About me: I'm 40 and just added a gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 7-year-old Junior, our 4-year-old Everett, our new baby and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why we love them

A few years ago, I drove to Boston with my husband Chuck and my father to celebrate my brother's birthday. We hadn't planned on spending the night but after many, many drinks, we weren't going to make the drive back to Connecticut.

My brother's friends had already claimed the couches in my brother's apartment so Chuck, my father and I claimed the guest room, which had a double bed and futon in it.

I fell asleep quickly but awoke a few hours later to the sound of a grumbling bear. Actually, two grumbling bears. I sat up and squinted in the darkness. What the hell. It hit me: I wasn't hearing bears. Chuck and my father were simultaneously sawing wood. Actually, no. They were snoring in a hellish duet. No sooner would Chuck finish his GGGGGGgggrrrrrrrrrr, snort, snort than my father would pick up the tail end with his own GGGGGGgggrrrrrrrrrr, snort, snort.

I literally was encased in snores. Bookended by nasal grumbles and gravelly honks. Seesawing back and forth, back and forth, on a tide of snores!

I did the only thing I could. I grabbed a pillow and blanket and slept in the bathtub.

Sadly it didn't offer much respite. After a heavy night of drinking, the toilet got a lot of action. Side note: Only one person noticed me in the tub and thankfully my father never had to use the bathroom.

If you're a snorer, you probably have no idea how common this scenario is (minus the, uh, bears and bathtub). You're probably oblivious to the pain and suffering you cause your poor, light-sleeper of a partner. Yes, you might get jabbed in the gut a few times a night or asked to roll over, but at least you're getting more sleep than the person who has to lie there listening to the incessant GGGGGGgggrrrrrrrrrr, snort, snort...GGGGGGgggrrrrrrrrrr, snort, snort...

It's brutal.

Now that we've put away the air conditioners in our house it's only gotten worse—even with white noise machines and floor fans. And you know I always have to have my fan.

I've been left no choice but to adopt the flight response in my own home. As soon as Chuck starts his horrible GGGGGGgggrrrrrrrrrr, snort, snorting around 3 a.m., I take off for the couch. Except last night—there was nowhere to go. My mother and step-father were on our sleeper sofa.

I ran through the list of possibilities, rating them from least to most attractive. Dog bed? Not big enough. Tub? Too cold. Cam's floor? Too hard. Junior's bed? He flops like a fish. Everrett's bed? Bingo.

I stumbled into the kids' room, where they share bunk beds, and crawled into the bottom bunk with Everett. I laid down next to him, burrowing into the blankets and stuffed animals.

He rolled over and smiled at me. His face was bathed in blue from the night light.

"Mom," he sighed contentedly. "Did you really come to see me?" Even half-asleep, he looked delighted. Dreamy.

I was struck by the moment. First by the absolute absurdity—that he would believe I would actually get up in the middle of the night just to say hello. Just to see him. I mean my gawd, there are days when bedtime can't come soon enough I've seen the kids so much. Second by the blissful innocence of his love—that he would be delighted to see me. Me, the woman he sees every day. The woman of no novelty.

"Yes," I whispered. "I came to see you."

He rolled into me and kissed my cheek. "I love you."

I lay there, amazed. What a little gift. Unexpected adoration. Professions of love. This is why we do it, I thought. This kind of love—in all it's fleeting and precious and intoxicating waves—fixes everything.

He didn't snore once.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Just what size breasts should my frog-person have anyway?

As I was drawing the Halloween costume for my frog-person for my blog banner, I kept having the same thought:

This is the most time I've spent on myself in a long time...and it's not even really me. It's a drawing of a frog. 

This is the most time I've spent on myself in a long time...and it's not even really me. It's a drawing of a frog. 

This is the most time I've spent on myself in a long time...and it's not even really me. It's a drawing of a frog. 

And so on.  

Chuck? I think it's time for an All Girls weekend for Mrs. Mullet. And I'm taking my ^*$#ing cape.

P.S. Chuck's frog-man finally lost some weight and gained some muscle. Swoon away, ladies, swoon away.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Things you [probably] won't see on the NutriBullet box

So Chuck's birthday.

Blah, blah, blaaaaah. That's so two weeks ago.

Let's talk about how I just gave Everett and Cam a bath together, instead of Everett and Junior, which I've been doing for four years. It was like a changing of the guards. I kept thinking, Where's Junior? (He was playing Minecraft.) Everett didn't seem to grasp the emotional magnitude of the moment (i.e., he didn't really care that I'd swapped one brother for another, all he knew was that he was suddenly the Big Cheese in the "deep end"), but I was lamely choked up about it.

Everything is changing. Everything.

Chuck poked his head in at one point, and I was about to share the sappy moment with him when he said, "Why is my NutriBullet cup in the bathroom?"

Actually, he kind of spat it.

There was no denying it, there it was:

"I, uh, use it to rinse the kids' heads in the bath. It's the perfect size."

"Can you not?" he asked.

"Of course," I lied. It's not like it's just taking up space in the kitchen cabinet. "Of course!"

My mind immediately went to the conversation I'd had with Chuck's best friend—the one who wanted me to take ski lessons, even after all I've been through—about his NutriBullet.

"Mrs. Mullet," he'd said, "the NutriBullet is so effective I don't even need toilet paper anymore. Not.One.Single.Sheet. My poops are that perfect because of it."

I looked at the NutriBullet. I looked at the toilet paper. 

Of course. 

It wasn't my fault I'd brought the NutriBullet into the bathroom. It was Perfect Poop's fault. He'd made the association, not me. If it wasn't for him I'd think of vegetables when I saw the NutriBullet, not poop pellets and bathrooms.

"Chuck," I said. "About your NutriBullet..."


A sea of chatty children separated us, followed by a sea of cats and dogs, laundry and homework, dinner and dishes. Explaining the Perfect Poop story to him would take hours.

"Can you just read my blog sometime?"

"I already do."

I love you, Chuck. 

(And until you break out the broccoli I'll probably keep using the NutriBullet in the bathroom.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

I guess I'll be beaming Chuck up again

Chuck's birthday is this weekend. Truth be told, I've helped him celebrate in some pretty epic ways. There was the surprise party with ghoulish decor. Then there was the thoughtful brick. One year I beamed him back up. Then there was the boob cake, which I guess I never blogged about it—but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Every year I try to remember how we celebrated his previous birthday, so I can do something cooler. I'm awesome like that. But because my memory often fails me, I have to outsource the task to others, say, to Chuck, and sometimes he proves to be an unreliable narrator. Take last night, for example.

Me: Your birthday's coming up. What do you want to do?

Chuck: You're so amazing. It doesn't matter.

Me: But baby, I'll do anything to make your birthday spectacular! Just name it!

Chuck: You do so much already, please, don't make a fuss. In fact, you are present enough. Hold me.

Me: Hold on. What did we do last year? I can't remember...

Chuck: [Looking nervous] I actually don't remember either. What's for dinner?

Me: No, hold on, I was pregnant and...

And that's when it all came flooding back to me.

See, Chuck and I both work in the same city in Connecticut, about an hour away from home. He had left work and was on his way home. I had just left work and was heading home myself when my mother—who was babysitting—called and said, "Chuck's birthday is this weekend. Why don't you two get a hotel room?"

Even though I was four months pregnant, exhausted and racked with constant bouts of nausea and crying, I thought this sounded like a fabulous idea. I eagerly called Chuck.

Me: Let's get a room for your birthday!

Chuck: [Long pause] We could do that...

Me: Don't sound so excited.

Chuck: It's just that...

Me: It's just that what?

Chuck: Wouldn't it be nicer if we waited until you were feeling better? You're usually out cold by nine...

He kept talking, but in my heightened hormonal state all I heard was I DON'T LOVE YOU.

Me: I have to go now.

I spent the next few hours driving around, crying and shopping. I sat outside Pier One, sniveling, for a solid 30 minutes before venturing inside. I stopped crying long enough to buy two sequined pumpkins and an oil reed diffuser, then sat back in the driver's seat and bawled all over again.

Soon it was 9:30 p.m. 

Chuck called, I didn't pick up. My mother called, I picked up. She suggested, delicately, that I get a room by myself and get a good night's sleep. I tried to check myself into the nearest hotel only to be told they were booked. I drove to a package store and sat in the parking lot. I cried some more—mostly over how I couldn't drink any more.

I j--j--j--ust ne--ee---ee-ed v--v--v--odka...

Then, just like it was when I was pregnant with Junior and having a Bruce Banner moment—when he comes to, wearing his shredded clothing?!—it was over. I called Chuck and calmly explained that I was going to sleep at my girlfriend's, instead of make the hour drive home. He said he thought that was a good idea, and that he loved me very much. I sped away into the night and slept for a solid 10 hours.

But back to last night, and my conversation with Chuck about what he wants to do for his birthday this year.

Me: So what do you want to do????

Chuck: Whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper.

Me: Really? That again?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Loving and hating your partner (it's all their fault!)

And just like that, my vertigo disappeared. I'm doing great.*

However, Junior, my oldest, has not been doing so great. After informing me that he wasn't going to his school's meet and greet because they "aren't going to rob me of my last few days of freedom" —drama, anyone?—he promptly came down with a 103 degree fever and the puke bug and missed the first week of school.

Sneaky bastard.

This wouldn't have been such a big deal except for the fact that it's the first week that Cam has started sleeping through the night. 

The first week. In six months.

For many, many, many months—SIX—I've been waking up one to two times a night to feed Cam (Chuck? Who's that? Was he supposed to help or something?)

Six agonizing months. Waking and sleeping. Sleeping and waking, all the while listening to Chuck's fake snores as the monitor crackled with cries. And if I kicked Chuck to wake him up? He'd mumble "Huh? Wha?" and act dazed and helpless, like a little orphan adrift at sea.

I came to hate the "Huh? Wha?" face so much that I stopped kicking him. 

Sneaky bastard.

Even worse—yes, there's more!—I'm not the kind of person who can wake up, be awake for half an hour and then instantaneously fall back asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. Nope, that's Chuck's magic trick. Sometimes I lay awake for hours after feeding Cam, thinking and thinking and thinking:

How could I have had THREE children with someone who fake snores through the crying? How can Chuck lie there, pretending to sleep through all these feedings? How could I have spent eight years co-parenting with someone who hasn't woken up to feed one baby? What kind of sadomasochist am I to have married and spawned multiple times with this man?  

Etc., etc., etc.

SIX fucking months x three kids = a not-so-pleased Mrs. Mullet

But it's ok! It's all over now. I survived two nights of Junior waking up every two hours to barf and whimper because Chuck, that darling man, redeemed himself by getting up with Junior while I lay in wait for Cam—except that Cam didn't wake up.

Mwahahaha. Don't you love when you pick the right child to oversee? I was giddy. And Chuck was exhausted. It was a beautiful thing.

The best part is that Junior is better and Cam has slept through the night for four nights in a row so perhaps—per chance?—it isn't a fluke.

Yes, we're staying married and keeping the kids!

This calls for champagne.

*Because I can drink again.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Parenthood sucked the life out of the peaceful unknown; vertigo has brought it back

I don't want to write about what I thought I wanted to write about—how working from home while having vertigo and trying to tend to three children, even with the help of a sitter, is insanity—because bleh, that's what it is, insanity.

Cruel, cruel insanity.

No, I want to write about my BPPV physical therapy session and a piece of advice given to me by the therapist which was, "Don't walk around a lot with your eyes closed."

At the time I'd scoffed. Who the hell walks around a lot with her eyes closed, even without vertigo? When I recounted it to Chuck we both scoffed.

"Lame," he'd said.

But then the wise ass part of me wondered, Why not? So I tried it.

First, inside my house. I tripped over Legos and the dog, of course, but there's something soothing about slowing your gait and feeling your way around. Even something stupid like reaching for butter in the refrigerator made me feel calmer. My hand felt textures. My face sensed the cold. I could lose myself in a quick daydream about falling asleep on that smushy loaf of bread.

Things slowed down.

I slowed down.

And outside, the grass underfoot was wonderfully soft. I didn't know if I was walking in a straight line. I didn't care. Added bonus: I could hear my children shrieking across the lawn but I couldn't see them, which made it easier to pretend they belonged to someone else.

I'm not sure why I ended up with vertigo—and truthfully, it's been a huge pain in the ass—but it did confirm something I realized at the beginning of summer, when the kids spent the weekend at my mother's and Chuck and I were in charge of only Cam; it was quieter, it was less frantic, and I actually heard my own inner thoughts.
We slowed down.

That weekend I'd realized that I don't want to wear the over-crazed, neurotic suit of motherhood anymore. I don't want to give in to the manic speed of it, and as much as my children try to drag me there, I'm going to push back. I'm going fight for the health of my brain cells. I'm going to fight for myself.

And for now I'm going to keep walking around with my eyes closed. Just for a few seconds here and there. Just for that quick little burst of a time out. Just because it's nice, for a change, to not see what's in front of me.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pssst, who's the hot mom with the huge tongue and bulging eyes? Why, it's me, Mrs. Mullet

I'm sorry it's been a while since my last post. I know my readers (hi Mom!) have been wondering where I've been.

Are you ready?

I've been at home.

No, wait, it gets better! I've been at home, walking around my house with the careful trepidation of someone who belongs in a nursing home. Why? Because....


I have had terrible vertigo. At my lowest points I've had to shuffle down the hall holding onto the walls, lest I go cross-eyed and collapse.


It feels like the room is spinning all the time. Look too quickly to the left? Spin, spin, spin. Stand up too fast? Spin, spin, spin. My eyes feel kind of twitchy in my head, too. For those of you who like to consume copious amounts of alcohol, like moi, it's the equivalent of the drunken spins, minus the enjoyable pre-gaming. 

At first I thought I was just tired and/or dehydrated. I have many children, one who doesn't yet sleep through the night, and I like my coffee and vodka. But after two weeks of shuffling and moaning my husband Chuck had finally had enough. 

I went to the same doctor who told me I had an enlarged tongue (I know I'm painting a super sexy picture of myself right now, what with my wall clinging, gigantic tongue growing self). 

He asked me a lot of questions (e.g., "Have your children hit you in the head with blocks lately?"), then made me lie back quickly so he could look into my eyes. 

"I know what you have!" he said. "It's benign paroxysmal positional vertigo."


Apparently benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is (a) annoying but not life-threatening and (b) annoying but not life-threatening. It's known on the street as BPPV, and I have to go to Mulletville Hospital for physical therapy (happily, the treatment has an 85% success rate). 

Because Chuck is such a peach, he went onto Youtube and found some exercises I can do right at home, right away. Specifically one by Dr. Jo (quick synopsis, she has the annoying cheeriness of an overeager gym teacher, but she grows on you).

I tried the exercises last night, after the kids went to bed. Chuck played me the video and when I went horizontal on the couch he (a) knowing he wasn't going to get any action and (b) knowing I'd want him to count from 1-30 for me 10 times announced he was going to the neighbors' for a beer. 

I felt somewhat worse.

This morning I tried the exercise after the kids had eaten breakfast. Junior happily operated the timer on my phone so I didn't have to count and Everett actually dragged a kitchen chair into the den so he could watch. Cam bounced and babbled in his exersaucer next to me.

I felt a lot better. I was surrounded by my little gaggle of supporters. All the times they'd puked me on or slept on me or cried on me—all that time and energy came back tenfold with their concern: "Is it working, Mom?" and "Do you feel any better?"

It's weird, this parenting gig. I couldn't see straight but man, for those few seconds everything was crystal clear.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What to do when your children want to eat in the bathroom

Overheard in the bathroom:

Junior: Look, cheese!

Everett: Cheese!

Junior: This is mine. Get your own.

Everett: No fair, I want some.

Junior: I found it. It's my cheese. Go ask Mom for more.

Everett: I found it!

Junior: No you didn't. You always do this. You always try to take things from me. I found it.

Everett: Give me the cheese!

Junior: I told you, I found it. It's mine! Moooooom!

Everett: Moooooom!

Junior: Moooooom, Everett's trying to take my cheese!

Everett: Moooooom, I want cheese too!

Me, bursting into the bathroom: What the heck is going on in here?

Junior: I found this cheese. It's mine!

Me: What cheese? And we don't eat in the bathroom.

Junior: This cheese.

Me: Uh....

Junior: I found it, it's mine.

Everett: No, I did!

Me: Uh, guys, GUYS! That's not cheese.

Junior: What is it?

Everett: Yes it is! I want cheese!

Me: It's...it's....um....something you can't eat.

Junior: Why not?

Me: It just is.

Junior: What is it? Mom why can't we have it?

Everett: I want cheese! No fair!

Me: Guys, GUYS! Take a deep breath. If you want cheese I will get you some...from the refrigerator. Now please, hand over the...cheese.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Soon it will overtake my mouth and engulf my head and I'll be able to lick, like, 300 lollipops at once

I went and hired myself a babysitter. Right now, she's downstairs listening to Junior and Everett wax on (and on and on and on) about Lego Ninjago. I can hear her Oh, wow-ing and neat-ing them as I type. She's also squealing excitedly at baby Cam's coughs, coos and hiccups.

I appreciate her enthusiasm. She's only 23, you know; her brain cells are ripe for the challenge. Unlike mine, which have parachuted out of my head in search of more relaxing places, like the toilet bowl.

I also appreciate her for allowing me to do exciting, me-time activities, like going to the post office and a doctor's appointment without three children in tow. I just came from the ear, nose, and throat doctor, in fact. He shoved a mini mirror down my throat and told me, with no obvious sign of concern, that my larynx is eroding and that my tongue is enlarged due to acid reflux.

When he gave me the diagnosis and subsequently prescribed me a protein pump inhibitor, I couldn't stop envisioning my poor little larynx and tongue. I thought about what they go through on a daily basis as my children wax on (and on and on and on) about Lego Ninjago and I say "Oh, really?!" five thousand times a day—

"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"

 —and how when baby Cam coughs, coos and hiccups and I say "Sweetie!" five thousand times a day—


I don't have a degree in medicine, but isn't it obvious? My swollen tongue isn't caused by GERD. My children are the reason my tongue has swelled up to the size of a large bakery roll—and if I'm not careful, by the time they're in their teens it will be the size of a minivan.

And do you know who'll be thrilled? Who'll be looking at me like, Oh, baby where have you been all my life? Yes, Chuck.