Thursday, December 31, 2009

Call RotoRooter! My $80 face is in the drain!

I'm sick. I spent yesterday lying in bed. The entire day. I cannot remember the last time that happened. Maybe the year I was born. Or the year I dated a gymnast. Though that wasn't really lying. More like letting someone practice his front handsprings on my thighs.

Ah, the limber days of youth.

As hard as I tried, I could not get off the QVC channel. The spokespeople are so fricken convincing. They get you in some kind of mind meld. You find yourself standing in front of the TV shouting "yes! yes! It is magic!"

Before I knew it, two hours had passed and I'd ordered $80 worth of make-up. Now I'm nervous. I don't know how to apply make-up other than the rudimentary slapping on of foundation and mascara. I can make up my face, but whenever I go for night time glamor/drama/glitter (you know, once every decade), I look more like an uptight hooker (I have a fatal wardrobe condition known as always-dressed-like-it's-a-workday).

I told Chuck about my purchase and how 2010 will be the year I look more polished and do you know what he said?

"Don't! You'll only look uglier!"

My husband. It's a wonder I ever let that gymnast dismount.

Chuck quickly backpedaled, saying that women who wear make-up 24-7 look extra horrible without make-up because you forget what they look like au natural. He said he likes my natural beauty. Blah, blah, blah. I guess I forgive him.

But I do not forgive the people who created this:



Ignoring the irony that's ravaging my insides (extra ass in our thin-obsessed society? are you kidding me?) I must ask: Am I the only person who doesn't know about this product? I almost fell out of bed laughing when the commercial aired. Between all the padded products on the market (like the Victoria's Secret Miraculous™ push-up bra, which adds two cup sizes), you'd think we were a bunch of flat chested, bony-assed stick figures.

(Obviously we're not. According to the American Demographics journal, the average American woman is 5'4" tall, weighs 145 lbs. with a dress size of 11 to 14, has a 36-37" bust, is about 29" around the waist and close to 40" around the hips.)

I want to know: What happens when you meet a guy and decide to get horizontal? What happens when you remove your undergarments and you have no ass or breasts? I want to be a guy for a night just so I can witness the metamorphosis. Just so I can say, "Is it just me or is all your booty on the rug?"

I guess in a way it's like washing off make-up. Like, "Is it just me or is all your pretty in the drain?"

Wow, man. Daytime television gets you thinking—about incinerating your TV.

Happy New Year! I hope you—and your booty—have a great night.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In hindsight, coming home smelling like fish would probably suck. Oh, and sorry about all the bags and asses

I have a nasty case of the post-holiday blues. Apparently they’re pretty common, seeing how the world is ending in 2012 (why, John Cusack, why?) and it’s no longer good enough to overhaul just certain aspects of your life, like your snaggly cuticles or inability to stand up to your boss. No, now you must change everything:



Talk about pressure. I like how the Yankee magazine people added “for the better!” Just in case you weren’t sure. Just in case you thought this was an article on how to royally fuck up everything.

EVERYTHING.

The year 2010 is particularly traumatic for me because I am turning 35 on January 4. I had assumed that self-reflection would help smooth my descent into 2010 and close-to-middle-age-dom. You know, a few days of Who am I and how did my ass get so big? But after Googling “dying inside after Christmas” I stumbled upon an article that said not to peer inward.

According to Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD, a leadership psychologist and clinical associate professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook: “If you keep looking back at the old year—especially last year—you will get into a downward spiral.”

(I'm curious what the "old year" might be if it's not "last year." 1982 maybe?)

Battley believes in something she calls Three BAGs Full. A BAG is a Big Audacious Goal. She says that three is the absolute maximum and that one might be more realistic. I like the idea of only having one to three goals, but I absolutely detest the word audacious; why not Big Ass Goal?

Alas, the BAG acronym is her brainchild, not mine.

The perky Battley is nice enough to provide suggestions for people’s BAGs. I was nice enough to provide my responses:

• Learn a second language. No. I don’t feel like it.

• Volunteer. I already do; every night I volunteer that night’s culinary disaster to the garbage can.

• Make more money. Bite me.

• Join a dating service. Ok, but I’ll have to check with Chuck first.

• Change careers.

Aahhhhh, change careers. Now there’s something I can dig my teeth into. Why, just yesterday as Junior and I were watching the sea lion show at Mystic Aquarium, I was thinking that exact thing. I marveled at how active the sea lion trainers were; how their jobs were so hands-on and varied. Then I thought about my own job and how I spend 35 hours a week sitting on my ass.

Why? Why did I choose such a sedentary career? Why, when the high school guidance counselor separated us into groups of those who’d like to sit for a living and those who’d like to stand, did I pick the sitters? If I’d played my cards differently, I could be tossing raw fish into the mouth of a 600-pound sea creature and paying my bills all at the same time! Just me, my perky butt and fish.

Heavenly.

So, that’s one of my BAGs. In 2010 I’m going to change careers. At the top of my list are: belly dancing instructor, Mulletville investigative reporter and professional dart-ist (don’t laugh: the average salary for professional dart player is $73,000). Wouldn’t that be sweet poetic justice?

My second BAG is to learn how to stuff stuff into stuff. Like these:



and these:



Yep, that about does it. The new me: a belly dancing, food stuffing dart thrower. Aim high, Mrs. Mullet, aim high.

(Admit it. You want me—even in my 35-year-old faded glory. You do!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy, um, holiday wrap-up. There's some cheer in here, I swear

After having a buttload of company this last week, I feel like the parade has kicked me off the float and continued down the street without me. Luckily I’ve been feeding my face so much that I have the extra padding to support a fall. A very long fall.

God, I hate holiday pudge.

I couldn’t help it though. I’m a nervous eater, a social eater and a solitary eater. I also eat when I see someone crying into his food instead of putting it into his mouth—like my brother. He barely touched his food. Instead he spent four days at my house sleeping and playing online poker.

He’s decided not to get back together with his ex fiancée, Holly, but he still missed her, and so did I. Not just because she puffs, but because I am now the cheese that stands alone again. The sad, little cheese amidst a family of sausages (more specifically, my single father, my brother and Chuck). Sausages that fart too much, have a tendency to be sexist and who blame perfectly reasonable rants on fluctuating hormones.

Bastard sausages!

Poor Mrs. Mullet.

The last family trip we went on to France (pre-Junior, in 2004) was so traumatic I can’t even look at the pictures. Well, no, the reason I can’t look at the pictures is that I look like absolute shit in all of them. My testoster-filled company gave me no lead time in the morning. They’d wake up and want to jump right into the car. There was no time for primping or preening or even showering.

Even by French standards, I don’t think a shower every four days is unreasonable.

Not only that, they wouldn’t let me read the map. They wouldn’t let me drive. They wouldn’t even let me play darts at the pub! I was so furious about that, I got drunk, grabbed a dart from my brother’s hand, hucked it at the board and yelled, “How’s that for someone with tits?”

(I’d like to lie here and say I got a bull’s-eye but the damn dart hit the board and fell to the floor, confirming my dickhead family’s assertion that I couldn’t throw darts. I did, however, catch the attention of an Irish man who liked my bravado and wanted my number. Too bad dumb Chuck was standing next to me.)

Knowing this, you can imagine my complete lack of interest in a Sausage and Cheese family trip, part deux, which would now include a toddler.

A male toddler.

Holly, will you marry me?

(Pssssst, Chuck? This is why your Christmas gift of a GPS was lukewarmly received. If I want to use a map—which I am perfectly capable of doing—I will use a godamn map!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Beards

randomtuesday

I recently learned that my aunt shaves her face with a razor and that my cousin had eyebrows tattooed on because she plucked them off and they never grew back. I wish I'd known that before I bought their Christmas presents. Shaving cream is a lot less expensive than electronics.

My brother’s ex-fiancée Holly came over last night. She brought a bottle of wine and fancy cheese. I fed her tator tots. I guess that qualifies as our second date.

Holly now knows the relationship is officially over because my brother set his Facebook status to "single." Fucking Facebook.

Things were going great (well, better) until my brother called my house phone and left a message. She cried when she heard his voice. I jumped up and gave her her Christmas present—I thought it might cheer her up.

“I love it!” she said. Then she burst into tears again. Turns out the colors in the scarf I’d given her—turquoise and pink—were going to be the colors in her bridal party.

Brilliant.

She’s only 22 but she knows she loves my brother. She also knows she wants to settle down and have kids. She said she’s known since eighth grade, when her teacher asked everyone what profession they wanted to pursue and she answered “I want to be a mom.”

Do you know that the teacher wouldn’t accept her answer? She made Holly pick “an actual profession” (the teacher’s words).

Blasphemy.

Holly's present is the only one I've bought so far. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. Maybe for things to be 100% off. Oh wait, that's shoplifting.

We're having 20 people for Christmas Eve. I'm terrified. Last year my gravy looked like simmered brain in mud sauce, and we all know what happened the last time I tried to cook meat.

If you read about a family that spent Christmas Eve in the emergency room, you'll know they belong to me. Except for the bearded woman. I'm not ready to admit I know her just yet.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a scientific fact: Connecticut is Hell on Earth

When we woke up this morning we couldn't open our front door:



Those are our cars (we don't have a garage, so Chuck covered them with tarps):



And this is Chuck shoveling:



If you could hear him now, he sounds something like this:

"F**ing snow. F***ing winter. F***ing cold. F***ing Connecticut. I hate Connecticut!"

Chuck's not alone. In fact, he's commiserating with a fellow shoveler as I type:



The fact is, everyone's talking smack about Connecticut. It recently ranked number 50 on a list of the states ranked highest for happiness levels. Number 50. New Jersey ranked higher.

New Jersey.

I think this article says it all. I'd summarize for you, but Chuck's lying in the middle of the road right now and I think I should ask traffic not to run him over.



Sigh. If we lived in Jersey, this would never happen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The real truth is that women are more obsessed with breasts than men

I’m going to switch gears now. I’m sure you’re devastated that I’m leaving my sexy reindeer boots behind but trust me, it’s for the best. If I kept going on the boot topic, I’d eventually confess that I have an entire fleet of sexy animal boots. Then you’d probably break up with me.

Yes, now I'd like to talk about work. Specifically my co-worker Sarah, who came back to work today after her three-month maternity leave.

Three piddly months.

In the five years I’ve been at my job, I’ve seen a lot of new mothers come back to work. Some look chipper (it’s true, they’re overly happy to see you); others have that wide-eyed, freaked out look. The look that says Where’s my baby and how can I get back to him? Judging from the size of Sarah's bulging eyeballs, she was the latter.

When I ran into her, she was in the breakroom. She was hunched over, making herself a cup of tea, minding her own business. I was about to ask her how she was doing when a swarm of women burst through the door and started firing:

“Are you breastfeeding? I did for a year. Is the baby sleeping? I let mine cry it out. You should, too. How was your labor? Mine was 46 hours. Did you deliver vaginally? I did. Did you get stitches? I did. Have you pooped yet? I cried when I did. Split me right open. Are you going to have another? Mine are nine months apart. Get it out of the way. Who's watching your kid? Did you put him in daycare? Are you breastfeeding?”

I don’t know Sarah very well but judging from the way she was shrinking into her sweater, she’s not the kind of woman who would hold up a sign like this:



I wanted to grab her by the arm and whisk her away to an underground cave. Or at least fart or belch or pee on the floor—anything that would draw people’s attention away from her.

I understand that some people are genuinely curious about how a new mother is doing, but it seems to me (based on my own experience and that of my friends), that a big part of motherhood/parenthood is inquisition and subsequent verbal annihilation. Think I’m exaggerating? After our children were born, my friend and I were going to write a mommy book. Some of the chapters were:

Why do you care if I breastfeed? Really?

Don't hate me because I get out of the house a few days a week

Does hurting me help you?

Take your homemade organic, gluton-free, farm raised, free range, sugar free baby food and shove it

Motherhood: This shit is hard enough without your two cents


Now look, maybe my friend and I are hanging around with the wrong people or maybe we’re overly sensitive fuckheads who don’t know our leaky breasts from our stitched up anuses, but I was in flashback hell watching Sarah field questions then defend her parenting choices.

Why does this keep happening? When did the word "mother" become synonymous with "interrogate" and "judge"?

And holy divulge! Did Sarah (tired, overwhelmed, shell-shocked Sarah) really need to hear about another woman’s experience with cracked, bleeding nipples? Is the verbal vomit born out of a desperation for female camaraderie? Is it the equivalent of the locker room ass smack? If if is, I think we can do better. I’d give a million dollars to a woman if I saw her smack a new mom on the ass instead of hear her ask, “Are you breastfeeding?”

“Are you breastfeeding?”
“Are you breastfeeding?”
“Are you breastfeeding?”
“Are you breastfeeding?”
“Are you breastfeeding?”

It’s like we’re all trapped in a little tornado of verbal vomit serum and we keep circling and swigging, circling and swigging.

Right down the drain.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sexy reindeer boots. Remember, you asked to see them

Okay, this is what they look like:



I Photoshopped out my legs so you wouldn’t be able to guess my true identity (you already have the top of my head from the post below; what more do you need?).

They were expensive, but well worth it because they really dress up a boring skirt. Drawbacks are that they're a little clunky on stairs and sometimes the smell of reindeer is off-putting. And you can't sneak up on someone—the jingling bells give you away every time. It makes surprising your partner (or random guy at the bar) nearly impossible. Which kind of sucks, because who doesn’t want to be surprised by a woman in thigh high black patent boots with reindeer hooves, bells and stuffed reindeer heads?

I mean, really.

I was lucky enough to have bought my sexy reindeer boots as part of the 2008 Sexy Reindeer Holiday Collection, which included a sexy reindeer whip and a free canister of lube.



Yes, I said canister.

You're jealous, I know. And you're probably asking yourself, Where can I get a pair of my own sexy reindeer boots? I'm sorry to say, I have the only pair on planet earth. I bought them from QVC while tripping on acid—at least, I think it was QVC—and I haven't seen another pair since.

But wait! If you're interested in a sexy reindeer boot knock-off, check out this site. These puppies come with "spring loaded cloven hooves." They can't touch my plushy, jingling temptress boots, but it looks like you wouldn't need a whip. A swift kick to the forehead might yield the same result.

Maybe.

Can we all move on now?

(If it wasn't for this blogger, this post would have died a quick death, which probably would have been better.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why office holiday parties make me want to run away and hide

The post below is from December 4, 2008. I thought I'd repost it before I write about my 2009 office holiday party, so you can enjoy two year's worth of suffering.



Behold the photo we had taken for the office holiday card. I'd show you my face, but I'd like to retain some of my dignity.

The card is the pre-cursor to the office holiday party next week* for which it has been suggested (i.e., mandated) that we wear red sweaters, brown skirts and "sexy" reindeer boots (this is from a boss who made me wear her hooker heels, remember?) to accompany our antlers and red noses...

I sent the photo to my friend. This is what she wrote:

"It's sad and funny at the same time."

I love getting kicked when I'm down. On all fours.

* Oddly, I never actually wrote about the 2009 party, nor can I locate my sexy reindeer boots. They've got to be around here somewhere.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't tickle me there, Elmo!

I would never say that I have the perfect child but up until now, Junior has been pretty wonderful. He says please and thank you. He sleeps from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and bedtime isn’t a battle. He’s a good eater. He loves to take baths. He likes the clothes I pick out for him. Unless he’s overtired, you can reason with him. And he’s affectionate.

I think I’m going to keep him.

Lately I don’t think Chuck feels the same way. It could have something to do with the fact that he feels like a stray dog in his own home. Junior’s been a bully lately—a tyrant, really. If Chuck tries to get him out of bed or read him stories or feed him, Junior yells, “NO! NOT YOU! MOMMY DO IT! GO AWAY!” He’s even stuck out his leg to kick Chuck.

My friend thinks Junior’s acting out because Chuck is home with Junior full-time and Junior is sick of Chuck, whereas I am somewhat of a novelty. You know, like that dusty bobble head belly dancer on the dashboard. But why the hostility?

Chuck put it best: “It’s like Junior suddenly has something against me.”

Not only does Junior not want Chuck when I’m around, if Chuck and I are talking, Junior will yell, “Stop talking to Daddy! Talk to ME!”

I’ve never dated someone who's overly possessive, but I think this is what it must feel like. It’s a little unnerving. So I Googled “Naked Hugh Jackman”—oops, I mean, “toddler wants daddy gone”—and stumbled across an article entitled “When a boy wants only Mom.”

The doctor sounded like she knew what she was talking about, so I read on.

Holy heart attack. I wasn’t prepared for “oedipal complex” or “developmental crisis” or the doctor’s assertion that “This classic phase can be interpreted to be a developmental working through of two of the most powerful emotions we will ever experience: love and hate.”

Fuck. Did I suddenly become a parent to a teenager? I thought kids under three were supposed to be cuddly little hellions? You know, kissy-kissy one minute and poke-your eyes-out the next. I can handle bipolar. I’m not ready for potentially scarring life lessons. It’s like thinking you’re playing Level 1 of a video game and suddenly you’re trying to kill the…

…You know what? I know so little about video games I can’t even come up with an evil character.

The end of the article states:

“A sense of well-being is the result of experiencing love and hate in a family that is able to contain and transform these primal energies, without making anybody go away! Somehow, this tempers the polarities of the primary forces inherent in life and renders us more capable of experiencing the ups and downs of living with less distress and more equanimity.”

Huh? With what magic gadget does one transform primal energies?

I think I want to go back to the newborn stage when all we worried about was whether or not Junior had gas. It’s really hitting me that our child’s emotional health depends on us. And, frankly, that concerns me. Cause before I embarked on my "toddler hit man" Googling session, I was planning on using this juvenile picture as my post:



Me and Elmo. Caught canoodling on the couch. Chuck took the picture. Right before Junior sicced his fleet of Thomas the Trains on him.

Poor Chuck.

Poor Elmo.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If you want my body and you think I'm sexy come on, sugar, paint my toe

I never wanted to have my portrait painted. I’m not complaining that someone offered, I’m just saying that it wasn't on my top 10 list of things to do (in case you’re wondering, #1 is go to bed and #10 is hang glide. I’d also like to see the Grand Canyon).

Last night I went to my last sitting for Mr. Painter—with my clothes on, of course (remember how you all helped me decide whether or not I should disrobe? That was so special).

For some reason, the sitting was particularly boring. It dragged on, and somewhere between 5:00 and 5:01 I really started to dislike Painter Man. I gave up hours of my life to sit for him; if I’d known it meant I’d be listening to him wax philosophical about his passion for art, I’d have declined.

Plus, he talks to himself. After having a child I’m more sympathetic to this affliction (what parent doesn’t talk to him or herself?) but I never knew if he was looking for affirmation from me. Like when he’d shout, “Keep it together, Mr. Painter! Oh, you louse! What were you thinking with that shade of blue?” I never knew if I should interject with “I’m sure you’re doing a great job” [freak].

Since this was our last hoorah, I thought I’d amuse Painter Man with my clever observation about how portrait painting is the perfect cover for having an affair (think about it: you can’t answer your phone and you go home in different clothes. What more do you need?) But instead of applauding my ingenuity, he got all serious on me.

“It's one of the gray areas of my profession. Some of my models assume that certain extras are part of the modeling arrangement. I have to very nicely tell them it’s not.”

The room grew very

very

quiet.

I started to wonder if he thought I was coming on to him? Ack! The last thing I'd want to do is sleep with someone who'd shout out “Keep it up, Mr. Painter! Oh, you louse! What were you thinking with that hip thrust?”

And then I started to get silly. Cause really, what would a portrait painting pick-up line sound like?

“Oooooh, is that a paintbrush in your pocket or are you just happy to see my left breast?”

(Oh shut up. I triple dog dare you to come up with something better.)

When he was finally done painting, he invited me to take a look at his masterpiece. I have to admit, he captured my likeness. Fictitious DDD breasts and all. And now I want the painting. Bad. It would look so nice over the bidet.

There’s only one problem: Anyone have an extra $10,000 lying around?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting dumped at Christmas sucks

Chuck and I put up our Christmas tree this weekend. It’s a fake tree and for as much as I hate its synthetic, shiny branches it was ridiculously easy to drag up from the basement—pre-lit—and plop in front of the window. Add a few pine scented candles and voila, our redneck neighbors won’t be none the wiser.

So there I was: glass of wine in one hand; hairy psycho Santa in the other. I stuck him on a branch and stood back to inspect his placement.



Then, the questions started. Is the ornament next to one that complements its colors? Is it the appropriate weight for the branch? Is the size of the ornament relative to its position on the tree? Should the ornament be grouped with ornaments similar in theme? Is the ornament facing in the right direction?

OMG.

I don’t enjoy the mental check list, but it’s ingrained. My mother took tree decorating very, very, very seriously. She had four siblings and, as she tells it, never got to put the ornaments where she wanted. Which is why when I was a child, after I had put up an ornament, she would sneak over to the tree when I wasn’t looking and move it. While Alvin and Simon duked it out on the record player, my parents duked it out treeside.

My father [to my mother]: “Why did you move that snowman?”

My mother: “It looked horrible there.”

My father: “Let her decorate the tree.”

My mother: “It’s my tree, too.”

My father: “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

My mother: “It was on the wrong branch, facing in the wrong direction. Next to a gingerbread house!”

My father would move it back. My mother would yell. My father would go outside to his tool shed. My mother would slam the bedroom door.

Finally, I could decorate the tree in peace and quiet.

My parents finally divorced in 1983. That same year, my mother married a man who got her two Christmas trees, which she decorated all by herself. The downstairs tree had a pink and red theme; the upstairs, white. Meanwhile, at my father’s house, my father threatened to ignite the tree as my three-year-old brother and I bickered over ornament and light placement.

Kidding. Kind of. Poor pops.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but think of all this Saturday night as I stood there with my ornaments. I thought about how Chuck and I might actually make it as a couple because he could give a shit about what branches I hang the ornaments on.

I thought about my brother Ted and how he called off his engagement today (I didn't even get a chance to find #22 on ebay). On the phone he asked me if I wanted any ornaments. His now former fiancee had brought a tree back to their apartment and its chances of being decorated were pretty slim.

I thought about the boxes of ornaments that sit in my father’s basement and if, because he doesn’t get a tree anymore, he thinks about someday giving them to me?

I thought about my mother’s two enormous trees and how she wants to give me all of her ornaments someday. All of them.

Then I thought about Chuck’s mom and how she loves fluffy, tacky ornaments and how she likes to give us ornaments every year—sometimes stockingfuls at a time.

It hit me: Someday I’m going to be smushed in an avalanche of fucking ornaments. Choked by Santa hair. Hobbled by sleighs. Hiney-poked by this bad boy:



The question is, will Chuck still be there to save me?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The one book that can save your marriage

Yesterday (Friday), the plan was this: Junior, my brother Ted, his fiancée Holly and I would meet at 5:00 p.m. and go on the Saybrook Stroll (Chuck would be busy ghostbusting). There would be free hot cider, free horse-drawn carriage rides, free caroling, and free holiday badabing badaboom.

At three, I called Ted to see if he and Holly had left Boston yet to meet up.

“Bad news,” he said. “I told Holly I need the month of December off.”

“From what?

“Our relationship.”

What? What about working it out? What about the fricken Saybrook Stroll?”

“Relax. She’s on her way.”

“You dumped her and she still wants to hang out? On a Friday night? With me?”

“I know. Weird.”

You know how just this week I said: “I swear, if my brother breaks off the engagement, I will date Holly myself”?

Well, we officially had our first date. I, a haggard woman with a toddler (seriously, by Friday I’m toast) and she, a 22-year-old buxom blonde, carted Junior around Old Saybrook for four hours. She cried. I tried to navigate Junior through crowds of people cradling hot cider, a free toothbrush and a bobbing red balloon.

I don’t know who needed my ear more: poor Holly or Junior, who was having a meltdown because the wind was blowing his balloon to the left, when he wanted it to blow to the right. I swear, you show a kid majestic Clydesdale horses with bells and he obsesses about the direction his balloon is floating in.

Aagggggggggghhhh.

Over dinner, Holly cried into her pizza. My heart broke for her. She really loves my stupid, flatulent brother. The more she talked, though, the more I realized that Francine Pascal covered the exact problems Holly and Ted are having in #22 of her Sweet Valley High book, “Too Much in Love.”

(Laugh if you will but I went through a hardcore Sweet Valley High stage in middle school and for some reason, this particular book stayed with me. In fact, it may explain why Chuck enjoys such free reign—that lucky bastard.)



As per the back cover of the book:

Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon have been happy together for a long time. But lately DeeDee has become too dependent on Bill. She wants to do everything and go everywhere with him. Bill feels that he doesn't have any room to breathe and decides it's over between them.

Elizabeth doesn't know why DeeDee is acting the way she is, but she knows DeeDee's strange behavior is killing her relationship. Can Elizabeth help DeeDee regain her strength and independence before it's too late?


So, perfect Christmas gift, right? But now, the questions.

Do I give Holly #1-#22 so she can get acquainted with the series and my intentions aren’t glaringly obvious? But the poor girl only has a month. What if she's a slow reader? What if she only makes it to #6 Dangerous Love—about a motorcycle tearing a couple apart—and she becomes even clingier? Do I just give her #22 and a cheery card along the lines of "Hey, you should totally read this book geared toward awkward teenage girls. It's, like, awesome"?

Or maybe I'll just see how our second date goes.

Damn you, farting brother. Damn you.

P.S. Special thanks to this site for making this post possible. The noggin was a wee bit rusty.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm really impressionable right now so be gentle



I had such a tasty post planned for today. I was so giddy as I typed, I swear I pitched a tent. Then, because I feed on praise and reassurance, I ran the post by Chuck. I waited for him to pitch a tent alongside me.

Instead he fell out of his chair, clutched his heart and stammered, “Please, pleeeeeeaaaaaase, don’t post this.”

Before your imaginations run amuck with naughty ideas about what the post was (Chuck on a bearskin rug?!), let me explain: It was a lengthy post of all the reasons why my sister-in-law is not my favorite person. In my defense, the post was more of an investigation, not a gratuitous exposé. I’m not an unfair bitch. In fact, in writing the post, I had actually hoped to arrive at a different conclusion: that she registered lower on Mrs. Mullet’s Beasto-meter than I had previously suspected.

Sadly, results were conclusive.

Chuck’s reasons for asking me to not post the post were justified. Some of our friends read my blog, and because we are an incestuous little group here in Connecticut, word could get back to her. Then, instead of pretending we like each other at families parties, we’d have to, you know, acknowledge the fact that things aren’t working out. (Oh, the horror of facing reality. The liberation would be crippling.)

However, even though I understand my husband’s reasoning, I couldn’t let it go. It might feel good to throw caution to the wind instead of meeking around. And really, if the extent of my outrageousness is a somewhat inflammatory blog post, then wow, I’m a snoozer. I mean, I don’t have pink hair. I’m not setting cars on fire. I’m usually in bed by 9:30. You might as well call me Pollyanna.

Besides, my post was in the name of scientific analysis. There’s an official Beasto-meter, for Pete’s sake.

So I kept bugging Chuck. Nicely. Like a wolf with four mouths and 10 canines might bug a little furry rabbit that’s limping along with a broken leg. You know, tickle, tickle.

Finally, he caved. But he made me promise one thing: in the post, I must refer to my sister-in-law as Chuck’s best friend’s cousin’s uncle’s step-mother’s father’s adopted sister’s great aunt’s grandmother’s niece’s son’s neighbor Edwina.

But now that he's given me the green light, I feel...anxious. Not so fresh. I want to know: did you ever post something about someone that you wish you never had? Did it come back to bite you in the ass or was it freeing and fabulous?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't talk about this. But just this once, ok?

Last night after dinner, Junior was racing around the living room when he suddenly announced, "I need to use the potty!"

Chuck scooped him up and plopped him down on his special chair. I thought, holy moly, this is it: the end of diapers. Chuck and I waited patiently as Junior looked around the kitchen.

"Junior? Are you—"

"—I NEED A BOOK! I NEED A BOOK!"



Yep, Dad's been doing potty time. One Dune book at a time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The puffers vs. the gamblers

Yesterday's outdoor wedding, sit-down dinner, winter hike and child’s birthday party went swimmingly, thanks to the four changes of clothing I brought.

And actually, it was such a beautiful day that I didn't feel like slitting my wrists until after we got to my nephew’s birthday party. But only because Chuck’s brother’s wife is a she-beast. I won’t get into that now, however. Instead I’d like to tell you where I've been for the last week—and not because I want to bore your pants off, but because I think I started dating someone.

It all started Tuesday night. My brother Ted called me in tears. He and his fiancee Holly were having problems. She’s getting clingy and is too eager. He needs space. They would be at our house bright and early Wednesday.

Joy.

On Wednesday, Ted and Holly arrived for brunch. Chuck beat his chest and said he was going to Home Depot; Ted would help him. Holly and I spent the next two hours watching Junior push Thomas the Train around the track.

"Is Thomas puffin'?"

"YES. YES. YES."

When Chuck and Ted got back to the house, I contemplated puffin’ myself.

Ted informed me and Holly that he was getting together with the boys to play poker; Chuck offered to sit in for someone. Holly looked forlorn and asked if I wanted company. Despite my internal noooooooooooo, I heard myself say yes. I spent the next few hours drinking wine and listening to Holly’s childhood pet stories.

The highlight: The time Holly’s guinea pig had pneumonia and she nursed it back to health with a heating pad. The lowlight: The time Holly’s guinea pig had pneumonia and she nursed it back to health with a heating pad.

On Thursday, Holly spent the day with her family. While Ted farted and enjoyed his space (all ten feet of it), we ate turkey at my mother’s house.

On Friday, Holly and Ted came over again. After lunch, Chuck and Ted "got lost" at the casino on the way to Home Depot (don't ask). Holly and I spent the next five hours watching Junior push his trains around the track.

"Is Thomas puffin?"

"YES. YES. YES."

Somewhere in there I drank mass amounts of wine and sent Chuck threatening text messages like, “I guess u never want 2 hve sex again.”

The men came home. Chuck left for a stag (yah, I know). Holly and Ted spent the night. We played Scrabble. The only words Holly and I could come up with had to do with trains. Ted felt suspiciously like a third wheel.



On Saturday, Ted left at 8 a.m. to be to work in Boston. Holly offered to keep me company for breakfast while Chuck slept (bastard). Again, we watched Junior push his trains around the track. When Junior asked, “Is Thomas puffin'?” she answered, “Uh huh! Yes! Yep! He is! Uh huh! He is, sweetie!”

Suddenly I realized I’d become numb to her eagerness to please. I also realized I’d rather hear her sing-song voice than my brother’s toxic flatulence. When Holly left at noon, Junior and I watched her from the window. I started to feel something, something achy and sad in the stillness: separation anxiety.

If a train puffs in a playroom and Holly isn’t around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I swear, if my brother breaks off the engagement, I will date her myself. Even if she is clingy and lazy and she monitors my wine intake like a busybody. Even if she does tell too many guinea pig stories and leave lubricant everywhere she goes.

I’ve invested too much time to let her go that easily. We can make it, baby!

Holly and me, up in a tree
P-U-F-F-I-N-G
First goes Chuck,
Then goes Ted
Then comes Thomas in Tidmouth Shed

Hah!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe

to finally sit down and blog, your husband taps you on the shoulder and reminds you that you have a wedding to attend.

A wedding in a park on a winter Sunday. Followed by a sit-down dinner at a hotel. An hour away. On the same highway as tired, grumpy holiday travelers.

Because the soon-to-be married couple is a pair of avid hikers, the sit-down dinner will be followed by a late afternoon hike in the woods. After that, your husband reminds you, you promised to stop by his brother's son's birthday party.

I have to douse myself with lighter fluid now. I'm sure you understand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten signs you're on the cusp. No. 1: You contemplate setting up your bedroom in the parking lot. No. 2: You swear a lot. No. 3...

When my friend Jen and I rented an apartment together 10 years ago, I moved most of my belongings in by myself. At the time, Chuck and I were taking a break and I was going through my I-am-an-independent-woman-hear-me-roar phase.

I may have even, ehem, stopped shaving my armpits.

I said may have.

Because the walkway leading to the front door of the apartment was a winter mud and slush pit, I had no choice but to move my things in through the back entrance. The door at the top was nice and wide, but the stairwell was a narrow two-story metal fire escape.

My solo stint was going fine until I got to my futon mattress, which was a double.



If you’ve ever tried to pull or tug on a futon mattress you know that it’s impossible. They weigh a ton, and you can’t get a good grip because its innards are so smushy.

Hear.me.roar.

I grabbed the edges and dragged it out of the car, then hogtied it with electrical cords and pushed it towards the stairwell.

What ensued was 45 minutes of grunting, pushing, tugging, grabbing, climbing, swearing, bending, jumping and crying. The cords kept catching on the railing. I couldn’t get a good enough handful of stuffing to pull it. I wasn’t strong enough to push it. I felt like a pencil trying to birth an elephant through my eraser top crotch. But I did it. I finally pushed that Godforsaken mattress

all

the

way

up

the

stairs.

When I leaned against the railing to catch my breath, I looked over and saw that an entire apartment complex had been watching me out of their windows. Watching and laughing. Laughing and watching.

Bastards.

Yesterday, as I carried co-worker Robert’s 20-pound frozen turkey up his creaky, slippery fire escape stairs because he assumed his complimentary ride home included the services of a personal assistant—he even asked me to stop for smokes at the gas station!—I found myself remembering that fateful futon fuck. And I started laughing hysterically.

Life is absurd sometimes, isn't it?

I laughed the whole way home. Laughing while riding through Mulletville felt as good as sex. I felt like a fucking superhero.

I hope you laugh a lot this holiday—even if some dude who smells like cat pee is staring at you like you're crazy as you slap his frozen turkey on his counter and back slowly away.

Especially if.

Gobble, gobble.

P.S. If you'd like to read about my Aunt Burty and her affinity for drumstick strumming (as in, her own drumstick), check it out at honestbaby. It's a real whisker biscuit tickler.

Monday, November 23, 2009

She who sees grasshopper on turkey's head should find new forest



I'm grouchy. I know that Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy our families and all that jazz, but between Chuck's divorced and remarried parents and my divorced and remarried parents, I always end up with that nagging feeling that we've left someone outside.

Oops, I mean out. I'd never leave a cherished relative out on the stoop.

Never, ever.

And I know it's only November 23 but I'm already tired of people trying to sell me things. All we hear lately is "Buy now!" and "Get to the store now!" Even worse, I've ended up on a new-agey mailing list. I’m not sure what purchase invited this travesty, but suddenly I am getting catalogs for organic lemur sperm and sustainable salmon headbands that make you look 10 years younger—and I’m sick of it.

I’m all for the spiritually-enlightened-meets-“green” slant, especially if it means one more person recycles or meditates by a tree instead of chopping it down, but I don’t want to buy a piece of it. I’m broke. And the messages are so corny. Like the letter I got today from a local spa. Can I share it with you?

Spa lady begins:

“It was a splendid Indian Summer week...there was a convivial atmosphere...a fresh palette was in the air.”

Yaaaaaaaaaawn. Two days of sixty degree weather does not change the fact that the trees are scraggly, gray-black premonitions of winter’s decimation.

“...in the autumnal season the most notable thing that is changing is change itself. Change happens...what may be harder to see is that the manner in which change occurs is in itself changing. Today change happens in giant leaps and bounds whereas before change took little hops.”

Huh? What kind of mind bender is that? Change is changing but not in the way it used to? How does she know how change operates in my life? My husband has been out of work for an entire year. I still live in Mulletville and work for a bunch of wackos. Not only is change taking minute hops, it’s hopping in the wrong fucking direction.

“...leaves had dried up into little origami balls...the light was playing with their round shapes. When I bent down...the little grasshopper jumped into the scene...What are the chances...?”

Probably pretty good, seeing as we haven’t really had a frost yet.

“What this scene...depicts...is that the thing that is changing, the experience, is something to be thankful for and not forgotten. The enjoyable present moment is in the cusp of change, the moment where you see the past and have a glimpse of the future...Enjoy the moment...”

Blah, blah, blah. Stop projecting your crazy ass grasshopper metaphor on me! Getting a facial at your spa is not going to transform my life. How did I get on your mailing list? Did Stop and Shop sell you my name because I bought non-flouride toothpaste? Or gawd, maybe it was the hemp and flax post.

The experience of change and deriving meaning is great and all, but sometimes a grasshopper is just a grasshopper. What if those queer little origami balls are just, as she noted, dried up leaves? You just wasted twenty minutes assigning meaning to an insect and a wad of organic matter when instead you could have been...

...you know, enjoying the moment.

For free.

We all can.

The truth about the men's bathroom

...at the Mulletville Park:



Extra points for getting vandalism correct, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Because a frozen turkey is riding shotgun, that's why

Every year, the company I work for puts together a Thanksgiving gift basket for an employee they deem deserving. Notice I said deserving and not in need. Even though the gift basket is generous in its contents (a frozen turkey, canned goods, stuffing mix, a grocery store gift card, frozen vegetables and a set of scented candles), delivery is a delicate matter. No one wants his or her co-workers to think he/she is poor or needs the basket, so the marketing committee pretends to hold a selection session based on merit when really we sit around and talk about who we’ve seen sleeping in his or her car.

Sad but true.

We met today to discuss the top contenders. We finally selected Robert, who has been spotted by more than one co-worker walking the 10+ miles from his apartment to work, and not because he needs the exercise. He looks like this:



But not so happy—or green.

Let’s listen in on how the rest of the meeting played out:

Marketing Head: “So everyone is amenable? Robert is our gift basket honoree?”

Group: “Yes.”

Co-worker #1: “Sir? I just thought of something...”

Marketing Head: “Yes?”

Co-worker #1: “If we give Robert the gift basket and he doesn’t have transportation, how will he get it home?”

Marketing Head: “How heavy is the basket?”

Group: [Raised brows. Shrugged shoulders]

Co-worker #1: “Even if he can carry it, what if it’s raining or sleeting? He might slip.”

Marketing Head: “Excellent point. People, I need ideas.”

Co-worker #2: “We could include a bus pass in the basket—”

Co-worker #3: “—A bus pass? He’ll be carrying a frozen turkey! We can’t ask him to ride the bus with a 20-pound turkey! We should pay for a taxi.”

Marketing Head: “Yes! A taxi! And how much money will a taxi­—”

Co-worker #4: “—Taxis are very expensive. The fare might put us over our gift basket budget—”

Marketing Head: “—We cannot deny someone the gift basket just because he doesn’t have the means to get it home. That is in direction contradiction to the Thanksgiving Gift Basket mission.”

Co-worker #3: “Do you think he might eat some of it before he brings it home? It might make the basket lighter.”

Co-worker #2: “What’s wrong with the bus? Plenty of people bring large packages—”

Co-worker #3: “—Someone will need to help him onto the bus. If he took a taxi—”

Marketing Head: “Quiet, everyone! There won’t be a bus or a taxi. Someone will give Robert and his gift basket a ride home. As compensation, that person may leave 10 minutes early that day. Mrs. Mullet? Is that something you’re agreeable to?”

Me: “Whatever.”

Co-worker #2: “Why should she get to leave early?”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sport & Shave Ken has the worst pick-up lines

Yesterday, as I rode Thomas the Train for the second time this month, I watched all the fellow mommies diligently shuffling their kids through the pouring rain, and I remembered something.

I remembered that before I had Junior, I made fun of moms. Mercilessly. They seemed so eager to please and to use the word poop. I didn’t like all their stupid containers and how they always needed to compartmentalize snacks, toys and diapers.

I thought women who became mothers morphed into Mombots who sacrificed their fun, quirky and sometimes irresponsible inner selves to the ravenous child beast and shared way too much personal information. I also thought that mom-types were predetermined much in the way that Barbie’s different personas are and that I had no choice about what kind I’d become.

Would I become Crunchy Vegetarian Mom who only wore corduroy overalls and ate trail mix? Would I become Cocktail Mom who had a stiff drink in one hand and formula in the other and who accidentally slept with Crunchy Vegetarian Mom’s husband, also known as Malibu Dad?



(Heh, heh. Don’t you love when people accidentally sleep with eachother?)

Now I have a kid, so I have a clearer picture. Although I use the word poop a lot and share way too much information (hello, blog?), I’ve learned that you aren’t arbitrarily engulfed by a mother persona; or if you are, you were probably leaning in that direction anyway.

I’m also happy to say that my former inner self is alive and well. I know this because my friends keep telling me: “It’s so great. You haven’t changed since Junior.”

Over. And over. And over again.

At first I thought, Yeeha. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. How could motherhood not have changed me?

I can think of the little ways I’ve changed. If I go to the grocery store without Junior, I can ransack the place in 23:04 minutes because I am so efficient now. I vacuum at strange hours of the night. I am a compulsive multi-tasker, often in ways that disgust me (like putting on mascara while talking to the credit card company while sitting on the porcelain bowl while supervising Junior’s bath while ruminating on my work to-do list).

But those aren’t necessarily good things, and they’re not fundamental. I didn’t go through nine months of labor to not only stay the same but also become unexciting, mechanical and anal. In a(nother) moment of self-doubt, I concluded that if motherhood hasn’t changed me, I must not have embraced my new role with enough testicle. Ergo, I’ve been mommying with only one nut.

Will the world ever be safe again?

Yes, yes, my kittens, it will. I’m happy to report that there’s a giant uniball at the end of this tunnel.

Last night, after Junior and I had dried off from our Thomas outing, my friend Jen came over with her four-month-old son. This girl is a trooper. Not only did she drive to Connecticut from North Carolina by herself with an infant to see her family and friends, she drove an extra hour to see me in Mulletville.

Jen and I drank wine and talked. Then we drank some more. Something beautiful happened, and it wasn’t just the wine buzz. The more we talked, the more I realized that despite being ridiculously sleep-deprived, Jen really hasn’t changed that much (cue sit-com “aha” moment). Her sense of direction still sucks. She’s still a bitch for never gaining weight. And she still manages to find cool shoes at the Maxi Pad. So, duh, she’s Jen, but with a kid.

It was like I got a glimpse of myself from my friends’ perspective and it wasn’t bad at all. It was gloriously reassuring. I love that Jen is still Jen; I wish I’d told her that. I also love that every day, thanks to this blog, I realize what a freak I am for obsessing about things that aren’t stress-worthy. I do have two nuts and I need to caress them and honor them with all my heart.

Simply, I need to give myself a mommy erection a bit more often. I hope you give yourself one too—and your partner*.

* Malibu Dad made me write that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The one day I leave my hemp and flax dress home...I swear

I had today off from work. Chuck was on interviews (after a year of being laid off, employment is on the horizon) so Junior and I were left to frolic in the wonderland that is southeastern Connecticut.

Gah.

I decided to buy Junior some new books. I was all set to go to Barnes and Noble when I thought, why not support an independent bookseller instead? So I set my sights on the Niantic Book Barn.

Holy books. The place is set up like a compound, and there are used books everywhere. Not only do they sell books, there’s a kids’ playground…

…which was so infested with mold and mildew I skeeved at Junior touching anything. Seriously, have you ever been to someone’s house and enjoyed the ambiance of his/her laid back décor but upon closer inspection realized you mistook carefree for neglected? That’s how the Book Barn felt. I wanted to embrace the outdoor armchair nestled by a stack of books, but the more I looked at it, the more it looked like a chair I’d seen by the side of the road on dump day.

I don’t want to leave an establishment with Cladosporium clinging to my ass.

So Junior and I ventured inside and climbed the steep wooden stairs to the children’s section. A flattened Clifford the Red Dog lay on the floor, along with an assortment of…oh, hell, why pussy foot around? The toys looked like they had mange. As I raced through the books, I kept whispering to Junior, “Don’t play with that!”

Have you ever done the whisper-shout? It hurts your teeth.

Finally, I’d had enough. I grabbed some books and paid for them. The cashier ringing me out looked like a chubby Lily Munster. She didn’t smile. No one did. It was like everyone had just survived a plane crash and was suffering from PTSD.

Maybe I didn’t fit in. Maybe I should have worn a beret with crusty apple stuck to it and been perusing Yeats instead of wiping my child down with Purell? Maybe I should have braided organic alfalfa sprouts into my pubic hair to symbolize the suffering of genetically modified food?

Whatever.

I don’t need every retail experience to feel like Mickey Mouse’s smile is crammed up my butt, but as I drove away, I seriously wondered if I’d accidentally wandered into a Niantic commune full of childless artists and hippies and if they were pissed off about it.

Oh, but right, the books. The friggen books.

The best part? As we walked to the car, Junior squatted, turned to the woman walking past and grunted, “I’m poopin.”

Book Barn, if you'd give me all your Bukowski and Curious George books, I'd spend the day sweeping and polishing. You just need a little shine to your grime. I also have some gently used children's toys I'd be happy to donate. And maybe, just for a day, your moose statue could squirt vodka instead of water. Maybe then someone would smile.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Tuesday thoughts: Everyone's naked

It's time for RTT, brought to you by the fabulous Un Mom.

randomtuesday

Why do some people walk like they’ve just climbed off a horse? It makes me silly.

What should I do about my life? I got a job offer in my field that would allow me three days in the office and two days at home. I’m thrilled but honestly, can I really get any work done with a toddler in the house? Sometimes it’s hard to find time to pee, never mind design a catalog.

I wish I didn’t like muffins so much.

I’m trying to be positive about winter coming, but now that the leaves have fallen off the trees, Connecticut is starting to get that dead look. How can one possibly be cheery when the natural world is screaming, “I’m a scraggly, naked mess!”? Or am I just projecting onto the trees?

(I’m not naked right now, promise. But if I were, would that change how you felt about this post?)

We’re getting five new windows put in downstairs. They are big ass windows, and the man’s here right now putting them in. When Chuck answered the door in his bathrobe, Chuck accidentally flashed him.

Ok, that’s not true but Chuck’s reading this over my shoulder and I wanted to give him a rise.

I’m not going to miss the plastic we used to put over those old windows. The draft was so bad the curtains would sway. It still wasn’t as bad as that apartment Chuck and I rented in Portland, Maine. My dad helped us put Styrofoam over some of the windows and then plastic.

Course, I think he saw Rico the landlord and wanted to shield us from the view. Didn’t work.

I am now convinced that ad agencies are feeding their creative teams LSD. How else to explain a juice commercial that involves school children, a comatose rabbit and balloons?



I'm scared.

But I'm not naked.

Promise.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

News flash: Thomas the Train does not have a bar car



I don’t mean to be overly dramatic but holy shit, we made it. We spent our day with Thomas the Train in Essex, Connecticut. Walking into that Lala Land of Sodor music and screaming kids was downright trippy. I’ve never seen so many Sodorites. Every kid was sporting Thomas gear. And meltdowns? Scary. Ear piercing. Frequent. On more than one occasion I held Junior to me and whispered, “Thank God you’re mine.”

Junior was pretty juiced to ride Thomas. The bouncy train seats were nice. As was the open window. The sunshine. Mellow Junior.

But.

I know, I know, there’s always a but.

The ticket-taker talked the whole ride. On a microphone that was wired into enormous speakers—speakers that were everywhere. If your toddler wanted to ask you a million times “Is Thomas puffin?” you had to keep shouting yes. YES, YES, Thomas is puffin!

And instead of “Day with Thomas,” it should have been “Five minutes with Thomas.” Unless you walked to the front of the train after your ride (and by “walk” I mean let the crowd carry you), you didn’t see him. Junior kept asking us where Thomas was hiding.

For $90 ($18 per ticket x 3 tickets + $17.50 service fee + $15 shipping fee), my kid should not be struggling to locate the whereabouts of a bright blue locomotive with a face! It’s almost funny.

Almost.

Know what else is almost funny? Overhearing other parents’ conversations as we ate our $3.50 mac and cheese (to be fair, hotdogs were $1.50). My favorites:

“I need a cigarette and a nap.”

“Godammit, Spencer! [belch] Now I have to get you another [belch] straw!”

I don’t know what was scarier: The fact that someone thought picnic tables next to Porta-potties was a good idea or the loose interpretation of the term parenting I observed.

I don’t mean to put a negative spin on the experience (I mean, when Junior reflects on his life this will probably be up there with getting laid), but I feel jipped. The ad said storytelling. In reality, a video of Thomas played on a pull-down screen. The ad promised “Build with LEGO bricks.” There were LEGOs in the shape of Thomas, but he was already assembled, and kids were playing King of the Mountain on him (I’m not kidding, Junior took a heel to the cheek trying to just stand near him). Sure, you could meet Sir Topham Hat—for another $20.

Twenty bucks! To meet a scary-looking plump white guy who’s always giving orders.

And what the frick? The allure of Thomas the Train isn’t just Thomas, it’s all of his friends. It's the "You're cross" and the "No, now he's cross" and the "Check the signals!" and the "Ok, even though we're fickle little engines let's be friends again" comradery that makes it special.

For some kids, naming Thomas’ friends is as much a rite of passage as knowing their ABCs. Yet the only sign of Gordon, Emily, Percy, James, Sir Handel, Henry, Stanley—crap, I know too much about this topic—was one incredibly lame waist-high poster with a few of the trains on it.

Oh, and in the gift shop. The gift shop’s cup runneth over.

Well, next Saturday my cup will runneth over. My aunt, cousin and mother want to experience Thomas with Junior. He’s a lucky little boy in that he gets to go twice. I'm lucky in that now I know exactly what to bring with me:

1) earplugs

2) a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

3) a flask

Friday, November 6, 2009

I don't just blog about fleas and rotten meat. Hello. Take II

My friend called me yesterday. She’s the one who gave me the cookbook, so I thought she was calling about my meat explosion.

I was right.

After the mockery she said, “I like your blog, but you don’t really talk about being a mom that much.” I must have sounded hurt because she immediately backpedaled. “What I mean is, I wouldn’t really call it a mom blog. You write about work a lot. And Chuck. And Mulletville. And fleas. And other stuff, too.”

The conversation ended there because Junior wanted to get out of the tub and I didn’t want to wrestle a slippery toddler with a phone crooked in my neck, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what she said.

Avoiding the obvious—which is that the life of a mom need not be relegated to parenting issues alone—part of me wondered if I’d have more to say about being a mother if I didn’t work full-time. That made me a little sad. I’m home by 4:30, so I have a nice chunk of time with Junior at night, but my posts aren’t full of anecdotes about my kid because, well, I’m not with my kid all the time.

But even if I were, Junior isn’t entertaining 24-7. Sure, he held up plastic hangers to his ears last night and shouted, “I’m a moose!” but you’re not Junior’s grandmother; you probably don’t want to hear about every cute thing he does.

Another part of me tried to remember if my intention from the get-go was to be a mom blogger. I think it was. I think when I first started this blog I fancied myself a valuable resource for fellow moms. Clearly, I was drunk when I envisioned that.

The more I thought about the whole “You’re not really a mom blogger” comment, the more I realized I’ve kind of been avoiding the mom issue, and that my meatloaf is a fitting picture for why. It illustrates what my brain sees lately in the blogosphere: momsplosion.

Lately, there are so many women blogging about what it means to be a mom that my brain cells can’t synthesize it all. There are blogs of helicopter moms, supermoms, entrepreneurial moms, kayaking moms, product-reviewer moms, WOHMs, SAHMs, WOOHs, juggling moms, green moms, hybrid moms, stepmoms, same-sex moms and moms with two vaginas.

Then there are moms blogging about the helicopter moms, supermoms, entrepreneurial moms, kayaking moms, product-reviewer moms, WOHMs, SAHMs, WAHMs, juggling moms, green moms, hybrid moms, stepmoms, same-sex moms and moms with two vaginas.

And we haven’t even gotten to the dad blogs! (Had I known Chuck was so en vogue as a stay-at-home dad, I would have gotten his Viking-Ghostbusting-Stay-at-Home-Dad in the Buff calendar ready a whole year earlier.)

My point is that there are parents everywhere, and they are blogging about everything. A few years ago, blog tracker Technorati estimated there were about 8,500 blogs where parents were writing about their kids. That’s before the mom/dadsplosion. Right now, there are probably 657,836,098,747,647 blogs where parents are writing about their kids.

I've connected with some of them—like .0092%—and I love it. I really do. But some days, the sheer volume of words makes me feel like reaching for the Massengill. Do we honestly have that much to say about parenting? Do you ever feel that we’re saturating the blogosphere with our parental introspection? Do you think by now we might have covered everything?

I do. Some days I envision the parental blogosphere as the Great Oz. And I picture a mom—or dad—hitting “publish” on her—or his—blog post and the Great Oz receiving this notification:



Yah, the Great Oz uses a Mac. Of course he does.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The good news is that Quentin Tarantino is working it into his next script

Almost one year ago, I posted this. Oh, fine, lazy asses, I'll give you the Cliff Notes. I wrote "...I want to be culinarily fertile. I want to leaven a lasagna, birth a moist banana nut bread, souse a Succotash."

I still feel that way, even though the memories of this and this still haunt me. So last night, I put on my big girl pants and ventured into the Land of Meatloaf.



But instead of Julia Childing a meatloaf, I ended up with something that resembled...oh, shoot, are you trying to eat breakfast? I should probably be offering you a puke pan instead of descriptive analogies.

What happened? Was the meatloaf scared of the edge? Why did it recoil so?

Seriously, if that damn chunky blob of wretch is not the most compelling argument for becoming a vegetarian, I don't know what is. You fellas at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association better watch out. I'm single-handedly (and, albeit, unintentionally) bringing you bad boys down.

I'm hoping the Apron Goddess can whip me up a flowery one of these. I'd like mine in extra small: all this nauseating food means Mama Mullet's shrinkin as fast as her meatpile.

The silver lining to this debacle is that Chuck has agreed to take a cooking class with me! Isn't that sweet? Now I just need to find one through the Mulletville Continuing Education Department. Shudder. One whose menu doesn't include possum dumplings or fried muskrat. Mmmyah, maybe now you'll take this post a little more seriously.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some nights it's better not to talk

Mrs. Mullet, after a rough day at work: "I need a hug."

Chuck: "Hold on."

Mrs. Mullet: "Now."

Chuck: "I'm coming."

Mrs. Mullet: "What's taking so long? Don't you want to be there for me in my fragile emotional state?"

Chuck: "I always want to be there for you in your fragile emotional states."

Mrs. Mullet: "States? Who said anything about multiple states? I didn't say state, plural. I said state. As in one."

Chuck: "One what?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'd consider dating the Easter Bunny

Seven parents. A one-year-old princess. A four-year-old Spider-Man. A five-year-old rock star. A five-year-old Super Mario brother. A four-year-old Butterfly Princess. A two-year-old dinosaur. And Junior, the two-year-old pirate who looked more like a well-dressed hobo.

I now know exactly what it feels like to herd sheep: crazed, maniacal, cackling sheep on a sugar high. The most frightening sheep ever! Sheep who decide to roll around on people's lawns. Who disappear into shrubs and wander off with other trick-or-treaters. Who yell into the night sky like barbarians.

Who wake up at 6:15 a.m. thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

Halloween, now that we've officially met, toddler-style, I think it's time we start to see other people.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I need your help! SOS! WOK! PAN!

Did you know that I am single-handedly keeping Morningstar Farms in business? Me and the company are such good pals I'm a Facebook fan. I'm a member of their prestigious Insider's Club. Junior's on their Chik Patties like a...oh crap, it's early, insert witty simile. Or is it metaphor? Did I mention it's early?

I'm begging you, if you know of any good toddler cookbooks, tell me what they are. Junior wants to dress up as a Morningstar Farms Veggie Riblet for Halloween and cute as he'd be, it'd be so nice if we could wean him off the pre-made stuff and onto something Mama Mullet made.

P.S. Please, please, puhleeeze don't suggest Jessica Seinfeld's kiddie cookbook. I think the family has enough money and the cover design is so hokey!

P.P.S. I was not paid to write this post. Not even in black bean burgers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yet another reason why big-handed men are show stoppers


I saw a doctor in Mulletville today about my busted knee. Turns out I’ve got Chondromalacia Patellae. If you’ve never heard of that before, it means that my knee mistakenly believes it’s attached to an 85-year-old body and has decided to eat itself. Luckily I don’t have the flatulence problem of an octogenarian, but I’m sure my hiney will be the next thing to go. I can just sense it.

News of my condition put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day. More foul than usual. That was unfortunate because I had a meeting scheduled—for the newly formed Mirth and Recreation Committee.

Yes, that’s right: Mirth and Recreation Committee.

Because working 35-80 hours a week isn’t enough. Sitting in a veritable petri dish of germs and dysfunctional personalities isn’t enough. Now, instead of setting us free at the end of the day, my company has devised another committee whose intent is to entrap us—under the guise of merriment.

Hah! If I wanted to channel recreation through my workplace I’d get smashed, strip off my clothes and spray paint enormous penises on the building.

The head of the Mirth and Recreation Committee (who henceforth shall be known as The Head) had other things in mind, namely an after hours cookie and punch get-together with a roaming magician.

Sound like fun? No! A magician can pull a Ferrari out of his ass; it still doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m not home with my child. I just want to go home!

For once, I got some support when I said as much. It was decreed that the get-together would be held during lunch and that the magician would do a demo beforehand so the committee could determine whether or not he’s entertaining or annoying. Oh, how I wish there were a trap door.

Everything was going smoothly until The Head said, “How will everyone know when the get-together is over?”

There were harrumphs, nervous coughs, talk of the get-together last spring that lingered and lingered.

Someone raised her hand. “What if we signify that it’s over by having people clap?”

Yes! Yes! The Head loved that. What a brilliant idea! Why market the event with a run-time of noon to one when instead you could shoo everyone out with ambiguous thunderous applause?

Genius!

Then, from The Head: “Who shall start the clapping?”

Everyone shrugged their shoulders. Who indeed?

A smile spread across The Head’s face. “Hold your hands up. Whoever has the largest hands shall begin the clapping.”

As I raised my hands high in the air for inspection, I fought the urge to simultaneously bang my head on the table. Right now, it’s the only body part that’s working. And even that is questionable.

(If you're having a nah-uh moment, let me remind you of this and this.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I get any sexier I'm going to have to end this blog

I’m finally back from the David Gray concert in New York City. Yes, that was Saturday night and today is Tuesday, but I fell so in love with David Gray that I decided to sit on top of his tour bus for a few days, just to be close to him.

In a few words, underpasses suck.

I didn’t need my husband’s athletic cup during the show, but I could have used a sweat guard. We were in the third row and I could practically see the sweat flying off Mr. Gray’s body. Unlike Hunk-o-mania, I jumped up in the air to lap it up.

Yes, I am that much in love.

But like everything else, once something good crosses the border into Mulletville, it turns to shit. So now instead of basking in the warm glow of my newfound amour, I am hobbling along with my head down.

Why? My knee is busted.



I get sharp shooting pains when I walk, and I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s from carrying a 40-pound toddler? Perhaps it’s from running through the halls of work and trying to compensate for my still-healing sprained ankle by hopping on one leg?

Or maybe—and I think this is the most logical—my body dislikes Mulletville so much it’s decided to simply fall apart.

I’m being serious, here. I need a change. I’m in a big, fat funk and I don’t know how to get out of it. All I know is that the present situation isn’t working. My work environment is toxic. It’s a matriarchal system gone horribly, horribly wrong. My hometown depresses the hell out of me. It gets dark after lunch (slight exaggeration, I guess). I miss my son. I now limp on both sides of my body. And every Monday I sit next to a guy in a meeting whose Thoreau coffee mug always seems to be pointing at me. It reads:



Which makes me think of Oprah’s saying:

"If you do not listen to the whisper, you will then get a message, and if you don’t pay attention to the message, you will get a crisis, and eventually if you ignore that you will get a disaster. The first hint of fear, the first whisper that something is out of order, pay attention!"

Blah, blah, blaoprah. Let's rewind and read that Mullet-style:

"If you do not listen to the smushed finger and smashed car door, you will then get a smushed toe, and if you don’t pay attention to the smushed toe, you will get a sprained ankle, and eventually if you ignore that you will get a busted knee and pitiful case of woe-is-me. The first hint of a mullet, the first hairdo that is business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back, pay attention!”

Now look, I’d much rather lend my ear to Thoreau than Oprah, but the woman’s got a point. I think the Universe has been shouting at me (and my finger, toe, ankle and knee) for a while. I’m not sure what we’re going to do but holy shit, if I’m still blogging about my same woes in six months (or if I'm typing with a salad tong taped to my shoulder because I've lost my arm), I will end this blog.

Swear.to.blog.

(Hah! I'm so clever!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm hoping this is the kind of function where my privates won't be under attack

I’m going to see David Gray in NYC tonight with my girlfriends. My friend is bringing her dog, so her dog can stay with her sister while we go to the concert. For reasons I don’t quite understand, the dog will be wearing a diaper.

I didn’t ask.

I’m a little nervous because the crew that I’m going with is the same crew who planned my bachelorette party in NYC four years ago. Picture me, a sweet little engaged lamb, carefully packing my overnight bag for my last hoorah. Now picture my friends at the chotchkie store, buying penis shaped straws and lollipops.

I thought we were going bar hopping. Instead they took me to...

To...Hunk-o-mania.



Yes! And it was as gross as it sounds. Hundreds of brides-to-be and their friends sat at tables in what seemed to be an abandoned factory. The room had the smell and feel of a petting zoo. A dark petting zoo with sweaty, gyrating men everywhere. Men danced on stage and their oil and sweat flew off in big chunks and hit you in the face!

Ok, that might be the tequila talking. I had a lot tequila.

Women screeched and screamed as the dancers worked the crowd. Sometimes I’d look over and see a dancer holding a woman around his waist as he thrust her up and down. The women seemed to enjoy this. I must have been snarling at the dancers because no one tried to pick me up and dry hump me.

The grand finale of the night was when each bride-to-be was called up on stage so she could enjoy a personal dance. There was more thrusting and screeching. Some women were placed on the ground and ploughed. Others were stretched and pulled into positions I’ve only read about in Cosmo. I can’t be sure, but I think I saw a live enactment of the much heralded Wheelbarrow position.

Then it was my turn. The sweaty, oily man sat me down in a chair. I'm sure I looked grossed out (and, ok, cross-eyed from the tequila). He approached me and gyrated. He tried to spread my legs. I believe I put up some resistance. When he finally pried my legs open, I looked away and that’s when he made a fist and jabbed me—in my crotch!

Not a Vin Diesel kind of jab, but enough of a punch that it stung.

I got up and walked off stage. My friend asked me, “How was it?” and I shouted, loud enough so everyone could hear: “HE PUNCHED ME IN THE CROTCH.”

I thought that after my declaration I’d fall into the sympathetic arms of the sisterhood, or at least the establishment. Alas, some chick in the bathroom was on her knees as she thanked her dancer for her dance. She didn’t care about my mangled privates. And the manager? When I told him what had happened, he asked if I wanted him to rub it all better. Bastard!

I was so irate that I demanded we leave. I started towards the door and then I fell. Flat on my back on the concrete floor. I was in a cab by 10:15 and in bed by 11.

Rock on!

So you see, when my darling girlfriends tell me we are going to a concert in NYC I am a little leery. I haven't actually seen the David Gray tickets. All I know is that we are getting a 2:30 p.m. train.

Should I bring my husband's athletic cup?

In defense of adoration—even in the deli line

The toddler was all over his mother. Cam and I were in line at the deli at Mulletville Lite's town grocery store, watching the lov...