ABOUT ME

About me: My husband Chuck, our six-year-old Junior, our three-year-old Everette 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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

There really should be a 1-800-MY-DENTIST-IS-MEAN-AND-RUDE hotline



I didn’t even know dentists had their own offices until the hygienist told me the dentist wanted to see me—in his office.

I’ll be brief. What transpired was this:

Him: “Are you under a lot of stress?”

Me: “Kind of.” (His office was very Holiday Inn-esque; I was trying to look around as inconspicuously as possible.)

“Like?”

“The usual.”

“Such as?”

“Work. Kids. Bills. You know…”

I started to wonder if my dentist was moonlighting as a shrink. When the hell do dentists do anything other than breathe on you and force you to look up their hairy nostrils while they manhandle your chompers?

“Let me tell you about stress. I just saw a woman whose house is in foreclosure. She’s about to lose her job. Her husband’s got cancer. Her son is special needs. Her mother’s got onset Alzheimer’s. That is stress.”

Was he saying my stress wasn’t stress-worthy enough? I was about to rewind and elaborate on the specifics of my stress—surely something in my grab bag of worries was worth something!—when he whipped out something that looked… dentically disgusting.

“Your gums are receding. Badly. Do you grind your teeth?”

“Maybe, I—”

“—I’m guessing yes. You probably don’t even know you’re doing it.”

“Maybe, I—”

“—You need to start wearing a bite guard at night. Right away.”

Oh, Mr. Dental Man, I had been down this road before. The last time I had said yes to one of your counterpart’s insidious contraptions I had ended up with a jaw widener affixed to the roof of my mouth. My poor mother had had to turn a little key every night—a key she almost always dropped down my throat—that widened my jaw while I leaned over the back of the couch. At the time someone had suggested a water pick to freshen it; instead it shot darting bursts of water at my tender gums, bursts that sometimes hit me in the eye.

Hah! Foil me again will you.

I crossed my arms and leaned back. He and I both knew that part of the fun of being an adult was saying no to dental work.

“I’ll think about it,” I told him.

He looked crushed, no joke; his emergency bite guard intervention had failed.

On the way out I racked my brain for something devastating to share with him—something that would make him feel like crap for not appreciating that my stress was mountainous and deserving of his empathy.

But, lucky for me, I couldn’t think of anything. So thanks, Dental Dick, for making me realize that my life is just peachy.

No really, thanks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

If you have to eat your words, they should at least come with a side of fries

My father is known for being a touch narcoleptic. He could fall asleep standing up at an Iron Maiden concert. While someone hammers. And some Mulletville cycles roar by. And all of Junior’s toys rally together to sing their terrible, hokey songs.

In holiday photos, he’s the guy sacked out on the couch.

At my high school and college graduations, he was the guy sacked out on the couch.

At my wedding, he was the guy—no, I’m kidding, of course. My dear father would never have fallen asleep on my special day. Not even for a quick cat nap. And he definitely wouldn’t’ t have been discovered on one of the hotel lobby couches. Not a chance.

Over the years, my dad has taken a lot of ribbing for sleepiness. (I don’t know how things go down in your family, but the mantra in mine is “mock with reckless abandon, then mock some more.”) I’ve bought him every “I’m not tired, I’m just resting my eyes” t-shirt and card I could get my hands on. I even got a matching onesie for Junior—see?



After 11 years together, Chuck, like any astute animal that adopts the habits of the tribe its bred in to, has assumed the familial trait of monitoring my dad’s eyelids for signs of droop. Especially when dear Dad is behind the wheel and he’s a passenger. That’s how Chuck ended up driving more than 1,500 miles over the course of five days when he, my dad, and I took a trip to France a few years ago. About twenty minutes into the drive from the airport, en route to get my brother, Ted, from his French ex-girlfriend’s uncle’s brother’s house (it’s a long story), Chuck clenched my leg and said, “If your father doesn’t let me drive I’m going to have a heart attack.”

The reason I mention all of this (I have a point, really) is because last night the unimaginable happened. After all the years of mockery, Chuck and I both fell asleep on my father (no, not on him—we don’t do family pig piles).

At the wee hour of 9:15.

We awoke just as my father was opening the front door to let himself out.

And oh the look he gave us as he turned to wish us good night! I swear he clicked his heels on the way out. And I fear we are about to become the recipients of some acerbic t-shirts and mugs, ones that play on all the old adages of becoming middle-aged, overworked, overtired hags. You know, stuff like this…



Well, fine. We are old(er) and tired. I just didn't think my words would be quite so chewy on the way down.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Last time I checked, wearing hooker heels was not in my job description

When I got in this morning, my boss looked at my feet and asked, "What size shoe do you wear?" When I told her "seven and a half," she took off her shoes and handed them to me, then looked expectantly at my feet.

Apparently she needed to run an errand and her shoes were giving her blisters so she wanted to borrow mine for a few hours.

Ew, ew, and ew again.

There are certain things that skeeve me out; sharing shoes is one of them. Also on the list? Sharing straws, gum, and spoons (but oddly, not forks). The words "moist" and "washcloth." The sound of anything liquid poured into a cup, especially milk. Listening to someone sing in an intimate setting (I get embarrassed for them, even if they're doing well). And eating homemade baked goods at work functions (I can't get past the image of people in their bathrobes and curlers licking their fingers).

I did what I could to dissuade my boss—I claimed that my feet were sweaty, my shoes uncomfortable, my stumpy heels…stumpy—but she wouldn't hear it. She whipped out a bottle of Shower to Shower, sprinkled my shoes, and fled.

So there I was, stripped of my one-inch-heeled, Nine West, four seasons' old black shoes and upgraded to her five-inch-heeled, designer lacey strap-ons.

You know how you liked to walk around the house in your mom's (or dad's) shoes when you were a kid? How it made you feel kind of big and badass? That's kind of how I felt: abnormally taller, wobblier, and badder (after I got over the initial skeeve factor). The heels didn't exactly go with my outfit (I may live in Mulletville but I don't usually pair hooker heels with gray pants and a cardigan) but yah, I strutted around like a happy little rooster.

Then she came back. Barefoot.

"I thought my shoes were bad," she said.

She put my shoes on my desk and waited for me to hand over the goods, which I did, albeit reluctantly. My shoes looked kind of sad and forlorn after that. Kind of librarianish. Kind of ew.

But hey, I learned a valuable lesson today. If you want a raise from your boss, let her walk a mile in your shoes.

P.S. Thank you, Tina, at the Adventures of a Working Mom for my first ever blog award. As per the award's rules, I have some blogs I'd like to send the same nod to (they're damn funny):

Diapers and Wine

Football, Ballet, and Beer

Thoughts from the Toilet Bowl

Practically Wisdom

Check em out!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Careful, this post's a real tear jerker

When Junior was first born and we told everyone the name we had chosen for him, they did two things in succession: They did one of those tight lip smiles then asked, “What’s his nickname going to be?”

Understandably, I was pissed. Basically they were saying, “That name sucks so you’d better come up with something else—something that's catchy and endearing that we like.”

Well, I’m happy to report that Junior has been knighted with his first ever nickname (besides “Junior”, that is). Our nanny’s 17-month-old son, Brian, has been racing over to Junior in the morning and greeting him with..."Jager."

As in Jagermeister. You know, that cough syrupy alcoholic substance that is one of three crucial ingredients in the always tasty and delicious Red Headed Slut?

If you've never heard a small child chant "Jager! Jager!" it's pretty darn cute.

As far as nicknames go, I kind of like it. I'd even venture to say that I really like it. It fits the whole dang family. I’ve been known to flambé with whiskey. And Chuck? About that “stomach bug” on our way to the Cape…yah, good ole Chuck went a little too nuts celebrating his birthday the night before (by the way, that lone birthday wish to him was the saddest ever—that’s like having one person at the Labor Day parade, all by herself with her lone streamer).

I'm so happy with the nickname I've been toying with the idea of throwing Junior a nicknaming party. Complete with party favors of nips! I can just see it now...

“Mom, Dad, you know how you wanted Junior to have a nickname? Let’s raise our shot glasses, shall we?”

Sniff...sniff...sometimes life is just so fricken poetic.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Junior now sleeps in a large Tupperware container

I fully admit to being a girly products whore. I own about 55 tubes of lipstick (Mac Lipglass smells like Marshmallow Fluff and doesn't dry your lips out) and have tried every moisturizer out there (if you need a thicker moisturizer for winter that’s not greasy, try L’Occitane’s Immortelle Precious Cream—I know it sounds pretentious, but you’ll never have a dry patch again).

When Chuck and I first started dating, he mocked my grab bag of lotions and potions but cluck, cluck, guess who does a little spa day once a week with moi’s products? Yup, his favorites are The Body Shop’s Tea Tree mask and Benefit’s face scrub. (Don’t bother trying their eye cream; it’s crap.)

I could go on and on but I won’t, I promise. Foofy products aren’t the point of this post, it’s something much, much more exciting (just one more plug: Fresh's Cannibas Santal line smells so good people will change seats at a party just to sit next to you).

The point of this post is…Tupperware.

(Do you need a minute? Was that good for you?)

Ordinarily I wouldn’t give Tupperware a second thought but since I’ve gone back to work I now own enough Tupperware to open my own store.

I think word has gotten out that I am not a good cook (actually, I’m not that bad, I’m just a wee $%#&ing pressed for time) so people like my mother, mother-in-law, nanny, friends, and co-workers have started just giving me food. Like, our friend Des made sauce one night and just happened to make us four extra containers. And my co-worker made linguine last week with tomatoes and basil and randomly sent me home from work with a tub.

It’s awfully nice of everyone but the last time I opened the pantry door, an avalanche of plastic nearly bowled me over. And you know what? Much like people’s homes have their own distinct smell, people’s Tupperware has its own distinct look. Like the Tupperware that's neatly labeled and appears to be brand new even though it's probably 10 years old? Des. And the container with the garish turquoise lid and flimsy container? Anonymous co-worker.

I got to wondering, as I heard someone yodeling from the mountainous Tupperware pile at my feet, what’s the etiquette here for returning it?

So I Googled it. And here’s one posting I found:

"If someone lends you some Tupperware, usually so you can take some of their food home, you should return the Tupperware cleaned and containing something new, preferably baked goods."

Oh shit, am I in trouble.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We finally have some beach sand in our shoes

Our trip to Cape Cod Saturday started off on a terrible note. Junior came down with a cold and Chuck had a stomach bug, but we couldn’t miss my step-father’s seventieth birthday. His daughter was having a lobster bake and really, how often do you get invited to one of those?

We made good time, despite getting lost and pulling over so Chuck could puke out the window. He’s such a trooper. And even though we were a few hours late everyone was really understanding, especially when they saw the side of the car.

The party was wonderful, it really was. There's the lobster pit (minus the 20 guys debating the best way to light it).


People loved Junior’s curls—they rubbed their buttery fingers through his hair so much he looked like he hadn’t bathed in weeks by the time we left the party. When I put him to bed he smelled like fresh dinner rolls.

This morning we had breakfast by the ocean. There was an air of peacefulness I wish I could have bottled and brought back with me.


(That’s me and Junior watching the boats make their way out of the inlet.)


(That's Junior giving his dad a big hug.)

When we unpacked the car tonight, two small seashells fell out of Junior’s socks. I’m putting them on his windowsill as a sweet reminder of my little man and how lucky we are to be celebrating so many birthdays.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chuck's to-do list now rivals SuperMom's

Yesterday was Diana’s second day nannying for Junior. We called her because even though Chuck had taken the day off from work for his birthday, he needed his hands free to get things done around the house.

If to-do lists were farms and items on the list were vegetables, Chuck would be blessed with a bountiful harvest.




See that brick above? A stack of 567,987,234 bricks has been sitting in our driveway for more than a year! When Home Depot first delivered them, we told people, “We’re laying a patio” and they nodded enthusiastically. Six months later we said the same thing and they still kind of believed us. But now? The gig is up. When you’re not in the midst of home repairs, you really can’t claim you are in the midst of home repairs.

So that’s at the top of Chuck’s to-do list. Also on the list?

1. Clean his “man room”/office, which now generates an odor of dirty socks and old coffee that spills down the stairs and out the front door.

2. Go to the grocery store.

3. Fix the molding in the bedroom.

4. Mow the lawn.

5. Walk the cats.

6. Paint the house.

7. Order new windows.

8. Caulk the bathtub.

9. Find the broom.

Items completed?

Zero.

Silly, silly me. After being bridled to this man for 11 years you’d think I would have learned a thing or two. You’d think I’d know that if my husband takes the day off from work and it’s his birthday he is not going to do jack shit—he is going to drink Bailey’s and coffee and get a little loopy and then watch Star Trek reruns in between napping and yawning.

I wanted to write about this yesterday after I got home from work and saw that my darling husband was still in his loungewear, but there is an official blogging rule that goes something like this: “If it’s your spouse’s birthday, you can’t write anything disparaging about him.” If you notice, I even injected his birthday wish with a sweet note about how he’s become a better vacuumer.

Let’s be frank. It’s not hard to become better at something when you’ve only done it three times in your life. If I pick my nose once a year I’m going to improve by default because the expectations are so mediocre there’s nowhere to go but up (in this case, literally).

So, here is my revised birthday greeting, in all its glory:

“Happy 36th birthday, Chuck. Here’s to the 36 things you didn’t get around to doing.”

Does anyone want any bricks? If you pull up to the curb I will personally walk each and every one of them to your car.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Man is it hard to find a decent birthday cake in Mulletville!

Luckily there's a package store every 10 feet.

Happy birthday, Chuck!

Today is Chuck's 36th birthday. I've now known him for a third of his life, and he just keeps getting smarter and sweeter and better about vacuuming. Happy birthday, honey.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Donations to Cinnamon can be sent to me, c/o Mulletville

Somehow at the office today, we got on the topic of rodents. One co-worker knew a hamster that wouldn’t leave another hamster alone (wink, wink). Another woman once had a gerbil that liked to go for rides on her Schnauzer’s back.

All the rodent talk took me back to 1987 when my brother, Ted, was in kindergarten and I was 12. So I shouted, “I have a funny story!” and proceeded to tell the office about Cinnamon, the guinea pig I once knew.

Cinnamon belonged to Ted’s kindergarten class; each month, Cinnamon got to go home with a different kid. My parents were divorced and each weekend, much like Cinnamon, my brother and I got passed to the other parent via a commuter parking lot. So Cinnamon had a bit of a journey ahead of him when it was Ted’s turn to take him home.

Cinnamon handled the first leg of the trip—from my mother’s to the commuter parking lot and then from the lot to my father’s—with flying colors. His appetite was good; his eyes hungry for adventure. Things were looking good.

When we got to my father’s house an hour later, we let Cinnamon out of his cage so he could frolic. We took some prize-worthy shots of him riding the dust balls by the couch (yes, those same dust balls). We even got a shot of sweet ole Cinnamon navigating a maze of soda cans. After he’d filled his gut with dinner and drinks, we let him play with Ted’s Ninja Turtles and he really seemed to like them. His eyes were bright with new horizons. His whole world was opening up. We didn’t just transport Cinnamon, we challenged his mental and physical prowess.

Maybe we challenged him too much: The next morning, Cinnamon had the shakes.

My father got a nice, soft bath towel and wrapped the little guinea man up. But he still shook. Was he shaking from excitement? Joie de dust balls? I’d like to think so. Whatever the reason, Teddy had a complete meltdown so we arranged to meet my mother earlier than usual so we could get Cinnamon back to his home turf but…

Alas…Gasp….

The pig didn’t survive the night.

My mother, Linda, had to call Ted’s teacher at home and tell her the news. The teacher took it well; she even got on the phone with Teddy and told him that Cinnamon was old and had had a long, happy life. He was on his way to that mound of paper shavings in the sky.

After I finished my story, my co-workers were silent.

“Poor thing!” someone finally said.

“But it’s funny,” I pointed out.

“A commuter parking lot?”

“It’s funny.”

“When did your parents divorce?”

Ay. At least the experience prepared me for Junior’s first rodent field trip. Although, if we still live in Mulletville I hope the school system at least springs for something domesticated.

(It was kind of funny, right?)

Monday, September 15, 2008

SuperMom can bite me

I was definitely not feeling pissy when I Googled the one term that, quite frankly, makes me nauseous. I was curious, is all. What are people saying about supermoms these days?

I was expecting cutesy articles from MSNBC about how to be a pretty, waif mom who is also a CEO who is also running her own business and growing her own organic vegetables. I was not expecting action figures.

But honk my hooters, there she was in all her glory: The SuperMom action figure.

According to the lovely folks at Happy Worker, a SuperMom wears heels and totes a "mommy bag" that looks like a mailbox, a "super long to-do list" (the "super" makes it super catchy!), a baby with an "anti-boo-boo bonnet", and an oversized cell phone.

Happy Worker people, I loathe you. I hate that SuperMom's tagline is "kisses your boo-boos better" and that you say she juggles career and family "while standing on her head."

If you design an ugly doll that's supposed to be upside-down then why the hell isn't she upside-down?

And who the hell are the men who hang with SuperMom? BossMan? Fine. But GeekMan and MoneyMan? Do they, like, live down the street from SuperMom? Do they help upright her when she's racing down the street on her head trying to super parent her queer child in his lame ass bonnet? Doesn't she need the anti-boo-boo bonnet?

See now, I thought the year was 2008. I thought we all agreed that everyone pitches in. If you're going to give SuperMom a posse, how about people who will actually assist her? My mother, Linda, would make a great action figure. She simultaneously can carry SuperMom's groceries and suggest adult toys to enhance her deflated post-child sex life. And SuperMom's hubby Chuck? You'd save money on having to give your doll hair (sorry, honey) and he can sport the cell phone and check items off the to-do list like a caring, sharing partner should.

I am so wretchedly disgusted I can hardly breathe. I don't aspire to be SuperMom, I will never be SuperMom, and, most importantly, I would never, ever carry a purse that looked like a construction worker's lunchbox.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Decapitating pickles isn't just for rainy days anymore

So you know how I said that enchiladas are the perfect after-being-robbed food? Well, I have discovered the perfect culinary anecdote to a day spent:

1) in the children's section of IKEA looking for a last-minute gift for a five-year-old niece who only likes Barbie and will not accept cheap knock-offs (we got her a stuffed dog and she can just deal)

2) at said niece’s birthday party sweating my kneecaps off in a stifling, airless living room while ten four-year-olds dragged Junior around like a rag doll and offered him again and again to the family dog’s sopping, hairy tongue.

Are you ready?

Gherkins and chocolate pudding.

Why? Because you can pop gherkins right into your mouth while you’re passed out from exhaustion on the kitchen floor. There’s no need to heat or use utensils. Plus, gherkins are miniature versions of grown up pickles and when you bite their heads off, you feel better. Much, much better.

Chocolate pudding because it’s satisfying and consistently good, unlike the gooey, pink- speckled Barbie cake you had to wash down with lukewarm Bud Light.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d love to go into more detail but I have terrible heartburn.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

When people dry hump your purse innards and safeguard your gums, they're the real deal


My friend Sassy and I took Junior to the Westfarms Mall today.

While we were riding the escalator, I thought of my mother and how she spilled the contents of my purse onto the escalator that day back in April and then proceeded to dry hump my lipsticks, compacts, and wallet back into my purse like some kind of undiscovered oceanic crab capable of, well, dry humping things.

Aw, ma.

After I dropped Sassy off at home I took a long drive with Junior. He needed a good nap. While we were driving I thought of the days when I wasn’t working and how we’d tour the crevices of hickville Connecticut, him snuggled tight into his car seat, me blubbering into my shirtsleeve about my impending return to work.

(Do you see a theme here? Yah, there’s Babs, singing her little Memories song…)

Despite the multiple trips down memory lane, I was in fine spirits (thanks for asking!), even more so when I reached into my purse on the drive and discovered the sandwich Sassy’s husband had packed for us for our trip to the mall.

Not only did he make us sandwiches, he labeled them and included a stick of gum and a packet of floss.

Folks, these people are going to make the world’s best parents.

Remember when Chuck and I were robbed? This couple showed up minutes later with enchiladas and liquor. I don’t know if you’ve ever been robbed before but enchiladas are the perfect after-being-robbed food. You might think it’s pizza and, say, Coronas, but you’re wrong. Eat a cheesy enchilada and wash it down with a shot of tequila and bam, suddenly the task of scouring the local pawn shops doesn’t seem quite so daunting. I'd even venture to say you feel intrepid.

Anyone can do you a favor. But only your true friends know you’ll be driving along route 163 with lettuce stuck between your teeth and that that envelope in your glove compartment is not going to get the job done.

You need the real thing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'd rather be pelted with kisses than chickenfeed

Today was our new nanny’s first day. Her name is Diana and she looks like a mom in that comfortable kind of way. Disney would probably like her. But they can’t have her.

She brought an entire loaf of bread with her, which I thought was strange, but she also brought her 16-month-old son, Brian, and was Junior ever happy to see him. His face lit up like a Christmas tree doused with gasoline.

Suddenly it was so clear: My little oompa loompa has been starving for a little buddy!

Chuck worked from home so he could help Diana navigate the house and hold one of the kids if she had to pee. Before I’d even stepped out the door she had asked what chores she could do while the kiddies were sleeping (Oven Girl? Who’s that?) and where my recycling bin was.

I practically skipped to work. Halelluyah! The sun was shining bright over Mulletville!

Then, after lunch, Chuck called.

“Things have been interesting around here.”

“What? Did she quit? Did the cat sit on her? What? What? What?”

“Relax. Junior’s just been kissing Brian all morning.”

Kissing?”

Kissing. On the mouth. He really likes him.”

“Oh. Is he slobbering on him?”

“Not too bad.”

I hung up and walked over to the copier. “Junior’s been kissing his new buddy, Brian, on the lips all morning!”

I’m sure you all know what’s going to happen next. When you stand up and make a bold declaration to an office full of people—especially one comprised of older women—you have basically affixed a bulls-eye to your forehead.

I did what any good little worker would do: I stood there like a trooper and let them pelt me.

“You need to have a talk with him!” someone shouted. “Make sure he knows the difference between lip kisses and cheek kisses!”

“They’re both boys?”

“Distract them! Then they’ll stop!”

“Don’t kiss on the lips in front of your baby. He’s mimicking you! Keep that stuff to the bedroom.”

The more the words flew, the further my hands crept towards my belt. A proper mooning was clearly the only acceptable response to the dribble. So I bent down, clenched my waistband, turned towards the copier and…

Removed my copy from tray 2.

Come on! I would never moon an office full of women. Attractive firefighters who had just finished posing for a Hottest-Hose-of-the-Month calendar? Yes. Menopausal hens? No.

Besides, aren’t the risqué habits of Chuck and me what started this whole Tour de Lips in the first place?

Well?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Stayfree, it's not you, it's me. I swear.

I didn't want to write anything today. Mostly because it's September 11 and I felt compelled to say something profound when really, I feel wordless.

The other reason I didn't want to write anything was because I've found myself feeling lighter and freer the last few days I haven't blogged (I hate that I’ve seen so many ads for maxi pads that the words “lighter” and “freer” make me think of Aunt Flo—damn you Stayfree!).

Anyway, you know when you suggest to your boyfriend Fred (or girlfriend Fredwina) that you "take a break" and you think hmmm, maybe I really do love Fred but I need a month or two apart to come to the conclusion that he's the one for me and while we're apart I'll test that theory by having lots—I mean lots—of meaningless sex with hot men and during the time apart you realize that whoa, hot meaningless sex is fantastic and why would I want to deprive myself of that for Fred—Fred farts in bed and pops his pimples in the rearview mirror, for Pete's sake—when I'm only on this planet once and monogamy is just a manmade convention designed to whittle us down to apathetic blobs because of our unrealistic duty to compromise and matrimonial fascism and do we have to have steak again for dinner I mean come on!

Oopsie, now where the hell was I? Oh right, these last few days have been like the "break" and they've felt damn good.

There. That’s all I wanted to say. You can go back to your regularly scheduled program now. Unless it’s that time of the month. If that’s the case, I wish you a light and free slumber. With wings. And weavelock pro or whatever the hell it’s called.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If your cat's the same weight as your child then yes, he's a suitable sitter

At first I thought it was a prank caller. But my life isn't that exciting. It was our new nanny, calling in sick. On her first day. She has strep. So I did what any enterprising, working mother would do...


I left my child in the care of my pets.

Yes, fine, I'm kidding. My sex obsessed mother was gracious enough to come to our house again. And when she saw how frazzled and crumpled I was, she begged me to take a long shower after I got home from work (I guess the shellacked helmet from the Bumble and Bumble hair powder was a dead giveaway that I was heading off to work...you know, extra stinky).

While I was at work my mother vacuumed, made beef stew, and put dryer sheets in Chuck's shoes (why didn't I think of that?). Thankfully, she refrained from asking if Chuck and I incorporate the vacuum, beef stew, and dryer sheets into our bedroom repertoire.

When I got home and she saw the brown streaks streaming down the sides of my face—it rained and the hair powder ran, go figure—she handed me the Scotch she'd been drinking (hey, no one said she was perfect) and told me I was starting to look at right at home on my street.

Which actually made me laugh so hard I snarfed Scotch. Which then made my eyes water, which started the tears rolling. I don't know if you've ever seen a tired, wrinkled woman with greasy hair, running nostrils, and brown facial streaks before but yah, I was smokin.

Ooooh, baby.

But you know what? She and Junior wanted a big hug from me anyway.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I don't know whose dog this is, but he just asked, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?"


I love stupid questions.

Just last week, when our friends were over, we were discussing my wild and crazy days as an undergrad in Amherst, Mass. (I did go a little nuts…which is why I transferred schools in the middle of the semester, right after my dorm room caught on fire—it wasn’t my fault, I swear.)

My friend asked, “What college did you go to in Amherst?”

I said, “UMass.”

So, we’re all on the same page here, right? Amherst. UMass.

UMass. Amherst.

But then my friend asked, “Which campus did you go to?”

I waited a minute. “Uuuummmmm, Boston?” Then I gave him a big slap for being so stupid.

But hey, we’ve all asked stupid questions. And because I am so secure in my noggin’s capabilities, I’ll share a few of my own.

In high school, I once asked my French teacher, “Do dogs bark differently in France?”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized how idiotic my question was. I mean, how did I think they barked? Le arf, le arf, le arf?

Pretty recently I asked my dad, “Do trains have steering wheels?”

No. It turns out that trains do not have steering wheels. They are not like the rides at Disneyland—you know, the ones where the vehicle follows a track but you can still steer a little? Nope, not at all.

Another time, I asked my dad (yes, recently), “Why is Chicago called the windy city?”

In all fairness to me, it’s not solely because the city is so damned windy. It’s because the politicians were full of hot air and it says so right here. So, hah!

I'm curious—really!—what’s the stupidest question you’ve ever asked?

(P.S. You can't leave me hanging here! I'm a harried mom with thin skin...I cry easily! I will drown my sorrows in cheap gin and Pinwheels.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Boy, oh boy, are the nuns ripped!

People look out their windows. It's just something we do. We have eyes, we are curious, glass and screens are transparent, etc. Someone named Kathy has been looking out her window at a plastic bag stuck in a tree. It's been there for 167 days. I applaud Kathy for her vigilance in observing her surroundings.

Do you want to know what's going on outside my window right now? Come on, let's have a peek. If you need to get your glasses, go ahead, I'll wait.

Ready?

See that row of shrubs? No, to the left. There you go. Now, see the man holding a bicycle tire over his shoulder? Yes, the one who just dumped his clothes out of his plastic bag onto the sidewalk. Ahhh, you have a good memory! No, it's not the same man whose girlfriend kicked him out a few weeks ago. That was across the street; this is to the right.

This man is older and he's very angry at someone named Linda—nope, not my mom (I hope)—because she has the rest of his clothes in her trunk and she won't give them back. And she owes him $1,000 for landscaping work he did in her $@#^&ing yard that week he worked six $%#*ing days in a row.

Do you see the person he's talking to? Neither do I. Let's go over to the other window. Could you push over a little? Your breath smells like tacos. Thanks.

Hmm, I don't see anyone either. Oh wait. Nope. That's a fire hydrant. Good guess though.

Oh wait, there he goes. Down the street.

Goodbye one--bicycle-tire-man-whose-clothes-are-being-held-hostage. Thank you for delivering a poignant and passionate monologue by our shrubs. And thank you, too, for not leaving behind your plastic bag. I fear Kathy doesn't make house calls.

I don't care if we have to travel there on horseback and I have to dress like a wench

Yesterday, after we went to our friends' baby's baptism in Newport, R.I. and before we could take an overtired, cranky Junior to the after hours at their house, Chuck and I took a nice, long drive so Junior could catch some zzzzzzs.

"Remember when we stayed there?" Chuck asked as we drove past the Hotel Viking.

"Mmmmhmmm."

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a Viking Tours bus pulled out in front of us.

"Is Junior still asleep?"

"Mmmmhmmm."

We took a turn down a side street and passed the local high school. A large sign out front read, "Home of the Vikings."

When we got our friends' house, after an hour of tooling around town, Chuck gave me a big smile.

"So you believe in signs?"

"Mmmmhmmm."

"I think someone is telling us to move here."

Gasp! Sputter! Could it be that the one thing (okay, the biggest thing) that drives me insane about my husband—his freakish obsession with all things Medieval—will ultimately be my salvation? My one-way ticket out of Mulletville?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Junior's first security blanket should totally be a hand towel

I’m a very responsible person. The only time in my life I have been grossly unprepared was when I went into labor.

That fateful day, a coworker was nice enough to drive me to the hospital after my water broke at work (ever tried to run really fast down a hallway while squeezing your legs together and balancing 45 pounds of Humpty-Dumpty-ness?—I looked like a bouncing egg on a toothpick).

First, we stopped at my house so I could get some supplies. When I emerged from the house holding a hand towel (I didn’t want to get her seat wet) and my purse, she gave me a funny look.

“Don’t you want to bring anything else?”

“Like?”

I know now that I was in complete denial that I was having a baby. I had read all the pregnancy magazines for fuck’s sake. I knew I was supposed to bring an organic cotton bathrobe, CDs that played soothing nature sounds, board games, a llama, and my masseuse (aren’t those magazines ridiculous?—I mean, you’re going to expel a child not have a damn facial).

But silly me, I brought a hand towel and credit cards.

And it sucked. Enduring 24 hours of labor without my Mr. Snuggles bunny slippers was the price I paid for not being prepared.

I learned my lesson.

Hah.

Hah.

Hah.

Do you hear that? That’s Junior’s “other” personality laughing at me.

In a matter of days, Junior has blossomed from an angelic, easygoing cherub into the spawn of Satan. Gone is the mound of pliable, grinning mush. This new high maintenance child screams bloody murder if you try to sit and play—how dare you!—instead of holding his hands and walking him around the house. And praise the saints if you try to guide him in a direction he doesn’t want to go. More tears and tantrum—which then dissipate in a matter of milliseconds if he gets his way. It’s downright eerie.

He’s Holly Hobbie meets Chucky meets Frankenstein meets Lassie. Chuck and I think he may be bipolar.

Which is what I was telling a coworker today.

“He turned schizo over the weekend,” I blubbered. “We just weren’t prepared. He’s unstable.”

I waited for her to tell me what I could do to remedy the situation but instead she laughed in my face and told me there are going to be a lot of things about parenting that I’m not going to be prepared for.

Ugh.

She was right. I can have all my ducks in a perfectly straight, organized row, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to throw me massive curve balls every two days (if this is pedestrian to you then congratulations, you’re, like, 100 times more parentally enlightened than I).

All afternoon I kept thinking about that little yellow hand towel. Maybe, deep down, I knew the uncertainty that lay ahead and maybe that towel was a metaphor. Maybe I knew that no matter how much I prepared, I’d never be…prepared.

Or maybe—most probably—it was just a fuzzy ole hand towel.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

While we're on the topic of universal mammary glands...

A friend of mine just told me she is donating her excess supply to the International Breast Milk Project.

Isn't that amazing? You can actually donate breast milk to infants affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

She had to pass some tests and actually had to mail in a sample for the organization to examine. Of course, she passed with flying colors. This is a woman who'll go for a 20-mile run just because. She has no vices, other than Tai Bo and sunflower seeds.

Her healthiness is actually really fricken annoying! There was that one time she downed half a bottle of vodka and we had to take a cab home from the bar because she was puking but that's one time. Me? 6,345,987,239 times. Cigarettes? She's never even tried one.

Well anyway, this is a big nod to her. Those kids are in store for one serious powerhouse punch.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Slot machines don’t take beef and other Labor Day no-brainers

I’ll preface this post with this: It’s a long drive to Mulletville and we truly appreciate the effort people make to visit us. Sometimes, with traffic, it can take a few hours. We love you for making the trek, especially when you bring us pizza from New Haven and other civilized goods, like soap and toothpaste. We really do.

But (you knew there was a but, didn’t you?).

If we tell you on the phone that Junior has a fever and isn’t his usual cheery self and you pop in under the guise of being en route to the casino and you have a roasted chicken and baby back ribs with you, we can probably deduce that you weren’t really going to the casino. You wanted to see Junior and didn’t want to take no for an answer.

I’m speaking of Chuck’s parents. They pulled a stealth visit on Saturday, despite the fact that we told them Junior was under the weather. It worked out fine in the end—Junior had a fever thanks to three new teeth—but come on, no one brings cooked meats when they go gambling.

At least no one I know of.

On Sunday, Des and Sassy came by for dinner. Des makes a ridiculously tasty filo pastry banana dough log that’s the size of a well endowed hotdog. Enjoying the weiner-esque pastries would have been so much more pleasurable if Chuck’s friend, Harry, hadn’t also stopped by. With his dog. That had just been sprayed by a skunk.

Nothing ruins a good pastry binge like eau de skunk. I tried to get Harry back by kicking his ass in Wii bowling but as soon as I got a sizeable lead—three strikes in a row, thank you—he quit because he didn’t want to “get spanked by a girl.”

What??

I know we don’t have a “rules of the house” stapled to the front door but isn’t it a no-brainer that if you let your smelly dog run through your friend’s house you take a Wii beating like a man, regardless of the remote holder’s gender?

I’d venture to say that the pastries had more testicular fortitude. (And ehem, girth.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, the clothespin I have over my nose is leaving unsightly dents in my flesh.