Thursday, July 29, 2010

He’s so kinky, that Chuck

On the whole, being pregnant has made me ridiculously sappy and sensitive to my fellow man. I’m that fool crying over lame commercials and decrying the injustice of someone speeding past an elderly woman in the parking lot. What if she was scared? What if the racing car gave her heart palpitations, which sent her into cardiac arrest and the shop attendant found her lying by her grocery cart, melted ice cream dripping down her frail, little arms? What if?

Save the whales!

Then there are the other days. The days the What to Expect chick is talking about when she casually mentions that you "may be" emotional during your pregnancy. Like she's giving you permission.

Yep. Those are the days when I remind myself of Bruce Banner from the Hulk: “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Like yesterday. Chuck went to a networking function Tuesday and yesterday; he spent Tuesday night at a friend’s house. When he came home last night, it was close to 9 p.m. I was upstairs, half asleep, as I am most nights. I heard the front door open. I waited for his footsteps on the stairs. And I waited. Surely he was going to come upstairs and ask me how I was or if I needed anything. Surely.

I waited some more. And some more. I heard things clanging in the kitchen. It was 9:30 p.m.

“Relax,” I told myself, “he’ll be up in a minute.”

9:45 p.m...9:48 p.m...

The more I sat there, the more enraged I became. How dare he not run upstairs and check on his pregnant wife? He’d been gone for two days. How could he be so cold and insensitive? What kind of beast had I married? Should I be having children with this stone wall of a man? I’d birth a brick, that’s how cold he was! And what the hell was he doing in the kitchen?

I stormed downstairs and caught him red handed. Doing the dishes.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi?” I spat. “Now you say hi? Now?”

Oh, God, no, there was no stopping it.

“How could you not come upstairs—”

“I thought you were sleeping—”

“Don’t interrupt me! You’re cold! You didn’t want to check on me? See how I’m doing? You’ve been gone for two days—” Snot, tears, red eyes. “Two days!” More snot. “How could you not check on me?”

“I thought I’d do the dishes and then—”

“The dishes?! The dishes?? What about me? What if I was thirsty? Didn’t you want to see me? Didn’t you miss me?”

Once I got started I couldn’t stop. I had a Niagara Falls' worth of hormonal angst, and it was gushing out.

All in all I’d say the What to Expect rationed mood swing lasted a good half hour. Then, as quickly as it started, it was over. A strange calm came over me. I stood there staring at Chuck. I suddenly couldn’t remember why I’d been so upset. He’d been doing the dishes. He thought I was sleeping.

Holy shit, I thought, this must be how Bruce Banner feels when he comes to wearing his shredded clothing.

“I think I should get some sleep,” I said. “You, uh, coming to bed?”

Chuck stared at me, mouth agape. He nodded.

“Super!” I said.

I had every intention of apologizing when Chuck came upstairs, but he didn’t want to talk. Instead he wanted me to tie a rope around my neck and do silly tricks, like jump off a chair while the rope was also tied to the ceiling.

Luckily I've porked up enough to make that impossible.


Monday, July 26, 2010

I'd show you an actual picture of the penis cupcakes, but you and 600 "friends" have probably already seen them

In the good ole days, if someone brought a camera to a party and snapped a photo while you were popping a zit or scratching your ass, you didn’t have much to worry about. What was the worst that could happen? They’d develop the unflattering photo and put it in an album? Oh no, not that.

Even if they passed the photo around, you could at least grab the photo and destroy it.

There was an “Oh, shit!” moment, but it wasn’t debilitating.

Now, thanks to Facebook, everything has changed.

Case in point: Sunday was Junior’s birthday party. My 14-year-old niece, who’s my friend on Facebook, brought her camera. To say that she’s active on Facebook is to say that Miley Cyrus is kind of a poor role model. My niece updates her status every 10 minutes.


“Looking out the window.”

“Blowing my nose.”

Every time I turned around at the party she was snapping a picture. I’m not (totally) vain, but I’m pregnant and lumpy and it was 95 degrees with 100% humidity. I was chasing toddlers around. I was cramming food in my mouth. Eva Mendes would have had a hard time looking good under those conditions.

All I could think was “Fucking Facebook! Every one of these pictures is going to end up there.”

I was right. Last night, I signed onto my account and had 45 notifications that I’d been tagged. Forty-five! As I looked through the photos though, I realized something: I wasn’t as much bothered by the fact that my sweaty puss was plastered all over Facebook as I was that Junior’s face was. Chuck and I don’t like his image all over the Internet. It’s why I don’t post hundreds of pictures of him on this blog or on Facebook.

Part of me says, Relax, Mrs. Mullet. My niece loves Junior. She wanted her friends to see him. And really, what’s going to happen? Plenty of people post pictures of their kids online, and I haven’t seen any Dateline specials on the disastrous outcomes.

“Child blowing bubbles viewed by 2,000 people! May be viewed by even more! Tune in tonight.”

My own cousin created a blog after she moved to Oregon so her family back East could keep up-to-date; it features tons of pictures and personal information. She enjoys sharing her life on her blog. She told me I should do the same.

If only she knew.

Then the other part says, Enough! Enough with the cyber ejaculating. Privacy and delicacy have ceased to exist, and no one seems to mind. My co-worker posted the visiting hours for her brother’s funeral on Facebook. I’ve been invited to weddings, alerted to deaths in the family and learned the intimate details of people’s divorces (along with everyone else, I guess). It’s gotten downright creepy. Call me old fashioned, but if Uncle George croaks I’d like a phone call, not a RIP status update.

And back to Junior's Facebook debut: Shouldn't I get to decide if someone else can post pictures of my child, who happens to be a minor? I'd hope someone would ask permission before they put up a billboard on Interstate 95 with his name and mug shot; isn't it kind of the same thing?

Yes, there are upsides to Facebook. It’s easy to stay connected to friends and family. If you’ve friended your ex you can look through his photo album and revel in the fact that he’s got two chins and married a woman who looks like a man. It's nice keeping up with Vag. But some days it feels like too much. Too much sharing with an entity that has a lot of gray matter. Why are we sharing so much? What are we looking for?

More importantly, couldn’t someone have told me I had artichoke dip in my teeth and that my arms look like a linebacker’s?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This year's theme: franks 'n beans

On Junior's first birthday, I outed Chuck.

On Junior's second birthday, I wrote a letter to Chuck's friend's girlfriend's breasts.

For Junior's third birthday party, my mother is helping me make cupcakes in the theme of Curious George. She suggested we use Milk Duds and banana candy to make a monkey.

"I'm thinking two Mild Duds for eyes and a banana for the nose," she said.

"You mean like this?"

"Yes, perfect."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're running out of places to puff. And by puff I mean PUFF, dammit

Junior’s third birthday was Tuesday so—ssshhhhh—I played hooky from work and Chuck and I took him on the two-and-a-half hour Essex Steam Train and Riverboat ride. (If you’re new here, hello, my son is obsessed with trains. If you’re familiar with all the puffin' that goes on in our household, you know that going on a steam train is Junior’s idea of Heaven.)

The train ride was nice. But just as we’d settled into the chug-chug-chugging, the conductor announced it was time for the Becky Thatcher riverboat ride! Curses!

We got off the train and were shepherded towards the boat. What ensued was a 40-hour ride along the Connecticut River. Not only was the ride narrated, it was narrated by a sarcastic teenage boy whose tone said, “I’d rather slice open my limbs on rusty nails than repeat this historical crap.”

Crap like "John Connecticut discovered the the Connecticut River. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding." And "The Connecticut River was once rated ‘D.’ ‘D’ for dirty. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding."

I started having flashbacks to when my father had custody of me and my younger brother on the weekends and he’d take us on fun (read: educational) excursions to broaden our horizons. My brother and I spent a fair amount of time brutally mocking tour guides—hey, it was survival—so I was disappointed when Chuck wouldn’t join me.

The whole time we were on the boat, Chuck and I reassured Junior that we’d be back on the train any second now...just a few more minutes...

"The Connecticut River is now rated ‘B.’ ‘B’ for bite me. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding."

Finally—finally—the boat headed back to the dock. We got off the boat and walked back to the train. We climbed aboard.

“Here we are!” we cried. “Back on the steam train!”

All was right again. Junior jumped out of his skin when the whistle blew. He ooohed and aaahed at the steam. But no sooner had we started puffin' than the conductor announced we’d be pulling into the station at any moment.

I almost puffed into the engine room and clubbed him.

Here’s the thing. If you’re going to sell tickets ($27 per person and $17 for children over two) to a 2-hour boat ride with a train accompaniment, why don’t you just come out and say that? If the bulk of the excursion is going to consist of pimply, snarky narration on a smelly boat that’s crawling down a brown river, your website should convey that.

Another drawback? There was no recycling on the Becky Thatcher riverboat. All the water bottles, soda cans and juice containers from the snack bar went right into the garbage.

This Connecticut excursion is rated ‘NMP.’ ‘NMP’ for not much puffin'. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding*.


Monday, July 19, 2010

To everyone who said that parenting was the toughest job you’ll ever love: Screw you for being so right

Something happened this winter that changed everything.

Junior had been sick all of January and February and March with chronic ear infections and stomach bugs. He only wanted me. He was clingy and whiny, and I felt like a Siamese twin who desperately wanted her other half surgically removed.

The high point was when I took a shower as he body slammed himself against the stall door and screamed, “Mommmmy! Mooooommmmy!” The low point was on my birthday, when I pooped with him on my lap because he wouldn't stop crying.

Happy 35th birthday indeed

By the end of March, I was ready to see other people. Of course, you can’t divorce your child, so I did the next best thing: I took Junior hiking with my two friends and their dogs. The rocks were unsteady; I could make it look like an accident.

I’m kidding! I thought the fresh air and change of scenery would do us good.

Ten minutes into the hike things started to fall apart. Junior wanted me to pick him up. He whined. He stopped to examine every tree. My friends walked as s.l.o.w.l.y. as they could, but their dogs were pulling them. Soon they were far ahead of us.

To say I was impatient is an understatement. I told Junior to hurry up, that I was not carrying him and that he’d better M-A-R-C-H. I just wanted to hike, dammit. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. We’d almost caught up with my friends when Junior started moaning and dawdling again. I took him by the hand and pulled him along, but he still wasn’t fast enough. He was on the verge of tears. I was frustrated.

I left him and started walking.

I didn’t walk far—I’m not going to leave my kid alone in the woods, obviously—but I walked far enough ahead that he started running to catch up.

“Mommy!” he cried. “Mommy, wait!”

I turned around, and that’s when I saw him. I mean really saw him. His cheeks were bright red. His nose was running. He was scared. He looked so little. I felt like a monster. Junior had been sick for almost three months and here I was mad at him for not wanting to go on a brisk hike. Here I was ready to yell.

That’s when everything shifted.

I took a few deep breaths. I told my friends to go on without us. I knelt down and wiped Junior’s nose. I adjusted his mittens. We sat on a stone wall and ate a banana. We talked about the moss on the rocks and how the winter streams were starting to melt. We listened to the woods.

I let Junior be Junior.

When we were done with our snack, I gave him a piggy back ride down the hill. When we reached the bottom, we drew in the snow with sticks.

Was it my idea of a good time? Not exactly. After a sedentary winter, I had wanted to move my muscles. I had wanted to talk to my friends. But before I’d turned around and looked at my child and thought about what he needed from me—not what I wanted—I’d been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Most often, I find that the moments I struggle most with parenthood are the moments I try to swim against the current; since that day, I’ve consciously been trying to have less and less of those experiences. Instead of rushing bath time because I have 20 other things on my to-do list, I make myself some cheese and crackers, grab a magazine and keep bath time off the clock. Instead of hurried grocery store trips that feature the word “don’t” a hundred times, Junior and I stop to say hi to the lobsters, and I let him help me put things into the cart.

Or I make Chuck go.

I’ve also been trying to say “no” less. Why can’t Junior pour small cups of water out of his little swimming pool onto the grass? The grass is dry as hell. It needs water. Why can’t he ride his truck down the hill? If he falls, he’s literally two inches off the ground.

I’ve looked hard at what I've been saying no to, which is the possibility of another mess to clean up or another bruise to tend to. But prevention can’t be parenting’s sole doctrine.

I’m not saying my mommying is so fragrant and purifying Massengill wants to buy the patent.

Some nights it just ain’t gonna happen. Bath time has to be 10 minutes. Junior needs to hear “don’t.” But our home feels calmer. I enjoy Junior more, and I think he enjoys me more.

So holy shit. One day before his third birthday, I think I’m actually starting to get it.

Course, everything will change when he's three, won't it?


Thursday, July 15, 2010

I really love vodka and lemonade and yes, I will steal dinner rolls again

I’ve been invited to my friend Amye’s baby shower. Given the table hell that was her bridal shower, I’m not too excited. This time I can’t even drink. And what the hell. I just went to a baby shower for a co-worker, Melissa.

At least there was some intrigue. Melissa talks like her nose is plugged up—just like the adults in the Peanuts catoons—so I was dying to see if the rest of her family suffered from the same affliction. Did her mom look like this?

She didn’t. It was very disappointing.

Melissa sat me next to two feisty older women. They had all the angst and grunt of the crotchety old men who sat in the balcony of the Muppets.

I loved them. When Melissa opened present number 1,896 (I think it was a breast pump that calls La Leche League if it senses you slacking off), one of the women turned to the other and said:

“Jesus Christ. When we had baby showers we were happy with a rectal thermometer and vat of Vaseline!”

I thought of these women today when I went online to see Amye’s baby shower registry. They would have died. I died, too. Amye registered for 247 items: wipe warmers with headlights, cradles, bouncy chairs, swings, carriers, bassinets, baby papasans, rockers, swingers, jumpers, vibrating seats, musical seats, seats that speak Spanish.

All that's missing is a blow up doll for her partner for the six weeks+ after giving birth that she can’t/doesn’t want to schtoop.

You know, the stuff she really needs.

Of course, I thought back to my own ineptitude when registering for my own baby shower gifts. I had no clue. What did my baby need besides my hooters, exactly? Could my baby sleep in a cardboard box on stilts instead of in a bassinet? Why not? Did 3T mean three times the size he was at birth?

I’d enlisted the help of friends to help me decipher the madness. From the looks of it, Amye decided to choose one of everything in the store.

It got me wondering: Do you think most new moms fall into this trap? When did having a baby become all about amassing stuff? When did it get so damn complicated? Most importantly, what's the silliest thing you registered for or bought that's now collecting dust?

It does kind of make you long for a good old rectal thermometer.

Or a stiff drink at a baby shower. God I miss vodka.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Pssst, I got da stuff


My co-workers have had plenty of questions about my beauteous eyeball. Oddly, a lot of the questions involved Chuck. The accounting guy asked, “Did your husband do that to you in bed?”


“My wife,” he explained, “rolls over and knocks me in the nose with her elbow while she's sleeping.”

Sure she does. Can’t you just picture his wife calmly eating dinner, counting the moments until she can crack him one while she “sleeps”?

Zzzzzzzzzzzz. BOOF! “Ouch!” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. BOOF! “Ouch!” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It’s got a nice rhythm. I bet there sex life doesn’t.

Last night as I was walking by Junior’s bedroom, the door creaked open and a small finger poked out from the darkness. “Mommy,” he whispered. “I have a booger for you.” Sure enough, a ginormous green blob clung to his fingertip. I took it, and the finger disappeared. I stood there for a minute. Parenting is unlike anything I ever thought it would be.

Saturday—before the bees came—Junior and I went to our friend Krista’s for a play date. Krista’s little girl is only two and she’s already potty trained. Junior’s not quite there yet, but I lied and said he was. While Krista was in the bathroom, I ripped off Junior’s shorts and changed him as fast as I could. “Hurry up!” I said to Junior. “We have to be fast!” It wasn’t a proud moment. I have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, on Sunday Junior spent the entire day (in public) without a diaper.

I need to take a serious fucking chill pill.

Do you know about this site? I love it. I made the Mexican enchiladas, and they were delicious. If I can make them, a blind-folded limbless dog can. Seriously, you know what I do to food. Remember this poor pig? And this petit disaster?

Chuck’s mother found a book in her attic that lists the name of her family’s descendants—all the way back to the 1600s. She asked if Chuck and I would consider some of the family names. “Sure!” we agreed. Then she listed a few: “Thankful” and “Remember.” As much as I’d love to tell my mother we’re naming Boy #2 “Remember” and see her eyeballs bulge to the size of elephant testicles, I just can’t.

Unsightly eyeballs should be limited to one per family.

My 60-year-old coworker is retiring next month. She said that when she and her husband were just starting out, they had a choice to live in Mulletville or Oregon. For reasons I’ll never understand, they chose Mulletville. Then she said, “It’s been a good life.”

It hit me: I want to be the kind of person who says that, too. Even though Mulletville is a town of blight, homelessness, joblessness, missing teeth and unfortunate hair, I’ve met some silly little people who have made life more colorful. They’re nutjobs, really, but as long as I can still say with confidence that I haven’t been absorbed by the Mulletville mother ship (I’ll go down fighting, you bastards!), life is good.*

*The superstitious part of me needs to add a disclaimer to that last line, in case the universe is listening and wants to send me a big ole bitch slap for being so cheery. How about, “Life is good except for the fact that I don’t want to make love to my vacuum cleaner”?


Head on over to the UnMom for more random booger stories.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just when you start to feel stupid, someone comes along and takes all the pain away

Chuck went out with some friends Saturday night. After Junior went to bed, it was time to tear things up.

(You might want to send the kiddies away. This shit’s hot.)

First, I put on my pajamas. At 8:35 p.m. Then I got the lemon-scented Pledge out and dusted my bedroom. Then I settled into bed and slathered on some super gooey, banana-scented foot cream. I had a new David Sedaris book.

All was right in the world.

Then I heard the buzzing. I looked over and saw two bees zipping around my night table. They must have been drawn to the fruit cornucopia.

My perfectly rational mother's instinct kicked in. Junior has never been stung by a bee. If I didn’t kill these bees they could fly under his door and into his room, sting him and cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. His life was at stake.

I had to kill these bees.

But how? I didn’t want bee smush on my new book. I grabbed the Pledge from the night stand and doused the bees. They didn’t like that. I squirted them some more. They started dive bombing me. They were out for blood. I jumped off the bed so I could finish them off and that’s when it happened:

Gooey banana foot cream + Pledged hardwood floors = Mrs. Mullet slides face first into her dresser.

And ends up looking like this:

I know what you’re thinking: what about the bees? Did she kill them?

I don’t fricken know. They disappeared as soon as I started wailing. Despite my condition, I mustered up the strength to get on my computer and google “Does Pledge kill bees?” but I never got a definitive answer.

I did, however, discover that I’m not alone in my quest for an answer. Some stalwart made a video chronicling her Pledge + bee encounter.

Killer ending! A real knee gripper.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Maybe next week, babyface. Tonight I'm making dinner for me and the Kenmore Java Lava Upright

Ok, ok, I admit it: My last post was a shameless attempt to get a free vacuum cleaner. I was hoping that a sales rep from Dyson or Electrolux might be perusing the Internet for needy cases, see my pathetic hairy sock picture and exclaim, “We must get this woman a vacuum!”

Why not? It worked with the Furminator and Snuggie. And that was years ago. If cheese and wine improve with age, the value of someone’s blog freebies should too. It’s perfectly reasonable that someone should want to send me a $500 vacuum. I’m a mom blogger, dammit! I’ve earned it.

Sadly, no one has contacted me.

But fear not, I have a working vacuum cleaner to hold me over. It’s one of the few things I inherited from my grandfather after he passed away. My father had bought it for him as a birthday present, and he never used it. You think my stairwell is dusty? My grandfather’s stereo was once stolen; after the police caught the suspect they confirmed the lifted stereo was indeed my grandfather’s by matching it to the dust imprint on his bureau.

Isn’t it sweet how I’ve followed in his footsteps?

My mother doesn’t think so. When she comes to my house to baby sit Junior, she twitches at the sight of the dust balls. Sometimes I’m not even out the door before she’s got the vacuum in her hands. Physically disabling the vacuum cleaner so she couldn’t use it would be akin to torture.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining that my mother vacuums my house while I’m at work. It’s just that she vacuums like she’ the midst of a serious romp with a 25-year-old Brazilian gigolo who knows how to use his poker.

I can’t tell you the times I’ve walked in on her as she’s bent over with her face in the baseboards.

“Yes! Yes!” she cries. “It feels so good to get in there and suck it all up! How could you not enjoy this?”

She’s covered in sweat. She’s breathless. It kind of makes you want to shower.

Inevitably, I end up teasing her. Then I feel guilty because deep down I know that it is possible to have a satisfying encounter with the vacuum cleaner. It does feel good to suction up things that have been attacking your toes and clinging to your pants, children and guests. (Of course, I’d never tell my mother that because she’d enroll us in a vacuum cleaning retreat for mothers and daughters. Moms are hokey like that. At least my mom is. Hokey and embarrassingly intimate with the brush nozzle.)

Having said that, I don’t experience vacuum nirvana frequently enough to use it as an excuse (“Not tonight, hon, I’ve already ridden the Dirt Devil”).

But I guess you already know that, don’t you?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Could someone send some febreeze in case this really goes down?

There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes something like this: If the leg lamp matches the walls, don't unplug it and put it in the basement.

I reference it because Chuck and I are in the midst of a little game called "musical rooms."

Our upstairs consists of our bedroom, Junior’s bedroom, cat hair, a bathroom (remember this one?), my very pink office and Chuck’s odoriferous man room.

When we found out I was pregnant, I was ready and willing to surrender my room…to a girl. I envisioned plopping her crib into my she-cave and letting her revel in the pink, the flowers and show-girl lamps.

Most of all, I imagined that the wise words of Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, and Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior—grrrr!) would drift from my bookshelf

and into her brain as she peacefully slumbered. Their words would help her to become the kind of woman society doesn’t want her to be: an empowered woman who can keep her pants on.

Yes, I was eager to try and raise a smart non-slut.

As we all know, when we plan on rosebuds, life sometimes gives us a garden full of penises (that’s another proverb).

Unwilling to paint my office blue and lose my leg lamp, I shifted my eyes towards Chuck’s man room. It’s disheveled and frightening. I know there's a Mulletville fugitive hiding at the bottom of his closet:

Un-understandably, Chuck isn’t keen on giving up his space. Can you believe this guy? In a house that’s soon to be bursting with testosterone, he’s worried about having personal space for farting and scratching. Meanwhile, after Boy #2 enters the world, I’m worried I’m going to need my pink foo-foo shit more than ever. Like a crackhead needs crack. I can see myself licking the girly lampshades on bad days. I'm serious.

So all weekend, I worked on Chuck. And finally, somewhere in between Fourth of July hotdog number five and six, he offered this compromise: he'd give up his man room to Junior and the new kid, and he'd move his moldy socks and comic books into Junior's room.

Sounds great, right? But here's my question: What's your experience with shared bedrooms? When I shared a room with my older step-sister, she laid barbed wire around her bed because she thought I had preteen cooties. I felt like a leper. On the flip side, Chuck and his brother giggled the night away in their shared bedroom.

Can it really work?


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