Tater Tots

Long, long ago…when I was young, naive and didn’t even want children, I remember hearing a pregnant friend of mine, who was also my boss and I thought was soooo much older than me, (in reality she was only about 5 years older than me) saying that her children were not going to be “spaghettio’s children”. I loved that term. And I thought it summed up my holier than thou, save the earth, I’ll be greener than you attitude perfectly. She was so cool, a liberal in our conservative state, a vegetarian, and a feminist when it was not cool to be a feminist. She kept her maiden name and only wore a wedding band, no fancy diamond engagement ring.  She had lived in New York, practiced yoga and despite being raised Christian had married a Jewish man and converted.  As many of you know, I have always wanted to be Jewish- so she was basically living the life I so wanted to have.  And if she is reading this now- she knows exactly who she is- if she doesn’t well than she isn’t as smart as I thought she was.

The thing is, I’m just not cut out for this life. I’m Catholic and though I want to be Jewish, my Catholic guilt will forever keep me entrenched in the cult…until, like my father before me, I decide its all a bunch of bullshit and just go with atheism. I love cheeseburgers, steak, chicken, fish…basically all types of delicious dead animals- so vegetarianism is out.  One puzzling enigma I can never seem to get over is people who claim to be vegetarian, except they eat fish. WTF? Since when is fish not meat??  These are what I call, (I know I may be treading in dangerous territory here) “non-vegetarians” – they are stupid people (sorry to actual stupid people- I know you don’t want to be lumped in with the “non-vegetarians”) just trying to put on a cool front and are probably sneaking cheeseburgers on the side.  I tried to be a vegetarian in high school- but that only lasted about a week before I discovered that the amount of vegetables I like are rather limited…oh and I was dying for a burger.  I like diamonds and shiny things- so an engagement ring was a must.  And although I consider myself a liberal democrat, the fact is I live in an extremely conservative state where I must walk a fine line so as not to alienate anyone who could be a potential business ally etc.  In fact, my very best friend in the world is a Republican (poor thing), but she and I agree to disagree.  If only more people could do that, our country and the world would be a much better place.

I’ve always had an endless fascination with the sixties and the whole counter culture movement.  Secretly, I still want to live on a commune, with flowers in my hair, no bra, off the grid, raising chickens, carrying my baby in a sling, and sharing everything with my fellow weirdos.  But, I hate birds, so chickens are out and I don’t know shit about farming or weaving shit on looms so my contribution to the commune would be limited. I like camping- which is about as close to living on a commune as I’ll ever get, but only in limited amounts of time, because eventually I have to get back to the 21st century- mostly because I’m a TV addict and I need to catch up on what’s going on with the Amish Mafia or Gator Boys or some other mindless crap.

In reality, I like taking showers. I like wearing a bra- my boobs are way too big to be just swinging around hitting people in the face.  And honestly, without a bra holding them up, it gets all sweaty and uncomfortable with them just hanging against my chest.  I like living in a house with air conditioning and heating.  I like having money to buy things, things that I need or just because I want them. I like owning a car and taking vacations. When I eventually had children, I tried every sling known to man in my desperate attempt to be organic, green and cool- but that shit hurt my back.  Not only did those things hurt my back, but they’re super complicated to figure out and I was always afraid I would suffocate the baby. Then I would be brought up on murder charges all because I was too stupid to operate a simple sling.  So, even though all the experts were and still are saying the closeness that the sling brings for mother and child is of great benefit….my kids had to ride in the stroller. One more strike against me in my quest for non “spaghettio’s children”.

In college, I so wanted to change the world, but only if it meant I got to carry big signs and sit on the shoulders of hot hippie guys at cool protests where people chanted, passed joints, and sang folk songs on guitar.  But, this was the 90’s, as a generation we didn’t have a cause to protest, we had never really experienced war, we were raised under the high rolling Reagan administration and were really more concerned with how big we could get our hair, the cute boys at the fraternity house and accumulating debt on credit cards they gave out like candy on campus to stupid 18 year olds. There were hippies on campus, probably many more at the liberal arts institution I attended than others at that time, but still, try as I might, I was not and never will be hippie material.

In college, I wanted nothing more than to traipse about campus with the hippies, playing hacky sack, smoking weed and following The Dead and Phish every summer.  But, hacky sack…well, I’m not good at any sports so even this hippie dippie sport was way out of my league. I didn’t have any money to follow anyone around in the summer…I’m assuming all of these ragged looking hippies secretly had rich, stupid parents financing their escapades.  The one hippie thing I did exceedingly well was the weed part. It really doesn’t take much to be good at that and I could still have my nice air conditioned apartment, clean clothes, a job and sort of be a normal part of society.  Perhaps if I wasn’t wasting money on weed, I could’ve followed those bands around each summer, but then without weed, what fun would that have been?

Moving right along, I graduated, got married, got a job and followed the straight and narrow.  Despite the fact that the first 7 or so years of our marriage was a haze of smoke and alcohol, we had fun and were for the most part responsible.  Then we had the novel of idea of having children.  I swear we must’ve been drunk when we made this decision.  When I found out I was pregnant, I was all at once, happy, sad, eager, scared, basically every emotion all at the same time.  At first I thought we would have a natural birth with whale songs playing in the background as the baby so gently slipped from my vagina with rainbows and doves.  Then I started reading.  Reading every book about pregnancy.  Everything was dangerous.  Natural child birth held dangers, assisted child birth held dangers, c-sections held dangers- its a wonder any child is born healthy.  I also gorged myself on sub sandwiches and Diet Coke, that is until half way through my pregnancy I found out you aren’t supposed to eat deli meats because of listeria (which I didn’t know what that was and am still not sure). But, I couldn’t give up the Diet Coke- sorry kids.  And so began motherly guilt.  I hadn’t even had the child yet and I was already feeling guilty for my shortcomings.  Every mother knows there is no guilt like a mother’s guilt, because you can never do enough, never be there enough, give them too much freedom, never give them enough freedom, never live up to all the pie in the sky ideals “so called” experts tell you you should be doing.  I suspect most of these “so called” experts are not parents themselves- because its obvious they don’t know shit about kids.

So when my child was born via emergency c-section, the postpartum depression was overwhelming.  Not only had I failed my vision of the perfect child birth complete with saving the placenta to bury under a tree in our back yard- but I also had gone completely insane.  I was intent on using cloth diapers- until I changed my first diaper. So that plan went right out the window before we’d even left the hospital.  Prior to giving birth, I envisioned myself buying all organic foods and transforming them into all organic baby food.  But, A. organic food is fucking expensive, and B. I have a job and don’t have time to be mashing up carrots and shit.  Thus, Gerber and I quickly fell in love.

Fast forward to today, and my whole fantasy about having non “spaghettio’s children” is a complete, utter and epic failure.  I am not a cook.  I don’t enjoy cooking and most of my cooking ends in disaster.  I also work a full time job and volunteer for everything under the sun because I’m a fucking idiot.  So cooking time is limited.  Furthermore, my kids hate everything.  One day I find something they like, a week later I fix it again and now they refuse to even sit at the same table with it or throw themselves on the floor as if I just threw hot acid on them.  We rely heavily on frozen food and restaurants- and since they hate everything that basically means chicken nuggets, tater tots, and canned green beans.  And again, even the green beans are a crap shoot.  Some days they proclaim it to be their favorite thing in the whole world and the next they act as if I’ve put rat poison on their plates.

Hence, I am not a hippie, not a vegetarian, not Jewish, don’t play hacky sack, live lovingly on the grid, and eat highly processed foods that are full of all kinds of chemicals I’d rather not know about. I do recycle and am all for wind power, gay rights and wish I could afford solar panels on my house- so I guess that’s about as “out there” as I’m going to get.  I’d love to compost- but that seems way too time consuming and the garbage disposal is so much more convenient.  As much as my young, full of hope self would’ve like, my kids are, in fact, “spaghettio’s kids” but I prefer to call them “tater tots”.

I’m Forty

So here it is, 3 am, a week into the 40th year of my life and I’m wide awake.  I’m awake for a myriad of reasons, the main one being that I’m not asleep.  My mind races about everything. What needs to be done, what I haven’t done, what I should have done, regrets, grudges, shame, what will I do and when the hell am I going back to sleep?  Perhaps firing up the old computer and writing at 3am is not the fastest way to get some zzzzs, but I’ve also been reading for the past hour and that shit ain’t helping either.

The past few weeks leading up to the official marking of me as a, horror or horrors, middle aged woman, I received a lot of unsolicited advice from friends of mine in their fifties.  All of them seemed to be trying to reassure me that this was not in fact the end of my life.  Geez a monetti, if you keep telling me its not that bad- well then it certainly is THAT bad.  Lots of the advice sounded like it came straight from a motivational Pinterest pin.  “You’ll love your forties”. “You’ll look the best you’ve ever looked”. And my personal favorite, “Forty is the new 20”. Really, 40 is the new 20? I really must take issue with this one- because honestly 40 is not anything like 20.

At 20, I was in college, taking naps in the middle of the day, staying out all night, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, chain smoking cigarettes and well, ahem, other items.  I swore I would never work with computers.  I would live my life as a performing artist. I did not understand why my college was forcing me to have an e-mail address that consisted of just a bunch of letters and numbers that no one, except maybe Rain Man, could remember- and I was never going to check anyway.  I despised the idea of these new fangled cellular phones, because I did not want people to be able to track me down anytime of day.  And quite honestly, even though I live and breathe by my phone now- I still don’t like idea that people can track me down anytime.  I know I can put it on silent- its permanently on silent- but I’m going to have to check it eventually.  If I left the house, I’d simply leave a note for someone telling them where I’d gone- or maybe I wouldn’t and they would just have to wonder- but they certainly couldn’t just call me and find my ass.  I am wistful for the days when I just had a phone plugged into the wall and no answering machine.  If you called and I wasn’t there than too damn bad for both of us- or perhaps just too damn bad for you…I didn’t want to talk to you anyway.  I know this is a cliche attitude we’ve all heard a million times- but we’ve heard it a million times because its fucking true!  We’re all too god damned connected.

At 40, I cannot stay out drinking all night long and show up for work at 8 am as if I’ve just had a good 8 hours of beauty rest. I cannot smoke cigarettes- because they’re going to kill me.  I’m ten pounds heavier than I was back then (ok, we all know that’s a lie, but that’s the most I’m admitting to).  I’m married with two kids, a mortgage, a pile of debt, mental illness (don’t act surprised, we all already know I’m fucking crazy), two email addresses, a plethora of social media accounts, a full time job, and volunteering for WAY too many things all because I’m an idiot who can’t seem to say no to anything. Except PTA…I can’t stand PTA- I know that makes me a terrible parent….but…well sorry- get off my back already.  I can’t do everything….and those bitches are downright judgmental (sorry to my wonderful friends who are active in the PTA and make my childens’ school fucking awesome- but all your cute snack making, carnival coordinating and shit just makes me feel like a big fat loser).

Speaking of school, when have we, as a nation, decided that a leprechaun must visit every kindergarten room each St. Patrick’s day and tear shit up, pee green in the toilet and leave coins all over the place??  As if the fucking Elf on the Shelf isn’t bad enough? (see my hilariously funny post about that asshole- you’ll love it). That green bastard didn’t visit anyone when I was a kid.  They’re supposed to be sitting at the end of the rainbow guarding their god damned pot of gold- not knocking over chairs and tearing up perfectly good paper in kindergarten class rooms.  I love my children’s kindergarten teacher and I know this was not her idea- she’s forced into it because she can’t not do it when every other K class (I’m just going with K now because I’m tired of writing out the whole word) in the world is doing it.  Then my child comes home wondering why the hell the leprechaun didn’t stop by our house?  And we’re freaking Irish!! We invented this crap and no where in my “how to be Irish handbook” does it say the leprechaun makes visits to your house to spread cheer and glee to children.  Isn’t that Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy’s jobs?  In fact, St. Patrick’s day really has nothing to do with leprechauns at all.  The truth is, according to religious theologians, and as cited in the Bible, and according to a myriad of Vatican resources, it is a high holy feast day that should be celebrated with reverence by knocking off work early and getting shitfaced.  And as a good Irish Catholic girl (okay, middle aged woman), I abide by these rules stridently and with my head fully immersed in Guinness.

Alright, I know that as usual I’ve gotten way off topic here- so let’s get back on track.  Forty is NOT twenty.  It is TWENTY + TWENTY.  My ass is tired.  I work a full time job and take care of my children.  And I don’t want this to turn into a big old fight between working mothers and stay home moms- because yes I’ve seen the bumper sticker, “Every mom is a working mom”.  And its true, every mom is a working mom and it is a full time job.  But, if you’re a mom with a job outside the home- well then you’re a person working TWO full time jobs.  And that’s fucking exhausting. And I don’t like to hear about how women who “choose” to stay home do so because they value their children more than a career or some such bullshit.  I would love to have the “choice” to stay home.  I cannot count the number of times I’ve dropped my children off at day care and sat in the parking lot crying my eyes out because I DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY OF CHOICE.  I do love my children more than my career- but staying home ain’t the hand I’ve been played.  So, if I want to bitch about having too much to fucking do and can’t make cutesy snacks and come to every goddamned PTA meeting- its because I’m working TWO FULL TIMES JOBS!!!! (motherfuckers) Again, sorry to my wonderful friends who are stay-at-home moms- you’re total rock stars and I’m jealous as hell.

Okay- again back to being 40.  It is definitely not the new 20. But, I do find I am much more comfortable with who I am and care less about what people think of me.  That’s part of why I started writing this blog.  I was tired of hiding what I really thought for the sake of someone else.  Here I can write about my life, insult, cuss, and be my true self (who apparently has a major potty mouth). Who am I kidding?  I still give a giant shit about what people think.  I’m still crushed with every rejection.  I’m still scared every time I publish a blog post at what people will think, if they’ll hate me, if they’ll decide I’m unworthy- you know, the regular.  I still am unhappy with my 125 pound frame (shut the fuck up right now…its true, it says so on my driver’s license). I still cry when someone I thought was a friend turns their back on me.  A friend of mine was just telling me that if people do that then they’re not good enough to be my friend in the first place- but it still fucking hurts.  But, I’m striving to love myself more and appreciate each moment.  (Alright, now I’m starting to cry- fuck, why the hell am I awake??).  I love my stretch marks and scars and see them as proof of a life where I’ve taken risks- lots of them- and I’ve survived.

And hopefully, my stay-home mom friends and PTA rock stars will not hate me.  I’m 40, I’m tired and I can’t sleep.  Cut me some fucking slack.

Lean Cuisine

Let’s face it…all Lean Cuisines, no matter the “flavor”, all smell the same cooking in the microwave.  No matter where you are… at home or in the office you can identify from one wiff, that it is indeed a Lean Cuisine.  It doesn’t matter what you’re cooking, the classic French Bread Frozen Pizza or the Butternut Squash Ravioli, it all smells the same. No run of the mill low cal frozen dish here…but the premier, crème de la crème of frozen diet letdowns:  Lean Cuisine.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Lean Cuisine.  I eat it all the time.  I’ve just decided that it is so much better when I add my own little twist.  And then I’m still eating well, because it’s a Lean Cuisine!  But, it tastes much better thanks to all the fattening, heavenly crap that I put on top.

I’ll get on to my killer recipe in a skinny minute, but I must preface it by saying Lean Cuisine is my favorite of all the “table for one” frozen dishes.  I’m sure I’ve tried them all.  Nothing says depression, more than a single serving of bland, tasteless diet frozen food.  They make it look so delicious on the box, golden brown, on a beautiful plate complete with parsley garnish.  You follow the instructions thoroughly in feverish anticipation of that beautiful dish that will also make you skinny.

First, remove frozen dinner from box.  Done.  Next, cut one slit about 2 inches long in the plastic film covering frozen loneliness dinner to vent.  (This part is tricky because I’m never sure if my slit is exactly 2 inches- too small? Too long? Maybe this is what it feels like to be a guy?). Step 2 Done.  Step 3: Microwave entrée for 3.5 minutes at 25%. (Shit, how the hell am I supposed to program the fucking Microwave for 25%??  Screw it, I’ll just combine it with Step 4). Step 4: Rotate frozen loneliness dish.  Wear protective hand wear as the gourmet delight may be hot.  Continue microwaving on 2 minutes. (Okay- so that combined with Step 3 should equal about 5 minutes on high?). Step 3 & 4 Done.  Step 5: Remove Film. Stir so-called vegetables. Return to microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Let stand in microwave for one minute after cooking. Enjoy!

Jesus Christ, that is a lot of instructions!  I might as well be cooking if I have to do all this rotating and film removing and shit.  The whole “remove from box” part- is why I love America.  We are so dumb, you have to tell us to take the crap we’re going to nuke out of the flipping box.  I also love America for being the home of the free and the brave, the crazy, the sane, the rich, the poor, the disenfranchised, the franchised, reality television, public television,  hot dogs and hamburgers, IROC Zs, all the Back to the Future movies and Chevy Chase.  I’m sure there’s more, but that sentence had long past the run-on statute of limitations. Oh and I’m writing about Lean Cuisine.  Ok- next blog entry will be about zesting up your Memorial Day festivity- which you’ll probably be doing by yourself- with an all American tribute Lean Cuisine Recipe!

So you’re really starting to wonder about the Lean Cuisine recipe du jour?  It’s really quite simple.  And genius is born from stupidity.  Is that a quote from someone?  If it isn’t, it should be.  I’m not really sure if it’s a compliment or an insult- but it does sound profound.  Anyhoo, I learned all my cooking secrets from no one else than dear, old Mom.  To say she was a whiz in the kitchen is like saying Stephen Hawking is an awesome figure skater.  Some people hate “diet” food, but that’s the only kind of food she served- and if it could just be microwaved or heated up as is- all the better.

Mom was always on a diet- probably is now- I don’t know.  I try not to get that “engaged” on the phone.  She may think we’re pals and want to talk every day.  As it is, I have her convinced that we have to rush the conversation since its, “long distance and all”.

But I digress, we’re here for cooking tips!  So you too can take your depressing dish of microwavable loneliness and jazz it up! One of my personal favorites: Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans by none other than Lean Cuisine.  Apart from not resembling anything on the box and tasting a lot like the actual box, the best thing I could say is the low calorie count was right.  But, really, how do I know it’s really right?  Can I test that?  Aren’t we just using the honor system and hoping they tell us the truth?  Shit, we may be on to a major conspiracy by frozen depression delights to keep us ensnared in their wicked web of frozen diet cuisine addiction.

Alright- here goes.  Just to recap, the Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans- follow all microwaving instructions thoroughly as demonstrated previously.  Gaze upon the pile of mush that comes out in the half melted cooking container and take in all its glory.  Because, gurl, it is about to get a whole lot better!  Step 1: Walk to the refrigerator. Step 2: Retrieve Sour Cream. Step 3: Get a big spoon. Step 4:  Take a huge, spoonful of that creamy goodness and plop it right in the middle of that bland, cardboard tasting so called food.  Step 5:  Stir that shit up and throw some s&p in already.  Step 6: Truly enjoy because when someone asks what you had for lunch you can honestly tell them you ate a Lean Cuisine. And then act all passive aggressive, high and mighty about how you’re sticking to a diet.  Recipe: Complete!

Life Lessons

My father has always been under the impression that everyone else in the world is getting older except him.  That he is invincible and will live forever.  He runs everyday, swims in the summer, drinks like a fish, travels the world and lives life to its fullest.  I want nothing more than to feel the same way throughout my life.  He is approaching his 80th birthday and old age is finally beginning to rear its ugly, age spotted, gray haired bald head.  Nothing really horrible, just forgetfulness from time to time, the occasional unsteadiness on his feet, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, old people smell…you know, old people shit.

He’s had a few health problems as of late and went in for a check up a week or so ago.  The doctor took a blood test and told him to lay off  “the alcohol” for a week until the test came back.  Well, everything is looking hunky dory, and the doctor gave him the go ahead to “go back on the alcohol.”  However, he suggested he cut back his evening drinks from 3 shots of alcohol per drink to 2 shots per drink.  Btw, one drink for my dad is the equivalent of 4 for any normal person- if you’ve read this blog before, you’ll remember- he’s a professional.

So, after he told me the doctor’s “suggestions” regarding his alcohol intake I asked him if he was having a drink.  It was almost 9pm- an absolutely acceptable time.  Remember, he’s a professional, he doesn’t drink during the day- he has rules (alcoholics do not have rules, professionals do), 9pm is the magic hour- and then he only has TWO drinks.  Ahem- like I said two is the equivalent of four.  Anyhoo, when I asked if he was drinking he said, “Well, yeah.” (as if I’m an idiot) “But, its just wine- not whiskey or anything.  Wine is like juice.  It doesn’t do anything.  I’m only having 3 or 4 glasses.”  I love it- “WINE IS LIKE JUICE.”  Technically, he’s right- its grape juice- only fermented.  And isn’t 4 glasses the whole bottle?  But, who am I to tell an 80 year old man to part with his best friend?  Hell hath no fury like an 80 year old (or a toddler) who’s had his JUICE taken away.

This got me thinking of all the wise advice my parents have given me throughout the years.  Drugs are pretty much straight forward, don’t do them.  After all, my mother told me, “Marijuana killed Judy Garland.”  Well, if Mary Jane is what killed Dorothy then I definitely wanted to stay as far from that as possible.  My parents pretty much missed the 60’s entirely, being busy raising little ones of their own at that time.  So I don’t think she ever understood the difference between a joint and, I don’t know, shit like heroine, cocaine, prescription drug abuse…but whatevs.

She would also remind me every time I left the house on a foggy night, “Be careful, remember how Jayne Mansfield died.”  WTF?  First of all, Jayne Mansfield was a star about a million years before I was born and how the hell am I supposed to know how she died???  I’m pretty sure most of you are unaware as well.  So fyi, in case you’re ever on Jeopardy or something, on a foggy night her car went under a truck and she was decapitated.  Got it, Mom.  (Btw, I haven’t fact checked that- I’m just trusting that she knows her shit.)  Now, every time I see fog all I can think of is Jayne Mansfield’s decapitated corpse- yay- happy thoughts!  But, I digress.

Of course, my Dad was the expert on advice for alcohol or more like friendly suggestions.  I remember very vividly when Tylenol began coming in child proof bottles, I was about 8 and his “go to” for opening that shit.  One time in particular, as I popped the bottle for him, he told me (again I’m 8), “if you ever drink too much, just take two Tylenol before you go to bed and you won’t have a hangover.”  Good to know, Dad.  I followed this sage advice all throughout college.  That is until they figured out that- oopsy daisy- you could die of sudden liver damage by combining those two things.  Thanks, Dad!

My other favorite piece of advice from dear old dad is regarding drinking and driving.  Now to his credit, his story has changed as he has aged and he will NEVER drive after even one drink now and will not allow me to either.  But, as a kid, I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t have to kick beer cans out of the way to climb in the back seat of his mid-life crisis sports car. One time we were weaving down the road and were pulled over by our local Barney Fife and he asked him, “Sir, have you been drinking?”  Always the honest man, he said yes.  There my sister and I were, bouncing around the back seat, no seat belts and surrounded by empty beer cans and all the officer said was, “Well, I suggest you be careful and get those girls home right away.”  Thanks, officer!  For you youngins, it was the 70’s and they didn’t really take all that shit seriously.

In high school he told me a full proof way of getting out of a drunken driving arrest.  No matter that the legal drinking age was 21 and I was in high school- he is a realist so I guess he was trying to be helpful.  His advice went something like this, “Act real innocent and just tell the officer, ‘Oh my!  I never drink.  I just left the company party and they must’ve had something in the punch!'”  Yeah, I know you’re shaking your head, so am I.

A really great piece of advice they both gave me, and I mean this in all seriousness, was to major in something I loved in college- because once you get into the real world, unless you’re going to be a doctor or rocket scientist or something- nobody is going to give a shit what you studied or how well you did.  You should study hard but have fun, because the real world is a bitch.  I’ve been quite successful in my career and it wasn’t until just the past couple of years that the folks I work for figured out I majored in Theatre.  See, people don’t even read that little “education” part on your resume- its all the other bullshit you put at the beginning that matters.  Having majored in Theatre and had no jobs related to my field of study, I know, my friends, that this is advice you can take to the bank!

Watching them both, I learned that you have to let shit go, NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS, and go for it no matter what.  They didn’t always demonstrate these qualities, sometimes they did- but they showed me in their joy and their sorrows that life is meant to be lived….the best lesson of all.

And fuck, I just read that last paragraph- it sounds like they’re dead.  No…rest assured, they are alive and well and still giving me “awesome” advice all the time.  I’ll be sure to share it with you another time.

What will my children say?

If you’re a loyal reader or are new to my blog, you’ll find that I talk a lot about my parents, their shortcomings, their divorce, their impact on my psychosis- you know the usual crap we’re all dealing with.  You’ll also know that I know, even though they drove me and continue to drive me bat shit crazy, that they love me.  Since I started a few months ago, I’ve had friends ask me on more than one occasion, “what do you think your kids will be blogging about you?”  Yikes!  I’m sure it will be filled with things like, “yeah, she sure yelled a lot” and “that woman could put away some vodka” and “all the cuss words I know I learned from dear old mom” or “she wasn’t real good at filing”.  I can only hope they remember that despite the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling bullshit, they will also remember how much I love them.

The one image I hold in my mind of my mother is of her asleep on the couch.  The woman was depressed, beyond depressed and downright tired ALL THE TIME.  She was always “resting her eyes” on the couch.  I am quite certain that when my children look back, their mental image of me will be of me standing in front of the dryer, folding clothes- because that seems like ALL I DO EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE!!!  Grant it…I have a full time job, I write this amazing blog, I am an actor, a runner, a Girl Scout Leader, a mom, a wife, Bigfoot Hunter, tv addict, ghost whore, Alien chaser and all around busy gal.  But, that damn laundry basket is NEVER empty.  I mean come on people- if you’ve had something on for less than an hour, fold it up and put it back in the goddamn drawer, for Christ’s sake!

And don’t even get me started on clothes that are inside out.  Why do you have to turn a shirt or socks or underwear or fucking anything all the way inside out to take it off?  I don’t do that- but for some reason everyone in my family seems to think that turning it inside out is the only way to remove clothing from their bodies.  So then I’ve got to not only, wash and dry the flipping clothes, but spend extra time turning them right side out so I can fold them and distribute them to their rightful owners.

Now, I know, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to this whole laundry thing.  As soon as I was tall enough to see over the machine, my mother had me doing my own laundry, her laundry, my sister’s laundry- really anything that needed to be washed.  And my oldest is plenty tall enough to take on this task herself.  But, with all the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling I do- I feel like this is one of the few ways I can show my children I really love them.  (I know, I just looked back and read that- and I’m a total lunatic- one day my kids are certain to say, “yeah, mom was a total bitch, but I know she loved me because she did the laundry”).  Ahhh….my head is hurting from my eyes rolling so far back in my head.

And with all my talk about laundry, you’d think I’d have the whitest whites, all our sheets would be pressed and every drawer neatly organized.  Boy, are you a dumb ass!  I don’t treat stains unless it is on my own clothing.  I figure if you’re not smart enough to either point it out to me as I’m putting it in the machine (not two days before when it happens) or better yet- DO IT YOURSELF, then I’m not treating it.  You can live with that stain on your clothes for the rest of your life.  A scarlet letter of what a sloppy eater you are for all the world to see.

Secondly, if you’re pressing your sheets, you are wasting your life.  Please just fold that shit up and shove it in the linen closet like the rest of us lazy asses.  You’re going to lay down on it to sleep, why the fuck do you need to iron it?  I find once I stretch it out over the mattress, the wrinkles pretty much take care of themselves. Furthermore, you’re going to put a comforter or blanket or something over them- so even if someone does mosey through your room- they will not be aghast at your wrinkly bed sheets- because they won’t fucking see them, asshole.

And lastly, everyone in this family has way too many clothes.  And despite all my good intentions of cleaning out the closets and drawers with each season to update our wardrobes for the appropriate weather (like Martha Stewart tells me to do)- let’s get real here- that’s never going to happen.  So I basically just keep shoving shit in until either the drawer breaks- or I have a mental break down because I can’t close the fucking drawer anymore.  Then I’ll start flinging shit out of the drawer, cussing with every shirt, sock, and worn out, pilly bra I come across until its complete- I’m organized for at least 2 days- or the next load of laundry gets done.

Ok- so this post started out as some kind of altruistic, introspection of who I am and how I want my children to remember me.  And it turned it to a rant about laundry.  My kids are so fucked.

Elf on the Shelf

Disclaimer:  If you think the “Elf on the Shelf”  is the greatest thing since sliced bread- then beat it sucker- this post ain’t for you.  If you’re a relatively new parent and considering purchasing an Elf on the Shelf- then let this post serve as fair warning.  And for those of you like me that have stuff to do, I don’t know, like earn a living…you’ll appreciate this (I hope).

It all started out so innocently about 7 years ago.  My eldest was a lonely only and just 3 years old.  I was still bathed in the hope that I could be the mother I always longed to have; create cute family traditions, wear an apron and greet my children with cookies and milk when they got home from school.  Ahh…what a fool I was.  I don’t know why I thought the fact that a child had grown in my womb would somehow change my crass and cynical personality.  But, when your little one is still just being naughty by not eating her peas, or saying no all the time, you somehow think you can still achieve the unattainable.

The most wonderful time of the year was swiftly approaching and I was starting to feel the anxiety of creating the best Norman Rockwell holiday season for my small family.  My boss lady/dear friend and I were having lunch at a beautiful gourmet restaurant, surrounded by the city’s most fashionable.  I was telling her of the trials and tribulations of the terrible 3’s (the terrible twos are just a myth- created by someone who couldn’t find some good alliteration to go with the number 3).  And then she so kindly offered some friendly advice that she had just learned of from a friend of hers:  The Elf on the Shelf!  It was the latest and greatest parenting tool that you could only find in the most elite boutiques.  The Elf would magically appear just after Thanksgiving and then keep an eye on your little ones and report back to Santa.  An easy peasy way of getting your little ones to behave- right?  Wrong!!  Mind you, she’d never done this with her own child, who was practically grown at this point, so she was blind to the terrible horrors she was about to unleash into my life.

For those of you unfamiliar with this little demon spawn, let me explain.  You (the parent) are supposed to read a cutey patootie booksie about a cutey patootie elfie that the jolly fat guy himself has somehow sent to your house – but don’t tell your friends because they might not be as special as you and have their own private elf.  Each night after your little one is so sweetly tucked into bed… after fifteen trips to the bathroom, 47 bedtime stories and 75 billion other excuses for not sleeping….you’re supposed to REMEMBER to go move the fucking elf to a different location.  Then, oh what fun, when they wake up each morning they get to search the house to find this little motherfucker hanging out somewhere.

Well, soon word began to spread, the elf was no longer available exclusively in high end boutiques.  Every fucking card shop, drug store and convenience store was selling these little shitbirds.  And soon, moving the little fucker- which I could barely remember to do anyway, was no longer good enough.  Pictures were popping up on Facebook with the elf getting into mischief, eating cookies and spilling milk, taking a shit on the toilet, or tearing up long rolls of toilet paper.  What the fuck??  I thought this little shit was supposed to make my kids behave by reporting back to Santa- not SHOW my kids how to misbehave.  And besides all that, I can barely remember to move the blessed thing each night to a new location- much less give him creative activities.  You know who has to clean that shit up??  Me- that’s who!!  Like I need one more thing to do in my life.

And how many times, have my children asked forlornly, “Look mommy, the elf is in the same place as yesterday. Do you think he forgot to go see Santa?”  The answer is too many to count.  Fuck- knife to my heart- just one more item to add to my long list of parenting failures.  “Oh no, sweetheart, I think he just found that spot so comfy he decided to go back to the same place.”  Yeah, they only buy that lie one time- but when you’ve forgotten for 3 or more nights in a row, well let’s just say the magic starts to wear off.  Even they stop looking for him- the bastard.

Now, I know, I have a lot of very talented friends.  They love to post cute things their little elf is doing around the house on Pinterest and Facebook.  Some of them even find time to move the little motherfucker several times a day.  I’m happy for them that they get such a kick out of tricking their children and creating more work for themselves.  But, stop making the rest of us losers feel bad.

And on top of it all, I’m now hearing that having one elf is not good enough.  Oh no…-you must have an elf for each of your children so they can take it with them when they’re grown and shove this beautiful, consumer-driven tradition down the throats of their own little ones.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m going to have to have that little shit show up sooner or later.  I look forward to the days when my children can look back and laugh- or perhaps they’ll just be crying in therapy.  Either way, at least I won’t have to move the fucking elf anymore.

Locked Out

For the past 10 years, my best girlfriend and I have escaped our families and gone to the mountains.  We eat, drink, smoke, talk, do puzzles, giggle and generally everything we can’t do on a day to day basis.  I know you think “doing puzzles?”  But, if you have small children you know that completing an actual puzzle is a monumental task.  This annual retreat is full of sweat pants and granny panties, no make-up and no cell phones; full on nitty gritty girl time.

We stay in a little cabin in the mountains of SC miles from any kind of real civilization.  The closest place is a gas station about a mile down the road.  Its really more of a convenience store/gas station/hamburger joint with an antique, home furnishing and jewelry department.  The burgers are the greasiest, best burgers you’ve ever tasted.  And since there is no cell reception, they have a nice pay phone outside for convenience.  Its really the only time in my life I ever have an opportunity to use a pay phone anymore- so that’s a nice trip down memory lane…but we’ll save that for later.  The convenience store/gas station/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelry store is really one stop shopping for all your mountain needs.  Honestly, the person who came up with this place is a pure genius.  “Yes, I need gas, a beer, some beef jerky, a burger and a shabby chic refurbished chest of drawers.”  Done and done.

Now the clientele are what you might call “mountain folk”.  Let me apologize in advance to any mountain folk who are reading this.  But really, what are the chances?  You can’t get cell reception there- so I’m pretty sure the internet connection ain’t too great either. This is supposed to be a funny story- so keep your moonshine drinking, jug blowing, banjo pickin’ hate mail to yourself- and get a sense of humor already.  (please don’t hurt me)

I’m sure there are many beautiful mountain gals out there, let’s not forget the beautiful Charlene Darling on the Andy Griffith Show.  She could’ve easily taken the crown for Miss Appalachia.  I know she was gaga for Andy- but really, Barney would’ve made a good catch too.  He was young, employed, breathing- what more could a girl ask for?  But alas, I’ve never laid eyes on anyone as good lookin’ as Charlene Darling in this neck of the woods.  So, needless to say, the best part of visiting the gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store is that for a few minutes each year, no matter how bad I look, how fat I am, how much my roots are showing…. I am the prettiest girl in town.

I believe it was our second year on this annual retreat, when the unthinkable happened.  We mustered up the energy to walk the five feet from the bed to the rocking chairs on the porch.  We were still in our pajamas, I had slippers on, she had only her socks, we’d settled in to play cards, drink coffee, smoke ciggies and enjoy the morning.  Eventually, one of us had to go back in to get something and we realized our fatal mistake- we were locked out!

Remember, no cell service, no landline, no keys to the car, no fucking keys to the cabin, a mile from the gas station- SHIT!!  We both decided this qualified as full on EMERGENCY situation. I mean we could die from exposure!! What the fuck were we going to do????  So I had a brilliant idea.  We throw the coffee table through the window.  It seemed like a perfectly logical idea to me, how else would we get in?  But, as she always does, (bless her heart) she talked some sense into me.  And suggested we walk for help.   So we grabbed our smokes and began the mile long walk to the gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store seeking aid.

Now, we had a long rocky dirt road to walk down hill first before we even reached the paved road.  Remember, I had my slippers and she only had socks on.  So we compromised and I gave her one slipper.  Thus, we began our journey with only one slipper on for each of us.  Still in our pajamas, with one slipper on each foot, we casually walked the mile down the country lane with truckers and bikers whizzing past us.  No one seemed to find it unusal that two women would be walking along side this road dressed in pajamas- which by the way also means- NO BRAS- boobs were bouncing all over the place.

On a side note, I’ve known this chica since college.  We were in sorority together.  And anyone who’s ever been in a sorority knows there are certain rules of conduct one must uphold at ALL times- whether you’re in college or not.  There were very specific rules about smoking cigarettes.  Apparently, these rules were written before the whole lung cancer scare began- what a bummer.  Anyway, two of the biggest rules pertaining to cigs were that one should always roll your ashes into an ashtray in a ladylike manner- never tap!  You know, those disgusting women who tap there cigarettes- such trash.  They’re also the same women who wear tank tops with no bras and feather their hair- yuck.  The other rule was to NEVER walk down the street smoking a cigarette.  Honestly, what could be more unladylike then walking and smoking?

Well, she decided having a smoke while we walked seeking aid for our full on EMERGENCY would be a fine idea and offered me one as well.  Always the lady, I politely declined.  And she was all, “what the fuck?”  I gently reminded her that in our sorority a lady never walks down the street smoking.  Again, she talked some sense into me, waving her arms around and said, “Who the fuck are you trying to impress?”  She was right, we were walking down a road in the middle of nowhere, in our pajamas, with no bras, one slipper on each foot…really I don’t know why I thought smoking was going to hurt my reputation.  So smoke it up I did.

We finally reached the gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store and realized we had no money for the pay phone.  There was a Southern Baptist church right next door (sorry I forgot to mention that early- but really who the hell cares).  Again, I apologize in advance to my Southern Baptist friends, but hey, I’m a cradle Catholic and we don’t understand all your jibber jabber.  It was a Sunday and the parking lot was packed.  I thought we would definitely find someone to help us in there.  But, again, always the sensible person- she convinced me that if we went in there they’d be trying to save our souls, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, handling snakes, baptizing us in giant pools of water- you know everything but helping us get back in the cabin.  And she was right- we had no place in a church that morning.

So we went into the gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store and asked to use the phone.  The teenage boy behind the counter offered us his cell phone.  What??  A cell phone that worked out here in the middle of nowhere?? Apparently, only one carrier had conquered this highly lucrative market.  Being a full on EMERGENCY, we immediately dialed 911.  And then before they answered- hung up.  Because you know, a 911 call coming from a gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store is never suspicious.  So of course, they called back and we had to explain the whole EMERGENCY.  The dispatcher kindly suggested we call a locksmith.  God bless the dispatcher- she was a GENIUS!

So we used the PHONE BOOK- I know- where the hell do you even get one of those things?  And called a locksmith.  Of course, he was in church handling snakes at the time and said it would be at least an hour before he could come.  We told him to meet us at the gas station/convenience store/hamburger joint/antique, home furnishing and jewelery store.  So we sat outside and patiently waited in our pajamas, no bras, one slipper wearing, cigarette smoking glory.

Upon his arrival, with his mountain wife in tow, he suggested that he follow us to our destination in his van.  Then we had to explain that we had no car and could we pretty please have a ride?  Hesitantly, he agreed and we sat on the floor of a locksmith van.  Keys, picks and other tools of the trade jingling all around us as we directed him back to the cabin.

In just minutes he had us back in our humble abode and we wrote him a check.  He had saved us from this life threatening EMERGENCY and we were ever so grateful.  The landlord now keeps the key in a coded lock box outside the door.  Please God don’t let me ever forget the code!

By the by, I don’t smoke anymore.  Just want to make sure y’all know what a lady I am.