Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putting Noggin on Notice

***HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Sorry about being such a pain in the ass for the first 25 years or so! Love you!***

So… thanks to Husband and a cast of about 30 stuffed animal characters (all with their own voices and personas, thank you…) I was able to color my hair Sunday. It’s …um…interesting.
See I bought this color. It’s supposed to be a nice normal golden blonde.
What I got was a little closer to Moe from the Doodlebops. Don’t know Moe? Behold…

Ugh. My first impulse was to buy another box of color and try again. But then I thought to myself “Self… you got yourself into this mess- now for the love of God, call a professional to get you out of it!”

And while we’re on the subject of creepy television programming…scene from this morning:


Husband: (Running in from bathroom, shaving cream dripping…) What?! What?!

Me: I just turned on Noggin to watch The Upside Down Show. And IT’S NOT ON. It’s stupid-ass Blue’s Clues!

Husband: (Both relieved and annoyed now…) Oh. Well, that sucks. What happened?

Me: I don’t know. And it’s a really old one with Steve in that damn rugby shirt! It’s not even Joe- the new guy who at least had some variety in his wardrobe!

Husband: Well, I know a certain children’s network that will be getting an email from an angry Mama today.

Me: Damn skippy!

TV: “Bow!”

Me: Shut up, Blue!

Vivi: *burp* AAAAYAAAApbbbbtttttt!!!

So I get on the Noggin website and just for grins, I check the schedule. Do you know when Shane and David are on now? 11:00 and 11:30 AT NIGHT.

Here is my email to Noggin:
So... I turned on Noggin this morning to catch my- er, I mean, my daughter's daily dose of Shane and David at 7:00 and 7:30. But horror upon horrors, THEY WEREN'T ON! It was Blue's Clues! And not even new Blue's Clues- crummy old episodes with fashion-impaired Steve!
Our family LOVES LOVES LOVES The Upside Down Show and now our only hope is to DVR it late at night. We would turn on those two crazy Aussies every morning as we got ready for work. Their zany hipster brand of imaginative play spoke to every member of our family. My husband’s version of the Happy Fly Ditty dance is the stuff of family legend. We have taken to asking our daughter to press the “go to sleep” and “eat your peas” buttons on her remote. Heck, we’ve even been able to avoid sweeping for weeks- those aren’t balls of dog hair, they’re Schmuzzies!
Pretty puh-lease with sugar on top! Put Shane and David back in the morning rotation! Blue and Steve are nice enough, I suppose, but they’re putting us back to sleep! Zzzzzz.........
Hugs and smooches,
The Smith-Jones* Family

*So very obviously not our real last names.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Contents of your shopping cart: Husband 1 ea.

A friend emailed me after my bad gifts entry and said:

“you mention you met Husband while Walter was away, but you don’t say how”

Indeed I did not! So I will share.
The truth is that I “met” Husband in those two weeks only in the most literal sense- meaning I actually laid … eyes, yeah, eyes (that’s what we’re going with) …on his person for the first time.

The bottom line of our love story is this: you really can get anything you want on the Internet! Yes, I met Husband online. Through Yahoo personals, to be exact. His profile was light-hearted enough to indicate he wasn’t taking himself (or Internet dating) too terribly seriously, but disclosed enough to interest me.We traded messages for a few weeks, then emails. He was funny and smart- both prerequisites for me. He respected all my internet-dating precautionary measures, never pushing to meet or asking for naked pictures. (Seriously. That shit happens. A lot.) But there was something more. Despite just coming off an ugly divorce himself, he didn’t seem to have an ounce of bitterness in him. There were never any games or pretense or hedging, just answers to my questions and (as he demonstrated over and over again) careful listening to what I shared. I’d gotten pretty adept at sniffing out scary guy b.s. and I kept looking for it… and yet nothing. Nothing but this engaging funny man who was so easy to talk with, so compelling to me. Something seemed to be brewing.

Then I called him. It was like picking back up with an old friend… an old friend you flirted with a lot. He was every bit as warm and genuine and wonderful as I’d made him out to be in my mind. We kept talking and I became more and more anxious to meet him. Finally, I broke one of those aforementioned precautionary measures by asking him over to my apartment on very short notice. He brought M&Ms and he was the hottest boy I’d ever slept wi- er, I mean met. We never left the apartment that night. Sitting on my little loveseat, talking over some beers, he reached out and started playing with my hair. That simple little gesture wouldn’t ordinarily have caught my breath… but in that context, with that person, it did. The night that followed was amazing, but the details are for his memory and mine. I will just say it was everything good- sweet, intense, and completely devoid of any of the usual awkwardness that goes with a new partner.

That first night, I thought to myself “Self, you better enjoy this. Because you are not the type of woman a guy like this dates long term…” I thought Husband was too good for me. (A lot of days I still do, come to think of it. I joke that this is the longest one-night-stand I’ve ever had.) But within days it was clear we were both in for the long haul. Yes, only days. We met in June of 2004 and were married in October. Yes, of the same year.

Almost four years, two daughters, and a lot of bags of M&Ms later, he is still the hottest boy I’ve ever met OR slept with. And he still makes me laugh. And he is still the kindest and most thoughtful person I’ve ever met. It still takes my breath when he reaches out to play with my hair.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Set your child to stun...

So… someone should have warned me, I think.
I mean, I heard other parents talk about their babies going through a “stranger phase” wherein they don’t particularly care for people other than parents. I was prepared for that- hell, most people annoy the crappola out of me.
What I was NOT prepared for was my formerly-charming daughter to suddenly react as though everyone except me (and sometimes Daddy) is MADE OF BOILING HOT ACID FROM THE INNERMOST CIRCLE OF HELL!!
Vivi has recently issued a set of rules which (as near as we can tell) read something like this:

  1. I want Mama. And only Mama, dumbass. (We forgot this one momentarily. Won’t do that again.)
  2. If you hand me to almost anyone but Mama, I will scream. Daddy is acceptable, but only if Mama isn’t in my line of vision. If you hand me to Daddy, I will look around for Mama; if I see her, I will scream.
  3. If the pediatrician tries to touch me, even for purposes of my own health and well-being, I will scream.
  4. If my loving and doting grandparents who so graciously provide my parents with sanity-saving free babysitting try to touch me, I will scream*.
    *Unless I’m on Mommy’s lap, in which case they will be permitted to touch me in order to play with me until I tire of them.
  5. If I wake up and Mama is not peering over me poised to swoop me up for immediate snuggles, I will scream as though I have been abandoned to be raised by wolves.

Did I mention she screams? A lot? To the point that her father and I have considered returning to Catholicism, if only for the exorcisms? (Seriously- a young priest and an old priest are tough to come by in the deep South. I think you have to be an insider.) I’m sure part of her new disposition can be attributed to teething and we’re doing our best to ease those pains, but girlfriend is going to have to pick up some coping skills ASAP. Mama and Daddy can only drink so much…

As you might imagine, this parasitic relationship with my child has put a SERIOUS kink in my beauty regimen. For instance, I am perilously close to finding out what my real hair color is. And people, so far it ain’t pretty. Think dishwater. From a truck stop. There is a box of #83 Sunflower Blonde sitting on my bathroom counter, but it requires 25 minutes to “develop” which is an insanely luxurious amount of time, the likes of which I have not had to myself since…oh, say… December 6th.
And if I had 25 minutes to let my hair color develop, I could also get rid of what my sister affectionately calls “Jiffy* feet”. (*Jiffy is a FL convenience store… like a 7-Eleven, but less klassy.) My heels are dry and cracked. The bottoms of my feet never quite lose that sexy dirty look, even after a shower. (This is due in large part for my propensity to go barefoot and the fact that mopping requires TWO HANDS. TWO.) My toenail polish looks great- in the spots where it hasn’t chipped off and there are more spots where it has than hasn’t. It got so bad last week that I actually threw a coat of polish OVER the three or four existing half-there layers… but ONLY ON THE FOUR TOES THAT WOULD SHOW IN MY PEEP-TOE WORK SHOES. And I had to drive to work barefoot to let that dry to a tacky consistency. That, my friends, is an “express pedicure".

My only consolation in all this is that I am still able to keep up with shaving. Don’t get any big ideas- it’s not because my showers last longer than 5-7 minutes. It’s just that I’m a fair-skinned used-to-be-blonde with very thin hair. I can let it ride for at least a week, usually two before Husband gets rugburn from a quickie. And speaking of Husband, I should tell you that he has been incredibly wonderful as usual. He’s doing much more than his fair share of the household chores and it breaks his heart when Vivi doesn’t settle down for him. So despite his very best efforts all the way around, poor Husband is left with a fairly dirty house (he’s only one man!), a screaming baby, and a wife looking like a Wal-Mart Queen. It’s a wonder those quickies even happen.

Desperation is a funny thing…

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apparently it's not a merit system...

How is it that a smart, insightful, legitimate journalist is gone too soon?

And yet pompous egomaniacal piece-of-shit worthless windbags live on and on and on and on...

Lestat said it best "God kills indiscriminately, and so must I."


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bad Gifts: Redux

Holy Wrong-Size-Lingerie, Batman! That last post was near-and-dear to many! I’ve gotten several emails from folks telling me tales of gift-giving-gone-awry that make my venus fly traps look like the Hope diamond. And apparently I’m not the only one to have a horrendous gift prompt a sort of revelation about the relationship.
I had to share a few snippets of these stories with certain names, details, and other information deleted to protect the gift receivers. (The givers will get their comeuppance- karma is a beeyatch and whatnot.)

Here are some of my favorite quotes regarding these gifts and the relationship changes they prompted:

“A man who brings PBR to his first dinner with my parents will not have a second dinner with my parents.”

“An IOU coupon for sex should not have an expiration date… and should have clear terms for when it will and will not be honored, especially if the terms are NEVER.”

“Giving my daughter a ton of clothes loses something when you announce to the entire family that you bought them because you know I never do laundry…”

“He gave me a Valentine’s card in Spanish- a language I don’t speak. He thought it was funny. I’m not sure if it was funny because I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH.” *Editor’s note- my dumbass ex did this too- WTF???

And my favorite….

“Enlightenment had come in the form of a 9” hot pink plastic dick.”

Yes, you read that right. I’m still laughing.

And I’ll add a sad gift story to this lot…
Early in our relationship, the ex bought me a long-handled ice scraper. I was touched because he was so thoughtful, you know… realizing I was too short to reach the center of the windshield with a regular ice scraper. For years, I held that ice scraper up in my head and to others as a sign of how the ex as really quite thoughtful, just a practical salt-of-the-Earth (as he liked to call himself) kind of guy.
As our marriage wound down, I realized I didn’t have much, if any, evidence to add to that ice scraper… after almost 9 ½ years. I’d been holding on to that one thing for way longer than it was worth.
Even worse was when I shared that revelation with my Girlfriends and one of them offered up this moment of alcohol-induced honesty:
“He didn’t get you that because he was being thoughtful… if he was REALLY being thoughtful, he would have gotten his pathetic self out there and scraped the windshield himself. He was just making sure you could do it and his lazy ass wouldn’t have to!”


Told you I was missing certain skills of deduction.

Ah, young love…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One step below a Chia pet...

Earlier today, I received a request from my one, er, I mean, one of my readers. She got the idea on another blog site. And since I would never alienate a (the) reader, I will oblige. Keep in mind this requestor already knows the story. She is a girlfriend of mine and got the real-time you’ve-got-to-be-shitting-me phone call. Girlfriend’s request was this:
“You HAVE to tell the story of the worst gift you ever received!”
Okey-dokey, buckle up kids…

I was newly divorced and newly dating. Please to remember that I had been with the ex since I was 18, so there were certain survival skills I was missing. In those precious formative years when my girlfriends were learning how to weed out the self-centered asswipes, I was stubbornly sticking with the same self-centered asswipe to the detriment of my own development.

I’d been seeing this man child we’ll call Walter, after the farting dog. (And this guy would fart. In front of me. BIG mistake.) He could hold his own in a conversation and be snarky about dumb people, so we had some fun. Unfortunately he was also whiny and insanely narcissistic. Case in point: after I had worked a 9-hour day, only to immediately go and teach for three hours that evening, I arrived at his place exhausted. (As a side note- he never wanted to go to my place. Allergic to cats and “didn’t like taking medicine”. What-ev.) I offered to pay for dinner if he would only go and pick up said dinner so that I might have 15 minutes to decompress. Cue the hissy fit about how he didn’t want to do that because he “expected to be spending time with me”. Seriously. Yes. Another case in point: he called to ask me about my favorite restaurant- a nice place, nicer than any place we’d ever been… so he could take his FEMALE FRIEND there because she “needed an excuse to get dressed up and go out”.

At any rate, even despite my deficit, I knew this particular fella wasn’t “the one”. He assumed from the get-go that we were exclusive, but really? Do I need to explain why I didn’t feel like investing the emotional energy in telling him that not only was he not “the one”, he was one of about six that I was dating/canoodling/otherwise cavorting with?

He’d started doing things like asking if I’d consider raising my kids Jewish (I answered with an abstract ponderance on religious tolerance) and then he said “I love you” on the phone… to which I responded “OK...bye!” So imagine the fear that crept into my heart when he called to say he was on the way over with a surprise for me- and sounded so genuinely pleased and excited. I paced the floor praying to Our Lady of Ann Taylor that this dumbass wasn’t going to propose. He was about to leave on an extended trip and I could just see him wanting to lock me in before he left… I think I threw up at least once, but that could have been the eight vodka shots- I mean, glasses of water I drank to get rid of my nervous hiccups.

He arrived with… (sit down… trust me)
Yes, the plants. The ones that eat flies. One for him and one for me. Aren’t you just swooning from the romance? No? Cynic.
Lest you think me some materialistic snob, you should know that I would indeed have swooned over say, a bar of dark chocolate or good paperback- either of which would have cost him less than those … things.
That was the point- this “gift” (term used loosely) demonstrated that not only did this guy not know a damn thing about me, he didn’t care to even try. I make no secret of the fact that I am the evil black thumb of death to all plants. I also don’t try to disguise that I am in no way shape or form an “outdoorsy” type of chick who might put carnivorous botanicals on her wish list. If you insist on bringing flora of some kind, I am the type of woman you bring cut flowers intended to look lovely with no expectation of long-term of survival.

The kicker of all this? Dear Walter would like me to keep these atrocious little beasts while he is away on his trip. Yes, he wanted me to FEED the damn things. And let them live in my space. With my cats. This was, as they say, the venus fly trap that broke the relationship’s last straw nerve. I put them on a windowsill in my office and dumped some flat diet coke into them when I remembered. Oh, and I let my student worker stick her pencil eraser into their little jaws every so often just for shits and giggles.

When Walter returned two weeks later, I picked him up from the airport as promised. (I should note that I met Husband during those two weeks. And I DID know he was “the one”. J) In the cup holders of my car were the sad wilting remnants of Walter’s love offerings. We had a 15-minute car ride to his apartment which was just enough time for me to rattle off my “this just isn’t working out… and oh, by the way, sorry… don’t know what’s wrong with the plants” speech. I don’t think I let him get more than about three words in before I pulled in the parking lot of his apartment complex and evicted him, his luggage, and those wretched plants. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even put the car in park- again, it just seemed like too much effort for that relationship.

So that, my friends, is the story of the worst gift someone ever tried to give me. Let this be a cautionary tale: venus fly traps are the sort of present you should give VERY selectively. Really, it’s a very niche market for venus fly traps suitable for gifting. Chances are, if your lady friend shaves her armpits you should choose something else.

Husband arrived for our first date with M&Ms, which I had mentioned in passing on the phone three nights earlier. Hence the marriage and allowing him to impregnate me.

How about you? Worst gift? Best one?