Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Important bedtime discussions

Every time my mother comes to Connecticut to babysit the two kids, she spends the night. It's just the way it goes. She lives a few states over. The poor woman can't spend her life on the highway.

As much as I appreciate the free (and loving) childcare, having my mother hunker down with us two or three nights a week gets old really fast, especially since we don't have a guest room. When she starts rubbing her eyes at 8:45 pm and unpacking her pajamas, Chuck and I retreat up to the bedroom.

If we were a horny pair of 17-year-old virgins, the last part of that sentence would have ended with Wink, wink. (Or heavy petting followed by wahooooooo! Again!) Sadly, we are a somewhat middle-aged pair of stressed out, exhausted parents who are leaking hormones left and right.

Instead of rockin' the roost, we have conversations like this one:

Me: Why don't we like horses? Shouldn't one of us like horses?

Chuck: I don't know.

Me: Some people really like horses. What happened to us?

Chuck: Um, I don't know.

Me: Should we go to a stable and try to like a horse? You know, brush one or something?

Chuck: If you want to...

Me: People who like horses seem to like to brush them. Maybe that's what happened: We never got into grooming a horse.

Chuck: Could be.

Me: Would you go to a stable with me? If I suddenly became obsessed with horses? Even if we had to get up at eight in the morning and drag the kids? Even if it was the last thing you wanted to do?

Chuck: I guess.

Me: What do you mean, You guess?

Chuck: I mean, sure.

Me: It's that kind of ambivalence that's going to lead us straight to divorce court.

Chuck: [Sigh] Really? We're going to divorce because of a horse we don't even know if we like?

Me: Stranger things have happened.

Chuck: I think we should go to sleep.

Me: What about the horse thing? Shouldn't we make a decision? Like, are we horse people or not?

Chuck: We're not! Shut up and go to sleep.

Me: I guess you never read Black Beauty as a kid...

Chuck: Goodnight...

Me: You're not even going to try to get with me?

Chuck: All the horse talk kind of killed it.

Me: If this marriage is going to work, you're going to have to love me and my horse.

Chuck: Please stop talking.

Me: Would it help if I said, 'Ride me?' "

Chuck: No.

Me: Do you want to brush my long mane?

Chuck: NO!

Me: FINE! Sheesh.

Chuck: [Rolling over] Do you think your mom would ever sleep in the garage?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why my driveway has the traffic of a room-by-the-hour motel parking lot

My jaw hurts. No, not from that. Gawd, didn't you read my last post?

My jaw hurts from cradling the phone in the crook of my face—yah, I got crooks—while drawing big Xs on my calendar.

It's Sunday night, baby. It's time to firm up the week’s childcare playbook (aka "The bain of existence for working parents who decide to rely on somewhat senile/overly accommodating grandparents and a fickle 25-year-old for childcare."

Shorter title? "I'm going to go play in traffic now."

Tonight's pre-game upset is that the babysitter forgot she had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday and wanted to know if she could switch days with someone.

In a moment of sheer stupidity, I said sure. (Important side note: I didn't even say sure in a deadened, annoyed way. It popped out as a sunny, chirpy sure, which still pisses me off.)

I called my mother, who babysits two days a week despite living in Assachusetts. Could she switch her babysitting days of Thursday and Friday for Wednesday and Thursday? She said no, then apologized 50 times. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and if she rescheduled again, the director was going to kill her. But I should call her if I got into a jam.

I called Chuck’s mother. Could she come? Yes, but not until 11:30 am. She’s a quasi-retired nurse who is still trying to get off her night shift hours. Before 11:30 am she’s a zombie. She swore she’d remember to bring the booster seat so she could pick up Junior at nursery school.

Did I still want her for Friday? Wait, I said, I thought I booked my mother for Friday.

Oh yes, she said, she was looking at the previous week on the calendar. Sorry!

(It's always reassuring when the person who is scheduled to watch your children doesn't know what day it is.)

I called my father. Could he come from 9 am to 11:30 am Wednesday morning and watch Everett while Junior was at nursery school? Chuck’s mom would meet him at the house with Junior. He said he’d love to, but he needed to call my aunt to see if she could take my grandmother to the doctor’s instead. If I didn’t hear back from him, Wednesday morning was fine.

(Also not reassuring.)

My mother called. She had just called Meals on Wheels and explained the situation. The director didn't want to kill her. Wednesday was fine.

I told her I didn’t need her. My father was coming Wednesday morning, then Chuck’s mother.

But, my mother said, she could come down Tuesday night and sleep over so my father didn’t have to drive all that way for two hours. What if it rained or snowed? What if he was tired? Could Chuck’s mother babysit Friday too? That way, if my mother slept over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, no one would have to cover 9 am to 11:30 am until Chuck’s mom got to the house.

I relayed all this to Chuck, who frowned. That was an awful lot of pajama time with my mother. But since he’d be on the road for most of it, he left it up to me.

My father called on the other line. I clicked over. We were all set for Wednesday morning. My aunt would drive my grandmother to her appointment. I thanked him and hung up.

I clicked back to my mother. I told her we were all set for Thursday. I meant Friday. I meant Wednesday.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” I wailed. “Who am I even talking to right now?”

She snorted and told me to read back what was on my calendar. “Babysitter for Monday and Tuesday. My father for Wednesday morning. Chuck’s mom for Wednesday afternoon. You for the rest of the week.”

She laughed and said she’d see me Thursday morning. Everything would be fine. We’d manage this changing of the guards somehow.

"Hang in there, kid!" she said.

I smiled and hung up the phone. Maybe it would be all right after all.

Then I saw I had a text. It was from the babysitter.

“Tried calling u but couldnt get thru. So sorry! :( Dr. appt is Tues. Can I switch that day?”

I won't lie. I thought about texting her horrible, inappropriate things. Most of them started like this, "You little [expletive, expletive, expletive]... Do you have any idea how much I want to [expletive, expletive, expletive] you...Why don't you [expletive, expletive, expletive] yourself and your doctor."

But I am an adult. A mature, 37-year-old mother. I wear turtlenecks for fuck's sake.

I refrained. Instead I texted her "no" and turned off my phone.

I have to say, it wasn't very satisfying. Not like, say, shouting it while holding a sledgehammer would have been. But a no nonetheless.

It's a good word.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Things I want to say

To the babysitter: Please stop using so many dryer sheets and/or fabric softener. You smell like a godamned vat of Bounce. When I come home from work and hug my children, I don't want to smell you.

To Chuck's mom: Thank you for buying me my very own stethoscope so I can listen to the kids' lungs when they're sick. But do we have to bust it out every time you visit? Sometimes I misplace the damn thing.

To my mother: The kids are fine. Please stop calling me a day after you've seen them and asking how they are.

To my underwear: God, you're pathetically functional lately.

To Junior: I'm running out of nice ways to ask you to please stop talking. How your tongue hasn't run away from your mouth is a mystery to me and the town of Mulletville Lite. Just zip it.

To my twitchy eye: I get it. I need to get off the computer. I get it!

To Chuck: The fact that you now go into the other room to clear your throat—like I've asked you to for years—just saved our marriage.

Screech! Wait, I actually did say that.

(He was unimpressed.)


Addendum to Chuck: The fact that you now go into the other room to clear your throat—like I've asked you to for years—means you're getting lucky tonight.

Chuck? Chuck? Honey?

Addendum to my underwear: False alarm girls, false alarm. The man is out cold.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The angriest people ever

Connecticut should be called the Ire State. Screw the nutmeg. People can't even read an article about a snowstorm without getting pissed off.

I logged on to wtnh.com to find out how much snow we're getting and burst out laughing at the comments.

You can practically hear the handguns being loaded.

One of the commenters does have a point: Does six inches of snow really warrant live team coverage? We live in New England. White shit is supposed to fall from the sky from time to time. Then again, if the news team is out meticulously measuring snow with their Livebreaking Storm Team Tracker Gadgets, doesn't that mean it's a really slow news day?

And isn't that a good thing?

So come on, you Connecticut assholes. Go outside and make a boobalicious snowman. Pour some more Baileys into your hot chocolate. Grab your toboggan and sled down a landfill.

By the time night falls, the news team will be back covering the things to which you've grown so accustomed: Quik-E mart robberies, home fires, state employees stealing from the Food Stamp program, the piss-poor economy, the high price of gas, and cuts in our healthcare benefits.

Now who wants some nutmeg?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Buzzkill: Thanks for coming so quickly

Well, well, well. My children repaid me for my weekend away by getting sick. Today was the first day, in fact, I was able to make it into the office. I joked with my boss that I've missed so much work I should double check my inter-office mail for hidden explosives.

She laughed, but it was one of those "That's a great idea!" laughs. Not to be confused with the "That's so not going to happen!" laugh. (You know, the kind you give your partner at 10 pm when his/her hand crosses over into foreign territory and you've already started to drool on the pillow.)

I know you don't want to read about vomit and fevers (Lord knows I don't want to talk about them), so I'll write about something much, much sexier: my neighbor.

I can't stop watching him out the window. He's unattractive and scrawny. His nose is pinched and his forehead is too large. He wears a large fur hat. His voice is nasally and whiny at the same time, but I can't stop daydreaming about him.

Why? The man is a workhorse.

He diligently cleans his gutters. He rakes. Bags. Drags to the woods. Before Hurricane Irene he moved his patio furniture inside. Tied things down. He paints. Tidies. He erected an arbor. He sweeps. He sprays. He wipes down his grill! Every time!

And this is all before 7 am.

Now look, I love my husband but:

a) he's an absolute slob. He leaves empty wrappers and boxes in the cabinets and fridge on a daily basis.

b) he's a reactor as opposed to a planner. His Hurricane Irene emergency plan consisted of putting peanut butter and batteries on the grocery list.

c) he has been away a lot for work. A lot.

A handyman who is:

a) home and

b) compulsive about said home is very, very attractive—even if his physical appearance makes me want to puke.

Crap, sorry, I said I wouldn't talk about puke.

Not to mention, I myself am compulsive and lately I've been wondering: what happens when two compulsive people get together? Would we be the most efficient couple in the world? Would we take over small countries? What if my partner tidied alongside me, instead of in direct opposition to me?

To dream!

And what is sex between two compulsive, efficient people like? Downright tidy, I imagine. I bet, like me, he'd hop into bed having already brushed, flossed, gargled, moisturized, serumed, anti-wrinkled, peed and picked out his clothes for the next day. I bet he'd have a post-coital beverage waiting for me before I knew I even wanted one.

It'd be a mad race to the bedroom, not to disrobe but to turn down the sheets and dust the night table. We'd frolic with Pledge.

Small countries I tell you! Small, dusty countries!

I should go to Northampton again, shouldn't I?

(Say yes, say yes.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

I DID run away

I really did.

I went to Northampton, Assachusetts and spent the weekend with my two best friends. Because it was my birthday—did I mention I turned 104 a few weeks ago?—I got my way for two days straight.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Ordinarily I'd worry that I sound like a brat when I say that but if you read my last post, you'll understand that before this trip I was on the verge. The mere sight of my home was enough to send me running. Literally.

And birthdays? What the hell are those? I have two children under the age of five—a good birthday for me is one for which I get to poop alone.

Having two entire days of me, me, me was decadent. I slowly walked through stores and thoughtfully examined items I might like to buy. I didn't have to carry Cheerios. I sat and chewed my food.

I even said no to a menial household task. My friend asked me to fill her ice cube trays and I said I couldn't. Actually I said, "Please don't make me do that." That might sound crazy and selfish but she had four ice cube trays and I just wanted a day where I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to.

That may have been the highlight of my trip.

No wait, sleeping until 10 am was. Or was it the no-kid-in-the-bouncy-seat-or-sitting-on-the-toilet-seat shower I took? Maybe it was when I sank into a leather chair at a bar and had a beer and caught up with my friends. Or maybe when I got fitted for a bra and found out I'm really a 32 CCC.

Fine, fine, I'm not all that, but the girls did get out and no one's in trouble for it.

Yes, my weekend was all that and then some. I'd forgotten what it feels like to relax. To be at one with yourself and your toilet. To just sit down.

If you're reading this and you have children I have one word for you: RUN. Go away for a weekend. Pack your bags and don't look back. Indulge in every wonderful mundane activity you didn't know you should appreciate before your children ate your brains.

They'll be waiting for you when you get back. Trust me.

P.S. No, I am not married to George Dubbayew.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some might call it making a run for it

I didn't mean to do it.

My mother was at our house babysitting. Chuck was away on business. I came home from work, and the heat and noise of the house hit me like a brick. I was cooked after a week of working, taking care of the kids and trying to scrape together a few minutes to [insert simple task that now seems monumental].

I crawled upstairs and put on my pajamas. It was 5:30 pm. I slithered downstairs and poured myself some wine. My mother helped me bathe the kids, dress them in their pajamas and read them stories. Somewhere in there I poured myself more wine.

At 8 pm I went back downstairs and surveyed the kitchen: dinner dishes, unwashed bottles, recycling, and on the table, a stack of thank-you notes for birthday presents for Everett that I'd been meaning to drop into the neighbors' mailboxes.

My mother sat at the kitchen table and started to write in her diary.

I decided to take a walk.

I grabbed the thank-you notes, put on my coat, gloves, hat and sneakers and stepped outside.

The night air was glorious. Cold, crisp, silent. I walked up the street, finally taking in all the neighborhood Christmas lights I'd been wanting to see for the last month. I peeked into people's houses. Noticed their curtains. The glare of their televisions.

Along the way I delivered my thank-you notes.

I had planned on turning back when I was done, but the mere thought of it lit a fire under my ass something fierce.

I started to run. Not well, mind you. I was pretty tipsy and in my pajamas but my feet wouldn't take me home. Instead they took me uphill and downhill, past the post office and the playground. Past the house where my fifth grade boyfriend used to live. Past everything. There was no one around. My heart was pounding in my ears. I probably looked like a crazy bear with vertigo but dammit, I was running.

And free.

It's good to be free.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. After months of sitting behind a desk, my unwilling legs turned rubbery and demanded I cut the shit.

I stopped and caught my breath. I remembered all those horrible years in gym class when you are forced to run a mile while the boys watched and how sometimes, you had to bend over and spit and wheeze just to get your breath back.

I felt like that same girl. Except for the wine and pajamas and two kids at home in bed.

I turned around and headed home.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ma'am, put down the stuffed hippo

Junior grew two feet in his sleep. Every pair of pants I put on him this morning were short. His legs look like they belong on a giraffe and his new haircut, which is way more buzzed than I'd like, makes me feel as if I should salute him.

I know babies. Drooling. Not sleeping. Teething. Bottles.

I do not know this little man-child. Everything is cars and wrestling and cool and "Fast! Faster!".

After pretending to jump over volcanoes on our way to brush his teeth he grabbed my arm and shouted, "Great job, lava protector girl!"

Suddenly I am a girl. Suddenly he and Chuck are "the mens" and they're too cool for girls and babies.

When did this happen and what do I do about it? All the old standbys are now defunct with this one. Everything I've learned—burping, rocking, singing, cooing—no longer apply.

It's a whole new ballgame and I am the rookie. The one at the plate holding a bib and pureed food when really, what the batter wants is a Beyblade.

What the fuck is a Beyblade?

Junior, of course, is taking his metamorphosis much better than I. I've been stumbling through stores, wondering how I ended up buying boys' pants that look like they could fit a teenager. Socks that look like they could belong to Chuck. And I can't stop thinking about this little hippo.

He used to be sewn to his mom, and Junior was perfectly content to keep the pair that way until one of his friends came over and ripped the thread, separating them.

When Junior told me what happened I said, "Oh no!"

Junior answered, "No, it's a good thing."

"It is?" I asked.

"Now he can go places on his own."

Damn you, Junior. Damn you for growing and being secure enough to seek your own identity and adventures. Damn you for not needing me as much and for morphing into a content giraffe-hippo man-boy.

It's everything I wanted for you and yet, some days the realization that this is just the beginning of letting you go breaks my heart.

Please stop growing up so fast? Please?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Other signs from the Heavens

First Jesus went and put an offer in on our house. Then on Friday He was kind enough to have my co-workers barrage me with strange emails, providing me with yet more clues that my time at Mulletville Corp should come to an end.

2:14 p.m.: Email #1, from co-worker Andy, aka "Stache" for his strange upper lip caterpillar.

Dear Mrs. Mullet,

Can I ask a small favor? I want to join a gun club and they require two character reference letters to be included with my membership application. Would you be willing to write one for me? Nothing elaborate just attesting to the fact that I would not maliciously shoot up anything—at least not anyone in the office.

You need to include your own address and phone number in case they want to speak to you in person. I hope this doesn't happen, as I realize you have small children at home. I don't know if they'd come to your house. I've never done this before.


3:46 p.m.: Email #2, from co-worker Zack, who fancies himself a savant and who apparently spent a good part of the afternoon obsessing over the minutia of the English language after I casually suggested during a meeting that we make some minor edits to the agenda.

Mrs. Mullet,

Our conversation after the meeting prompted me to research the origin of "occasion." It is from the Latin, "ob," against or toward, and "cadere," to fall. The "b" becomes a "c" in the compound word. Thus the literal meaning is something falling against or toward something else.

I have had the chance (another word derived from "cadere") to use "occasion" since our conversation and was pleased to spell it correctly.

See you.

PS According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, "vary" does have intransitive senses, including "deviate" or "depart." But, I agree with you that the handout used the word awkwardly if not actually incorrectly.

My reply to both emails?

Dear Freaks,

I'm about to give my notice. Your emails will fit nicely in the appendix I've assembled for my letter of resignation. A final word: Please don't join forces. The world is fucked enough without adding a gun-wielding, wordsmithing dynamo to its roster of villains.

Please seek help, Mrs. Mullet

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Someone famous is moving to Mulletville

I won't get into a heavy religious discussion right now (it's 9:00 p.m., after all. Wine and Arrested Development on Netflix are calling my name), but something really, really amazing happened.

Our house in Mulletville has been on the market for almost a year now, and Chuck has been praying about it. Nightly. Praying that we get an offer. That the pipes don't burst. That Mulletville scumbuckets don't break in and vandalize the place.

One tends to worry about things like that when the realtor tells you she held an open house and that "Good news! Only one homeless person showed up. I don't think he was casing the place..."

Chuck has been so consumed by prayer that even as he is trying to put the moves on me he's saying his Amens.

(Hi, slight buzzkill.)

Sooooooooo, I got an email from the realtor this afternoon. The subject line was "We have an offer!" and I thought, Wahoo! Finally!

Then I opened up the attachment and saw who the buyer is:

Scroll down...

Keep scrolling...

That about says it all. Jesus not only heard Chuck's prayers, he decided to buy the house Himself.


I really hope he likes the color I picked for the foyer.

For reasons of privacy I didn't include Jesus's last name. Obviously.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Our household is in the midst of a shift right now. I can't write about it just yet. But soon. Soon I will be able to tell you that I've joined the circus.

Or started cross-dressing.

Or, better yet, decided to let Chuck take over this blog.

Yah, I know, that'd be lame.

Until I can spill the beans, take a gander at this:

Simple math is just so...complicated sometimes.

Make laundry fun — and punishable

I don't know why there's so much effing laundry. Yes, there are five of us, but we aren't going anywhere. Part of me feels ...