20 October 2009

An Open Letter to the Guy I Stalk at the Gym

Dear Gym Candy,

Hello again. Or rather, hello for the first time, since I’ve never actually said hello to you. Or anything else, for that matter. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even smiled or waved in your general direction. So…hello!

It was sure good to see you again last night. I hadn’t seen you for a while and was starting to think perhaps you changed your workout schedule in order to avoid me. But that would be silly because you don’t even know me, so you wouldn’t go so far as to switch up your whole routine just to steer clear of my staring! Ha ha! At least, that’s what I told myself when I started to get really depressed about your absence and started thinking about cutting myself again. Anyway, I came in last night and there you were! So I guess maybe you haven’t been around because you’ve been putting in lots of hours at work or something. Or you've been hanging out with your really super hot girlfriend. But no, that’s silly, because if you had a super hot girlfriend, you wouldn’t be at the gym every night, you’d be with her, right? Right! Ha ha!

I really hope you don’t mind me staring at you all the time. It’s not like I’m a psycho or anything—duh! Seriously, I’m not even really interested in you as a relationship prospect. I’m at least twice your age, married and I have kids and come to think of it, you sort of look like an old boyfriend I had in high school, so it’s possible you could be the other kid I put up for adoption junior year. But they told me that kid was adopted by a couple in Canada, so it can’t possibly be you. Not that it matters, because I’m not interested in actually doing anything sexual with you. Really.

No, see, I have serious adult ADD, and when I get on those cardio machines, WOW! My attention span just stops! And I get totally bored. I could watch tv, since there are like, eight tvs there, but usually they’re turned on something stupid like Dancing With the Stars or Fox News. Ick. And I’m at the gym to try to relieve tension and release stress, not to get more! So I can’t watch tv, and I can’t watch the Weight Lifting Dudes because even though they’re interesting and provide excellent comic relief, they always catch me watching them and get the wrong idea. Ewwwww. Besides, I hear those guys that do steroids end up lacking in certain areas, if you catch my drift. Wink wink!

So when I saw you, you were so cute and unassuming, and you have a nice face. Like you might be a really nice guy. Or maybe you’re a real douchebag but you at least look like you could be nice and that’s all that really matters because I’ll never talk to you anyway.

Anyway, I wanted to say thank you for using that weight machine with all the pulleys the other night. I know I was probably staring extra hard and it sort of looked like you were getting annoyed by it, but the thing is, I’ve wanted to know how to use that machine for months now but the trainers scare me and I’m too embarrassed to ask anyone else how to use it. But now after watching you use it for a good 30 minutes, I think I can figure it out. So thanks!

Well, that’s all I really had to say. So I guess I’ll wrap this up now. See you soon—I hope! Ha ha!

Your Friend,


25 September 2009

Pissed On, Pissed Off

One of my pet peeves--and hard as it may be to believe, I have many--involves the bathroom. (Or restroom, which is, I was advised by my not-quite-8-year-old son this morning, how one should always refer to a toileting facility that has no bathing mechanism. Pretentious little shit.)

The same child who found it necessary to correct my term usage this morning is a serious offender of my bathroom sensibilities. Regardless of his penchant for correct grammar, this is a child who can somehow smear all manner of human waste across an entire bathroom/restroom without even being within 30 feet of it. I've watched him pee, and it makes me want to break his kneecaps so he'll be forced to become a "sitter." Not that he's any less sloppy when seated. I won't disgust the sensitive with the details; I'll just say I handle his laundry with tongs and a HazMat suit.

Sadly, Mr. Messy is not even a close contender to the nasty fuckers I share office space with. I don't know who these people are, but I swear if I ever find out, I will be dunking their heads into the very toilets they desecrate on a daily basis for some well-deserved "swirlies."

It all boils down to one very simple premise--FLUSH THE FUCKING TOILET. This isn't difficult, people. See that little handle over there? Push It. Go ahead! It won't even hurt!

I, for one, am an over-flusher. I flush a minimum of three times on any given restroom trip. You may call this "OCD." I call it "I'm not going to be responsible for this toilet backing up and flooding all over the place." This practice was borne of necessity due to my equally over-zealous use of toilet tissue. You may also call this "OCD." I call it "when I get hit by a bus, there will be no skidmarks found in my underpants, thank you."

Let's also note a "courtesy flush" is called that for a reason. No one likes to walk into a restroom and smell what their idiot co-workers ate for dinner at the Indian curry restaurant last night.

Another plug for multi-flushing--the people who leave...evidence. Remnants, if you will. Which just causes me to have to flush another time (or two) because I can't bear the thought of my hind quarters hovering above that which you were too fucking lazy to get rid of. No one is going to fault you for flushing the toilet more than once. Don't let some tree-hugging hippie tell you otherwise. "If it's yellow, let it mellow" is all well and good as long as we're talking about mustard. Nothing else.

And while we're on the subject--please make sure you hit the toilet. I don't understand why this is a problem. Although I have a better idea, now that someone has clued me in to a practice some women engage in called "hovering." Really? How is this beneficial? I thought we'd established back in, oh, 1963, that you can't catch anything from a toilet seat? Unless, of course, your ass is covered in open sores, in which case you shouldn't be using a public toilet because you shouldn't be OUT in public, PERIOD. So stop doing this. Stop it right now. Because you're not protecting yourself from germies. You're just pissing all over the damned toilet seat.

And speaking of leaving a wet sloppy mess, what the hell is up with the sink? I'm glad you're washing your hands, but are you really? Or are you just giving your stupid little purse dog a bath in there and letting it shake all over the fucking vanity? Because that's what it looks like. Come to think of it, that's kind of what it smells like, too.

COME ON, LADIES. Start showing a little courtesy for your fellow public-restroom-users. You never know, the day may come when you show up for work nursing a wicked hangover and when the smell of your cube-neighbor's lunch sends you dry-heaving into the restroom, I'm sure you don't want to have to deal with "streaks" or pee on the seat.

I don't even want to think about men's restrooms. I hear they pee in a trough. And that conjures up some real vomit-inducing images, let me tell you.

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

I don't watch Oprah because she irritates the piss out of me. I don't read 99% of the articles on CNN dot com, either, for the same reason. I do, however, subscribe the latter's RSS feed, so I peruse the headlines and generally use them to give myself a good laugh. Like this morning, when I rolled my eyes about another washed-up celebrity attaining hero status by simply being in the right place at the right time--and then I realized the headline "Sting catches alleged terrorist in bomb plot" wasn't actually about Sting, former Police front man, but a sting. I'm so silly!

Lately, however, the headlines are just making me shake my head and wonder when my real family will descend from the clouds and take me back to my home planet. I speak specifically about Mackenzie Phillips and her recent attempt at soul-baring.

Come on, Julie. I watched you run Bonnie Franklin nutso back in the day and not only did I want to be you, I secretly wanted you to be my older sister. But then you did what all child stars are supposed to do, which is develop a highly-publicized drug problem and then drop off the radar. I respect that; like I said, it's what you were supposed to do. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's in every standard child actor contract written prior to 1987.

But now, like the Dolly Parton song says, here you come again. Now you want to come clean about your drug problem (like anyone missed that) and let everyone know about how you had a "consensual" incestuous affair with your dear old nutjob dad that lasted well into your adult life.

Oh, Julie. Seriously? Couldn't you just "accidentally" leak out some naked pictures or a sex tape if you wanted attention? Seriously.

And your claim you're only doing this to "get people to start talking about" incest and their own drama? Not buying it. Sorry. I think you're doing this because Whitney Houston talked trash on her ex to Oprah and now she's famous again. I think you're trying to get one more hit to the snooze button on your 15 minutes of fame. I think your publisher thought it would be a stellar way to kick off your new book's campaign.

And let's just say, because I like to play devil's advocate, you really were banging your old man all those years while you both injected yourselves with Sweet Lady H. Even if it's true--I don't care. I don't want to hear about it. Because really, I got over that whole "silence equals death" thing after every other cause ripped it off from the AIDS awareness campaign. Now I can't make it through a fucking work day without hearing about someone's pap smear, or what someone else's therapist suggested to help her deal with her mother's drinking problem, or what someone else thinks about female circumcision and vaccinating children, and I've decided a little silence could be a very good thing. I don't want to talk about the importance of regular prostate exams with my father. I don't want to talk about those not-so-fresh days with my mother-in-law. I don't want to engage in heartfelt conversation with my husband about our respective colons. You all just keep that fucking information to yourselves, thank you, and we'll get on just fine.

So Julie, please, if you can't get back in the spotlight the right way by gaining a shit-ton of weight and then becoming a spokesperson for a popular diet racket--you know, like Barbara did--do us all a favor and just crawl back into your crazy cave and stay there.

21 September 2009

Health Care Reform, or "Why I Hate Blue Cross Blue Shield"

I think I may be having some circulation issues. My carpal tunnel appears to be acting up and every time I stand up today, I damn near pass out (and I haven't even been tweaking). Under normal circumstances, I might consider consulting a physician, or at least someone who works in the same office building as someone in a white lab coat with a stethoscope around his/her neck.

But these are not "normal" circumstances, friends. It's a scary, scary world out there, and I would advise you all to think twice (or five or six times) before you make any casual appointments with any medical personnel to have something "checked out."

I say this because of my recent health insurance shopping experience. Sit back, relax, ask a loved one to bring you a cold drink, 'cuz this is going to take a while.

Since we've been married, my husband has proven himself to be the more stable of our partnership--mentally and employment-wise, at least. I have the attention span of a gnat and therefore tend to float from shit job to shit job, and the shit job I held before this one didn't offer group medical coverage. (My then-bosshole graciously offered to either procure health coverage for me and mines or offer me a higher salary. I opted for the cash.) When I started my current shit job, we were well-covered under my husband's stellar group coverage, so I turned up my nose at the subpar (and brutally expensive) coverage offered me by my employer.

Then, as you are likely aware, THE ECONOMY fell into the shitter and my husband's company had to make some adjustments. Starting with a salary and hiring freeze. Then came the mass layoffs. Finally, they decided anyone left would be just so happy to still have a job they wouldn't necessarily mind having their health insurance benefits hacked to shit and taking a 20% paycut.

So when my husband was offered a position at another company with a substantially higher salary, he jumped on it. After all, the insurance benefits couldn't possibly be that bad, right?

Go ahead. Laugh.

They weren't that bad, they were fucking awful. And they were fucking expensive, eating up nearly half the increase in his take-home pay. But because my darling firstborn has some serious ailments that make him virtually uninsurable under anything but a group plan, we had to take it. Beggars can't be choosers, and beggars who are on maintenance medications can just bend over and take it like a trooper.

Upon starting his new job, however, my ever-resourceful husband discovered a way to save us substantial bank on the "employee contribution" for the premiums--select the "employee + children" option as opposed to "family." By simply cutting one of us off, we were able to save almost $400 a month. (Little does Humana know, they still have the most expensive member of our little family on their plate. Ha ha, fuckers!)

This, of course, meant I was left to my own devices for medical coverage. I consulted with my employer's benefits coordinator and discovered I could have a crappy Blue Cross Blue Shield policy for a mere $215 a month.

While I was picking up my jaw off the floor, I did a little research and discovered I could get damn near the same crappy Blue Cross Blue Shield policy for $105 a month. Because I am frugal (read: cheap), this seemed like the better option. (Actually, taking my chances as an uninsured American seemed like the better option, but my husband is convinced I would at that point develop something horrific that wouldn't actually kill me for several years, and he'd rather I bankrupt us now than later.)

I filled out the online application form, which is, by the way, full of bugs and other glitches that make it anything but possible to give full disclosure. I figured I'd be getting a call from an underwriter anyway, so I did my best and hit "send."

Sure enough, within a few hours, I got an automated email stating a representative would contact me shortly because more information was needed concerning my application. I waited patiently.

Two days later I got an email.

The underwriter has some additional questions regarding your application and it in need of medical records. Can I email that information to you?

By all means, please do, I replied. And I waited for the questions to come.

And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

Two days later, I sent another email asking if the questions were forthcoming or not.

I got this in response:

I apologize I thought I emailed you this information already. Please see below: 1 Have you been convicted of a DUI in the last five years?2. Are you a tobacco user? If so please provide dates of use and when you stopped if applicable?3. Are you on birth control is yes what is the name of it?4. The underwriter would like for you to send medical records from Dr. Doofus from November 2006 to include the nerve conduction study done in November 2006. Medical records can be faxed to my attention at 816-xxx-xxxx. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

At first I wasn't sure what the hell she was talking about. Then I remembered. In October of 2006, I lived in a house with hardwood floors in every room, including the kitchen. On one lovely weekend morning, I was walking through said kitchen in aptly-named slipper socks and promptly slipped and fell on my ass. Well, not so much my ass as my outstretched left arm and my ass. It hurt, and continued to hurt. Since I had insurance, I figured it couldn't hurt to have it checked out to make sure I hadn't seriously jacked anything up, and I made an appointment with Dr. Doofus, orthopedist. He sent me for an EMG, which was negative. Knowing what I know about bone and joint injuries and how often treatment measures generally end up making things worse, I canceled my scheduled follow-up appointment after obtaining the EMG results, and what do you know, eventually the problem resolved on its own.

And here I was, nearly three years later, after I'd almost entirely forgotten the whole thing, being grilled about it by an insurance underwriter for a shitty policy that wouldn't even cover pre-existing conditions.

I responded:

1. No 2. No 3. N/A 4. I do not have copies of said medical records. I saw Dr. Doofus twice (two visits) for arm/shoulder pain following a slip and fall in my home. The nerve conduction study was within normal limits. Dr. Doofus advised he had nothing further to offer and recommended exercise. The arm/shoulder pain resolved on its own and I have not seen or contacted Dr. Doofus since that time. I am happy to sign a release for those records should the underwriter wish to obtain them; however, as stated above, I do not have copies.

I received another email stating tough titty, kitty, you're going to have to get copies of those records so suck it.

I muttered several choice words and typed up a very brief and cryptic letter requesting my records, filled out a release form and had it notarized (I work in a law firm, this is easy for me to get done) and grudgingly faxed it to the orthopedist's office.

A week later, I received a bill from the medical records copy service. To copy six pages of records--two of which being the letter and release I'd sent--and fax them to me (which wouldn't even require any copying, come to think of it), they wanted $25 ($20 of which was for "labor"). Or, they would fax the records to another physician's office for free.

Are you fucking serious? If my mother-in-law didn't work in a pediatrician's office, I would have seriously considered calling them to congratulate them on screwing me without even having had to buy me dinner first. Instead, I emailed them my mother-in-law's office fax number. That's right, I'm seeing a pediatrician now. What of it?

The next morning, I faxed the records to Blue Crap Blue Shit. Later, I received the following email:

The underwriter has some additional questions and also wanted to know where are the notes from your follow up visit with Dr. Doofus please see below:
1. Where are the notes from the follow up visit with Dr. Doofus

2. What is the status of your arm pain.
3. Did you have physical therapy or surgery
4. Where you diagnosed with carpel tunnell syndrome
Please have follow up visit notes faxed to my attention 816-xxx-xxxx. If you have any questions let me know.
Thank you

Yes, I have questions--beginning with "at what institution of higher learning did your underwriter learn to spell?" But first, allow me to address your query:

1. There was no follow-up visit, as indicated by the "DNKA" (Did Not Keep Appointment) notation for 11/16/06. I obtained the EMG results by phone, and upon learning they were normal, canceled the scheduled follow-up appointment. I have not seen Dr. Doofus, or any other orthopedic physician, for any reason since 11/06.
2. I have no arm pain. I have not had arm pain since the matter resolved on its own in mid-November 2006.

3. I did not have physical therapy or surgery or any other treatment of any kind.
4. As clearly stated on the EMG report, the test was "well within normal limits." I was not diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, or any other abnormality.

Seriously. If you can't read medical records, don't fucking ask me for them! Beyond that--you know from my application I am of child-bearing age. (Okay, it's a little late, but it could happen.) You know I am married and therefore might be "gettin jiggy wit it" on occasion. I have also admitted to you I am not taking any form of birth control. Therefore, I would think you would be much more concerned with the possibility of my becoming knocked up (not that your crappy policy for which I'm applying covers any form of prenatal care) or some other female-type health issue. I should think you'd be more interested in, oh, I don't know, ANYTHING other than busting my balls over a fucking slip and fall that happened THREE YEARS AGO and which was such a non-issue I completely forgot about it.

After my last email, the offending party emailed me to advise they would pass the information on to the underwriter, who would contact me if there were further questions. That was last Friday.

I swear on all that is good and holy, if those asshats come back to me with a higher rate than $105 a month based on my "pre-existing condition," I will personally invite them to accompany me to the gym, where they can watch me lift weights with my apparently useless left arm. And then I will personally invite them to kiss my ass.

Health care reform? Nah. We don't need it. It's all good.

18 August 2009

Do You Smell That?

My car stinks.

I don't know why. I've looked for all the usual suspects, and I'm familiar with them all, because I'm sort of a minor local celebrity for my ability to trash a car in less time than it takes to fill one with gas. I've looked for old lunches, forgotten leftovers from family gatherings, neglected pumpkins in the trunk, and wet moldy clothes rotting in the backseat. I've searched for dead animals (small and large) and dead bodies (small and large). I've done everything but go out to my driveway with a screwdriver and a lug wrench and take the whole damned thing apart. I can find nothing--mind you, nothing--that could even possibly begin to explain the foul and mysterious odor.

I can't even properly identify the stench. It's sort of like mildew, and sort of like feet. Sort of like mildewy feet. With a touch of garlic breath. And the slightest hint of urine. Not human urine, more that of some woodland creature. Like that.

I don't even really know where it's coming from. I get in my car, and as my brain is starting to think something is not-so-fresh, I turn the key and get a full-on assault from the dashboard vents. If I run the air conditioning for a few hours, the immediate blast subsides, but the foul and mysterious odor is still there, lingering, clinging to the upholstery and whoever is unlucky enough to be along for the ride.

It's driving me crazy.

For whatever reason, my husband gets to drive The Good Car. Or, as I refer to it, The Family Car. (He of course calls it "My Car." I checked the title. It's not.) The Good Car does not smell like feet or mildewy feet or anything stinky or unpleasant. The Good Car doesn't really smell like anything. And that's a good thing.

"I think I'll take The Good Car tomorrow," I have casually attempted on multiple occasions.

"No way. Your car fucking stinks," he has always replied.

I'm aware. I just don't know how to correct the problem if I don't know what causes it.

Any suggestions?

13 August 2009

In the Bag

This blogger has been on hiatus, as you may or may not have noticed. I've been sick. Physically sick, yes, but also sick of social networking and electronic media as a whole. I'm sure my apathy will lessen once summer is over and crappy weather sends me scurrying back into my hidey-hole, thus limiting my interactions with the outside world to the occupants of cyberspace. Fear not, young grasshoppers. I shall return.

My new phone is super cool.

With the touch of a button (or a few), I can access my email, check my Google calendar, and write myself a note (and set an alarm to remind myself of the note, if I'm feeling just that crazy). This insane new phenomenon has made my notebook idea all but obsolete. I'm not quite comfortable enough with these new-fangled mannerisms to lose the notebook just yet, so I'm still lugging it about. Which brings me to my new obsession.

I've been in search of The Perfect Bag.

Originally, I had a vision in my head of a messenger bag I owned once upon a time. I know this bag really existed because I vividly remember carrying it to and from the few college classes I actually showed up for. What I don't remember is getting rid of this bag, which I obviously did at some point because I've searched my house high and low and that thing just isn't there. Nor was the other messenger bag I used to own before I wrote my firstborn's name on it with a silver Sharpie and sent it with him to preschool. So either I went on a wild bag purge at some point, or the evil Messenger Bag Fairy paid us a visit. Either one is possible.

I started keeping my eyes open during my Target trips, but the selection of messenger bags was disappointing at best. I'm no fashion victim, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be seen in public sporting a Hannah Montana bag. I finally settled on a plainish gray and black model on sale at Target for a very attractive (read: cheap) price. But it just didn't work very well. The pockets weren't the right sizes (or in the right spots) for cell phone, keys, key card, etc. And it was a bit on the floppy side, where I need a bag that can hold its own.

When I got the September Real Simple in the mail last week, I read the editorial in the front and was happy to learn I'm not the only crazy person out there. There was the editor, telling a tale of her own quest for The Perfect Bag. And I'm paraphrasing here, but the general idea is the same:

It had to have plenty of pockets for wallet, keys, sunglasses, phone, and the like.

I'm with you.

I do a lot of reading at home, so it had to have a big interior pocket to carry files.

Ditto that.

It had to have handles that were short enough I could carry it without it dragging the ground, but long enough I could carry it over my shoulder.

Hear hear.

It needed a square bottom so it could stand by itself.

Are we looking for the same bag or what?!

Of course, she eventually found her Perfect Bag, but at a price high enough to require the handing over of plastic. I'm not willing to further damage my credit rating over a bag, even if it is a bag that can help dress me in the morning and make me a latte. Besides, I have bags all over my damn house. Surely one of them fit the profile. I started scouring closets and storage bins, running down the checklist in my head...

...and I found it.

The handles are sturdy, well-attached, and just the right length. The bottom is square and stable. There's a large central compartment with room for not one, but two, maybe three notebooks. There are also two small inside pockets, one large inside pocket with a Velcro closure, and another large inside pocket with a zipper. There is an open back pocket perfect for a file folder or two. There are two small pockets on the front with Velcro flap closures. And if you leave the bag unzipped, there are two small pockets on either side.

It's perfect. It's beautiful. It's Da Bomb.

It's a diaper bag.

Ironically enough, it's the first diaper bag I bought for the Toddler, before he was born. It was on clearance at Target for ten bucks. I think I used it twice before opting for a smaller diaper bag we received as a gift. I was going to use it as an "extra," but we had several premium bags mother-in-law snagged from her office. When the time came for a larger diaper bag, I started using the last one I bought for the firstborn (which is the Diaper Bag To End All Diaper Bags), so this bag has been hanging, unused, in the Toddler's room for so long, it still has Size 1 diapers in it.

Now it's free of diapers and butt paste and travel-size bottles of lotion, and full of my crap. I have a pocket for damn near everything. I'm happy, the Toddler's happy, my wallet is happy. I just hope it's not too obvious that my bag was designed to hold baby-shit disposal equipment. That would be awkward.

06 August 2009

I Need To Be Rich

(I'm still sick, so this entry is going to be short and sweet and probably not very funny. You've been warned.)

The building I work in is part of the Country Club Plaza, a business/retail district known for being old, lit up every November, and expensive. Among other retailers, it has an Anthropologie.

I heart Anthropologie.

I used to walk (waddle) past their windows and gaze longingly at the stick-figure mannequins decked out in their adorable little outfits, and I would think to myself, "someday, when I'm thin, I will shop there."

Now I am thin, and I walk past their windows and gaze longingly at the stick-figure mannequins and I think to myself, "someday, when I'm rich, I will shop there."

It's true--you can never be too rich or too thin. And if you're lucky enough to be both rich and thin at the same time, you are a rock star.

05 August 2009


Since my husband turned me on to Google Reader, I’ve been subscribing to CNN.com’s RSS feed. I do this because the headlines alone are usually pretty good for a laugh:

“Folks Who Want to Meet their Meat” (huh?)

“Police: Driver in Wrong-Way Wreck Drank Heavily” (no shit, Sherlock.)

“Watch Your Step and Iran Trip Can Be Safe” (great, I’ll call my travel agent right now!)

When I saw “Suspected Shooter Blogged about Killing,” I decided to take the bait and read the whole article.

Am I glad I did. I learned all about some lonely nerd in Pittsburgh who joined a gym and was overwhelmed by the vast number of delectable babes there, who he described as “so beautiful as to not be human, very edible.” In fact, the chicks were so hot, and so certain was he none of them would give him the time of day, he decided to go on a mass killing spree. Of course, he pussed out multiple times, but according to his blog, he eventually decided to summon up the old liquid courage: “it popped into my mind to just use some booze. After the gym, I stopped…and got a fifth of vodka and…Jack Daniels.” (Those are certainly my first choices after a good workout.) Then he wandered into the gym, turned off the lights, fired 50 rounds, then shot himself. Nice.

I think there are several lessons to be learned here.

Lesson #1: go to the gym to work out, not to get laid. If you’ve ever seen me at the gym, you know I already live by this. I am not hot when I’m gettin’ my sweat on. Well, I’m hot, but I’m damn sure not attractive by any stretch of the imagination. My workout wear consists of granny panties under baggy gym shorts with a raggedy jog bra under a maternity t-shirt. Sex-aaaay! If I’m wearing makeup at all, it’s because I put it on several hours earlier in anticipation of going to work. Same with my hair. If it’s a weekend, chances are good I’m bare-faced and my head looks like a Chia Pet. Not even a real Chia Pet, but some knock-off variety that only grows in patches. Mmm-hmmm. You know you want some of that.

There are ladies at my gym who obviously do not play by my rules. They arrive in carefully constructed exercise attire (with matching shoes) in full makeup with nary a hair out of place. These women rarely break a sweat as they read their gossip magazines and romance novels from their recumbent bikes. There is one—I call her “The Hot Girl”—who makes some semblance of physical effort. Sort of. She saunters over to the backwards-sit-ups thing (I don’t know what it’s called) and assumes the position, making sure everyone in the place can see her thong hanging out over her exceptionally tight sweats (with the word “PINK” splayed across her ass—thanks for the visual). Then she does 10 or 12 reverse sit-ups, hops off the thing, and slowly parades back and forth behind it, looking around to see if anyone noticed. The Hot Girl is not there to work out. She’s on a mission from God. Or whoever rules her planet and wanted her to come down here and breed. She provides me with endless entertainment.

But reading this CNN.com article about the freakshow in Pitt, I now wonder if The Hot Girl and her cohorts are actually a threat to my alive-itude. Are they dissing some lonely dork on a treadmill and thereby sending us all into certain doom? Egad.

So bitches, do us all a favor, and ugg it up when you go to the gym. Don’t go there to mate. That’s what work is for.

Lesson #2: when you die, or do something crazy, people will read your blog and use it to come to conclusions about your character. Wow. I am in some deep shit, aren’t I? I can only imagine the kind of CNN headlines MY blog would generate.

“Crazy Bitch Had a Soft Spot for Office Supplies.”

“Psycho Mom Held Grudge Over Bike Theft.”

“Comedian Michael Ian Black Taking Anti-Stalker Precautions, Moves to Undisclosed Location.”

Great. Quite a legacy to leave for my children.

04 August 2009


I’m sick.

This blog probably won’t be very funny as a result, because nothing is funny when you’re sick. Especially if you’re an adult. Double especially if you’re an adult with kids, because (1) no one feels sorry for you because you exist only to attend to their needs; and (2) you can’t take any sick time from work because you’ve already used all your sick time on your damn kids.

It all started Saturday. The husband and I dumped the toddler at Grandma’s house and went to the local amusement park—by ourselves. Which meant we didn’t have to waste time standing in line for the sissy rides and were able to ride our favorite roller coasters at least twice. Which meant I did a lot of screaming, because I scream like a little bitch when I’m plummeting to the earth at warp speed. After probably our third or fourth ride, however, I had to force myself to stop screaming because my throat was getting sore.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling dreadful. It seemed someone had snuck up on me in the middle of the night and unloaded two bottles of Elmer’s Glue into my nostrils. And my throat was screaming bloody murder. Plus I felt beaten about the head and shoulders as a result of being knocked about on roller coasters (and being over 18). I took a hot shower and some ibuprofen and was seemingly back to normal by midday. I figured my malaise had been the result of screaming and having various allergens crammed into my sinus cavities by the force of the wind.

Then yesterday hit, and I noticed my sore throat wasn’t getting any better. If anything, it appeared to be getting worse. Plus I had that slightly asthmatic feeling in my chest that generally signals the onset of a cold. Considering the firstborn is coming up on two weeks of a barking cough and the toddler had a round of gooey eyes last week, I can’t say I’m surprised. I can, however, say I’m pissed.

I fucking hate being sick. I know, few people get their jollies from a good virus or bacterial infection, but I really hate being sick. Being sick is a luxury I haven’t the time nor money to enjoy. I have too much to do, and I barely get it all done on a normal, healthy day. Not to mention I’ve foregone antidepressants for adrenaline, and when I can’t get to the gym for a few days, I get grumpy.

The only time I enjoy—well, not enjoy, but maybe “mind less”—being sick is that rare occasion when I get something seriously awful. Something that involves projectile bodily fluids of any kind. Something with delirium-inducing body temperatures and profuse sweating. The kind of illness that renders you damn near lifeless and makes going anywhere further away than the bathroom or the sofa a non-issue.

Unfortunately, I am most often struck with the Common Cold. The sort of illness that isn’t life-changing enough to freak people out and make them demand your quarantine. If you have a cold, you may be miserable, but you can still function. Your boss will still expect you to show up to work regardless of your sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-I-hate-my-life state. And your co-workers will hate you, because they all know it’ll be your fault when they’re in the same position next week. (Except for your co-workers who are single and/or don’t have kids. They won’t give a shit, because they kill 98.9% of all germs they’re exposed to with copious amounts of alcohol every night, and the few bugs that survive have a full bank of sick leave to draw from. Assholes.)

So, sorry, but I can’t be funny today. And I probably won’t be funny tomorrow, either. Sometimes situations aren’t in your control. Deal with it.

03 August 2009


I’ve mentioned my aversion to technology and gadgets. It’s not so much I think the old-fashioned way is the better way—certainly MP3s are better than CDs which were better than tapes which were leaps and bounds better than LPs, and I’d shoot myself in the foot before I’d go back to typing things on a typewriter. It’s more complicated than that. I don’t feel superior to technological advances. To the contrary, I feel ridiculously inferior.

See, gadgets make me nervous because I usually don’t understand them. I don’t understand how they work, or why they work, or why I can’t get them to work. They rely on concepts that are foreign to my 1980s brain—concepts like “waves” and “Wi-Fi” (I still don’t know what the fuck “Wi-Fi” stands for, although I have figured out it has something to do with wireless internet. Go Me!). They seem to operate more on ideas than actual mechanics. And that kind of witchcraft just scares the piss out of me.

If the fear weren’t enough, there’s the added humiliation of knowing many people—most of them half my age or less—are not only comfortable with these concepts, but know how to use them to their advantage. And that makes me feel inadequate, and—dare I say it—old.

This is part of the reason why I’ve held on to my cell phone for so long. (Do they even call them cell phones anymore? Are they “wireless communication devices” now? Or have they replaced land lines altogether and become known as simply “phones”?) My current phone is a flip-up type with a (bad) camera. My phone can make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, take and send pictures, and tell me what time it is. I can set an alarm on it to wake me up. It has a calculator feature. And I can record 30 second voice memos, often without even knowing I’m doing so.

I’ve maintained it’s all I need—I’m no slave to gadgetry; it’s a phone, for Chrissake, and all I need it to do is make and receive calls. I don’t need a phone that makes me French toast for breakfast (a simple bagel will do just fine). So you can keep your blueberries and your palm trees, ‘cuz this girl don’t need ‘em. No, sir.

Then my husband decided he’d had enough of his old flip phone. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge, and the phone itself wouldn’t hold the charger. I strongly advised him against a palm tree (I think the term “divorce” was used), and one day last week, he went to the Sprint store and returned with an LG Rumor.

I circled it a few times, sniffing it and poking it with a stick. When I determined it wouldn’t bite, I picked it up for closer inspection. I slid the face plate to the side and took my first look at the tiny QWERTY keyboard.

“Oh, now, see, this,” I began, shaking my head in self-righteous affirmation. “This just wouldn’t work for me.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m used to texting with just one hand.”

“When do you need to text with only one hand?”

When I’m driving was the obvious reply, but not the one I necessarily wanted to give him. I chose the next best option. “You know, like, when I’m holding a toddler.” Duh.

I smugly handed him back his fancy-pants phone, secure in my fuddy-duddy ways. It just wouldn’t work for me, because I can’t possibly text with two hands. However would I drive--or, uh, hold the toddler? Impossible.

But I found myself stealing casual glances at the LG Rumor, with its pretty display and its nifty little buttons.

“Does it play music, too?” I asked, trying not to sound too interested—you know, because I was only asking to be polite.

“It can. You have to buy the SD card for it.”

“Oh, sure.” Like I knew all about SD cards. “How much do those run these days?”

“About 20 bucks usually.”

Ah, see? Another downside. You cough up the cash for the phone, then you gotta buy extras. That’s how they get you, every time. No, thank you.

But the LG Rumor kept showing up at the same places I was. Almost like it was trying really hard to get my attention. It even called me a few times. Oh, sure, my husband claimed to be the one calling, but I’m not stupid.

Then I started thinking about my recent attempts to solve my organizational issues. It sure would be nice to have everything in one nice central location—my calendar, my phone list, my to-do list, my grocery list, etc. It would be even nicer if that central location could poke me when I needed to be somewhere or do something, or remind me to check my to-do list. And then I started contemplating the PDA. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was online, ordering a new phone—

The Samsung Rant.

It’s gotten mixed reviews, but so has just about everything out there. The greatest complaints seem to be about short battery life, but I don’t plan to spend consecutive hours texting my peeps. It’s very similar to my husband’s LG Rumor, but because I was (well over) due for an upgrade, it was free.

Did I hear someone say “free?” I sure did!

My new phone should arrive in the next 1-3 business days. I’m so excited I pee a little every time I think about it. I’m a little nervous about figuring it all out, but considering it only took me a year or two to learn how to operate my MP3 player, I think I’ll be okay.

Commuter Blue

Sometimes I read other people’s blogs about other people’s lives and I think, “wow, so that’s how they do it there.” I grew up in a smallish town and now live in a suburb of a smallish city in the Midwest with no mass transit or vibrant urban core, so the daily routines of people in, say, more metropolitan areas vary considerably from my own. Which made me wonder if people in vibrant urban core areas might be fascinated by my suburban minutiae. I’m just self-absorbed enough to think they would. So here it is. Enjoy.

5:30am – The alarm goes off. It’s a clock radio that’s either set to a local sports talk station or a Christian station, I’m not sure which, but whatever it is, it sure gets our attention. The alarm is on my husband’s side of the bed, because it’s his alarm—I don’t have to get up yet and I ain’t about to.

6:00am – I awake to the sounds of a toddler being tossed into bed with me, along with a bottle of milk. Yes, he’s plenty old enough to ditch the bottle, and he has for the most part. This morning bottle is more a bad habit of mine than anything else, but hey, it gets me another 10 or 15 minutes in the sack with a cuddly little fella who likes mornings about as much as I do.

6:15am – I get up and take the toddler to his room to change and dress him. He doesn’t like this because he’d rather I just return him to his crib and let him sleep another hour or two.

6:30am – I send the toddler and the husband on their merry way and head upstairs.

6:35am-7:30am – I start the firstborn’s bath and go to wake him up; shower while the firstborn is in the tub, singing, playing, doing everything but washing himself; alternate hair and makeup with yelling at the firstborn to hurry up and wash himself; make the firstborn a toaster item for breakfast, then head back upstairs to get dressed; make my coffee and our lunches and go about getting us out the door.

7:35am – I drop off the firstborn at school and head for work.

8:10am – 4:50pm – I perform a variety of tasks that may or may not include checking my Google Reader list, reading/responding to emails, paying bills on line, making phone calls, returning phone calls, dodging phone calls, scheduling appointments, eating lunch at my desk, going out for lunch, walking downstairs to Panera for a soda or bagel, and maybe (or maybe not) doing some of the actual work I get paid to do.

4:55pm – I run like hell from my office to the parking garage across the street, get in my car, and try to get started on my evening commute before every other asshole in town does the same. Because of the construction taking place on the Paseo Bridge, my former direct route is shot, so I have to get off the highway, cut through the city market, take a backwards route along the river to the casino area and get back on the highway to finally cross the river into suburbia. Yay.

5:35-5:45pm (depending on traffic) – I arrive home to my husband and children, who have been home for a good half hour to 45 minutes already. The toddler is either eating or has eaten, and the husband has either prepared (or is preparing) our dinner—or neither, in which case, we are calling for take-out in short order.

6:15-7:30pm – Various and sundry family activities, including but not limited to: park-going, playing in our backyard, going to the nearby public pool, riding our bikes to the elementary school playground, going for walks, watching Yo Gabba Gabba!, going to the public library, etc.

7:30-8:00pm – Putting children to bed. Toddler first.

8:00pm – I drive my car to the gym. I’m not sure what the husband does, and I'm not sure I want to know.

8:10pm – I arrive at the gym, which is in a strip mall that also features a grocery store and a restaurant. Meaning as I walk through the parking lot from my car to the gym, I smell steak. Nothing but steak. Lots of steak. I fucking love steak. And I am not going to go have a steak, I am going to go work out. This is torture of the highest caliber.

8:10-8:50pm – I do my 40 minutes of cardio. I used to break down my workouts into cardio and free weights, but I’ve been trying to drop some more poundage, so I’ve been doing strictly cardio for the past few weeks. There are several tvs mounted in the cardio area, but they are typically all tuned to the same shit programming, so I may have to resort to people-watching. If there are no worthy participants present, I get very bored and that 40 minutes of cardio stretches into an eternity, but somehow, I get through it. Yay, Me!

9:00pm – I arrive back home. Take a shower, put on some pjs. Try to organize crap for the following morning. Watch tv with the husband.

10:30-11:00pm – Bedtime.

Some people might read this and think, “wow, so if she wants to go somewhere, she just like, gets in her car and drives there? Fascinating!” (Some people might read this and think, "wow, no wonder she blogs, because her life is crashingly dull!")

But in terms of the driving part, I've determined driving is really only cool for about six months after you turn legal driving age and get to go motorin’ for the first time. I have now reached the age where I curse living in one of the only remaining metropolitan areas that does not have a mass transit system. I hate driving in rush hour traffic. Hate it. I hate having to spend 35 to 40 minutes (or, God forbid, longer in the event of an accident or some other delay) stuck behind the wheel of my car, unable to do more than occasionally fumble for my cup of iced coffee and pray I don’t spill it on myself in the process. How I would love to be able to climb on board some big piece of public transportation and zone out with a magazine or a paper or a book (hey, then I could read again!), sip my iced latte and listen to my MP3 player and let some other yutz worry about traffic and deer and errant spiders in the driver’s field of vision. God, just thinking about it makes my eyes fill with bitter, jealous tears.

“Oh, but you have the Metro! You can’t discount the Metro, Mitzi!”

To which I respond: Get real. Have you ridden the Metro? It’s a bus. A slow-moving bus. Do you know how long it takes to get across town on the Metro? Seven hours. Give or take a few days. I ain’t got that kind of time. (In all seriousness, I checked the Metro’s “trip planner” just to see how long it would take me to take the bus to work. I would have to board one bus at 6:35am, get on a second bus at 7:15am, and arrive at my final stop at 7:40am. Total commute time: 1 hour. No thanks.)

So I've been suffering Commuter Envy since I started thinking about this inability to let "Jesus take the wheel," so to speak. Until this morning, as I drove to work in relatively light traffic, sipping my iced skim latte and listening to "Blue Monday" on my MP3 player, and thinking, Gee, this isn't so bad, really. And I remembered that poor fellow from the movie Singles, the one who worked for the Seattle Transportation Department and was trying to push his idea for a commuter train, only to be constantly told, "people really love their cars," even by his girlfriend.

It's true, people who have been driving everywhere on their own since they turned legal driving age do really love their cars. There's a certain freedom that comes with being able to walk out of one's dwelling and immediately be on the road to wherever, without being at the mercy of another individual or an unpredictable transit system. Yes, self-transporting has its issues (traffic congestion, random insect invasions, spilled coffee and ruined pants), but at least I know who (or what) was sitting on my seat before me.

29 July 2009

People Who Steal Are Real Shitheads

I was catching up on BitchCakes' life recently, and she posted some more photos of her bike.

Her bike is awesome.

I have a special place in my heart for beach cruisers, and an even special-er place for souped-up beach cruisers. Pee Wee's bike was a souped-up beach cruiser. BitchCakes' bike is a super souped-up beach cruiser. It has a wicker basket on the front and super cute saddle bags. And it's pink. Freaking pink, I say!

Which brings back the stabbing pain in my chest that is the hole left by The Asshat Who Stole The Beast.

For those who don't know, it's been two years now (7/3/07) since TAWSTB walked up to my front porch in the middle of the freakin' afternoon and helped himself to my bike, affectionately dubbed "The Beast." The Beast was an original cruiser, all steel because aluminum is for sissies. It was perfect for the flat sidewalks of North Kansas City. It would be a nightmare in the hills of Happy Rock, but I still miss it. It was beautiful and it was mine, dammit.

The day after my life was ruined by TAWSTB, my husband and firstborn went to Wal-Mart and bought me a replacement bike. It's one of those imposter beach cruisers, the ones that are supposed to look like cruisers but just aren't. I appreciated the gesture, however, and have been riding "Blue Steel" (which is actually blue aluminum because I'm a sissy) since. It serves a purpose, but I still suffer severe bike envy whenever I see a bike like, say, BitchCakes'. Blue Steel is not a fabulous happy bike. I want a fabulous happy bike, with a basket and saddle bags and handlegrip streamers and SPOKEY DOKES.

And then I will be super cool.

28 July 2009

Adventures in Shopping

We took a family outing Saturday to Target because we're just that entertained by retail. Truthfully, they had school supplies on sale and we needed milk and other food-type items, so I sent the Husband and the Toddler off to the grocery side while the older child and I ventured off on our own. We had a list and a mission statement. We were ready.

Of course, once we entered School Supplies Land, our respective cases of ADD kicked in and what should have been a seven minute venture turned into a 30 minute excursion. I tried to ignore Bob's incessant "Hey Mom! Look at this! Hey Mom! Look at these! Hey Mom! Hey Mom! Hey Mom!" while he ignored my "Hey Bob, check this out! Hey Bob, over here! Hey Bob, stay where I can see you! Hey Bob, stop eating that eraser!" I tried to somewhat keep track of where my kid was while simultaneously deciphering the cryptic school supplies list. (Seriously, I have visions of a bunch of teachers gathered around a margarita pitcher trying to see what kind of crazy shit they can make us parents hunt for. "How 'bout dry-erase markers? Yeah--wait--low odor dry-erase markers! That's even better! Yeah, put that on there!") Eventually we located all the necessary items on the list and I set sail in the binder aisle.

Times have changed since I was in school. Gone are the rows and rows of Trapper Keepers in an array of colors and styles. There was but one stack of Trapper Keepers, in fact, albeit a stack in varied hues. I spotted a pink one and picked it up for inspection.

Man, was that disappointing. The sturdy vinyl-covered cardboard construction has been replaced by some sort of flimsy, flexible plastic coated in what might be highly-flammable nylon. The magnetic flap closure is actually not very secure at all. And inside? Three. Metal. Rings. Not to mention the thing is only about an inch deep, where the old-school TK's were a good 2-3 inches.

I settled on a white, 1-inch, 3-ring binder, the "clear-view" type that soured my relationship with Trapper Keeper in the first place. What can I say--I'm a binder slut.

Having spent the past few days filling my new binder, I've come to the conclusion one inch is not nearly enough room to cram in all the crap required for my organizational needs. I was debating a trip back to Target during yesterday's dinner when my husband piped up:

"I am going to Wal-Mart this evening. I am going to buy things."

Uh...okay. I'll play. What kind of things?

"Things that will prevent the Toddler from ever opening another cabinet, drawer or door, ever again, for the rest of his life."

Ah, yes. Things that will make it possible for either or both of us to prepare meals and/or clean up dishes without the Toddler (a) emptying the pantry, (b) emptying the Tupperware cabinet, (c) emptying the pots and pans cabinet, (d) running off with a knife pilfered from the dishwasher, or (e) all of the above.

I considered asking him to pick up a binder for me while he was out, but thought against it. Something about the evil glint in his eye. Plus, binder shopping is something I prefer to do alone. Like drinking.

24 July 2009

Survival of the Smartest

My mother-in-law is a pediatrics nurse practitioner. This means we are generally spared the drama and expense of office visits with the children, and now that we've "borrowed" a prescription pad from her stash, have all the OxyContin we can stomach.

Our illicit adult activities aside, there are pros and cons to having "Dr. Grandma" around. We almost never see the inside of the pediatrician's office, with all the screaming, wailing, flailing children coughing and sneezing and wiping their snotty noses all over every uncovered surface--Pro. We can't go to their house to swim without her repeatedly hosing my kids down with SPF 907 sunblock and forcing them into "rashguards" and hats and trying to keep them in the shade--Con. We can generally get a routine prescription called in to the pharmacy in a matter of minutes--Pro. The average doctor visit lasts 15 minutes, compared to the average Grandma visit which lasts at least three hours--Con.

There's no con, however, like having our own personal pediatric medical journal just a phone call away. All we have to do is dial the number (or answer the phone) and we can hear all about what horrors are plaguing the under-18 population of the United States, Canada, and some parts of Eastern Europe. My mother-in-law is a bit of a worry wart, and her delivery of the latest medical news always carries an undertone of doomsday.

"I'm just seeing so many kids coming down with the flu this year. I'd sure hate to see you guys end up with it."

"There are just so many people now getting skin cancer, you just can't be too careful."

"You should probably check all your toys to make sure they don't have any loose parts. I'd sure hate to see someone choke on something."

Which brings me to our most recent Dr. Grandma visit. The Toddler was due (overdue, but don't tell the people at Toddler School) for his shots, which Dr. Grandma graciously administered herself. (This is, of course, part of my evil plan to get my kids to associate Grandma with pain and suffering.) After plenty of hugs and kisses and the promise of a pony, he had forgotten the assault on his juicy thighs and was merrily getting into his older brother's shit.

That is, until Evil Dr. Grandma knelt down beside him and started ripping the freshly-stuck bandaids off his fuzzy little flesh. That pissed him off. I stood by and watched, dumbfounded, because I honestly couldn't understand what the hell she was doing. And then she explained:

"I will never forget that journal article I read about the little boy who was riding home in the car from the pediatrician's office, and pulled a bandaid off and put it in his mouth and choked to death on it."

I gave my husband my "is she for real?" look and he shrugged. (He's used to the over-abundance of caution. It's still relatively new to me.) I should have let it go, but sometimes the voices in my head just won't let me Spike Lee up and do the right thing. So I Went There.

"How many times has that actually happened?"

My mother-in-law doesn't find me nearly as amusing as I find myself, so she was quick to respond with "I don't know, but I sure hope no more than that one time."

I've been thinking about the absurdity of the whole story ever since. It's very unfortunate, of course (I am not entirely heartless, contrary to popular opinion). But the circumstances surrounding this incident, I admit, I just can't wrap my brain around.

The child was in a car, on his way home from a physician's appointment. Assuming this child was not gifted and/or exceptionally tall, there would have been an adult driving, presumably a parent. Did said parent not notice the child in the backseat was choking? Was there unusually heavy traffic that day? Was there a really good song on the radio at the moment? Did the child not use the International Choking Sign?

I don't know...parent not smart enough to prevent a child from choking less than five feet away...kid not smart enough to not eat bandaids...kinda sounds like natural selection at its most efficient.

Because I like to think my husband and I are smart people. Our kids are obviously smart, considering the myriad hazardous toys we ply them with (the Bag'O'Glass and the bottle of Advil come to mind) and the fact they have yet to seriously injure themselves. And bandaids? My God, the firstborn has been accessorizing with bandaids since he was old enough to wear shoes. And even though he wore his underwear backwards until just shy of his 7th birthday, he's managed not to choke on any first aid items.

I just hope neither of my kids ever sprain a joint and have to use an ACE wrap. After all, they might take it off and hang themselves from the ceiling fan with it.

23 July 2009

O Mead, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

I decided yesterday that all my problems in life can be solved with the simple purchase of a Trapper Keeper.

You remember the Trapper Keeper. Not just a 3-ring binder--The 3-ring binder. The binder to end all binders. It had a flap. A flap that extended off the back side and wrapped around to securely Velcro to the front side, thus keeping all your important papers (like the note declaring your undying love for Mikey even though he gets detention a lot) safe and secure. It had plastic rings that opened and closed with a simple sliding mechanism--no more trips to the nurse's office for metal ring injuries. It was designed to hold Trappers--not just pocket folders, but special pocket folders, with diagonal edges that kept important papers (like the answers to next week's history test your friend "accidentally" found on the teachers' lounge copy machine) safe and secure.

It. Was. Awesome.

The only bad part about the Trapper Keeper? Trying to decide which Trapper Keeper to get for the school year. Because you know you're only getting one, and it would take an Act of God to get your mom to break down mid-term and fork over the eight bucks for another one. So choose wisely. Lisa Frank unicorns? Precious kittens? Stylized illustration of a boom box emblazened with the word "RAD!"? Or do you go with the simple, plain Trapper Keeper in one of seven primary colors? Don't make this decision hastily. Because the Trapper Keeper you ultimately select is going to determine your social status for the next nine months, pal.

The Trapper Keeper was my Master.

Yes, I am a little crazy. But that's not the point.

As I was saying...I decided yesterday that all of my life's problems could be easily solved with the simple purchase of a Trapper Keeper. I would fill it with Trappers and tabbed dividers to represent the various areas of my life that are a mess--a Home divider (for cleaning schedules, chore lists, etc); a School divider (for lunch menus, calendars, homework planners); a divider for each of my two children (for various things like medication info--one kid could fill his own Trapper Keeper with this crap); a Money divider (for bills and budgets); a Meal Planning divider (self-explanatory); etcetera. The logic behind this being, if all this stuff is secure inside Trappers and a Trapper Keeper, it's not flailing about loose-leaf in my head.

The first step in this process, obviously, is procuring a Trapper Keeper. I went to it's maker's website (www.mead.com) and joy of joys, there it is. It's changed over the years--the flap is now magnetic, how ingenius!--but it's the same basic design. I crowed with delight like a baby in a candy store as I selected a color and clicked...


Damn. Oh, well, this color, then...


Now I started to panic. I clicked another color...and another...and another...

Every color. Unavailable.


I don't understand, Mead. What did I do? Where did I go wrong? Why are you punishing me?

And then it hit me. Eighth grade. The year I snubbed the Trapper Keeper. The year I caved to peer pressure and selected a plain, white, 3-ring binder for my educational needs. It didn't have a flap. It didn't have plastic rings. It didn't even hold Trappers because they were too big and stuck out past the edges of regular binders (and that was just not aesthetically pleasing). What it had was an open edge at the top, allowing one to slide things between the front cover and the clear plastic coating. Photos, magazine clippings, stylized drawings of boom boxes embellished with the word "RAD!". The possibilities were endless. It had the one thing the Trapper Keeper lacked--customization.

And so I used that binder, and used it to display photos of myself and my BFF doing stupid things (like not buying Trapper Keepers), and I lost important papers (and got snubbed by Mikey, who heard about my undying love for him all the way in the detention room), and I got busted with the answers to the history test, and I had to have the tip of my right index finger surgically reattached as a result of a metal ring accident. The thing fell apart shortly after Christmas and I had to get another one, but my mom didn't care because those things were like, a buck fifty. The following year, I started high school, and bypassed binders entirely for spiral notebooks.

I'd forgotten that slight. Mead, apparently, has not. And now they are punishing me. And it hurts.

I'm sorry, Trapper Keeper. I'm sorry I thought displaying pictures of myself with Q-tips in my nose was more important than brand loyalty. I'm sorry I didn't immediately recognize "function" is more important than "fashion." I'm sorry I fell prey to the Peer Pressure machine. But in my defense, I was twelve. I didn't know any better. My parents were buying my damn school supplies, they should have stepped in and been the voice of reason and experience and good judgment and demanded I use the Trapper Keeper. They were just all giddy over saving a few dollars. It's their fault, not mine.

All I'm saying, Mead, is give me another chance. I'm older now, and wiser, and I know the truth. I'm no longer blinded by the gimmick of a custom binder. I--

--wait, what? What's that I see in the "product description?"

With Trapper notebooks you can stay organized and have a notebook that is all yours with a customizable front cover.

Oh, wow, Mead. Really? You went there? For reals? That's just plain dirty.

This isn't over, Mead. This isn't over.

21 July 2009

TV or Not TV

When I was pregnant with my first child, I joined a popular parenting website so I could partake of their weekly emails comparing the size of my fetus to various fruits and vegetables. ("Week 19 : your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces, and is about the size of a large heirloom tomato!")

Even though my baby now weighs about as much as a bushel of large heirloom tomatoes, I still get random emails from the website. Some of them are informative (I now know "pour a Seven and Seven" is not something most 13-month-olds can do), some are more entertaining ("What your toddler should be drinking"--seriously? There's a need for this?). But some of them just make me shake my head and wonder just how soon humankind will reach Hell in this handbasket we're travelling in.

Today, for example, I got "5 tips for responsible tv viewing" in my in-box. I thought I'd already been practicing responsible tv viewing--I don't let my kids watch infomercials and I never let them watch if they've been drinking--but I decided to err on the side of caution and see what helpful hints lay in wait for me at the other end of the link.

What I found was actually a list of five more links to articles loosely related to tv viewing by children: Screen time guides for younger and older kids; 7 ways to break the tv habit; what to do when news or tv shows upset your child; computer games and guidelines; and a poll asking whether my child has seen a PG-13 movie.

I'm not concerned about my kids' tv "habit." (Trust me, of all their habits, watching tv should be the least of anyone's concerns.) I don't let them watch the news or "adult" programs, and the only time I've seen either of them get upset over tv is when the Yo Gabba Gabba gang stops singing the Toddler's favorite song. They can't get computer time because their father and I are bigger than they are and not above shoving either of them aside to get to the desk first. And I think that poll is just a sneaky attempt to get me to admit I let my kids watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High because I was too drunk to get up and put them to bed. So I decided to check out the "screen time guides."

I started with the "older" kid version, since the Toddler really only watches one show (unless he makes off with the remote and somehow changes the channel to ESPN2). The older kid watches the greater variety of programs, although his evil mother refuses to let him watch anything on the Disney channel because my observation is every one of those shows could easily be titled "How to Be a Smartass and Point Out How Stupid Adults Are."

The "guide" was actually a couple of paragraphs reminding me that "screen" is not limited to tv, but an all-encompassing term referring to essentially all forms of electronic media, and allowing my child to spend more than two hours per day partaking of screens ranked me right up there with a cranky supervisor in a Honduran sweatshop. Additionally, I must not allow a computer, tv or video game console in my child's bedroom, and must insist all electronics devices be shut down well in advance of bedtime to allow my child to "wind down."

I don't have a problem with the not-in-the-bedroom part. I won't even allow those items in my own bedroom (though I suspect my husband sneaks his DSi into bed and pulls it out after I'm asleep). But as for shutting everything off "well in advance of bedtime?" Not a chance in hell, dude.

I get home for the day around 5:40. The oldest goes to bed at 8:00. If I were a good parent, I would spend the entirety of that two hours and 20 minutes paying attention to my kids. (If I were a really good parent, I wouldn't work at all.) Fortunately, I got over any aspirations of being a good parent years ago, and the simple fact is, I have shit to do. And when I'm doing shit, my options are either let the older child watch tv, or let him follow me around like a birddog. And I don't like birddogs.

There is also a lack of consideration for individuality here. Sure, some kids would probably readily accept the end of tv time and wind down on the sofa with a good book. These children are not mine. My child is seemingly unable to shut down his brain unless he's staring blankly at images displayed on a screen.

But really, where's the harm here? He's not watching A Clockwork Orange. Lately, he's been really into HGTV (which gives me hope of someday having a fabulously decorated house to enjoy with my tv-addicted children). Is the world really going to stop turning because I let him watch Ben Ten Alien Force before bed? When I think back to the number of hours I watched tv between the ages of 2 and 20, well, I don't know how many it was, but it damn sure averaged out to more than two hours a day. I spent the better part of Summer 1989 trying to save the princess (and the ungrateful bitch didn't give me a damn thing for it, either).

So yeah, I think I'll let common sense be my guide here. As long as he's not drooling incoherently into his oatmeal, I don't think there's a problem with his watching Alf re-runs before bed. Except for the whole "watching Alf re-runs" part. I really need to work on that.

19 July 2009

Paper or Plastic? Yes, Please.

It's a dangerous time of year for me to leave the house. I saw it coming last week in the form of a Bed Bath & Beyond mailer, replete with colorful photographs and vivid product descriptions of items guaranteed to make your co-ed's dorm experience more organized, fashionable and downright pleasant.

Back. To. School.

Back to School (or "BTS" as my husband would call it, because he's a web nerd and they're very into acronyzing everything) doesn't usually set anyone's heart aflutter. Certainly not kids, whose lives are just so hard the thought of going from doing absolutely nothing all summer to doing next to nothing all fall, winter and spring causes their anxiety/asthma/ADHD to flare-up. Even parents, overjoyed by the end of expensive summer child care (or the end of being saddled with their offspring all day every day), are known to shed a tear when the cost of school supplies and uniforms and clothes and shoes and books and all other accoutrements of the so-called "free" education is tallied up. Indeed, the effective End Of Summer sends me into a depression deeper than...well, something really deep.

That said, BTS brings out my inner shopaholic in the worst ways. I'm not into shoes or purses or lipstick or any of the usual girly shopping stuff. No, my weakness is paper products and brightly-colored bits of plastic, all of which can be found in abundance during BTS.

I've always had a weakness for organization and storage products. My idea of the perfect date would be dinner followed by a trip to The Container Store. In fact, I'd like to think there is a Heaven, and it's just like The Container Store, only on a much larger scale. With no shortage of clear shoe boxes. And everything is free.

The natural partner of an organization product obsession is list-making, and I am no exception. I make a lot of lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, inventory lists, gift lists, address lists, chore lists, list lists. Which means I also have a fetish for notebooks, bound journals, 3-ring binders, divider tabs, pocketfolios and all manner of pens and markers and hi-lighters, oh my!

So you can see why it might behoove me to stay far away from the general retail area during BTS. Alas, my husband has yet to fully comprehend the severity of my affliction and continues to allow me to leave the house during peak season without supervision.

Saturday night, for example. I had planned to go out (yes, a social activity) with a friend, but plans fell through at the last minute. After the Toddler went to bed, I announced I was going to the nearest convenience store to buy beer. My husband countered with "why don't you just go to Wal-Mart and get (various items we were out of) too?"

I resisted. I hate Wal-Mart almost as much as I hate Fox News. But I relented, and bank card in hand, set about my mission.

As soon as I walked in, I was overpowered by the floor-to-ceiling displays of crayons. I freaking love crayons. Not coloring, just crayons. In the 64-count box with the built-in sharpener (that does not, by the way, work for pencils, so don't ever try this). The lure of the crayons was too strong to resist (not that I bothered trying), and before I knew it, I was in the housewares aisles, deciding we need a mandoline. (We do not. We have a Cuisinart.) I also decided we need a plethora of other items, including (but not limited to) pop-up laundry hampers, lunch storage and transport containers, an ironing board cover with iron rest and storage pocket, a set of melamine dinnerware, new bedding and a personal refrigerator.

I managed to resist all of those items, but one got past even my dogged determination (and tight budget). Small round laundry baskets, in white plastic, for $1.50 each. I've been looking for some sort of baskets or containment media to slide under a bench in our living room and thus store backpacks and shoes and purses and all the other crap we can't leave home without. These were perfect. Small, light, and ridiculously cheap. I could buy a couple more for the boys' rooms--their own personal hampers. I could buy a few for my trunk, to keep it organized and keep cans from escaping grocery bags. My God, the possibilities are endless. Endless, I say!

I bought six of them. They are, of course, about an inch too tall to put under the bench, but they go nicely in the front hall closet (for the same purpose). And the boys now have their own hampers in their rooms. (The Toddler, for one, is sleeping better at night for this.)

And it's not over. That "tax holiday" weekend is coming up in three short weeks, and I've already got my eye on a few things. Nothing extravagant, just a few minor items that will hopefully help me straighten out my bedroom closet and, therefore, my life.

And, of course, lots and lots of plastic shoe boxes. With clear lids.

17 July 2009

What Is That Pain?

I’ve been feeling rather old lately. I suppose this may have been brought on by certain former classmates setting the wheels in motion for our 20 year high school reunion. Or maybe by a certain musician’s recent passing, which incited every radio station with a signal to do a “retro” weekend, wherein I discovered most of my music collection is considered “retro.” Or maybe it’s my husband, who has taken to referring to me as “you old slut.” Lovingly, of course.

It’s bad enough no one at my local grocer's bothers to ask me for proof of age when I purchase alcohol anymore. (To the contrary, they ask if I know about their half-price pints special every Thursday from 11-6.) It’s worse the lifeguards at the pool have started referring to me as “Ma’am,” and when I protested to my husband (the one who calls me “you old slut”), he pointed out “they’re half your age,” and I couldn’t retort because damn him, he’s right. I know you’re only as old as you feel and age ain’t nuthin’ but a number (Aaliyah said so), but I have to admit, I’m starting to think perhaps my body is trying to tell me something. (Not “you’re an old slut.” That’s what my husband is telling me.)

I weigh roughly 25 pounds more than the day I graduated from high school, but I’m in better physical shape than I ever was back in the day. In 10th grade, I handed in my “get out of gym class free” card by way of bad knees and a doctor’s note. Now, I run at least three days a week, bad knees and shin splints be damned. It’s the morning after I run that is the problem. I wake up and stretch, only to realize a few minutes later I’m not stretching at all because I haven’t actually moved. My brain tossed out the command, but my limbs aren’t heeding the call. Finally I am able to talk my hand into reaching down and nudging a leg, which grudgingly complies, thereby sending a horrific pain halfway up my spine. The other leg then follows suit. About 30 minutes later, I find the wherewithal to get out of bed. And promptly lose it.

My head hurts a lot more than it used to, as well. I’ve always had allergy and sinus issues, which have made headaches a normal part of my existence. But they seem to have gotten worse lately, to the point I often wake up cursing a hangover before I realize I haven’t had any alcohol in six months. I suck down so many Sudafed the pharmacy guys raise a judgmental eyebrow when I approach the counter, and I’m pretty sure the suits sitting in that dark-colored sedan parked across from my house aren’t selling Amway.

Then there are the random aches and complaints that seem to strike without warning or ready cause. For the past two days I’ve had a stitch in my left side toward the back of my torso. After confirming with several sources that my appendix is, in fact, on the right, I have no fucking clue what the hell this pain means to alert me to.

I have, however, found a remedy for those times when I feel mere moments away from Geritol and 10% off my bill at Denny’s—hang out with kids. Seriously. Those little fuckers piss and moan about far more physical complaints than most dementia-ridden nursing home residents. I made this amazing discovery when I took a vacation day from my job to attend a field trip to the zoo with my oldest son and his day camp group. Not ten minutes past the gate, these kids were already complaining. “I’m tired.” “My legs are tired.” “My lunch is too heavy.” “I need a drink.” My personal favorite was the 9-year-old who declared he has plantar fasciitis and isn’t supposed to walk much. You read that correctly.

I really don’t know how these kids are going to survive junior high. The few of them that by the grace of modern medicine are able to reach adulthood are in for a very rude awakening. If they can’t handle a couple of hours spent walking casually around the zoo, the chest pains that magically appear each time they step into their corporate cube farm are going to knock them on their collective asses.

Which gives me an idea…maybe I should start bringing my kids to work. Perhaps listening to them bitch about how feeble and frail they are will renew my own youthful vigor.

Or maybe it will piss me off and raise my blood pressure to the point of imminent stroke. I’m not getting any younger, after all.

15 July 2009

Social Notworking (or, Get Out of My Face-book)

No, I don't want to be your Facebook friend.

It's not you, it's me. Actually, that's not entirely true. It probably is you. I just don't know what, specifically, it is about you that makes me not want to be your friend, but if I were to become your friend, I would likely find out in short order, and then I wouldn't want to be your friend anymore. So it's best we just nip this shit in the bud right now before I have to un-friend you and things take a turn for the ugly.

Let me explain.

I've never really been a gadget person. I'm the first to admit my technological retardation. I was still putting half-eaten cassette tapes back together and playing them in my boom box (the one Marc left in the trunk of my car on our last day of high school) until my parents took pity on me and bought me a CD player in 1993. (I think this had less to do with it being my birthday and more to do with their embarrassment over my lack of a respectable stereo.)

That said, I've been slow to warm to the whole "social networking" Internet shtick. I've been blogging in one format or another since blogs were called "web diaries," but always anonymously. I shunned Myspace entirely because, well, I'm not a 19-year-old sorostitute* looking for a forum for all those pictures of me on the receiving end of a beer bong and making out with my bestest friend FOREVER.

I don't know how I came to be on Facebook. I think my brother (ten years my junior) must have goaded me into it so our sibling group wouldn't have to actually phone each other anymore. At any rate, once I started acquiring friends, I was hooked. I even went so far as to join the Lafayette High School Class of 1990 Reunion Planning Committee in a fit of foolish (and likely intoxicated) nostalgia. I poked a few people, threw a couple of snowballs, and sent Kevin Jonas to more than a few unsuspecting chums. I threw myself into Facebook the way some people throw themselves into their jobs.

Then came the big layout change, and everyone got their collective panties in a twist over it. I didn't think it was any big deal. If anything, I preferred this new layout, because it allowed me to get the skinny on EVERYONE I KNEW in one fell swoop. Oh, look--Mandy is not ready for Monday. Kelly is getting ready to do some scrapbooking. Rob is working the 3-11 shift at the Leavenworth Bar tonight, and 6 people like this!

Gradually, though, I've come to notice a change in my general demeanor. I'm cranky and my tolerance for people and their bullshit has reached a serious low. This shift has concerned me, because I wasn't really sure where it was coming from. And then it dawned on me one day, as I was perusing the Home page and everyone's status updates and found myself angrily declaring in my head that I couldn't give a flying fuck less whether or not Mindy could find 1,000,000 people who hate cancer!, and thinking her wager was really fucking stupid because seriously, who is going to be that one person who says "not me, I fucking LOVE cancer, count me out!"?

I know too much. And it's pissing me off.

Because of Facebook, I now know the innermost thoughts of people whose innermost thoughts I really don't need or want to know. I don't care if the girl who sat behind me in 10th grade biology is eating a candy bar. I don't want to know what my sister-in-law's views on religion or the American troops in Afghanistan are. If anything, we're all better off not knowing this kind of stuff about each other. That's what keeps us able to smile at each other and make idle chitchat during family gatherings, and prevents us from going to blows over platters of turkey and stuffing. I don't want to know intimate details about my co-workers' lives, because to know they exist outside the office means I have to admit to myself my office and job are real and not just some horrible dream I have every night.

Once I made this realization, I started hiding people. And when that wasn't enough, I started avoiding Facebook, save a brief once-a-day glance at the people who don't make me want to put my fist through my monitor. I imagine eventually that, too, will fade out, and I will actually look forward to good old fashioned emails from people beseeching me to "forward this to 15 people or your cat will die!"

*sorostitute : noun. A female of college age who participates in sorority activities and, therefore, subtle acts of prostitution. As much as I'd like to take credit for this term, I actually stole it from my husband. Mad props to you, darling. Mad, mad props.

Old Jack City

There's a reason I have a legit, corporate 9-5 job and am not a career drug dealer. Well, there are several, including my need for paid time off, I don't look good in orange, and Weeds aside, most hardened career drug criminals don't take suburban white moms seriously. (Maybe if I looked like Mary-Louise Parker I could pull it off. But probably not even then.)

No, the primary reason I am not a drug dealer is my inability to lie. Rather, my inability to lie well. I lie like a dog. I'm just not very good at it.

Case in point--my baby formula ring. What should have been as easy as post ad, answer phone, wait for buyer, hand over goods and collect cash has turned into a debacle of blowout-shitty-diaper proportions. Never mind most of the people who have inquired about the goods do not speak English as their primary language of choice. The biggest issue has been diversity of inventory. For the blissfully unaware, baby formula comes in more varieties than underarm deodorant (if you've been in the market for either, you know what I'm talking about). I have multiple cans of multiple different formulas. And while I had *hoped* to sell them all as a package deal, the buying public has not been so accommodating.

Yesterday, I got an email from a dude who requested all five cans of Similac Sensitive I had in stock. This stuff retails for roughly $8.25 a can; I was offering my five cans for $15. Quite a bargain, yes? I agreed to meet him at an undisclosed location to make the exchange of Baby Blow for cash.

When I went to load up the goods, however, I noticed one can had been opened. (We had a habit of switching up formulas because the Toddler had a habit of barfing a lot, so a nearly-full, open can was not unusal, just annoying.) I considered calling the dude and explaining I only had four cans and knocking $3 off the total price. Then greed (and my complete lack of scruples) took over, and I tossed in a can of Enfamil AR, another "sensitive" variety with a very similar orange label.

It's not like I was putting cyanide in someone's cocaine here. After having two formula-fed children, both of whom errupted like geisers after every feeding, I can assure you--it doesn't make any difference what color the label is. Inside, it's all the same shit. (And don't anyone feel the need to explain to me the difference between soy and milk-based, either, because I'm not even talking about soy, so suck it.)

So off I went to make a drop of four cans of Similac and one rogue can of Enfamil. I even took my oldest along for the ride, you know, so he could get a feel for how dangerous this business is and be compelled to stay in school and get a real job. I got out of the car, all smiles and innocence, handed the dude the (tightly closed) bag, collected my $15, got back in my car, and hauled ass out of there.

I felt pretty good about my odds. After all, I didn't just jack the guy for several thousand dollars worth of Colombian. It was a $3 can of baby formula. I figured either they'd just give it to their kid, or toss it and consider themselves out $3, but not really because they'd gotten the other cans for less than half price.

Then after dinner, I check my email and find this:

One of those cans was an Infamil Lipil AR. Do you still have the 5th can of the Similac? I would like to get that one from you and send the Infamil back w/ you sometime please.

Are you fucking serious? I know the economy is in the shitter, but seriously--this guy is busting my balls over three dollars. Three dollars!

I debated what to do next. I figured I could just ignore him. After all, the worst he could do would be, what, post something on Craig's famous list about how I "run scams" and "can't be trusted?" It's not like you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau over a bait-and-switch pulled by an unsuspecting suburban mom trying to unload leftover baby formula on an internet bulletin board. It's not like you can go to jail for that. Hell, maybe, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

In the end, I decided to take the high road. I sent him the following email this morning:

I'm sorry about that, after I got your email, I checked the remaining cans and could not locate a Similac. My husband grouped these and it's possible he either thought the Enfamil was Similac or someone else has that other can of Similac. At any rate, if you email me a mailing address, I will mail the $3 back to you for the 5th can.

Note how I pushed all the blame onto my poor, unsuspecting husband. I thought that was a nice touch. At any rate, I figured the guy would shrug it off and tell me not to worry about it because it's not a good idea to give strangers you meet on the Internet your home address. And also because he would probably feel like a big douche actually telling me where to send him three freakin' dollars.

Again, I underestimate the depths to which some people will sink. I received his email, complete with mailing address, not ten minutes later. And while I have pondered the idea of sending him 300 pennies, I have decided it's not worth the added trouble and postage expense.

I have one other person interested in taking 14 cans of variety formula off my hands. I emailed her today telling her to meet me at another undisclosed location and to bring cash. Assuming she shows, that will be my final transaction. This weekend, I'm taking any remaining cans to the food bank and getting the hell out of the baby formula business. It's just too dangerous and I can't handle the stress.

I will, however, be auctioning off my children in the near future. Highest bidder wins. Cash only. You pick up. No refunds or exchanges or "buyer's remorse."

14 July 2009

Big Time Operator

Last weekend, the husband and I found ourselves sans children--Bob was with Fun Daddy for the weekend doing God-knows-what, and the Toddler was with the grandparents. So we did what every other married couple does when they get a few hours to themselves on a steamy, hot summer day.

We cleaned our filthy house.

Oh, all right, you got me--we had sex. Then we cleaned our filthy house.

Which brought us to our tiny kitchen and the issue of The Formula. My mother-in-law works in a pediatrics office and was our willing supplier of formula samples for the duration of the Toddler's bottle-feeding. And by "samples," I mean real, full-size cans of powdered formula. The ones that sell for around $15 a can retail. White gold. Texas tea.

So while it was great we were getting all this formula for nothing, the downside is we were getting an abundance of it, because in mother-in-law land, you never know when there could be a formula shortage and then you'd be screwed. So we had a hefty stash of the stuff coming in on a regular basis. All those kitchen cabinets up near the ceiling that you never put anything in because you can't reach them? Ours have been full of formula for the past year.

Since he turned one, however, the Toddler hasn't had any use for formula, because he's busy shoveling other things in his mouth, like bacon and dry cat food, which he washes down with regular milk. Our stockpile of formula has just been sitting there taking up valuable otherwise-unused kitchen cabinet space.

So during our childless Saturday of sex and cleaning, I decided to pull all the formula off the shelves. The question then became--what the hell do we do with it?

According to my father, milk-based formula is often used to cook meth, but since I'm probably already on the DEA watch list due to my Sudafed habit (and I don't know the recipe), that option was out. I had a variety of about 50 cans total. I decided to post them on my pal Craig's fabulous List at a fraction of the retail price.

Within an hour, I had my first interested party. We arranged to meet at a nearby gas station to make the exchange of cash for white powder.

Wait--did I just say that?

I drove away from that first transaction feeling dirty. And guilty. And...sort of...cool.

Yeah, that's right, baby, I got what you want. You know you want it. How much you need? You know I got the best stuff in town. Your baby can't live without it. You don't want to let your baby down, now, do you?

Since then, I've made a few more transactions. I've wheeled and dealed by email and I've hung up on people trying to get me to lower my price. ("Listen, lady, you won't find this stuff anywhere else in town for four G-Dubs.") I've even got the husband involved in my dirty little operation--he and the Toddler are making a drop tomorrow to some corporate dude on his lunch break, although he has expressed concern over my involving him in my "dealings with unsavory characters." (He's such a jokester, that husband.)

In the end, this little venture will only end up netting me about 70 bucks, which is, of course, better than a swift kick in the pants. I think I'll miss the thrill more than anything. At least I still have my home-based internet porn site, or I'd be really bored.

I Have Girl Wood for Michael Ian Black.*

*It's kind of a shame my husband doesn't read this, because he would totally appreciate the "girl wood" reference.

Mi amor is a big fan of The State. Big, big fan. A majority of our conversations have gone something like this:

Him: (obscure reference)
Me: What the hell are you talking about?
Him: It's from a State sketch.
Me: Of course.
Him: I can't believe you didn't watch that show.

I did watch that show. But in The State's heyday, I was over 21 and doing things that over-21 people do--like work all day and weep bitter tears in a bar all night. Ergo, I don't necessarily remember every sketch. He, on the other hand, was in high school, doing things high school people do--like memorize every sketch on The State.

There were definitely a few that stuck with me over time. "Slash," for one, because I found the idea of a Slash infestation riotously funny (albeit scary as hell). "Blueberry" still comes to mind every time I bite into a muffin. And who could forget "The Jew, The Italian and the Red-Head Gay"? Not this wise-cracking Gen-X'er. No, sir.

So when he told me he blew his wad on a limited pre-release copy of the show's entirety (all however-many seasons) on DVD, I wasn't nearly as excited as he was. Although I was glad for the opportunity to see the Slash bit again. (It really is that funny.)

Then we watched it, and it all came back to me. Of course I remember this show. I watched it all the time. Now I remember the sketches from whence my husband draws his obscure references.

What I didn't remember was Michael Ian Black being so damned hot. I mean, he's practically edible. Even dressed like a girl in the "origami" sketch. (I'm a product of the 80s, so I'm naturally attracted to men dressed like girls. What can I say?) And when Levon starts talking about all that pudding, I want him to throw me down and take me like I'm a big ol' pile of butterscotch.

I don't care that the images I'm getting all hot and bothered by are a good 15 years old. I don't care that he's married with children (and so am I). It's not like anything will ever come of my lustful admiration. If there were any actual chance in hell of me tracking down Michael Ian Black and eventually conning him into doing the nasty with me, it wouldn't be a fantasy. It would be stalking. And that's not Good Eats.

Now I'm glad my husband doesn't read this, because if he did, he'd probably start talking like Levon the next time we get jiggy with it and I'd be so embarrassed I'd turn six shades of crimson and die.

On an unrelated note, I also didn't remember "Chicken Lady" wasn't a State sketch. When I asked if it was possibly on the third DVD, the husband looked at me with pity and said "That was 'Kids in the Hall,' dear."

Oh, yes. I thought they were hot, too.