Friday, December 30, 2011


It's 7:40 am and as soon as we've had a cup of coffee, we're going to get into the little guy's room and paint his walls.


That's the color.  


That's a tough one to figure out without a color chip in your hands, isn't it.

A clue: The next shade darker than Swallow -- and what I hope to paint my bedroom later this year -- is ... Anonymous.



I've got to wonder what kind of day the Paint Namer at Behr was having when this card of four colors made it to their desk. Or better yet, what happened the night prior. 

Swallow is grey.  Anonymous is a darker grey.

That's what I know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The room looked pretty good when we woke up this morning. I did some more taping and Husband did some more patching/mudding. We made a 400-mile round-trip visit to see Husband's mother in her nursing home downstate. At 7:30 we were back at home and by 8:15 pm, we were back in the room sanding, taping and priming.

It all looks awful. I feel like we're never going to get this done.

And while we're busy in the little guy's room, the rest of the house is going to Hell in a handbasket.  Drywall dust has escaped little guy's room and has blown into ours, and is traveling up the hallway.  Laundry is piling up. Dishes are piling up. The Home Depot I peed in downstate tonight had a cleaner bathroom than either of ones that are in my own home. 

I just cleaned the cat box, but I can still smell poop, so that disgusting little fucker has shat in a mystery spot. I imagine the turd in question is covered in a thick layer of drywall dust and I may have just primed it into a permanent spot in the baseboards.

I am on schedule in my freaking out. Usually by Day 7 of a project, Husband comes home to find me in a corner on the floor, a pile of greasy, paint-stained hair, mascara tears and desperation.  We started this project last Monday. I'm actually running a bit behind. Christmas must have distracted me.

We know what we have to do tomorrow. Bring up the big ladder and tape off the ceiling so we can prime the molding up top. Sand the door a little more. Wipe down areas that were sanded. Get two coats of paint on all the trim ... doors, windows, molding and baseboards. Paint all the backs of the Billy shelves to match the walls.

Clean the entire house.

And then leave here by 4:15 so we can meet friends for dinner and a hockey game in the burbs.

Insomnia is not an option tonight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting There

Today was tedious, but in the most awesome kind of tedious way possible.

Husband woke up ready to work, so after 5 minutes of coffee and biscotti, we went into the little guy's room and figured out what had to be done. We did a pretty spectacularly shitty job of filling all the cracks and nail holes in his room last night (we prefer to work in near darkness -- the element of surprise keeps the job exciting), so we used the light of day to our advantage to repair 100-year old plaster.

In the most serendipitous of ways, our neighbor invited the little guy over for a play date, so we didn't have to contend with the needs and concerns of the 8-year old. 

We couldn't have asked the stars to align more perfectly. We had to get some shit done.

The walls are shit. If we had $5k just sitting around, we'd pay someone with skills and/or talent to demo the room and put up gypsum board. But we don't. So we've spent about $70 in joint compound, spackle and sand paper and we're doing the best we can.

We got an orbital sander. I'm pretty stoked about that. You have to put a shit-ton of goo on these cracked walls and we'd be sanding til 2013 if we had to rely on our upper arm strength.  The orbital sander makes quick work of the whole process. 

Surprisingly, we didn't get into a fight at The Depot. Husband just resigned himself to the color I picked and there were no subsequent discussions.

Subsequent discussions of the past went like this: 

Husband: "What color?"
Me: "This one."
Husband: "Really?"
Me: "For fuck's sake. I've been talking about this for two weeks."
Husband: "You have?"
Me: "Yes. Why don't you ever listen to me?"
Husband: "I do. {Long pause}.This is the color?"
Me: "Yes."
Husband: "What about something else?"
Me: "Such as?"
Husband: "I don't know."
Me: "Well, my color  beats your color since your color doesn't have a name or a fucking clue."
Husband: "How about orange?"
Me: "How about fuck you?"

[End Scene]

We did not have that discussion today.

We got shit done. We got the girl to help us. We just finished scarfing down Asian take-out and booze. We are currently watching "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

I am so, so happy.

For the friends that have asked, here are some pix of our work:

It's no longer a door to the office to our bedroom. It's a stone-cold wall, biotch.

West wall: Soon to be the wall of Rock and or Roll. Husband rocks the chops.

East wall: Hard to see, but this will be Blackhawks Tribute Wall #1. Trust me.

She got more in her hair and on the bottom of her feet than on the wall. But she's cheap labor.

Door? What door?
Today was pretty productive. We're hoping to do some taping and mudding up the bad spots tomorrow morning before we visit Husband's mom downstate. I can't wait to prime and paint the windows and trim and then, hopefully by Day 365 of 2011, get "Sparrow" on the walls.

The coolest thing of today's work was finding the "This Old House"  web site how-to on removing paint from door hardware. This hardware has been painted over for at least 35-years and I didn't want to paint over it again.

"This Old House" suggested I put the hardware in the Crock Pot with a few tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent and water and then turn up the heat ... and wait. Check this out:

After about 7 hours, I pulled off 35-years of paint off the hardware with a pair of tongs. This is possibly the neatest thing EVER.
Right???? That is 100-year old hardware!
Between the gift-wrapping, puzzle-making and sanding/priming crap, my back ... ugh. I lack words to explain my back pain right now.

I know it will all be worth it in a week or so.

I am happy. The food was good, my favorite wine is back at Trader Joe's, I've got door hardware in the crock pot and I'm not wearing pants.

My life is good.

Monday, December 26, 2011


We got started on the little guy's bedroom -- for real -- tonight. All of the books, stuffed animals and Blackhawks memorabilia are packed in boxes and occupying the length of our hallway. 

I am overjoyed to have the contents of his room spilling out in the public area of the rest of our condo.*

Since we started packing things up, it seemed like a good time to do a little purging. We do toy and clothing purges fairly regularly because the 100-year old condo does not offer oodles of closet space, so little guy's crap was condensed into one small U-Haul box and a smallish tower of jigsaw puzzles.

Years ago, my kids really got into puzzles. I loved getting them because they didn't require batteries or make noise and the kids would sit quietly and actually help each other complete the puzzle. 

Wii killed puzzles.

I decided we could free some space in the new room if we donated some of the puzzles to the nearby Salvation Army. But because of my undiagnosed OCD, I insisted that we make sure all of the puzzles had all of their pieces. 

What a satisfying way to spend the night with the family, right? TV on, eating leftover squid and shrimp, drinking wine and putting together puzzles. 

Just like they did back in the 60s.

Not so much. The children bitched and moaned like I had asked them to twist off their own little arms. And mother only has three Mother's Little Helpers left.

We've completed 18 puzzles. My fingers are truly stiff. My back is in agonizing pain. 

And four of the 18 puzzles have missing pieces.

What do I do with them?

Do I throw them out? What kid wants to slave away over a puzzle and not be able to finish it because of a missing piece or two? Where is the reward in that?

Do I mark the boxes accordingly: "This puzzle is missing two pieces"? Because isn't an Incredible Hulk puzzle with one missing piece better than no puzzle at all?

What do I do with them?

And an even better question: How do I avoid the top drawer of his nightstand which I know is stuffed with coloring books, broken crayons and other weird shit that will need my attention?  

I'm actually trying to knock the Hoarder out of him and make him a part of the purging process, so just dumping the drawer in the garbage can isn't going to do him any favors. But going through it with him isn't going to do me any favors, either. 

Daughter has a drawer of markers in her bedroom caddy. A year ago, we found all the markers in the house and tested every last one of them to make sure they had a viable marker shelf-life before I allowed her to put them in that caddy.

I think it's time to test the markers again, just in case some of them dried out.

Sometimes I wish I was Husband. He just brought up a dirty Tupperware container that has probably been living in his desk drawer at work for a full month.

He ain't sweatin' it.

One day last year, the kids had some random vacation day. We had no plans. I made them help me sort out 10 years worth of take-out menus. We covered the dining room table and floor with piles of menus so we could get rid of duplicates (and sometimes triplicates or more) and organize by cuisine. 

I felt 15 lbs lighter. I don't think the kids gave a shit, either way.

I'm tired. I still have to finish the Rug Rats puzzle.  And since everything was dusty, I may need to wash my hands 7 times in a row.  But only after I've worked the loose floorboard in the hallway with my heel 12 times.**

*I am lying. This makes me crazy.

** I do not need to actually do the number/counting thingy. I can barely count laps on the track or in the pool. But I do make the children put together puzzles and sort take-out menus for me.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Debbie Downer

The kids woke up at about 5:20 this morning: it was still pitch black outside. I had taken an Ambien the night before so I could be guaranteed at least 8 hours of sleep. 

I now know that if you take an Ambien before bedtime and aren't able to get at least 8 hours of sleep, you feel like a total piece of shit the following day.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Eve was pretty fantastic. We had the kids help us get the house tidied up (Santa won't come to a dirty house) and Husband made his version of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which in our house is actually just three courses with four fishes. We followed our "Feast" with homemade cannoli, Christmas cookies and champagne while watching "It's a Wonderful Life."  

Last night made all the work of Christmas seem worthwhile. I had the three most important people in the world on the couch with me and had enough of a buzz to not want to kill myself while Jimmy Stewart barked and whined for two solid hours. 

But man, today sucked.  I woke up with a headache and have had a sour stomach all day. As soon as the kids finished with their gifts, I headed back to bed. I missed the call with my Dad, his wife and my Gram. I bumbled my way through a conversation with my Mom. I still haven't called my Aunt and Uncle, but can't imagine having the energy to make my mouth form words.

I'm pissed off. Little guy still believes in the fat guy in a red suit and was amazed to find that Santa brought him a Bears jersey and the latest "Diary of a  Wimpy Kid" book. It's very possible that the jig will be up next year and I feel like I just crapped away his last 'magical' Christmas. 

My little girl got a bunch of trendy nail polish, so I offered to paint her nails. Then I yelled at her for being wiggly.

I wish Santa would have put some patience in my stocking this year. 

We forgot to open the Panettone (I don't like it, but it's a tradition on Husband's side of the family) and we never got around to mimosas for breakfast. It's now 6 pm and we haven't eaten our Christmas dinner, which is my job to prepare (Husband does Christmas Eve dinner: I handle Christmas Day dinner -- it's a nice division of labor). No one is actually hungry, though, since we had a lot of Italian meats and cheeses and Husband's homemade bread for lunch. 

Looks like we're going to On Demand "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". If that doesn't make me laugh, it's going to be a tough few days.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tits and Hair

I'm on the fence about what bugs me the most about Beth Chapman: her tits or her hair.

I'm going to say this first, just in case Dog's wife is a litigious woman:  I think she has some pretty features, particularly her very dark eyes. I think that when she isn't made up, she is actually quite cute. She also seems to have a kind and generous heart. 

A kind and generous heart that is buried under 40 lbs of tit.

I don't get it. I don't get why men find that attractive and why women will endure augmentation to get boobs that big. 

What does The Dog do with all that tit? Does he bench press them? Does he roll underneath them for shelter during tropical rainstorms? Does he keep an alternate Bounty Hunter badge in 'em, just in case?

This isn't jealousy either. I've come to terms with my own lack of jugs. And if I had the extra $10k just sitting around the house, I'd consider augmentation, too. 

I would LOVE to fill a B cup. 

I had a brief experience with B's after the kids were born, but they leaked milk. B's are less awesome when they smell like sour dairy products.

Beth, your boobies are too big. You'd be able to run much faster on your bounties if you had your girls en-smallened. And should you take this advice, while you're flat on your back, recovering from surgery, let's make some decisions about the hair, too, shall we?

The hair is over-processed and over-sized. It is the Big Gulp of the hair world. No one needs 48 ounces of soda in one sitting and no one needs hair that big. Not even in the 80s should hair be that big.

Between Beth and Dog, I find myself forgetting about the criminals they're chasing and wondering what the drains of their sinks and tubs must look like. Can you imagine having to pull out fistfuls of matted, wet, bleached hair with a wire coat hanger every two days just to keep the water from swelling to your ankles during a shower?


While tits and hair certainly bug me, what bugs me even more is Husband's need to ask me questions about the Chapmans during the show, as if I'm some kind of Dog aficionado. 

Yes, I did sit in a chair last January and knit an entire sock while watching a Dog marathon. 

Yes, the kids may have Netflixed a few episodes when we first got the Wii. 

Yes, I may have Googled Leland Chapman because I think he's kind of hot.

But I don't know everything about the show. I don't know how long it has been on. I don't know who Barbara is. I don't know when Baby Lyssa was pregnant. I don't know why Baby Lyssa is crying on the trailers for the new episodes. I don't know. I don't know. I don't. know.*

So please stop talking so I can focus on tits and hair and clogged drains, please.

* I do know. I mean, I didn't when he asked me, but I looked it all up later. Barbara is one of Dog's daughter's that was killed in a car accident at age 23 in Alaska, just two days before Dog and Beth got married. Baby Lyssa gave birth to her first baby at age 15. She has a daughter to the guy she married in Oahu. She's crying because she was arrested for some kind of criminal activity against the guy she married in Oahu (he evidently was physically abusive to her, so Baby Lyssa is still okay in my book).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is This a Problem?

I just spent 30 minutes sweeping my son's room of all the saw dust and paint chips that were created on Monday night. I know full well that Manfriend is coming back here tonight to sand the shit out of the joint compound that binds the 100-year old plaster to the new drywall. 

It's going to be a dirty, dusty process. I know this because Manfriend requested we purchase some dust masks. 

And yet, I just spent 30 minutes sweeping my son's room of all the saw dust and paint chips that were created on Monday night.

Maybe it's time for medication.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012: A Year of Numbers

Picture it: Chicago, 2012 ...
2011 was a fairly good year. 
  • Athletically, I put myself way out of my comfort zone and by season's end, had taken a good 2.5 minutes off my 5k min/mile pace (I've probably added 4 minutes onto it, since then!).  I competed in my first open-water swim, all 1.5 miles of it.  I managed to keep up with the Ironman athletes for about 6 miles on a summer group ride (that was most likely their warm-up, but the fact that I stuck with them up until the hill still makes me giggle). I took some Krav Maga classes. 
  • Work-wise, I set up a company web site. I haven't launched it to the public yet, but it exists and it's about 90% written. Okay ... maybe this isn't anything to brag about. Moving on...
  • I rediscovered this blog (I seemed to have ... 'misplaced' ... it in 2010) and made a commitment to update it at least weekly. As of today, I'll have posted 61 times this year, even though I never seemed to get around to it in March, July, August or September. 
  • Family-wise,  I feel like I finally hit my stride as a stay-at-home mom. I think I fought myself for the first two or three years -- I just couldn't accept that it was okay to be happy 'playing' house. This year, I realized how important my job is and how rewarding the work can be. Once I decided to be good at it, I was. The pay still sucks, but I like what I do, so it's all good.
  • I got better at saying 'no' and not over-extending myself. 
  • I've continued to trust my gut instinct. It's killer-sharp. 
  • I did not knit a sweater. That's a strike against me in 2011. 
In 2012, I hope to find some power in numbers. And at the end of 2012, when I'm thinking about 2013, I can see if I measured up.  In 2012, I'd like to:
  • Knit at least 6 hours each week (312 hours).
  • Work out at least 6 hours each week (312 hours).
  • Post a blog entry at least 4 times each week (208 posts). 
  • Run one marathon (26.2 miles).
  • Go to the movie theater with JUST my husband once per quarter (4 movies).
  • Eat oysters on the half two times (That's about 12 to 18 oysters).
  • Discover a new (or old) album and learn every track on it (word for word) each month (12 albums). I'm thinking of starting with an early Talking Heads cd that I never really got into or some later Pearl Jam cd's that I never ended up buying.
  • Start a year-long art project, that will track how many Victoria's Secret catalogs I receive (and when I receive them). My plan is to start one blog entry on January 2 and just photograph/date the catalogs in one very long post. (I anticipate getting at least 156 catalogs). 
I need to figure out what is going to help me log all this information. I think treating myself to one of those funky moleskine notebooks from the art store might be good motivation. A fun pen might also help. 

Husband, if the Christmas light-bulb just flickered on and you think you want to pick up the pen and notebook for me, please don't, lova. I want to spend at least 75 minutes touching every notebook in the store before I pick the one I want. Same goes with the pen. 

I wouldn't turn down a gift certificate from Dick Blick, though.

Monday, December 19, 2011

And So It Begins...

We started the renovations on my little guy's bedroom today. Manfriend came over since Husband and I have no idea how to really take things apart and put them back together again.

I do possess, however, mad spackling and taping skills. 

We're blocking off a door that opens his room up to a back sunroom, which then opens into our bedroom. In other words, we're limiting his access. 

Here's where we started: 

The door is not only an easy way for the kids to sneak into our room, there isn't equal space between the door, the radiator and the window so the whole wall is unbalanced. Removing the door/frame will give some balance, I hope.

As soon as the first piece of trim was crowbarred off the door frame, I started to freak out. This isn't going to be a typical patch, prime and paint job. Fortunately, the 100-year old plaster surrounding the door frame didn't crumble to the floor.

Door and trim removed. Thinking of neat-o ways to reuse the door (not as a door).

Studs. It's too easy, no jokes, I handed that one out.

We just have a tiny bit of drywall to put in at the bottom. And then a mess of 100-year old plaster and lathe and holes to fill and mud. Eventually, Little Guy's desk will go here and this will be the second Blackhawks "Tribute" wall in his room.

The hardest part isn't going to be the labor: the scrubbing, the priming, the sanding, the second scrubbing, the taping, the priming and the painting. It'll be waiting until Christmas is over to start all of the scrubbing, the priming, the sanding, the second scrubbing, the taping, the priming and the painting.

I predict massive weight and hair loss over the next three weeks.

I can do this. I did the foyer and the living room and the dining room, and they both look okay. 

Husband just came out from the bedroom and gave a troubled sigh.

"What?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

"Meh. It's not going to be an easy job." he responded.

Send whiskey. Please.

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Death, Please.

It was the big Holiday Pageant at my kids' school today. Husband and I went to one last week, but today's show promised Son doing more songs with his class and the possibility of tangerines.

The girl that spent time in last week's pageant lost in the music and creating all of her own hand gestures for the duration of the set (at first, I thought she was doing American Sign Language. But she wasn't.) opened today's pageant -- again in the front row --  by hiking up her skirt to scratch her thighs and yank up her tights. A collective gasp from the crowd assured me that the next two hours would be Hi. Larious.

I wasn't disappointed. 

As the Chorus pushed and shoved their way off the stage, something crashed to the floor.

"Oh." said my friend, Irish Brogue in full force. "It was the menorah."

"I love it when you say, 'menorah' in your accent," said friend J to friend M.  "And it rhymes with beggora," he added.

Naturally, we started rhyming, until the third grade could get situated on stage. 

Holy beggora!
The plastic menorah
It hit the floor-a
And you are a whore-a. 

Third grade settled in and we had to put our rhyming fun on hold. And let me tell you something: Third grade knocked it out of the fucking park.  

One little kid played the tabla for a pretty spunky "Fum, Fum, Fum."  And he kept playing for  "Diwali," while 60 kids behind him pulled out some hard-core Bollywood dance moves.

You'd have to be a stone-cold asshole to not do a little toe-tapping and head-swaying when that number was going on.  At this point, I didn't think the Kindergarteners were going to be able to bring down the house with their finale (Our pageants aren't in order by grade. I think it's the school's way of ensuring that the biggest crowd -- the parents of Kindergarteners -- stay for the whole show).

When 2nd grade came out, I found my little guy. At the end of his second song, I realized he was playing a tambourine. 

Hamster sees wheel. Hamster slowly approaches wheel. Hamster sniffs air, pauses, reluctantly gets on wheel and starts to move, slowly.

"Oh!" I blurted out to what was left of my friends (two of 'em made a break for it. Sneers be damned.). "He's playing a tambourine.  He told me last night that he was going to have a tangerine in the pageant."  

I had just assumed his teacher promised the kids some fresh fruit after the show. I should either listen better or ask more questions.

2nd grade was followed by the "Library Lovers" who put on a 4-minute skit of "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Anderson. 

Are you familiar? I wasn't, so the narration was helpful. Within the first minute, the narrator told us all that 'the little match girl freezes to death.'

[record scratch]


We were unable to contain our laughter. Happy KwanzaEidChannukahDiwaliChristmas and here's a dead girl on stage. Bitch couldn't light her match. Or sell her matches. I don't know. But she froze to death and was a crumpled ball of kid on the stage.

I can only imagine the teachers and administration brainstorming the acts for this year:

Teacher #1: "I don't know. I just don't think the tabla is enough. We need....something."
Teacher #2: "Yes. Indeed. Something more. Something ... different..."
Teacher #3: "I've got it! Let's tell the story of poor children dying in the street!"
Teacher #2: "Something for everyone..."

First grade performed and did something, I don't know what. I was still mourning the loss of the little match girl and couldn't focus.

Kindergarten brought their A game. And if it wasn't for the tabla player in Grade 3, I would've said the 60  little toy soldiers in construction paper hats and red masking tape bandoliers, with rosy-rouged cheeks, marching through the crowd of the auditorium would have been the showstopper.

But  I really like the tabla.

The best part of Kindergarten's part of the show was focusing on friend J's son once he got onstage. Until I realized that that particular kid in fact, was not J's son.  I found the right boy and pointed him out to J, who was thankful for my help.

They're always too long, too hot, too cramped and lacking booze, but these holiday pageants are always worth their weight in tangerines.  

We were like this. But hotter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Women That Rock

Today was poopish. These gals made it less poopish:

Aunt Jen: For one million reasons for the entire 39.45 years of my life.

Mac: For our mutual exchange of free and unskilled therapy, given via g-chat, without apologies. We are always both right.

Kristin: For never answering a question with "Yes" or "No", but always giving a response that has potential to make urine seep from my hoo-ha or a beverage squirt from my nose. 

Alicia & Mo: For listening. For laughing. And for the shared comfort level of switching out sweaty, stinky shoes to see what feels right. I'm still gonna draw the line at bras.

Madison: You'll still peck out a happy face emoticon with one working arm and a bunch of your own crap to deal with. Hang in there. If it doesn't kill you...

I know you're only rubbing my feet because you want to stay up past your bedtime. But after Run Club, they hurt like Hell, and you're working wonders on them, so I'll overlook your motive. Also, you're pretty funny tonight, so I'm enjoying the laughs. Don't ever give up on your DeNiro impersonation -- it works.

Jeanne-Marie: For being equally pissed (and doing something about it!) at the jackass parents that are causing a clusterfuck of evil at the SW corner of the school. I'm serious -- I'll stand in the front line on this one with you.  

And I've had two Krav Maga lessons, which could prove handy.

Anyone reading this: think of a lady you care about, or who makes a difference in your life, and let her know it. It's the easiest -- and best -- Christmas gift you can give.

Give Blood. Fast.

LifeSource has been phone stalking my house no less than three times a day, for the past two to three weeks.

They want Husband's blood. He's donated blood at his former place of employment, and LifeSource was the 'collection' agency. He continues to donate blood at his new place, but it's through a different blood sucking organization.  

And LifeSource won't let him alone.

I can't tell LifeSource to stop calling him --he has to tell them.  And on most days, he's not here for the first two calls (the breakfast call and then the late afternoon call), and sometimes, not even for the third call of the day if he's working late. So it's me and the kids, avoiding the ringing phone when "LifeSource" appears on our screener.

Last night, I was at the end of my rope. While making dinner, I told Husband he absolutely had to talk to LifeSource and tell them that he donates through a different organization. 

Husband: "They'll stop calling."
Me: "They won't. They haven't. They call three times a day. It's annoying."
Husband: "They'll stop."
Me: "Listen, if they don't stop, I will get them some blood."
Husband: "You're going to donate?"
Me: "No.* I'm going to get your blood and give it to them."

Phone call number 3 came in around 8:30 pm. Husband spoke to them.

He gets to keep his blood.

At least for tonight.

*I've tried being a blood donor several times in my life. I evidently don't weigh enough to give blood. But the Plasma people back in college didn't care what I weighed. And they'd give me $10 for my donation!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Naked (Not by David Sedaris)

I think writing is like having a stranger see you naked.

It's totally terrifying. 

You're vulnerable. Totally out there. Exposed. Uncovered. Expecting judgement. 

This week, writing-wise, I've pretty much shown my goodies to everyone.

The Week in Nakedness (A Recap):

Thing One worked out well. The client was happy. The client wants to pay me.  Thing One was a challenge that I've never taken on before, so I'm happy I was able to make it work.

Thing Two is in progress. I've gotten naked for Thing Two (metaphorically) before, so there isn't any anxiety there. It's really just a matter of getting it done.

Thing Three was a pain in the ass to write. Husband reviewed it and thought it was fine. Committee member read it and liked it, with a minor tweak. Crossing Thing Three off my list was like, I'm guessing, what it feels like to lose a lot of weight. 

Thing Four, well, I'm still hanging out, all exposed and whatnot, with Thing Four

Thing Four is related to Thing Two, so it's not like total nakedness. It's more like weird locker room nakedness. Not weird like Pierced Nipple Woman Who Won't Put On Her Shirt*, or Snake Ass** or I Just Pooped in the Bathroom Stall But I Still Haven't Put My Underpants On Woman***, but weird like, I can see you're naked, but I'm still working really hard on having a normal conversation with you without looking like I'm aware that you're naked nor acting like I'm totally freaked out by naked (which I am).  That kind of weird.

Thing Four is for a friend and I want what I'm doing for her to be really excellent. I took a chance with how I wrote this piece for her (and forced myself to not write it like I was conversing with the cat) and it's possible that it won't fly. And that is okay. But the anticipation is killing my naked self, and it's cold out, so everyone can see that my turkey is done.

I need a sweater. And a new metaphor.

* Pierced Nipple Woman Who Won't Put On Her Shirt spent an abnormal amount of time naked from the waist up in the locker room of my local gym. In the final hours of her abnormal nakedness, I watched her fix her hair while her shirt was on, but she had it hiked up so that her bejeweled tits could hang out. Her boobies had ample time to dry, so this wasn't an issue with ruining a good blouse. I think she was just really proud of them. Weird naked.

** Snake Ass -- I haven't seen her yet, but I get this example of weird naked from a reliable source who claims that Snake Ass has a tattoo that is placed so it looks like a snake is slithering out of her ass. Weird naked. And bad idea for ink. And awkward tattooing session for that tattooist, I'm sure.

*** I Just Pooped**** in the Bathroom Stall But I Still Haven't Put My Underpants On Woman is still the weirdest and dirtiest of weird naked I've yet to experience. She came out of the stall wearing a bra and shirt with NOTHING on from the waist down. There should always be something covering your no-no bits when you come out of the bathroom stall -- that's just dirty-gross.

**** I have no confirmation that the woman actually pooped, but I'll assume she did, since I'm in the mood to assume the worst of everyone right now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Don't Like Mondays (or Tuesdays)

Mondays and Tuesdays are stinky.

Husband has to work late both nights, so he isn't home until 7 at the earliest and sometimes, it's as late as 9. 

By this time Tuesday night, I'm so depressed, I want to cry. 

It has nothing to do with being the 'single' parent. My kids are, generally, well-behaved and we've got a system. Homework, then reading, then TV while I make dinner, dinner and then ... we wait.  I don't feel overwhelmed or burdened by doing it all on my own. I feel lonely.

I just got a text that said he can't make the 6:50. 7:50 it is. Which means we won't see him til 8:30.


I woke up at 4 this morning. Once Husband's alarm went off, we snuggled for a bit, but then he had to leave. For those 15 minutes or so, I felt calm and relaxed.
Tomorrow will be better. It's our family night -- we'll cook dinner together, eat together and all four of us will cram onto our crappy, broken couch to watch Modern Family. It's my favorite night of the week. 

Wednesdays are awesome.

Hurry home, Boo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Bet

Before Thanksgiving, Husband and I were watching a bunch of "Man vs. Food" episodes. A bunch of 'em. In a row.

You're familiar with the show, right? The host travels throughout the US and attempts to eat ginormous quantities of food, usually in a predetermined time, to win a free t-shirt or get his picture on the restaurant wall.

After a few years, the host got fat. Really fat. I'm guessing a medical professional intervened at some point because he's not allowed to actually do the food challenges anymore.

His cholesterol levels must be lethal.

Anyway...since he can't eat, he finds people to take the challenge and he becomes their 'cheerleader'. Their big, fat, cheerleader.

So, we watched an episode that featured a challenger who claimed he first got into competitive eating on a dare: someone bet him he couldn't drink a gallon of milk in one hour. He claims he did it in 15 minutes.

I know I talk about all the wine and booze I drink. But here's a lesser-known fact: I pound milk every night before I go to bed. Sometimes, I start as early as 7 pm.

I fucking love milk.

I weigh anywhere from 112 to 117 lbs. That food challenger was probably a good 200 lbs, and a coach at the University of New Hampshire. He clearly has more storage than I do.

But what I lack in size, I make up for in passion. And I fucking love milk.

So, I blurt out to my husband that I could drink a gallon of milk in 40 minutes.

Husband: "Bullshit."

"Bet me. Bet me. Bet me." I respond. "Look at how much milk I drink every night before bed."

Husband: "How much does that glass hold? How many glasses do you have? How much is a gallon?"

Smart phones come out of their holsters.

A US gallon is 128 fluid ounces. Depending on the container I use, my glasses hold between 12 to 16 ounces of liquid. I usually drink at least 3 glasses, sometimes 4. That's a range of 36- to 64-ounces of milk each night, spanning a time period of 20- to 60-minutes, depending on who is still awake and willing to get me more milk.

I'm also kinda lazy.

Here's where I'm at: If I'm already drinking 64-ounces of milk without even trying -- I'm halfway there. If this were a marathon, I'd be banging out 13 miles with little to no effort. I'd be at 2 hr 15 min long runs with little to no effort. I'm halfway there, bitches.

Husband asked me yesterday when we were going to set a date for the ... the ... The Milk Off?

I had about 40 ounces of milk tonight (we're 2% drinkers, here). I'm looking forward to one more glass on my way back to bed.

I think I'm ready to set a date. I'll keep you apprised of the date and the training schedule.  Want to set myself up for success, right?

Strictly Boilerplate

I've got three things to write today.

Thing One: I just sent it to the client.  I think it is a fine piece of writing. It should accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish and it will be a workable base for future solicitations.  I'm even getting paid in American Dollars for this one. Yay, me. 

[Triple T pats Triple T on back]

Thing Two: I still need more information from the client before I can actually get drafting. I won't bug them until tomorrow or Wednesday for their contribution -- it's only an hour's worth of writing anyway.

[Triple T makes notecard to remind self to start nagging client for recaps on Tuesday]

Thing Three: I'm in fucking hell.  If the woman who lives above me owned a piano, I'd ask for your prayers that it might come crashing through my ceiling onto my head, killing me quickly and putting me out of this agonizing misery. 

[Triple T leaps from her chair, laptop crashing to the ground, tearing hair claw and a significant amount of hair that is tangled in hair claw out of her head while running through her hallway, shrieking loudly, until she reaches the bathroom, where she submissively places her head on the cold, porcelain rim of the toilet and methodically slams it's lid on her head, over, and over, and over, and over...]

Thing Three has to be done EOD. Two or three other people need to read Thing Three, edit it as needed and feel confident that Thing Three will help us secure money for our annual fundraiser. 600 students of different ethnic backgrounds, 40% of whom are at poverty level, are counting on me to write this stupid letter, and so far, all I've got is, well, I've got nothing.

I've cut and pasted the school boilerplate to my blank document. That's it.  I have something that someone has already written.

So, a priest, a hooker and a phlebotomist walk into a bar and ....

Anyone? Anyone?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Red Wine and Eggnog

I have written "Red Wine and Eggnog" three different times -- all ending with the same result: sad drunks destroying Christmas with their booziness. And it really, really wasn't like that at all.

So, I'm going to tell it as if I was having one of my 'conversations' with the cat.  This will take the emphasis off the boozin' and put a new emphasis on the creepy monologues I frequently have with my cat. Husband has spent 15 years listening to me engage with Boyish* -- it still freaks him out. He's not as freaked out about what I say, but the voice I say it in (I evidently have a 'cat' voice when I talk to Boy-o). 

Readers, you'll get the words, without the voice. Husband will tell you you're lucky.

Get ready, Midlife Rambler. Things will never be the same.

Let's go get the Daddy. Let's go get the Daddy at work and buy a tree. Do you want a tree? You want a tree! Of course The Boy wants a tree. Boys love the trees, don't they? They smell so good, those trees. Mommy is going to get her Boy a tree. We're getting Boy a tree. Kiss Mommy. Kiss Mommy. Mommy is going to get her Boy a tree. Kiss me.

What should we eat tonight, Boyish? We have no food and Boyish is so hungry. Momma will stop at the store for her Boy and get him some food. Does he want the food? Does The Boy want the food? Mommy is going to buy The Boy some food. Poor Boy.

Who wants the food? Boy wants the food! Boyish wants the food. Okay, Boyish. Okay, Boylove. Momma will buy you some eggnog, red wine, cheese sticks, panko bread crumbs and a box of Blackhawks' promotional Kleenex at the fancy store in the suburbs near Daddy's school. Only the best for The Boy. 

Who's The Boy? Who's The Boy? Who's Mommy's Boy?

Boyish -- we're so hangry! We can't untie that tree and drag it up three flights of stairs because we're too hangry! Are you hangry? Are you hangry too? It's so hard to be hangry, isn't it, Boy? Poor Boy. No thumbs. No thumbs-Boy. Can't take care of himself when he's hangry. And he's So. Damn. Hangry, isn't he? Poor, hangry Boy. Kiss me. Kiss me. Kiss me. I love the hangry, thumbless Boy.

Let's make the dinner, Boy. Oh yes, let's make you some dinner and feed your hungry belly so you aren't hangry. Your belly is so big. It's so big. You've got the biggest belly ever. Let's fill it with red wine, Boy. Yes. Yes. I said let's fill that big Boy belly with red wine. Isn't it so nice to drink the red wine with the Daddy while we're making the dinner? Isn't it so nice, Boy?

We love the Daddy. Oh, we miss the Daddy, too. Do you miss the Daddy? Of course you miss the Daddy. You love the Daddy so much. He's your favorite isn't he? Yes he is, you little fucker. I've been cleaning your shit box for 15 years and Daddy hasn't bothered to pick up a single God Damn turd but Oh, you love the Daddy! He's your Daddy! You love him! You love him so much because he's your Daddy!  Remember the time Daddy fed you, Boy? Remember that? You don't? Oh...because Mommy is the one that always feeds your fat ass! Is that right? Is Mommy always the one that feeds your fat ass and picks up your wayward turds because you're too fucking old to always go in the box? Yes she is! Yes she is, Boy. And I love you. I love The Boy.

Do you love the Mommy?

Have some red wine, Boy. Have some more red wine with your dinner, Big Boy. It's so good, isn't it? It's so good!

Red wine is ALL. GONE. What are we going to do, Boyish? What is a Mommy and a Daddy to do when all the red wine is gone? What should we do, Boyish? We drank it! We drank the wine. Poor Boy. Boy wanted more wine. Would Boy like some nog? Yes? Boy would like some nog? Oh, Daddy! Boyish wants some nog. Let's get the nog. Let's get the nog. Let's get the nog.

Daddy, Boy wants the nog. Boy wants the nog with Sailor Jerry. And what do we do for Boy? WHATEVER HE WANTS! Because he's a Boy. He's a boy without thumbs! He's a thumbless, lazy, shitting bastard and he wants the nog. Give the boy some nog. Give it to him. Give the Boy some nog.

The Boy wants to have another Polar Plunge Party this year, Daddy. Boyish wants a party. Let's give The Boy a party. He wants to make the list Daddy. But he hasn't got thumbs! BOYISH DOESN'T HAVE THE THUMBS SO HE CAN'T MAKE THE LIST! Ooooohhhh he's a poor, thumbless son-of-a-bitch that can't hold a pencil. We'll make the list for The Boy. We'll make the list for the Boy. Boy... we'll make the list. Who should we invite, Boy? Who should we invite? Boy? Boy? Are you still listening? Are you listening to Mommy? Are you listening to the Mommy and the Daddy?


Okay. We'll invite 143 people. What a good idea, Boy! A guest list of 143 people for a 2,200 square foot apartment makes so much sense. Boy, you are wise. You are a wise and noble boy, Boy. Love Mommy, you wise little man. Give Mommy the kisses and she'll have a party. Give Mommy the kisses, Boy. Mommy needs love. Love me, Boy. Love me.

Boyish. Boyish! Mommy is drunk. Mommy had too much red wine and too much egg nog. Boyish. Boyish? Will you come to bed with the Mommy? She doesn't feel so good. Mommy needs your comforting touch. Please, Boyish? Please? Mommy is dizzy. Mommy hates being dizzy. You know who also doesn't like to be dizzy?


C'mon Boyish, Love me. Love Mommy. She doesn't feel well. Love her. Love her. Love her. Mommy needs Boy love!


Next day:

Boyish! Boyish! How'd that 7 foot tall Christmas tree get up here? Where'd that tree come from, Boy? Where'd that tree come from? How'd that get here, Boyish? Boy? Did Daddy bring it upstairs? Did you help the Daddy? Did you help the Daddy with the tree? Did you? Did you, Boy? Did you help the Daddy bring the tree up three flights of curvy stairs? No? No? You didn't? You didn't help the Daddy? He did that all on his own? Poor Daddy, Boy. Poor Daddy.

Boyish? Why didn't you help the Daddy? Why didn't you help the Daddy with the tree?

No thumbs? Poor Boy! Poor Boy doesn't have the thumbs so he can't help the Daddy. Poor Boy. Oh, to have the thumbs. What would you do with thumbs, Boy? What would you do? Tell Mommy, what would you do with the thumbs?

Tell Mommy about your thumbs. Tell her. Tell her.

Was Daddy okay, Boy? Was Daddy okay? He what? What did you say, Boyish? Boy? Boyish? What? He almost fell twice and he nearly threw up at the top of the stairs?! Oh, that Daddy! That crazy, crazy Daddy! Did you love Daddy, Boy? Did you give him Boy love once he caught his breath? Did you give Daddy a little Boy session? Some Boy Love? Some lovin' that only a Boy can give a Dad that just carried a 7 foot tree up three flights of stairs? That kind of love?



Do you love mommy? Do you love mommy, Boy? Who loves the Momma? Is it Boy? Is it Boy???

Boyish ... Why didn't you put water int he tree? That tree has no water in the stand! What if the tree dies, Boy?? What if our tree dies and The Boy doesn't have a tree. Oh! Sadness! No tree for the Boy! No. Tree. For. The. Boy. What will he do??? Where is the water, Boy? Where is the water? Where is the water, Boy?

Okay, Boyish. One minute. Mommy's gonna dance with this 7 foot tall tree until she can get it out of the middle of the living room to the spot it belongs in. Oh, that Daddy is so bad! He's so bad! Why'd he leave the tree in the middle of the room? You don't know, Boy? You don't know? I don't know either! But Mommy is going to put it where it belongs so Boyish can take a nice nap behind the tree. Because he's The Boy and he deserves a nap!

Calm down, Boy. I won't let it die. I'll crawl under the tree with the pitcher and let these nasty branches scratch my head and my eyes. But we'll get this tree watered for you, Boy. We'll do it. The Boy wants the water in the tree stand so the Momma will put the water in the tree stand for The Boy. Why? Because he's The Boy!

Who loves the Momma? Boy? Is it The Boy?


# #

*The cat's real name is Raoul.  We have about a dozen nicknames for him, with Boy, Boy-o and Boyish being the three of which he is most likely to respond.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I would like to find out where my UPS delivery guy lives. 

And then I'd like to find out what time he goes to bed and generally, what time he starts to drift to sleep.

Then I'd like to go to his house at that precise time that his body is giving in to deep, dreamy sleep, and ring the shit out of his doorbell.

Son of a bitch!  I spent another night wide awake from about 1 am to ... the usual, 4 am. I also got a little pissin' drunk (note: red wine + egg nog = spins) so I've spent the morning walking around like a retarded zombie. A few minutes before 1 pm, I gave in to the couch -- the kids have their holiday pageant tonight and I need to be alive-looking for it. 

I actually felt like I was relaxing. I was aware that I couldn't feel my legs and not in a I've-pinched-a-nerve kind of way, but in a you-are-getting-sleepy kind of way. I was falling asleep.

And then I heard the truck roll to a stop out front. I heard him cut the motor.  45 seconds later, my doorbell was ringing.

UPS Delivery Man -- I shake my fist in the air angrily at you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self Portrait

My son created a self-portrait in school yesterday.  Here it is:

When he got it out of his backpack and presented it to me, I couldn't believe my eyes.

My son sees Mr. Burns when he looks in the mirror.


With two kids who have been in some sort of organized school since 2004, we've collected a lot of 'artwork'. And I use the word 'artwork' loosely: at 39-years old, and in a 2,200-sf apartment with virtually no closet space, I've reached a point where I can admit that not everything is a keeper.

In preschool, my daughter was coming home with reams and reams of paper ... ahem ... her 'artwork.' Some of these pieces were nothing more than Q-Tips glued onto outdated school letterhead. But I couldn't get rid of them.

A more pragmatic mother looked me square in the eyes at the preschool open house one night and bluntly said, "Not everything is precious, dear."

So, nearly 8 years later I'm much more discriminating about what we keep and what goes straight from the backpack into the trash can.

And this self-portrait is a keeper.  It ranks right up there with the drawing the little guy made on his second day of kindergarten (maybe it was first grade, I can't be sure) of me, in a car, getting struck by lightning.

Now, that's precious.

Daughter has created some really neat pieces of art. But her moneymaker is her journals. At the end of first grade, she came home with all of her spiral notebook journals. The journaling was a year-long process of teaching 7-year olds how to tell a story and ultimately, how to edit their own work. 

Reading her journals was nightmarish. Not because she was a bad writer. She's a great writer. But she wasn't telling stories: she was documenting every single thing that went on in our house. 

Dear Journal, This weekend we went to a bar to watch a soccer game. We had margaritas. My mom spilled her margarita on me....

We can be damn lucky those journals didn't prompt a visit from Child Protective Services that year.

Everyone in this house (except me) is into ice skating, so I've started repurposing those amazing ice skate boxes (they're over-sized and have a plastic handle) to save all the 'keepers.' I can't wait to look through all those boxes with the kids in a few years and see how they once saw the world.  

A few years ago, my aunt sent me a bunch of my artwork she had hung onto: I could actually still remember (30 years later!) the chair, the room, the house I was in when I made those different pieces. I could remember the crazy smelly markers from Mentz & Grugen's Stationery that I used at the card table in Gram's living room, my precious Crayola art caddy when I'd visit my Dad on the weekends at the house on 8th Street, the Mr. Sketch Markers at Aunt Jenny's place in Quakertown. Oh! How earnestly I worked on my creations!

I've been looking at Mr. Burns all day.  My God, he makes me smile.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I picked the kids up this evening after their after-school program.  I showed daughter my newly-painted, matte-like digits.

"They look awful." she said. "But your hair looks nice."

Good enough. I'll take it.

Back home, I just sat down and the doorbell rings.  I buzz the guy in. Typically, UPS guy just leaves packages at the base of the stairs. This time, I could hear him coming up.

It's not the UPS dude. It's the Edible Arrangements dude. With a package of flower fruit for me. I sign for it and rush back into the apartment to see who sent me fruit.

'Cause nobody sent me fruit before.

The kids are cray. zee:  there is chanting and yelling and high-fiving.  All I want to do is figure out who sent me the fruit.

It's from my doctor.* And it says, "Happy Birthday..."

So now I'm confused, because my birthday is in June. 

I call a friend. "OMG -- isn't this weird?" and before she had a chance to answer,  I realize that today is 12-6. My birthday is 6-12. Mystery solved. I either had a 'special' moment when I was filling out paperwork in his office or there was a simple reversal of numbers in the data entry at his office. I'm betting 90/10 on my own special moment. You should see me at the beginning of the school year, filling out paperwork for my kids, who were both born in the same month.

Friend says, "How much time are you spending there to get an Edible Arrangement?"

I take a picture of the arrangement, and text it to Husband, telling him who they are from, and the reason.

"It's your birthday?" is his response.

"Yes," I text back. "Don't forget your gift."

Here's where I'm at: Free fruit is fucking awesome. But I feel guilty that it isn't my birthday. And more than that, I feel bad because I probably fucked up the form that said, "DOB".

Plan of Action: A Thank You for certain, and then some kind of not-fucked-up explanation about how I'm likely an asswipe that can't focus long enough to fill out a stupid medical form. I don't know if this kind of writing will require extreme sobriety or extraordinary booziness. Either way, it's mighty nice to get an unexpected basket of fruit, attractively arranged into flower-like prettiness.

Moving into homework, with a pot of veggie-chili on the stove, little guy says, "Hey. Tell Dad to bring home chocolate."

Me: "Why?"

Little guy: "We can make fondue for the fruit."

And there it is, friends: When life delivers you free fruit, get someone to bring you chocolate, and have some fuckin' fondue.

Similar, but different, I hope his office is understanding when the school calls them to tell me my kid just puked in the classroom and needs to be picked up immediately. I'm pretty shitty with phone numbers, too.

* The doctor is not my gynocologist, FYI.

Hair and Nails

After yesterday's case of the greys, I forced myself to stay out of the house most of the day, which included an aimless journey to the nearest 'burb to the north to do a little holiday shopping.

For the first time ever, I went into an Ulta looking for a specific nail polish color that I saw in a magazine (well, it was in Pinterest, actually).  They had one bottle of Esse's "Power Clutch" and one bottle of "Matte About You" top coat remaining. Now they have none.

I'm not sure if I'm more embarrassed that I went into Ulta with a specific polish brand/color in mind or that I'm so damn excited about it. That is such a girl-that-reads-InStyle-and-Cosmo thing to do. I'm not that girl. Or woman. Or am I now that all these bitches are posting pix of their nifty, trendy fingernails on Pinterest and I'm taking time to pin them myself and commit colors to memory?

To keep my Ulta trip real, I also bought a box of wax strips so I can handle the 'stache in house.

After my morning of retail beauty, I went to the salon and got my hair cut and styled -- again, Pinterest inspired.  I actually had 5 pix of different hairstyles saved to a board (and accessed on my iPhone) so I could show my guy what I wanted him to do. My hair is a good 3-1/2 inches shorter and I have a swoopy bang thing going on. It looks kind of like it does in my profile picture (to your right), only a skosh longer.

Husband better notice.

Back to the house to paint my fingers. What a mess. The color is awesome and the top coat is amazing -- you watch a glossy, just-painted sliver of nail turn into a flat, matte finish in seconds -- but I still can't paint my own fingernails. My left hand is acceptable (at a distance) -- my right hand looks like I dipped my fist in a gallon of chalkboard paint.

Of all the various skills I wish I could just wake up and have (vs. investing money and time and sweat and tears to acquire), like playing the banjo, or being able to wail like Beth Ditto, or knowing how to fabricate metal, I also wish I could paint my own nails. Seriously. It's a skill. Don't judge.

After the nail painting fiasco, I ran back to the bathroom and put on make-up. A lot of it. The black eyeshadow, eyeliner, a reapplication of mascara (mascara is pretty much the only thing I normally wear these days) and even lip liner and lipstick.

I also put two of those wax strips to use.

And now I wait.

My hairs are did. My nails are ... laughable.  The only sign of a stache I have is the irritated red skin from yanking those little hairs off my upper lip.

Won't I be the Belle of the Ball when I pick the kids up from chorus today?