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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another invasive weed has taken root!

Before moving to Assachusetts last summer, my mother lived on a lake in Connecticut. One evening, when she and my step-father were out, my then 15-year-old brother decided to try out a distress signal he'd learned about by flicking the dock light on and off in rapid succession.

That same night, the EPA was taking field samples of an invasive weed that had taken root in the lake. They saw my brother's signals, motored over to the dock, docked their boat and pounded on the door.

They were thrilled to find my pimply peckerhead brother alone and well; they told him as much.

The moral of the story? Signals work. Even if you aren't aware that anyone is watching.

Let this post serve as a cautionary tale for my husband, Chuck, who can't seem to keep his snake in its cage.



No matter what he's wearing.



Word on the street is that an open fly is akin to a wedding bandless finger. Or further evidence that you want to start mimicking and boinking.

Balls in your court, Chuck.

Um, er, the figurative kind of ball that is. You perves!

Friday, June 24, 2011

If you go to a picnic and see this



and your child, who is three, also sees this:



Be prepared to spend the next few weeks answering (or not) the following questions:

Was that dog wearing a diaper? (Hysterical laughter) Was she? (Hysterical laughter) Why was she? Did she poop in her diaper? (Hysterical laughter) Was it a big turd? Is it a poopy diaper? Was that dog wearing a diaper? (Hysterical laughter)

No joke, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

(Special thanks to Ester for being such a sport and posing for pictures. I think we can all agree that sometimes even something as benign as a picnic can bring out the nervous pooper in you.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Er, I don't know why there's an octopus in our bed, honey

A few weeks ago something very cool happened. Tea Collection, which features a line of clothing available in Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and selected boutiques, contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing a few items from their Summer Collection inspired by Catalonia Spain.

Of course I agreed. Their clothing looked fabulous. After poking around on their web site, I chose the Tiburon Tee from the Boy's Clothes for Junior (he liked it because of the "spooky" shark), the matching romper for Diddlydoo from the Baby Clothing and Solid Palace Tee for myself (a woman needs a long-sleeved v-neck for those chilly summer nights, right?).

When the package from Tea Collection arrived I happened to be leafing through a parenting magazine and looking at this picture:



I was struck with an idea: stage a beach scene with the shark clothing and frame it for Chuck for Father's Day.

Brilliant? Maybe. Stupidly ambitious? Hell yes.

The magazine claimed that making my photos fun was super-simple. All I had to do was wait for my children to fall asleep, then I could create the scene around them. According to Adele Enersen, author and blogger, I should use stuff that was hanging around the house because it was "fun and ecological" to discover these items all over again.

Fun and ecological? Yes, please.

I ran into the bathroom and got these



then grabbed a beach towel and a blue throw that looked textured, like waves. I waited until just before nap time, threw it all together, got the kids dressed, grabbed the camera, stood over them and, with some gentle prodding, waited for them to fall asleep.

"Go to sleep, guys, okay? Never mind the fact that you're lying on my bed on a beach towel. Just close your eyes and—"

"—But he's drooling on my arm," Junior moaned.

"Use the beach towel to dry it."

"But he's pulling on my hair. When are we going to read stories?"

"Shut it and go to sleep so I can take these damn pictures for your father."

I guess I don't need to tell you that we never achieved nap time. Before the kids unraveled too much I was, however, able to snap some pictures. I call this one "I don't want to lie down!"



This: "I want to hold the shark, Mommy."



And this: "He's pulling on my shirt!"



I wouldn't call the pictures super-simple. I'd call them better-with-Benadryl.

As for the clothing itself, I was really pleased. The cotton is wonderfully soft, as are the colors. Junior's "shark shirt" is a soft gray-green. Diddlydoo's romper is a deep inky blue. The mix and match sets are a great idea as they coordinate really nicely.

Junior loves his shark shirt, and I love my shirt. It's longer than it looks, so I belted it and wore it with a skirt. A week later I threw it on over a tank top and wore it with jeans. It's also bust-enhancing which was an unexpected bonus:



Now if you'll excuse me, I need a nap. You know, the kind where you really close your eyes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Here kitty, kitty. Come 'ere sweet kitty


It was a beautiful sunny day in Connecticut—something us locals like to call "unheard of."

Last year at this time, a day like this would have made me sick inside. I was working full-time while basting my baby bump. Chuck was home full-time with Junior, who was going on three. I was angry about it. Always angry. Why wasn't I home with our son? Why did Chuck get to have all the fun?

Now here I am. Six months into my maternity leave. Chuck had the day off from his freelance gig, so he took Junior to the park. I couldn't have been more relieved. I have grown so fucking weary of the park and the moms. Talking. They're always talking. About bus drivers and sippy cups and diapers and sunscreen.

They talk so much it surprises me that their jaws don't drop right off their faces.

As I listen to them, I find myself missing my office. I feel like an asshole and/or a bad mother for writing that. But I miss having deadlines and projects and a career.

Most of all I feel like an asshole because last year was a rotten time for me and Chuck. I gave him such a hard time about being a stay-at-home dad. If he complained about how long or monotonous his day was, I told him that I'd gladly change places. If he said Junior talked his ear off, I'd tell him how Junior's little voice made me cry when he called me at work to say hi. I'd tell him how I missed his voice.

The guilt I was serving up was so very bountiful.

From the safety of my office I'd built up Chuck's sunny days at the park to be The End All. He was living the dream: my dream.

Now, after living "the dream" for seven days a week for the last six months I have a different perspective. Namely, the park would be a lot more fun if there was a swim-up bar near the swingsets and an on-site babysitter. Shuttle service home.

Less talking. Dear Lord, much less talking.

I wonder though if, after my maternity leave ends next month, I'll be sitting back in my office wistful for these days. As the plan currently stands, Chuck will give up his freelance career and go back to being a stay-at-home dad. Will I feel relief as I settle back into the person I was before I had Diddlydoo or will I long for these sunny days that I breezily wished away?

If I do long for these days, will I vomit over my glaringly obvious case of "the grass is always greener" and my gross inability to appreciate what I have when I have it? I don't want to be that person, I really don't, but some days I worry my tombstone will look like this:



(What? I'm gonna live to be 110, okay?)

I also don't want to be the kind of person who continues to nibble (okay, gnaw) on her husband's ego. Even though I previously apologized for my past guilt-tripping behavior, I want to assure Chuck that if I go back to work and freak out about missing the kids, I won't take it out on him.

I promise.

No voodoo dolls. No posts about wishing Chuck dead. Certainly no dipping his toothbrush in the toilet bowl.

Not this time, never, ever again, honey. I promise. I love you! I really love you, pookie!

(Is it just me or do I come off like someone who is trying to woo a sweet little kitty into my house so I can decapitate it? Oh good. It's just me.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Just Called To Say I Whittled You Something



Here's the thing: Even before I got married, marriage seemed like a sadistic endeavor. No one that's married seems particularly happy; in fact, marriage seems to suck the joy out of life and the life out of people.

Child of divorce? Who, me?

Amazingly, Chuck and I are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary this week! Can you believe it? Five freaken years of wedded bliss.

Ahem.

Two years ago, when tradition demanded I give him leather, I surprised him with chaps and a riding whip. Last year, when fruit or flowers were in order I gave him a banana negligee and a potted plant.

This year, for numero cinq, I was supposed to come up with a gift that's...

wood.

Wood? Wood? Blech.

Wood sucks, but it gave me an idea. Pencils are wooden, right? And you'd use a wooden pencil to take a quiz, right? Right! What better way to express my love and devotion to Chuck than to have him take a 10-question quiz about our marriage right here on this blog?

With a little prodding and tasing, Chuck agreed, though he wouldn't let me edit his answers before posting them so with all likelihood you and I are reading this post at the same time. Gulp. Here goes.

1. What's your favorite thing about me?
Your birthday suit

2. What's your least favorite thing about me?
Your newt on your leg YUCK

3. I obviously wear the pants in this relationship. What type of pants-wearer am I? (a) Fascist dictator (b) Brilliant matriarch (c) I'm too scared to answer
c I'm too scared to answer

4. Does this blog make me look fat?
Just when you blog about me.

5. Did you ever think you'd be so lucky as to end up with such an amazing, smart, beautiful, funny, hot wife?
Yes, I would expect nothing less for myself

6. Why don't you clean more?
That's what visiting mother inlaws are for

7. What's your favorite memory of your wife?
Spraying Solarcaine on your back in the men's room at the bar on our first date, you took your shirt off and I got a look at the goods.

8. Did you really mean "till death do us part" or is "mid-life crisis" more accurate?
Till death do us part

9. Besides sex, what's the one thing that would make our marriage stronger?
Sex

10. Write something really, really wonderful and sweet:
Thank you for loving me, our two beautiful children, and this wonderful life we have carved out for ourselves. I love you more than I ever have and am incredibly grateful, as well as lucky, to have you in my life. 5 years down only 45 more to go

Pencils down.

I love you, Chuck.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Lies!



Easy to grow? Oh yah? Easy to grow?

I think not.



This plant had intentions of dying the minute I bought it. All I had to do was look at it funny and it would droop. I've moved it into the sun, out of the sun, in from the rain, in to the rain. I've talked to it. Left it alone. Dressed sexy for it. Cooked it dinner!

It's turned up its nose(s?) at everything.

This plant is the insolent teenager in my house.

I don't even want to see its stupid fluffy pink flowers at this point. It can take its high maintenance photosynthesizing needs and hit the road.

Or, maybe I'll bury it next to the asparagus. Mwahahaha.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Something terrible happened and I'll never be the same again


I was sniffing Chuck's pants to see if they were dirty and I wasn't looking at what I was sniffing and there was a dirty sock stuck to the velcro tab of his pants and I stuck my nose right into the meat of the sock and the odor—omigod the odor—I stumbled backwards and fell into the dresser and cried out loud—dear God I cried into the air— "How could a human being produce such an odor??" and then I collapsed onto the floor into a little ball and I stayed there. Weeping. Sobbing. Shaking.

I'll never smell again.

Never!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sometimes it's easier this way

From Curious George and the Dump Truck



Junior: "Mommy, why is George climbing out of a butt?"

Me: "Sweetie, he's not. He's climbing out of dirt."

Junior: "He's climbing out of a butt!"

Me: "It's not a butt. It's two piles of dirt. Dirt Curious George naughtily dumped out of a dump truck when he didn't have permission."

Junior: "He's in a butt!"

Me: "Are we ready to turn the page?"

Junior: "Is he in a butt?"

Me: "It's dirt!"

Junior: "Wait, Mommy, wait! Whose butt is it?"

Me: "Junior, I told you—"

Junior: "I know it's a butt, Mommy. Why is he in a butt?"

Me: (Sighing heavily) "Because Geroge fell off the dump truck so hard he landed in someone's butt."

Junior: "He did?"

Me: "Yes. He landed in the gardener's butt."

Junior: (Exploding into laughter) "He did? And then he climbed out?"

Me: "Yes. It was a long climb, but he made it."

Junior: "Why?"

Me: "Why what?"

Junior: "Why was it a long climb?"

Me: "Because people's intestines are miles long."

Junior: "Oh."

Me: "Can we turn the page now?"

Junior: "Hold on." (Studying page) "Ok."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Only a man

Who was able to snore through late night feedings and kids who awake at the butt crack of dawn would find these onesies funny:





Since I'm not that man, may I just say that I hate these onesies? And that I'm going to write to the companies that make these wretched things and demand they be removed from the shelves, as a show of solidarity for every woman whose husband has rolled over and snored instead of offering to help when he hears the miniature babybeast stirring again dear God not again why the hell won't he just stay asleep!?!

Party at 2 a.m.? I effin' think not. Mommy's wake up call? Bite me!

Just bite me.

Thank you.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Contents may explode upon shaking

Date: Friday, June 3. Setting: Mulletville Lite playground. Two mothers were sitting on swings with toddlers on their laps. They'd been swinging for hours.

Mother #1: What a cloudy day.

Mother #2: It really does stink.

Swing, swing.

Mother #1: I thought today was supposed to be sunny.

Mother #2: Well, that's the Northeast for you.

Swing, swing.

Mother #1: What do we do when it's cloudy, Haley?

Mother #2: Yes, Jack, what do we do?

Swing, swing.

Mother #1: We kick the clouds away!

Mother #2: Come on, Jack! Kick, kick!

Swing, swing. Kick, kick.

Mother #1: Higher, Haley! Higher!

Mother #2: Come on, Jack! They're beating us! We've got to kick away those naughty clouds!

Swing, kick. Swing, kick.

Mother #1: Kick the clouds away kids!

Mother #2: Kick the clouds away kids!

SWING, KICK. KICK, SWING.


Suddenly, projectile vomit. Everywhere.

Mother #1: Omigawd, Haley! Pumpkin! Did Mommy swing you for too long?

Mother #2: Is she okay? We were swinging for a while.

Dry-heaving. Gagging.

Mother #1: Pumpkin! It's all over me.

Mother #2: Is there anything I can do? Anything?

Mother #1: I've got to get her home! Right now! I'm so sorry, honey.

Mother #2: Yes! Right away! Her equilibrium...!

Me (into my sleeve): Bwaahahahahahahahahaha. Bwahahahahahaha.


Date: Sunday, June 5. Setting: Small town carnival. Junior and I atop the ferris wheel.



Me (whispering into Junior's little ear): Kick, honey, kick! Kick those pesky clouds away.

And then: Bwaahahahahahahahahaha. Bwahahahahahaha.

I love when a good laugh carries itself all the way through the weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chuck, you have to get the damn V! Do you hear me?


You know the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy first lands in Oz and she hears giggling coming from the the bushes? Then one by one the Munchkins come out and greet her? And soon she is surrounded by Munchkins? And they're everywhere and staring at her and all up in her shit?

That's what the neighborhood in Mulletville Lite is suddenly like: There are parents and children everywhere.

It happened after I stole the neighbor's umbrella. She invited us to a Memorial Day picnic hosted by the neighborhood, which we went to. I don't think holy fuck can even begin to describe the sheer number of children at the picnic. They were running and shrieking and crying about skinned knees. Babies hung from breasts. Women gave birth by the grills. Fathers flung hotdogs into the mouths of five, six, seven hungry beastlings.

It was worse than my Lord of the Flies experience at IKEA.

It made me want to take a Valium.

I wasn't just freaked out by the abundant fertility of the neighborhood (does anyone do anything other than boink and boink and boink?). It's the parents that made me twitchy. These people have taken parenthood to an extreme I have not yet before witnessed—and they're peeking out their windows and watching my house!

"I saw your plastic," one woman told me.

"My plastic?"

"Plastic kids' toys. We knew you had kids. Four years and six months, right?"

"Five months—"

"It was a little too cool for just a t-shirt on the kids, don't you think?"

Ok, I added that last line, but she may just as well have said it. Lord knows people were passing commentary on the parenting foibles of other neighbors at the picnic.

Missy and Steve? They let their kids go outside barefoot in the winter. Dale and Whitney? He bosses the kids around so the wife got him a dog to train. Alex and Julie? Such hermits! Their sheltered life will surely affect their daughter Brianna.

Oh.My.Gawd.

I can't claim this over zealous parenting is a localized phenomenon. Claire Dederer describes something similar in Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses, and she lives in Washington. Surely Connecticut has pockets similar to Washington. I guess I just needed a heads-up that I'd be living in a place where parenthood trumps all. Where family is your bread, butter, mistress and nightcap.

It's kind of hitting me as I write this: If we stay here, I'm almost 100% certain we will be swallowed whole by this homogeneous blob of people who are consumed by their children. We'll no longer be Chuck and Mrs. Mullet. We'll be "Those parents who let their children out of the house with peanut butter on their faces."

Even worse, I see another one or two kids in our future. Everyone knows that one of the first things people do when trying to fit into a new environment is mimic those around them.

Boink and mimic. Mimic and boink.

I'm probably pregnant already.

And the neighbors probably already know.

I'm frightened, Auntie Em! I'm frightened!