ABOUT ME

About me: My husband Chuck, our six-year-old Junior, our three-year-old Everette and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So what if I was felt up to Wilson Phillips' "Hold On"?

DysFUNctional Mom wrote a great post yesterday. She compiled a list of blogging don'ts and the top reasons people stop reading blogs. One of the comments really struck me. Someone wrote that she stops reading if someone never comments [back] on her blog.

I understand where the person is coming from. If you invest time reading and commenting on someone’s blog, it would be nice to have the gesture reciprocated. But I wonder if the whole commenting craze has gotten a little out of hand.

Of course, comments are fun. It feels good to get feedback, and on a good comments day, you feel you’ve been crowned prom queen. Comments make blogging a little less lonely. You feel validated. You have readers.

Yay!

Sometimes the comments are more interesting than your post, but let’s not get into that right now.

The downside of commenting is that if you get too caught up in it, it can start to feel as if you’re blogging for other bloggers and that your blog would be nothing without their participation. The comments can start to feel like the reason for your blog’s existence. You use them as a barometer for your content. Even if a picture of your kid’s turd on the sidewalk garners more comments than your touching post about your masturbating great aunt, Burty, the commenters have spoken.

Even worse, comment obsession can trickle into other areas, like Facebook (“Why didn’t more people comment on my status update?? Am I not funny/witty/beautiful enough?”) or home life (“Why didn’t you say anything when I said I did the dishes?? Am I not funny/witty/beautiful enough?”).

They’re a dangerous thing, those comments.

Having said that, after reading DysFUNctional Mom's post, I feel like I need to explain why I haven’t been around to comment more on people’s blogs (also a commenting negative: feeling the need to apologize to the blogosphere). First, there’s my job. I read blogs at work—on my lunch hour, wink, wink—but I don’t leave comments because I’m haunted by what I imagine would go down in the IT Department:

“Marketing Head? We’ve got a user registered under one frogsinmyformula. She’s gone to at least 50 non work-related sites. It’s attached to a Blogger account. Perpetrator is in quadrant D455. Permission to professionally obliterate?”

“Roger. Before you obliterate, publish the blogger’s posts to the company website. We’ll make an example out of her!”

“Roger. Uh, sir. There’s a post here about you and a frozen turkey. Permission to remove from site?”

“A frozen what? Bring me the offender’s head!”

Second, there’s my home life. Time after work is dedicated to one-on-one time with Junior, making dinner, hating Mulletville, catching up on laundry and gardening, reading mail, brushing the cats, more Mulletville-hating and rubbing Chuck’s feet.

Junior goes to bed at eight; oftentimes that’s when I get back on the computer to work on freelance jobs I’ve taken to help pay the bills.

So you see, if I’m going to leave comments, it has to be somewhere between 2 - 3 a.m. and call me crazy, a little rest would be nice.

Just a little.

Anyway, since I can’t comment as much as I’d like, I want to take this opportunity to say, “Hello and thank you” to all the fabulous blogs I read. There are some amazingly talented bloggers out there. Thank you, too, to the wonderful people who regularly comment on my blog and make me feel like I’m a pimply, promiscuous teenager again at the prom.

God, I was a slutbag.

The end.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In this case yes, college might be a good thing

Poor Ann Curry. Did you see this article?



Brett Michael Dykes, a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News, details Curry's snaffu as commencement speaker at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Apparently she listed off several notable people who had attended the other Wheaton College. You know, the one in Illinois.

Oops.

The best part is the following:



Need a closer look?



It sure does "ad" insult to injury when reporters misspell words, ey?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Projectile vomit always makes me extra reflective

I called out sick from work today. I could say I needed a mental day and you'd totally understand (right?) but no, Junior and I were legitimately sick. He had another round of the barfing bug, and he gave it to me.

When Junior’s sick, I tend to let him watch more television than usual. It calms him down in a way that Play Dough doesn’t, especially when he’s dry heaving.

By noon, we’d exhausted every episode of Curious George, so we clicked through to see what else was on.

And hence began our journey into the picture-perfect world of Caillou.

Can I just say that, in addition to being a Charlie Brown rip-off, the kid looks like he needs a good meal. He squeaks his words. I kept waiting for the “Caillou has tapeworms” episode—something to explain his pasty pallor and toothpick legs, but nothing too terrible happens in Caillou-land. Mommy and Daddy never yell. Younger sister Rosie never cries. Grandpa and Grandma say the perfect thing.



It was nonstop sunshine and rainbows and Junior loved it. Meanwhile, it broke my heart. Junior's so sweet. He's a fool for good clean family fun. He's also incredibly thoughtful. If I can’t get the lid off a jar he says, “You can do it, Mommy.” After guests leave, Junior says, “I hope they had a great time!”

All of this makes me very nervous because all I can envision is Junior's uncorrupted, eager self stepping foot onto the playground and getting obliterated by the world. They will destroy him.

I know it’s premature to worry about bullying but my brother and Chuck had it bad. For most of middle school and high school my brother was “Le queer” (vive la France!) and Chuck was “fat faggot.” It was endless and merciless.

It’s not just bullies I worry about. It’s all the crap on television. It’s all the skanky billboards and innuendo and smut. It’s all the video game carnage. All the ugly shit.

As Junior sat there enraptured with Caillou, I found myself resenting the fact that Chuck and I have devoted so much time and energy to protecting Junior’s innocence—only to feel like the world is going to strategically disassemble it in a matter of hours.

It kind of sucks.

I know I can’t prevent it, and I don’t mean to sound like I want life to be a Disney movie, but dammit, when did innocence become such a precious and fragile commodity? When?

Friday, May 21, 2010

I called the library and checked. There's "Passion Pretzel" and "The Linguini" but no "Wishbone"

Yesterday at work my co-worker asked, "Do you wishbone with Junior?"

"Wishbone?" I asked. I made a face. "Wishboning" sounded kinky, like something out of Cosmo's Kama Sutra: 77 Mind Blowing Sex positions book, if one were to own such a book.

I said if.

She reached into her purse and handed me this:



A bag of bones.

They looked like little reindeer antlers. That made me sad and a little nauseous, like there had been a miniature reindeer massacre at her house and she brought me the aftermath. So I could "wishbone" with my toddler.

"Thank you?" I said.

"You have to wishbone with Junior. He'll love it. Do you know how?"

"You each pull an end and whoever gets the longer piece, their wish comes true?" Duh?

"There's a big roaster bone in there."

"I see."

I went home and emptied the carnage onto my chair.



When Junior came running in I thought, let's do this. Let's see if this is the Norman Rockwell experience my co-worker promised. Maybe instead of reading together at bed time we should have been wishboning. I mean shit, this could be big.

"Pull, Junior! Make a wish!"

When the bone snapped, he was holding the bigger piece.

"What was your wish?" I asked.

"Chooooooooo! Choooooooooooo!"

"Was that fun, sweetie?"

"Chooooooooooooo!"

I'm going to give them a proper burial after all.

R.I.P, little woodland creatures. R.I.P.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It also doubles as a gym sock

I’ve been thinking a lot about my trip last weekend to Assachusetts. It was great to see my girlfriends, Vulvodynia and Andy, and learn about their vaginal conditions. We laughed, we cried, we talked about our vaginas—what’s better than that?

The thing is, I almost didn’t go because I was annoyed with Andy. Up until last weekend, she’d been asking me to get together—without Junior. And she wasn’t subtle about it. Instead of, “Hey, how about a girl’s night out?” she’d email me: “How about a girl’s night out without Junior? You can come visit alone and we can hang out without the kid. How about driving up, just YOU?”

That peeved me. I work full-time and my weekends are Junior Time; nothing interferes with that. Nothing.

So I wrote back, “I GET IT. You’d like to see just me.”

She replied, “Sorry. Yes.”

I ranted to Chuck: “How dare she email me that? How could she be so—”

“—Honest? Go to Assachusetts. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last three years you’ve spent the night at your friends’.”

“But—but!”

“Go.”

Chuck was right. I needed to embark on a “me time” journey.

Yuck.

I hate that saying, and I hate the concept. It seems so...pink and fluffy and cliche. And let’s be honest, it’d be easier to take guilt-free “me time” if I didn’t work. Then, time away from Junior would be just that, instead of being MORE time away from Junior. The last thing I want to bring to my life is more time away from Junior, even if it means I’m a nicer, better person.

But come on, Mrs. Mullet, five hours isn’t going to kill anyone.

As for Andy, there was nothing wrong with that fact that she wanted to hang out with me without Junior. Imagine that! Adult time without breaks for diaper changes or sippy cup spills or meltdowns. How could she not want that?

The thing is, people need friends. Moms and dads, people without kids, aliens—even Ryan Seacrest needs friends. And that’s ok. I have to cut myself some slack. I have to stop watching the clock and tallying up the time Junior and I spend together to make sure it’s enough. I can’t be with him as much as I want, but until Chuck finds a full-time job (Chuck, can you hurry the fuck up?), I can’t fix that. Our relationship won’t flounder because I spend one weekend a year (or, gasp, two) with my friends.

Jesus. The guilt. The drama. The inner turmoil. The maxi pads!



Yes—that’s a maxi pad teabag. It was for my friend Vulvodynia’s tea. When she brought it back to the table I laughed until I cried.

Corny “Sex in the City” conclusion: It was a good thing I went. In fact, I may even go again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Is it over?

randomtuesday

If a 30-second stint in the microwave kills all the bacteria on a sponge, what does a 3-minute stint do to leftovers? Does my lunch have as much bacterial floria as notepaper?

My next door neighbor Eric tricked me into eating notepaper when I was a kid. He told me the lines were blueberry flavored, and I fell for it. He also told me giving someone the bird was a patriotic gesture (because “the bird” was a Bald Eagle). Some days he spit on me at the bus stop if I was in line ahead of him, and once he tried to get me to take my pants off.

Conveniently, his mother wouldn’t listen to neighborly complaints about her son because she “didn’t like tattles.” I always thought I’d like to use that line when I became a parent, but after 30 years of build-up, the appeal is gone.

I find the same to be true about being an adult.

Has anyone tried these?

I saw my friend this weekend. She has Vulvodynia. After she told me she had it, she asked me not to blog about it. That made me laugh. If you’ve never heard of it, Vulvodynia means pain in the vulva. I think the name sounds more like a flower or a little girl’s name.

“Oh Vulvodyniaaaaaa. You didn’t finish your peas, Vulvodynia.”

Is it just me or do Dixie and Kleenex not understand there's a Green movement underway whose success relies upon producing less waste? Dixie's slogan is "Turn your next meal into a Dixie moment." Does that moment include watching my children play on a landfill mound?

“Oh Vulvodyniaaaaaa. Please don't play on that garbage pile, Vulvodynia. I know there's no grass left, but please, climb down.”

And fucking Kleenex—they've created disposable hand towels. I checked out their FAQ's, just in case there was a "How can I sleep at night knowing I'm generating so much waste?" question, but all I found was "Where do I keep Kleenex Hand Towels in my home?"

Why, right next to your aerosol cans and plastic water bottles of course! Seriously, the human race kind of makes me sick sometimes. Him too:



I can’t decide if I want to go to BlogHer or not. Can someone who’s been before tell me what I am going to get for $300, besides the chance to meet a lot of great people?

For more randomness, check out this crazy cat.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today on the Young and the Enraged: Mold and booze

Mrs. Mullet: "Honey? The tub faucet won't shut off."

Chuck: "Step aside, I'll fix it."

Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam.

One hour later...

Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam. Clang. Bash. Rip. Crash! Thud. Spud. Rip. Smatter. Bam. Slam.

Two hours later...

Chuck: "Faucet's fixed. Take a look."



Mrs. M: "Omigawd! What the fuck did you do?"

Chuck: "I had to gut it." Beats chest. "You'll have to use the downstairs bathroom and bathe Junior in the kitchen sink. I'll spackle in some new sheetrock and gussy up the lathes."

Mrs. M: "The what? What did you do?"

Junior: "Can I see? Can I see? Can I see?"

Chuck: "Relax, Butterbutt. When I was 16 I built a house for Habitat for Humanity. I know what I'm doing."

Mrs. M: "Agh!" Then, this:



Mrs. M: "No. Oh, no. Did you drunken demo, Chuck? Did you? Did you?"

Junior: "Is that dirty? Can I see down there? Can I touch it? Can I see?"

Chuck: "Yes, baby, I did." Scratches self.

Junior: "Is that dirty? Can I see down there? Can I touch it? CAN I SEE?"

Chuck: "Sorry, son, you'll be bathing in the sink for awhile."

Mrs. M: "He can't. You haven't done the dishes. In like, 10 years."

Chuck [throws head back and laughs]: "Dishes? Sweetpea, I don't have time for dishes. This is going to take me at least a month."

Hah! This is one tactical maneuver I did not see coming. Nicely done, Viking. Nicely done.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why it takes 45 minutes to read a 10-page book



“Junior, this is Gossie. This is Gert—”

“—Is that Gertie? Where’s his body?”

"—It's drawn off the page."

"Why?"

"I don’t know, sweetie. Artistic license. Gossie wears bright red boots. Gertie wears—”



“—Are they gonna eat those bugs? What’s on his nose? Is that a bee? Is that a bumble bee? I don't like bumble bees. They eat flowers.”

“—Bright blue boots. They are friends. Best—”

“—FRIENDS! Are they gonna eat that sider?”

"Maybe."

"Why they gonna eat that sider?"

"I'm not sure. Sssshhhh. They splash in the rain. They play—"

"—Are they swimming outside? Is that Gossie?"

"—Hide-and-seek in the—"

"—DAISIES!"

"They dive in the—"



"—What's that? Is that a banana? Is that two bananas?"

"—Shhh, honey. They're under water. You can't see their heads. Let's listen to the story."

"Why they under water?"

"They watch in the night. They play in the—"

"—Why's he yellin'? Is he yellin'? Is that Gertie?"

"—Yes. They're on the haystacks and they're talking. Ok? Now let's listen. Everywhere Gossie goes, Gertie goes too. 'Follow me!' cried Gossie—"

"Is that Gossie?"

"Yes." (Skip two pages) "Gertie followed a hopping frog—"



"—Why's he gonna eat that frog? Why does he want to eat that frog?"

"She's jumping after the frog."

"Why?"

"Because ducks are good jumpers."

"Ducks don't jump. They SWIM. You're silly. That's silly. Is that a duck?"

"Sshhhh. 'Follow me!' shouted Gossie. But Gertie followed a butterfly."

"Why?"

"Because she wanted to see a butterfly instead."

"Why?"

"Because she likes butterflies. 'Follow me!' shouted Gossie, as she followed—"

"Is she yellin'? Why is she mad? Is she eatin'? Is she mad?"

"She's not mad, she's just talking loud." (Skip two pages) "We're almost done, so let's listen. Gossie and Gertie are friends. Best—"

"FRIENDS! Read it again, Mommy? Read another story? Tell me a story? Mommy? Mommy? Can you talk, Mommy? Can you talk to me Mommy?"

Must...make...it...to...toddler...bed...before...brain...explodes...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blubbity blub Blubber

Despite the obnoxious email from that stupid blue train, I had a nice Mother’s Day. I watched two movies, which is a monumental feat. I still did dishes and laundry, but I don’t know how to relax. What can I say?

Around five p.m., my mother called. She asked the obligatory Mother’s Day questions—“How was your day? Aren’t you glad you shot out a kid?”—then she asked, “How’s my good eater?”

“He’s fine,” I said.

“Junior’s such a chunker lately! He has such a good appetite.”

I found myself bristling, which is never a good thing, especially on a national holiday.

“He’s growing,” I said.

“I know!” she snorted. "He's a little fatty pants."

After we hung up, I poured myself a scotch. I was mad. You see, the paradox of my life is that my family has made me believe I am fat when I’m not, and I don’t want the same fate for Junior.

I know the word fat is relative—a 90-pound model may believe she is “fat”—but I’ve never weighed more than 135 pounds, and I’m 5’5”. (There was the time I weighed 175 pounds but I was nine months pregnant, so that doesn’t count.) In my humble opinion, I don't look obese.



The family-thinks-I’m-fat thing started when I was nine, when my mother had a reception to celebrate her remarriage. While my grandfather was up at the podium he said, “And here’s a toast to my grand-daughter, Blubber.”

He pointed to me. Everyone chuckled. I was mortified. I only weighed 75 pounds, which in hindsight seems reasonable. When I look at old pictures, I certainly don’t seem blubberish. A little chunky in the face maybe, but what pre-pubescent girl doesn’t carry a little baby fat?

My grandfather continued to call me Blubber. (Not wanting to leave out my step-sister, he called her “Flubber”, because she wasn’t very bright. Such affectionate wit!) News of my alleged obesity spread. At my cousin’s fifth grade YMCA pool party, I was on the diving board when my uncle shouted, “Tidal wave!” And once, I backed into my grandmother while tying my shoe and she shouted, “Whose fat ass is that?” I was in eighth grade at that point and, at 5'4", weighed 127 pounds.

There are countless other faticisms sprinkled in there, but I’ll spare you.

My weight stayed pretty consistent until junior year of high school, when I came down with Mono and lost 15 pounds. I was down to a size two. I was euphoric until the weight started to creep back. I ballooned up (hah!) to 125 pounds and was miserable about it. My mother told me not to worry; maybe I’d get a cold or the flu and drop the weight again.

I didn’t, so I dabbled in bulimia.

I wasn’t a very good bulimic. It hurt my throat and I had to throw up outside so my mother wouldn’t hear me. That sucked in the winter. I never lost weight, I just developed a very fucked up attitude towards food, so I stopped after six months (at the time, the movie "Nadia" about gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s eating disorder was a good motivator—love those angst movies).

After college, my weight held steady in the high 120s. At family functions, aunts and uncles would ask, “Did you lose a ton of weight?” My grandmother would comment, “Good, you’re looking nice and trim.” As if I’d battled the bulge all my life. As if I’d been a contestant on the Biggest Loser and had finally gotten my weight under control. All 130 pounds of me.

I'd like to say that adulthood has saved me from obnoxious observations, but just last weekend, my uncle pulled a wooden chair over for me to sit on and said, “Sorry there’s no cushion, but it looks like you’ve got enough of your own.” I literally looked at my ass to see if there was an extra 100 pounds he could see that I couldn’t.

It’s the weirdest fucking thing. After a lifetime of commentary I have to wonder, did I sleep through a period of my life when I weighed 500 pounds and then remarkably lost it? Do I have an obese twin sister whom I never met who and whom I keep missing at family functions?

More importantly, will the culmination of the ridicule be defacement of my tombstone by my evil family members? Will they graffiti my grave with “Here lies Fatty?” even though I'm literally bones? Will my life really be a paradox whose grand finale is irony?

No! Not that.

Anyway. Chuck, dear, this is why I wear granny bathing suits. This is why I don’t like eating in front of other people.

And this is why I will not tolerate my family members calling Junior "fatty pants."

Never, ever, ever.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My life is now complete


I can't friggen believe it. Thomas the Train emailed me a Mother's Day greeting, along with cutesy tips on how to enjoy my day. Because he wants me celebrate by riding on him again—not by drinking vodka—I've decided he can bite me.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday in the grass


Ten years ago today, my grandfather's girlfriend, Aunt Helen, died. For as far back as I can remember, we spent her birthday at my grandfather's house. We'd sit on lawn chairs in his backyard in the sunshine and eat peanuts.

Helen was a large woman with enormous feet; her toenails were always painted bright red. She'd slide off her sandals and call, "Come find my ladybugs," and my brother and I would crawl on our hands and knees towards her feet to find her bright red "ladybugs" in the grass. When we found them, we'd tickle her toes and she'd laugh.

I can't believe I'm getting misty about playing with a heavy woman's feet, but life's funny like that. What about you? Do you have a special memory that's a little offbeat?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Skipper was gay. We all know it

From now on, when my father knocks on my door, I'm not going to answer it. First it was the legless people. Last night, it was this:



Tubs and tubs of Barbie shit. All brought up from the dark recesses of his water damaged basement. Corvettes and hot tubs, McDonald's and make-up counters. Vans, horses, dogs and cats.

Barbie had it all, thanks to my grandmother. She took great pleasure in spending her miserly husband's money behind his back. Nothing beats stealth missions with Grannie to buy Barbie a new wicker furniture set. We were bad.

Of course, when Junior saw all the bright sparkly stuff, he got excited and wanted to play with it. So I dusted the dolls off and let him have at it.



He had a blast.



That made Chuck kind of twitchy.

"Should he...um...be...playing with those things?" he asked.

"Why not?"

"Because they're...um...you know...so pink and girly."

His comment made me laugh. I think it's pretty normal for a father to be concerned with his son's masculinity, but to think that playing with a certain kind of toy could affect a child's sexual orientation is preposterous.

Still, I was curious what the world thought, so I googled "Does playing with dolls make boys gay?"

And how! According to "Boys Who Play with Dolls": "Studies have shown...that a desire to play with the 'ol gal [Barbie] might be an early sign of a boy's already determined sexual orientation. Robert Green, in his book The Sissy Boy Syndrome: The Development of Male Homosexuality, found that little boys who played with dolls were, in fact, more likely to grow up gay."

Holy shit. Chuck was on to something. Could Junior be mere seconds away from becoming Junior-ette? I clicked onward and ended up at the Landover Baptist Church. According to them, A parent can never act too soon in taking precautionary measures to ensure that their child will never become intoxicated with mommy's perfume and choose to devote his life to being a prancing homo.

They've even got Handy Homo Prevention advice right on their website.

.......[speechless]

[still speechless]..........

..................

[coming up for air] Wow. Just wow.

Some days, the world scares me. And not in the Oh, I'll just have a glass of wine and forget about what I read/saw/overheard kind of way. Rather, in the Who am I sharing the planet with, please protect me, Chuck? kind of way.

Thank God Chuck's all man. All stay-at-home-dad, apron wearing, spatula toting, wipe master, er, man.

* Pink wasn't considered a "girl's" color until the 1940s. Before that, it was actually considered a "boy's" color because it was related to red, and at the time, red was thought to be more masculine.