Tag Archive | funny

I’ve Got a Choice to Make: Tylenol or Heroin?

I’ve recently been experiencing some stomach and gastrointestinal problems. Don’t worry, this post won’t degenerate into an in-depth discussion about my guts – because EWWW!!  Therefore, in the interest of sparing you the gory details, I’ll just fast forward through the last nine months of my life. It went something like this:  blah blah a bunch of doctors appointments…. blah blah annoying tests…. blah blah embarrassing ass-exposing hospital gowns…. blah blah a lot of results I needed a medical jargon to English dictionary to help decipher.

That pretty much brings us up to date.   End result after ALL that? I was told that I have stomach inflammation and I could no longer take Advil (or any similar pain relievers) because it would make the problem worse.  Normally, staying away from over-the-counter medication is not a big deal. I’ve never been a pill popper, but this piece of news happened to coincide with that time of the month. Yes boys, for the remainder of this post, you might want to pretend to stare at that Ficus tree over there in the corner, because I’m going to talk about my uterus. I promise I’ll try to make it brief….

 

period-cramps

 

For some girls, their monthly visit comes and goes without much disturbance (*if you’re one of these girls you should know that I HATE YOU.  A LOT). But for me, it feels like two porcupines are sumo wrestling around in my lady parts. Usually, Advil is my BFF during those few days, but now I needed to find something else to help anesthetize the porcupines – so, my doctor introduced me to Tylenol. I had never taken it before, but I felt confident that my new friend would help me through the rough patch, and not give me a stomach ulcer in the process.

 

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HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY!!!

 

By all appearances, Tylenol was a total badass – bright red box, the words “EXTRA STRENGTH” emblazoned across the front in big letters, and a promise that it would help relieve my pain. We had just met, but I loved Tylenol already. So, I popped two caplets, curled up with my heating pad, and waited to feel anything less than totally fucking miserable.

I waited…. and waited…. and waited. After three hours and no relief, I came to the sad realization that the only thing “extra strength” about Tylenol were its empty promises and boldface lies. Apparently, acetaminophen is medical-speak for “tiny caplet o’ useless crap”.

When I took the second dose, I think I heard my uterus laugh. Actually, it was more of a cackle – the kind you hear from the villain in a movie right before they kill someone. I couldn’t really blame her for going insane. I had the means of curing her ails right in my medicine cabinet, but was opting to take extra strength placebos instead.

 

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After another THIRTY-SIX HOURS of sumo wrestling porcupines, I was faced with a clear choice: I could either keep taking this pathetic excuse for a pain reliever OR set fire to the little red box of lies and start shooting heroin. I thought that since heroin went directly into my veins, it wouldn’t cause any stomach irritation – I’m nothing if not practical.

Granted, heroin may come with a handful of other pesky side effects (including, but not limited to): crippling addiction, face pustules, rotting teeth, itchiness, muscle weakness, depression, and cold sweats. But have you ever heard of a heroin addict complaining about menstrual cramps? Nope! They probably don’t even notice when their period comes because they’re too busy scratching their face pustules.

So months from now, if you see me lying in the gutter with a gaping maw where my teeth used to be, probably covered in a variety of my own bodily fluids, don’t feel bad for me. I’m at peace in a world without porcupines.

 

SEE YA, BITCHES!!

SEE YA, BITCHES!!

My Shampoo Tried to Kill Me

I had to get ready quickly because there was a lot on my to-do list for the day.  I rushed to get the kids ready for school, so that I could hop into the shower and prepare myself for the second annual “Boobs & Beers” celebration.  For the guys out there, I’m sorry to say that “Boobs & Beers” has nothing to do with strip clubs or drunken wet t-shirt contests.  It’s a day when I get together with some of my girlfriends and we all go get our annual mammograms, and then spend the rest of the day/night drinking our faces off. As any woman over the age of 35 will tell you, getting a mammogram is kind of unpleasant.  Breasts are meant to be adored and caressed – not squished between two cold metal plates.  But I have found that going with my girlfriends helps to make the process a lot more fun, as does the promise of a few drinks afterwards.

I got in the shower, and was simultaneously wetting my hair down and daydreaming about cold pints of beer, when my shampoo bottle seized its opportunity to stage a coup.  I guess it figured that it had taken just about enough of my manhandling, and finally decided to revolt against me.  When I snapped the lid on the bottle closed, a HUGE glob of shampoo flew into my eye. Right. Into. My. Eye.  There are military snipers with worse aim.  Given the strategic and precisely executed shot, I can only assume that my shampoo had been secretly practicing this attack for months.  Clearly, it had not only been hoping to blind me, but also to stymie my efforts of early breast cancer detection.

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My eye was wide open and unguarded at the time of the attack, because who the hells thinks to wear protective eye gear in the shower? Although now that I know my shampoo is really the spawn of Satan, I will.  I stood in the shower, paralyzed with pain and indecision.  I had an hour before I had to leave the house, I was half-blind, and my right eye felt like it had caught fire. On the pain scale, I’d say it was somewhere between getting Tabasco sauce in a paper cut, and stepping on a Lego – made me wonder if glass shards were an active ingredient in Redken’s shampoo formula.  For those who have never experienced this particular agony, here’s a nine second video demonstration of what it felt like….

I tried to stick my face directly into the shower stream, but that only seemed to aggravate the situation.  In a last ditch effort to save my eyesight, I quickly grabbed a bottle of saline solution from off the bathroom sink, pried my eye open (despite its stubborn protests to remain clamped shut) and tried to flush it out.  After emptying half the bottle’s contents into my eye socket, the pain level was brought from a 10 to an 8 – which would have to do because other than scooping out my eye with a melon-baller, I was out of ideas.

I finished up my shower, skipped shaving because with my lack of depth perception, I didn’t want to miss my leg and accidentally shave off a toe.   When it came time to leave the house, I could open up my eye most of the way, and decided I could see well enough to drive to my mammogram appointment.  Before you scold me for putting other driver’s lives at risk, you should know that even with my (slightly) impaired vision, I still drove better than most of the other New Yorkers on the road.  Which, I guess, isn’t saying much.

But despite my early morning ocular ambush, everything worked out okay in the end.   I made it to my appointment on time, enjoyed my day of girlie “Boobs & Beers” bonding, and as an added bonus, I don’t think my eye has ever had this much body, hold and shine……

Eat your heart out, Breck girls!!

Eat your heart out, Breck girls!!

Daily Prompt

Look What 40 Made Me Do: Part One

Who doesn’t love a birthday party?  It’s a day when we get to eat cake, open presents that we pray come with a receipt, and find out just how tone deaf all our relatives are when it comes time to serenade the birthday boy/girl.  Okay, so most birthday parties suck.  But there’s CAKE and that’s enough incentive for me to show up and act like I give a shit.

Lucky for me, no one in my family tries to get too inventive about the cake.  It’s usually round, covered in chocolate, and straight out of a box – just the way I like it.  I don’t want to hear the phrase, “I thought I’d try a new recipe” before the cake is served.  Keep your creativity in your own kitchen where it belongs.  I waited a whole freakin’ year for my birthday, and I don’t want to have to be a lab rat for your raspberry cake with pistachio frosting experiment.  Yellow cake, chocolate frosting – just the way God and Betty Crocker intended.

I bet that homemade cake of yours  doesn’t earn box tops for education, does it?  Didn’t think so.

I bet that homemade cake of yours
doesn’t earn box tops for education, does it?
Didn’t think so.

But I thought I’d shake things up a bit this year…. no, not with the cake – weren’t you listening to me?  I wanted to do something memorable that I could look back on in twenty or thirty years and say, “Oh yeah, I remember turning 40!  That’s the year I (insert crazy and/or possibly life threatening activity here).  That was AWESOME!!”

I figured there were two potential outcomes to this plan: I could fail miserably, and suffer gruesome bodily injuries that would freak out my future grandkids; or I could walk away victorious, with both hands raised up like Rocky Balboa while Survivor sang “Eye of the Tiger” off in the distance somewhere.  Either way, it would make for a cool story to tell around the campfire.

Except I would avoid the fashion faux pas of tucking my sweatshirt into my ridiculously high-waisted sweatpants.

Except I would avoid the fashion faux pas of tucking my sweatshirt
into my ridiculously high-waisted sweatpants.

The hard part was deciding what to do.  Skydiving, learning the trapeze, and rock climbing were right out because of my crippling fear of heights – they also relied a bit too heavily on my non-existent athletic ability for survival.  I was in the mood to be adventurous, not suicidal.  I also wasn’t interested in lion taming, swimming with sharks, or anything else that involved animals with sharp pointy teeth and a healthy appetite because I’m not an idiot with a God complex.  I’ve also seen enough episodes of Fatal Attractions to know how that story ends. Besides, it’s only a good story if you’re still around to tell it – otherwise it’s a eulogy.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to rack my brains for long.  My friends ended up placing two ideas right in my lap.  And like most harebrained plans, these involved peer pressure and copious amounts of alcohol – both of which deluded me into thinking that I was capable of accomplishing both feats in less than two weeks.

The first was a 35-mile walk to help raise money for breast cancer.  Walk?  Hell, I can walk!  I do it all the time on my way to the fridge.  And I can beg my friends and family for money – those people have been freeloading long enough.  They’ve had the pleasure of my company for the last 40 years; the way I saw it, it was time to pay up because this kind of awesomeness doesn’t come cheap.

Save second base!!!

Save second base!!!

Here’s how the LI2Day walk works:  you walk 20 miles the first day, sleep in a two-man tent at a campground overnight, and then walk 15 miles the second day.  What I didn’t fully realize was that even walking, when done long enough (in this case, for two days), takes some stamina and athletic ability – two things I was sorely lacking.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find that out until after the first 15 miles were completed and I had developed blisters the size of quarters on both heels.

I think the bandages make my pedicure look extra sexy.

I think the bandages make my pedicure look extra sexy.

It was while I was having my blisters lanced by a volunteer podiatrist (who, in my opinion, was a little too scalpel happy) that I realized two things:  First, it probably would’ve been a good idea to attempt walking more than 3 miles in the months that led up to the walk.  Second, I wasn’t even halfway done.  Shit.

I sustained myself on water, trail mix and the glorious dream of lying sedentary on my couch at home.  Every time my foot met the pavement, my brain screamed, “STOP DOING THAT, YOU IDIOT!! IT FUCKING HURTS!!”  I told my brain to shut the hell up, couldn’t it see that I was on a mission?  I had miles to cover and boobs to save.

At times like that, when the flesh is weak, you have to dig deep and find out what you’re really made of.  As it turns out, I’m made of something roughly resembling baby oatmeal.  But the sense of humor of my friends and their ability to smuggle alcohol into the campground got me through the rough patches.

Even our wine was fighting for the cause!

Even our wine was fighting for the cause!

Despite the fact that I felt like I was walking on thumbtacks, I had a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line at the end of the second day…. okay, maybe it was more of a grimace, but I was smiling on the inside.  I had rediscovered something about myself that I had long since forgotten – when my soft baby oatmeal center is pushed past the boiling point, it turns into one pretty tough cookie.

I’m proud of my team and myself.  We accomplished something amazing and we helped raise over $25,000 for a really good cause.  Would I do it again?  Ask me again in a few months, after I’ve had the chance to put on my rosy-colored glasses….

Here’s my incredible team - thanks for the mammories, guys!!

Here’s my incredible team – thanks for the mammories, guys!!

Tune in next time for Look What 40 Made Me Do:  Part Two, where you’ll find out what other crazy shit I did to help celebrate my 40th birthday.

(To be continued….)

Not By the Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin

I admire women who are confident enough to embrace their imperfections and find a way to grow old gracefully.  I don’t want to be the kind of woman who has a plastic surgeon on retainer or one who is still wearing Juicy Couture when she’s fifty years old.

The way I see it, there are two ways to approach aging:  you can either try to hide your imperfections and wind up looking like a bald guy in a bad toupee; or you can let nature take its course and save yourself a lot of money on plastic surgery, beauty products and bad rugs.

He should have spent his money on a cruise to the Bahamas instead.

I do have my limits though.  When nature goes beyond a few grey hairs or wrinkles and starts throwing weird gender curveballs, even I have to say screw it to the growing old gracefully crap.  On some level, men expect to lose a little hair when they get older and women expect their boobs to sag.  But when women go bald and men get saggy boobs, something has gone very, very wrong.

I may not be battling male-pattern baldness (yet), but there is another masculine issue I’m trying to contend with – I’m starting to look like the character Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

A chick with a goatee? AAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!!

There are a lot of guys who can rock a goatee, but I’m not one of them…. probably because I’m not a guy!!!   It makes NO sense.  I never participated in medical experiments for money, never lived near a nuclear power plant, and I’m pretty sure none of my immediate ancestors were gorillas.  So what’s with the freaky facial hair??

In my early 20’s I laughed about the one stray chin hair that would occasionally crop up.  It was funny for a few reasons….

  1. There was only one of them.
  1. Everything is much funnier when you’re young, stupid, and don’t realize the middle-aged crap that’s waiting for you around the corner.
  1. By the time it was discovered it was about four inches long, which gave it kind of a circus-freak-show quality.  And who isn’t entertained by freak show oddities?

Inevitably I would spot the errant chin hair when I was outside my house – a quick glance in the rearview mirror when the sun hit me at just the right angle, or in a public bathroom underneath the unforgiving florescent lights.  Then I was left to wonder how long it had gone undetected and how many other people had noticed it before I did.  But one quick pull of my tweezers was all it took to return me to my normal, non-freak show appearance.  No big deal.

It became decidedly less funny when that singular whisker got lonely and thought it was a good idea to invite all of its hairy friends to come live with it – on my face.  I thought my new goatee was a byproduct of my second pregnancy (the hormonal gift that keeps on giving) because they seemed to coincide with each other.  But it could also just have been the first, in a long line of reminders that I’m no longer in my twenties.

Either way, it was a problem that was no longer resolved by a quick yank of my tweezers.  Now it was a daily project to make sure I didn’t walk out of the house looking like the bearded lady.  No matter how much time I spent yanking hair out of my face, there was always one or two (dozen) that I missed.  I swear I heard my tweezers groan at me one day as if to say, “Sorry Hun, this ain’t gonna cut it anymore.”

Even though I was already getting my eyebrows and lip waxed once a month, I was resistant to waxing my chin at first.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it was because I knew tons of girls who waxed their eyebrows and lip – it seemed as mainstream as getting your hair dyed.  But I had never once heard about another girl waxing her chin.  Ever.

The hairy cheese stands alone.

Once tweezing became a part-time job, I finally caved in.  During one of my waxing appointments with Geri (my professional waxer), I casually said something along the lines of, “While you’re at it, why don’t we wax my chin too.”

Even though Geri spends most of her work days elbow deep in women’s unwanted body hair, I still felt embarrassed to draw attention to an area of my body that by all gender rights, should be naturally hairless.  So I tried to make it seem like I was enjoying the hair being ripped out of my face SO much that I hated to see it end with just my eyebrows and lip.

Geri made waxing my chin seem like a normal occurrence – maybe in her line of work it was.  She talked about other female clients who came in with 5 o’clock shadow on their face and quickly followed up that statement with, “But you’re nowhere near that bad.”  I love her.  With that one comment, I went from feeling like a circus freak to being as normal as apple pie… or at least as normal as this apple pie….

After the waxing was done, I wondered why the hell I had waited so long.  Sure, my chin felt like it was on fire, but in just a few seconds the wax had accomplished what it took my tweezers forever to do – my face was as smooth as a baby’s butt…. or a normal woman’s face.

I’m wondering if this is the last of the embarrassing facial hair problems or will muttonchops be next?   Will I get to the point where it would be easier to have Geri cover my entire face with hot wax rather than doing it piecemeal?  She could put it on like a mud mask, and then rip it off in one big sheet.  Sure, my eyebrows would come off in the process but at least the painful part would be over quickly.  And I think I could live without eyebrows – works for Whoopi Goldberg, right?

Blissfully hair-free

I don’t think waxing is a permanent solution though.  Eventually I’m going to get to the point (in 30 or 40 years) where I don’t give a shit about getting rid of my facial hair anymore.  Then my grandkids won’t want to kiss me because prickly kisses from Grandma are gross.  Or worse – I’ll get into a horrible accident while I’m still young, wind up in a coma in the hospital, and my loved ones will be too busy crying to remember to wax off my goatee.  (Note to my family:  If I die looking like a Billy goat, I will haunt your ass forever.)

The only real solution to the problem is laser hair removal but it’s EXPENSIVE.  What I need to find is a philanthropist who is uninterested in ending world hunger, saving poor children in third-world countries, or finding a cure for cancer.  Someone with several thousand dollars burning a hole in their pocket, who would rather see me hairless than make the world a better place.

Mr./Mrs. Moneybags, if you’re out there, I promise to be the perfect charity case.  I’ll send you monthly pictures of my hairless face, write you letters about my new life outside the freak show, and (as a one time special gift), I’ll mail you my old tweezers with your name embossed on them.  I bet you won’t get a sweet deal like that from the guy over at the Christian Children’s Fund.

Obviously he doesn’t give a damn about
making the world a less hairy place to live.

Down There

My son, Aidan, provides me with a lot of funny writing material – which hopefully is as entertaining to you, as it is to me.  This particular  parent-child moment took place in winter, about a year ago….

I glanced at the clock, probably for the tenth time in the last half hour. I don’t think I had experienced this kind of time drag since I was in hard labor with my firstborn, and was told that it would be another hour before the doctor could administer the epidural.  And also like that day, this one had been long and taxing, and I was ready for it to be over.  I no longer had the energy to break up any more fights between my two children, or repeat myself like a psychotic mental patient.

My stamina hadn’t been up to par since the autumn time change.  As a result of setting the clocks back one hour, I had lost all ability to gauge time.  The afternoons were getting darker, and the evening hours seemed to drag on forever.  Sometimes I would look at the clock, expecting to find the time nearing eight in the evening, and be startled when I found the small hand still stubbornly pointing to the six.

But my hours of clockwatching had finally paid off.  It was 7:55 and there were just five more minutes to go until I put my six year-old son, Aidan, to bed.  Part of me felt guilty about reveling in the arrival of his bedtime like a little kid on Christmas morning, but that was being quelled by the other part of me that felt entitled to a few minutes free from repetitive directives and refereeing.

Most adults would naturally round the time up, call it eight o’clock, and usher the child to bed.  But I had learned from previous attempts that rushing bedtime was futile because a six year-old relishes those five small minutes prior to bedtime as though each moment holds the potential for something magical to happen, and Aidan wasn’t about to miss a trick.

I curse the day he learned how to tell time.  Looking back, I can remember being so proud that he had grasped onto the concept of time so effortlessly.  After showing him just a few examples on a toy clock, he was able to move the hands to indicate any time I requested.  Well, as the old proverb states, pride goeth before the fall.  And tonight, I was either going to fall into bed, or into a bottle of wine, whichever came first.

At eight o’clock (on the dot) I walked Aidan upstairs to his room.  As I peeled back his covers, I could feel the call of sleep.  I was exhausted.

“Mommy, you know what?”  Aidan asked as he climbed into bed.

“No, what?”  I asked half-heartedly because I couldn’t voice what was really going through my mind – I don’t care.  Go to sleep.   (Mean, but true).

“My friend Sam told me something at school today.”

I was getting the sneaking suspicion that Aidan was attempting to stall bedtime.  Well, nothing doing kiddo, it’s 8:02, and you’re on my time now.  “Oh yeah?”  I asked, but again, didn’t really care about the answer.

“Yeah.  He told me that there are different names for…. down there.”  He whispered conspiratorially and pointed at his crotch.

Immediately, I pictured a scene from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Kindergarten Cop.  In the movie, Arnold is an undercover cop posing as a kindergarten teacher.  When he walks into the classroom for the first time, he gets a small taste of just how difficult five year-olds can be to interrogate.  During his questioning, a little boy stands up and randomly informs the class that boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina.  In case you never felt compelled to watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie (can’t say I blame you), here’s a clip of the scene – skip to the 1:00 mark if you don’t want to see the intro….

Kindergarten Cop Clip

Every kid makes the distinction between the sexes eventually, and it looked like it was Aidan’s turn.  I didn’t want to steal his thunder and clue him into the fact that I had been in on that particular bit of information for quite some time, so I played dumb.

“Really?”  I asked, and wondered if he was going to shyly stumble over the words penis and vagina, or just blurt them out the way the little boy had in the movie.

“Yeah, like nuts and balls….” He said matter-of-factly.

So much for making the distinction between the sexes.

I don’t know if Aidan had any other revelations to share, because I was laughing too hard to ask.  The next two minutes were lost in an absolute helpless fit of laughter.  The kind of laughter when tears roll down your cheeks and you bounce back and forth between loud bursts of sound, and silence because you can’t gather enough breath in your lungs to make noise.  Aidan soon joined in, and was laughing along with me (or maybe it was at me), which only made me laugh harder.  The couple of times I managed to get a hold of myself for a second or two, Aidan would let out a giggle, and it would send me back into hysterics all over again.

I’m not sure why hearing my six year-old say “nuts and balls” struck me as so funny.  Perhaps because the words came so far out of left field, and looked so utterly wrong coming out of his sweet little face.  It was an incongruity, like those pictures you see of infants inadvertently sticking up their middle finger.

But I really shouldn’t have been surprised.  Aidan has always had the ability to make me laugh, even when I think I’m physically incapable of doing so.   His sense of humor is like an innate survival mechanism that’s triggered whenever he senses that the people responsible for his well-being are nearing the end of their rope.  It’s a gift that will serve him well if he ever chooses to marry someday.  I think if more men had it, the divorce rate would plummet.

As I closed the door of Aidan’s bedroom, I was still chuckling to myself.  I quickly went downstairs and reiterated the story to my husband, Kevin.  After he finished laughing, he asked me if I had told Aidan not to use those words to describe his anatomy.  Oops.  I guess the sophomoric idiot in my head was laughing too hard to allow the responsible parent time to speak up.

Looking back, I probably should have gently reprimanded Aidan so as to avoid any future embarrassments.  And also to clue him into the fact that little boys who still watch Spongebob Squarepants should not use language found in Jackass The Movie.  But sometimes there are more important things than life lessons – laughter is one of them.  The lesson will come later if he ever tries to use those words in front of his grandparents.

My Breast Friends

I imagine that my breasts are rather disappointed with their lot in life.  Born to a tomboy, they were rarely alloted their moment in the spotlight.  I found them cumbersome and inconvenient most of the time, probably because I was given grown-up boobs at a point in my life when I still enjoyed climbing trees and playing sports.  While most girls were busy stuffing their bras with tissues and rubberized chicken cutlets,  I was using every means I could think of to diminish mine, short of duct taping them down.

I spent the better part of a decade either ignoring them, or wishing I had the option of taking them off and on like a pair of shoes.  Though if I really had that option, my breasts probably would have ended up being stored in a shoebox on my closet shelf, collecting dust, until they shriveled up into two pitiful, peach-colored raisins.

I was in a training bra for about five seconds, and the next thing I remember I was fourteen years old, standing in a department store dressing room with my mother, and she was gasping, “Good lord!  Where in god’s name have you been hiding those?!  I had NO idea!”

I was spilling over the top and oozing out the bottom of the pathetic, little bra – giving my breasts the appearance of an exploded tube of Pillsbury biscuit dough.  Without the camouflage of my usual baggy attire, I could no longer hide nor deny their existence…. especially now that there was a witness.

I was a late bloomer in every other respect, but I guess my precocious breasts decided to lead the charge into adulthood.  Whether I liked it or not (at that point, it was definitely not), I was going home with my new 34C bras, and reluctantly leaving the last shreds of my childhood behind in that dressing room.

By the time my teens were over, I stopped treating my breasts like a dirty, little secret and started to use them to my advantage.  I realized that they were handy things to have on the dating scene; finally connecting the dots that big boobs = attention from guys.  So I’m a little slow, shut up.

But my days of attention grabbing low-cut tops and lacy bras were short lived because by age 23 I was married, and two years later, I was pregnant.  No sooner had my breasts made their public debut than they were being placed into one of the most hideous garments a breast can wear – a nursing bra.

During my pregnancy, some of my old tomboy insecurities resurfaced because the damn things were getting bigger again.  D-cup sized breasts were the things of most men’s dreams, but my own personal nightmares.  I had visions of turning into my middle school chorus teacher – a woman who used her enormous chest as a writing desk whenever she wrote out a hall pass.  While it would be handy to never be at a loss for something to lean on should I need to jot down a quick note, the thought of having classroom furniture jutting out from my chest scared the hell out of me.  How was I going to nurse an infant with breasts bigger than she was?

As it turns out, nursing my newborn daughter was challenging, but doable.  And when I looked down at her sweet face the first time she nursed, I felt something about my breasts that I had never felt before – appreciation.

I forgot about all the times they got in the way when I played sports, or the fact that they never fit into those cute, girlie tops designed for the B-cup set.  They were sustaining life, and giving my daughter everything she needed to thrive.  And that appreciation grew tenfold during midnight feedings when I didn’t have to go all the way downstairs to heat up a bottle; I was like my daughter’s own personal 7-11, convenient and always ready for business.

When I stopped nursing her, I kept waiting for my breasts to go back to their original size, but it never happened (much to my chagrin).  I lost all my “baby weight” everywhere but in my bra.  And when I got pregnant for a second time (four years later), it was time for another growth spurt that added another D onto my cup size.  And like my previous pregnancy, my breasts didn’t decrease in size after nursing was over.  I knew that unless I did something drastic, like undergoing plastic surgery, my double-Ds were here to stay.

And mine weren’t the double-Ds of most porn addict’s fantasies; they looked more like something out of Salvador Dali’s imagination.  Despair took hold when I said goodbye to my chances of ever being able to shop at Victoria’s Secret again, and hello to unflattering bras that used descriptives like “minimizer” and “full-coverage” in their advertising.

My 30 year-old breasts were now wearing geriatric garments; bras designed with one purpose in mind – to prevent my breasts from making a pilgrimage towards my feet.  I can remember as a girl, the test to see if your breasts were sagging was to place a pencil under your breast; when you let go, if the pencil stayed without falling to the ground, gravity was starting to take its toll.  Well, by this point, my pencil days were long gone – I could successfully store all of my children’s back-to-school supplies under there.

Around age 35, I got a healthy dose of perspective that made all the years I spent complaining about my breasts seem absurd.  I started hearing a lot of stories about women my age falling victim to breast cancer – a fact that was both startling and scary.  Cancer was no longer something that happened to mothers and grandmothers, it was happening to my peers.  And once I became aware of it, the subject seemed to be on everyone’s lips.  Famed breast cancer survivors like Christina Applegate and Melissa Etheridge were championing the cause, and pink ribbons were everywhere.

It’s horrible for anyone to be struck with cancer, but it seemed particularly heinous for someone under the age of 40.  The weight of that cruel reality hit me one day while I was in the shower.  Without the cover of my granny-bras or my baggy t-shirts, my breasts were there, just staring up at me… well, I guess they were staring more towards the floor…. but let’s not get technical when I’m trying to be sentimental.  As I stared back at them, it was as if I was seeing them for the first time.  And a genuine feeling of gratitude washed over me.

I was grateful that my breasts had been there to feed my two children.

Grateful that they were still healthy.

Grateful that they were still here for me to bitch about – though I would probably be doing a lot less of that from here on out.

Ever since that day, my breasts and I have reached a new level of friendship and understanding (hey, if you guys can name your penises and talk about them like they’re separate entities, I can be friends with my breasts).  And in the spirit of friendship, I decided to make them a few promises….

I won’t complain whenever I have to pass up the cute, lacy bras for ones that actually have a shot at holding my girls up.

I won’t make fun of them every time I lay down and they disappear into my armpits.

I won’t pine away for the breasts I had when I was sixteen… at least not out loud.

And in return, they will do their best to enjoy a long, healthy life with me.  After trying to hold them up for nearly 30 years, I figure the least they can do is try to hold up their end of the bargain for the next 30.

Crazy Cat Lady Has Puppy Love

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had pets in my house.  I have no idea what it’s like to get up from my couch without a few stray pet hairs clinging to the back of my shirt; or come home and not have something furry to trip over.

I consider myself a ‘dog person’ but since moving out of my mom’s house nearly twenty years ago, I have only owned cats.  I currently own two, which hardly puts me in the realm of crazy…. slightly unbalanced, perhaps.  But just to make sure the scales of sanity don’t tip the other way, there is a one cat rule I live by – there should never be more cats than humans living inside a house.  And by that rule, I’m still two under my limit.

I think the reason behind my decision to own cats instead of dogs is one of sheer laziness.  Cats are low maintenance and nearly self-sufficient.  When you bring a kitten into your home, you only need to show them once where the litter box is for them to understand its use.  No training tricks, books, or wee-wee pads required.  You’ve accomplished in five seconds what it takes most dog owners months to do – your cat is house broken.

If I want to go on vacation for a week it’s fine by them, as long as I find a suitable replacement to keep their food bowl full and their litter box empty.  And since they sleep eighteen hours a day, chances are pretty good that not only won’t they miss me while I’m gone, they won’t even notice my absence.

Cats appreciate the occasional snuggle or scratch on the head, but I get the feeling that it isn’t required.  I’ve seen my cat rub its head on the corner of the bookcase and purr just as loudly as if a person had been doing the scratching.  And any physical affection they do permit will be on their terms, and they’ll let you know when your services are no longer required.  Forcing a cat to snuggle usually results in bloodshed – I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way.  While I certainly don’t appreciate my hand being shredded into ribbons, part of me has to respect a cat’s ability to make a person understand that “No means no!” without ever saying a word.

Even though I find their self-sufficiency both admirable and convenient, I have dreams of one day owning a pet who actually cares whether I live or die.  I already have enough self-esteem issues without a ten-pound hairball reminding me everyday just how expendable I am.

Which may be part of the reason I’ve always gravitated towards dogs – they make you feel adored rather than ignored.  There is no other creature alive that reacts to your presence with more unabashed enthusiasm than a dog.  How many people do you know practically pee themselves with excitement when you walk into the room?  Thankfully not too many, but what an ego boost that would be – causing people to become frantically incontinent at the mere sight of you…. probably what the cast of Twilight goes through everyday.

A dog senses your mood, and if you’re distressed or depressed they will do everything in their canine powers (which usually involves excessive licking and tail wagging) to try and make you feel better.  A cat senses your mood too; they just don’t care.  They might come over to investigate why you’re bawling your eyes out, but a cat is much more likely to play with your snotty tissues than to try and cheer you up.

But I don’t want just any dog.  The ones that make me squeal with delight are the big dogs, often mistaken for furry horses that like to play fetch (German Shepherds, Newfies, Leonbergers, Mastiffs, etc).  I want a dog that even on my most bloated day makes me feel small by comparison.  Like this guy….

I might have to take a second mortgage out on my house to afford to feed him.... or I could just let him eat my cats.

In my opinion, the pocket-sized pooches Hollywood starlets enjoy toting around aren’t real dogs – they’re fashion accessories that poop.  Nothing is more pathetic than watching a five-pound dog try to do normal dog things, like play fetch.  When the dog is smaller than the Frisbee, either give up the dog dream and get yourself a cat, or give up the fetch dream and put your doglet back in your purse where it belongs.

One of the few times something can say, "I crap bigger than you" and it's not an exaggeration.

I want my dog to have the ability to protect me if someone breaks into my home, but what chance would a Chihuahua have against a burglar?  I’m sure the only thing a burglar thinks when he hears high-pitched yapping coming from a house is, “oh good, they don’t have a real dog.”  But there isn’t a burglar alive who would break into a home with a dog the size of a Buick guarding it…. or if they did, I’ll guaranteed you they wouldn’t stay in the home for long.

I think this is much more effective than those ADT signs.

I also want a dog big enough to really cuddle with, like one of those giant teddy bears you win at a carnival.  I’ve spent the last two decades trying to cuddle with cats, and it’s just not the same.  I had one cat who loved to curl up next to me whenever I laid down anywhere in the house, which was very sweet, but also kind of lacking.

Now here’s some serious cuddling material – this lady’s Irish Wolfhounds act more like Afghans…. get it?  Afghan hounds?  Afghan blankets?  C’mon, that was funny!  Thinking up dog puns is harder than it looks, ya know….

Imagine the money she saves on heating costs!!

Hell, even the cat can’t resist cuddling with a big, fluffy doggie….  

Going against every natural instinct you have has never felt so right.

But until the day comes when I have the money to feed and care for my gentle giant, and the energy to devote to its training and daily exercise, I guess I’ll just stick with cats.  Maybe if I can find a cat with dog-like proportions it will help to ease my puppy jones….

I just hope it doesn't claw my face off when I try to make him spoon.

 

I Got Screwed By An Alien Named Paul

Before starting this blog, I made myself a promise that my material was going to be honest and uncensored.  I was going to use my little corner of cyberspace to creatively express myself without fear of reproach…. which was easy, until I did something worth reproaching – then I had to sit back and decide if I had the courage to follow through with the promise I had made to myself.

As it turns out, I do….

The school week ended and we were heading into the start of winter recess – ten glorious days of alarm clock free fun, where the only thing dictating the upcoming week’s schedule was our own whims and desires.  A mere two days into the break it became clear that this wasn’t going to be the flight of fancy we had hoped for.

My seven-year-old son, Aidan, got sick.  And in true Aidan style, he can’t just get a crappy cold; he’s got to contract something that adds a few more grey hairs to my head, and makes the worry lines on my forehead look positively cavernous.  He’s given me three or four really good medical scares, but always manages to bounce back right before I start looking like Betty White.

This time he was laid out with a 104-degree fever for four days.  And it wasn’t the fact that his body temperature was hot enough to keep a Jacuzzi bubbling that alarmed me, it was his lethargy.  When he contracted mono last year, he was running around the house like he had secretly paid off the doctor to write him a bogus sick note, just to get out of going to school.

But this time he lay on the couch like a warm sack of oatmeal – uninterested in eating, playing, or anything else that required him to sit vertically.  The only time I saw him stand up was when he needed to venture into the bathroom to set off a stunning display of stomach pyrotechnics.  I thought it was impossible to throw up when you stopped eating…. apparently I was wrong.

He existed on one yogurt a day, and wouldn’t drink anything besides water.  By the third day I had turned into my Italian grandmother, pacing the floor and perpetually asking him if he was hungry (seconds away from shouting, “Mangia!  Mangia!”)  The boy only weighs forty-eight pounds – I was panicked that he would disappear entirely by the week’s end.

But on day five he turned a corner, and was starting to look a bit more like himself.  His energy levels still weren’t up to par, so rather than trying to venture out, I thought it was a better idea to have a movie night in with the family.  I recorded the movie “Paul” – all I remembered about it (from the commercials) was the goofy-looking little alien; I thought the kids would get a kick out of him.  Boy was I right…. and very, very wrong.

The movie’s main characters, Clive and Graham, are two British sci-fi geeks with a serious passion for everything extraterrestrial.  They rented an RV so they could tour all the famous UFO hotspots in America, including Area 51.  While en route, they witness a horrendous car accident, pull off to the side of the road, and end up coming face-to-face with the driver of the wrecked vehicle:  Paul (the alien).

My first clue that this wasn’t a children’s movie was when Paul lights a cigarette – okay so maybe he’s not the best role model, but I naively thought that it might lead to Clive and Graham educating him about the dangers of smoking.  Didn’t happen.  In fact, smoking would turn out to be Paul’s least offensive habit.

The real problem began when Paul hitched a ride in their RV (since he had just totaled his car) and began a conversation with Graham, who was astounded to finally be meeting up with the real life version of something he had only seen in the pages of his comic books.  The conversation went like this:

Paul:  “Doesn’t this thing go any faster?”

Graham:  “I’m sorry, the speed limit is seventy.”

Paul:  “Screw the speed limit. Actually, don’t screw it.  Yeah, that’s good thinking.  Stay inconspicuous.”

Graham:  “How come I can understand you?  Are you using some kind of neural language router?”

Paul:  “Actually, I’m speaking English, you fucking idiot.”

OH SHIT.

Both of my kids erupted into nearly uncontrollable laughter, so loud that they practically drowned out the next thirty seconds of movie dialog.  If I wasn’t so horrified, I probably would have laughed too – pretty funny to see a little green alien drop the f-bomb.  But how could a kid’s movie get away with have cursing in it?  My brain was blatantly refusing to connect the dots.  I immediately jumped on the Internet and googled “Paul” – the first hit dispelled my confusion.  I could practically hear Paul’s voice in my head, “Of course the movie is rated R, you fucking idiot.”

Ever the proponent of parental denial, I reasoned that one curse word wasn’t going to scar my children for life – hell, they had heard worse than that from me when I’m behind the wheel of my car.  So I snuggled back down with Aidan on the couch, and kept my fingers crossed that Paul wouldn’t do anything else I’d regret.

As the movie wore on, it became clear that the alien I expected to be like E.T.’s comical little brother, ended up being more like E.T.’s perverted uncle.  And yet I couldn’t bring myself to stop the movie.  Because this foul-mouthed alien had done something the Motrin couldn’t do – he brought Aidan back to life.  When I heard Aidan’s contagious giggles for the first time in a week, I actually breathed a sigh of relief.  I knew letting him watch this movie was wrong, but at that moment, it felt oddly right.

My only solace was that most of the crude humor and sexual innuendos flew so far over his head that the joke was long gone before he even had the chance to question it.  When Paul lit a joint (one more thing to flog myself for later), I looked over at my husband to see if he was struggling as hard as I was not to laugh out loud.  His smile and silent laughter assured me he was.  Both of us instinctively knew that one audible laugh out of either of us would prompt our kids to beg for an explanation we weren’t willing to give.

But even though Paul seemed to embody everything a parent tries to caution their child against, he also had a lot of redeeming qualities.  And despite my better judgment (which was pretty much shot to hell by this point anyway), I found the little green bastard endearing.

There was no tearful E.T. moment when Paul’s spaceship finally arrives to take him back home, but there was a surprising level of sentimentality.  Although, hearing E.T. say, “I’ll be right here” as he points to Elliot’s head definitely tugged at the heartstrings more than hearing Paul tell Clive and Graham, “Safe to say we’ve all learned something from this – be yourself, speak from your heart, some shit like that.”

Know what else I learned, Paul?  I learned to pay a hell of a lot more attention to the movie rating.

Assuming your childhood innocence is already lost, press play and catch a glimpse of my parental FAIL.

There Are French Fries in My Purse

There are concessions every parent must make when they decide to have a child:

You may begin the day with a clean shirt, but you won’t end it with one.  Your child views your shirt as a tissue, a napkin, a burp-cloth, or (on a really bad day) a roll of toilet paper.  I’d like to think that kids under the age of three are just trying to be eco-friendly and save some trees.  But I think the real reason is more a matter of convenience – mom is usually within wiping distance.

A full night’s sleep becomes a rare luxury.  During your child’s first couple years of life, you get into your bed every night with the knowledge that you won’t be staying there for long.  And in your bleary-eyed state of perpetual exhaustion, you begin to doubt that you will ever sleep through the night again.   Your days of previously uninterrupted sleep will take on an almost mythical quality when you look back on them – surely you must have hallucinated the whole thing.

You will pack bags for an afternoon outing the way you used to pack for a two-week vacation.  As a parent, you feel compelled to be prepared for every need or possible scenario that may crop up in the span of a couple of hours.  Should a natural disaster occur while you’re at the grocery store, you’ll be ready.  Your diaper bag becomes your child’s bathroom, bedroom, playroom, and kitchen all rolled into one.  A new mother may not remember to shower or brush her hair in the morning, but she will have twelve changes of clothes for her baby on hand at any given moment.

Barring furniture, nothing in your house will ever be where it’s supposed to be.  “How did that get there?” will become your new mantra.  Cleaning your house is redefined – it used to mean dusting and vacuuming, now it just means that you managed to successfully return all of the items in your house back to their original locations before the kids had the chance to mess it up again.  The victory will usually be short lived – only a few precious hours of détente before you’re once again tripping over couch cushions and coats.  It’s like living with a pack of mischievous leprechauns and everyday is St. Patrick’s Day.

Now to be fair, and to ensure that I don’t strike fear into the heart of future procreators everywhere, I will say that having a baby may change everything, but it doesn’t change everything forever.  I don’t care what the Johnson & Johnson commercials try to tell you.  You will gain back several pre-parenthood perks….

By the time your youngest child enters pre-school, your clothes will no longer be treated as though they were made by the Kleenex Corporation.  Your child will realize there is something even more convenient for wiping than your shirt – their shirt.  Hey, it’s a step in the right direction.  Every booger stain on their sleeve is one less on yours.

You will once again enjoy the immense pleasure of an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  The first time it happens, you wake with a start because something doesn’t feel right – actually, something feels too right.  You’re well rested!!  Fear grips your heart because you know there is no way the scream machine that has kept you up for the past three months has allowed you to sleep for eight solid hours without needing to ingest or excrete anything.  Assuming the worst, you run to the crib to make sure the kid is still breathing.  And as you watch them peacefully slumber, you’re torn between feelings of overwhelming relief and wanting to kill them for scaring the crap out of you.

When you’re child no longer needs bottles or diapers, you will be able to leave the luggage home during short afternoon excursions.  The first few trips you make without a fully stocked diaper bag may feel a bit unnerving.  You were the Inspector Gadget of the parent world, and without your go-go-gadget-diaper-bag, how will you cope?  I promise you’ll be just fine.  And there are bonuses:  you no longer have to shoulder the fifty-pound bag responsible for many a trip to the chiropractor’s office, and you will feel as weightless as an astronaut on the moon.  Unfortunately, once your body adjusts to its new unencumbered existence, this feeling will subside.   But for a few days you will be able to walk around shouting, “Screw you, Jenny Craig!  I just lost fifty pounds in thirty seconds!!!”

But be warned neat-freaks, unless you plan on following behind your children with a shovel the way they do elephants at a circus, your house will always have shit on the floor.  And you will also find normal household items in totally abnormal locations.  The other day, I found a pair of dice wedged in the door handle of my refrigerator – I can’t even begin to surmise how they got there.  Was one of my kids in the middle of a yahtzee roll when they suddenly decided to get a drink of milk?  I’d also love to know why my TV remote has to make a weekly pilgrimage to the bathroom.  Or why my daughter has to store all of her personal items and electronics inside the couch cushions instead of using the $50 purse I bought her.  These are all questions only the leprechauns can answer.

I try to be a responsible parent and make my children clean up after themselves.  I want to show them that the magical house cleaning fairies of their babyhood no longer exist, and if they make a mess before they go to sleep at night, it will still be there in the morning when they wake up.  Maybe if I keep demonstrating how much cleaning sucks, they will eventually learn to put stuff back where it belongs when they’re done with it – I can dream, cant I?  But after the 4,000th time through my “if you would just pick up after yourself, you would never have to clean again!” speech, I must admit that I’m starting to lose hope.

The way I see it, there are only two ways to get the clutter under control:  I strip them of all their worldly possessions and make them live like Buddhist monks.  Or I kick them out of the house and change all the locks.  Given their options, I think they would both rather risk life on the streets than surrender their cellphone or iPod.  But their ability to speed text and play angry birds is hardly a defense against all the druggies and child molesters out there waiting to prey on them.  And I love them too much to leave them totally helpless on the mean streets of New York. So I discovered there’s an app for that –  iFightBack!  I will sleep much better at night knowing that they will know how to defend themselves in case of an elevator jacking or trouble with crack heads….

Social Morons

Living in New York, there are a plethora of pet peeves to choose from – insanely bad drivers, multitudes of rude people, criminally high costs of living, and an overpopulation problem that makes me feel as though I’m being herded like cattle whenever I leave the house (okay, so perhaps I’m a bit claustrophobic – which you would already know if you read my entry entitled “These Are a Few of My Scariest Things”).  But the one pet peeve that rises above the rest is dealing with social morons.

Every social function has at least one.  The social moron is the person I try to avoid making contact with because I know if I even offer them a curt greeting, it’s all over.  I might as well dig a shallow grave for myself and jump in because in just a few minutes, I’m going to wish I was dead anyway.  In an effort to prevent this from happening at a party, I will sometimes enlist the help of a “rescue buddy”  – someone who will swoop in and save me in the event that I wasn’t quick enough to get away.

The social moron will talk ad nauseam about subjects that make most people pray for the apocalypse just as a means to escape the conversation.  They are masters at the art of locating the most tolerant person in the room (someone too polite to walk away), and then backing them into a corner so as to limit their chance of escape.  They also tend to be close talkers (yet another pet peeve – like I said before, I’m claustrophobic).  But I think that beyond their inability to sense reasonable personal distance, they also subconsciously use close talking in order to block out every other person from their victim’s periphery, which unfortunately for the victim, may also include their rescue buddy.

The social moron’s mouth has no off switch once they’ve cornered their kind-hearted victim.  If I’m unlucky enough to fall prey to the social moron, I will soon find out about their chronic problem with anal leakage, their Aunt Janice’s dreams of becoming a world famous porn star, and how their six-year-old son won a local spelling bee with the word “engorged” (sounds like a word Aunt Janice might have taught him).  If my rescue buddy hasn’t saved me by this point (which he or she will pay dearly for later), I usually resort to sending out telepathic S.O.S signals to everyone else in the surrounding area – mentally pleading for someone to save me from this person’s verbal diarrhea.

The social moron is the only one who would chance discussing such mind-numbing topics because they are genetically incapable of realizing when they are boring the life right out of people.  I believe that for these people, the portion of the brain that enables us to decipher body language or pick up on social cues is dead (or at the very least misfiring). You can break eye contact, nod off, drool, or zone-out to fantasies about them choking on their own tongue – all to no avail.  Nothing will trigger a pause in the conversation because as far as the social moron is concerned, you’re riveted…. even if you haven’t spoken a word in the last half hour.

And because I’m too damn nice to walk away or yell, “Shut the hell up!” at the top of my lungs, I’ll be stuck in the corner nodding like an idiotic bobble-head doll, with an endless stream of monotone uh-huhs coming out of my mouth – all the while wondering if there is a god, and if so, why he seems to hate me so much.

As a parent, I don’t get the opportunity to go out to parties or social gatherings too often, and I feel like my childless evening is wasted when I have to listen to a social moron go on for hours about his reoccurring hangnail.  If I wanted to listen to senseless prattling, I could have saved myself the trouble of getting all dolled up, stayed home, and watched reruns of Sarah Palin’s Alaska.