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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Everywhere we go-o people wanna know-o


Where did your husband get those butt ugly shoes?

Yes, those are shoes. They're called Fivefingers and they're part of a new trend called "barefooting." All the cool kids are doing it.

Vibram, one of the companies that makes them (in addition to dog boots and dog toys that look a lot like their shoes), claims "Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised."

Gah! Some days I don't have time to poo, never mind worry that my damn feet are stimulated.

Chuck loves—loves—his gloved feet. Personally, I think they make him look like a cross between a monkey and robo-man. Every time I see them I start humming Mr. Roboto. And yuck, having each of my toes separated like fingers in a glove would drive me nuts. What if one of your toes is grossly enlarged? What if you step on a sharp rock? Or in a mound of snow?

Or have webbed feet? (Sorry, no shoes for you.)

Having said all that, there is one amazing detail to these shoes that prevents me from "misplacing" them: They are machine washable.

Goodbye, Odor Eaters. Hello, um, apemanthing.



What about you? Do you, like, barefoot?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The part of the story where I dye my hair pink and get a nose ring. Alternate title: Does anyone have $100 they can loan me?

We spent a lot of time at my father’s house—which is soon to be our house—in Mulletville Lite this weekend. Our friends, Don and Matty, drove down to help us paint. On the way, they dropped off their two kids with their grandparents. I had to ask them, “Are you sure you want to spend a free night without your kids painting?”

Without hesitating they said yes.

Chuck whispered, “Do you see what’s ahead with two kids? Our idea of fun is going to be so watered down we’ll paint just to escape.”

I looked down at my big ass bump.

“It’s a little late for forebodings, dipshit,” I whispered back. We watched them pick their brushes. “Look. They don’t even know they’re not doing something fun. They don’t know it can be better. We’ll forget, too.”

That made him feel a lot better.

While they painted, Junior and I played with matchbox cars my father had saved from when my brother, Ted, was little. My father’s 90% done moving out, but he’s left plenty of "treasures" behind. Like boxes of school papers and old dressers full of clothes and toys.

God I need a drink.

After the smash ’em crash ’em car game, Junior and I looked out the window and watched the neighbor’s daughter, Rebecca, wash her car.

“Mommy used to take the school bus with Becky,” I told Junior. “And right there is where the school bus used to pick us up. In a few years, that’s where you might get the school bus.”

At dinnertime we ordered a pizza. While the happy painters and Chuck took a break, I went to pick it up.

“Mrs. Mullet?” the cashier said.

“Yes?”

“Omigawd your face hasn’t changed!”

Omigawd, it was Cheryl Blahblahblah. I’d gone to elementary school with Cheryl 30 years ago. Her face was still shaped like the moon. At my tenth birthday party she’d told our friends that she saw my father pick his nose. I’d hated her for that. Now there she was, in a plaid smock, selling me a pepperoni pizza.

After I left, I sat in my car for a few minutes.

Life suddenly felt like Sweet Home Alabama, minus a hot Southern fiance who wanted to butter my muffin.

Mulletville Lite is rampant with memories. I’m racking my brain trying to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. I don’t know why I have to decide. I just do. I quiz myself: Would it be better to live somewhere totally new? Or is it preferable to go back to something I know? Does that make me small-minded? Will moving to Mulletville Lite mean my life is a record stuck on the same track of “remembers whens”?

What about adventure? Exploration? The unknown?

“There is none,” Chuck said later that night. We were back home in Mulletville. Everyone was in bed, including Don and Matty, who were spending the night.

“We’re going to have two kids,” Chuck continued. “It’s all about school systems and safe neighborhoods. Reliable cars and snow tires.”

“Snow tires?” I cried. “And you’re down on people who enjoy painting?!”

“It’s just the way it is.”

I refused to believe it. I told him as much. “Life can still be exciting with kids. I bet you one hundred dollars that Don and Matty are boinking their brains out in your man room right now. I bet they’re as wild and crazy as ever!”

“Ew,” Chuck said. “Impossible.”

“One hundred dollars.”

We crept out of bed and snuck down the hallway and then—I know, gross—we put our ears to the door.

Total silence.

Well, except for Chuck snickering his way back to the bedroom.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Confessions of a middle school smut peddler


I used to love to read my step-sister Erin’s diary. Compared to the banal existence I led as an eleven-year-old, her experiences as a freshman in high school were so much cooler. She had a real boyfriend, and they were serious. She wrote about their French kissing and boob groping in great detail. It was more salacious than Judy Bloom’s Wifey (which I also read in her bedroom).

The best part—besides the fact that I had to sneak under her bed to read the latest entries while she was at cheerleading practice—was that her boyfriend had written in a bunch of “Oh, baby” comments in the margins.

It was good shit.

Then one day, there was an entry about me. Specifically, how she found me annoying and dumb. I was heartbroken. I confessed to my mother that I’d read Erin’s diary and she told Erin, who took it better than expected. We sat down and she told me how she’d written the entry out of anger because I’d borrowed her sweater without asking and how we say things we don’t mean when we’re angry.

I apologized and swore I’d never do it again (wear the sweater or read the diary).

The next day, when I went to read her diary, a new one was in its place, and it was locked. I was pretty bummed. I’d been passing along the French kissing and boob grabbing juiciness to my friends and had become the unofficial smut peddler of the group. I didn’t want to lose my clout. Thankfully my step-father’s top drawer housed a cheesy collection of R-rated videos.

I have one word for you: Hardbodies. It’s a classic.

Anyway. I started my own diary/journal after Erin denied me access to hers (the nerve!). I kept at it with ridiculous religiousness, amassing about 15 journals that span ages 10-28. Yesterday, as I packed up my woman room, I found them all at the bottom of my closet. As I rifled through them, a few thoughts crossed my mind, like:

Why the fuck did I write so much?

What the hell am I going to do with all of these?

Did I have a pen stuck to my forehead for 18 years or did I actually manage to simultaneously live and write the equivalent of 50 novels?

How many observations can one person make about life in Connecticut?


For a minute I thought about burning the journals. I’ve never burned anything. I think that makes me kind of boring. Our yard is small, though, so a fire could get ugly. So could the headlines: “Woman’s past responsible for destroying her future.”

Tragic.

I thought about sitting down and reading them right then and there, but I was home with Junior—who has croup by the way, good times—so leisure reading wasn’t an option. Then I thought about making Chuck read them every night before bed so I could quiz him:

“What was I doing on July 25, 2001 at 3:52 p.m.? Dammit, Chuck! We’ve been over this! You don’t know me. How can you say you know me?”

Sigh. What does one do with 18 years of recorded fillyfoof?

Save them, my friend Sandy told me. “When our husbands die and we become roommates, we can rehash.”

Out of all the options, that one struck me as best. I don’t want to take any trips down memory lane right now, especially since the journals lack the joie de boob groping that Erin’s possessed. (Note to self: When writing journals in the future, make them steamier. Hello.) If I croak first, I’ll write it into my will that Chuck has to read them to his new wife.

Myeas. Mwahahaha. Instead of The Notebook, it’ll be Mrs. Mullet’s Many Notebooks. Starring Eva Mendes as me and Survivorman as Chuck (really, he’s Chuck’s doppleganger), Junior and Diddlydoo.

What about you? Do you have a journal(s)? When did you start? Do you fondly reread them or have they grown cobwebs? And really, does it get any better than Hardbodies*?

*Yes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Random Tuesday thoughts: Corn and ham

randomtuesday

Every night Junior crawls out of bed, walks into the bedroom and says, “I have to ask you something. Would you try to eat a moose?” Chuck and I say yes, and he goes back to bed.

I thought stalling toddlers were supposed to ask for water.

When Chuck and I first moved to Mulletville, Chuck was way into all things Viking. When we looked at colors for Junior’s room and Chuck saw “Viking Blue” he was S-E-T. I didn’t like the color, so I asked the woman at Home Depot if she could give me a different shade but put the “Viking Blue” label on the can. She could. She also said it happens quite frequently. (You know who you are.) I thought my little secret was safe until Chuck said he’d go to Home Depot and get another can so we could paint Junior’s new room the same color. “Um, honey...”

There are worse things to lie about.

Seriously.

I love ivillage, but I wish they hadn’t picked corn. All I can think about is how easy it would be to birth an ear of corn. I don't want to think thoughts like that. Corn is for BBQs.



People keep asking me if Chuck and I have picked out names for kid #2. This is my least favorite question. I started saying that we're thinking of the name Diddlydoo. The problem is, I’ve said it so many times that I’m actually starting to like the name Diddlydoo. How can you be in a bad mood when your kid is named Diddlydoo? On the other hand, how can you reprimand someone named Diddlydoo?

“Dammit, Diddlydoo! Did you diddle in your dinosaur pajamas?”

I’ve been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, so I saw the doctor yesterday. She really worked me over. Since I’d never seen that particular doctor before, I asked if she was new. “I’m sorry,” she said, pulling off her rubber gloves, “I should have introduced myself before cramming my fist in your crotch.”*

It reminded me of being labor, when random people would wander into the room to check on the progress of my woman cave. They could have been janitors (and at that point I didn't really care).

Thinking about labor reminds me of something Blossom star Mayim Bialik recently said: “There are those among us who believe that if the baby can’t survive a home labor, it is OK for it to pass peacefully. I do not subscribe to this, but I know that some feel that … if a baby cannot make it through birth, it is not favored evolutionarily.”

"Those among us"? "Some feel"? Who are these mysterious beings? And look, without modern medicine, neither Junior nor I would be here right now, and there would have been nothing peaceful about it. Shit like that really pisses me off.

*Ok, the doctor didn’t really say that. But she should have.

Do I win the ham now?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, you were born

Yesterday was Chuck's birthday. It started off horribly. Junior woke up and had a fit because I turned off the light in the hallway, not him. Chuck groaned because he was 38. He refused to leave the bed. I had a fight with my ass, which keeps growing without my damn permission.

Then the realtor called and told us a family wanted to see our house at 2 p.m.

Good God. The house was a disaster. Chuck got new cat litter made of sawdust, so there were wood shavings on the floors. We've started packing; there are boxes everywhere.



And the dust balls. They'd bred and grown into dust sheep.

But of course we said yes. The casino near Mulletville just laid off 500 workers, some of them Chuck's friends. No one is looking at houses in Mulletville.

No one.

Chuck and I each took a floor. He painted the front entryway. I vacuumed. Junior...I don't know where Junior was exactly, but when we were finally done three hours later we found him by the front door, pointing and shrieking that there were people waiting to come in.

The people stayed for 30 minutes. I'm no math whiz, but our ROI ain't lookin' so hot.

After they left I gave Chuck his birthday card. I hadn't had time to bake him a cake. Last year I'd given him a brick and a ghostly party. I felt kind of bad.

Chuck gave me and my ass a hug and said it was ok. There was nothing he needed. I got misty. He pulled me to the side to give me a big smooch, or so I thought.

"You found it!" he said excitedly, detangling himself. "I've been looking for that for ever!"

I turned and saw



It's the little things, right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Channeling Rick Moranis is good for the soul

Have you ever seen the movie Spaceballs, particularly this scene?



I haven't thought of it in quite a while. Then there I was yesterday, taking to heart kyooty's suggestion to "Bring [douchy coworker Amber] Junior art for her cube."

I "helped" Junior do just that.



As I, I mean we, drew, I started hearing a voice. A voice that sounded a lot like Rick Moranis's.

"First you will feel the pain of alien thunderbolts. Then a giant bus with teeth will run you over!"

"No!"

"Yes! Yes, Amber! Flames will eat your snaggly feet. Poisonous snakes will zap you with their tongues!"

"No, no!"

"Yes! A giant bird will devour your miniscule brain!"

"No!"

"Yes!"

"No, please! I take it back. I'm a rotten, petty woman!"

"It's too late!"

Obviously the bloodbath didn't end with us making out. That would just have been weird.

I haven't given Amber the artwork yet; right now it's bringing me pleasure to look at it. As soon as the giddiness subsides I figure I'll mow her down in the parking lot.

Hey, it was DysFUNtional Mom's idea...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I wish aliens would abduct her for a change (and other crappy comebacks)

I’m always 5-10 minutes late. No matter what time I leave the house, the universe fast forwards me. Either that or aliens briefly abduct me on a daily basis.

Having a child has only exacerbated the matter:

“Junior, we need to leave. Let’s put your shoes on. Help me find your shoes. Can you come here so I can put your shoes on? Please come over here so I can put your shoes on. Don’t throw your shoe! If you want to put your shoe on by yourself please use your words and tell me you want to put it on yourself. You’re a big boy. Use your words. Junior, you did put your shoe on all by yourself. Why did you throw your other shoe? We don’t throw things. If you don’t sit down right now and put your other shoe on there will be no stories at bedtime. I mean it. I’m going to count to five. One...two...you better come over here. And bring your shoe. Three...four...I mean it. Good. Now sit down please so we can PUT YOUR OTHER SHOE ON. Wait, why is it sticky and wet? Junior, did you pour orange juice into your shoe?”

Needless to say my 5-10 minute window has ballooned into 15-30 minutes, especially on days when I drop off Junior at pre-school. Drop-off is getting better, but it's still not smooth sailing.

My new boss, who is also a mother, understands. She knows that I skip my lunch on days I am late or that I bring work home with me.

It’s a wonderful thing, an understanding boss.

What’s not wonderful are coworkers who mistakenly believe that being a working parent is like having a golden ticket to ride the gravy train. Case in point, last Wednesday. I was late to work because of Junior’s tearful drop-off. I didn’t have a meeting scheduled, so I didn’t stress about it. As usual, I skipped lunch and got ready to head out at five. My coworker Amber, whose office is next to mine, gave me a syrupy smile on the way out.

“Do they have doggie daycares?” she asked me sweetly.

“I think so—”

“I’m going to enroll my dog in doggie daycare. That way I can be late to work and leave on time too.” She picked up her phone and dialed, then gave me a beauty pageant wave goodbye.

That douche. Not only had she verbally body slammed me, she’d strategically thwarted me from confronting her. The bitch was good. Real good.

I seethed on the way home. During dinner. During dishes. During teeth brushing. I seethed so much I sprung a leak. As I seethed, I ran through possible comeback lines like “Oh yah?! I hope your dog chokes on a Milkbone!” and “Oh yah?! Well, you should!”

Myah, pretty pathetic stuff.

Now it’s been a week. Now it seems stupid to say something. Now I feel like the ass because I’m the one hanging on to my anger when really, I should just let it go.

Except I can’t. And I don’t know what to do about it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I guess "s" and "w" are kind of close on the keyboard

My mother dropped off a box of books that I used to read as a child.

"Aw," I thought. "Snow White."



I started to read it to Junior. He hasn't been exposed to Disney yet, so he has no idea his gender is responsible for awakening/rescuing/enabling helpless waif princesses. (Gawd, he's so behind.) Snow White was a great place to start.

Until...



Seems so fitting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm recommending a new college course: Top eight traits of crazy fucktard bosses

A co-worker friend of mine, David, came to my office today. He closed my door. He was close to tears.

“How did you do it?” he asked. “When Kathleen was here?”

Kathleen is my now-retired boss. Her psychosis was well-known to people at the company and in the community. Fuck, maybe even to people on Mars.

Word of the mental instability of David’s new boss, Rich, was starting to spread as well. I wasn’t surprised David sought me out. I had survived five years under Kathleen. Four assistants, three communications directors, five part-timers and when she left, I was the last one standing. That makes me a bit of a local celebrity. In fact, at the local Blimpie there’s a sub named "Mrs. Mullet Can Take a Beating."

“David,” I said, “if you want it to work, you have to go dead inside. You have to befriend your abuser. Have you heard of Stockholm Syndrome?”

He sat down. “I think about killing him,” he said. “I’m a father. I shouldn’t be thinking of running someone over with my car.”

“It’s ok,” I said. “I thought about rat poison and antifreeze. I still think about it, and she’s gone.”

“Jesus.”

I felt immense sadness for him. Having a tyrant of a boss can turn your life upside-down. Screw shitty health insurance, these pariahs are what make the workplace insufferable. You can take your Lit 101s and your History 203s and shove them. If you’re going to enter the workforce, what you really need in college is “How to survive the many personalities of your supervisor.”

Then you need, “How to survive when your bipolar boss is best friends with HR and the CEO.” And then you need, “How to talk your spouse out of attacking your bipolar boss with a baseball bat after you come home in tears again.”

Is quitting your job an option? Sure, quitting is always an option. But if you’ve worked hard to get where you are and you have a good thing going—excuse me, had—then you have every right to stay where you are.

David supports his family; quitting isn’t an option for him.

For fun, David and I sat down and compared notes. The more we talked, the more it became glaringly obvious that his boss and my former boss had eerily similar personalities. They were both:

#1 Grossly insecure
If my boss wore a new outfit to work and no one complimented her on it, she’d call another supervisor and cry that her staff didn’t support her. When David’s boss Rich introduced him to his wife, Rich asked in all seriousness, “Aren’t I the better looking one?”

#2 Housing multiple personalities
Kathleen praised my work one day; trashed it the next. Ditto for Rich.

#3 Lacking closure from childhood

Kathleen once suggested a “getting to know you” bagel session to build inter-personal relationships. During her “favorite childhood memory,” she burst into tears and told us how her parents left her at the babysitters’ all the time. I hadn’t even cream-cheesed my bagel yet. David’s boss swears he “constructively builds people up” because he never got it from his dad. Mmmmhmm.

#4 Brilliant, adept liars with selective memory
These people are such good liars they’d pass a polygraph test. Their selective recollection of events and conversations suits their agenda and is so finely tuned, the idea of truth is laughable.

#5 Narcissistically blind to the effects of their abuse
Once, after making a co-worker cry, Kathleen said, “How do you think I feel knowing I made you cry?” After giving David a crappy performance evaluation that prevented him from getting a raise, Rich asked, “Are you okay, David? Is something on your mind? I’m worried about you.”

#6 Paranoid
Both Kathleen and Rich said they wanted more teamwork, but if they walked by an office where their underlings were talking, they’d later remind everyone that they were the boss and that office chatter shouldn’t be going on without them.

#7 Calculating
When Kathleen wanted to get rid of me, she suggested I move to a different office so I’d get more visibility. The new office didn’t have a working phone and I mysteriously lost access to my files. When I missed deadlines and calls from reporters, Kathleen told the CEO I was dropping the ball and should be let go. Rich employed tactics from #3 to cover up his backhanded moves.

#8 Incompetent
Just.Wow. Kathleen didn't know how to save a file under a different name. Rich often drew circles to illustrate his "complex" ideas.

Circles.

Year after year we send college graduates out into the workforce unprepared for what may be their biggest workforce challenge. It's a travesty. These a-holes plague harmless people day in and day out, and no one does a thing.

I bet my little list is only the tip of the iceberg. The tippity, rat poisoned, antifreezed, brakes cut, tip tip.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Would you like some salmonella with that backrub, baby?

This weekend two wonderful, fabulous friends of mine drove all the way up to Mulletville to help me pack. There was just one problem: They were rearing to go; I was not. Yes, there’s a for sale sign in front of my house and yes, we are moving, but the distance between getting ready to move and actually starting to move is, like, from Connecticut to Tokyo.

They were persistent fuckers, though. They grabbed cardboard boxes, markers and tape and attacked my built-ins. As they packed, the questions started:

“Do you really need a bottle of sand…

…Christmas napkins from 2006?

…a Zagat’s Restaurant Guide from 2005?



After a while, I started to feel like I was on that TV show Hoarders, and that I was being called out. I admit it: I’m a crammer. If I don’t know what to do with something, I cram it into a drawer or closet and I never look back.

I happen to be a neat crammer though. If you ask me, it’s an underappreciated skill. Not everyone can cram without unsightly overflow. My cram never bulges. It’s well contained and often well organized. I even throw in scented candles so it smells nice.

Who’s better than me?

My friends weren’t buying it. They set aside a box and labeled it “junk.” Good-bye sand in a bottle.

Then: “Mrs. Mullet. What.Is.This?”



“Aw! My Great Aunt Maryann made that for my wedding. She made it.”

"Clearly." They rifled through it. “It’s empty.”

“I never got around to putting pictures in it,” I lied. The truth is, the album always reminded me of a pretty toilet bowl seat cover—the kind that would itch your ass if you had to sit on it. The album would never hold pictures. It might, however, look nice in my bathroom...

“Toss it!” they chanted.

“But she had arthritis when she made it! And she was half blind. Look at the lace and beads! It’s a labor of love!”

“Toss it!”

They were animals, I tell you. Like something out of Lord of the Flies.

I didn’t put up as much of a fight over this sign:



Though it is catchy. Or this, a bottle of massage oil Chuck bought me 10 years ago, when the word massage was actually part of our bedroom repertoire.



The cork top is crusty and crumbling, and there’s algae on the herbs. It should keep the Connecticut Department of Public Health busy for a while.

When my friends left at 7, I was exhausted—and we'd only packed up half of the living room. I think part of my exhaustion (the part unrelated to working full-time, having a toddler, being pregnant and watching Jersey Shore) comes from knowing that no matter how well I purge my own home, there's a new house waiting for me that is full of even more stuff.

See, my parents are crammers too. My clothes from fifth grade are waiting for me when we move into my father's house. Remember, he's the same man who hid the legless people and the lesbian in his basement for 30 years. And my mother, in addition to giving us furniture, is also giving me 30 years of stuff she's crammed into boxes. Like my Bunsen Burner license from eighth grade.

I can't seem to escape myself. Literally. This move out of Mulletville is supposed to be about new beginnings; instead it's like watching "The Life of Mrs. Mullet." It's kind of creepy. I don't want to be Albert Finney at the end of Big Fish just yet.

Oy vey.

What about you? Are you a crammer or a purger? Did you inherit the trait? Would you like the weed sign? It's really cute...bought it in Colorado...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Please don't spit on my child

If you’re dying to know how Junior is doing at preschool (I know you're on the edge of your seat, folks), you’ll have to ask Chuck. He’s been handling drop-offs. From what he says, they’ve improved from kicking, screaming and leg clinging to mere whimpering. That comforts me, but part of me does wonder if everyone—including Junior’s teacher—is lying to me.

"Suuure, honey, Junior skipped away as he cried. He skipped!"

"Suuure, Mrs. Mullet, Junior had a blast after Chuck left. A blast!"

It’s the abundance of enthusiasm that makes me nervous. Kind of like when you ask the waiter to reheat your spaghetti and he comes back to the table and says, “Here you go, ma’am, the cook was thrilled to reheat it for you. Thrilled!” Meanwhile what the cook really did was floss his ass cheeks with the spaghetti and finish it off with some saliva.

Sometimes it’s better not to know I guess.

According to the preschool teacher, Junior’s little book of pictures has really helped soothe him. It was the ECE director’s suggestion. Basically, I jimmied up a pocket-sized picture book of trains, family photos, and photos of our fat, wretched cats so he could feel close to home whenever he needed to. It saddens me that Junior takes comfort in the sight of those mangeballs—I was hoping to “lose” them in the move—but hey, it’s a victory nonetheless.

The teacher, bless her heart, turned around and made Junior her own picture book. It has photos of the school, classrooms and classmates. He can look at it when he’s home and on the way to school.

So for preschool comfort we’ve got:
1) a stuffed dog
2) a Mom-made picture book
3) a teacher-made picture book
4) a special granola bar for the ride to school (build those rituals)
5) a lollipop for the ride home (ibid)
6) a He-Man action figure (generously donated from Junior’s Uncle Ted, for when Junior needs to feel brave)



and 7) a handle of Jack

That last one’s for me. Even if I can’t drink it, I can lick the glorious little bubbles of whiskey-esque condensation that form under the cap. Shoot it with some Coke, and it’s almost enough to catch a buzz.

Fine, no it’s not. Not even close. Not even if I snort it. But even if I did catch a little buzz, I wouldn’t be alone. According to the New York Post—an incredibly reliable publication—“More pregnant women are raising a glass of wine without guilt.”

So now I'm really curious, did you? Are you? Have you ever? Will you? Do you think it’s wrong?