Domestic Bliss and Wrappers

As I discard the wad of lint containing an embarrassing number of mini Cadbury Cream Egg foil wrappers that I accidentally left in a pocket, I have a moment of silent gratitude that I am the only person who would ever clear out our dryer lint trap. My mini Cream Egg secret is safe. As the only person who does many household things, I can keep many secrets.

My children don’t use the garbage can. This is very useful because I can eat their candy and throw the wrappers out without worrying about being caught. Likewise, I don’t have to bury thrown-out child-made masterpieces in the recycling bin as it’s a place they’d never look. When they have garbage, they just drop it on the floor where they stand. So my secrets are safe in the trash can.

I can hide birthday and Christmas gifts in plain sight. The plainer the sight the better in fact. I live with people who can’t find the ketchup while looking in the fridge, even after I say, “It’s on the left side of the second shelf in the door with the other condiments – where it always is absolutely always every single time without exception like last time and the time before that.”

Really though, I have a great family. Each person does a lot to help around the house. My kids wash the bathroom floor! Well, they wet the bathroom floor, and sometimes soap it. And they often then leave towels and underwear on it, certainly in an effort to dry it. What swell kids! They clean my couch daily. Clean it of those pesky couch cushions that is. Possibly misguided efforts, but they’re young and it’s the thought that counts. I have a couch cushion strewn floor to prove that they’re always thinking of ways to help out.

My husband is exceptionally helpful. I hear horror stories about other husbands but I can’t complain. I don’t even have to ask for him to clean most of the dishes after dinner. He also empties the dishwasher unbidden, and puts most of the stuff away. He considerately leaves his laundry right near the laundry basket so all I need to do is pop it in! Always a gentleman, he thoughtfully leaves the butter and jam out on the counter for me, in case I want toast at some point during the day.

The truth is that if the family was more domestically involved, I would have a harder time hiding my stashes of good things. I have small presents secreted away that I sometimes remember, caches of candy, and even an emergency bottle of wine. So, as I don’t bother burying my candy wrapper filled dryer lint in the garbage, I’m reminded of how very lucky I am.

 

Have you bought your copy of I Just Want to be Alone yet? Well, why not?

I Just Want to be Alone

You can just click right here for a paperback copy or right here for a Kindle copy.

 

Jackass

As you may know, my family moved a few months ago. We’ve now been here long enough for the brand newness to wear off, leaving me at the lonely intersection of Interesting-New-Person and I-Am-Not-Really-Friends-With-You. This is an awkward place to be. The trick to being new in town is making real friends before the newness wears off, leading straight to the happy intersection of Interesting-New-Person and Fun-New-Friend. Hindsight, right?

I missed my chance to make friends while still interesting just by virtue of being new because I’m not good at making new friends. At all. My sense of humor is completely uncalibrated so I never know if it’s going to overshoot or under, but it seems to always miss the mark. Generally, I compensate for this by not making any jokes at all until I think I have a gauge on my audience. The problem with keeping my humor in check is that without it I’ve got nothing. What do people talk about if they’re not joking around? It’s all weather and this year’s tomato crop. If I can’t be funny, I don’t have a single interesting thing to say. When I don’t have anything interesting to say there’s no telling what might come out of my mouth.

Here are a couple of recent examples which illustrate why I don’t have new local friends:

Braced for some killer talk about weather, tomatoes, and how precious our children are, I headed to my daughter’s preschool open house. Within minutes Tim and I found ourselves talking to Sally’s soon-to-be teacher. What happens next is like a slow motion nightmare- that dream where you’re driving a car, but you’re in the backseat so you can’t reach the wheel or the pedals, and you know a cliff is coming but it’s all out of your control. Well, the car was me and I was careening headlong off the cliff of WTF. I could not control the words coming from my mouth. Tim backed away, not wanting to go down in flames beside me. That traitor. I watched him walk out of my nightmare as I continued to talk:

Oh, you have a pre-teen daughter? Does she hate you yet? I’m terrified of the day Sally becomes a teenager and decides she hates me. And I think our cycles will sync up. That happens, right? All that PMS at once? Scary. Hopefully I’ll go through ‘the change’ before Sally gets her period….

On and on I went about my four-year-old’s future menstrual cycle and my own eventual menopause. Why? While my horrible words tumbled out my mind raced: How to back pedal out of this quagmire? I’m talking to a preschool teacher. WTF? Stop it! Stop it! Someone save me! Unable to come up with a graceful exit, eventually I pretended that someone needed me and I ran away.

Since then I’ve tried very hard not to talk about female reproductive changes with people I’ve just met. Surely I can make my way out in public if I just avoid that one thing, right?

In another effort to make friends I signed up for a class called Extreme Fit at my gym. I’m one of nine women tortured on a weekly basis by a sadistic 20-something with no parts that jiggle. Certainly this is a climate in which I can make a friend or two. During one particularly grueling workout I found myself collapsed on the floor next to another woman. I said something about my family going hungry since I would be unable to use my arms to prepare dinner. She said, “I have to work tonight so I need my arms. I have to lift babies!” She explained that she’s a nurse in a maternity ward. My inappropriate response? “Yikes! I hope all the babies are underweight!” She looked at me like I had just walked through the hospital’s nursery using my baby seal club on all the newborns over six pounds.

Oh, for fuck’s sake. We can’t joke about underweight babies with strangers? No one told me! Is there a manual for this shit?

The sad truth is that I’m a huge jackass. People who know me well fall into three categories: 1) they know and accept I’m a jackass and therefore are not friends with me at all; 2) they know and accept that I’m a jackass but like me despite that; or 3) they’re related to me. How do I get new people into one of these three camps? If I keep my obnoxious humor under wraps, I have nothing interesting to say so I find myself talking about puberty. Ack! If I risk allowing my sense of humor to range freely, I offend neonatal nurses everywhere. I’d give anything to skip this part and go straight to the intersection of You-Know-Me-Well-Enough-To-Know-I’m-Joking and No-More-Small-Talk. But I can’t. I have to plow straight through this and hope that there are a couple of adults still standing on the other side. Then I’ll know that I’ve found my people.

Jackass

Why Kids are Like Stoners

(Originally published in March of 2013)

As I field constant requests for food, put on really weird TV shows that my kids zone out to, and repeat myself a million times to people who immediately forget what I just said, I realize that my kids are like stoners. I must not be the first person to arrive at this conclusion, as evidenced by some children’s programming and toys. Like this mini two-sided lunchbox based on a show that would certainly be improved by a joint:

This is an actual mini metal lunchbox

Is there any explanation for this other than SpongeBob got stoned?

Top 12 reasons kids are like stoners:

  1. They laugh at everything;
  2. They are always up for a snack;
  3. They are easily impressed;
  4. They always answer “Yes” to “Do you want syrup on that?” regardless of the food. Ditto for ketchup;
  5. They think they make great music with bongos and tambourines;
  6. They do this
  7. They think they’re funny. (They are not funny);
  8. They think they have good ideas. (They do not have good ideas);
  9. They inspired the whole concept of sensory tables;
  10. They can’t remember what they did yesterday;
  11. They get distracted by shiny objects, moving objects, stationary objects, imaginary objects;
  12. They watch Yo Gabba Gabba as if it’s normal.

    Like this guy's not stoned. *

    Like this guy’s not stoned. *

* Source: March 26, 2010 - Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America