Saturday, February 4, 2012

Best Mom Tip #170: Watch all of the credits

I have mentioned before that Jay and I like movies.  We REALLY like movies and usually average about 2 a month in the theater over the course of a year.  This is made possible by our proximity to our parents and the fact that we ask for movie money for every birthday and Christmas.

Last night we saw The Grey starring Liam Neeson.  It was rather more emotionally intense than I was expecting (it's about a plane crash in Alaska and these guys trying to survive it while being tracked by angry wolves) and there was a scene where Liam Neeson recovers his rifle and some shotgun shells from the plane wreckage.  The rifle is broken and useless, but where was the shotgun?  Or the rifle bullets?  Anyway, unless the movie makers wanted us to believe he had a scope on a shotgun, his bag was short either some ammo or a weapon.  But other than that I was involved and interested in the story.  And we stayed until the very end of the credits.

Jay and I always stay until the end of the credits.  I like to see who they thank and where it was filmed and what versions of the songs they used and who the gaffer was.  I like knowing that the movie last night needed both "wolf wranglers" and "snow mobile operators."  I like letting the emotion of the movie, good bad or ugly, work it's way out of me while I listen to the carefully chosen soundtrack of the credits.  I like being able to give validation to the craft services personnel and every other little name that warranted a mention on the giant list.  You had better believe that if my name ever made the credits of anything, I would want everyone I ever knew to watch it scroll by.

There are a lot of reasons I enjoy being wrapped up in someone else's story for two hours.  I like to imagine and pretend and I do so in my head quite a lot.  I love to read and get lost in great (and not-so-great) books, but I tend to be obsessive and sacrifice sleep to finish books so movies are a shorter time commitment for me.  I have a wonderful and full life, but it is also one where I wonder about things like why people keep posting song lyrics on Facebook or why decorating magazines recommend "bringing the outside in" when most of my day is spent trying to keep the outside out and off of the floors.  Guys in mortal combat with wolves is somehow more exhilarating.

Sometimes, I'm even rewarded for my credit-watching patience.  Finding Nemo's credits have the animals interacting with the words as they scroll by. The Hangover reveals the pictures of what you didn't see happen in Vegas.  Last night there was a split second at the very end of the credits that helped to tie up a slightly loose end from the movie itself.

Mostly, though, I just like to linger over the feel and flavor of the moment.  To bring my heart back out of the woods, or off the sinking ship, or home from the war.  Before I get back in my minivan and ride off into the sunset.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Best Mom Tip #169: Major in something useful

This tip is about 15 years too late for me.  I have a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Economics and a Master's of Education in Social Studies.  It seemed at the time as though these degrees would provide me with a stable income as a teacher and the ability to manage what money I actually earned.  And although those things were true at one point, they aren't worth jack at this moment in my life.

What should I have studied, you ask?  Any of the following fields would have been a better choice:

1. Any thing in the medical field.  I spend $20 every time I can't figure out if a kid has a cold or if death is imminent.  I spent $150 at the ER last Friday because I made the wrong call about Harry's breathing and the pediatrician sent me to the hospital.  A nursing degree may have helped me out there.  Even studying to be a witch doctor would give me some sort of confidence when I'm faced with decisions about what to feed a kid who's been projectile vomiting all over my robe for the last three hours.

2. Building contractor.  One of the things I really didn't consider about stay-at-home motherhood is the fact that I have to make decisions about the never-ending home improvement projects around our money pit of a house.  Our garage doors are bent?  The painters discovered that the chimney is 90% rotten and needs to be replaced?  Our water meter has stopped and we need to pay the difference for the last three months while we didn't notice?  Anyway, if I could use a circular saw with authority and assess water damages accurately, it would make my life a lot easier.

3.  Dietitian/exercise scientist.  I wouldn't make any money at these while staying at home, but I could at least be aware of how many calories are in prepackaged cookie dough rounds BEFORE I eat 12 of them.  And maybe I would have had some sort of defined muscles on the lower half of my body before I had kids.

I suppose that sometime in the future it may again matter that I can name all of the dynasties of China in chronological order.  Or that I can explain the positive and negative qualities of the Julio-Claudian rulers of Rome.  My knowledge of World War One has recently enabled me to predict events on Downton Abbey before they occur, but that's about as useful as it's gotten lately.

Charlotte did ask me if I knew who Harriet Tubman was this week and seemed awfully disappointed when I said yes, so I suppose that annoying my children will have to be my major benefit until I return to work.  Or until I just become a street lecturer sharing my knowledge on downtown corners in the hopes of making a buck.