Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Only Wednesday, But MAN It's Been a Rough Week

For the past few days I've been behaving in irrational manner. There's the way I ate a pack of Oreos and then chased them down with a bag of potato chips. Or the afternoon I was folding laundry and sobbing during a peanut butter commercial. Or the way I've been hanging oiut by the refrigerator for emotional comfort. Or the way I feel And ugly. And full of hate.

Then I happened to look at the calendar and was like Ohhhhhh. RIGHT!

You know what I'm talking about -- that occasion that happens every month and never fails to occur on a holiday or during a beach vacation or on that one day you have to spend at the pool or, if you're me, on your honeymoon. For some reason, I always manage to forget about it until I turn into a bloated, crampy sack of emotional WTF. 

At this point, I know you're thinking, "OMG! Not ANOTHER another period post!" Yes, this topic may be a dead horse, but I am going to go right ahead and beat it again. (Hey-o!)

When I was 11 years old I was the first in my group of friends to get her period even though I showed no other signs of puberty and didn’t need to wear a bra for like, six more years. Thirty seven years later, it's kind of mind blowing that I’m the last one in my group still getting her period.

I listen to my friends tell their stories about how great it is to put PMS behind them, not get cramps and not have to tote around feminine protection I'm all "That's awesome. I'm happy for you" but really, I'm not. I'm pissed for me. 


I don’t know if I was optimistic a few years ago when my doctor said "menopause” or just delusional in thinking this shit would be ending soon. HA! Basically, what's going on here is that I've been getting my period for nearly four decades. I don't know about you, but that's pretty much how I envision hell.

The rest of my body has given up on youthfulness but my menstrual cycle -- it won't throw in the towel. It's so consistent! Where does that come from? I am not consistent. As a matter of fact, the only thing in my life I’ve ever done with any consistency is get my period.

I feel like a hormonal, angst ridden, button pushing BITCH. I’ve done nothing to deserve this good fortune, yet I have it anyway.

Okay, I’ll stop now. This period talk is probably a little awkward for all of us. You know, as in TOO MUCH INFORMAAAA-TION.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

10 Things You Need To Do If You Ever Want Your Kids To GTFO

This past weekend we took Justin back to college and that got me thinking about how much things have changed since he started four years ago. Specifically, how at the start of his freshman year, he was completely and totally unprepared to take care of himself thanks to my incessant need to do everything for him.

Like the first time Justin had to do laundry, I pictured him staring in bewilderment at the washer and dryer wondering what the hell to do until some eye-rolley college student strolled into the laundry room and showed him how to wash clothes.

Okay, I don’t know if it really happened that way, but the hard truth is, Bill and I did our kid a big disservice by not teaching him some basic life skills before he turned 18 and left home. In that sense, we totally sucked as parents. I don't mind admitting that. When the shoe fits, I'll gladly accept my labels.

I'm not making excuses, but one reason I never taught Justin some necessary skills was because doing things myself was quicker and easier than having to explain how to do it. Another reason was because I grew up not being allowed to do a lot of household chores because my mother was afraid I would burn myself with bleach and become disfigured or break a glass and slit an artery or fall off a step ladder and break my neck. I had a mother-does-everything-because-you-might-hurt-yourself mentality burned in my brain so Justin grew up with me acting like a modern day June Cleaver.

Admitting that makes me cringe. So does acknowledging that while I was giving our son a free pass on the more "precarious" chores, he was out there riding a dirt bike, playing every sport imaginable and most likely doing a ton of dangerous shit I don’t know about.

In hindsight, we were pretty stupid. When it came to teaching our kid what he needed to know in order to function in the world, Bill and I dropped the ball. Thankfully, we've made great strides in the past few years. But still, if I could step into a time machine and go back a decade, here are the 10 things I'd make sure Justin knew before he left for college:

How to do his own damn laundry.

Even if your kids are still in grade school, make a promise that you will absolutely refuse to raise a child who doesn't know why it's important to sort reds and whites.

How to file his own tax return and FAFSA

Filling out the FAFSA isn't hard, it's just time consuming -- and Justin had tons of time since he didn't have to piss around with laundry.

How to make a grocery list and shop on the cheap.

The first semester of his freshman year, our child nearly bankrupted us by shopping at the expensive grocery store across the street from his dorm and toting home nothing but name brand, not-ever-on-sale items. 

How to change a flat tire.

I admit, we still take the easy way out and throw all kinds of money at AAA, partly because we’re lazy and partly because I have this fear of my son being run over by a truck as he changes a tire on the side of the road.

How to make a budget and manage money.

That first year,Just in wasted way to much money eating out. One day he went to a breakfast buffet at a moderately priced restaurant, had lunch at Applebees and dinner at a steak place. Come on now!

What followed was a conversation about the big building on campus called a cafeteria that serves food three times a day along with a strong suggestion that he eat there. (Okay, it was more like, “Stop that eating out shit! Go to the cafeteria and use that meal plan we were forced to pay for!")

How to eat at a nice restaurant and not look like a jackass.

Considering the amount of eating out Justin did, it’s safe to assume he’s mastered this one.

How to cook his own food.

In my defense, I like to cook and I don't like anyone in the kitchen when I'm doing it. Selfish, I know. Especially when you think about how sent a kid to college that didn't even known how to make pancakes.

How to clean his gross dorm room so one day he doesn't have a gross apartment.

That means having enough sense to know you don’t use a vacuum cleaner to suck up last night’s vomit.

How to use public transportation.

I never thought this was important until Bill and I went to Washington DC last fall, tried to figure out how to get around on the Metro and looked like a couple of idiots.

How to have empathy.

The phrase “I understand” can be a lot more healing than offering a solution. Your kids should know that. Everyone should know that.

In hindsight, here's what I've learned: (1) This stuff is the boring side of parenting. (2) If you want your kids to GTFO, you must teach the how to be self-sufficient at an early age and (3) You don’t have to teach your toddler how to scrub a toilet, but by the time he or she goes to college, they should know how.

This is your job as a parent. Do it and the world will thank you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Guys I Find Insanely Hot and Sexy

Benedict Cumberbatch as himself.

HGTV's Scott McGillivray

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Andy Griffith (Seriously, I'm not kidding.)

Benedict Cumberbatch as an otter.

Lenny Kravitz

Your turn!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This Is One of the Least Effective Ways To Get Your Point Across

Today I didn't know if I should write about the Ebola outbreak or an open carry incident in Colorado. Both topics are controversial. I think the Ebola outbreak is fascinating and terrifying and I find guns fascinating and terrifying so I flipped a coin -- heads for Ebola and tails for guns. Guns won.

I so like writing about guns and I so love the hate mail I get afterwards, but we’ll talk about that on another time. What we’re discussing today is how some people think that carrying a loaded shotgun around like a pocketbook should be perfectly acceptable. I have never understood the logic behind that. If you don’t get it either, all I can say is thank God we have 18 year old Steve Lohner to help us see the light.

Steve decided to “help” the people of Aurora, Colorado -- the same Aurora, Colorado where the 2012 movie theater shooting occurred, killing 12 people and injuring over 70 more. Understandably, the people of Aurora are still a little shaken up but Steve stepped up to the plate and tried to alleviate their fears by toting a loaded shotgun through the streets. Think of it as his own public service announcement for people who don’t “get” the open carry laws and his generous way of helping them feel more comfortable around guns.

Imagine his surprise when the ingrates of Aurora called the cops instead of rushing out of their homes to thank him. How rude!

Here’s how things went down:

Lohner and his trusty shotgun trekked down to the local market to buy cigarettes. He was on his way home when some snotty cop stopped him and wanted to see his identification, which Lohner refused to give him. (Side note: It’s a good thing our hero was a white dude or else such a transgression might have led to a chokehold…or worse.) Anyway, the reason Lohner was initially asked for an ID was to determine whether or not he was legally of age to carry a gun.

Lohner, of course, did what any teen in that situation would do, he recorded the entire interaction on his cell phone. If you’re interested, you can watch it over at The Raw Story and see how he insists his intent in carrying a shotgun to buy cigarettes wasn't to make people nervous. It was a protest designed to make a point and a way to help the fine folks of Aurora get over their fear of loners carrying guns. After all, the best way to overcome a fear of creepy, loner white guys carrying guns is more exposure to creepy loner white guys carrying guns.

Steve didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. He understands that people see creepy guys out on in public with guns and immediately assume the worst:
“I feel like a lot of people now see a weapon like that and they think, you know, James Holmes or Sandy Hook.”
Uh, gee. You think??!!
“If enough people were to lawfully open carry in those areas and do it in a safe and lawful manner then these people would end up feeling comfortable around it.”
Oh, that clears it up. Hearing that gives me pleasure. Real heartwarming pleasure.

Seriously, this guy is a sniveling little shit. I see what he was trying to do but he can take his "protest" and shove it. Yes, open carry is perfectly legal in Colorado but the question here isn't about legality, it's about acting like a giant dickmonkey.

Maybe I shouldn't say that Lohner is an immature teen who has zero empathy for the people around him, but Lohner is a stupid teen who has zero empathy for the people around him. There is no reason for a person to ever carry a loaded shotgun through a residential area. Making a point by exploiting a past tragedy makes you a douchebag. Not a criminal douchebag, but definitely a douchebag.

Does anyone believe for one minute that this kid really cares about helping people become comfortable around guns and wants to educate them about their rights? This was nothing more than a creepy 18 year old walking back from the corner market with a loaded rifle and being all Nah nah na-nah na while waiting for someone to say something. Yes he claims his intent wasn't to cause unrest but I'm calling B.S. on that.

No matter where you stand on second amendment issues, terrifying an already traumatized town and alienating the people who live there while looking like a total nutcase is one of the least effective ways to get your point across.

If I was the boss of everything, I would ship this kid off to an island for re-parenting. Until then, he shouldn't be allowed to play with anything more dangerous than a half-inflated beach ball.


Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Home Party Products I Totally Wasted My Money On

If you don’t know what a “Home Party” or a “Mom Party” is, let me explain. Think Papered Chef (overpriced kitchen accessories); 31 Gifts (overpriced purses), Silpada Designs (overpriced jewelry) and Tupperware (overpriced plasticy food storage items.) Note that the common theme here is overpriced.

If you invite me to your Home Party (or multi-level marketing, which is what these parties are officially known as) I will come because I am your friend and you took the time to have the party and because hanging out with a bunch of women drinking alcohol and trying out different skin creams is kind of fun.

Certainly I’m not going to walk in your door and announce “I’m not going to buy anything.” I WILL buy things at your party. Everyone who goes to those parties buys things because you have to buy something. No one says that, of course. But it’s always there, hanging in the air all around you as you sit there sipping you drink, flipping through a magazine trying to find something – anything – that’s under $20, which is probably more than you want to spend anyway.

There will always be something that will catch my eye in a neat-o kind of way and then once I bring it home, I wonder what the HELL I was thinking. As a result I have a frillion “things” in my house that fall into the “Oh I bought that at one of those parties” category. Things like this:

$125 candle

To be clear, it’s actually a $30 candle, which is still way to much anyway. It is also The World’s Most Romantic Candle. If you choose to buy The World’s Most Romantic Candle, you will be pressured into purchasing the $25 mirrored plate because if you don’t, the candle won’t turn your home into the perfect relaxing get away.

So you fork over $30 for the candle and $25 for the mirrored plate and then they proceed to charge you a $5 handling fee, a $7 shipping fee, a $2 sweatshop fee, a $3 scented wax fee and it all really starts to add up. Two days later, you’re cruising the aisles at the Dollar Store where you spot the same damn thing selling for – you guessed it -- $1.

The Fancy Dildo

I’ve been to a bunch of passion parties and there is no doubt about it, they are a good time. (Thank you alcohol.) They’re also the holy trifecta of skeevy home business parties, where wine, sex toys and awkwardness become one.

Should I choose to buy sex toys, I’d prefer to browse in an adult store where I have plenty of time to make a personal decision. I don’t think there’s anything less sexy than buying a dildo under the watchful eye of a Passion Party consultant who tries to upsale me on nipple cream and Kegel balls.

The Overpriced Thermal Lunch Bag

I actually bought one of these even though I work from home and never have any reason to pack a lunch because the only places I go are the post office, the bank and the gym -- all three miles from my house. A few months after the party, I found the bag in the closet and kind of felt bad for it. I took it to one of Justin’s baseball games and spilled God-knows-what inside it. By the end of the day, it smelled like butthole.


Your child’s scrapbook – it’s supposed to be the crowning achievement of their kid days. It’s the place where you chronicle their first giggle, their first bite of mashed potatoes, and glue in a lock of hair from their first haircut. Baby books are a motherhood staple and the time and effort that goes into them seems to demonstrate your commitment to parenting.

Well yeah, yeah, yeah. Guess what? I never made one. I’ll be even more honest with you: I’d rather stick nails in my eyes than scrapbook. That, however, didn’t stop me from buying these ultra-expensive markers AND the alcohol marker color lifter lest I make a mistake on Justin’s imaginary scrapbook.

A Nutmeg Grinder

Who needs a nutmeg grinder? I mean, have you ever heard anyone say, “Can I borrow your nutmeg grinder?” or “My nutmeg grinder broke. I have to buy a new one.” That’s because no one grinds nutmeg. I bet practically no one even knows that nutmeg is an egg-shaped fruit that you can buy at Whole Foods. Except where I live, the closest Whole Foods is about 100 miles away. If you marched into one of our local grocery stores and asked where the eggs of nutmeg were (or whatever they’re called) are they’d look at you like you were crazy because EVERYONE around here knows nutmeg is a power that comes in a little container that is found in the spice aisle.

The best part is, I don’t even like nutmeg. When a recipe I’m making calls for nutmeg, I leave it out because the smell is absolutely dreadful. But hey, should I develop a sudden love of nutmeg and want to spend even MORE time in the kitchen, I’ve got a kick ass grinder ready to go.