Monday, April 29, 2013

Infertile and surrounded by Other People's Babies.

You down with OPB? Yeah, you know me!

I'm mostly over the whole "Everyone in the world is having babies but you" thing. No, really, I am. Mostly.

My sweet brother Poochie and his wife are expecting. I am truly so excited for them. However, it's clear that the family was concerned about how I might take the news. Poochie called me and was all, "I don't know what to say so I'm just gonna tell you: we're having a baby." And I squealed and was so excited, and then I thought about crying. But crying because I was conflicted.

I told my mom that I was totally on board with Operation: Baby Poochie. However, I reserve the right not to attend any fucking baby showers. It kind of sounded like my family was just excited that I wasn't planning on firebombing the nursery.

I guess I'm finding out that it's possible to simultaneously be happy for someone else and kind of jealous but not really. I don't have an overwhelming desire to kidnap my husband's nieces and nephews because, well, they aren't my babies. Because my babies don't exist. And even I realize that you can't turn a person into someone else.

And so I make the most colorful baby quilts, and am always up for a raucous game of Uno, and always ask how school is going. I'm not a mom, but I will be Your Favorite Fucking Aunt of All Fucking Time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Exceptions to every rule.

So, about 5 minutes after I published my "I stopped doing stuff I don't want to do" post, I went outside to play with the dogs. And I found a dead bird in the yard.

You know that with 3 dogs, you can't just leave a dead bird in the yard and hope for the best.

So, Little Miss I Do What I Want found herself armed with 2 Target bags and a shovel, bagging up a rather gooey dead bird. If you look in the dictionary under "Stuff You Definitely Don't Want To Do," disposing of a gelatinous avian carcass is the first example.

I get it, universe. You're laughing at me. I get it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stop shoulding all over yourself.

I was recently asked to serve on a the board of a nonprofit. The organization is cool, but the board? Cats in need of herding and Ritalin. I declined.


I kind of decided to stop doing stuff I don't like to do.

A pal and I joked that if I don't return your calls, you know you didn't make the cut. But really, it's part of my larger effort to do what is right for me instead of what I think is expected of me. Because the list of what I think is expected of me is usually about 80% fabricated in my brain, anyway.

I hate going to meetings and find them generally unproductive, so I resigned from 2 boards. No fuss, no muss.

Now, I didn't just say, "I hate these meetings. Fuck you guys." I kind of wish I had. But I said I didn't have time anymore - which is true. I don't have time to waste on stuff I don't like. Folks were sad-ish to see me go, but nobody threw themselves in front of a bus in protest. If we're being honest, that was a bit of a disappointment.

My inner go-getter, who is absolutely mortified that I have days when my biggest accomplishment is emptying the dishwasher? Well, that bitch is a little uptight about my lack of civic involvement. She has a clipboard bearing lists of all the things I'm supposed to do, and she follows me around. She pelts me with questions like, "What about networking? How will you ever meet people? You're turning into a looooooser!"

My inner go-getter still hasn't gotten over my departure from Corporate America. We're working through it. Well, I'm over it, lounging in my yoga pants and having cake for lunch. She's straightening her pantyhose and retouching her lipstick, preparing for battle.

I'm not really bipolar. I'm just adjusting to new expectations: my own.

What do you want to stop doing? What's stopping you from stopping?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Potpourri for $200
Do you ever have a day when the best you can say is, "Well, I emptied that dishwasher like a boss?" Because that's pretty much the most impressive thing you did all day?

Yeah. That's been my day.

Potpourri for $400
This means that I made no progress on the new business venture that My Guy and I thought up. We have an exciting new concept for a Journey-themed bed and breakfast. It will be called The Don't Stop Believe Inn.

Potpourri for $600
I'm hoping that a rock band-themed B&B will mean guests will give us some leeway on cleanliness and food. Like, they should just be happy that there are no cigarette butts in their Anyway You Want It Omelet, right?

Potpourri for $800
Perhaps I am not well-suited for the life of an innkeeper.

Potpourri for $1000
I must be doing something right with my life. I've had the WKRP in Cincinnati jingle for Ferryman's Funeral Home in my head all day.

Hey! You're young and swingin'
No time to think about tomorrow
But there ain't no way to deny it
One day, you're gonna buy it
Maybe tomorrow!
Ferryman! Ferryman! He's the man with the plot! The man with the plan!
Ferryman! Ferryman! He's the mortician man who loves you ... a lot!

Believe it or not, Hulu has complete episodes online for free. Go to the 14:00 mark here to revel in the glory of this best commercial ditty ever.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We keep Spray 'n Wash in business. Except Spray 'n Wash is now called Resolve. Which is crap.

I'm sure you've heard the clickety-clack of Foxie Doxie's nails lately. The sound is so loud, as he's been been in desperate need of a nail trim. Like, he could go as a sloth for Halloween. 

 Or as Freddie Krueger.

Or as the Long Island Medium.

Since Halloween is 6 months away, I made an executive decision to take his furry ass to the vet for a nail trim. This is the best $14 I spend.

When it was time to head out for his pedicure, Foxie was super excited to get his leash, and to have his Man Belt removed, since we don't usually travel with the anti-pee cummerbund. He jumped into the car. He quickly took his spot in his kennel, and he was quiet for the short ride to the vet. It was almost like he was a real, live, well-behaved pup.

Once we got out of the car, my little dachshund felt more like himself. He did his usual screaming. Because OHMIGOD, we are outside in a parking lot where there are smells and cars and other dogs and OHMIGOD have you smelled this?

I walked him over to the utility pole that everybody - well, every dog - marks. Foxie made his urinary contribution. We walked into the vet clinic.

Foxie squealed once we were inside, as is his custom. I held his leash close, and he squealed at the puppy sitting quietly 15 feet away. He squealed when the receptionist said his name. And then he got quiet.

I had 1 eye on the receptionist and 1 eye on Foxie. But I had enough of an eye on The Dachshund Devil that I saw him marking.

I'm sorry to say that this was not our first go-round with marking at the vet's office. However, it was the very first time the thing Foxie was trying to claim as his own was me.


My dog marked me. My dog peed on my jeans, my socks, and my shoes. You know, so that adorable, impeccably behaved puppy across the room would know that I am taken, clearly claimed by another dog.

I guess I should be flattered.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I leave a trail of broken hearts in my wake.

After the saga of my pure-as-the-driven-snow-and-also-BFF-with-Jesus prom date, Green Girl in Wisconsin planted a seed in my brain - the same seed that keeps Facebook in business:

I bet Eric loosened up after your night together and he's the lead singer/sinner of a punk rock band. Do look him up and let us know! 

Oh, my.

Doesn't everyone have very detailed fantasies about people from their past, even when the relationship was entirely fleeting? I think it just makes everything easier - and more entertaining.

Case in point? My first college boyfriend is a somewhat big-deal journalist. I think you'll agree that this is undoubtedly due to my influence, seeing as how we dated while he was in journalism school.

And the oh-so-cute but oh-so-young freshman who was enamored with me when I was a senior? You know, the one who planted a kiss on me that left me speechless? And was enough of a man to just smooch and then walk off, like in the movies? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm The One Who Got Away for him. Strangely, this makes me feel somewhat better about the fact that I may have been a fool to think the "I'm looking for jobs / you're looking for a fake ID" divide was to large to bridge.

And Ex-Ex, he of the 7-year relationship? I'm pretty sure he's miserable All. The. Time. Breaking up with me can do that to you.

As for Eric, my super-religious, non-dancing prom date who acted like I was leading him down the highway to hell by wearing makeup to prom?

My pal Google made finding him oh-so-easy.

There's an Eric who is a graphic designer. And another Eric who is a vice president of some bank. Sadly, no Eric who's a punk rocker.

But the actual Eric that I knew? He sells skid loaders. His bio says he's married with 2 kids and enjoys hunting and fishing. And his photo? Well, he has the same earnest smile, and looks like the kind of guy you'd trust when looking to purchase a skid loader or other heavy machinery.

Adult Eric looked much like I expected. Thankfully, he didn't have a face tattoo that read, "Prom ruined my life." He looked normal and happy, which made my heart glad.

Maybe the "Prom ruined my life" tat is on his chest.

What stories have you concocted about your past flames?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I was the worst prom date ever, part II: In which I am a whore.

So, to recap: I asked my buddy Eric to the prom through the Wendy's drive-through window. He said yes, but dropped a bombshell mere days before the big event: it was against his religion to dance. He belonged to a church where the women didn't wear pants and the men didn't attend prom without asking their moms' permission.

Now, I am not a big dancer. It has never been my goal to be on "Soul Train" or "Dance Fever." But every John Hughes movie had led me to believe that prom took place on a mystical plane where awkward kids magically morphed into suave-yet-sensitive poets, where True Love was to be found behind every poofy dress and badly-pinned boutonniere. How could I not dance at prom?

BFF's parents thought this was the single funniest thing ever. They kept asking me if I wanted to borrow a deck of cards to take, so I'd have something to do at prom. And this blew me away, too, because Eric and I played cards in the student lounge all the time. If it's against your religion to dance, aren't cards also usually frowned upon?

I guess not.

I didn't give Eric a hard time. I decided just to wing it. Maybe we'd dance. Maybe I'd dance alone, or with someone else, but not in a slutty, dumping-my-date-and-stealing-yours kind of way. Maybe it would all just work out.

Maybe I was so, so wrong.

So, Eric picked me up at my house. My parents were beaming. I was wearing a black dress with a halter bodice and a short tulle skirt. I loved that dress. If I could get more than 1 thigh in it now, I'd wear it every day. I had rhinestone earrings, and my mom had curled my hair and done my makeup. Little late bloomer me was going to prom! And I looked like a girl!
Prom Me, with our dog who loved having her picture taken.
Eric was awkward with my parents, but he didn't attempt to witness to them, and he wasn't handling snakes or anything. Things seemed to be going well until we got into his Buick Skyhawk.

He turned to me, face serious.

"What is all over your face?"

I stopped, freaked out by his concern. Did I have a rash? Had my lipstick bled?

No. What was all over my face was ... my makeup. The makeup my mom had applied, the makeup that we'd carefully practiced over several nights.

"I'm wearing makeup," I said.

Eric grimaced and started the Buick.

As we drove off in silence, I felt horrible, like there was something horribly wrong with me. And then I realized that Eric, too, felt horrible. Not because he'd said something insensitive, but because he realized he was in the company of a harlot. And he was taking said harlot to the Sodom and Gomorrah High School Prom. Where he would surely be handing his soul over to the devil.


Eric displayed the personality of a wooden spoon for the rest of the evening. He was cordial, but distant. His friend, who had asked me to prom after I'd asked Eric, looked at me longingly throughout the night - so maybe I did look like a hoochie. But in Eric's detachment, as he tried to just gamely get through the night of sin?

Well, he was led astray.

After dinner, the DJ announced that the dance floor was open, and instructed all couples to take the floor. And Eric? Well, he did as he was told.

Eric got up of his own volition and headed to the dance floor.

I felt kind of guilty dancing with him, but I also wanted him to see that the floor wasn't going to open up to the pits of hell, which would then swallow him whole. He stood, barely moving, his fingertips barely touching my waist, for 3 and a half minutes of some unforgettable song. And then it was done. And then we spent the rest of the night sitting at our table. And I wished I had that deck of cards.

At the end of the night, I think we shook hands. Or maybe not, as that would have involved actual physical contact. At any rate, it was amicable yet distant - like how you'd say good-bye to a poisonous spider right before running away, screaming.

I'm not sure what happened to Eric after graduation. In my fantasy, he's happily married and doesn't think back on his senior prom as The Night He Saw The Devil (And She Looked Like a High School Girl) or The Night Some Skank Wearing Makeup Led Him Astray.

I hope.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I was the worst prom date ever.

It's true. Just ask my junior year prom date. Let's call him ... Eric.

Now, poor Eric had the unfortunate luck to be my pal. We had the same open period, and would often study or play cards in the student lounge, along with a group of about a dozen other students. There were no sparks between me and Eric, but he was nice and earnest.

I was a girl who bought a prom dress in January because I was determined that I would, indeed, attend prom. As a sophomore, I hadn't landed an upperclassman date, so I stayed home. I missed the prom held in the empty grocery store, the prom where the room got so humid that the streamers touched the floor.

But junior year? It was on like Donkey Kong!

BFF and I spent hours plotting and planning. Who would we commandeer to be our lucky escorts? Finally, a plan took shape in the back of her mom's Taurus station wagon. Our moms were in the front, chauffeuring us to a high school production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" a few towns away. To our chagrin, we had been deemed not old enough to drive ourselves. It was sooooooo embarrassing. However, the ride was well-spent, as we were able to formulate The Plan. And, we got back to town early enough to actually put The Plan into action prior to our midnight curfews that very night!

Eric worked at Wendy's. We had hit the drive-through many nights, ordering "courtesy cups" (read: glasses of water) just so we could talk to him and practice being teen-aged girls. So, the night in question? We drove to Wendy's. Except it was closed!

BFF and I sat in the car in the Wendy's parking lot. Then, I did what any red-blooded American girl with a prom dress and no date would do: I got out of the car and banged on the drive-through window.

Some girl came to the window. I was mortified, but asked to talk to Eric. The girl was not impressed. She shut the window and got Eric.

Eric was obviously uncomfortable and unaware of his role as my prom target. I asked him to prom through the Wendy's drive-through window. I felt ballsy, like this made me sassy as hell and would be a tale we'd tell our grandchildren.

I must admit, Eric's response wasn't what I had in mind. He turned 27 shades of red and said, "Umm, can I call you tomorrow?"

What the?

I walked, dejected, back to BFF's baby-blue Ford Tempo. We were flummoxed. But there was hope ... "can I call you tomorrow" was not the same as "no."

He called the next afternoon.

"Yeah, sooo, I talked to my mom," Eric said. "And she said it's OK if I go to prom with you."

And so it was done. I had a prom date. In my glee, I glossed over the whole "my mom said it was OK if I go to the prom with you" aspect.

And then, 10 minutes later, Eric's best friend called and asked me to prom.

What the?

Boys evidently do not talk, even when the comparison of notes would be really, really useful. So I had to tell Eric's buddy - who, turned out, really had the hots for me - that I was going to prom with Eric. It was awkward in a nuclear explosion kind of way.

My dress was black, so it was agreed that Eric would rent a tux with a red cummerbund and tie. He would pick me up. The logistics were set. And then, 4 days before the big day, Eric dropped the real bombshell.

"Going to prom is OK as long as I don't dance."

What the?

Eric belonged to a church where the women weren't allowed to wear pants. Or cut their hair. Or wear makeup. And no one was allowed to dance. Evidently, he had never attended a school dance. The whole talking-to-his-mom thing was her granting him permission to attend prom as a high school experience since he was a senior. The catch was that Eric had to promise that he wouldn't dance, lest Lucifer steal his soul.

Next: A prom with no dancing: Just like "Footloose," but way, way worse. And without Kevin Bacon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Roger Ebert taught me.

I walked around my house yesterday saying, "No, no, no. Oh, no." My dogs couldn't figure out what they'd done wrong. I was reacting to the news of Roger Ebert's death.

Lots of eloquent people are saying so many graceful things about Ebert, his role in cinema and the American discourse. The number of folks who say he inspired them to get into film is staggering.

I didn't follow him religiously as a kid. And I don't work in the movies now. But Roger was always part of the scene, the guy you could trust with an honest and well-formed opinion. In the last few years, I have begun to appreciate him as much, much more.

Roger showed that it was OK to disagree with your friend. He and Gene Siskel proved that you could have a knock-down, drag-out, then turn around with no hard feelings and keep on being pals. They didn't always agree, and they didn't have to. They respected each other.

As I have fumbled through trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I've learned more from Roger. He made it cool to be a nerd. He showed that being passionate and smart wasn't something to be embarrassed about - it was something to be respected. He owned his opinions and his love of movies. And people loved him for it! He wasn't the suavest guy in the room, but he was authentic. He was the guy you wanted to talk to, the guy you wanted to be.

Two days before he died, I fell down a rabbit hole on Roger's blog and fell into - and in love with - his post What was my Aunt Martha trying to ask me?. It's a lovely rumination on his aunts and uncles, the people who quietly and assuredly created the background of his life.

I have a soft spot for Roger's tales of growing up in Champaign-Urbana - he was a gracious storyteller. And his stories of childhood in what was then a small town resonate with me. This post has a quiet respect for the questions he never got answered about his family, and a poignant acceptance of the mysteries that still surround people we know our entire lives. It's graceful and telling, and made my heart hurt.

His passing was graceful, and made my heart hurt.

If you haven't read Roger's memoir, "Life Itself," I highly recommend it. It's a gift. Much like Roger.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Don't look like a hooker at prom.

It's April 2 and no one has asked me to the prom. Yet.

I would be an awesome prom date. I have my own car and I can buy beer. In addition, my prom fashion sense simply cannot be topped.

My high school has started doing The Best Thing Ever. They do a promenade as everyone is headed into prom. And it's shown LIVE on the local cable channel. This means that last year, my family sat transfixed around the teevee, watching all the kids get out of their cars and hobble into the school in their dress shoes and too-high heels.

It was fabulous.

Most of the girls needed lessons in how to walk in heels and how to keep their dresses from falling down. Ah, youth.

But some of the girls needed intervention before the prom. They needed assistance in the dressing room when they were buying their fashions.

OK, listen.

I've been looking around on Pinterest, and since I'm a hip 37-year-old unnaturally obsessed with prom, you know I'm completely trustworthy. Here's the deal.

Rule 1: Don't dress like a hoochie. Some frocks are best saved for your future appearance on a vh1 dating show. Their time will come. If you think Bret Michaels would like a dress, it is not prom-appropriate.
Rule 2: You aren't going to be on "Dancing With the Stars," so don't dress like it.
Rule 3: Short dresses are young and fresh! But too short is ... too short. This looks like something an ice skater would wear to a pap smear.
Rule 4: If a dress straddles that fine line between trendy and weird, it's just weird. Don't give your classmates carte blanche to call you "Dissection Darcy" or "Vivisection Vicki" with a weird dress that is reminiscent of gutting a fish. Also, the term "straddle" shouldn't be in your vocabulary for prom. Ahem.
Extra Credit: Everything comes back around. My Barbies had this dress in 1980.

Up next: Cha Cha's Prom Spectacular continues with the tale of The Worst Prom Date Ever!