Wednesday, August 19, 2009


There's only so far you can push us chubby girls. I've suffered through it my whole life. Never being a skinny girl, never even being thin I have built an entire lifestyle on trying to camoflauge my fat-itude...from my college wardrobe which consisted almost entirely of black, to learning how to turn to the side, suck it in and stick my head up like a perplexed ostrich for every picture I've ever had taken...including ones I had in done in grade school. The world seems bound and determined to make me incredibly aware that as a physical specimen I am less than perfect. Years ago, I would hold my breath every time I went through an airline check point, terrified they were going to tell me that I had to buy an extra seat because I was so bulky I would surely suffocate any stick-thin, high-strung salesman that tried to sit next to me. I used to have nightmares about the other passengers on the plane getting stuck in my fat rolls or climbing on to my back in case the plane went down and using me to safely find land. I stopped shopping at Bath and Body Works because when you are a large woman AND smell like food, people automatically assume that you spend your afternoon rolling around in a vat of apple pie filling. I have suffered at the hands of magazine covers featuring women who look more like bicycle frames than healthy role models and have ignored the passing-over glances of men who thought I was too thick to wear on their arm.
But I don't think that I need to be burnt in effigy on a billboard by a bunch of over-enthusiastic morons whose battle cry is "Meat is Murder". Growing up in rural communities, we don't look at meat as murder. We look at meat as survival. We don't see a cow as a beautiful animal...stand it in a garden and we see a happy meal of the future. But the new PETA billboard featuring a large, large woman in a bikini and the words "SAVE THE WHALES, LOSE THE BLUBBER, GO VEGETARIAN"...well that would have to be the last freakin' straw. You know PETA, the People who Eat Tasteless Appetizers and expect everyone in the world to think they are better than the rest of us because they can eat wheat germ without cringing. No, seriously, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is a wonderful organization that does a lot of good...sometimes. But like any human-being-based organization, sometimes they overstep their bounds. Devaluing PEOPLE because they are fat seems a bit unethical...and at the least, not very nice.
Their spokesperson, a very rakish, hip young man whose name escapes me encouraged people to find out what PETA is all about by going to their website, so I did. The first thing that caught my eye was a promotion against McDonald's. So in less than 20 minutes, PETA had offended me as a woman AND slammed on the Ronald...this was not boding well for our little tofu touters. PETA has designed what they call an "UNhappy Meal" which features a ghoulish rendition of the Ronald brandishing a knife on a bloodstained box of "Chicken McCruelty" nuggets. That was pretty much all it took for me to write them off as overeducated, uber-funded, and bicoastal with a tendency to forget there is an entire nation in between said coasts.
First of all, PETA is not appealing to anyone who cares... Let me explain. The people who eat chicken mcnuggets have greater concerns than how the chicken was killed. In all honesty, those people have probably seen chickens killed the old-fashioned way (grab by the head and fling them like a baton until their heads pop OR whack the chicken in the head and then chop it at the neck) and they don't particularly care whether the animal likes it or not. To them, meat is murder, necessary, vital, tasty, tasty murder. Also, these are not people that care that there is no part of a chicken called a "McNugget" or nugget for that matter and no, it doesn't bother them to think about what anatomical region of the chicken they came from. These are also your people who consider hot dogs and meats that come in an edible skin a food group in and of themselves.
So after seeing the UNhappy Meal promotion and reading all about PETA and how they truly enjoy the shock factor when it comes to their advertising, I didn't feel any better because it then occurred to me that animals have more value in their version of society than large women. Would they EVER put a mutilated dog on a billboard and use some witty jab at mutilated dogs? No. They would put a mutilated dog on a billboard and say something shocking to make the public at large empathize with the dog...but they would never ostracize or ridicule the dog. They are all up in arms about glue traps and fur, but don't mind at all taking a jab at fat people? Maybe we should officially begin referring to ourselves as chubby bunnies...maybe then we would fall into a hands-off category that didn't give them permission to berate and belittle us. The rakish hipster desperately tried to defend his organization by saying that they are only trying to encourage people to live healthy lifestyles by becoming vegetarians. However most dieticians will agree that vegetarian lifestyles are no more healthy than a balanced diet with exercise, so the hipster blew it there. And as he sat there in his handsome face with his devil-may-care hair and his "Save the Whales/Harpoon a Fat Chick" smirk I realized something.
He looked delicious.
And that is why EVERYONE should fear the fat people. Not because we are taking up two seats on your plane or because we are eating the last of the bread pudding at the AYCE buffet or because we are ugly-ing up the joint. Because if times get tough, and worse comes to worse, well, Mama is gonna eat and that's the bottom line. And those who have something to offer other than lean meat will get eaten last...that way we can enjoy their talents before we enjoy their tastiness. So PETA people, I issue an invitation to you now: come and join my new organization; it's called EAT or Everyone's Attractive and Tasty. We'd love to have you for dinner, and I swear I don't mean that in a Hannibal Lecter way...
And chubby bunnies of the world, FYI. Rumor has it those vegetarians are like human versions of free-range chickens....YUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMY!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stay-At-Home BOMB

I can remember when I was a child and I would watch from the window as my mother would leave each morning and walk to work. She worked at a newspaper in a small town, about two blocks from where we lived. She would come home smelling like paper and photo developing fluid and I would snuggle into her and breathe in her day. She, on the other hand, would immediately change clothes, desperate to get the smell off of herself and inevitably end up in the kitchen attempting to make up for lost time. Mom wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home-mom...that's all she had ever wanted. But life, in all it's glorious inevitability, had different plans. My mother was a woman of the 90's in the 70's and 80's. She didn't consider herself modern, progressive, or groundbreaking. Most of the time she considered herself exhausted. A full-time job with two kids and no one to do everything around the house but her.
When my son was born, I immediately understood. To have to leave early in the morning while Kyser peered out at through his crib, his eyes all bright, his hair all fuzzy, his little body all warm and smelling like sleep, was painful to say the least. But it had to be done and I knew this.
Fast forward six much has changed. Kyser no longer peers out at me through his crib, now he takes up all the space in a double bed and snores like a drugged gorilla, his eyes are still bright at least when they're not rolled up into his head in exasperation. His hair is borderline Opie-fro, red and bushy if not tamed on a daily basis. And his body, well, not so little, still warm but not so much with the smelling like sleep. I don't think I need to elaborate...
As fate would have it, my job situation took a turn for the worse at the first of May and so I decided I would take the summer off and be a stay-at-home-Mom. As difficult as this was for me comprehend, trying to get Kyser's mind wrapped around it was even more difficult. "You mean when I wake up you'll be home?" he asked. I told him yes. "And you'll stay home?" Again, yes. "And you and I will spend the whole day together and do fun stuff and you won't have to go to work?" YES, YES, YES! "Well, it sounds like a good idea..." And it did. So I immediately went online and did research on all these super-duper fun, educational things to do in the summer. I bought new pots and pans so we could make cookies and brownies. I found my copies of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn so we could read each day. It was going to be the perfect summer, perfect for me, perfect for him, just plain perfect!
So a couple of days ago, imagine my suprise when I realized how quiet it was in the house. I roamed back to Kyser's bedroom and found him in there playing quietly, alone. "Hey, what are you doing?" I asked. He turned and looked at me with those big blue eyes and uttered these words: "Mom, I just need some alone time...some ME time. Why don't you go read a book?"
I backed out of his bedroom and collapsed against the refrigerator. Now I know how the character of BraveHeart felt at the end of the movie, when they tied him down and did horribly torturous things to his personal person. Now I understand the pain of the thousands of mothers, nay millions of mothers before me who have been brutally rebuffed, made to drop off a block away from the school, not allowed in the room during the slumber party.
Then I got angry and the gift of guilt began to rear its ugly head... Here was a child that I had almost DIED giving birth to...Did he know how many hours I had spent painstakingly scrapbooking his life so that someday he would know how much I loved him? Did he understand how many times I had to make the stupid treasure chest out of angel food cake for his third birthday party before I got it right? Does he know how many people I had to whack with Peace On Earth christmas wrapping paper to get to the LAST Indiana Jones Lego set just so his Christmas morning would be golden, golden, golden? How about the blisters from making what must amount to hundreds of treatsacks over the last six years? I have sacrificed valuable television time, dressed up like a whoopie cushion, sang countless versions of "I'm a Goofy Goober" and listened to "That's the Way I Like It" at least 468 times in the last week in the car all for that little red-headed succubus. And HE wants alone time?
"Mom?" He came around the corner. "Can I have a popsicle?"
Popsicle? You want a popsicle? Sure, why don't I slice myself with a dull piece of dirty glass and bloodlet myself into a cup then I will eat ice and blow on said cup until you have a popsicle made out of the very fluid that gives me life? Would that make you happy?
"Mom? I'll eat a red one and you eat a blue one and let's go out on the back deck and talk about stuff..."
Talk? You want to talk to me? You want to spend time with me now? Now that you're done with your Legos and Lincoln Logs and race cars? Now that you've exhausted every other option you come to me?
"Okay, I'll get the popsicles and meet you out there." Suddenly nothing mattered as much as that popsicle committee meeting on the back deck.
It was then that I realized perhaps I am not cut out for the stay-at-home-Mom gig. I'm sure Kyser did need some time away from me...I had been hovering over him like a member of the paparazzi since the beginning of the summer. He had grudgingly made cookies with me, listened to me read to him, gone places I wanted to go, let me take pictures of him in numerous, ridiculous poses and in general, spent his summer entertaining me. That's a lot of pressure for a six year old!
I'm still at home, but not nearly as stay-at-home-Momish as before. We don't have a schedule or required activities for the day. We're just kind of taking it easy, being lazy and having the kind of summers I used to have as a kid: full of love, attention, and fun, but not too much of any of it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Birds, The Bees, and The Biskit

The bedtime ritual at the Williams' house is always a battlefield. For his six years, Kyser is a formidable foe. There is the "five more minutes" tapdance which slowly blooms into a "I'm dying of thirst" softshoe culminating in a "why do I have to go to bed when you and Dad are up?" full-on fireworks-worthy extravaganza of defiance and rebellion. Every now and then the little schiester throws in a "I don't want to watch this movie" sidebar followed by a "but I'm not tired, how about another book?" monologue. This has led to the bedtime routine of beginning to talk about going to bed as soon as supper is over, developing a system of tagteam wrestling on the part of his father and I and the great Benadryl debate (don't judge me, I hardly ever go there...) until finally the protests, questions, and minute-by-minute play by play of why he shouldn't go to bed yet subside and at last, there is quiet.
Throw into the mix our new dog, Biskit, who is a serious distraction and not at all helpful in the rigidity of a bedroom routine. He likes to jump on the bed, he likes to pull the covers off of Kyser, he likes to bark and yelp and do speed-dog lap thingies up and over and around Kyser and Kyser's bed.
Tonight, however, Biskit added a new number to his bedtime repetoire...
We had gotten Kyser tucked in and retired to the living room when came the all-too-predictable holler. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM? MMMMMOOOOMMMMMMM? MOM!"
James and I traded glances and it was decided, without words that I would attend to this one. I went into his room and he was standing beside his bed pointing at his favorite cushy pillow. "Biskit was dancing with my pillow and he got sick all over it and something is wrong with his legs...I think he has a hot dog stuck on his leg....Mom is Biskit going to die?"
Hobbling is the only way I can describe the condition of Biskit as he poked his fuzzy black head around the side of the bed. He looked incredibly....relaxed and I half expected him to light up a smoke and put on some Englebert Humperdink records. "My pillow is wet where Biskit got sick..."
I screamed for two reasons: the first, there was only one way for Kyser to know the pillow was wet; the second, Kyser has a habit of sucking his thumb before he goes to sleep. I hauled him into the bathroom and began dousing him with hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and facial toner.
James entered came into the bathroom and evidently Biskit was still, uh, wound up because James no sooner got through the door than he stopped short. "!"
Biskit then scampered off into this pet carrier for some time to reflect and uh, unwind.
I went into the kitchen and came back with a pair of James' barbecue tongs - the really long ones - grabbed the cushy pillow, or as we now call it, Biskit's girlfriend, and placed it into a garbage bag, along with the tongs. I then gave it a good spraying down with Lysol. In fact, I sprayed Kyser's entire room with Lysol because we all know that Lysol covers a multitude of sins.
It was then that Kyser began asking questions. "Where did Biskit get a hotdog? I didn't give him one...What was he doing to my cushy? Why did he pee on my pillow? Was that pee? Why did I have to wash my hands? What's that smell?"
I met James in the office before he got to the bedroom and we did a quick conference. "He wants to know where Biskit got the hotdog, what he was doing to the pillow, what was all over the pillow."
James frowned and looked at me. "And why is this up to me?"
"The same reason you had to teach him to pee standing up."
"Did Biskit have a hotdog?" James looked a bit puzzled.
"No it was his..."
"Yeah, whoa...okay, I got this..."
I listened outside the door as James explained that Biskit got a little overexcited and that wasn't a hotdog and we were going to have to get him fixed. "What's the vet gonna fix? Is Biskit broken?" James explained that Biskit wasn't broken but that it would actually be better for Biskit, and our home decorative accessories, if he got fixed. "Someday are you gonna fix me?" Kyser asked.
Is it bad that as a mother I considered that? Is it bad that as I stood there and listened to the sweet voice of my one and only baby boy that I got a little sad at the thought of some other woman someday laying out his Star Wars pajamas and fixing him frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast? That's a long way off, I reminded myself. Thousands of bedtime battles yet to go...and suddenly I wasn't so sad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goodbye Granny...

I've written several blog entries that I thought were pretty darn moving, some written solely for the purpose of eliciting a response. But never have I received a response like the response to the admission that I wear granny panties. Nothing else, it seems, has touched the hearts of young and old, men and women, friends and strangers like the thought of me in some enormously ugly saggy baggy granny panties.
I'm so glad that I could bring everyone together in the bond of skivvies...
Why, you asked me. Why do you only wear granny panties? You may laugh, sitting there smugly in your cute little lace-bedecked polka dotted panties, asking jokingly if I was traumatized by a pair of underwear as a child.
Well I wasn't! Not as a a newlywed.
I have never been interested in lingerie. Bras and underwear were utilitarian, kind of like backpacks and duct tape, there to gather it all into one place or keep it from flying around uncontrollably. But as a newlywed with a troubled addiction to Cosmopolitan I realized I was going to have to spice things up if I wanted to, uh, keep things spiced up.
After much deliberation and consultation with several teeny tiny sales waifs I purchased a pair of thong underwear. With my husband working nights and me working days I figured that I would wear the thong to work and when I was changing out of my work clothes and he was changing into his, it would be a nice surprise. I put it on the next morning, reassuring myself that it was the most comfortable thing in the world and why would teeny tiny sales waifs lie?
There was no comfort. There was binding and chaffing and rubbing and stinging. At one point there was a bit of crying and a vague thought given to making up an illness that would require me to go home early. But as bad as the pain of the thong was, the thought of removing it and going commando in a knee-length skirt was even more so. I could just see a tornado blowing through and lifting my skirt over my head, exposing my now incredibly-raw rear end. Or worse yet, throwing them in my purse and getting randomly searched by security on my way out of the building and having to explain why I had a pair of thong underwear in my purse. So I waited it was the longest day of my life.
At quittin' time, I ran as gingerly as possible to my car in an effort to quell the chaffing and rubbing and binding and stinging. The front porch steps were like an experiment in torture and sure enough my husband was in the bedroom getting ready for work as I walked in like a bow-legged bull rider, holding back tears. My husband just looked at me as I shucked out of the skirt and turned to face him, finally letting the tears fall, blubbering incoherently about Cosmo, spice and teeny tiny sales waifs. He was beginning to smile, which of course ticked me off even more.
"What? Don't you want to save our marriage?" I yelled at him.
"Yeah, but you've got those things on all whopperjawed. It looks king of painful."
Sure enough, I had put a leg through the waist, the waist through my legs and ended up wearing the thong less like lingerie and more like a straightj acket for my goodies. One week, one panty burning ceremony in the front yard and one bottle of Goldbond later, I devoted myself to granny panties and never looked back.
But last week, two of my friends performed a panty intervention. And while I was reluctant to plunge privates first into the panty pond, I slowly came around but still have some questions.
  • Why do they call them "boy shorts"? They don't particularly look like something one would wear hunting, romping through the woods, or four-wheeling.
  • What's with the "hipster"? They looked comfortable enough but every time I picked up a pair and saw the word hipster I had flashes of Kramer from Seinfeld and who wants to think about that guy every time they put on underwear?
  • Why would anyone want their cheeks to hang out of their underwear? Is it just so that they can say the word "cheeky" more often? Because I like that word, too. Cheeky, cheeky... my underwear is "cheeky". Cheeky.
  • Who thinks up underwear styles? I mean, is there some little girl out there dreaming about the day she graduates from design school with her Distinguished Diploma of Delicate Design trying to figure out new and exciting ways to incorporate latex and lace into the wardrobe of the woman of the future? I really want to know who to blame for the thong. Really.

So, to bring this to an end, pardon the pun, I have not had an anti-granny-panty epiphany, but I have picked up some not-so-utilitarian non-granny-panties and am desperately trying not to twitch and fidget when I wear them. Do I like them, you ask... Well, they're no six-year-old-no-elastic-thread-bare-granny-panties, but I could learn to dig it...especially if they continue to ride up like the new sheriff in town!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Six-Word Life Story

About a year ago I discovered a book in Barnes and Noble called "The Six-Word Memoir". It challenged famous, infamous, and unfamous writers to sum up their life in six words, no more, no less, no abbreviations. As I read through the book, some made me laugh, like "I should have married his brother." Others were tragic, like Ernest Hemingway's "Baby shoes for sale; never worn." Never being one to shy away from a challenge, I immediately started contemplating mine. I reflected upon all of the wonderful things that had happened to me and after 20 seconds of stumbling down memory lane, I began to come into the reality of myself: I was neither incredibly funny nor incredibly tragic. I was kind of middle of the road, however my life was marked by an awful lot of good ideas gone bad, failed attempts to be cool, clever, or more than I was intended to be. Things that seemed like really good ideas at the time.
And thus, my six word memoir was born: It SEEMED like a good idea... I have the credentials to back it up.
  • When I decided to convert our bedroom into an office which involved painting over a hideous shade of pepto-bismal/blood cocktail pink I didn't use primer because I just wanted to get DONE. After about five coats of paint I had blisters and painters elbow so I went to the hardware store and bought an industrial strength Wagner Power Painter. It seemed like a GOOD idea except for the fact that there was no ventilation, the device was so heavy I couldn't control it and somewhere along the line, after I passed out the first time, the fumes got the better of me and I ended up spray painting my name on all the doors.
  • Born of Scotch Irish/Irish Scotch background, I was in a constant state of ghoulish whiteness. Two summers ago, the first day of my vacation I decided that Canned Tan wasn't enough, plus I had a coupon for a local salon who would do airbrushing. It SEEMED like a good idea, until I found out that you had to be completely naked except for these paper string panties they give you...and we all know how I feel about cutesy undies and a complete stranger basically fires up one of those contraptions that resembled sprayers used by exterminators and makes you strike all kinds of completely humiliating poses while she blasts the bejeezes out of you with Tropical Sienna henna dye. I went from CarrotTop to Beyonce in five minutes...well parts of me did. When I was naked, I looked like a Cooper Tire skidmark.
  • The latest example would have to be a device I found as I ran into Walgreen's today. It was in their "As Seen On TV" section and they were playing a DVD demonstration. It's called an Emjoi Tweeze and it's for those of us who have so many hormonal imbalances that our next career move could involve a bright pink Airstream and the words "bearded lady." The women on the DVD looked so happy and smooth. And the lady sitting on the gorgeous silk sectional assured me it was dermatologist approved and completely painless. It seemed like a good IDEA...she looked directly at me and explained that this device would keep me from looking like Mustapha the Lion King with backlighting in every photograph and I was SOLD. I read the instructions and fired up the Emjoi Tweeze. I didn't listen to the DVD long enough; I didn't read the instructions in depth enough...okay I just put the batteries in and looked at the pictures. This thing is a facial epilator which is French for UNIMAGINABLE, GRANNY-PANTY SATURATING PAIN AND AGONY. This little device, which all of the happy and smooth women on the DVD were using while they smiled, cooked supper and did pole dances, literally RIPS the hair out of your sensitive facial areas by the root. There's a small, small, tiny, teeny sentence explaining that there may be some mild stinging the first time but it would get better. Yeah it will get better, my skin is terrified to allow the hair to push through now. My whole dermal system in trying to get Dr. Phil on Blackberry for a consel/convo. It SEEMED like a good idea. And so now, I'm sitting here with an ace bandage wrapped around my head holding lunch bag ice packs all around my chin area because let's just say there is some swelling (picture Jay Leno with a third degree sunburn). It seemed like a GOOD idea. That's the story of my life.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Big Lots of Humiliating Humiliation

Everybody has a secret. I don't care who you are or how honest you think you are with your friends and loved ones, somewhere along the line, we are all hiding something. Sometimes secrets are little, insignificant things that don't hurt anybody if you choose not to share them. Some secrets are treasures, things we keep to ourselves so that we alone can savor the glorious knowledge. Then there are those secrets that can rip lives apart, turn people to the dark side, ruin your good standing in the community, drive you to drink cheap wine in your backyard around a bonfire...That's the kind of secret that I inadvertantly revealed a couple of weeks ago. I will share it with you now.

My deep dark secret is this: I wear granny panties. The bigger the better, that's my motto. I've never particularly enjoyed buying underwear for several reasons: Victoria's Secret is that she hates anyone over a size 5; no one but my husband ever sees my underwear and he's seen me without makeup so the jig is up, so to speak; plus I don't like to buy things I can't try on and let's face it...eeewwww! So I'm a bulk briefs buyer. The bigger the package, the lower the price, the uglier they are, the better. I have experimented with cutesy underwear and it ended badly...with a really itchy rash, actually, but that's a whole other secret.

So about two weeks ago, a good month into my "lifestyle modification" which requires depriving myself of anything that tastes good and strapping myself onto machines with names that sound like they came from a Transformer's cartoon (Cybex??? ARC Trainer???? at least in medieval times they called a spade a spade) I was down 13 pounds and in a hurry to get to an appointment so I went to my old standby: a fabulous pair of black gauchos that I got for next to nothing at a second hand shop in Louisville, KY. When I bought them, they were a couple of sizes too big, but they were such a steal! I threw them on, over the first pair of granny panties that I pulled out of the dresser, threw on a white t, my favorite gray jacket and headed to Hannibal where I was fighting the evil forces of Medicare underinsurance.

Of course no trip to Hannibal is complete without a stop at Big Lots to stock up on mismatched socks and yes, bargain bin granny panties. Running behind as I usually am, I was hurrying through the aisle, not even thinking about the fact that my gauchos were mucho grande until they crumpled down in a pile around my ankles. I might have survived the debacle hand I not been wearing my pointed toe flats which promptly got tangled up in my shorts and sent me flying face-first, granny panty butt up on the floor. Of course, I was wearing Satan's granny's panties - the bright red ones. So basically the four people sharing the aisle with me knew, without a doubt these things: the fast-walking large woman dropped trou, tripped over said trou, waved her large, red bullseye of a butt up in the air for awhile before landing, face first in the potato chip and snack aisle of the Hannibal Big Lots. There was no getting out of it gracefully. Everyone was obviously so shocked by the sight of red clad buttocks that they couldn't even ask me if I was okay. They did have the grace to wait until I ever so gracefully squat-pulled myself off the floor courtesy of a Little Debbie display and got my gauchos pulled up to start laughing.

And so now I live in fear, each week ever so casually watching America's Funniest Home Videos and searching YouTube to make sure that I haven't made my debut. I'm not sure if they have surveillance cameras at Big Lots, but I don't want to be caught off guard and so I am trusting everyone that reads this to be my confidante, to call me and let me know I've made my debut. And how will they know it's me? Just look for Satan's granny's panties and a face to match.

Friday, March 6, 2009

That's What Happens After Snakes Have Blatant Snake Sex...

For those of you who recall, and for those of you don't, last October or September or sometime when it was warm before it was cold and then warm again, we had a snake infestation... I had almost forgotten the horror of it all, but if you'd like to be reminded see the blog post about Blatant Snake Sex.
It should have occurred to me, what with the weather above freezing, that sooner or later the sex of the snakes would be visited upon me. Today was that day. It started like any other day...I had just finished weeping profusely and begging God to save me from another day in the hell known as Corporate America and was leaving the house to start the day after stopping my Satan's office to sign off on that whole soul deal and as I stepped on the bottom step what can only be described as a GALAXY of little, wiggly, slithery snakes came shooting out from under the step.
I did what any redblooded American God-fearing girl would do: screamed out a string of obscenities that would make a sailor suck his thumb and cower in the corner and then looked around to make no one I knew had heard me. Than I ran to my car and began to suck my thumb and cower.
I looked back up at the porch step and all the little ones were gone, however I noticed one really big one lying very still near the side of the porch. I did what any redblooed American God-fearing girl would do: I threw a rock at it while speed dialing 911. Two things I learned: snake infestations are only considered emergencies if said snakes are drug dealer and just because a snake doesn't move when you throw a rock at it doesn't mean it's dead.
How do I know it wasn't dead? Well after I was brutally rebuffed by 911 and as I stood dialing the animal control number a REALLY BIG SNAKE followed by several little ones crawled up to the snake. The RBS (really big snake, for the remainder of this post) wrapped itself about the seemingly dead snake and started...well...started...saying hello to his little friend.
Two things I learned: the expression of love between two creatures is NOT always a beautiful thing and it's just as pervy to watch snakes have sex as it is to watch humans...not that I have ever done that but sometimes you go to a movie on a first date and it just happens...ON THE SCREEN, PEOPLE, ON THE SCREEN!!!!!
So Animal Control is on the way, RBS is lighting up a cigarette and the little snakes come crawling out from under the two big ones...which if you ask me is just really bad parenting. Upon arrival they are unable to grab the snakes, but they do leave me with some words of wisdom: get a cat, an outdoor cat.
It is at this point that I weigh my options...I could continue to live in the same house with Dirk Wiggler, herptological porn star, or I could find a cat that I could keep on a leash in the front yard of my house. Go on, pick the lesser of two evils with that one...It's either continue as the neighborhood Snake Pimp or become the neighborhood crazy lady who keeps an attack cat leashed to her front porch.
I did what any redblooded American God-fearing girl would do...I called the exterminator who promptly told me I had to call a different exterminator because "they don't do snakes." It took every ounce of strength I had not to make a VERY inappropriate joke. Come to find out, getting rid of snakes is an expensive thing. Over $200 and that's without a guarantee they'll come back.
I called my personal experts who had all sorts of advice, most of which involved fire arms, garden tools and one guy who said to lay rope down around the entire yard.
I did what any redblooded American God-fearing girl would do...I put it on my husband's to-do list for tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adulthood: The Final Frontier

I'm not a big fan of being a grown-up. Granted, when I was a kid, I thought being a grown-up would be the best thing EVER! I could drive, I could stay up as late as I wanted, I could eat whatever I all looked good to me! Being an adult is kind of like going to Disney World: the build-up is incredible and the anticipation factor is breathtaking, but once you arrive, there's just too much to do and see and not enough time to truly enjoy any of it. Growing up is NOT like Disney World in that I have never been hugged by a life size rodent wearing white gloves...unless you count my husband and technically he wasn't wearing white gloves...
Alas I find myself spiraling into a pre-mid-life crisis situation. No, no, no, not the kind where you buy a sports car, start doing jazzercise and begin to shop at Limited Too for your own clothing. I'm talking about the kind where you look back at some of the choices you've made, or the choices you let others force upon you and say "See, there, that's where it all went to pot!" If only I had not gone to college right out of high school... If only I'd driven around the country writing poetry and playing the guitar, working when I had to...If only blah, blah, blah.
I think you get to a point in your adult life when you finally understand why George Bailey was climbing over the rail of the bridge and running all over Bedford Falls in the snow. We all have big dreams, big goals and it's kind of strange to me that as we get bigger and take up more space in the universe, or dreams tend to become smaller and take up less space inside of us, kind of a reciprocal fade as it were. George Bailey's dream had been so big, yet his life in actuality compared to his dream of past days, was small and getting smaller everyday. I never ceased to be amazed by the truths that emerge as you get to know people. You find out that the lady answering the phone at the corporate office dreams of opening a coffee house and book shop and selling her amazing homemade cookies. You find out that the kid carrying out your groceries plays the guitar like a demon and is saving up money to move to Nashville and try to get some gigs. You find these things out about people and it's a double-edged sword: excitement that you are not the only dreamer left and bittersweet remorse and a bit of jealousy as you contemplate the possibility of those dreamers becoming doers and you remaining a "didn't-quite-make-it."
Growing up, the cure for nothing it seems. And it would be awfully easy to simply withdraw from life. But then there are the huge things in our tiny lives, like our children and our causes and our different faiths. You'll discover, as I am discovering now, that the amazing thing about dreams and life is that they are both malleable and have a tendency to stretch to whatever form must be contained within them. I was never reminded more of this than I was this evening. As I went to put Kyser to bed, I took a good look at my little/huge dream and noticed that his eyes are turning green. "Kyser, your eyes are turning green!"
He looked up at me with a frown. "Do I have to go to the doctor?" I told him no, I figured his eyes would change colors, I just thought it would happen when he was a baby.
"I'm growing up! I'm growing up!" I no longer question the 6-year-old logic that he utilizes to apply everyday happenings to his universe. "Yup, you're growing up!" I said and turned around before he could see the tears forming.
About twenty minutes later, I hear him in his bedroom just wailing and sobbing. I ran back to his bedroom and sure enough he lay on his bed, holding on to Sock Monkey, and just bawling. "Are you okay? Does something hurt? Did something scare you?"
"Mama, mama, mama," he wailed. "I don't want to grow up, I don't want to get old." I held my breath waiting for him to say he didn't want to move out, seeing as how I've already got plans for a fabulous craft/hobby room in that space.
"Baby, you aren't going to grow up for a long time, you've still got a lot of years left before you're grown up."
"But someday I'm going to grow up and my eyes are already green and I'm already bigger than my shoes," he blubbered.
"Well, those things are true," I said. "But growing up isn't all bad, you can still have fun!"
"You mean I can still play with toys and eat candy and lay around and watch TV all day?"
"Is that what you think grown ups do?" I asked.
"That's what Daddy does on Saturday..." he looked up at me with his blue/green eyes.
"Yeah, that's what grown ups do..." I affirmed his belief and he quieted down and slowly faded to sleep as I walked out of the room. That's the one out, the one loophole, fate's little deal breaker - Saturday is Daddy Day and ain't no grown ups in the room!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm with Capone

I have ALWAYS hated Valentine's Day. I believe that the roots of this hatred began branching through the ground all the way back to the third grade when we were evidently "old enough" to begin to give our classmates "special" valentines. I didn't know I was old enough and to be honest there wasn't anybody I was particularly overtly fond of in my class - I was holding out for a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn type with a Foghorn Leghorn send of humor. However that was the year the elementary school flood gates of love opened up. I wish I could say that I remember everyone getting a big shiny red heart box of candy except for me and because of that rejection I began to mistreat my stuffed animals and recite the words to "Hotel California" over and over...but that wasn't until college. I only remember a couple of girls getting the boxes of candy, one because she was really the nicest girl in class and the other girl because I'm pretty sure she told everybody if they didn't bring her candy she was going to stick their head under the merry go round while she triumphantly rode atop their gravel-burned faces.
Valentine's Day just seems like such an "icky" holiday. You know, hearts and flowers and teddy bears and other stuff that make the sides of my mouth hurt like I've eaten something rancid, it's just too much. There are entire aisles of Wal-Mart that look like they've been hosed down with Pepto Bismol, stocked to the roof with cutesie crap that no one really needs or wants...really? I mean girls, be honest, do you really feel the need for yet ANOTHER life size blood red shag teddy bear wearing heart boxes and a leather jacket? Do we all really believe that nothing says I hold you in the highest regard like an electronic dancing lion that moons you to the tune of "Let's Get It On"?
So I decided to do a little digging and find out just exactly where this whole Valentine's Day thing got its start. As with most things there is a Pagan history and a Christian history - I will desperately try to refrain from comment on either and simply present the facts:
The pagan version goes like this: Back in the days of ancient Rome, because evidently there were no other civilizations and as far as paganism goes, the Romans were exemplary, the 13th thru 15th days of the month of February were celebrated as Lupercalia, a festival set aside to honor Lupa, the wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Essentially there was the sacrifice of goats and dogs, then thongs were made for all the men who would strip down, put on the thongs then tear them off as they were running through the streets so that they could whip the hands of young maidens, thus warding off sterility, helping with pain in childbirth, and quickening delivery of those pregnant women present at the nude thonging. Of course, there was the annointing of virgins with the blood of goats and dogs, no Roman festival or corporate retreat is complete without that, and then there was much free loving in the streets -again, common to Roman festivals and corporate morale building...
The Christian version begins with a pope and a desperate endeavor to keep naked, blood-covered pagans from whipping all of the eligible young women of the land in the streets. It's not complicated, the pope simply made it against law to cut goats, dug up the name of some poor, completely forgotten saint who died on or around that day (St. Valentine) and Christianized the whole thing by making it about said saint. Kind of like what the Baptists have done with the carry-in dinner...minus the maiden-whipping. Technically the celebration of St. Valentine's Day began 200 years after the saint had died - it also continued to be known as Lupercalia and included all the dirty Roman extras for 150 years after Constantine outlawed pagan rituals by making Christianity the law of the land. Proof positive that to the Romans, nothing said loving like thongs made out of dead goat butts.
But my all-time favorite, and the reason that I celebrate Valentine's Day would have to be the events surrounding the holiday in 1929 Chicago when Al Capone got all kinds of ticked off at Bugs Moran and called a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who had a big old machine gun. Seven men, oddly enough NOT including Bugs Moran, got whipped that day and it wasn't with any goat thong - thus the St. Valentine's Day Massacre - music to ears of bitter women everywhere.
Alas, I am a mama now, so I cannot spread my ill-tempered dogma concerning this useless holiday. Nor will I suggest that my husband, in a display of his unending love for me, strip naked and run through the streets of our fair town smacking people around with a stuff animal, because that's about as close to a goat skin as he's going to get; he's a bit prissy about that kind of thing... I'll just wait, keeping my mouth closed and cleaning off a space on the hutch cabinet for the inevitable electronic dancing lion that moons me to the tune of "Let's Get It On." Ahhhhhhh, that's amore!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bad Goodbye

I hate saying goodbye. When I was in college I would always wait until everyone else had gone before I would leave for Christmas break, spring break, and summer break. In my mind it was them saying goodbye to me, therefore taking the pressure off of me. If backed into a corner, I would usually duck and run, avoiding it all together. Goodbyes meant the end of something, usually something that I wanted desperately to continue and most always something that simply could not. I would much rather watch it fade away slowly, like something I could forget about little by little, giving the appearance of a clean break, letting everyone think I was either really strong, or just kind of a cold hearted bitch...
You can imagine the amount of loose ends dangling out there with my name all over them. Relationships, friendships, personal emotional investments, most of them never got the chance to end properly. You can imagine the insurmountable deficit of closure in my life. There would be another time, another place where I could say my goodbyes with the proper finesse and dignity. Life was not finite, nor was it defined. The most naive kind of immortality, I practiced day to day with no regard for the others involved, and ultimately no regard for myself.
There is but one finite goodbye, one that can never be revoked or smiled through. One that can never be taken back or made into a do-over and that is when God has His final word. I will have to say that goodbye tomorrow and I will say it with the utmost, deepest regret.
I am endlessly amazed by people who tell me of their past and speak of their regret. "I should have never told him I loved him," or "I said too much and I scared her." Regret for things that they spoke out of the very same honesty that I hold such a disdain for. My regret is always for things that I didn't say, truths that I couldn't speak, risks that I just couldn't take at the time and the knowledge that someday I will get the chance to say them. I will never get the chance to say the things I should have said so many years ago to my dear friend.
I should have told him how much I loved him, how much I admired him. I should have told him that I was in love with him and I didn't care if he didn't love me as long as he would let me be near him, I would have been satisfied. I wanted to tell him that it was alie when I said I didn't care if he didn't love me. I wanted him to know that I was so sorry that someone hurt him, that he was worth more than what he allowed himself to be sacrificed for. I wanted him to know there were times when he took my breath away and there were times when he was all the air I needed. I wanted to tell him thank you for popping the insular bubble that was my life and showing me beauty and art beyond anything I imagined; and I wanted to tell him to slow down, that he was racing through life and I couldn't keep up and pretty soon I was terrified that I would lose sight of him...and I did.
Tomorrow I will mourn the death of my dear friend, a flamboyant spirit that tore through my universe and ripped it open like a tin can. But more than mourning the loss of a beautiful, gifted man, I will mourn what he lost out on because of my ineptitude at being a three-dimensional creature. He should have known all of those things. He should have heard all of those things and he should have heard them from my lips, no matter how scared or stupid I felt. I cheated him out of a proper goodbye.
And now I can give him nothing but a weak, one-sided, improper goodbye. And he deserved so much more than a bad goodbye.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For those who are left to dance...

I've stared at the cursor for the last 20 minutes. It's blinking at me, taunting me, daring me to start the once-upon-a-time memorial to a man whose absence in this world makes it just a bit more gray. But I'm at a loss. There are funny stories, sad stories, a couple of really scary stories and lots of songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But nothing says it all. There aren't any words.
And yet words are all we have. We are blessed and cursed with words, planning what to say as you walk up the sidewalk to knock on the door, wondering if you will ever be able to express the joy he brought into your life and in the same breath express your horrible shock at their loss. Words are so useless and so trite, literally worth nothing and so utterly priceless in that they are all we have to offer.
That's the truth of the incredible deficit left by Jason Dugger. The triteness of the saying that life is like a song is in actuality proven by Jason's passing. We had the words; Jason had the music. Voila! One of my fondest memories of Jason is him in that leather bomber jacket, plinking out a melody on the piano and looking over at me with those mischievous eyes telling me to write him a song. And slowly but surely we would write a song, not necessarily a good one, in fact hardly ever a good one, but good enough for us. Music by Jason, words by me.
No more. Just words. So here they are:

For Jason
All you lived was music
A deep swelling inside the soul
That became the symphony of all that you touched
You wrote us into the lines
Perfectly rising, inevitably falling
And we became the crescendo of all that you created
Our lives, your music
Echoing always in your laughter
Echoing forever in our tears
Reminding us that we now have the choice
To dance to what you left behind.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What My Dog Knows Might Kill Me...

When you are a single person, living on your own, there is a special kind of freedom that you don't even realize you have until you don't have it anymore. And that is the freedom to be yourself, no matter how stupid, dorky or mental you may be underneath the cool, smooth, composed facade you present to the world on a daily basis.
Example: I have this thing about my pores. I am fascinated by the fact that they are so incredibly huge you could hide a small boatload of Cubans in there. When I was single, I would take the shade off of my bedside lamp and examine them with my compact mirror...then I would experiment on them. I would rub lemon juice on them, I would rub ice cubes on them, one time, before my first date with the man who is now my husband, I got really desperate, certain that if he got a good look at my pores he would leave me for a much more facially firmer woman, and I rubbed my face down with Preparation H - I had to eat through a straw for a week.
Since I now live in the smallest freaking house in the free world with a boy and a man who acts like a boy, there is nowhere for me to experiment on my pores. There have been times when I have been so desperate to get a look at them that I have lied about going to the grocery store, driven to the park and sat in my car examining my pores, plucking my eyebrows and picking out those black chin hairs which has proven to me once and for all that it's much better to be judged insane by strangers driving or walking by than by people who gather with your family on a regular basis.
Over the last few months, however, things have changed. With a job that allows me to work at home sometimes, a couple of shift changes for my husband and a kiddo who is now in school, I have slowly come to realize that I have time...yes, myself.
Granted working from home is harder for me than working in an office setting where there is structure, but there's something nice about being able to practice talking like Carmella Soprano when I call customer service numbers. I'm also enjoying a very liberal primping policy which allows me to try on several different outfits while watching television that ISN'T cartoonage or NASCAR. Sometimes I get wild and crazy and eat a pop tart in the living without a plate...yeah, I said it...NO PLATE.
However it occured to me today, as I was standing outside with the new puppy, Biskit, that all the while these things are going on, I am not really alone, for there in the shadows, chewing on my favorite purse, making Biskit bubbles on my report that's due the next day, is the dog.
Biskit is new to our of those "designer dogs" called a Shnoodle-a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle, which if you ask me is kind of like letting Paris Hilton and CarrotTop breed - just asking for trouble.
I don't know if I can trust him yet.
Zeus, our dog for 12 years before he had to be put down last month, kept my secrets. Zeus never told anybody about ABBA karaoke day. He never said a word about my obsession with learning all the moves to Michael Jackson's Thriller video after seeing that Jennifer Garner movie 13 Going on 30. He went to the grave never spilling the beans about the unfortunate self-tanner incident of 2005; ditto for the repeat trial of 2006.
Biskit has witnessed a few things that make me nervous; nothing significant or that could get me kicked out of the PTO...just a couple of Oscar speeches, just in case and a really experimental eyeliner technique that left me looking like Alice Cooper on anti-depressants. He hasn't said a peep about either, but I think that's because I've seen him...well, proposing romance to a couple of the stuffed animals in Kyser's room and let's face it, if you were the new dog in the pack would you want your new friends knowing you were mackin' on Tow-Mater?
Will we reach an impasse, this newest addition and I? Will he begin to tell my secrets, tarnishing my questionable good name? Or will he use the information against me, running off with my favorite sparkly shoes and hiding them in his little hidey hole that I can't seem to find, leaving little ransom notes extorting Beggin' Strips from me in return for not yapping? Signing it with his cute little puppy paw print?
Only time will tell. Truth be told, it's all about the relationship, I suppose. I trust Biskit, mainly because he can't talk, the whole opposable thumbs issue and what I know about him and Mater, let's just say he's gettin' it done... Yet that uninhibited and yes, sometimes psychotic and questionable behavior is something I would never show to my husband or my son, although I'm sure they suspect it. Why don't we want people to know what we are really like? Is my pore obsession really that bad? I'm sure there are others who would enjoy ABBA karaoke day...
And yet those things are only mine and I think that is because despite all of our desire to attach ourselves to another person, to be loved and to love, to entwine our lives and our hearts there must remain that weirdo individualism that made you what the other person fell in love with in the first place.
So I will enjoy my days here and there - I'm desperately trying to learn all the moves from that Finger 11 Paralyzer video and I'd like to try some worchestershire sauce on my face. And Biskit will be right along beside, observing and keeping his mouth shut...that is if he knows what's good for him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Son, the Soprano

I remember being pregnant with my son. I never felt more beautiful: my skin glowed, my hair flowed, I moved slower and with determination much like the crescendo of a great piece of music. Okay, so maybe I'm romanticizing...truth be told my skin was so greasy you could have rubbed my head on a bicycle chain and competed in the Tour De France; the flowing hair was actually like having a headful of sea anemones and the reason I moved slower was not due to grace or a great desire to savor life, it was the 60 pounds of water weight that I was dragging around by week 24.

But even though my pregnancy was less than ideal, there were though magical moments. The first time you go to Wal-Mart and confidently, if not arrogantly, cruise past the feminine product aisle. The decadent sleepiness and peaceful rest that came with not having to make an excuse for taking a nap in the middle of the morning. Being able to lay around like third base and not feeling guilty about it. Those fuzzy, glazed over moments when you are half asleep and you feel that butterfly flit across your tummy for the first time and in that moment you grasp, for just one fraction of a second, the infinite importance of life and its always impending fragility. The dreams you have for that life inside of your body, the hope for a good life, the fear that you will not be able to provide it. A beautiful menagerie, a collage of all of the most beautiful and serene and mystical molecules in the universe - that is your world when you are about to be a mother.

Then they come out, start talking and stop being so mystical and some of the magic of being a mother is replaced by some of the reality. Those daydreams of your little punim holding the knowledge that may one day produce the technology to cure cancer tend to fade when you look in the rearview mirror just in time to see him eating his own boogers. The hopes of artistic genius are pushed to the bottom of the list and replaced the reality that your child is examining the contents of the puppy's vomit in an attempt to recover a missing Lego. Those dreams of distinguished receptions and White House dinners are quickly swept away by the superhero cape made out of an old curtain, a pair of knock-off Christian Dior sunglasses as goggles and a slightly chubby six year old running around in his little Superman boxer briefs jumping off stuff to make sure he hasn't been granted the ability to fly but just doesn't know about it yet.

This was blaringly demonstrated to me last week by the actions of my little man. He lost a tooth and as was tradition we took a picture, put the tooth in the special pouch and put it under Kyser's pillow. As I turned his bed down he disappeared for a moment and came slinking back into his bedroom careful not to reveal the tools he carried.

"Kyser, what do you have?"

He glanced to the right, a telltale sign that he was developing a story. "Well, uh. Hmmmmmm" He paused and shifted from one foot to the next. "Well, I just thought. Well, see..."

I ducked and shifted to the left, he went right and we met at the foot of the bed where I discovered my little darling was holding a rubber mallet hammer I had been using to take apart the Christmas tree and a Wal-Mart bag. "I wasn't going to hurt her..." Was how my little sweetie began to explain his heinous and diabolic, if not mafia-esque plan to slowly drain the funds of the Tooth Fairy. "I was just gonna wait until she showed up tonight for my tooth then I was gonna whack her on the head and put this bag over her head until you wake up tomorrow and we could get me a jar and poke the holes in the lid. I won't keep her forever, just for awhile."

My son, my sweet little red head cherub. My Opie-Taylor doppleganger, cute little lisp, smattering of freckles across his nose walking talking miracle had hatched a plot to put the screws to the Tooth Fairy. I saw this as a three-pronged pitchfork of dispair: on one hand, I was worried because he had used the word "whack" in one of the many correct contexts and he was only six; on the other hand, I thought perhaps it might behoove me to be a bit more worried about the fact that he had formulated an actual plan of action; and if I could borrow your third hand, I would have to say that my other concern was the fact that my little seraphim had actually coordinated a mob hit involving extortion. To even begin to tell him how this was wrong was almost as complex as addressing the many evils he was layering like a sinister submarine sandwich. So I said that was not the best idea and that if he wanted to have a chance with the Tooth Fairy he better had over the tools of doom and scoot to bed and he did and was out like a little light.

That night, the Tooth Fairy left a note neatly tucked in Kyser's shoe in the living room, explaining that she had heard of the twisted plot and was afraid to go to Kyser's room. She would return to leave his reward in a couple of nights, when she was sure it was safe.

And in all honesty, the "Tooth Fairy" had taken inventory and couldn't account for several blunt objects in the household that could be used as weapons.

The next morning, Kyser was disappointed, and we tried to explain that she was afraid for herself due to his violoent plot but Kyser just shook it off. "She ain't scared, Mom. She goes into people's houses all the time and takes their teeth and you think she ought to be scared of me? I'm a kid with a rubber hammer. What do want?"