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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maybe it is time

For a menaissance...




Happy Halloween!

(Parents
magazine, October 2010)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can I admit something?

When I first got pregnant with Junior, I was really excited. I was excited for all the obvious reasons...

...and then there was the excitement surrounding my belly button. It's an inny, and everyone knows that at some point in your pregnancy, your belly button pops like a turkey timer and becomes an outy.

Zing!

I imagined that magical day, perhaps a little too vividly, for I had grandiose ideas of what that transformation from inny to outy would entail. See [blushing], I kind of naively thought that 30 years' worth of accumulated stuff would come rocketing out and that Chuck and I would be able to rifle through it and exclaim, "So that's where that extra key went!" or "I thought Tiger ran off years ago."



But you know what? It doesn't work like that. Some innies, like mine, just widen in span, morphing and growing into Grand Canyons of belly buttons. With pregnancy #2 it's even more expansive.

Hello-ello-ello-elloo-ooo.

Hello-ello-ello-elloo-ooo.


I feel kind of jipped. I'll never know if something incredibly valuable could have fallen in there without my knowing. Like an original Declaration of Independence! Gold! Pictures of Lost Continent of Atlantis!

Or, lint. Ok, fine, it's just lint.

Grumble, grumble. Don't look at me like that. It's not like I just admitted I wear nipple tassels.

Heh. Heh.

Anyway, thanks for, um, listening. We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast: Mrs. Mullet Should Probably Get Out More.

(Pssst. Yah, you. I know you have something weird you want to admit now too. Go on, do it!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

You'll be GWHTLC someday, IYKWIM


Listen, you little recent college graduate buttwads. I’ve been working with some of you since May, when you were lucky enough to land a job in this piss poor economy, and I’ve come to a realization: Aside from a select few, you’re lazy, coddled whiners.

As a seasoned professional, I’d like to offer you some free workplace advice. Unless you’re happy with your inauspicious beginnings, which I suspect some of you are, it would behoove you to heed my advice. I’ll try to make it as easy as possible for you to understand with some text-speak, since I know your robotic brains can synthesize little else. Ready?

1. You need to CTS (Cut the shit)
It’s not okay for your boyfriend/significant other to stop by the office every day during business hours and to talk for hours. You can see him during your allotted break, which is called your lunch hour. It’s bad enough your boyfriend can’t pull up his pants and we have to look at his bunched-up boxers. Do you really think we find your giggling and blushing marathons endearing?

2. IBYNTP (I’m begging you not to procreate)

Do not tell me you stopped taking the pill because of, like, wicked cramps. First, that falls under something called TMI, or too much information. Second, you’re asking me to add my .02, which is that you should keep taking the pill because, with his pants down around his ankles, your boyfriend seems primed to inseminate something. Please, for the sake of humanity, don’t take a chance on that being you.

3. IWKY (I will kill you)

Just because your brain cannot function without technology does not entitle you to simultaneously watch Youtube, update your status on Facebook, send emails, instant message and talk on the phone while you’re working.

You’re sitting in a lifeless gray cubicle because you have a job to do, and—news flash—that job doesn’t entail being entertained. And I swear, if one of you little assholes gives me another irritated look when I remind you to disconnect yourself until your work is done, I’m going to strangle you with one of those old-fashioned phone cords.

4. URNMC (You are not Miley Cyrus)

This is a place of work, not a strip club or rock concert. We don’t want to see your bra straps, underwear, pajamas, miniskirts, concert t-shirts or sweatpants. And thigh-high boots? Really?

5. GAFC (Get a fucking clue)
If you see your supervisor sitting at his/her desk around 12:30 and they are chewing something, chances are that person is in the throes of what is known as a working lunch.

I’d like to suggest that you GAFC and leave that person alone for the next 15 minutes. Do not, I repeat do not, pull up a chair and start asking questions like, “When are raises done?” or “I know I only started two days ago but can I have Friday off so my friends and I can go to Vegas?”

6. GTFU (Grow the fuck up)
Business hours are called such for a reason. Don’t show up an hour late and expect the office to be sympathetic because you’re “not a morning person.” Many of us barely slept because of crying or sick kids or because we were trying to squeeze in a quickie with our partner after remembering it had been several months.

And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t raise your hand during a staff meeting and suggest we change the meeting time to later in the day because you have trouble concentrating before 10 a.m.

7. N1W2CURDSF (No one wants to see your damn smiley faces)
Professional emails do not include emoticons. I cannot stress this enough.

8. GOVAY (Get over yourself)
If your work is mediocre, I’m helping you by telling you that.

I know you grew up during a time when the whole team got medals and when your parents sung the praises of every piece of macaroni artwork you brought home, even though you ate the glue instead of actually using it, but this is the real world. We don’t do a dance when you poo. We don’t care about your fragile ego; it’s not our fault you were overparented.

Ironically enough, I’d like to conclude by saying TYVM. Working with you has given me a glimpse into the tragedy that belies parents who live with their heads up their kids’ butts. I hope Junior fails miserably at something, so he understands the value of humility. I hope he has to work for the things he wants, so he understands pride. I hope he’s told by someone he admires that he needs to try harder, so he understands the value of fortitude.

And finally, I hope there are better role models in 2020 so he understands the value of a good belt.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tampax has a nice ring to it. No?



According to ivilliage, I've graduated from growing corn to cabbage. Soon I will be able to make a salad.

Every time I try to think of more appealing things they could have chosen for comparison I'm stumped.

Size of your baby: Manolo Blahnik pump, size 7?

Size of your baby: Big ass sunflower head?

See? It's hard.

It's also hard trying to nail down a name for kid #2 because every time I imagine a baby boy I picture Junior, and then I find myself choosing Junior's name all over again. Though I am still partial to Diddlydoo. Just for shits and giggles I Googled it. According to Urban Dictionary, it's "a nice word to describe feminine hygiene products."

Knowing this, I can't in good conscience name my cabbage after a tampon. And ew, does "feminine hygiene products" encompass stuff like Vagisil? It just doesn't seem right. So I've decided I am going to wait until I see him to make up my mind. It's kind of refreshing, the idea of waiting. Thanks to modern technology, we know so much before babies are born (gender, what color to paint the nursery) I rather like the idea of a surprise.

And, as an added bonus, it drives family members crazy when you won't list off possible names.

I'm going to bed now. I failed my damn glucose test and have to take the 3-hour version at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Ordinarily I'd feel crappy about that but thanks to women like Trista Sutter from ABC’s The Bachelorette, I now know that skinny, pretty people can get gestational diabetes too.

I mean, yay. Thank gawd she came out and shared her story (like, OMG, how "it’s difficult to see cellulite on your arms when you didn’t have any before!").

So difficult!

But hey, maybe I shouldn't knock her. I considered naming my son after a maxi pad.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Playing with chest hair makes me forget all about those big, bad bank statements


It all makes sense. Chuck’s knee-long beard. The towering collection of Old Spice. The blatant scratching. And last night, how he clubbed me and dragged me, ponytail first, to the boudoir.

Why, he’d joined the menaissance, of course!

Haven’t you heard? According to Salon.com writer Tracy Clark-Flory, the “menaissance” has hit the runway and the world will soon follow suit.

I could give a crap about who’s walking the catwalk, so I went back and read the New York Times Fashion and Style article Clark-Flory was referring to when she coined the gem “menaissance” (along with “mancession”—oh gawd, I’m having frenemom flashbacks). And whaddyou know, there are actually people out there who believe that images of hairy, weathered, strappin’ men (the very essence of masculinity) will help carry us through these dire economic times.

Gone are the days of hairless male waifs as icons. Good-bye feminized boys. Hello, bustin' manballs.

Joe Levy, editor in chief of Maxim, was quoted as saying, “Men have always been defined by their jobs — always...Suddenly the notion of having a job or a career is in doubt. So you fall back on old notions of what it meant to be a man or to look like one.”

I like the “or” in that last sentence. Cause the line between actually being something and looking like something is like 0.00000000000000004 nanomillimeters apart. It gives me comfort though. As the breadwinner with a trophy stay-at-home dad husband, I can continue to be the salve to our familial economic wounds just by dressing up as a manly man.

Unless there’s a testicle check at the door?

Frick. There’s always a testicle check.

But what about Chuck? If he's always been defined by his job—always—and needs to fall back on comfy masculine notions because of his bout with unemployment (hello, he did club me), will we have to duke this one out?

Maybe we can just alternate clubbing nights.

My favorite line of the article comes from Sam Shahid. He’s the creative director of the very manly Shahid & Company, and he basically continued the Maxim editor’s thought: “Look back to movies during the Depression, and all you saw was real guys like James Cagney. In tough times, people want a strong man.”

Strong man. We still can’t get past that damn Cinderella ending, can we? And it’s what, 2010? Don’t get me wrong, it’d be mantastic if images of aged, hairy men were enough to save the world, but I think we might need something more like, oh, I don’t know, better economic reform, institutional accountability and fewer sluts as role models.

At least better cheese in a can.

It goes so well with chest hair.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bracket talk: (verb) 1. to TRY to communicate or exchange information, by speaking. 2. to TRY to make sounds suggestive of speech


Me: Pancakes for breakfast, Chuck?

Chuck: I'll make them—

Junior: Excuse me. Um, excuse me.

Me: Just a second, Junior.

Chuck: Where's the—

Junior: I have a question. Would you try to run faster than a train?

Me: Yes.

Chuck: No. So, Mrs. Mullet, what’s on tap for today? Should we—

Junior: Excuse me. Excuuuuuuuuuuse me. Um, excuse me.

Me: Just a second, Junior.

Junior: I have to ask you something! Have you ever eaten an orange?

Chuck: Your mother and I are trying to talk. Just a second.

Me: We could drive down to New Haven and—

Junior: Excuse me. Excuuuuuuuuuuse me. Um, excuse me.

Me: Go to the—

Chuck: Please don’t interrupt, Junior.

Junior: What if I didn’t have hands or feet?

Me: Peabody Museum. Why is he asking that?

Chuck: Junior, your mother and I are trying to talk. Don’t interrupt.

Me: Or we could stay—

Junior: Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. Excuuuuuuuuuuse me.

Me: Closer to home. Just a minute, Junior.

Chuck: Yes, just a minute.

Junior: But I said excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me.

Chuck: It’s not polite to interrupt. We’ll be with you in a second.

Me: Or we could—

Junior: But I said excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me! Do trains run on tracks?

Chuck: Drive down to—

Junior: Do they?

Me: Fly to—

Junior: DO THEY?

Chuck: Hawaii—

Me: Alone—

Junior: DO THEY?

Me and Chuck: YES! For the love of God, YES!

They make protective bubbles for kid #2, right? For when kid #1 tries to push him out a window/return him via the mailbox/set his stroller on fire? They must.

Because this ain't gonna be perty.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We had pancakes for dinner

Years ago I shared an office with a woman whom I kind of hated. She wasn’t a bad person. She was just on fast forward. At a moment’s notice, she was ready to roll up her sleeves and attack a project. Her motto was “Let’s bang this shit out!”

I, on the other hand—a single woman in my late twenties—couldn’t understand what her rush was. Her eagerness annoyed the crap out of me. She was always on.

I remember once I was gingerly hand-cutting a proof for a vendor, and she stopped and watched me. I could see her hands moving faster for me.

She didn’t even drink coffee.

I thought of her today. Chuck’s been gone for 12-hour days for reasons I can’t get into. I’ve been waking at the buttcrack of dawn to get me and my bump ready for work and Junior ready for pre-school. I drop him off, work all day, pick him up, make dinner, get ready for bed and er, blog. Somewhere in there I do laundry, dishes, grocery shop and make sure my clothes aren’t inside-out.

Don’t forget the house showings at a moment’s notice.

To add insult to injury, Junior has another ear infection. I can’t take off work, so Chuck’s mother is spending the night tonight; my mother is spending the night tomorrow night. It’s like the slasher version of the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, in which they want to talk and laugh and all I want to do is poke my eyes out. Or maybe jump through a window and fly to Antarctica.

One-way.

I honestly didn’t write this post intending it to be a pity party. I wrote it because I suddenly understand the can-do attitude of my former co-worker. She was a single, working mother with an elderly parent for whom she also cared. She ploughed through because she had to.

Kind of like me now. When I see a mess, I don’t stop to assess it, I dive in. I don't have a choice. I have to get things done. I'm a fricken workhorse, and the 20-something slowpokes at the office are making me insane.

Insane!

I’m still on the fence about what this all means. Perhaps that I’ve fully acquiesced to grown-up-ville and its mundane chores (I did, after all, post a cheery Facebook status about replacement windows). Or perhaps that I’m projecting kind, apologetic feelings toward my former co-worker in an attempt to sooth my own, tired, frail, plump ego.

Whatever the case, I'm shit banger outer.

How...exciting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peeing my way to freedom

I haven't talked much about Chuck's ghostbusting lately, mainly because he hasn't talked much about it. I asked him not to after I had a steady stream of nightmares in which he appeared as a floating head. Oh, and I still kind of skeeve my dining room because of the whole sea captain thing.

The truth is that I believe in ghosts/spirits/floating things, but I don't want them to know that.

Chuck has obliged my request to not be in the know by having all his ghostbusting conversations in the basement. But dangitall, there I was vacuuming this morning when the cord flew out of the socket and the vacuum went dead. My ear was thisclose to the baseboards. Chuck was talking really loud. I tried to pull myself away, but I couldn't. There was talk of flying bottles. Missing pets. Mysterious scratches.

I finally walked away-right after I'd sufficiently freaked myself the fuck out.

To calm myself, I took Junior to Target. If you didn't already know, pretty red bull's eyes are the ideal anecdote to the geebies. (And in case you missed it, enchiladas are the perfect after-being-robbed food. You come here to learn, I know.)

After our glitzy trip, I found myself on a remote back road somewhere near Mulletville. Hoping that Junior would fall asleep, I'd taken the long way home and had gotten us lost. I was about to turn around when I saw a big sign for a corn maze.

Hooey! Fun with corn!

We drove up a dirt road. Sure enough there was an old man sitting by a big ass field of corn. I can't be sure, but I think he had a glass eye. We were the only ones there. I asked how long the maze was. He said it covered a few acres and could take as much time as I wanted. Seeing as I'm seven months pregnant and was in the company of an overtired, fickle toddler, I said we'd be out shortly.

Um, Mrs. Mullet, they call it a maze for a reason.

Every damn row of corn looked the same. We went in circles. We went in squares. The wind rustled through the corn husks. The husks loomed over our heads. There were no landmarks with which to get my bearings. I'd never seen Children of the Corn but I kept thinking of it.

Corn. Dead, hairy corn.



Then I started hearing Chuck's voice. The floating bottles. The pets that never came home. The husks rustled again. I thought I saw something a row over. I heard someone whispering. I heard the theme song from Halloween.

Oh.My.God.

Run, Junior! Run!

Ultimately, the thing the saved me was my bladder. After we were out of eyesight of the farmer, I'd dropped trou and watered the plants. Twenty minutes later I'd done it again. And so on. We followed the um, markings, back to the entrance. I never thought I'd say this, but I love my pregnant bladder in a way I never thought possible.

I'm done eavesdropping. And I'm all set with corn until next summer. Even that might be too soon. Tell me: With Halloween right around the corner, do you like to spook yourself out? Do you like to be scared?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The thing I wished for didn't really make me happy. Now I kind of feel bad for the kid

The last time my mother babysat, she left this little present for Junior:



I’ve written before about my disdain for Caillou, the sickly looking character on PBS Kids. Junior loves him; I feel nauseous whenever I see him. The life depicted on the TV show is sickeningly sweet. Yes, it’s a kid’s show but do people really giggle incessantly over nothing? Does the family ever have a bad day?

Apparently, yes. Caillou and his family do have crappy days—in their print lives. “Caillou Hurry Up!” features a leaner and meaner Mommy and Daddy. In fact a more apt title for “Caillou Hurry Up!” might be “Mommy and Daddy Resent You, Caillou, Because We are Tired and Overworked.”

Without boring you, a quick synopsis: Mommy and Daddy oversleep. Mom tells Caillou to eat breakfast. The damn cat knocks over a plant. Dad yells at Caillou to get dressed then shoves the cat outside.



On the way to get dressed, Mom screams at Caillou for not eating breakfast. Then, tragedy strikes: younger sister Rosie is sick. Mom has to drag her to grandma’s so she can go to work. Caillou tries to liberate the cat. Daddy loses his shit on Caillou for not eating or getting dressed and—horrors—wanting to go to grandma’s too.



Caillou cries. Daddy apologizes and says he’s tired, blah, blah, blah. Mom pours her Screwdriver into her travel mug and whisks Caillou off to daycare. The end.

With each page turn, I grew more depressed. Where were the giggles and hearts I so despised but Junior so craved?

Save the whales!

I felt I needed to give Junior a post-story recap.

“Look,” I told him, “it’s not Caillou’s fault his parents woke up in pissy moods because they can’t properly set their alarm clock. And it’s perfectly reasonable he’d want to protect the poor cat and go to his grandmother’s. He’s four. Everything about his behavior is normal for a child. The morning’s derailment is Caillou’s parents’ fault, not Caillou’s.”

Junior said he understood, but when he wasn’t looking I hid the book under the couch cushion.

I tried to understand why I was so bothered. Why did I care so much about a creepy, hairless kid? Then it hit me. The story reminds me of what I hear in grocery store parking lots and on playgrounds and at daycare and pre-school drop-offs every day, which is: WE ARE IN A HURRY. MOVE IT. COME ON! GET IN THE CAR. GET OUT OF THE CAR. HURRY UP. I SAID NOW.

Just yesterday I watched a mother slap her son for shouting good-bye to his friend from his carseat because “We have to get going, Bradley!” This morning, as Junior and I walked into pre-school, a mother threatened to leave her crying daughter in the parking lot because “I’m going to be late for work, Cassandra! HURRY UP.”

This hurry-up-or-else mentality is kind of horrible, and it’s kind of prevalent.

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we slowed down for a minute and really looked at what our children are asking of us while we’re doing all this yelling. That little boy in the carseat was excited to say good-bye to his friend. That little girl just wanted to spend more time with her mother. Stupid Caillou just wanted to save his fugly cat.

Now I don’t know, maybe Bradley yells from his carseat 24-7, and his mom has had it. Or maybe Cassandra cries and dawdles in the parking lot every morning, and her mother has had it. I’ve certainly lost my patience because Junior is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to walk to the car. And I’m certainly not suggesting we put life on hold to meet our children’s every whim...

...But it seems that there are a lot of people who are perpetually pissed off at their kids because they’re a hindrance to their busy schedules, and the bottom line is that it’s not the kid’s fault.

(Did I mention I really hated "Caillou Hurry Up!"?)

I’m making a conscious effort to hurry Junior less. I really am. If you’d hurry up and comment, DAMMIT, I’d know how you feel, too. I MEAN NOW. YOU'RE MAKING US LATE.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Honey, you forgot to mow the kitchen counter

randomtuesday

If you need evidence that the human race has hit rock bottom, look no further. Snookie is publishing a romance novel. If you don’t know who Snookie is, I’m jealous. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to Jersey Shore, but I do watch it sometimes. I can’t help it. Any day now, one of the cast is going to catch such a bad case of herpes or gonorrhea that their limbs fall off, and I want to be there to see it.

Thank God someone invented a cure for unsightly dish racks. Fake grass on your counter looks so much better.



But where is the watering can coffee maker? And the coiled garden hose toaster? If someone’s going to suggest that regular kitchen apparatuses are aesthetically unacceptable, there needs to be more follow through, dammit. I need cohesion. How can we be asked to settle for just grass when we deserve so much more? How?

Yes, those are my pregnancy hormones talking. They’re the same ones that yelled out my window to the woman who let her poodles poop on my front walkway. I’ve never yelled out the window at anyone. It felt kind of good—though I think it would have felt even better if I’d been holding a rocket grenade launcher and had one leg up on the window sill, like I was ready to spring.

Why think small?

Before we can move to Mulletville Lite we need to remove black mold from my father’s basement. Chuck said mold removal takes precedence over painting. “Not when you’re painting a bedroom that used to be the bedroom your parents smushed* in,” I said. It’s true: being exposed to both can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Especially vomiting.

We’re throwing my friend Jen a bachelorette party this week (she’s the one who had her identity stolen by the Russian mafia, among other things). The evening includes fondue, specialty waxing—yep, an expert is stopping by for wax jobs—and this



Because what bachelorette party is complete without a penis cake? My friend Ana is baking the masterpiece, and she looked to me for guidance. Of course.

First, there was the question of ethnicity. After some debate, we decided on an attractive shade of tan. Then, the obvious question of testicular accoutrements. Ana was full of ideas: “I was looking online and someone covered the balls with chocolate sprinkles. It looked good. But I think if I can find the black licorice strings and curl them - that that might look better/grosser...I may try to make veins to, but that may be too much for me to handle.”

How could you not love this woman?

I think I’ll stop the randomness right there so you enjoy that graphic image of a penis cake for a while. Consider it my gift to you.

No, thank you.

*If you don’t know what smushing is, I’m jealous. Essentially, it’s what the cast of Jersey Shore does 24-7. Their word, not mine.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A special note from me to Heidi Klum

I don't really like Motherhood Maternity. Nothing fits quite right, and their return policy is bullshit (no returns! Not one). Alas, their clothes are cheap and their stores plentiful so I find myself there.

(I'd still never buy this seasonal nightmare. I may be pregnant but I'm not interested in looking like a heinous red snowball, thank you.)



The last time I shopped there, I needed clothes for work. Desperately. I spent about $200. To my sheer delight, the cashier told me I qualified for a free gift from Heidi Klum.

Even though some of Klum's clothing line for Motherhood Maternity is downright fugly—I love the pregnant streetwalker look



—I was still excited. I heart me some free shit. And from Heidi Klum nonetheless. The fashionista. The woman whose maternity tunics fetch $130 a pop at Pea in the Overpriced Pod. One of the richest models ever. What delights awaited me?

I rushed home, greedily opened my bag and found this, a clear plastic "Loved" bag emblazened with ladybugs and stuffed with tissue paper.



Disappointing, yes. Hearts and ladybugs stopped being cute about the time I started menstruating. But maybe inside. Maybe there was an autographed bra she'd worn on the runway or a never-before-seen picture of her with Tim Gunn or one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets or one of Klum's skin care products or some of her queer clover-shaped jewelry (Jesus, this woman knows how to market herself) or...

...no. Inside was a dumb little ladybug compact with a funhouse mirror (I can see myself better in my bathroom faucet fixtures) and a mini notebook with a pleather cover for recording all my special thoughts.

In essence, more useless junk from China that will look lovely in my garbage can. Kind of like the plastic crap that comes with Happy Meals. You know, the stuff you wouldn't let your dog chew on? (Or poop on, it's that chintzy.)

It set me off, Ms. Klum's "generous" gift. Granted, she's never named the planet as one of her causes, but couldn't she have done a little better? Haven't we got enough plastic chotchkies in our landfills? When do we get to turn off the machines and give the planet a break?

When?

Maybe I should lighten up. I mean, I did find a use for the notebook: