someone else take over. And guess who did? Dr. Eyeball. This, I believe, is the reason why Stella dislikes me. I abandoned the Daisy Troop that I'd never really been in charge of. How dare I force the rest of the parents to work out their petty squabbles so their kids could take part in the humbling experience of selling overpriced cookies (Oh, and by the way, there is NO discount for troop leaders, I found that out after ordering $40 worth, thank you very much)?

Then, the next year a totally cool woman took over the troop. She was great. She had tattoos and rode a Harley. I totally adored her, simply because she was SO not a soccer mom, in a tradtionally soccer mom-esque role. Those are my favorite kinds of moms. As far as soccer moms, I got nuthin against them, but I always feel like they they're looking down on me. I acknowledge that in most cases it's in my head, but not when it comes to Stella.

Apparently, there is no escape from Stella. The next year we changed schools. And so did Stella's daughter. Fortunately, Dr. Eyeball's kids did not change schools, and I have not seen Dr. Eyeball since, except that she used to have her picture in advertisements on the carts at my grocery store (yes, the one that sells Fruit Bowels). If I ever see one, I'll take a picture for you. I promise.

Stella, however, is visible at every school event. She's in a PTO position of power. When school started I realized that I'd forgotten how much I dread school events. I hate running into her. Again, I don't hate HER, I hate how seeing her makes me feel. It reminds me of what a spineless idiot I was to let myself get suckered into doing something that everybody else was smart enough not to volunteer for. (Ed. note: The lesson learned here is that when nobody wants to volunteer for something, there's probably a good reason.)

Whenever I see Stella talking to other Pokey Oaks Elementary Moms, I feel like Stella's telling them the story of how I didn't realize what a big deal the Investiture Ceremony was and how I had no idea that I was supposed to plan a skit and how I quite inappropriately showed up in jeans.

Here's where a Stella Dallas movie reference would be appropriate. There is one scene where Stella's planning her daughter Lolly's birthday party. Lolly's invited all her friends, together they did all the decorations, and unbeknownst to the both of them, the other mothers called around and badmouthed Stella as an unfit parent (Stella's a single mom who's made some questionable choices about the company she keeps), and consequently, nobody came to Lolly's party. Incidentally, the one year we invited Stella's daughter to Beeb's birthday party, Stella never even called to RSVP, further testament to why I call her Stella Dallas.

So it should be an interesting school year. R thinks I should volunteer for Stella's PTO committee just to mess with her big ol' heart-shaped light bulb head.


Oh, and some other stuff:

The salmon was great, thanks to Cbear and Morgsarah and all who offered cooking advice in the chat room.

Tito has absolutely ZERO desire to go potty on the potty. It's wearing me out.


Bezzie said...

Ok, I'll add Stella Dallas to my Netflix list although it kind of sounds like a softcore porn movie with that title.

I mean holding a grudge for that long? What a girl!

Can you imagine if you hadn't had Tito and been subjected to that crap longer? Thank god kids come in handy sometimes as the ultimate excuse to get out of crap like that!

Penny Karma said...

Yes, I must say it is one of the bright spots in having kids 10 1/2 months apart.

Poops said...

Reason #247 why "I Love Penny Karma":

She can throw out a reference to Stella Dallas and I totally laughed out loud without the explanation.

Great movie, that.

zibibbo said...

It was a fuckin Daisy Troop puppet regime, is what it was.

*clicks her needles together in knittybeatnik appreciation*

I've lucked out. The other moms don't speak to me. They no speaka d'eeengleesh :P

Jennifer said...

What I've learned from teaching high school is that in real adult life, it's still just high school dynamics. People just don't change that much, they just can just have more spectacular f*&^-ups. Thank goodness you were able to get out of the whole year of daisy troops. As for Stella, you're way better adjusted than she is.

Elizabeth said...

Zib, that was the line that pushed me over into fits of giggles!

Oh, Penny K, I have avoided all volunteerish, PTO related stuff for 6 full years and now I fear, my time is up. When the older son started kindergarten, I promptly got pregnant with the second. But now that the second one is off to kindergarten this fall, my excuses are running low. And I tell ya, this school, every other car parked nearby at pick-up time has a Mary Kay sticker in the rear window. I do not belong with these women.

SiressYorkie said...

Gah...scout troops are supposed to be about leadership and self-improvement, etc., but as you inadvertantly found out, it has f*ck all to do with girl growth and all to do with Advanced Power Struggle Tactics.

If I ever ran a scout troop, I'd have those little kids goose-stepping around the room and the mums afraid to approach my Throne of Leaderly Power.

Zonda said...

I so know how you feel!! Been there too! I usually get the "looks" work out of the house and not a stay at home mom (the horror, how could I!!)it has gotten better over the years, but sometimes they expect me to volunteer during work time and don't understand why I can't sometimes. (which happened this past week during registration, which I've done for like 8 yrs, not this year..couldn't!) Hang in there and just be you, if they don't like ya!! Tough S**T, we love you! :)

The Beautiful Kind said...

Well that was completely awesome. Everyone you know is so whack! This post is from 2006??? You've been blogging a long time!!! Ugh so have I.

You know a bit of what I am going through. Thank you from ordering girl scout cookies from me this year, dearest.

From the most reluctant cookie captain.