ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 40 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 8-year-old Junior, our 5-year-old Everett, our 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.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Confirmed: It's a man-gene. Shall we march?

I asked Everett, my 5-year-old, to put his gloves back in the glove holder. This is what he did:



So close, right? And yet, so far away. It reminded me of this (from a post in 2010, appropriately entitled, "Put your pants in the godamned basket"):


Those are my husband's jeans. Apparently tossing his pants just a mere inch farther was too much effort.

Truth be told, I've loved every minute of this parenting journey I'm on with my boys. I've loved the glimpses it's provided me into the male psyche. I love that I know more about the male species than I ever intended to. Boys are more sensitive than I ever knew, and more caring and compassionate than we ever give them credit for. And to all the clothing companies that design clothing for boys, boys don't only care about footballs, skateboards, cars and lizards (if at all, hello). Boys like graphic novels, paintbrushes, mud and potty talk, thank you very much.

They also loves their moms. Fiercely.

But this. This male gene for almost-in-the-basket or almost-in-the-glove-holder needs to be discussed more. There needs to be some kind of psychological summit to discuss its ramifications because, if you couldn't already guess, there are continents of women who are bending over more than they have to and putting things where they belong more than they have to. And all that bending and tidying is robbing us ladies of precious time, time we could be spending doing more productive things.

Things like, oh, I don't know, fighting world hunger or negotiating peace treaties. Or making yogurt! I mean, that's what I do when I have some down time.

For those of you who would like to respectfully disagree with this post, I give you this photo, texted to me just days ago by my bestest friend. Those are her boyfriend's pants-again, mere inches from the hamper. She wrote this:

Why can't he get it into the basket? Whhhhhhyyyyyy?


Why indeed, gentlemen. Why indeed.

Have an evidenciary photo you'd like share? Send it my way. The only way we're going to get through this is together. I mean, I'll organize a march if I have to.

As soon as I get done picking this bathrobe up off the floor and putting it in the....hamper.



Sigh.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

When your child's first word is "#$(*^#&%@#*&@*()#!^*@" because you've lost all of your brain cells

I went grocery shopping today. Yes, clap for me, I know you're happy.

My two older boys were on a playdate with Chuck, so it was just me, Cam and his behemoth car carrier. It was cold out and I was feeling lazy so I left him in his carrier and plopped him right into the shopping cart.

I only needed a few items and I had coupons—yes, coupons!—but we all know how that goes:

Crap, I need granola bars.
Oops, coffee too.
And dammit, eggs.

By the time I got to the checkout, Cam was surrounded by a teetering tower of groceries.

I chucked everything onto the belt and reached for my coupons.

My pockets were empty. I had left the stupid coupons in the car. Even worse, my store card wasn't working so I wasn't getting any of my precious Bonus Bucks.

"Just take your receipt and coupons to the service desk," the perky clerk told me. "They'll take care of you."

The bagger stood there with the bags. "What do you want me to do?" he asked, nodding at Cam, who was occupying all the room in the shopping cart.

"Heck if I know," I joked. He didn't laugh.

I swung the 50 bags over my shoulders, like the shameless packmule I've become, then pushed Cam and the cart out to the car and unloaded the groceries. I grabbed the coupons and pushed Cam and the cart to the service desk.

"Can you honor these coupons?" I asked the clerk.

"Sure, I just need the receipt," he said.

I reached into my pocket. Then the other. Both empty. I remembered the last thing the clerk had said to me: "Do you want your receipt in the bag?"

"I'll be right back," I told the clerk.

"#$(*^#&%@#*&@*()#!^*@"

I pushed Cam and the cart out to the car and opened the trunk. I grabbed the receipt from the bag and pushed Cam and the cart to the service desk.

"I have the receipt," I told the clerk. "And here are the—"

I reached into my pocket. Then the other. Both empty.

"Omigod, I'll be right back."

"#$(*^#&%@#*&@*()#!^*@"

I pushed Cam and the cart out to the car and opened the trunk. The coupons were there, lying on top of a loaf of bread. I grabbed the coupons and said aloud, "I have the coupons. I have the receipt." I pushed Cam and the cart to the service desk. I was sweating like a pig.

"Here are the coupons and the receipt." I said proudly. "I also need my Bonus Bucks."

"What's your phone number?"

"It's 860-xxx-xxxx."

"I don't have an account for that number. Last name?"

"Mullet. M-U-L-L-E-T."

"Nope, nothing."

"Can you try my husband's number? It's 860-xxx-xxxx."

"There's an account but the name isn't Mullet."

"Is it Lucky? Chuck Lucky? That's my husband! I didn't change my last name when I got married."

He didn't look up. "We'll mail you new cards."

"Thank you."

I pushed Cam and the cart out to the car.

"I don't #$(*^#&%@#*&@*()#!^*ing believe it," I told Cam. "All of that." I ripped off my winter coat, wiped the steam from my glasses and got into the car. Then I looked down at my receipt.



 

I burst out laughing. Hysterically. Loud and side-splitting, like a crazy woman. 

"#$(*^#&%@#*&@*()#!^*@"

I laughed until tears streamed down my face. Then, because I have had three children, I went home and changed my pants.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I have no idea what day it is. Plus, quit bitching about your gift cards

First, there was Thanksgiving. I think I ate something at some point but with three children and family in town, I can't actually be sure. I do know that my mother stole dinner rolls from the restaurant we were at and that she shoved them into Cam's diaper bag because I found them wedged into a side pocket—and I ate one the next morning for breakfast.

Then, Christmas. Everett choked on a popcorn ball, and my brother Ted gave him the Heimlich. I cleaned up the vomit; he went back to eating. Ho, ho, ho! I tried to give my mother her gift:



Isn't the wreathe beautiful? My mother—who is impossible to buy for because she already owns everything that's pretty in the world—fell in love with it at an antiques store nearby, but there was one catch: I had to buy the door it was hanging on too. Ask me how much fun it was to teeter through the antiques store, Everett in tow, trying to get a door out the...door. Now ask me how long this door will sit in my living room because my mother drives a compact car and lives three hours away.

Rather, ask Chuck. He's ready to set it on fire.

Then, Everett's birthday. He turned five. My God, five. We had a small party for him at our house—kids, watch out for that door!—with friends from school. They raced around the living room, playing hot potato with balloons. We had a pinata. Pizza. Cupcakes. They left. I popped two Advil and went to bed at 4 p.m.

Then, New Year's. We put Cam to bed at 8 p.m. and sat down with a bowl of popcorn—Everett, please chew this time!—to watch the celebration in Times Square. Big mistake. BIG mistake. We jockeyed between ABC and NBC. We weren't safe from the smut, even on CNN (in case you missed it, Kathy Griffin disrobed). D'oh! Jenny McCarthy was "turned on" by her co-host at 8:15 p.m. Why waste time? Not like kids are watching.


After a few minutes of watching some musical performances, Junior wanted to know why women "always sing and dance in bikinis, but not men."

"Because women don't believe enough in their talent and capabilities to not sell their bodies."

"Oh."

"Please marry someone who keeps her clothes on," I begged my boys.

I fell asleep at 10 p.m. Chuck woke me up at 12:15 a.m. and lovingly wiped away the drool. Oh, shut up—everyone drools.

And now, my birthday. Number 41. Quite honestly, I don't even care at this point. I'm dying to get back into my routine of work and school so they days can stop seeming like one giant blob of naps and breakfast at noon and pajamas at 3 p.m. and "where's the dog?" and eating cheesecake for lunch and stepping on Paw Patrol figurines in the shower. I feel like an ass, bemoaning the fact that there's yet one more thing to celebrate, but I don't even think I can get drunk at this point.

Guess what though? Because I love vodka and because Chuck got me this kick ass shot glass—"For you," he told me affectionately, "my intoxicated Wonder Woman"—I will rally.



And then I will collapse. But I won't have dishpan hands. Not me, not ever.*

*I will, however, probably still have a door with a wreathe on it in my living room. And you bitch about gift cards—hah!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

They don't change. They really, really do not change


This morning:

"Mom, did you do this? Did you move him? Did you draw this?"

"I—"

"I know you did. Or Dad did. Is it real? Just tell me. It looks like your drawing. I bet you did it. But did you? Did you?"

"I—"

"Just tell me! Fine, ok, don't. Just tell me when I'm, like, 25. Then you can tell me. I just know you did! It just makes sense. You moved him last night. And you drew this."

"I—"

"That looks like your drawing! It's so, like, obvious that you did this. He's not real, I know he's not real. Parents move him."

"I—"

"And besides, it just doesn't make sense. He can't even move or talk. I know you did this! Everyone at school says Santa isn't real and you know what? You know what? I kind of believe them. They all say so."

"I—"

"Fine, just don't tell me. Just tell me when I'm an adult. Then I can move him and my kids won't know. Okay? Okay?"

"I—ok."

This, from my eight year old son. The one who made reading to him virtually impossible. The one who has sustained (with all the ferocity his miniature man body can muster) the friendly-exchange-of-fire type of dialogue he mastered as a toddler.

If the elf makes it to Christmas, it truly will be a miracle.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Making coq au vin avec les mauvais enfants

Once upon a time I was in the French Honor Society.

Oui, c'est vrai.

I was in high school. There was only one French teacher in our school, so I had Madame M—who was legitimately French and took her leçon de français tres seriously—for four straight years. When it came time for our small class to graduate, she invited us to her home for a traditional French soirée. She asked us each to bring a French dish. Because my mother was such a good cook, I signed her up to make coq au vin.

My mother was thrilled. (Not.)

I was a typical self-absorbed teenager. While my mother toiled away, perfecting the dish, I laid on the couch and effed off. I don't remember what we did in the early nineties, before cell phones and the Internet. I probably watched a movie on HBO or dialed someone on my push button house phone.

I do remember that I wasn't in the kitchen helping. I wasn't washing dishes. I wasn't measuring coq or vin or wiping my mother's brow as she cooked the family's dinner alongside my French dish. I probably went into the kitchen at some point and barked that I needed to leave pronto for Madame M's house because I do remember my mother racing around the kitchen like a mad woman.

I also remember standing in the driveway holding the hot dish, which was covered in tin foil, and waiting impatiently for my mother to throw me the car keys. Which she did and—did you see this coming?—when I raised my hand to catch them I dropped her gorgeous vat of coq au vin onto the pavement.

A small fleet of carrots and onions eddied around my feet.

That's as far as my memory goes.

It would have stayed there had I not stumbled upon a note my mother wrote to herself that night. I found the note wedged into a book years later, when I was in college. It was an angry note about the effort and time she'd put into making "the stupid coq au vin." How she didn't care about coq au vin. How she hated French cuisine. How thankless I was. And how the coq au vin met its fate, swirling down the driveway, hot liquid flowing in and around little sticks and dead leaves.

At the ripe age of 21, I kind of got it. Now that I'm 40, with three children, my heart hurts when I think of that note. I don't just get it, I live it. Motherhood is really just one big line of coq au vins. Sometimes it's a single serving, sometimes it's enough to feed a small army.

Most of the time, you make the coq au vin and do the dishes and then, five minutes later, someone wanders in and announces that he's hungry—just as you were about to sit down for the first time that day and eat a small bite of coq au vin, which you really, really fucking deserve.

I have to believe that all the coq au vins that await me won't be in vain. That all the uncelebrated labors of motherhood and the self-centered children whining for more will magically work themselves out in the end.

I have to.

I do remember something now, about that night. I remember showing up with a cheese and cracker plate decorated with miniature French flags and that Madame M clapped her hands in appreciation. And I remember thinking, Stupid woman, you should have seen my mother's coq au vin.

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..."

"Yes?"

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?