Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Invasion of the Clutter Snatchers

Today the pod people finally came to pick up my stuff. No, not those pod people--the storage unit people.

I slacked big time in getting this taken care of, and I shudder to think what got ruined because of it. Those storage units sat out there for 6 weeks, 3 major snows and a whole lot of sub-zero temperatures. Can olive oil freeze?

The owner of the storage place has been calling me for the last couple of weeks, asking when I wanted the units picked up. I kept putting him off because I didn't feel like thinking about it. My husband finally chipped the ice away from the perimeter this morning and the big metal boxes full of our stuff are on their way to some secret underground lair to be watched over by magical yet fierce unicorns until we are ready to move into our new house....or something like that.

We got back the part of our driveway that my husband usually parks his behemoth of a car on. (I know it's a crappy picture, but I didn't feel like to looking for a better one.) Of course, it is costing me $100 a month to store the units (and most likely some hidden bullshit charges on top of that) for the privilege.

Up side: About 90% of the clutter in my house has been eliminated by utilizing those storage pods.

Down side: Eventually, they are going to make us take it all back.

I hope the unicorns take good care of my stuff.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dream a little dream

When I went to ISU, I used Health Services for all my medical needs. The doctors were friendly and the facility was pretty nice as far as health clinics go. I was happy to have the place available, especially for my yearly lady bits exam.

The only qualm I had with the place was their choice of decor in the exam room. Among the magazines, cheesy "successories" posters and STD pamphlets was a poster. This poster was not on the wall, but rather strategically placed above the exam table. It was unavoidable, right there on the ceiling.

It was a Tiger Beat-esque poster of the Coreys (yes, plural).

Now, had I gone to college in the late 80's, this would have made a little bit more sense. This was the early 90's. Mr. Feldman and Mr. Haim were well past their sell by date at this point.

What was the purpose of having anything on the ceiling, let alone a dated poster of child actors? Comic relief or something way creepier?

I can only assume whoever put the poster up there thought college co-eds (still) found the Coreys attractive. Why would they want someone getting a very personal medical procedure to be turned on? Why would I want to think about washed-actors while someone had their hand up my snatch?

That's what parties were for.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

One time, I should have kept my mouth shut

In 1983 a murder took place in my town. I didn't live here then, but I did read the book that was written about it (twice). It's a fascinating case made even more eerie by the fact that it took place in the town I live in. If you are a true crime junkie like me, it's a must read.

I used to be a hairstylist. Before I had kids, I worked really long (12+ hour) days behind the chair and I got to meet many interesting people from many different walks of life.

One night I had a new client who was referred to me by her sister. She had a really different name. Being a "Chaylene", I can sympathize with others saddled with a fucked up moniker.

We chatted easily and had a couple of laughs before I started cutting her hair. Halfway though the haircut, I brought up her name again. I'd only heard once before, I told her.

"Remember that Hendrick's murder in the 80's?"


"I read that book recently. One of the models that guy used for his business pamphlets had your name. Can you imagine what that was like. I mean, those girls must feel so creeped out knowing they modeled for a murderer!"

"Uh...that was me."

She found a new stylist after that.

Fair Warning

When I was in junior high, my best friend was a girl named Leigh. Her sister was 5 years older, and was a really good sport about hanging out with us sometimes. Once in a while, she would share some little known facts with us.

For instance, there is a bone in the penis. I mean, why else would they call it a boner?

Also, she warned us, never never NEVER eat ketchup in front of a boy. It reminds them of period blood, and they will get grossed out.

Let's just say I lost my virginity before she did.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Koo Koo Kachoo, Mrs. Robinson

This morning I realized I had forgotten to go to a baby shower I was invited to last week. I feel like a complete asshole about it too. I should call her and apologize, but I don't really have a credible excuse.

This afternoon I left the house a full half hour earlier than I needed to for my daughter's swim class. I have no idea how this happened because normally, getting us out of the house with minutes to spare is one for the record books. It did however work in my favor as I had the chance to stop by the grocery store to pick a few things I needed for dinner tonight.

I found a parking place right up front and pulled in. Not until my daughter was halfway out of the car did I notice that I had taken up a handicapped space. I quickly ushered her back into the car all the while loudly proclaiming to everyone within earshot that WE HAVE TO MOVE THE CAR! I PARKED IN THE WRONG SPOT! I didn't want anyone around me thinking I was some kind of deviant cripple-hater. True, I milked the "New and Expectant Moms" parking spaces for as long as I could, but this was different. I don't think mental illness constitutes a special parking space. I had to park elsewhere.

I used the self check out because my five year old likes to help me scan the groceries. While she was scanning and bagging (hey, she wanted to), I totally got caught checking out the hottie cashier a few lanes over. I hate when that happens.

My only explanation for all this distraction is my recently acquired infatuation with Justin Timberlake.

You think I'm kidding.

I should probably hide my 33 year old married mother of two face in shame for admitting this, but I won't. I have a crush on JT.

I can't help it. He's just so damn hot and young (and really funny). By the way, have you seen him dance? Don't tell me he can't do other things well when he can move like that.

My husband knows. He went out and voluntarily bought me the new CD for Valentine's Day. He didn't so much as tsk tsk when I DVR'd the Saturday Night Live which my crushy crush hosted. He even watched it with me, ignoring whatever it was I was doing under the blanket on the couch. I'm going to wait a while before putting up the life-size stand up....at least until we move into the new house.

So there it is. Apparently I have regressed back to adolescence. Who can blame me really? I mean, I wasn't even aware sexy had gone anywhere in the first place and here he goes, bringing it back. If that's not something to write home about, well you tell me what is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Yesterday I got a call that someone wanted to see the house. My husband took the girls to the gym with him and I stayed home to clean up and get the dogs out of here for the showing.

I tend to get a little insane when someone's coming to see the house. I don't know why I get so freaked out. Most people aren't looking at my furniture, paint choices or underwear drawer (Are they? Gross.). Most perspective buyers are checking out the "bones" of the house (ie; the furnace, water heater, roof, appliances, etc.).

Why do I feel like they are judging me instead of the house? It's like I'm getting ready for a date before people come over for a look. I get that same nervous giddiness that invariably turns to bitterness before they even walk in the door.

"Oh goody! Someone's coming to see the house! Must clean, must tidy up. I hope they like the house. I hope we get an offer this time. Oh shit, there's a piece of lint on the stairs. Where did this lollipop stick come from?! Why can't everyone pick up their own shit? I can't keep this up. How can I be expected to have this place perfect all the fucking time? Goddamnit! Fuck these people! If they don't like my house, they can suck a fat cock!"

Rinse and repeat.

I've just about gotten the pre-viewing clean up down to a science but, being in a half-crazed (and usually rushed) state of mind, sometimes things slip through the cracks. The last time someone came over, I forgot to take down one of the baby gates. It wasn't a big deal, and no mention was made of it.

Yesterday I was finishing up and getting ready to put the dogs in the car. This is quite an experience in itself. Pugs aren't generally known for hiding their emotion. When I get out their harnesses, they know they are either going for a walk or getting a ride in the car, both things that send them into a frenzy of snorting, panting insanity. I knew they were going to send dog hair flying about during the harnessing process, so I decided to get them in the car before taking the baby gates down and doing a final scan to make sure I didn't forget anything.

Part of keeping things ready to show is emptying out the upstairs garbage cans. I try to look around the house and pay attention to things I would notice--like empty garbage cans. I don't want to look at someone's used q-tips, so I figure most people don't want to see mine.

This week, to borrow a little junior high slang, Aunt Flo is here for a visit. I visited the upstairs bathroom before leaving the house and, not wanting to leave any garbage up there, carried my little "package" downstairs with me with the intent of putting it in the kitchen garbage (which is hidden under the sink). Before anyone gets all skeeved out, I did wrap it in toilet paper and then the cutesy pink plasticy wrap stuff on top of that.

I scanned the living room on my way down the stairs and noticed some toys behind the couch that needed to be stashed, so I set what I had in my hand on the little phone stand next to the stairs.

The realtor said she was coming over around 10:30 and it was coming up on 10:15. One last look around and I was out the door. Since my husband had the girls with him, I was excited to drive around by myself. Sure, I had the crazy dogs with me, but they generally calm down within a few minutes. I had downloaded the latest This American Life onto my iPod, and couldn't wait to listen to it. I was going to get a latte too. I might as well have been going on vacation!

I don't ask for much.

Ten minutes down the road, it hit me.

If I'm pretty sure no one wants to look at my used q-tips, I am damn sure no one wants too see a USED PAD on the phone stand.

A million things ran through my head. There was really no explaining this away. This was not a forgotten baby gate.

I looked at the clock: 10:25. I had to speed. The dogs jumped up to the front seat, sensing my fear. I worried that I would get pulled over and started picturing me trying to tell the cop the truth. Certainly they would be grossed out enough to let me go. Maybe I would get a police escort back to the house?

I pulled in the driveway and thankfully they hadn't shown up yet. I tore ass to the back door, ran inside and there it was.

Crisis averted.

We haven't heard anything back from them (yet), but at least I know it isn't because of a forgotten piece of garbage.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Shoe Porn

I'm feeling a little funny in my girl bits.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Flip This House

Today I realized how selling my house mirrors my love life 1990-1996.

On the market.

Former Love Life:
On the market.

Tastefully decorated.

I knew my way around an eyeliner pencil.

Looking for a stable, loving family to move in.

Looking for a stable, loving man who can buy his own cigarettes.

Solid structure, unfinished walk up attic ready to be finished.

Good bones, a little koo koo in the head but working on it.

Decent curb appeal, but looks even better once you come inside.

Uh....maybe I shouldn't be making this list.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


We're on Day Two of our snowed-in extravaganza. I haven't lost it...yet.

Snow days do have their advantages. For one, I don't have to participate in life outside the warm confines of my house. School is canceled. I don't have a job but even if I did, I would have called in. Our snow shovel broke this morning while my husband was trying to make a path to get his car out.

Since I am not leaving the house, I do not have to look presentable to the outside world. Not that I care one way or the other what I look like at the grocery store or post office, but one never knows when one might run into an old friend or worse, an ex-boyfriend. I hate looking like shit when that happens. I can just picture what they're thinking: "Geez, she used to take much better care of herself before she succumbed to "mommy guilt" and quit her job. Sad. Very sad."

Well, fuck you and your small dick.

It's hard to get motivated to keep up on personal hygiene when I'm trying to keep two young children entertained all day. I can't even go to the bathroom by myself. That's not really an anomaly exclusive to snow days, but it just adds insult to injury in this case.

Last night, as my husband and I were brushing our teeth before bed, I took a long hard look in the mirror.

I had washed my hair that morning, but instead of brushing it into a manageable style, I let it dry naturally. My hair has a bit of a wild streak. Normally I can beat the curls into submission, but if left to its own whimsy, I look like I got a perm circa 1984. After a day of rolling around on the floor, playing with the kids and the dogs all day, my hair looked like that of a crazy homeless person.

In addition to my Mariah-Carey-on-crack-esque coif, my skin is depleted of any moisture whatsoever (forced air heat + old house + winter weather = very dry skin). This, in addition to PMS has caused a bit of a revolt in the skin department. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just use a bit of this handy-dandy face mask stuff I have for such an occasion."

My uniform all day pretty much consisted of what I had worn to bed the night before plus a ratty-looking but very comfortable sweater. Another reason staying in the house can be a treat is the fact that I don't have to put on a bra. Sometimes the girls need to breathe, ya know.

If you haven't been keeping score, let me recap:

My hair is caught in a time warp.
I have a smear of white face mask slapped haphazardly across my face.
PJ's from the night before, accented by a sweater that probably needs to be retired.
No bra (which would have been kinda' sexy about 6 years ago, read: pre-babies, but now not so much).

So, my husband and I are brushing our collective teeth at the bathroom sink and I stop and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, toothpaste foam forming a slow crawl down my chin....

"Jesus Christ, wouldya' look at me?"

(husband stops to gaze upon his lawfully wedded wife, most likely frantically trying to interpret my tone)

"Darling husband, I gotta' ask you, how on earth are you resisting all this hotness?"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stupid parents

Today was a snow day. School was cancelled and my husband even came home early from the shop (an extremely rare occurence). The whole city is like a ghost town. I have a five foot snow drift in front of my garage. I won't be going anywhere until one of the following happens: A) the snow melts, B) some kind soul comes to offer his snowblowing services (which sounds awfully dirty if you ask me), or C) we buy our own snowblower.

None of these things is likely to happen anytime soon.

Just for shits and giggles, I called around to a few places to see if they actually had any snowblowers, or snowthrowers as I just found out they are sometimes called, left. Snowthrower makes a hell of a lot more sense than snowblower. Think about it.

Of course every place I called was clean out, but no one laughed at me for asking so that was nice.

We spent the day lounging and eating too much as I am want to do during blizzard conditions (like I need an excuse). It was just a casual, relaxing day.

I considered getting us all bundled up to play outside, but the winds were whipping something fierce. It was kind of scary out there if you want to know the truth (and I know you do). We had to actually force my dogs to go outside to do their "bidness". They're Pugs though, not a breed known for its hardiness or bravery in treacherous conditions.

The 40mph gusts did not stop my neighbors' kids from playing outside. My husband spotted a couple of them across the street frolicking sans gloves. C'mon people!

Granted, they don't appear to be the smartest family on the planet, but I would think a little common sense would seep in somewhere between WWE Saturday Night and NASCAR marathons.

It's cold and windy and fucking ass COLD! Make sure your kids wear gloves and hey, maybe a hat, when it's this cold outside.

A second example of parental asshattery came in the form of a Sprout short. In between shows, they do this, for lack of a better term, birthday shout out. Parents can send in homemade cards and the host reads them on air. It's cute and all, but kind of obnoxious especially when they play this thinly-disguised version of "Happy Birthday" (sung by Elmo himself!). It's terrible and it has a way of sticking in my head for days on end.

The cards though, they are heartwarming in an 'old episode of Little House on the Prairie' kind of way. Some day I will get it together enough to send one in that is so amazingly sickeningly syrupy in nature, they won't be able to stop themselves from showing it. I can't do it for one kid and not the other, so I'll probably just make it for myself. Won't I feel special?

Today, one of the cards they read was for a two year old. I don't remember where he's from or even what his name was, but I do know this: his parents should be ashamed of themselves right now.

On the front of the adorably decorated birthday card were intricate cut outs and little drawings of birthday candles. It appeared that someone took a lot of time putting it together. The inside was a picture of the cute-as-a-button birthday boy. Awwww. Then Host Guy closed the card and showed the front of it to camera again. That's when I saw it (and saw it three more times thanks to my DVR capabilities).

"YOUR 2!!"

I'm assuming they get hundreds, if not thousands of these handmade birthday cards every week, and they pick one with a spelling error?

Don't the higher-ups at Sprout (a subsidiary of PBS forchrissakes!!) that grammar and spelling nerds like myself are writhing in pain over this? What the fuck people?

OK, I know I have been known to screw up a little grammar here and there. I also know that I use commas out the wazoo, but at least I'm trying. I'm all about spell check and if I think I might be using a word or phrase wrong (see above: "...want to do..."), you bet your ass I'm googling or thesaurus.com-ing it.

"Your 2".

No. Just no.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hold me

We are under a Winter Storm Warning until tomorrow night.

I hate this shit. I hate winter. I hate snow. Most of all, I hate going to the grocery store in front of a forecast like this.

Don't get wrong. I like to be prepared. If I know we're going to be stuck in the house for a couple of days, I make sure we have some snacky-snacks, ingredients for wholesome hot dinners and shit to do that isn't watching television. Not that I don't let my kids watch TV. I do, and plenty of it.
I just know that if the girls go over the recommended daily allowance of Sprout or Noggin, they start getting twitchy, and no one wants that. I do try to balance TV watching with other stuff. We do crafts from time to time. Usually we have great fun (though we have all agreed never to speak of the Great Glitter Fiasco of 06).

I hate having to deal with people I don't normally have to deal with at the store. I usually have the girls with me and it's not their favorite thing to do, even if we get the big plastic cart shaped like a butterfly or car. That thing is a bitch to steer and half the time they want to get out and walk anyway.

Today, I caught a break and got to go by myself. Because I am so lame, this is a huge treat for me. Normally, I go during the week in the middle of the day. Most people are at work so it's generally other stay-at-home moms and old people to deal with. Old people tend to stay out of the way, occasionally stopping to tsk tsk a badly behaved child. The other moms with kids are too busy dealing with their own meltdowns and whining to notice mine.

Today, since there is apparently an Apocalypse-worthy snowstorm coming, everyone decided to go to the grocery store. Everyone also decided that they were more important than me since they were taking time away from their cubicle to buy 8 loaves of bread and 12 gallons of milk all at once. Amateurs.

I was enjoying a leisurely stroll down the aisles, sans children when I heard the distinct swish of polyester on polyester coming up fast from behind.

"Excuse me! I'm in a very big hurry."

Oh, by all means Sue from accounts payable, let me get my lazy ass out the way. By the way, the hair dye is in aisle 11 unless orange roots and crunchy white ends is the look you were going for.

Another thing I hate about getting copious amounts of snow is the fact that my kids immediately want to go out and play in it. Playing in the snow is fun for me for about 10 minutes. Unfortunately my children disagree. They would stay out there until dark if I would let them. The last big snow we got, my two year old screamed and cried, snot pouring out of her red, half-frozen nose, when I dragged her inside by the leg of her snow suit. Not even my homemade-not from a mix, hot chocolate would calm her down.

The way I see it, playing outside in the snow and freezing my ass off is still preferable to trying to navigate slick roads in order to get my girls to preschool. I'm hoping we get enough of the white stuff to shut school down.

I say, if it's going to snow, bring it the fuck ON. I've got enough tortilla chips and salsa, meat, and construction paper to get us through to next weekend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Why I never went to medical school

One day in the fourth grade, our teacher told us we would be having a "Game Day" that Friday. She told us we could bring our favorite board game to school to play with our classmates. What educational merit this held is still a mystery to me, but I've never been one to look a slacker gift horse in the mouth.

The choice was obvious: my coveted, practically brand-new, played with twice Operation. I loved playing this game. In my 10 year old mind, the fact that I was good at it was all the proof I needed that I was going to make a superb (and of course very rich) surgeon.

My Dad wanted me to bring the Ungame. To this day, the Ungame stands as the lamest.game.ever. No one ever wins--not because of the level of difficulty, but because "no one loses" is one of the main tenets of the stupid game. Why would I waste precious recreational time playing a game when there was absolutely no chance I would have the chance to shove my victory in my opponent's (likely my younger brother's) face?

I don't remember anything about the actual Game Day extravaganza. It's what happened afterwards that has stuck with me.

A classmate of mine, let's call her Jessie (mostly because I can't remember her name), liked playing Operation so much that she asked to borrow it for the weekend. I really didn't want to, but I felt bad for wanting to say no. I had no legitimate reason to deny her, and I would have felt selfish for doing so. I let her borrow the game after securing her solemn promise that it would be returned unharmed.

Monday morning came and so did Jessie with my game. I could tell by the look on her face as she handed it back inside of a brown paper grocery bag that all was not well.

I was correct in my assessment.
Not only had her little brother lost some of the pieces, but he had drawn all over the picture of the blobby body playing board with a crayon....at least that's the story she told me.

She apologized profusely, but it did nothing to assuage my anger. I was livid and took this as an affront to my very person. Hadn't she promised to take care of it? Hadn't she?

I grew up in a working-class family. We always rented, never owned (my parents just bought their first home a few years ago). We went on one vacation my entire childhood, and it was driving from our home in Southern California to visit my great-uncle in Arizona (he took us down to Tiajuana for a day). We only ever had one car even after my brother and I were old enough to drive and had part-time jobs. Our luxuries were small things, like buying me a new frim-frammin' board game.

When Jessie handed me back my molested and, for all intents and purposes, destroyed game, I felt as though she had metaphorically picked my parents' pockets.

Sidenote: One time one of my little brother's friends literally stole from my parents. He took a $10 roll of quarters my Mom had laying on the coffee table for laundry. As soon as the friend left our apartment, my brother told me what happened. I caught up to the little fucker in the parking lot and confronted him. The scene ended with me throwing said roll of quarters at his head. Looking back, I taught him an important life lesson: Don't fuck with poor chicks. They tend to have good aim.

After taking a moment to compose myself, I told Jessie that "sorry" wasn't going to replace my property, but 20 bucks would. Where I came up with this number is beyond me. That stupid game doesn't cost $20 today, let alone in 1984.

She must have known I meant business because the next day Girlfriend handed me a crisp Jackson. I thanked her, stuck the bill in the back pocket of my knock-off KMart Jordache's and closed the book on the whole ugly ordeal.

Later that day I was called out of class. I was ordered to report to the Principal's office.

Contrary to how I must sound here, I really was a good kid. I never got into trouble...well, except for that one time I wrote "Heather A. is a bitch" on a bathroom stall in the girl's bathroom. For the record, Heather A. was a total bitch. The ensuing punishment was well worth the crime.

This was different though. I had no idea why I was being summoned- in the middle of class no less- to the Big Man's office.

Dr. Fereece (or Dr. Freeze as we called him) stood well over 6 feet tall and had the steely glare of a hungry hawk. Think Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, but angrier and more intimidating.

I sat in his office, trying not to pee my pants while he asked me if I knew why I was there. I didn't. He then asked me about the $20 and the game.

I was confused. Why was I in trouble?!

I tried fruitlessly to explain my side of the story. It was no use. Apparently the way Dr. Freeze and Tattletale McSnatchface's father saw it, I was a bully at best--an extortionist at worst. I was ordered to return the money and take my sad shell of a once coveted game home with me in defeat.

I hid the game from my parents until enough time had passed and I could blame the destruction on my little brother.

"I was bored with it anyway."

Maybe it's because we're potty-training

I know it's really cheesy to write about your dreams, but part of last night's was so disturbing I just had to share.

Somehow I was in the middle of a old west-themed landscape. I think that I was supposed to be on a road trip, but I don't recall being very happy about it.
My youngest was back to being a newborn and I was trying to carry her around while climbing hills and wading through small streams.

At some point there was a giant toilet-like contraption in front of us and I accidentally dropped her into it. Somehow it flushed and the force of the swirling water sucked baby down down down...until just her head was poking out of the hole.

I couldn't get a good hold on her to pull her out because she was wet and slippery and the water pressure was too strong.

The last thing I saw was her face looking up at me, panicked. There was nothing I could do.

I woke up feeling nauseous.

Oddly enough, one of the Mister Roger's Neighborhoods I DVR'ed for the girls to watch today included a timely reminder.

You Can Never Go Down The Drain

© 1969 Fred M. Rogers

You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.
You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.

You're bigger than the water.
You're bigger than the soap.
You're much bigger than all the bubbles.
And bigger than your telescope

So you see...
You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.
You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.

The rain may go down
But you can't go down.
You're bigger than any bathroom drain.
You can never go down
Can never go down
You can never go down the drain.

Friday, February 9, 2007


When I was 22, I kissed a guy on a dare.

It's not that I needed any impetus to kiss someone. It's just that on this occassion, my friend -the dare giver- knew something I didn't. Oh, and we were really drunk.

(Sidenote: the friend in question happened to be this guy's ex girlfriend.)

What she knew that I didn't was that said dare target had a crush on me. I almost typed "huge crush", but I have a hard time thinking someone would have any crush on me, let alone a huge one.

Had I known that this was the case, I never would have done it. It wasn't that he was unattractive or creepy. In fact, he was pretty darn cute. It was just that knowing he liked me would have put a type of pressure on me that I hated. At the time, I wasn't real into living up to someone's perceived expectations. It was for the best that I thought that he thought he was getting a random smooch from a random drunk chick.

I did know him casually. We worked at the same bar, ran in the same circle of friends and went to the same parties. Aside from my bartending job, I also worked at the gas station/liquor store down the street from his house. I saw him around a lot, but never really gave thought to being more than his friend. Again, this was not a result of his appearance or demeanor. It had just never occured to me. Maybe it was because he was a little bit older than me. Maybe it was that ever so slight grumpy old hipster vibe he gave off (while endearing, did put me off a little). Who knows?

So, I kissed him.

He was understandibly taken aback. It was a nice kiss, the kind that makes you want to do more than kiss. In my head, I silently thanked my friend for giving me the dare.

I ended up hanging out talking to this guy for a few hours. Turned out, we had a lot in common (our love of bourbon for one). I still didn't know that he had a crush on me at this point. I just thought we had stumbled onto some dumb luck.

For the next 3 months, we were obnoxiously joined at the hip. Impressive if you consider we both had more than one job (in addition to our job of pouring Jim Beam down our throats). It was summertime. He had a motorcylce. It was fucking fantastic.

It didn't take me long to realize that this really nice, attractive guy called when he said he was going to call, didn't look at other girls, treated me with respect, and seemed to genuinely like me--a lot.

It was weird. I wasn't used to this. In the past, if someone stuck around for more than a month, it was usually because they had nowhere else to sleep. Lovely, eh?

In my youthful stupor I mistook a good man for a man that must have something wrong with him. He was too good to be true, so I did what any young college co-ed with painfully low self esteem would do--I pre-emptively broke up with him. I figured it was coming sooner than later. Better to be the dumper than get my heart run over and drug down the street...again.

A week later, I got this letter. It was sealed with a promotional sitcker for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-Orange:

I hope things are less stressful for you this way. I am glad to see convenience is a big factor in how you evaluate a relationship. Lucky for me you decided I wasn't worth the time or effort before I fell in love with you. I'll remember to set my sights lower in the future.

P.S. Get your bike before someone steals it.

Two months after that we got back together.

We've been married for almost 9 years.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Christ on a Cracker

"Jesus is the sun" my five year old randomly tossed out in the car on the way to her swim class last night.

I know where she got this little gem--my Dad.

I know when my parents have the kids for the weekend, they read my kids bible stories at bedtime and probably pray before they eat. I know they've taken the girls to church a few times too. I don't mind. I'm not a crazyhatefulfuckyoujesus kind of Atheist. If they get a little exposure here and there to religion, it will better help them later when they decide for themselves which way the wind blows in that arena.

When my first kid was born I fretted over what I would tell my parents when they asked about baptism. I knew it would come up sooner or later, and I wanted no part in it. Finally I realized that if it made them feel better to dress her up in a foofy frock and sprinkle some tap water on her head, it wasn't going to make any difference one way or the other. Maybe they would have a party afterwards. I remembered that people get really excited about these types of things and like to write congratulatory checks to mark the occasion-checks that could buy diapers...and beer.

Surprisingly, it never came up. Even my Catholic in laws made no mention of dedicating my sweet innocent baby to the Lord. I thought I was getting off easy. Sadly, the best/worst was yet to come.

"Honey, who told you Jesus was the sun?" (I knew the answer, but needed a jumping off point here).

"PaPa told me. Jesus is the sun in the sky. I told my friends at school, but they didn't believe me."

Fuck. This was getting out of hand.

"I think what PaPa meant was that Jesus is an S-O-N. You are mine and Daddy's daughter and Jesus is the son of his Daddy and Mommy."

Cut to her ever-growing exasperation with her clearly deluded mother....

"NO, MAMA! Jesus is the sun in the sky. Papa told me and he's right."

I tried to explain it again, but really was more concerned that she was proselytizing to her class which happens to be 90% Indian. The preschool even makes a special effort to include other, non-Christian holidays in their celebrations because the majority of students there don't normally celebrate Christmas, et al. What would be worse: Having to apologize for my apparent missionary-in-training daughter or having to explain that we are in fact godless heathens and have no idea where this all came from?

I tried to explain that not everyone believes the way Papa believes. She wouldn't hear it.

"Yes they do, Mama. We do...right?"

If this conversation was taking place five years from now, and she was ten instead of five, things would have gone down in a completely different way. If she was older, I could better explain how some people have religion and some don't. I wasn't ready to have this conversation with her yet. We don't go to church, but her grandparents do. What if she wanted to know why we don't go to church?

I knew that I could either tell her the truth or bullshit her.

If I told her that I don't believe the same way her grandpa does, I was opening up a landmine. She would be confused. The next time she was staying with my parents, she would out my "evil ways". I don't discuss these things with my parents. It would break their hearts if they knew the daughter they worked so hard to raise in the church turned her back on the effort.

If I didn't tell her the truth, I was passing up a prime opportunity to instill a great life lesson. Sometimes people who love each other don't agree on the fundamentals of life. Would she get it? She seemed awful pissy that I alluded to the fact that the almighty Papa could be wrong. How would she react if I told her I thought Papa was full of shit?

I waited and mulled it over in my head for a moment.

She spoke up again from the backseat. The best part is, though I know this is something my husband has said in front of her, she attributed it to her grandfather,

"Mama, Papa says the Bible is a book of fairytales."

"That's right, baby. Because Papa said so."

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Good Eats

Yesterday, I took my dogs to a new vet. The old place was fine, but after some stellar recommendations we decided to make the leap. They were due for their annual credit card-straining exams, so we felt like now was as good a time as any to switch.

One thing necessary for the full yearly doggy work up is a fecal sample. Nothing beats being up before sunrise outside, in the dead of an Illinois winter, scooping up dog shit to put in a bag.

The new vet was great and the final bill was a bit lower than the other place. The male of our two dogs celebrated by shitting on the exam room floor. He's a rock star, that one.

Before we had left the house that morning, it had started snowing quite a bit. The roads were pretty slippery but nothing a little old lady driving couldn't make up for.

What was scary was the fact that the heat in my car, which had been spotty in the last couple of weeks, decided to completely stop working this fine sub-zero morning. My hands and toes were numb and the defrost was not defrosting. I could barely see through my front windshield.

I had to to stop at the bank to make a deposit to cover the bills I sent out that morning. Luckily it was on the way home.

I had given up on the heat coming back on, but kept hoping against hope that somehow my window would defrost. It looked like I was driving through clouds, but if I squinted just enough I could make out my half of the road.

As I was sitting at the drive-up bank teller, I reasoned that I wasn't that far from home and if I was really really careful, I could get there without killing myself and the dogs or anyone else. Suddenly, I smelled something 'not right'-a burning smell to be exact. Then, smoke started billowing out of my dashboard.

I was cold, my dogs were cold, I couldn't see out the front of my car and now something was about to blow up under the hood. I didn't really see the point of panicking, so I just headed home.

After dropping the dogs off at the house, I went to the auto shop a block from my house.

A half hour and 40 bucks later, I was good to go. Something about a gallon of whoosit and a loose whatchamajig. I didn't care. My car was running, smoke-free and warm.

That night I decided, healthy eating be damned, we were eating comfort food for dinner. So I made fried chicken. I'd never made it before and if I may be so bold, it was really damn good. Alton Brown himself would have been proud.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

One time, I almost killed a dentist.

One morning about three years ago, I woke up with a toothache.

Being one of the millions of Americans without dental coverage, I tried to ignore it and eat ibuprofen to mask my discomfort.

A few days later, I was dizzy with pain and decided enough was enough. I called around to try and find a dentist to fix me.

It was a scary venture for me. I'm embarrassed to say that before this, I hadn't been to the dentist for close to twelve years. On my list of favorite things to do, having someone dig around in my mouth doesn't break the Top 50.

There are a lot of dentists in this town, but only one who could get me in that day. A little research would have clued me in to the fact that I was making a BIG mistake by settling for this guy. But I was desperate and in an ever-growing amount of pain. I was afraid something was really wrong and I didn't want to end up toothless. Not a good look.

I arrived at my appointment, filled out the required paperwork and waited in the closet-sized reception area. The staff was cordial and professional, complete with Stepford Wife smiles and demeanor. They called me back and took me to my chair.

The minute the dentist sat next to me, I didn't like him. The tan, the foo-foo highlighted coif, and his creepy girl hands gave me a shiver. I chalked it up to my general disdain for dentists and moved on.

His evaluation was that, since I grind my teeth in my sleep, I needed his patented end all-be all cure. This device, he told me, would most certainly help my toothache and stop me from grinding my teeth--GUARANTEED (or my money back). Oh, and it was going to cost me a very large amount of money. So much in fact that I'm not even going to say what it was.

I should have laughed in his Ken Doll face. I should have told him to shove his patented device up his asshole device. I should have, but I didn't. I was hurting, people. I was desperate. I was stupid.

This "cure" was an exercise in humiliation. It was supposed to fit over my top two front teeth to keep me from grinding my teeth at night--but I was supposed to wear it all day, every day.

I know I can be a little vain, but this thing went beyond vanity. It was straight up ridiculous. Not only did it impede my speech, but it looked like a prop from a beaver costume.

He wanted me to come back in two weeks to "re-evaluate". After paying the exorbitant bill, I headed out to car and promptly put my new, very expensive plastic toy in my purse where it would stay until I threw it away a few weeks later. I felt like a sucker. I let this guy talk bullshit to me and sell me his snake oil. I could have gotten one of those crazy plate things at a fucking Walgreens to stop me from grinding my teeth (if that was even the problem to begin with).

When I later went to another dentist (who I love) and told him this story, he told me what this other dentist did was WAY over the top--that I was "over treated". It seems that Dr. Fuckface has a reputation for pushing his fancy device on a lot of patients. It's a status thing I guess. The more he sells, the better he looks. Maybe he's trying to be famous for making people look like assholes while bilking them out of tons of money. I think he'd be better off as a televangelist. He already looks like one.

In the two weeks between my initial appointment and the follow up, I learned a lot more about this guy and none of it was good.

*He once ran for state representative--as a Republican.
*He is a convicted wife-beater.
*I don't know the whole story on this one, but he had his prescription writing privileges revoked a few years back.

On the day of the next appointment, I was ready to rumble. I tend to get weepy when I am angry, but I was determined to keep my cool and give this asshole the 'what for'.

When he asked me how things were going, I told him that I wasn't happy with my treatment, and I didn't think the device was the right decision. The fact is, my tooth got better the day after I saw him (without wearing the bucktooth dohickey). I had a stressful week that week. Sure, I grind my teeth when I'm having a bad week. I didn't need a dentist. I needed a glass of wine and a good night's sleep.

Nothing bothers me more in life than feeling like I've been taken advantage of, and that's how I felt. I concluded by telling him that I wanted my money back per the guarantee clearly printed on the info sheet. I knew it was probably a stretch that he would actually honor the request. I couldn't really say it didn't work because I didn't use it, but he certainly couldn't say it did either.

He was livid!

You would have thought I asked him to put his dick in a vice. He angrily explained that his success rate with the device is 87%. I reminded him that 87 does not equal 100. It was at this point that I saw the spittle in the corners of his mouth start to foam up, and it was ON.

I knew I couldn't back down if I wanted any chance of walking out of there with my dignity intact (and at least part of my money refunded), but this guy was fuming. It was as if no one had ever told him 'no' before.

He practically ripped the paper bib off of me, and refused to make eye contact with me. He started pacing back and forth and his breathing got all weird. For a half second, I considered the fact that he could very well raise his hand to me. With all the adrenaline I had going, I so could have taken him down. I eyed the tool tray in case I needed to fight dirty.

At this point, I didn't care about the money anymore. Getting this Republican, wife-beating asshole this worked up was worth every penny. I wish I had it on video to enjoy again and again. This was quality entertainment.

He then had the presence of mind to show me the door, but it wasn't over yet.

"So, I'm not getting my money back then?"

I then told him that since he wasn't going to give me my money back, he had to give me my records and x-rays. This about put him over the top. He stood at the door, seething and ordered one of the techs to fetch my paperwork. He was breathing erratically and finally looked me in the eye, trying to stare me down or intimidate me. All that did was make me giggle. His face was red, he was sweating, and he had that pouty-lip thing going on that my two year old does when I tell her she can't eat the gum she found stuck to the playground equipment.

Because I was so proud of myself for keeping my cool and also for the added bonus of ruining this asshole's day (and possibly his whole week), I decided the occasion warranted a little cherry on top. In the most patronizing tone I could muster I said,

"Wow. Must you be such an infant about all this? Can't we be grown ups?"

I truly believe that if no one else had been in that waiting room, he would have literally kicked me out the door.

Then I definitely would have gotten my money back--plus punitive damages.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I'm kind of crazy right now

We are selling our house. The sign is in the yard and we are getting calls to come see it. It's hard to keep the house in "show condition" with two little kids and two dogs. Every time someone wants to see it, I have to not only get the house picked up and spotless but also get everyone out of the house for a while.

There's a place down the street where we board the dogs when we go out of town, and they offer drop-in Doggie Daycare. Sounds ridiculous until you actually need it. It's cheap too. Five dollars a dog if it's under four hours. Totally worth every penny. It's either pay the ten bucks or drive around with them and the kids in the car.

Normally I would see such a thing as a challenge or some kind of character-building exercise, but I don't really think my sanity needs any needling.

Added to all this house-selling craziness is the fact that my two year old is going through an "evil stage". At least I hope it's a stage. She can't ask for something. She whines for it. If I tell her no, I get full on hellfire. I'm trying to be patient--really really trying. My older daughter went through this exact thing about the time we brought baby sister home, so I know it ends. Right now though, I feel like trading her in for bag of sand.

My dogs have been a little off lately as well. I think they're all freaked out because the furniture is in different places and half the stuff that is normally laying around is gone. My male dog has this disgusting habit of licking my female dog's ears. It makes her ears stink and the sound he makes while doing it makes my skin crawl. It's gross.

Right now all of them are running circles through the house. They are screaming and laughing and it sounds like a herd of livestock are stampeding through the house.

But they are not fighting or crying or whining (or licking), so I really shouldn't complain.

For Your Scrapbook

My photo
I like stuff and things. I've been married for close to 14 years and have two miniature versions of myself running around (and it frightens me most of the time). I have never been nor will I ever be a vegetarian.