on the blog

A guideline for my kids

My kids are very independent. This isn’t a humblebrag; I’m sure I could stand to be a bit more managerial as a mom. But I was raised in a household of independent people, and past a certain age— the age where we children had largely figured out what will or won’t immediately kill us and policed ourselves accordingly— the kids and parents moved into a sort of roommate situation. [Read more…]

i’m apologizing in advance for the mental image you’re about to get

So in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, I hit the Georgia state line on my trek from Maryland to Florida.  I had been driving nonstop all night and it was time to get out, massage my butt cheeks, and stock up on more energy drinks to finish the drive.   There it was, in the distance, the gas station, a beacon of convenience in the darkness of the early-morning I-95 corridor.  Unbeknownst to me, that gas station would change my life forever.

As I was taking a few minutes to stretch my legs while my car was filling with gas, I cleaned the remnants of my road trip snacks out of my car, and looked for a trash can.  Hmm.  No trash can in sight.  I started walking around the side of the gas station to find some sort of trash receptacle, when I walked right into it:  sexual congress between two vagrants, happening in the grease pit that is the rear lot of any gas station.  BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER.

In that split second between when you walk in on something you’re not supposed to walk in and when your body catches up with your brain and decides to turn the fuck around and boogie the hell on out of there, I saw that this homeless man had his homeless girlfriend knees-to-the-sky and was penetrating her with

A CORN DOG.

I will give you a moment to process that information.

Okay… A CORN DOG?  Fleh.  Mergle.  Flerfignoogle.  That’s all I’ve got.  Just sounds.  Words fail me.

I’m not going to lie, this was absolutely my first thought:

Look, I’m not judging, I’m really not.  Lord knows I have done some freaky shit and I fully support a person or couple doing whatever they need to keep things spicy.  I just… ?  I mean, just… it actually boggles my mind in the same way a really awesome magic trick would– A simple act that creates questions.  Questions like:

1.  Does he not have a penis?

2.  In what fucked up world would one rather see your lady’s vagina eat a corn dog than see your own mouth eat it?

3.  You’re homeless; maybe you shouldn’t be taking that meal-on-a-stick for granted, buddy.

4.  What food is going to replace the #6 position on my Favorite Foods list now that I can never eat a fucking corn dog again?

just more mouths to feed

Sunday morning started with a plea for a pet.  The kids had been browsing the toy ads from the newspaper, which is how I placate them while I quickly down three cups of coffee, and saw some god-awful robotic animal that they insisted they NEED.  “MOM WE NEED THIS ROBOTIC HAMSTER. WE NEEEEEEED IT.”  Somehow this segued into Taylor begging for a dog.  “But we have a dog, son” was my rebuttal.  “Our dog does cool tricks.  Our dog never pees on the floor, which is more than I can say for you, CHILDREN.  No other dog is going to be as good as the dog we have now, so why set ourselves up for disappointment?”

Two hours later I had negotiated us down to a fish.  I told the kids if they can keep a fish alive for four years, we’ll get another dog.  Obviously I’m going to be the one taking care of the fish, and I can’t keep a fish alive for four years.  OH MY DIABOLICAL SCHEMES.  I chuckled to myself maniacally.  It’s the little things, people.

This is how parenting is, most of the time; a bidding war of sorts.  You, the parent, start at the very bottom, knowing that your children are going to try their damndest to get to their goal of a puppy.  They have no shame.  They will employ every tactic, from puppy-dog eyes to the famous “I WILL KEEP MY ROOM CLEAN EVERY DAY” promises.  Yeah right, buddy.  This aint Mommy’s first rodeo.

I bid low; in the end we walked out of the pet store with two fish.  I should’ve started at “sea monkeys”.

Aside:  When I was four, my brothers and I pulled this same move on my dad.  Oh, we begged and pleaded and cajoled for months on end, lobbying for a puppy.  “Nope.  Just another mouth to feed,” says Dad coolly.  One day my dad came back to us with a compromise—he showed us an ad in the back of some magazine for sea monkeys.  It looked super cool.  In 1987 that was seriously some space-age shit.  We agreed to table the dog discussion for a year if we could get some sea monkeys.  “Alright, that’s a deal.  I’ll send away for the sea monkeys,” Dad says with a decisive nod.

My brothers and I spent two weeks checking the mail for our sea monkeys.  And then, FINALLY, they arrived.  It was just a tiny manila envelope filled with… crumbs?  It looked like crumbs, but how were we to know?  Sea monkeys are from the future, we told ourselves.  Maybe in the future everything is dehydrated until you need it to be alive.  We readied the tank and dumped our sea crumbs into the water, while my dad explained that eventually they grow to look like small furry shrimp.  “FUCKING RADICAL!  BITCHIN’ AND GNARLY!” my toe-headed brothers and I exclaimed.  No really, I bet we did say that.  I can’t remember, exactly, but probably we did.

We spent the next few weeks peering into the tank, comparing their size today to their size yesterday.  We used a magnifying glass to try and spot developing fur.

After about a month, I had concerns.  The sea monkey crumbs were not growing!  I went to my dad, worry written all over my face.  How do I break this to him?  “Daddy, I think our sea monkeys are suffering from failure to frive.”  I expected tears.  Poor us, with our dead sea monkey crumbs.  Will we ever recover, as a family?  WILL WE EVER BE ABLE TO LOVE AGAIN?

We got through it.  And when I was 21, my dad confessed over Thanksgiving pie that the sea monkeys were dust particles he had scooped into an envelope and mailed to himself.

Dad started really low—dust; and we worked him up to sea monkeys.  He obviously won that bidding war.

So we arrive home after a harrowing journey in which I’m driving (a stick shift) and holding two containers of fish so they don’t get spilled and/or shaken to death, and I get the fishes all set up in their new water mansion and I’m asking Taylor and Maya what they want to name their fish.

Maya:  “MAYA!”

Me:  “Honey, that’s your name.  Don’t you want to be the only Maya in the house?  What other name do you want to name your fish?”

Maya:  “TAYLOR!”

Me:  Sigh.

Me:  “Bobo (that’s his nickname, which invokes deathglares because he’s “a man now”), what are you gonna name your fish?”

Taylor:  “PLASMAGUN.”

Maya:  “My fishee is name MOM!”

Me:  Sigh.

Okay then.  Welcome to the family, Plasmagun and Mom.  May you live longer than sea crumbs.

the debil's holiday

Halloween is quickly approaching.  I mean, I think it is.  I am not entirely sure when exactly Halloween is because I haven’t observed Halloween since I was six.

My dad was in a phase for ummm, ten years or so where Halloween was The Debil’s Holiday.  We were the house at the end of the cul-de-sac that had a sign up on the door.  And it wasn’t even a polite, ambiguous sign that said “No candy here! Move along! Goodnight!”  No, this sign was some serious shit[Read more…]

the truth keeps callin' me and i'm gonna live to tell the story

In a former life (as in, back when I was gainfully employed) I was in charge of about 150 pieces of heavy-haul equipment (semi-trucks and accessories) that were leased to clients nationwide.  I handled tracking them, making sure they were insured, registered, and keeping in general contact with the lessee so they did not just disappear from the face of the planet while in possession of our $100,000 trucks.  And sometimes… Nay, often, as the economy started taking it’s downturn screaming nosedive…  Often it was my job to coordinate and carry out repossessions.

[Read more…]