Thursday, July 20, 2017

In which my husband's feet give me a mental breakdown in the HyVee parking lot.

There was something in the air - the planets were aligned, or maybe there's just something about a 70-year-old's birthday party that makes people think, "Hey! I'm gonna ask that 40-something lady why she doesn't have kids!" But it happened.

I was at a birthday party. I knew three people there. Two of those people were men who asked me - separately, but within about 20 minutes of each other - why I didn't have kids, or what I was waiting for, or when My Guy and I were going to get on that already.

When an acquaintance asked me, I surprised myself. Deep within the darkest recesses of my black, black heart, a gracious lady arose. Like a glamorous phoenix! She knew just what to say. I opened my mouth and "Well, we wanted kids, but it didn't work out. But we decided to be happy anyway" came flowing out. Even as I was speaking the words, I thought, "Oh, wow. This is some klassy shit."

When a friend asked me the same question mere minutes later, I had used a good portion of my grace and dignity for the day. Plus, we were pals who gave each other a hard time. And I was getting tired. My response to him? "Shit down there is broken."

And ... that was an effective way to change the subject pretty quickly.

I felt good. I felt like I had successfully maneuvered two conversations that a few years ago would have left me reeling. Instead, I thought about how people usually have only the best intentions. I was mature and strong and had it going on.

On the way home, I ran by the grocery store. I cruised up and down the aisles, thinking about my grand infertile lady triumph, about how not having children in the Midwest in 2017 still makes you kind of a weirdo, but it was OK. I was so calm and mature and Oprah-like.

And then I left the store. As I was walking out, I saw a dad put his cart away and move to lift his 3-year-old son from the seat. The little boy had a rather unfortunate haircut but clearly thought this grocery outing was a grand man expedition with his dad.

Before picking up his boy, the man planted his feet - one foot slightly in front of the other, about hip-distance apart.

Now, I'm not sure how this happened, but I married a jock. My Guy loves any activity that involves a ball, bat, club, disc, or racquet. He has coached. He once held an informal clinic to teach my entire family how to throw a football because, God love us, we are quite indoorsy. He's that guy.

A lifetime of athletic endeavors means that there are some things My Guy does without thinking. Any arm movement - even if he's just tossing a dog toy - comes with a nice follow through. And I don't think he's capable of picking up even a can of dog food without first planting his feet - one foot slightly in front of the other, about hip-distance apart.

So when I saw that man getting ready to pick up his son outside the HyVee, my gut reaction was, "Oh! That's how My Guy would pick up his son."

Except he doesn't have a son. Except, except, except.

Not having kids is fine except when it isn't. And it's not a rational kind of crazy - it's a weird grief that pops its head up whenever it feels like it, even if it's been away for a while.

I didn't tackle the man and start crying. After all, he had his feet properly planted and would have therefore been able to swat me away like a fly. No, instead, I walked past with a somewhat contorted face. I got into my car and had a rational inner conversation about the merits of losing my shit in the parking lot of the grocery I frequent several times a week.

Pro: It might feel good.

Cons: Someone might see me and I come here all the time. I am so close to home, surely I could just have my mental breakdown at home like a lady. Crying makes my face puffy and who needs that?

I drove home. I didn't cry at all, even after I was safely ensconced in my fortress of solitude. I was just ... sad.

And the next day was Sunday, and it was a Sunday when My Guy and I didn't have to go sit at a soccer field for six hours because we don't have kids. Life was good. But sometimes? Sometimes, being childless means lots of little flesh wounds.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

All Walter does is win.

It's time for America's favorite game show ...





Today's contestant is our reigning champion, Walter the Wonderdoodle! Walter initially came on our show at his mother's urging, as she was astounded by the number of times each day that she asked him, "Walter, what's in your mouth?"
"Am serious dog. Take challenge seriously."
During his reign as our "What's In Your Mouth?" champion, Walter has had many interesting things in his mouth, including bark, socks, mail, underwear, shoes, silverware, pens, newspapers, paperclips, a nut and bolt combo, rocks, toilet paper, and his brother, who is a miniature dachshund. It's all part of what makes Walter such a winner!

Today, let's see what Walter has for us. Hey, Walter!





Drum roll please ... oh, folks, this is truly a thrill. Walter the Wonderdoodle has really stepped up his game and has something special for us today. Walter, what's in your mouth?

Ladies and gentleman ... it's a box of matches!
That's no little matchbook, folks. That's an entire box of kitchen matches! Turns out our lovable little doodle is also a burgeoning pyromaniac, the little scamp. Let's hear it for Walter!

And thanks to his creative choices, Walter wins ... a heart attack for his mother! Oh, isn't she a lucky lady? Congratulations to you all!
"Am dog. Am very good boy."
Will Walter be able to keep his streak going? We wouldn't bet against him! Join us next time on America's favorite game show ...





Monday, July 3, 2017

Eat the damned pancakes.

Food is what makes America great. I'm talking potato salad, your auntie's secret marinara sauce, ham balls, spring rolls, fajitas, that Korean dish you can't pronounce, and all the rest. And don't even get me started on desserts. In the United States, we know how to eat.
And yet sometimes, we don't.

This holiday, as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and all that makes our nation a patchwork of awesomeness, I ask - nay, beg - that we all use a little common sense. Lady at IHOP, I'm looking at you.

My Guy and I recently reveled in the magic of Breakfast as Dinner at an International House of Pancakes. While other restaurants use parsley or perhaps a small orange slice as garnish, at IHOP, all the meals are accompanied by a plate of pancakes. It's what makes this country so amazing.

But what doesn't make this country so amazing is ordering the wrong thing. So, lady at IHOP? You were at a restaurant called International House of Pancakes. And you were in Missouri. And you ordered THE TILAPIA PLATTER. And then you sent it back to the kitchen three times.

Now, I'm guessing it wasn't the best tilapia. And you are well within your rights to send back your meal if it wasn't to your liking. But please, let's take some personal responsibility here.

You ordered tilapia. At an IHOP. In a land-locked state. And then you were shocked and angry when it wasn't awesome tilapia.

How about next time, you order pancakes? Because at an International House of Pancakes, they make pretty good pancakes. Note that the restaurant isn't called International House of Fish. Because they aren't known for their fish. They are known for their pancakes.

In America, we have room for - and need! - all variety of people and businesses. And no one should be all things to all people. You don't buy groceries at a Jiffy Lube.

Let's try to embrace folks for the special gifts they bring to the table. Because sometimes, what they bring to the table are light and fluffy pancakes that will fill your belly with joy.

And IHOP? Take the tilapia off the menu. Stick to your strengths. Because that fish smelled rank.