Monday, March 27, 2017

The truth about the stingrays in Connecticut (warning: this may be upsetting to young children)

I'm about to complain so if you're having a super fantastic Monday please come back tomorrow.

Here's the thing: Connecticut kind of sucks. The weather is questionable. Our mountains are more like pimples. Our lakes are puddles. Our state capitol is shady and on the verge of bankruptcy. Just 36% of the shoreline is publicly owned. If you don't have a rich aunt who owns beachfront property, don't try going to a public beach on a Saturday—the parking lots are often filled to capacity before noon.

Our dipshit, asshat governor Dannel Malloy is trying to tank the state. He taxes every breath we take: auto, income, property, pension, you get the idea. People are leaving the state in record numbers. His approval rating is in the toilet.

Yet he keeps on smiling. And taxing.

People from surrounding states use Connecticut highways to get to their vacation destinations, which means you can't drive on the highways during the summer because essentially they're parking lots. The state's transportation committee is talking about implementing tolls. You'd think that for once Malloy would cut state residents some slack and just charge out-of-staters but oh no, empty that wallet!

I despise the man. If my family and friends didn't live in Connecticut Chuck and I would be long gone.

Knowing all this—that we have our incomes sucked from us every day that we rot in this craptastic state—you can understand that I try to save money at every turn. Especially because I work part-time. I don't usually go to costly venues with my toddler during the week. Ditto for when we have all three kids home on the weekends.

But sometimes you need to leave the house. Sometimes it's gray and rainy and 30 degrees and your toddler is looking at you like If we don't see some new scenery I'm going to freak the eff out.

So on Friday I made plans with my mom friend to go to Mystic Aquarium. She just had a baby and is new to the whole trying-to-leave-the-house routine with an infant. We were supposed to leave from my house at 10 a.m. but instead ("diaper explosion!" and "he's hungry!" and "he's screaming!" and "he's tired!") she arrived at noon.

We got to the aquarium at 1 p.m. We needed to leave by 3 p.m. to get my older kids off the bus. The admission for adults was $34.99. Half of the aquarium's exhibits are outside (no thanks—it was 30 degrees). I'm no mathematician but the short tally is that I paid $17 an hour to watch things swim in a tank. I was never so glad to not have my two older boys with me. At $24.99 each I would have paid $85 for all of us. Not including food. Not including the 4-D theater.

Here's where I really get pissed off. Most of the staff looked like they LOATHED CHILDREN. Except for the cheery older woman who stamped my overpriced ticket, every person working (in particular the morose teenager manning the touch tank) looked as if they had just smelled a shitty diaper.

And maybe they had. But if you pay $34.99, you shouldn't have to deal with glowering staff. I can get that for free at the grocery store. No, for that kind of money I want sunshine blown up my ass from the minute I walk in the door. Yes, children yell and run and splash (it's a fucking water table, toddlers are going to splash), but if you don't enjoy children why do it? 

I have to confess that certain aspects were fun. Like when my friend followed me into the women's bathroom and our strollers got caught in between the two sets of heavy doors leading in. It was like a scene from the Human Centipede. Fun, right? Automatic doors for mothers with strollers would be so un-fun!

Should I have gone on a sunny day for an entire day? Sure. Will I do that next time? Absolutely. But as we drove home I couldn't help but think that life in Connecticut feels like this all of the time:

It seems as if the stingrays are in on it too.

For some reason that makes it hurt that much more.

(For reference, New England Aquarium costs $27 for an adult ticket; Long Island Aquarium, $28; and Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, $13).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Graphic scenes from a night table

If I had the time, I would love to write a book about night tables. Wait, wait, before you fall asleep at the thought of that (oooohhhh night tables), think about all the night tables you've had throughout your life and the shit that's been on them.

As a child, my very dusty pink AM/FM radio sat atop my night table, along with several Sweet Valley High books (remember that book that can save your marriage?). In college, there was beer, some books, more beer, and Lord knows what else. Nothing illegal, mind you, just nothing I'd want my mother to know about.

Chuck and I didn't have a night table in our first apartment. The mattress was on the floor and I pushed a book case against it so we had a spot for our glasses—we're both blind—beer and books. (Notice a theme here?)

If I thought hard I could probably remember all the tables in between "then" (carefree, childless, spontaneous, relaxed) and "now" (childful, stressed, exhausted, borderline joyful) but to me, no photo speaks more to the person I have become as a 42-year-old mother of three small children than this photo:

I took it after Christmas, when everyone had the barf bug. Gone are the beer and books. Now there's the Lysol. I believe we went through three cans. The Advil. The liquid Tylenol. My favorite, the suppositories. The cracked heel and Eucerin creams (because even though you're covered in puke you still need to moisturize). Nail polish and cuticle cream (I foolishly thought I'd be doing something for New Year's Eve that warranted nail polish—joke was on me). My night guard case (who me? Three kids and a jaw clenching affliction?). Lip balm. A lighter and two packs of matches just in case I needed to light a candle for the horizontal time Chuck and I would have in between puke sessions (I believe this is when I officially began my pilgrimage to become a Born Again Virgin).

And there, smack in the middle, is the Wonder Woman pin Chuck got me for Christmas. Junior had balked at it when I opened it. "Why does she need that?" he wanted to know. I understood that his question was more of a She isn't into superheroes like we are, Dad, so why would she want that? and not a She wants beer and books, Dad, don't you know that from sharing a night table with her for the last 20 years?

Chuck had answered Junior with a very thoughtful "Because Mom is OUR Wonder Woman, that's why"—all that sentiment and I still didn't get any sheet time!—but the kids had already moved on to gift unwrapping. And vomiting.

We took such lovely photos.

Anyway. Yes. A book of night tables. As you can see, it's practically writing itself.

Mmmm. Beer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Skunk hair, deer, twerking, and broken glass. Aka, just another day. Aka, can't we just have sex?

What the hell? How did a month pass since my last post?

Oh right...

Chuck threw out his back. Then he had a kidney stone.

Junior came down with a cold. Then he gave the cold to Everett, who gave the cold to the babysitter, who gave the cold to Cam.  

Then, as I was carrying Cam upstairs, I tripped over a shoe box someone had left on the stairs. I fell against the railing, twisted into a sadistically unnatural position, fell into the wall and then fell on my ass (toddler safely in my arms). That wasn't actually what threw out my back. Nope, I threw out my back the next day when the dog bumped into me as I was slouched over, helping Cam get his shoes on, and I fell forward. I didn't want to fall on top of Cam so I spread my arms out, but I twerked the wrong way and face planted onto my cheek and shoulder.

Oh, and my hair! I went in for subtle highlights and came out three hours later looking like a skunk. My sweet brother said I looked like the bride of Frankenstein. It took a box of brown at home plus more brown at the salon to cover up the white streaks. Great news! I have black-ish hair, but it's all one color.

Did I mention that the babysitter, after getting a cold from Everett, told me she couldn't come back for awhile because she's newly pregnant and doesn't want to run the risk of getting sick? Hello again,

Work. There was and is so much work to do! When I wasn't plugging in the heating pad for Chuck, the humidifier for the kids, the hairdryer for myself (surely if I dry my hair enough the black-brown will lighten) or the vacuum (why the hell do the dog and cat shed so much?), I was plugging along, trying to finish all of my work.

My mother visited a bunch too. She was supposed to be my back-up sitter because of the prego babysitter but oopsie, my mother decided to move back to this dreadful state, so she had to leave early to look at houses. Which meant I was plugging away into the wee hours of the morning.

Then the snow. The mother effin snow. I ran outside to cover all the little sprouting plants in my garden with small glass vases--just to shield them--and now I have to find them under the snow before my children do. (Look for my upcoming post: Stupid shit not to put in your yard when you have three children who like to jump in the snow.)

Speaking of things I'll probably forget to do, our water filter, which has been attached to the kitchen sink faucet for five years, decided to crack open one morning, just as I was leaving for work. I forgot to tell the sitter, who was doused in water when she turned it on to get a drink. I also forgot to tell my mother, who came to relieve the sitter and who was also doused in water when she went to get a drink.

I also forgot to tell Chuck, but he was standing next to me when he was covered in exploding water. I laughed so much I had to change my clothes as well, but that's just a shitty side effect of having multiple children and forgetting to clench when you're bowled over laughing.

The filter is still on there. 

Somewhere in there the cat vomited all over the rug and the dog pooped on the floor. Somewhere in there I saw the dentist, whose stupid, perky hygienist told me I was doing a super duper job with my home care, but she could tell by my profusely bleeding gums that I am not flossing. I believe this was after my dye-job but before my babysitter woes, so I still had the wherewithal not stab the hygienist with the sharp thing she'd been scraping my gums with and not to shout I DON'T EVEN HAVE TIME TO POOP SOME DAYS NEVER MIND FLOSS.

Somewhere in there, Junior forgot he had to design a diorama for school and I found myself at Micheal's at 8:30 p.m. looking for miniature white-tailed deer. We settled on brown-tailed deer and shellacked their asses white with Whiteout. Then there were school conferences and I got to bring the deer home.

I bet they'll look cute in the garden next to all the broken glass and dead plants.

And sex. Chuck and I have been trying to get horizontal for a long time. But as you can see, a few things have gotten in the way. I thought tonight might be the night, but he just sent me this text:

So yah, I guess it's official. At 42, I'm a born again virgin. Which means my babysitter is getting laid more than I am.

Seems about right.

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 ...