Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This should be covered in pre-wedding counseling.

Let's talk about marital relations. Specifically, relating to your spouse in bed.

Yes. I'm talking about relating to your spouse in light of various and sundry electronics in bed.

First, there was the smartphone. My Guy would read and fall asleep with his phone propped up on his chest, or held sort of catty-whompus by his side. Because I am a night owl and always fall asleep last, I would oh-so-helpfully take the phone. Because I'm a giver, and I don't want My Guy to get a black eye from a phone falling on his sleeping face.

However, he soon became very possessive of the phone, and would berate me for "stealing" it. He would half-heartedly sleep-yell, "Mah PHONE" as I attempted to lift the phone.

Even though "Mah PHONE" amused me to no end, I tried to just let it be. He'd fall asleep, and Mah PHONE would end up buried in the bed, or it would careen into his forehead. It was mostly funny.

However, things really escalated with the arrival of the Kindle. That sucker is bigger than Mah PHONE, and with a world of books at his fingertips, My Guy is even more likely to try to read with his eyes closed. This means that he's even crabbier about me "stealing" it when he's "just resting and gonna read more."

In the spirit of Christmas, things have escalated as of late.

The other day, as we settled into bed, My Guy mentioned off-handedly, "If you try to steal my Kindle tonight, Imma punch you in the fallopian tube."

About 3 minutes later, he was asleep, with the Kindle perched on his chest. I didn't touch it. However, about 2 minutes after that, he snorted himself awake, batted his arms about ... and managed to knock my book into my face.

Obviously, it's now on like Donkey Kong. Our bed is a battlefield.

I threaten to steal the Kindle. He just looks at me and says, "I'll punch you in the tube."

I can't sleep when he's not here.

Ours is a love that is true.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Adventures in fashion and furnace repair.

You know how once you get really cold in your bones, it's nearly impossible to get warmed up?

Yeah. And you're super-cold because your year-old furnace is out and you can't sleep because it's so cold and you even let your gigantic labradoodle sleep on the bed with you but instead of warming you up, he just kicks you throughout the night, and the furnace guys return your call at 7 a.m., which is a good sign, but they can't give you even a guesstimate as to when they will show up at your house because it's cold as hell and lots of people are in the same crappy boat as you with furnaces that don't work, so you're in for a day of freezing and waiting for your furnace savior to show up?

Yeah. And you ask yourself, "What's the appropriate attire for these festivities?"

There is nothing worse than being improperly dressed. I overcame the challenge, and you can, too.

If you're like me, you can't face showering when the temperature in your bathroom is hovering in the frozen-pipes range. So, you have an automatic, greasy base for your fashion.

Pull your Crisco-esque hair back in a fashionable plastic clip, much like those you sported in junior high. Then, because you're absolutely kidding yourself into thinking that all furnace madness will be remedied soon and you can eventually go to the gym to warm up, start with a base layer of gym clothes.

Next? Put on another shirt - preferably the shirt you wore yesterday. And then, because you really need to do laundry, top that off with the fleece pajama top you slept in. Pull a pair of paint-covered pants over your workout pants and you're set.

This ensemble will carry you through all parts of your day:
  • Blatantly exploiting your dachshunds' body heat by cramming them inside your clothes
  • Crying on the phone to your husband, who is in freakin' FLORIDA for work
  • Praying for serenity as you realize that in each of the 3 times the furnace tech used your bathroom, he did not wash his hands, even though we can all agree that all wang-related tasks should involve hand washing
  • Sneaking out to the hardware store buy a space heater after the furnace tech leaves your house, beaten, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Realizing that you would make a shitty pioneer and would probably die on the trail of dysentery, just like in "Oregon Trail"
  • Randomly moaning, "I'm wearing 2 pairs of pants" throughout the day, as if this were code for "my life is crap"
And ... you're welcome.

That was yesterday. Today, after additional tech visits, the furnace appears to be heating the house ... although I've been hurt before, so it's difficult to really let my guard down and believe.

Better yet? Thanks to the space heater, I was able to shower this morning. And I found my long underwear, so only 1 pair of pants today.

World? You're welcome.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My heart isn't the only thing that's cold.

I'm compiling the index for an academic book right now. Yes, the life of a freelance writer/editor IS that exciting.

The good news is that I find the task rather delightful. It speaks to my nitpicky editorial OCD. And I love having immediate, tangible results. It's one of those jobs that makes me think, "The world NEEDS me!"

The bad news is that indexing has completely infiltrated my brain. I dreamt about it last night, and today? Today, I keep thinking of my day in terms of how I would index it.

A sampling:

furnace. See not working
husband 3-4, 9, 10-15
     disgust towards 10
     out of town 11-15
     travel to Florida, even if it is for work 9
not working 1-20
     furnace 1-20
     my fingers and toes 3-20
thermostat not matching actual temperature in house 10
winter coat 15-18
     donning inside house 16-18
     feeling like a dork 16
     not caring 18-20
winter weather 1-20
     shoveling snow 0
     why I got married in the first place. See husband,
       disgust towards
WTF 2-20

I hope you're staying warm and safe and have a slightly better attitude than the one I'm currently sporting.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

That UTI looks good on ya.

Hallmark doesn't make a card that says, "Congratulations on your hellacious urinary tract infection." But they should. Because I would so totally buy it.

The labradoodle? He of the emergency vet visit, wherein the vet said, "Oh, there's way too much blood for this to be a UTI, and I saw a mass?" That guy?

Turns out the mass was just blood clots. Turns out the dude just has the world's most horrific UTI.


I mean, I've had a few UTIs, and ohsweetOprah, they are horrendous. But having Big Doodle be miserable and on freakin' amoxicillin is a gajillion times better than my poor kid having a mass in his bladder.

Basically, I just paid $1390 for amoxicillin and Big Doodle's medically necessary and really unfortunate manscaping. But I'm kind of OK with that. I just couldn't fathom that we could lose both the labradoodles in a year. I couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that the gentle horse that I walk around the neighborhood every day could be deathly ill.

I am so, so thankful that I didn't have to.

I don't care that we aren't sure how we're going to cover this bill. I don't care that we're really not having Christmas now. I just don't care. I'm so thankful for my boy.

Thank you all for your kind words. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.
This is us, leaving the vet. Labradoodles are totally into selfies, yo. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

At least he wasn't nekkid at Thanksgiving.

So while I'm waiting to hear back from the emergency vet, let's have a little Thanksgiving recap, shall we?

There was turkey. There were 2 turkeys, actually: the one we ate, and the one who sired my husband.

Oh, snap!

My FIL has social skills that can best be described as "limited." He is divorced, and he doesn't communicate with his 5 kids unless he's describing his health issues. When My Guy and I visited him in the hospital last spring, after he'd had back surgery? He was euphoric. Not because of painkillers, but because he loves being in the hospital, being the center of attention. He also tends to exaggerate his symptoms and take liberties with information. For example, "We need to watch this med - it might impact your kidneys" becomes "I'm in full renal failure."


Instead of coming to Thanksgiving dinner, FIL went to the emergency room. They declined to admit him, so he called for 1 of his kids to come pick him up.

My Guy and I drove 45 minutes to the hospital. We spent a solid 20 minutes looking for FIL, and had 3 different hospital staff assisting in the search. Then, we got a text: FIL had called someone from his church to take him home. He'd been home for an hour. He did not think this warranted a phone call, and didn't think anything about how his entire family had delayed dinner so that he could be ferried about.

Now, I love my sweet husband. His reaction to all of this was to laugh manically. He was so angry, he couldn't stop laughing. Me? I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry, because I saw the expression on his face.

It's easy for me to be all, "What the fuuuuuuuuck?" But for my husband and his siblings? This is their dad. They're adults, but they still need a dad. They understand that there is some truth to his health concerns ... but they also know when they're being played. It would be nice to have a dad who has a tiny bit of concern for someone other than himself.

This is the guy who once knew our arrival was imminent, but was nekkid in his kitchen when we got to his house.

It's not often that I have no clue how to deal with someone because they are just that irrational. But I'm clueless here. Short of running over him with my car, I'm just not sure what to do. And really? Since I've backed into My Guy's truckasaurus not once but twice? A little more body damage to my 10-year-old Honda is not going to upset me. I have nothing to lose!

Any experience dealing with a similar person? Any words of wisdom?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

There's no friend like a dog friend.

Good thing about the emergency vet: The pop machine sells cold cans of A&W Root Beer for a mere 60 cents.

Bad thing about the emergency vet: Ohmygod, you're here again!

Good thing about the emergency vet: They are open on Sundays, so when you realize that your labradoodle is peeing Merlot, you can get him checked out ASAP.

Bad thing about the emergency vet: This is going to cost you anywhere from $1600 to $2200 because your sweet, sweet dog doesn't have a UTI. He has a mass in his bladder.

Good thing about the emergency vet: Your comrades in the waiting room are kind, like-minded folk. You hold a puppy's leash while his dad fills out paperwork. Then, that dad doesn't steal the iPhone you absentmindedly leave when you finally get to talk to the vet after 2 hours. Later, both you and your waiting room neighbor look on in horror and with a desire to do something - anything - as a man brings in his terrier, who was hit by a car.

Bad thing about the emergency vet: The dog is DOA. You are simultaneously thankful for your own dog's chance at health and desperate for a way to undo this horrible thing.

Good thing about the emergency vet: The people of the waiting room, as a whole, look away, trying to create privacy for the grieving man. The vets and the staff are kind and usher him to a private room where he can take his time with his fallen friend.

Bad thing about the emergency vet: They will keep your poor pup overnight so they can hydrate him and the internal medicine specialist can run diagnostics in the morning.

Good thing about the emergency vet: You know they will take good care of your boy.

Bad thing about the emergency vet: You were just here a few months ago and had to say goodbye a sweet and loyal friend. You've already filled your quota for canine sadness for this year. Your heart is raw and worried.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just go without food. Trust me.

I did something soooo dumb today.

No, I didn't try meth. It was worse.

Yes. I attempted to grocery shop a mere 2 days before Thanksgiving.

I should have known that I was in trouble when the grocery parking lot was full at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. As I got out of my car, an errant cart came rumbling towards me. At the time, I was all, "Oh, hey, little cart friend. Let me help you back to the cart corral." But I was a fool. That cart was trying to warn me. That woogedy wheel was actually chanting, "Get the hell outta here before it's too late!"

But I, of course, was a fool. I continued into the store.

Now, I'm a lucky duck. I do my grocery shopping in the middle of the day on weekdays. I've got it down to such a science that I know that Monday mornings are crazy, but mid-day on Tuesday or Wednesday is where it's at. I admittedly have little time for grocery amateurs.

Two days before Thanksgiving? The grocery was filled with amateurs. The few of us pros (read: anyone who has ever been in a grocery store, ever) who made the mistake of shopping made panicked eye contact as we rushed to grab necessities and get the hell out.

I do think I should earn triple points with Jesus for not running over any kids with my cart. Not just any kids, but, specifically, the little girl with the fluffy white coat. You know, the girl who was opening cheese slices and offering them to her 4 brothers, all while standing in the middle of the aisle?

Actually, not in the middle of the aisle. In the middle of EVERY AISLE. Every aisle, as her mom ignored her, parked her cart also in the middle of EVERY AISLE, and kept up a running dialogue with no one in particular about what she needed next for her homemade mac and cheese.

I wonder if she was home by the time she discovered that her kids ate all the cheese.

So, yeah. If you haven't hit the grocery store yet, prepare yourself. It's like Armageddon, but without the soaring Aerosmith theme song. And if it was this bad mid-day on Tuesday? By Wednesday night, it's going to be some real bad, snakes-raining-from-the-sky, all-ye-who-enter-will-be-smitten-by-leprosy-and-herpes kind of stuff.

Good luck. And happy Thanksgiving, turkeys.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The kind of infidelity my husband has to worry about.

We have this cute neighbor who sits in a lawn chair in his garage a lot. He's an elderly guy, and always calls out a hello when I walk past his house with the dogs.

Note that when you're friendly and old, you can get away with sitting in a lawn chair in your driveway. When you're my scary neighbor Creepy Chuck, sitting in a lawn chair in your driveway seems to be 1 step away from "It puts the lotion on its skin."


Today, Cute Neighbor Man was raking leaves. He had a dozen bags lined up at the curb, and figured he had about two more left to fill until he was done.

"Well, your yard looks great," I said.

The corners of Cute Neighbor Man's mouth twitched. "Well, my grandson is coming from college for Thanksgiving. I want things to look nice for him. I don't want him to think that Grandpa has gotten soft," he said. "You know, I'm 84."

And then I melted. My crush officially turned into forever-true love.

As I left him to finish his task, Cute Neighbor Man turned to back to me. "Hey," he said, pointing at me. "You have a wonderful Thanksgiving!"

Oh, honey. You, too. You too!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oh, teevee. No one loves me like you do.

I have been traveling a ton. Well, "a ton" if you're like me and you don't leave your house much. Being out of town 2 weekends in a row is practically like I'm Magellan, Cortes, or the conquistador of your choice.

My first trip was to Washington, D.C. to visit BFF. Her fancypants government job means she typically lives overseas, but right now, she's in D.C. Hurray! So, of course, we had to celebrate by having a girls' weekend.

Now, D.C. is an amazing city filled with historical significance at every turn. Why, a long weekend was hardly enough time for us to see even a fraction of it!

That's why we didn't even try. Instead, we spent most of the weekend fulfilling a dream - nay, fulfilling our destiny.

Yes. We watched all of the "North and South" miniseries, or, more accurately, television event. And yes, we earned extra credit by watching the horrible third installment.

Now, there are certain signs in life that tell you if you've made the right choice or a seriously wrong one. And people, I'm here to tell you that the fact that BFF owns all 3 of the "North and South" DVD sets is a sign that I choose my friends very well.

We were in fifth grade when this miniseries, or, more accurately, television event, first took to the air. Do you remember it? It was a big, star-studded deal! Amazing battle scenes, period costumes, and the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gene Kelly in cameos!

It was glorious.

But rewatching this epic television masterpiece as an adult had me cringing just a bit. Now, BFF and I were raised on cable teevee, Frosted Flakes, and full-sugar pop. But our parents either didn't realize or were too tired to care that "North and South" was teaching their fifth-grade daughters about way more than the civil war. The miniseries, or, more accurately, television event, covers these educational topics:
  • Friendship
  • American history
  • Whores
  • Backwoods abortion
  • Adultery
  • Adultery in brothels
  • Adultery with married congressmen
  • Adultery in abandoned churches
We also learned these important life lessons:
  • If your nemesis falls through the ice, do yourself a favor and don't save him from drowning. It will only end badly.
  • In the olden days, people died really fast. You knew they were dead by the dainty trickle of blood coming from a corner of their mouths.
  • Slashing your abusive husband in the face with a saber isn't enough to keep him from kidnapping you later. You best kill 'em.
  • People in the south were evidently super, mega dumb. See also:
    • You can't interrupt your ladylove's wedding if you show up for said wedding late - even though it's happening next door and you've known about it for several days. 
    • You can evidently "hide out" in Charleston without a disguise and no one will find you even though your husband has detectives looking for you.
  • Don't ever cast Wayne Newton as a sociopathic prison warden. While a seemingly inspired bit of "special guest" casting, it will be completely unbelievable. Viewers will spend his scenes humming "Danke Schoen." This will not forward your goal of representing gritty, realistic prison conditions.
I do feel like a better person for having watched all 1,404 minutes of "North and South." Clearly, I learned a lot.

However, I haven't seen any other miniseries, or, more accurately, television events, from the 70s and 80s. I've never seen "The Thorn Birds," or the others that I don't even know about. What are your guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures from television's past?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's a sling. That they put in your hoo-ha.

I don't know what kind of teevee shows you watch, but lately? Lately, My Guy and I have seen a lot of teevee ads for TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

Or, to be more accurate, ads for wanting to sue somebody because you had a bad experience with TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

Now, I get it. Sometimes, when you have surgery, you need some kind of sling to keep all yo' organs all up in their proper places. Sometimes, you just need to show your internal bidness who is boss, and nobody can do that like some TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

However, I hardly think that after a long day, when you settle down to watch some "House Hunters," that you're in the right frame of mind to finally decide that hey, maybe it's time you sued those honkies who made your shoddy TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

And who made that media buy? "Uh, yeah, we'll take placement during 'Maury' and, yeah, the entire HGTV prime-time line-up. That's really when people are thinking about TRANSVAGINAL MESH."

I'm not trying to be insensitive. I'd understand the ads if it happened once or twice, or if we were watching lots of daytime or late-night teevee. But we see the ads all the damned time. And what is it about watching first-time homebuyers make stupid comments about needing 5 bedrooms and granite in the kitchen that's an obvious tie-in? What about the home-buying process just screams, "TRANSVAGINAL MESH?"

And speaking of screaming? Since the ad features on-screen text that's in all-caps and emergency yellow? I think that, obviously, you can't say the name of this medical product without screaming it. Like, "Run for your lives! We're being chased by rabid, zombie TRANSVAGINAL MESH!"

So, basically, every time we watch "House Hunters" now, my subconscious makes certain connections, and I think the people are looking at homes in neighborhoods infested with roving bands of ne'er-do-well TRANVAGINAL MESH.

I never agree with the buying decisions on that show.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I have 85 third cousins, all named Mike.

My mom has been visiting. Her cousins had a brunch yesterday, and it was the first time she'd seen them in 20 years.

I tagged along, and was the youngest person there. Mostly, I got to sit back and take it all in.

Honey, when you have a big ol' Irish Catholic family, you don't need to watch the stories on the teevee. You just pay attention to your own people and be entertained. I mean, after all, there are a gajillion kids to keep track of.

And the names! Every family has a Michael, a Mary, and a Patrick. There's a cousin who was supposed to be Michael, but since she ended up a girl? Well, she's Mary, but goes by Mickey.

There's Jim, and Big Jim, and Uncle Jim. My grandpa, Michael Edward, was surrounded by several Michaels and a handful of Eds, so he was simply "Bud." And there was Daddy Mike, who "knew people" and worked for the city for 42 years, if you know what I mean.

I'm not even kidding.

I know just enough about this part of the family to be truly dangerous. It's just enough to let my imagination run wild.

In my fantasy, Sister Pat is a Catholic superhero, flanked by her nephews Patrick, Patrick, and Mike. It turns out that great-grandpa Michael really was born on the boat on the way to the U.S., not in dirty ol' England. This means that Big Jim was able to get his Irish citizenship before he died, just like he'd hoped. And Daddy Mike, who "knew people," was a benevolent neighborhood do-gooder who leveraged his connections to take care of the less fortunate.

Or maybe they were all just flawed and interesting and imperfect like me.

After you die, people only say nice things about you. Well, unless you were really wretched (see also: my great-grandfather who burned down his son's house). But mostly, people just recall the nice stuff. It makes it easy to pretend that we imagined the humanness and the flaws, that our perceptions and memories are somehow incorrect and invalid.

The self-doubt is bullshit. But focusing on the good is also a kind gift.

In 70 years, when I've finally kicked the bucket, I want my family to talk about how Aunt Cha Cha had a knack for saying the wrong thing and laughing too loud. Tell 'em my house was always filled with dog hair but I was a nice lady anyway. Laugh about how all the kids called my husband Uncle Cheeseburger and how any baby would poop if he held them. Pass around a goofy snapshot of us, where he's making a face and I'm laughing with my mouth full of food, probably tooting a tiny bit in my effort not to spit food across the room.

Let us be human. Give us the break I have such a hard time giving myself.

How do you want to be remembered? Any interesting relatives in your past?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When vanity and OCD collide.

I kind of hate drying my hair.

At shoulder length, my hair is the longest it's been in 20 years. I'm just not accustomed to this kind of Crystal Gayle-esque maintenance.

Sometimes, I let my luscious locks air dry. I love how soft they feel when almost but not quite dry.

This is what I imagine I must look like when I let my hair air dry.
This is what I really look like.
It's such a disappointment.

So, in an effort to make myself more Farrah and less Kathy Geiss, I examined my hair dryer. It was pretty gunky. So, I spent 20 minutes picking lint out of the vents.

Now, when I dry my hair, it takes about half as long. Instead of being a teeny bit fried, my hair is a teeny bit more shiny-like. I wouldn't go so far as to call it luxurious, but it's still an improvement.

That's cool.

But pulling the lint out of all the little vents on the side and the back of the hairdryer?

Dude. That was so, so satisfying.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia and youtube.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Step away from the pink coffee cup. Step away!

This morning, my sweet husband defaced my refrigerator magnet with this sticky note.

I laughed and laughed. People, I married well. The man has a sense of humor, and reminds me daily not to take things so seriously.

I'm not saying that I'm all Zen and nothing ruffles my feathers. But now, it's just the big stuff.

Big stuff, like Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Oh, for the love of boobies! Stop it with the pink! Quit trying to get women to go braless in "support" of breast cancer awareness. Take your pink sports equipment and "I love her rack" hunting gear and shove it. Quit buying toxic nail polish and pink plastic coffee mugs that promise a part of the proceeds fund cancer research. Stop trying to fool yourself that you're doing "your part" to stop breast cancer by buying more crap.

Let me explain.

My grandma died of breast cancer. My mama was diagnosed at 49 and survived chemo and what we can now acknowledge was a nightmare of a mastectomy. I had my first lumpectomy at 23 and am a champ at producing questionable lumps, bumps, and cysts. As you might imagine, I, uh, have a bit of an opinion on the subject of pink ribbon industry. I have a couple horses in this race.

I've done fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the past. I've walked the walks, and wrote my 1 and only ever sponsored post about a ridiculous promotion tying KFC and Komen together. (I saw it as a way to tell my story and maybe throw some cash at what I still thought was a reputable organization.) However, Komen's politics and spending can now politely be called "questionable." I will not fundraise for them in the future.

Even if you ignore Komen, we are still bombarded with pink ribbons year-round. If you didn't feel crummy already, the pink ribbon overdose will surely make you feel nauseous.

Call me a cynic, but if you spend $10 on a coffee cup because part of the proceeds benefit breast cancer research, you are insane if you think more than 2 cents are going to any kind of research-related entity. When I see beribboned items for sale, I think, "sucka."

I sound angry - and I guess I am.

I'm beyond pleased that we can talk about mammograms and breast cancer in public instead of just whispering about them to our closest girlfriends. Lifting the taboo from the term "breast" has done so much for women's health.

However, we are lulling ourselves into a sleepy complacency. Buying the pink coffee cup doesn't mean you've done your part. Trusting huge charities to take on what is now the industry of breast cancer is ridiculous - especially when the charities are part of the industry.

Most breast cancer isn't genetic. So, what's causing the rest of it? We have to look at our food supply, at the chemicals in our personal-care items (which our government doesn't govern), at the substances in our environments.

If you want to do something, I beg of you: don't buy the damned pink coffee cup.

Get screened.

Write your congressperson about the lack of oversight in cosmetics and personal-care items.

Make a donation to an organization that meets your goals and fits your morals. Charity Navigator has taken some of the guesswork out of it.

Talk about breast health with your friends. Share information, not stupid boob-related pictures on Facebook that just add noise, not value.

Pay attention to the questionable substances in your environment - whether it's the plastic in your home or the stuff in your community's air.

Just don't buy any more pink crap - literally and figuratively.

And thank you for letting me get that off my lumpy, scarred chest.


Wanna hear more about my boobtacular boobie adventures? Evidently, I write about my rack a lot. But the more we talk about it, the less alone we are.
  • Here's a nice overview. Please forgive the aforementioned, regrettable Komen tie-in.
  • What's it like to be 31 and think you have cancer? It's like this.
  • What's it like to be getting married and have to have boob surgery? It's like this, and this.
  • What's it like when your boobs require seemingly constant medical supervision? It's like this.
  • What's it like when you have yet another freakin' cyst right as you're starting a new job? It's like this and this

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Like a boss.

Yesterday was Boss's Day. Did you get your boss person a card?

I happened to visit My Guy's workplace yesterday. As he was showing me his cube, he kept mentioning loudly that oh, by the way, no one had gotten him a GIFT for BOSS'S DAY.

I thought it was hilarious. I hope his employees did, too. It's such a dumb "holiday."

Since my bosses are of the canine variety, I didn't get anyone a card to commemorate the day. The dogs don't pay a lot of attention to Hallmark holidays. Even if they did, they don't read. So, in a pinch, I could hand a dachshund a piece of junk mail and act like it was a card.

Not that I would do that, but ... well, you know. There were some times during my tenure in Corporate America that it seemed a grocery circular would be more heartfelt than a sappy card. I was pretty lucky to have mostly good supervisors. But there were days ... and my friends had days and some questionable managers.

There should be a line of painfully honest cards for Boss's Day. Here are my suggestions.

Front: When I see you coming, I hide in the restroom.
Inside: Yeah, you're worse than poop. But Happy Boss's Day, or whatever.

Front: Your photo is in the dictionary next to "irrational."
Inside: I don't know why. I didn't write the dictionary. I'm just reporting the facts. Me working overtime is not going to change anything. No, I don't think Dave from accounting is responsible for the dictionary, even if you think he's out to get you. I don't know! I don't know! Just never mind!

Front: Happy Boss's Day to a great boss.
Inside: No, I don't buy it, either. I'm just telling you what you want to hear, like every other day.

Front: When we call you "The Fossil," it's a term of endearment.
Inside: It has nothing to do with you being dead inside. Happy Boss's Day.

What would you love to say to the worst boss you ever had?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marital first: the ER.

I was excited about our first Christmas as a married couple. And every time I introduce My Guy as "my husband" is still a trip, even after 2 and a half years.

I never had the same giddiness about the first time I'd drive my bleeding husband to the emergency room.

When it came right down to it, though, I did have butterflies in my stomach. When I saw all the blood, I had to sit down because I thought I might pass out.

Yeah. So. Saturday, we finally finished sandblasting the stone walls of our porch and proceeded to demolish the rotted walls of said porch. The problem with wood rot, though, is that that shit is totally unpredictable. It might look OK-ish, but a little tap and you discover that, oh, the entire front of your porch is actually hollow. Oh, and there never were any actual posts holding it up, anyway - just those rotted 2 x 6s. 

Ha! Ha ha!

This also means that when your sweet husband goes to remove a window, the tiniest movement makes the glass shatter. And that glass is old-school, non-tempered glass. Danger glass.

Ohhhh. You guys. I saw it happen. And I knew it was bad because he didn't cuss. He just calmly pulled the sandwich-sized chunk of glass out of his forearm.

I ran in the house and sacrificed two dish towels to use as bandages. He still didn't say anything. So, we just stood in the front yard and he bled all over the place ... and then I realized that freakin' Creepy Chuck was headed our way. That's when Calm Emergency Cha Cha took over.

I looked my husband in the eyes. "We are walking to the garage now. We have to go now, because Creepy Chuck is coming over."

My Guy didn't say anything. We walked to the garage, effectively avoiding our weird neighbor.

Then, I got to really look at the gash.

Then, I sat down on the floor and tried not to barf.

Then, Calm Emergency Cha Cha showed up again and informed her husband that they were going to the emergency room because he needed stitches.

We had never considered which ER is closest to our house. Friends, listen to me now and hear me later: figure that shit out before you need the information. Because when your husband is bleeding out all over your garage is not the time to research it, even if your garage is easily hosed out.

We got in the car. Calm Emergency Cha Cha even remembered My Guy's wallet. We drove to the ER, which took super long because we hit every light. Calm Emergency Cha Cha evidently still abides the rules of the road.

And then the people at the ER were really nice and were probably just excited that we weren't using their facility as our primary care and our emergency didn't involve something stuck up an orifice. My Guy was worried because he was covered in dirt and dust, but every staffer he apologized to laughed and assured him that he wasn't even close to the dirtiest patient.

While it seemed to me that he was in danger of losing his arm, My Guy reported his pain as being a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. It wasn't even my arm, and my pain level was at least a 7.

He only got 3 stitches. But I'm here to tell you: I didn't like it. I prefer my loved ones to stay gash-free.

My Guy convalesced on the couch for a few hours - just long enough to watch the Mizzou football team beat fifth-ranked Georgia - and then he was done being an invalid. He was back working on the porch. Because he's a dude.

I can tell his arm hurts because he openly talks about "Wound" in the saddest little voice. Like, "Have you seen Wound? I am so woundy!" But the porch demo was completed in time for Sunday's NFL games, and he's not too pumped about me being all smother-lovey about it.

I can't help the smother love. I feel like he defied death. And dammit, I love my husband.

If he and Wound could avoid further injury, that would be cool.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to break a microwave.

At the news of the sad, sad loss of my microwave, reader Leesa asked, "What's your secret for breaking a microwave? I've been trying to break ours for years in order to get a new one."

Now, reader Sharon chimed in with a truly helpful hint: "Invite some hulking teenage boys over. They are excellent at breaking microwaves."

Uh, if you're looking to bust up a microwave, I think Sharon's got the right idea.

My answer?

1. Buy a repo house. Be naïve and foolish, believing that you and your beloved can clean it up, paint every surface, and make it good as new in just a few weeks.

2. Realize only when it comes time to clean the filthy kitchen that the microwave has no handle. Fantasize that the handle was ripped clean off the door during the feats of strength portion of Festivus. Try to believe that this explains why the only handle remnant is cut bolts that are impossible to remove.

3. Discover that you can jimmy the door open by lifting up and pulling. Make peace with the fact that this not only opens the door, but also occasionally causes the exhaust grill to fly across the kitchen. Go on with your life.

4. Live with said jerry-rigged microwave for almost 3 years. Always be a bit dumbfounded when visitors ask how to open the microwave. Be reminded of your trashiness. Swallow the shame with your tasty, microwaved meals.

5. Wake one cool autumn morning to find that the microwave stopped working in the middle of the night. Test the outlet. Call the time of death. Attempt to ignore your husband's muffled sobs. Hold him as he cradles his cold Healthy Choice entrée.

6. Order a new microwave online. Try to have faith in your husband's assertion that the 2 of you can install it yourselves. Consider starting to drink now in preparation.

And that, friends, is how I break a microwave.

I'll keep you posted on the new microwave installation efforts. Pray for us.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two bad things and one awesome thing.

1. I'm turning into my mother: I backed into my husband's car.


Back in the day, my dad had a brand-new 1984 Buick Park Avenue. That car was The Shit. We named it Fred.

When Fred was new and still rocking his new-car smell, my mom kind of backed into him in the driveway. She was gone for a very long time, and by the time she came back in the house to 'fess up, we thought she'd left and come back. Really, she'd been sitting the driveway, trying to figure out if she could blame the big dent on the paperboy. But she ultimately came inside and asked, "Do you love me?" My dad just looked at her and said, "You hit the car." Then, he began his mantra of "It's just a car" - kinda to my mom, mostly to himself.

Now, when it was my turn to back into my husband's truckasaurus? I came back into the house immediately and was all, "Your CAR is in the FUCKING DRIVEWAY! I HIT your FUCKING CAR."

Yes, my anger was somewhat misdirected. I have never been in the running for Miss Congeniality, and that's OK.

But my sweet husband surveyed the damage, hugged me, and wasn't mad. Basically, it'll buff right out. Except for the hole in back quarter panel of my trusty Honda. That, we're just gonna live with, like a signal to the rest of the world that I cannot be trusted to back my vehicle.

2. Our microwave died.

I see this as a minor inconvenience. My Guy is devastated. To him, the microwave dying is on par with our entire house burning to the ground.

He wanted to reheat a pork chop for lunch today. He earnestly turned to me and said, "I guess I'll put it in the oven. I figured 350 or 400 for 20 minutes. Does that sound about right?"

Oh, sweet friend.

3. My brother and his awesome bride became parents today.

By all accounts, their daughter is the most beautiful and perfect baby ever in the history of babies. Huzzah!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thirteen things I learned at my 20-year reunion.

1. I am old.
I've been home for 4 days and I'm still exhausted. A delicate 38-year-old simply can't bounce back from football games, picnics, bonfires, and general debauchery with the same aplomb she had at 18.

2. As God as my witness, I'll never plan another reunion again.
I don't live in town. I haven't lived in my hometown for, oh, 20 years. And yet, BFF and I have had a hand in planning each of the last 3 class reunions. This time around, BFF was in the process of moving back to the states from freakin' Latvia. Oh, and we had a classmate/committee member who wouldn't respond to any messages or help do any work, but would perkily pop up as soon as it was time to take credit or tell us what we could have done better.

3. It's good to have backup.
BFF's dad offered to drive the getaway car, should we murder said perky classmate. He's a skilled driver - I've seen him back a camper. I knew that worst-case scenario, I would be in good hands. It helped me sleep better.

4. Reunions are no place for plotting murder.
No. Reunions are for appreciating the good, good people who shared your childhood. It just takes a little while to get to this realization.

5. Reunions have a few phases.
Phase 1: Who the hell are these old people?
Phase 2: I used to know someone who looked kind of like that, but thinner.
Phase 3: So that's who that is!
Phase 4: I'm old and fat, too!
Phase 5: Let's be old and fat together, and talk about when we were kids!

I may be oversimplifying somewhat.

6. I grew up with good, kind, decent folks.
Truly. I'm humbled, and so, so thankful.

7. If you need someone to organize your reunion picnic, call my mom.
Seriously. She made the sign, the pasta salad, the brownies, and the iced tea. Also, she's the one who made sure I had name tags and extra serving spoons - because you know folks will remember a potluck dish but often forget a spoon. She was right. Also, her on-the-ball-ness further showcased just how inept (or, perhaps completely over it) I am when it comes to planning reunions. I much prefer to just show up.

8. By the time you've been out of school for 20 years, you can be authentic.
This means conversations about mistakes and regrets with no judgment. I openly admitted that the idea of planning another reunion made me want to flip the bird. And when 1 woman sheepishly admitted that her sister was a welfare mooch, another offered that her brother was living in a shelter with no desire to find a job. We're all just people.

9. Stop trying to impress people. It isn't working, anyway.
If you're trying to look all suave in front of people who remember when you peed your pants in 2nd grade? You're dumb. We don't give a shit about your 4-carat diamond. We remember your wet pants. And if you'd joke about it and own it, we'd love you.

10. Childhood memories are products of child brains.
I learned this weekend that a classmate who terrified me in junior high came from the worst of bad home situations. Junior-high me couldn't understand why she was so mean; adult me wants to go back in time and help the smart, scared girl who was mean because it was her only line of defense.

11. It's a privilege to see how people grow.
That mean, scared girl is now 1 of the most positive, empowered women I've ever met. I wouldn't have missed catching up with her for anything.

12. Some friendships go on hiatus, and that's OK.
In the last year, I've reconnected with a handful of good school pals. Sure, we've been out of touch. But the timing for reconnecting is perfect - they've come back into my life just when I needed them.

13. You are a part of every place and every person you encounter.
One of my best friends moved away after 8th grade. She attended this reunion, expecting that no one would remember her. Boy, was she wrong! She was flabbergasted that most folks remembered her, even without a name tag. Not only that, but they remembered her with love. She was still with them as the funny, kind girl from school. We never know who we impact.

Go to your reunion. Listen. Pay attention. It's a great place to learn about yourself and where you come from.

Also? Call my mom. She'll get you organized.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why you never paint masonry: A cautionary tale.

Our house was built in the 30s and has stone walls. It's mostly indestructible.

Now, once upon a time, probably in the 70s when lots of bad choices were being made, someone enclosed the porch on our little house. So, we've got this cute 30s house with a rotten enclosed porch that brings a certain "Ozarkian Meth House" flair to our home.

My Guy and I are on a quest to open up the porch. We got a bid from a contractor.

That bid was $18,000. Ha! Hahahahaha! Also? Ha!

So, we're doing the work ourselves. This weekend, our initial foray into Project: No More Shitty Porch was sandblasting the interior walls of the still-enclosed porch.

See, in addition to the poor decisions about enclosing the porch, the former owners of our house also painted the stone walls enclosed by said porch. That paint needs to go so that when we take down the walls, our house isn't multicolored.

Powerwashing will not rid limestone of paint. No. You gotta rent a sandblaster for that business. The sandblasting bucket thing is only $50, but you also need 4 different kinds of hoses, protective gear, a respirator, and a giant generator that you pull behind your truck. Oh, and you have to drive across town to buy a very special kind of sand.

All told, it was about $500.

And it didn't work. And about 3 hours into messing with it, we figured out that My Guy had food poisoning.

Ha! Hahahahaha!

He sprawled across the couch, moaning and refusing to drink water. I put away all the hoses and tried to make peace with the fact that our house was covered in sand and tarps and looked even worse than usual. I'm still trying to figure out: Can I shopvac the sand out of our yard?

My Guy moaned some more. Finally, he crawled upstairs to our bedroom, where he was prepared to spend his end days.

I got him a cold washcloth for his face. We were able to laugh a little bit about the weird turn of our day - we were out $500, he might die, and, as he so eloquently stated, "No fart can be trusted."

We were trying to be positive about the whole situation. Really, we were.

And then? Then, Lil' Frankfurter peed on the bed.

It was on my side.

My Guy could not even begin to face getting off the bed. He asked me, "Can you just live with it?" He pleaded with his eyes - mostly because every other body part hurt.

No, no I could not live with it. But I could work magic, stripping and then remaking the bed with my husband still in it. Martha Stewart got nothin' on me.

Finally, after cleaning and fetching Pepto and washing some of the sand off my face, I fell into bed, only to be confronted by a husband in the middle of said bed, sweating and moaning.

At least it wasn't dog pee.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

And who doesn't love an ugly cry?

Yesterday, my cousin posted the good news on Facebook: his wife gave birth to their son, a fat, pink baby who is perfect in every way.

They named that sweet boy after our grandpa.

It took my breath away. Oh, Grandpa. I miss you terribly. I can hear your laugh - the laugh I heard through the house when we got the call that my brother was born, the laugh that I imagine you'd give hearing that one of your grandkids named their child in your honor. A wonderful, wonderful name.

I have a thing for family names. I think names should mean something, and always thought I might name my kids after my grandparents.

So when I caught my breath at my cousin's big news?

It was so confusing. I was happy about the healthy baby, and touched that he was named after someone I love so much.

And I was hurt. Oh, sweet Oprah. It hurt me.

When it comes to not being able to have kids, I am Officially Fine. My brother and his wife are expecting their first child any second, and everybody has been Very Concerned about how I feel about them having a baby ... like I might just snap and be super angry at them for being so fertile. Like I'd paint my face in camo and swing in on a vine like Tarzan and steal the baby at machete-point.

No. Just no. First of all, I am not that outdoorsy.

It's not like they stole my baby. They are giving me a niece, and I am a mostly sane, mostly well-adjusted sane-like lady.

But my cousin naming his baby after our grandpa?

Well, I cried. I ugly cried. And all I could think about was the scene from "Julie and Julia" where Julia gets a letter from her sister. The sister has written that she is pregnant - something that's eluded Julia.

Julia tells her husband, "Oh, isn't that just wonderful news? Isn't it just wonderful?" And she sobs.

And then hottie Stanley Tucci just holds her and kisses the top of her head and gets it.

Happy and sad and confused. It was like that.

My Guy held my hand. He got it, too. He also suggested gently, "I think you might be a really tired lady."

Well, yes. That was true. But also? Grief is a fickle bitch. She pops up when you least expect her - and would really rather she just fucked off.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A supposedly dumb thing I'd do again.

I've been on vacation. You know all that footage of the horrible floods in Colorado?

Yeah. That's where My Guy and I were. Right there.

My Guy and I hiked for the 2 days prior to the "Holy Shit, The World is Ending" rainfall. We hiked during the "Damn, This is Annoying" rainfall. So, 2 days of poncho-wearing sexiness.

Actually, it was a day and a half of good-natured poncho-wearing sexiness, and half a day of soaked, exhausted, and muddy "Dear God, we're all going to die."

Do we know how to vacation or what?

We didn't really know what we were doing. We looked at the weather and all, but just decided to hike on anyway. We were kind of dumb - and extraordinarily lucky.

So, we got rained on. At one point, I asked My Guy if I looked like a drowned rat. He quickly responded, "Probably. I've never seen a drowned rat."

The man has a way with the ladies. Clearly.

About halfway through our second day of being outdoorsy, it started to rain harder. Luckily, this coincided with a) realizing that we'd taken the wrong trail; and b) getting on the correct trail, only to find that it was really steep and headed toward a destination that would suck due to the weather. Yay!

It was during this wet, uphill trek that My Guy made up for the drowned rat comment. Out of nowhere, he said, "You would've made a really good football player."

I stopped on the trail, mostly because I was looking for any excuse to rest my screaming quads. "What? Why?"

My husband studied me in my high-fashion, trash bag-esque poncho. "You have mental toughness."

And that, my friends? That's the best compliment ever.

That's the compliment that compelled me to keep hiking, even when I was exhausted and soaked, even when I started hallucinating that I was NFL great Franco Harris.

Much like Harris, the dreams of an entire town - nay, an entire Steeler nation - rested upon my shoulders. Like Harris, I sported an oversized coat/jacket/thing.
And like Harris, I had some mental toughness.

I shared this with My Guy. As we hiked on, we occasionally shouted out, "Franco Harris!" as a rallying cry.

Finally, we reached our target - a lake that supposedly has gorgeous mountain views.

We didn't see shit. We did, however, capture our triumph with this masterpiece of phone photography.
Nice finger there, honey.

Then, we ran down the mountain, becoming more and more dismayed at the flooded trail. By the time we reached the trailhead, we were exhausted and just over it and really rather delirious. Like, we discussed having Franco Harris over for dinner, should we survive our hiking ordeal. Like a Hall of Famer would agree to go to the home of some randoms who aren't even Steelers fans because they hallucinated about him while soaked to the bone and suffering from some sort of elevation-related delirium.

It could happen, right?

My Guy and I laughed and celebrated our mighty hiking triumph. We had no idea that come morning, the trail would be flooded and that entire section of the park would be closed.

Sometimes, being dumb offers a special kind of protective force field.

When have you experienced Dumb Force Field protection?

Images courtesy of sportsblink.com and Ione the iPhone.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I can't have pride. I have a dog. A dog who poos at inappropriate times.

Growing up, we belonged to the local country club. I'm from a small town; it wasn't a big deal. My brother and I had swimming and tennis and golf lessons to showcase our general physical ineptitude (me) and athletic prowess (him). We also reveled in downing a Snickers and a can of Pepsi every afternoon at the pool.

Just the thought of that makes me want to die. If I ingested a Pepsi and a Snickers now, my heart would explode. First, it would stop, then it would beat me senseless, then it would explode into a million sugar-covered fragments.

Anyway. Country club. Lots of sugar. No big deal.

But now I live in the big city, and have reached an age where my friends are joining country clubs. It makes sense - their kids are old enough for the swimming and tennis and golf, and it can be a pretty sweet set-up if you have a neighborhood club where your friends and your kids' friends go.

My Guy and I don't belong to a club. Well, we belong to AAA. But I mean a country club.

Tonight, I remembered why.

Some friends who belong to a very chill country club invited us to the closing-the-pool party - The Doggie Dip!

I took Big Doodle to swim and socialize with other canines. I'd never seen him around water before, but I figured that seeing as he's a labradoodle - and "lab" is part of the breed name - that he'd take to water like, well, a lab.

Our hosts don't currently have a dog, and the hopes and dreams of their kids hung on Big Doodle's performance at The Doggie Dip. The kids desperately wanted to play with Big Doodle, to throw balls into the pool and laugh gleefully as he retrieved them. The kids wanted it so badly, they could taste it.

Guess who evidently doesn't care for water?

Lemme put it this way: Big Doodle got wet because the kids finally resorted to cupping their hands and dumping pool water on him. Oh, and he fell in the pool once, trying to reach a dog treat. But that was it.

Big Doodle spent a lot of his time just happening to meander by the buffet, just in case a hot dog - or braut - fell. He wasn't picky. He was just trying to be of service.

Big Doodle meandered, and sniffed other dogs, and tried to go home with a few other families. Then, he took a giant dump on the pool deck.

My sweet boy doesn't just stop and poo. He poos and walks, spreading giant chunks of shit as he goes. And have I mentioned that he's pushing 90 pounds? And that I make his dog food out of brown rice, veggies, and beef, so the consistency of his poo is ... not conducive to quick and tidy cleanup?

The good news is that I had a bag, and I ran over and picked up the poo before any other canines stepped in it or ate it. It's also good news that later, another dog took a much larger, much more heinous dump in the same area, and those owners didn't clean it up. Mega gross, but don't I look awesome by comparison?

Big Doodle is a dog and he did what dogs do. But as I was cleaning up the doo, I couldn't help but think, "We are never going to get invited to join this club." Like countless upwardly mobile mothers before me, my children had ruined my hopes of "getting in."

OK, not really. But seriously - my dog shat at the country club. Pretty sure this means that we're not country club folk.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I married well, part 1,658. Also, let's talk about food.

After my little diatribe about Double Stuf Oreos, I managed to work said cookies into every conversation for the rest of the day.

And lookit what my sweet husband brought me!
I'm not sure if he bought them to be nice or get me to shut up already. And I don't care. Also, he gets extra points for buying said cookies on his way to the gym ... and then going to the gym instead of just eating all the cookies in his car.

He's a good man. A strong man.

All of the blog comments about guilty snacking pleasures were really inspiring. So inspiring, that on Saturday, I ate a pork tenderloin sandwich, pizza, about 800 Oreos, and a bunch of chips.

Guess who felt like poop on a stick on Sunday? Ugh. That's the horrible thing about eating carefully - when you fall off the wagon, you kind of want to die. But at least it proves that you're doing something right the other 98% of the time.

Trixie asked for suggestions for sites about clean eating. I have a few that have been helpful:
However, I do feel the need to point out that the term "clean eating" always makes me think of eating Noxema out of the jar. With a spoon. Yuck.

I prefer to think of it as "not eating shit in boxes." Because really, if you cut out food that comes in boxes, you'll be in good shape. But I guess "clean eating" is more succinct and less pottymouthtastic.

Lest you think I'm all Little Miss Nutrition, I will point out that I had a fantastic holiday weekend. Yes, this means that all the Oreos are gone. Gone, gone, gone.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I don't even care that they aren't double-stuffed. I DON'T CARE!

First off, I acknowledge that there's nothing worse than hearing someone talk about their diet or their bunions or weird rash or whatever. Keep that shit to yourself, man.


Ohmygod, I gave up dairy a few months ago and it's made me feel so much better and I'm eating clean-ish, with very few processed and packaged foods and it's wonderful and I feel great and feel like I'm fueling my body instead of eating crap.

But, you guys?

I want Oreos right now so badly. Just a big ol' bag of Double Stuf Oreos. No milk. No friends or greedy spousal unit to "help" eat said Oreos. I need to be alone with the Oreos, to commune with the Oreos. I must be one with the Oreos!

I am even willing to overlook the egregious misspelling of "Stuf" in the Double Stuf Oreo. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

I keep expecting the cravings for sweets to pass, but so far, they haven't. Obviously. I guess when you could eat brownies for every meal, every day, that shit takes a while to wear off.

What bad-for-you foodstuff do you crave like a starving, rabid, and poorly groomed wild dog?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alan Thicke, soon-to-be superstar.

I recently came across this video and, well, I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life.

Listen, we're all thinking it, so I'm just gonna come out and say it: If Robin Thicke can have the song of the summer, then Alan Thicke should have the song of the fall.

People, we can make this happen.

I hear your questions, and I have answers.
  • Yes, the Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship was a thing. And it was awesome.
  • While I would like to say that I believe in Crystal Light because I believe in me, mostly I believe I learned the hard way that Crystal Light and vodka taste terrible together.
  • Yes, it's possible for a song to become a big hit decades after it was first released. See also: "Bohemian Rhapsody."
  • Yes, the Thickes are Canadian. So yes, another number 1 hit in the U.S. would further enhance otherwise precarious U.S. - Canadian relations. I'm sure the State Department would totally be behind another Thicke clan number 1.
  • Like you, I'm concerned about the Canadian music mafia. However, I'm confident that we can get the likes of Bryan Adams and Randy Bachman behind another big international hit from Canada. Truthfully, I'm not 100% sure that we can get the nod of approval from Gordon Lightfoot, but I don't think he would stand in the way. After all, he's on a carefree highway.
  • Yes, I recognize that Alan Thicke used to be married to Gloria Loring of "Days of Our Lives." I'm not sure how their relationship ended, so it would be possible that the large "Days" lobby could oppose a successful hit song by Ms. Loring's ex. However, I think the "How I Met Your Mother" lobby would more than make up for any "Days" bitterness.
  • Yes, I'm totally thinking what you're thinking: The name of the song is "Sweaty and Hot," and it's about the benefits of working out. Michelle Obama will be all over this!  
  • No, there's just really nothing left to say.
So, let's make this happen. The song is catchy in that "I started out laughing but I can't get it out of my head and now I'm really into it" sort of way. Isn't that what all good pop music is?

Go to iTunes. Go to Amazon. But just go forth and spread the words: "Sweaty and Hot!"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Entertainment visionary or white trash?

This weekend, My Guy and I went to the drive-in. It was just like in "Grease," except I didn't see anybody climb out of a trunk once their car was inside.

We are so lucky that we live near a completely kick-ass drive-in theatre. The pre-show entertainment is a live stream of little kids dancing in front of the concession stand. Families are everywhere, the playground in front of the screen is always busy, and the old-school ads for sno cones and hot dogs make me smile.

Keep in mind, though, that I've never actually visited the concession stand. I'm a firm believer in BYOB movie going. Or, as was the case Saturday night, BYOB, BYOF, and BYOC.

That would be bring your own beverage, food, and cake.

My Guy and I shelled out $20 for a triple feature, and parked towards the back - not by choice, but because 20 minutes before showtime, the rest of the lot was full. We did not, however, make out. (Not for lack of trying, though - my husband kept saying something about public displays of affection being inappropriate around so many kids. Whatever.)

We had brought a sack of hamburgers and a couple of beers. Yes, the beer was against the rules, but  long as we weren't blatant about it, we figured it was fine. Rebels!

We ate burgers. We drank beer. We watched "Grown Ups 2," which was entertaining but has pretty much zero plot.

The second movie was "We're the Millers," which was funny but also not earth-shattering. One of the problems with movie going in your vehicle is that you're pretty dependent upon the weather. By the middle of "We're the Millers," the breeze that was pleasant during the first feature was completely gone, and we started to stick to the leather seats in My Guy's truckasaurus. It was hot.

To ease our discomfort, we ate cake.

I had made a cake a few days earlier. The leftover cake was still in the metal cake pan ... which I just threw in the truckasaurus along with the beer. No plates, no spatula - just cake in a cake pan, and a community fork.

We sweated, watched a movie, and devoured cake right out of the pan, all from the humid, somewhat sticky comfort of the truckasaurus.

It felt a teensy bit trashy, but mostly awesome. I felt like such a rebel. A fat rebel with high cholesterol.

We didn't stay for the third feature, which was "Children of the Corn Part 27," or some such thing. But still, we didn't get home until almost 1 a.m. It was craziness!

And then, just to solidify my standing as a rebel, I went to bed without flossing.

I know. I know!

What bit of culinary rebellion would you love to sneak into the movie?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The care and feeding of squirrels.

Last night, I visited with some girlfriends under the stunning red moon. The restaurant patio was pleasant and the wine flowed.

We talked kids.

I love my friends. I want to hear about their lives. I am empathetic to the challenges of motherhood.


We talked about kids and parenthood and marriage as parents for 2 hours. As a childfree person, this was kind of like talking about squirrels for 2 hours.

Yes, I am very familiar with squirrels. There are lots of squirrels around. I have provided short-term sustenance and care for squirrels. I happen to like squirrels.

But I don't have squirrels of my own, and am unfamiliar with the day-to-day challenges of squirrel care. I know squirrelhood can be difficult and the keepers of squirrels need to vent and compare notes.

I have no squirrels. Instead, last night, I had a wandering mind. I'm ashamed to admit that I committed that greatest of all social faux pas: I checked my phone.

I try to channel my childfree, perennially single, and quite fabulous friend Liza during these times. What would Liza do?

I have no idea. Maybe she'd go to the ladies' room and call a friend with benefits. Except I'm married and I'm pretty sure my friend with benefits would be at our shared home anyway.

So I smiled and tried to be engaged. I do not want to diminish anyone's experience. Except ... by doing so, am I denying my own experience as someone gets sick of talking about other people's kids all the damned time?

I think it's just a pitfall of being a woman in your 30s. Raising kids is what all of my peers are doing right now, while I'm painting baseboards and trying to find myself.

This summer, I ran into an acquaintance who, upon figuring out where I live, rattled off a list of neighbors that surely I knew. I knew none of them. Finally, exasperated, the acquaintance said, "Do you go to Grant?"

Grant is the elementary school in my hood.

I graciously replied that I don't have children, but I'm sure the mothers on my street are lovely people.

But really, I wanted to say, "Actually, I graduated from elementary school several years ago. Clearly, you've lost yourself and are identifying yourself in terms of your children. Dude, that's messed up. So don't be all looking down at me. I know who I am."

So, that last part is maybe a stretch. I'm figuring out who I am. And I'm someone who gets tired of talking about squirrels.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sadness and despair!

Last weekend, I helped my brother and his wife with some last-minute home-improvement projects before their baby arrives. Mrs. Poochie is a glowing 34 weeks, and Poochie is, well, a little freaked out.

"Did you know the baby could come early?" he asked, honestly surprised. It's so sweet and wonderful to see my baby brother nervous and giddy, yet more prepared to be a dad than he realizes. I love them both.

I have to admit, though, that I have a few problems with these people.

First of all, they don't seem to be taking my name suggestions very seriously. Currently, I'm pushing for "Vonjelica," and don't seem to be getting a lot of traction. You can't tell me that "Vonjelica von Noodleroux" isn't an awesome name. Or maybe the name of a burlesque dancer. But memorable nonetheless.

Secondly, my freakishly tall brother and his lithe wife looked at me like I had horns when I asked where they kept their ladder. I was painting their kitchen, and the stepstool I was perched on just wasn't going to make cutting in the ceiling an easy task.

They own a stepstool and a 14-foot extension ladder. Because they don't need anything else. Because they are tall and can reach stuff.

I'm a foot shorter than my brother. We look enough alike that I'm pretty sure we're related, but DUDE.

So, I cut in the ceiling by standing on my tippy toes on a woefully deficient stepstool. The painted kitchen looks gooooood, but my calves are still burning.

I'm short, and no one likes my ideas for naming their baby (See also: my friends who declined to name their son "Ferdinand.").

Woe is me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maintaining morale: A guide for losers.

I spent a few hours this week sorting through old CDs. I had a bad habit of saving files to disks and then not labeling the disks at all. It always made me feel like I was living dangerously.

I can honestly say that searching unmarked disks for files doesn't feel like living dangerously. It feels dumb.

However, I did find some random stuff I had no idea that I had - like some documents from Corporate Behemoth. Lest you think I'm a corporate spy, I will tell you that these documents were about people taking a trip. In a fit of I-don't-know-what, I had saved documentation about my coworkers taking a trip in honor of their personal achievement on behalf of Corporate Behemoth.

Basically, several years ago, Corporate Behemoth laid off a gajillion people, then identified 100 of the still-employed folks to take on an all-expenses-paid, week-long boondoggle to Mexico.

It was incredibly hush-hush. Something about it being bad for morale, what with hundreds of people just having been laid off.

Ya think?

The "top performers" were the kiss-ups, the teacher's pets, the sharks. They - and a guest - enjoyed a week at a Mexican resort. They were required to attend daily "company breakfasts" so that Corporate Behemoth could still write off the trip as a business meeting.

And the rest of us underachievers? Well, we were supposed to work away and not realize that 100 people were on vacation. Together.

Also, we were supposed to be glad that we still had jobs and hadn't fallen prey to the layoffs. Oh, and we were also doing the work once tended by our now-laid-off colleagues.

Man, it just sucked.

Anytime you hear a story about the insanity of Corporate America, and you have trouble believing that it's true? Honey, I'm here to tell you: it's true. It just is.

So, my new job, the few-hours-a-week gig in an office in a fancy condo building? Well, it's got challenges, too. Namely, the grand piano in the lobby is a player piano. And the other day, it was playing Toto's "Rosanna." On repeat.

I know this because it was really, really quiet in our office, and I could hear the faint tinkling of ivories down the hall. The sound would fade from my consciousness, and then all of the sudden I'd hear, "MEET YOU ALL THE WAY! do-do-do! ROSANNA OH YEAAAAAH!"

That part of the song is really forceful on keyboard.

Like I said, no workplace is perfect. But some are less Imma-kill-somebody than others.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A slight product design flaw.

I came across something awesome today.

Yeah, it's a dachshund watering can. Cute. Except! The water comes out of the dachshund's mouth.

People. Come on.

Any accurate dachshund watering can would erratically spray water out of the crotchal region. Why? Because that's what dachshunds do!

Foxie Doxie? I'm looking at you, you militant jerk.
I know you feel no guilt, because you're a dachshund, and the give-a-damn was evidently bred out of you. But seriously.  


In addition to an accurate dachshund watering can, my future line of honestly designed goods will also include:
  • A flowerpot featuring a picture of me, gardening - Only coleus will grow in the pot, but you just go ahead and keep trying other plants, too.
  • A series of Ken dolls made to look like various and sundry ex-boyfriends - Anytime Barbie needs anything - a ride to the Dream House, emotional support - the dolls literally disappear.
  • A candle in Lil' Frankfurter's adorable likeness - Who doesn't love a tiny miniature dachshund with huge eyes? The candle will be scented with Johnson's Baby Shampoo and a hint of urine. It will also shed.
What accurately designed goods would you love to see?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to fail miserably as an adult.

I recently hung out with my favorite soon-to-be 2nd grade twins. They are all about animals and trivia and whatnot.

The boy looked at me very seriously. "You're a grown-up, so you probably know this," he said. "But did you know that the harpy eagle has talons that are longer than a bear's claws?"

Uh, no. No, I didn't know that. My young friend was both delighted at his own intelligence and shocked at my ineptitude. He was too nice to say so, but clearly, I am shitty at being an adult.

I kind of want to start every single sentence with, "You're a grown-up, so you probably know this." It would be so awesome! Just think: "You're a grown-up, so you probably already know this, but when you don't put your dishes in the dishwasher, it makes the baby Jesus cry." Or even, "You're a grown-up, so you probably already know this, but the labradoodle ate poop today."

Like being an adult is a form of omniscience. But as a kid, that's totally what being a grown-up was all about! Those tall people knew everything! And yet, they managed to be pretty dull.

I noticed that my kid friends were reading a Beverly Cleary book. In an effort not to be the dullard adult, I mentioned that I, too, was reading a Beverly Cleary book: the second of her autobiographies. The first book is about her childhood, and the second covers college through getting her first book published.

Instead of being heralded as a literary genius, I faced contempt.

"Eww! The school one is probably way better. College and being a grown-up is so boring!"

So, that's probably a healthy attitude for a 2nd grader. But Beverly Cleary's autobiographies - A Girl From Yamhill and My Own Two Feet - are equally enthralling.

Plus, if we're being honest?

I devoured all of Mrs. Cleary's books as a kid, and finding these books aimed at adults was a thrill. I thought I'd read all the Cleary that's there to be read, but I was mistaken! She wrote these 2 lovely little autobiographies for me to find as an inept adult.

Mrs. Cleary is 97 years old. I bet she knew all about the harpy eagle's talons.

As a youngun', my favorite books were those about Ramona - Ramona the Pest, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. The publication of Ramona Forever was the first time I ever anticipated a new book. I could hardly stand it until that light-blue paperback was available. Instead of going to the library, we bought it. It was a big deal. I tore through that book.

I don't know crap about the harpy eagle, but I do love to read. And I think Mrs. Cleary helped me there, for sure.

What was your favorite Beverly Cleary book? And did you know about the harpy eagle?

Disclaimer: When you purchase a book through my links, Amazon throws some spare change my way. This enables me to pay my library fines, stay out of library jail, and keep entertaining you with my hard-hitting literary criticism.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The dog peed on the wedding invitations.

This is Foxie Doxie.
He has a problem with marking his territory.
That's why he has to wear this man belt. His newest manccessory is pirate-themed for an extra touch of masculinity.

This is my office.
It may be somewhat cluttery.
Don't judge.

Just because I have stuff piled on the floor doesn't mean that young dachshunds are free to urinate where they please.

Foxie, I'm talking to you.

So, there's a box of stuff that I have intended to do something with for lo the 2 years that My Guy and I have been married.

Today, I moved said box. This left a bit of a sheen on the floor.

I examined the box. I examined the sheen. Long, long ago, Foxie had marked the box. The box that held my wedding invitations, guest book, and cards.

I like to believe that this marking was so long ago that it was during the early days of our blended family, the days when an immature Foxie was acting out and wanted the world to know how he felt about our Brady Bunch-esque situation.

This is not the case. The box hadn't been in this particular location for more than a few weeks.

He peed on all of our wedding ephemera. Recently. As a statement on my marriage.

Now, while I'm looking for a family counselor who will take us on, I must give mad props to the United States Postal Service, and to my mama. The USPS box is thick, made of manly cardboard. And my mama, well-known for her steadfast belief that if a little bit o' tape is good, then a whole roll of tape is better? Well, Mama and the USPS basically made the box waterproof.

No pee on the wedding ephemera.

Foxie Doxie, you have been thwarted. However, I do respect that this is a sign that maybe I should get on the stick and go ahead and make whatever wedding scrapbook I'm going to make with all this leftover stuff. I know, I get it.

Also? I can't help but think of the movie "Vacation" when Beverly D'Angelo is all, "The DOG PEED on the picnic basket!" Imogene Coca just shrugs and eats her sandwich.

Foxie Doxie would be good friends with Aunt Edna.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Be true to your school.

My 20-year high school reunion is coming up in September.

September used to be in the far-distant future. Now, it is, like, tomorrow. This is not a big deal except that I am supposedly helping plan my class reunion and nothing has been finalized. My mom asked me about the schedule for the reunion weekend and I just laughed a maniacal, serial-killer laugh.

I'm from a small town. Class reunions are a huge deal.

There are 5 of us who are (in theory) on the planning committee. Only 1 person actually still lives in our hometown. The rest of us are spread anywhere from an hour away to actually living on a different continent. A different continent! We are kind of the shittiest reunion committee ever - at best, we have a rough outline of events. Details? Pshaw!

I helped plan the last 2 reunions. I feel like I've done my time. I live 4 hours away. I just want to show up. I'll give some money, and I'll even bring name tags or extra pop. But I just don't have it in me to worry about what our vegan classmates are going to eat at the class picnic, or whether or not we can reserve rows of bleachers at the homecoming game.

I don't care. I just don't care. It just doesn't matter to me.

Truthfully? I'm more interested in who got fat. And Facebook is pretty good for that.

Plus? In my fantasy, I will show up at this reunion and not be the prettiest or smartest or most successful (actually, this part isn't fantasy - this is all going to be true). But I will be the most ME. And I won't be worried that I got fat or that I'm wearing the wrong thing, or that so-and-so won't like me just like they didn't like me in junior high.

No, in my fantasy, I face this milestone with grace, and with love for the people who shared my childhood.

And nowhere in this fantasy am I parsing out name tags or ensuring that the tour of the new high school starts on time.

But, because I am still practiced in the ways of obligation, I can't quite muster the gumption to say, "Fuck it. You people figure it out. I'll bring a case of beer." But at least I can admit that this is my dream, so that's a start.

Did you go to your high school reunion? How was it?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Every gig has its perks.

So, a few weeks ago, an angel from above directed an email to me.

OK, not really. Well, sort of. I got an email from an acquaintance looking for copywriting help at her marketing agency, just a few hours a week.

Kids? I got me a real, live J-O-B. I started today.

Yes. I'm doing copywriting for a small marketing firm, 5-10 hours a week. It's a nice complement to my freelance writing and still enables me to spend most of my time in yoga pants. Actually, I could wear yoga pants to this new gig, but I'm trying to view it as an opportunity to practice not looking like a hobo.

Speaking of being fancy ... the building that houses my new office is a mixed-use development. Basically, it's a high rise with some offices and a bunch of condos. And if you've ever watched "House Hunters," you know that high-rise condo buildings come with a bunch of stuff. So, with my 5-10 hour a week gig, I now have access to a movie theatre, a big ol' gym, and ... an indoor penthouse-level pool overlooking the downtown skyline.

I've never had a job that had a pool. Not even the summer I was a nanny ... we didn't have a kiddie pool, but just ran through the sprinkler.

During the building tour today, I tried to act all, "Oh, sure, every place I've ever worked or lived has had a hot tub - whatevs." But really, it just made me laugh - especially since I've been back on baseboard patrol at home. "Home" does not mean "community spray tan facility in the basement" to me. No, to me, home means "that place where you are slowly but surely repainting every surface and starting to consider trim painting as your number 1 hobby, or possibly even a religion."

I guess there are parallels with the spray tan and painting baseboards. Folk tend to be pretty hardcore about them both.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nighttime is not the right time.

I've been having trouble sleeping.

Either I can't fall asleep, or I wake up mega-super-awake at, like, 3 a.m. This whole business is really putting a damper on my energy level.

I am, however, having some truly magnificent late-night brainstorms.

Last night, for example, I worked through this series of brilliant thoughts, observations, and plans:
  • I'm awake.
  • Well, at least I don't have anywhere I have to be first-thing in the morning. I don't work in an office anymore.
  • I miss my friend Leesa. It was fun to work with her. I should send her a text that just says, "You're awesome!" Except if I did it right now, she would find out that I'm insane.
  • She probably already knows.
  • Tomorrow, I'm going to caulk the kitchen door and the window above the sink. Then, I'll paint them. And I'll caulk the doorways in the upstairs hallway, and paint those, too.
  • I'm awake. I should just go caulk right now. Then, it would have time to dry and I could paint at, like, 6 a.m. That wouldn't be that disruptive, right?
  • I might be mentally unstable. Or just have unrealistic expectations. If I get out of bed, there will be mass dog chaos and I will wake my poor, exhausted husband.
  • I'll just lie here like a dead body. Maybe that will make me sleepy.
  • Ohmygod. How creepy would it be to sleep next to a dead body? That would be terrible. I must save My Guy from such horror. I would be doing him a favor by rolling over, just so that his subconscious knows that he's not sleeping with a corpse.
  • I'm a giver.
  • But maybe I'm just a doormat. After all, I've been so nice to him, listening to freakin' Flight of the Conchords while playing that crazy-complicated board game that he's obsessed with. My husband is turning me into a geek. And, I always lose that damned game.
  • I hate losing. My Guy must pay. I'm going to lie here like a dead body.
  • Except that I'm a dead body that has the Flight of the Conchords song about male prostitution stuck in my head. "You can put away your tool. You don't have to beeeeeee ... a prostitute! No no no no no! You don't have to beeeee ... a man ho; a male gigolo!"
  • Maybe that's why Lil' Frankfurter is doing all the humping. Like the guy in the song, he thinks male prostitution is his only option.
  • Once I get out of bed, I'm totally going to make a meme with Lil' Frank and the lyrics from that song.
And ... I did.

I guess insomnia isn't all bad.

What goes through your head when you can't sleep?