Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday indeed

Dear Woman in the Bathroom at Ross:

Last week, I was in the stall next to you. Perhaps you didn’t hear me, or see me, or notice my shoes under the stall. I really want to give you every benefit of the doubt.

It’s holiday season, after all, and maybe you needed to beat someone else to a clearance pillow case that you spotted moments before nature called.

And I know we women tend to be creatures of habit. I understand the impulse to close an open door, shove a drawer closed, or open a public restroom door with a paper towel. Truly, if ever there was a sister who gets habits, it’s me.

But really, could you have maybe stopped for one second and thought before turning the light off when you left?

I don’t know if you noticed, but there are no windows in the bathroom at Ross, which means it’s REALLY dark when the lights are off. I mean scary dark. Like I wish-I-had-never-seen-the-commercial-for-The-Blair-Witch-Project dark.

Trust me, I know that of which I speak.

At first I thought to myself, “Is this what going blind feels like?” I had just that morning been to the eye doctor for my exam, and wondered what he had used in those eye drops. He did say my eyes were aging, but surely he that didn’t mean that I might go completely blind at any given moment.

Then I realized that, no, I had never heard of anyone going blind instantaneously … in a Ross bathroom. This made me start laughing out loud in the dark, because really, why do these things happen to me?

I’ve heard it said that women are their own worst enemies, but a public bathroom does not seem like a fair battle ground. Talk about a vulnerable opponent.

Then I realized that I was the same woman who had given birth to two babies, changed diapers one-handed when necessary, and sat up all night with sick children. Surely I could get myself out of this personal Hades, right?

The first part, getting out of the stall, wasn’t too hard. Because really, we can do this with our eyes closed. But then I had to remember where everything was positioned in the room. Was I in the end stall or has I passed a few? Was I about to walk into the sinks? Was the door on the right-hand side or the left-hand side? Where exactly is the light switch?

When I was recounting my travails at dinner that night, my 16-year-old son said with a smile, “Why didn’t you use the light from your cell phone?” NOW he tells me! He can be a punk sometimes.

But that’s not the point, is it? The overriding question remained: What kind of women turns off the light to a public restroom?

So dear Woman in the Bathroom at Ross (may I call you WITBAR for short?), next time you choose to cast me into total darkness before going to browse the clearance pillow cases, please consider tossing me a bone. Maybe roll a flashlight under the stall before you leave?

Help a sister out.

Friday, November 9, 2012

No 'Keeping Up With the Fezziwigs' from this mom

Okay, I’m putting it in writing before I have a chance to become insufferable: I will not become a stage mom. You have my word on it.

Never mind that I was as excited as my 10-year-old daughter when she found out she got a part in the upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.” Never mind that the four-day waiting period to hear if she had made the cast was completely unnerving (and she was a little stressed too).

No, I am completely in control and refuse to become another clich├ęd stage mom, a la the mothers of Honey Boo Boo or the Kardashians. I pinky swear.

And just to ensure that I will not go down that dark path, I have come up with the following Rules to Keep Me from the Slippery Slope that is Stage Momdom (or RTKMFTSSTISM for short).

• I promise that I will not wear a t-shirt that reads “My daughter totally rocks Act 1, Scenes 2, 4, and 7.” In fact, I will wear it only as pajamas from here on in (or maybe under another shirt on performance nights, like Superman).

• I promise that I will not start a standing ovation mid-scene immediately after my daughter delivers her one line in Act 1, Scene 7. However, if YOU can’t help but stand and applaud, I will gladly join you.

• I promise that I will not say my daughter’s line aloud with her while she’s on stage and I’m in the audience. Still, mouthing the line with her is not off the table.

• I promise that I will continue to keep it real by calling her by her given name instead of referring to her as Fezziwig Daughter No. 2 for the next three months of rehearsals.

• I promise that I will allow her to speak in her usual voice at home. However, I think it’s entirely normal to require the entire family to speak in British accents on rehearsal days. I’m confident that my family will happily get on board with this plan.

• I promise that if this acting thing works out, I will never ever let my daughter be on any Disney show whatsoever. I think we’ve seen how most of those careers shake out (I’m looking at you Ms. Lohan).

• I promise that I will not make any odd requests for my daughter’s dressing room prior to performances, such as Perrier water at room temperature or M&Ms with the shells peeled.

Of course I’m joking (kind of) but let’s be real here. It’s pretty darn hard as a parent to NOT get excited when you see your child doing something he or she loves. From her first steps, to her first ballet recital, she really is the best thing since sliced bread. From his first word (Dada, of course!), to his first karate kick, he is the coolest kid you’ve ever met.

So in essence, we all star in our own little plays that we call “life.” And I plan on applauding the loudest for the entirety of my children’s lives.


Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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