Friday, December 28, 2007

From an Angry Wife

Dear Idiot Brother-in-law,

You are an ungrateful snot. Pay your god damned car note before you completely fuck up your brother's credit. If my husband and I can't buy a house or get a student loan because of YOU and your ridiculous need to drive a sports car, I will BEAT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF YOU.

Don't ask us for Christmas or birthday presents anymore. Don't ask for "help" buying a motorcycle. Pay us back the money you already owe us (which is accruing interest, by the way), and start acting like a responsible adult instead of a hissy-fit-throwing child. How can you be so behind on your bills when YOU HAVE A FREE APARTMENT?!

You're a jackass and I can't stand you. Stop coming to the house when Bizarro Dad is not here.

Up yours,
Sleepless Mama

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dear Betty Crocker

I don't know which executive thought it was a bright idea to discontinue the SuperMoist Cinnamon Swirl Cake Mix, but s/he was an absolute IDIOT to do so, especially now that Christmas is here. I cannot tell you how many requests I get for Cinnamon Swirl Cake With Raisins from family and friends. Now I've had to improvise with the Butter Pecan, which, by the way, tastes like really old banana bread that should have been tossed into the trash can a week ago. The fool in charge of making this kind of product decision needs a foot in the ass. Bring back the Cinnamon Swirl!

The preceding is a copy of the letter I sent to Betty Crocker Consumer Services. I expect to be presented with a picture of a size nine in someone's rectum any day now, along with a twelve-pack of Cinnamon Swirl cake mix.
Image courtesy of, who are really nice people that would LOVE to sell me a twelve-pack of Cinnamon Swirl cake mix, if only Betty Crocker would get off her fat ass and put it back in production.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Houston Rockets

You suck.
Nah, not really. You aren't that bad.
And I know the Denver Nuggets are a tough team, what with them being able to fly and all.
But you totally screwed up, Bettier, fouling that dude at 4.5 seconds left in double overtime.
I was willing to flash you if you'd won.
(Well, I was willing to flash the TV.)
You can't hang on to a lead to save yourself from a titty-less existence.
So I'm just going to have to keep them right here under my shirt.
Do better next game, fellas.
Graphic courtesy of

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dog and Cat Diary

Taken from a MySpace bulletin.


8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am... "Bastards!"

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow - - but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released...and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously brain damaged or drug induced.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the captors regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe... for now..........

Friday, November 02, 2007

Letter to a skank

Dear Whore-y Bitch,

That security guard you asked to walk you out to your car in the parking lot? Yeah, he's married.

Flirting with him was not a good idea.

Nor was hugging him.

And especially not the part where you shook your ass near his face three times when he bent down to turn on the escalator. Three times.

By the way, that last part was caught on tape. And replayed for everyone in the office to see.

Back the fuck off. Seriously. Back. The fuck. Off. Girls like you are the reason so many women hate each other. Girls like you are also the reason I keep bricks in my purse.

The Wife

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How To Annoy Your Loved Ones and Make Them Not Want to Help You

  1. Get into a relationship with and eventually marry a loser who lies, cheats on you, and makes you feel bad about yourself.
  2. Move this loser in with you, into a home that your family is providing for you.
  3. Keep having kids with the guy, even though he obviously doesn't really want to help you take care of them.
  4. Don't give him any real consequences when he stays out until 4 in the morning.
  5. Keep asking your family for money the whole time, since he obviously isn't providing enough.
  6. When your family does give you money, spend it on stupid stuff that you don't need.
  7. Lie unconvincingly to everyone, including yourself, about the loser's nocturnal habits.
  8. Accumulate tons of circumstantial evidence that he's cheating, and talk about it with friends and family, but never do anything about it.
  9. Tell him you're kicking him out, but let him back into the house anyway because you're too busy trying to be civil to realize that what you need to do is let your anger work for you and make him understand that you're serious.
  10. Keep having sex with him, even though you suspect he's cheating.
  11. Do this for five years.
  12. Kick him out when you finally have "concrete" proof of infidelity (as in a third party calls your house asking for his mistress, preferably over a legal matter).
  13. Now that you're a single mother, don't even start looking for a job for at least two months.
  14. Complain that you have to be in the MOOD to find a job.
  15. Tell your parents not to give you any money so that you'll get off your ass and get a job, and then complain when they won't give you any money.
  16. Rely on your parents for everying that food stamps won't pay for, like electricity and toilet paper.
  17. Complain that you can't get a job unless you get a car.
  18. Complain about why public transportation is a terribly inconvenient way to travel, and that you'd be able to do everything you need to do if you just had a car.
  19. Forget that when your parents gave you money before you kicked your husband out, you HAD enough for a used car. In fact, forget that they gave you money.
  20. Beg your sister to buy things for your kids or to move in and help you with bills, even though she's told you "no" many times.
  21. Ask for free babysitting from your sick mother, your friends with kids of their own, and your in-laws. Ask for it all the time. And during the time they are babysitting, use that time to search for jobs you know you don't want and can't (or won't) accept.
  22. Don't make up your mind about whether you want your husband to come home or not.
  23. Take FOREVER to file a child support claim against him. In fact, wait until he's not working anymore. Because then you'll get some money.
  24. When you speak to your husband, demand that he buy you a car. Because that's going to happen when he's not working. (He may buy a car, actually, but I promise you that his mistress is paying for it.)
  25. Complain to your friends and family that he won't hurry up and buy you a car, and that he should be buying you a car.
  26. Act like you're the only single mother of three in the world, when in fact you're not even the only one in your neighborhood.
  27. Yell at your children constantly, and then complain to your would-be babysitters that the two-year-old is always screaming.
  28. Act surprised and upset when your mother doesn't want to babysit your hellcat children after being hospitalized for heart problems.
  29. Ask people for favors that you know PERFECTLY WELL conflict with their own schedules.
  30. Interrupt your friends and family with constant phone calls, also during times that conflict with their routine.
  31. Cry that you need help and you don't understand why nobody wants to help you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Do Some Good and Win Some Prizes

Want to give to a charity but don't know which one to choose? Wishing you could get something in return for your donation besides a tax deduction?

Try the Tomato Nation Fall Contest! Simply donate to one of the charities listed in the TN challenge on DonorsChoose (any amount is fine, seriously, even if it's $5), and forward your e-mail receipt to Sars (webmistress of Tomato Nation). You'll have a chance to win fabulous prizes, including books, Glarkware merchandise, My So-Called Life DVDs (autographed by Claire Danes, who is donor-matching), gift certificates, a Wonderfalls script signed by Tim Minear, and other great prizes. Only one entry per person, not per donation.

Currently the challenge is in Bonus Round II. If this is completed by the time you're ready to donate, please glance to the left and see if a new round has begun on the General Blog Leaderboard. As of this writing, over $47,ooo has been raised for charities and schools across the country!

For contest rules and questions, and to find out what kind of self-humiliation Sars will be displaying before an unsuspecting public in return for our donations, please visit Sars at Contest runs from now until October 31st.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Memo to Good Morning America

Dear GMA,

I know we've grown into an increasingly voyeuristic culture. With little starlets running amok every time you turn around, and millions of people desperate for any shred of evidence proving that they are in fact better than highly paid celebrities, it's easy to see why the media business is booming and the paparazzi are even more in-your-face than ever before.

But please, GMA, you don't need to feed the beast by making it a point to ask excessively private questions when you interview Brad Pitt. The man is an actor and an activist. That's all I want from him. I couldn't give two shits about what his bedtime routine is with his little bundles of joy. Let him talk about his new movie or whatever cause he's supporting. If you really feel like putting him through the ringer, ask him how he can claim to be some big eco-warrior and yet still use massive amounts of air-polluting fuel when he takes private jets all over the globe.

To repeat: I don't care about Brad Pitt's personal life and what he does with his kids. When he starts actively seeking a new wife, then maybe let me know, because I have several beautiful single cousins who would LOVE to be Mrs. Brad Pitt. Other than that, leave it alone. I can see the neatness and symmetry of displaying a loving father who behaves responsibly opposite a rehab-happy white trash pop star who can't be bothered to learn how to operate a car seat (yes, I mean Britney, and no, I don't want to hear about her either). However, I'd really rather hear about what new projects Brad's working on that might actually have some kind of impact on my life. If I want parenting advice, there are magazines, websites, books, teachers, pediatricians, and veteran mothers across the street. I don't need Brad Pitt to set an example for me.

So, Good Morning America, please go back to your exposes on why everything is the government's fault and your cooking demonstrations. Otherwise, I'm just going to do what I did this morning: change the channel.

All the best,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"How To" Series

I'm pleased to introduce a new feature here at "Sleep? What's That?" Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the How To series, in which I discuss creative solutions to problems both abnormal and mundane.

Today's topic:
How To Get a Glue Trap Off a Toddler's Bare Foot

  1. If the trap is also stuck to something else, get that thing off first. Rip that sucker off, but be sure not to yank the child's leg when you do this. Also, if the glue trap is also stuck to the floor, please remember to maintain a firm grip on the toddler's ankle, but DO NOT pull by the leg. Pull from the edge of the glue trap.
  2. Carry your toddler to the kitchen sink. No, not the bathroom, trust me on this, everything you'll need will be in the kitchen. Sit your child on the countertop with his/her feet in the sink.
  3. Press record on your video camera.
  4. Pour some cooking oil (preferably the cheapest stuff you have) onto the foot. Using a back and forth motion with your finger, work the oil between the sole of the foot and the glue trap to separate them. Be gentle, and do not try to yank the trap off, lest you take some of your child's skin off. Continue applying oil as needed. Once you have completely removed the trap and discarded it, there may still be a large amount of glue remaining on the foot. Proceed with steps 5 through 9.
  5. Using a clean hand or utensil, scoop out a handful of smooth peanut butter and apply it to your child's foot. Using your hands only, rub the peanut butter onto the glue. You may need to scrape some of it off, so use either a fingernail (please not a sharp one) or a spoon.
  6. If the peanut butter method still has not removed all the glue, move on to very warm water and dish soap. Be careful with your water temperature, lest you cause skin burns. Once again, scraping will likely be necessary.
  7. If, after the soapy water method, you still have not removed all the glue, just use a DRY spoon and fingernails.
  8. If you still cannot get all the glue off, you might try rubbing the glue with an ice cube. Be aware, your child will scream. Once the glue is hardened by the cold, it should respond to scraping with more of a flaking reaction.
  9. If that doesn't work, please take your child to the emergency room. Don't forget to take the video camera.
  10. Call your exterminator and demand a refund, especially if you noticed teeth marks or rodent hair but no actual rodents on the glue trap in the first place.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Best. Prison. Ever.

Dude, if I ever commit a crime and must be incarcerated, deport me to the Philipines and send me over to THAT prison. Reformation never looked so fun.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I enter the bedroom, plop down on my husband's stomach, and start kissing his face.
Me: *smooch smooch smooch*
Bizarro Dad: Okay, okay, I get it. You love me.
Me: Of course I do.
BD: It's all a front.
Me: What is? My kissing you?
BD: Your loving me. You only love me because you love my beautiful-baby-producing ability.
Me: So you're saying I only love you because I... love you? And because we made pretty kids?
BD: Yep, that's right. You said, "I think that's the one with the right genes."
Me: (giggling) You got me honey. I sat down and made a Punnett square and determined that all your most desirable features that I liked would be dominant, and all the ones I didn't like would be recessive to my dominant ones. Thus we would reproduce highly attractive offspring.
BD: I knew it.
Me: Unfortunately, Sia accidentally inherited your tiny-butt gene.
BD: Well, they can't be perfect.
Me: And it's probably better that way. Can you imagine how much trouble we'll have with her as a teenager if she has a big ass?
BD: Terrible, I tell you.
Enter Sia, who climbs onto our bed.
Me: Hi sweety.
BD: Poor baby, what did I do to you? You don't have a butt.
Sia: (putting hand on her butt) It's right here, Daddy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hamburger Hinderer

I hate Hamburger Helper.

The smell of it cooking makes me want to vomit. Its lumpy, slimy texture in my mouth makes me think I am vomiting. Besides which, cheeseburger and macaroni together are just unnatural.

I used to love the stuff.

Cheeseburger Macaroni was probably the last meal I fixed for my ex-fiance. In this very kitchen, no less. He was ecstatic. He said it was his favorite. He told me I was "such a good wife for making it."

The following week he started complaining about our weekend routine (I drive an hour to spend the weekend in the same town as him, we hang out, we have dinner and watch a video, we make out on the couch, he goes home and I drive an hour back to my college town). Then he started complaining about a lot of other things, all of which he insisted were my fault. Then he said he wanted to date a fifteen-year-old girl. She was a plus and I was a minus.

I hate Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper.

My husband loves it, and insisted on buying a package last time we went grocery shopping.

I can't even stand looking at the box. It screams at me silently, and I can hear it in every room of the house.

"You are inadequate!"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lex Luthor: Moron

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to see Lex Luthor:
  • Wear a track suit instead of Armani suits
  • Talk like some kind of VJ
  • Look like he's obviously uncomfortable talking like a VJ, but do it anyway
  • Not know the socially acceptable behavior for any given situation (i.e. whether or not he should remove his shirt in a parking lot in the middle of someone else's face-off)
  • Make up stupid answers to direct questions and expect to be taken seriously
  • Not be able to hang on to everything he wants just because he has money
  • Get served
  • Get told that he has a small dick
  • Have hair

Please rent Kickin' It Old Skool, starring Jamie Kennedy and featuring Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum (a.k.a. Lex Luthor when he was young and handsome and not played by an old fart).

Photos courtesy of Apologies to Michael Rosenbaum, who is totally hot in real life, ESPECIALLY when he's bald!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Grammy Mammy Pants

There are two things that run in my family along the matriarchal line: diabetes, and storing all our fat in the front of our stomachs, resulting in that six-months-pregnant look throughout the year.

Grandma, a diabetic of many years and a great lover of Dr Pepper and Mexican pastries, has finally reached the point of requiring insulin shots. It's kind of sad, but at least it's a tiny needle attached to a self-measuring device that looks like a pen, rather than the giant nail stuck to a glass tube her sister and mother used back in the day. Naturally Grandma has to worry about the usual related ailments, like slow-healing cuts and bug bites, shakiness, confusion, hypertension, and those whacked-out mood swings. Perhaps the strangest symptom of her diabetes has been her constant annoyance at anything squeezing her.

I wish I could count the number of times she's repeated "Diabetics don't like having anything pressing on us." She means things like the shoulder straps of purses, anything with a tight waistband, and overly tight socks (you've not been truly disturbed until you've seen a centenarian in leg warmers and flip-flops). But most of all, she can't stand to wear pants. In fact, I think it would not be a stretch to say she's probably never worn a single pair of pants in all of her 78 years. Elastic waist, jeans, slacks, belted stuff, things held up by suspenders, it doesn't matter, if the thing has a separate hole for each leg and is not a skirt or dress, she won't wear it, clamoring "It hurts, it hurts, I know it hurts, even though I have never tried it on, ever, I know it hurts."

However, for reasons that are bathroom related and are too gross to share with you, my grandma has now been forced to wear pants when she visits doctors' offices and labs.

Just as Grandma was worried about the possibility of giant needle-nails big enough to crucify with, she's also been concerned about the vice-grip waist of the slacks of yesteryear. She seems to forget that modern weighty women do not bother with the girdles and pointy bras of 50 years ago or, so help me, corsets. We would rather buy a larger size with a smaller number and feel comfortable while they trick ourselves into feeling thin.

Be that as it may, Mom and I were still worried that the elastic waistband of some stretch pants might still be too tight for my delicate little old flower of a granny. In fact, I thought it very likely that she'd let my mom buy the pants and then just not wear them. And of all the things that run in my family, the most powerful is the sense of pissed-offed-ness that comes from spending good money on something that isn't going to be used at all.

And then inspiration struck.

Since I inherited the looks-like-a-beer-gut gut, I've found that the easiest way to be comfortable without tossing on sweats is to put on my old maternity jeans. The elastic is a good two inches wide, so I don't have a narrow piece of rubber slicing into my belly, and it rests higher up on the abdomen. There are no drawstrings to stand there and mess with before I sit on the Throne. And the pants actually look nice while still being designed to expand as I need them to. I told Mom all about it.

I wonder if Grandma knows that she and I are basically wearing the exact same preggo pants without either of us actually being pregnant?

Friday, August 31, 2007

12 Things That Mildly Suck

  1. Pimple in the ear canal
  2. All these idiotic shows about bounty hunters (which, by the way, cops make fun of, especially Dog the Bounty Hunter, which, who wouldn't? It's blatantly obvious that they're all hamming it up for the camera)
  3. A 500+ piece puzzle nearly completed with one piece missing from the box
  4. 35 minutes for lunch, 20 minutes of which are spent waiting in the lunch line
  5. Being hungry and having no idea what snack to fix
  6. Insects destroying the last of my summer crop, thus eliminating the kids' hopes for a "Giant Vegetable Competition"
  7. Screwing up a sudoku puzzle . . . in pen
  8. Bunk-ass rhymes get featured on CSI: Miami, when people with better flow go unnoticed
  9. A MOUSE!!!! EEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!
  10. David Blaine and all the other Houdini wanna-bes (I'm looking at YOU, Criss Angel) who basically do nothing of use and get paid for it
  11. Five-year-old daughter has barely been at school a week, and already there's some boy poking her shoulder softly in the lunch line and pressing up against her in a weird little "I want to hug you but I can't so I'll just not use my arms" way
  12. Having to wait ten years before I can use the traditional threat of Mexican mothers: "Touch my daughter and I'll hang you by your balls in my front yard"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Edgy Mommy

You know that feeling you get when you're nervous about something but you're trying not to show it, but it keeps on popping out anyway?

That's what I'm like today, on my oldest child's first day of school.

There were no tears, just a few moments of agitation when I realized that my daughter was listed as a car-rider instead of a walker, at which point I began to freak out just a little bit at the thought of my poor five-year-old being left to wander in a sea of car-riders at the front of the school, doing battle with traffic and older kids all alone. I tend to exaggerate negative scenarios when I'm nervous.

Walking home after dropping her off this morning was sad. Little Sia, who wanted to wear her backpack just like Gina, got upset with us for not letting her stay at school. This made me even more freaked out, until she started asking us to carry her on the way back, and I realized she's still got some baby left in her.
My mom, who lives across the street from me, "just so happened" to be out mowing her ditch as we trudged home. When she saw us pass by, the mower magically disappeared and she walked over to inform me that she'd already cried this morning and that my daughter now belongs to the school district, not me. I don't know why she keeps telling me this. Maybe because that's how she felt when my brother or I started school. Or maybe she just always felt that I didn't belong to her because I was a Grandma's Girl, and she wanted me to know what that felt like (i.e.: rub my nose in it). I get paranoid about the intentions of others when I get nervous.

As a nice surprise, we brought over the old-fashioned desk from Grandma's that I used for my homework when I was in elementary school.

Solid wood and metal construction, with a swivel seat and a hinged desktop that opens to storage space. Notice the black circle in the top right corner. That's not a painted-on circle, my friends. It's a hole. For an inkwell.

I focus on something minute when I'm nervous.

Mom stayed with me for part of the day, doing me the favor of distracting me with unrelated subjects, like income tax evasion. The rest of the day, however, dragged on like a recital of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles. And Azariah begat Helez, and Helez begat Eleasah... I had to do something with all that time and jittery energy, so I made a coconut pie. Yes, that's right, I have turned into Kitty Forman.

Every time the phone rang, I thought it might be the school and jumped about six feet in the air (a feat to be applauded, as I am less than five feet tall). Fortunately it was always a family member calling to ask a question or keep me informed of good news. For once I am thankful that my sister-in-law is an active busybody with so much influence in the school, because it means she was allowed to go check in with my daughter's teacher without needing to make an appointment first. Turns out I gave birth not to a girl, but to a Chatty Cathy doll.

Finally, thank Father Time, 3:00 rolled around and our whole family once again made the trek to the school. And waited. And waited. And stood around waiting some more. It is apparently school policy to wait until ALL the cars picking up their kids are gone before dismissing the walkers. We were there for a good half an hour.

And what happened when they finally let my baby out of there? First of all, she walked out into 90 degree weather wearing a sweater, because it was so freaking cold in that school. And then they made her go the long way around to the small gate (about 40 yards away) instead of bringing her to the main gate (where the cars would be entering, if there were any cars left, which there weren't, because they waited FORTY YEARS to make sure there were no moving vehicles). But my poor Gina, she was having none of that. She caught sight of us as I was trying to take her picture, and she wrenched herself away from the older girl holding her hand and came running to me in tears. I rushed out to meet her. It was just like on TV, when you see two people running to each other across a field in slow motion, only the grass wasn't as high, and her father was yelling "Go back! Go back!"

As I walked her back to the rest of the kids (after all, she must get used to going the right way, no matter how stupid it is), I found out why she's so upset.

"Mommy, they took away all my school surprise!"

"Your school supplies?"

"Yeah, I lost them, they're missing! I want my school sur-plies, Mommy. I let them down."

Cue Bizarro Dad and me trying very hard not to laugh and failing.

I would post a picture of her highly upset face as she told me "We'll talk about it later," (which, by the way, when the heck did she start saying things like that? What are they teaching her in that school?) but the picture contains too much private information. Apparently on the first day of school, they not only put your name on your clothes, but also your grade level, classroom number, lunch card number, how you get home, favorite ice cream flavor, and the names of the last five places you used a public restroom. Paranoid much, Principal Geometry?

Well, at least it's over. And at least I got to tease my mom by telling her that since she's the first of three generations of our family to attend this school, that means Gina is referring to her when she says "My ancestors went to this school."

Oh, hell. I just remembered: I have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ridiculous Commercials about Private Products

Quilted Northern
A mother and her 7-year-old daughter emerge from the shower, towel off, and begin their daily beauty regimen. A narrator blathers on about the way we take care of ourselves and the people we care about. Random shots of packages of Quilted Northern toilet paper are woven in with shots of Mom and Girl using every hygiene and skin care product known to man EXCEPT for toilet paper. Girl carefully takes note of how Mom applies lotion. My problem: Where does the toilet paper come in? Obviously they don't need toilet paper to comb their hair. Was there a cut scene riddled with toilet conversation?

Mom: Oh Sweet Pea, are you ready for Mommy to wipe your ass?
Girl: No thank you, Mother, I think I've got that part of the bathroom routine down pat. Let's move on to moisturizing, and then I have to do my multiplication tables for school tomorrow.
Mom: (tearful) My baby's growing up!

Hanes, featuring Michael Jordan and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Okay, I have to admit, I am a major fan of Michael Jordan underwear commercials. (Yes, I know all my readers are men and you don't want to hear it. I dig bald dudes in drawers. Deal with it.) But I can't say I'm liking the addition of Cuba. For some reason his behavior in these ads mirrors the type of buffoonish characters he's been playing in film lately. It's annoying, and it distracts, nay, detracts, from anything good I might otherwise have gleaned from whatever he's appearing in. Seriously, would you (if you're straight) yell across a crowded room of people (with cameras) to a member of the same sex, "I'm wearing your underwear!" Nice to know he's putting that Academy Award winning talent to use.

Then again, we should perhaps call into question Mr. Jordan's initial action of leaving Mr. Gooding a gift basket full of boxers. With a bow on top. And a hand-written card. I'm willing to accept that guys talk about which underwear are comfortable (although that might be a stretch of the imagination bordering on foolishness), but giving them as gifts? And not as part the obligatory Christmas gift swap that invariably includes a pack of socks, cigarettes, and a bottle of Jack Daniels? Oh, Michael, how could you betray me for the other side!? I defended your baldness as sexy for YEARS.

Viva Viagra
The only pill Elvis never took, and they use the tune of his song, "Viva Las Vegas," to promote the damn thing on TV. Curiously enough, I don't ever recall seeing this commercial, but I always hear it loud and clear from the kitchen, just as I'm getting ready to start preparing food. No wonder I keep skipping meals. Can you imagine trying to handle a package of meat (heh) and hearing this crap? And Bizarro Dad is confused as to why I've stopped cooking the sumptuous meals.

I would like to thank Bizarro Dad for staying up late one night and calling me over specifically to laugh at this strange infomercial. A product is discussed (is it a pill? a cream? a machine? what? oh, it's an herbal supplement), the results of use being the lengthening of "his special place," "his certain body part," "his pathetically small penis," etc. Someone with a microphone and a cameraman randomly walks up to couples in the street and asks if they've used this product, and whether it's effective. Oddly enough, several people of many ethnic backgrounds (and even a foreign couple with an exotic accent) all admit, ON CAMERA, that they have not only heard of this stuff, but they've used it and had noticeably effective results. Most, if not all, of these people were on the same street. Must have been an International Mangina Maintenance convention in town.

I can't watch any further than that without cracking up or changing the channel in disgust, so I couldn't tell you all the statistics and test results, none of which I'd believe anyway, since I already don't believe that many people on the same street have tried the same penis-enhancing herbs and admit it. In front of their women. And total strangers. ON TELEVISION. In the interest of thoroughness, I found that you can buy a 3-pack of 180c bottles of this stuff. In the product reviews, a self-proclaimed professional nutritionist declares (in nearly all caps) that this product is unsafe for human consumption due to both absurdly high levels of some herbs and the presence of a known toxic herb. Too bad Greg "Dr. Safe" wasn't on the same street as all the ExtenZe users getting interviewed. He might have injected some much-needed reality into the proceedings. Then again, judging by the body of his comment, perhaps he was listening in on the "Surgical Enhancement" lecture.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

For those of you who think the rodeo has nothing to offer...

I present to you:

Celebrity Bull Riding

No, seriously.

Sadly, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton will not be part of the spectacle, nor will Dr. Phil or that asshat from Grey's Anatomy.

Dude, St. Gabriel and I need to have a conversation very soon. I fear he has been neglecting his post.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

St. School House Rocks

Even with all the wacky saints in the Catholic church's saint index (St. Eligius, patron saint of cab drivers), it's nice to know that there are still some saints who you can pray to (if you're so inclined) for something that makes sense. If I were the type to pray to a saint (which I'm not), I'd be directing my prayers to St. Martin de Porres, patron saint of public schools.

I count myself fortunate that my daughter is enrolling in one of the highest-scoring elementary schools in the state, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous about sending her to a school that relies on the local property taxes of a poor neighborhood for its funding. They've been using the same trash compactor for 20 years (yes, I did recognize it), and who knows if that thing's going to explode and shower all the children with mystery meat and chocolate milk?

Of course, this may all be just my delusional, insomnia-driven brain ramblings, brought on no doubt by receiving a phone call this morning telling me that my daughter has to come in for a test next week (two weeks before school actually starts). At first I thought it was a placement test. Silly me, thinking that just because my husband, who took the call, SAID it was a placement test, he would continue to say the same thing eight hours later. He's changed his story to "They didn't SAY what kind of test it was, I just THOUGHT that might be it, but I never SAID THAT."

Which I countered with, "Dude, I WROTE DOWN WHAT YOU SAID. Are you saying you MADE IT UP?"

Now for all I know it could a freaking TB test or something. That's all she needs, for the school nurse to stick a needle in her arm and inject her with fluid. I'm sure Gina will LOVE going to that nurse for her scrapes and cuts after that.

And can we talk for a minute about the paperwork I had to fill out? I know the school system has to be thorough, what with all the crazy allergies kids have these days and trying to make sure you actually live within the proper district boundaries, but you just KNOW they aren't handing that Migrant Worker Survey to the white families. The last time anyone in our family did migrant farm work was sixty years ago. That's why it didn't even occur to me to fill it out, and I had to stand there stupidly in the office and answer the questions verbally after handing in the 40 tons of papers I had to fill out and sign. Surely they saw the paper I filled out that said my daughter already HAD a TB test, right?

And will somebody please tell me why I can't pick up my five-year-old directly from her classroom? I'm walking the child to and from school, so why do I have to wait out in front, at a distance? I'll tell you why: two years ago there was a sudden surge in the number of divorces among this school's parent pool, and suddenly dads were walking in and picking up children even though it wasn't their assigned custody day, and by law the school had to allow it because both parents were listed on the registration card. But the moms were getting all pissed off, with the "Why would you let my child be picked up by her own father on the fourth Tuesday of the month, don't you know the intimate details of our private custody agreement?"

So the principal (who I really do admire, as she was my high school geometry teacher AND my husband's guidance counselor later on) said "To heck with this meshugas, I'm not having our classes disrupted because these people can't handle their own private affairs. Everybody wait out front for their kids, and there are no more after-school conferences. If it's that important that you tell the teacher what's going on, you have to make an appointment during the day, and if there's a problem with your custody agreement that doesn't involve having your ex removed from our registration card, tell it to the family court." To which I say rock on, except for the part where I can't go stand outside her classroom door and make sure no strangers try to take her before she makes it all the way to wherever I'm allowed to wait, if she even remembers where that spot is.

Then, of course, there's a whole set of papers you have to clear if your child was born in a foreign country, particularly if s/he's not a citizen of THIS country. Thank God my kids weren't born any farther away than North Carolina. I kind of feel sorry for the children of undocumented workers. Heaven knows what kind of lies those poor kids have to tell in today's anti-immigration political climate just to keep from being deported back to a country full of drug lords and mara salvatrucha.

Wow, they really have to deal with a lot at that school. Maybe if I have any Catholics in the readership, you could say a prayer to St. Martin for my school, that the teachers and administrators not go postal just trying to keep things running smoothly. I'll just be standing over here in the parents' waiting area with Gabriel the Archangel, patron saint of postal workers, radio, and television. Apparently he knows why FOX cancelled Firefly, and what better place to learn of the mysteries of fate and television workers than in the nearest House of Learning?

Monday, August 06, 2007

For the Firefly lovers

Best fan-video EVER.

I don't know about you, but I feel immensely cheered up after watching this.

Please direct me to any fun videos you know of. I just went and registered my baby for kindergarten in the same school as her ancestors (by which I mean myself, my husband, and both our mothers), so I could do with some laughs to make me not feel like such an old fart.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Popo

Eighty-two years of living. Fifty-nine years of marriage. Laboring, sweating, building, repairing, fighting, sailing, fishing, hunting, teaching, swearing, holding, talking, loving, breathing.

Years of suffering.

Done now.
No more struggling just to breathe.
No more arguing over who did what to whom.

No more fear.
No more pain.
Rest now.
Float on the lovely ocean in my dreams.

Goodbye, Popo. I'm sorry I can't cry, but I really do love you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Inappropriate yet commonplace comments

  • So, the girl we're having this baby shower for, does she have a boyfriend or a fiance or something?
  • Your daughter's pregnant? Better get out that shotgun.
  • Oh, you're a single mom. Do all your kids have the same father?
  • Oh, you're a single mom. Are you ever going to get back together with your kid's father?
  • I know she's married, but do all her kids come from the same daddy?
  • How long after you got pregnant did you get married?
  • She has a figure like you used to have.
  • Pregnant? You should have got her a dog.
  • Are those kids mixed? What is their father?

And yes, I have heard every single one of these comments, either to me, about me, and/or about family or friends.

What is wrong with society today? I know the modern human family is being redefined daily and women don't have to walk around with a scarlet "A" on their chests anymore, and certainly people are more open about what they do. But seriously, have we fallen so far that we assume promiscuity at every turn? Are we so low that we don't even have manners anymore?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Daniel Radcliffe

Now that you're 18, I'm breaking any laws when I find and stare at this:
I am now accepting members for Future Wives of Daniel Radcliffe (Anonymous).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Deathly Hallows Predictions

Avert your eyes if you must, but I am putting my predictions about the seventh Harry Potter book here, on the internet, before the book is released, so that when some of this stuff actually comes true, I have it on record that I saw it coming.

  1. Percy Weasley will betray his family, friends, and even the ministry; in his ambitious pursuit of power, he will become a spy for Voldemort, who after all is a very powerful dark wizard.
  2. Ginny Weasley will be an Animagus, and will transform into a cat of some kind. She will also be proven to be one of the most powerful witches (meaning the strength of her magic, not authority) of the age, and certainly the most powerful of the Weasley clan.
  3. Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail, will betray Voldemort in an attempt to repay the life debt he owes Harry.
  4. The Blacks will turn out to be descended from Slytherin himself.
  5. Harry Potter will destroy all the remaining Horcruxes. He will find the Slytherin locket among the Black heirlooms.
  6. Harry and Ginny will get back together at least one last time.
  7. Harry will die to save other people. In doing so, he will leave the same magical love protection on others that his mother left on him.
  8. The famous prophecy, which states "neither can live while the other survives," will be proven to have a different meaning than previously understood. Clearly both of them are already alive and surviving at the same time, so the prophecy must have another interpretation. (This goes back to my previous belief that the prophecy was no longer worth guarding once Voldemort had already succeeded in fulfilling it by "marking" Harry "as his equal" and making the transfer of power. Voldemort already wanted to kill Harry Potter, and Harry already wanted to kill Voldemort. Dumbledore knew all of this, and yet he still put all those lives at risk guarding useless information? No, there would have to be something else to the prophecy for it to have been worth the trouble the Order went to to guard it.)
  9. Someone else will have a scar upon them from surviving the Killing Curse.
  10. Hagrid's brother Grawp will come into play as an essential part of bring the rest of the giants over to the good guys.
  11. Somebody will knock boots. It will not be described, because Scholastic is still marketing this as a children's book. But someone is going to get some.
  12. We will find out what is behind the veil in the Department of Mysteries.
  13. Bellatrix Lestrange will die. Personally, I hope it's at the hands of either Neville Longbottom or the Dark Lord himself. Either would satisfy my sense of poetic justice.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Most women, at one point or another in their lives, will be heard uttering something along the lines of "Men are such pigs," or "All men are dogs," or "Men are disgusting, with the burping and the passing gas and the general uncleanliness." Mostly these are reactions to something occuring at the moment or to an annoying habit. But today I am determined to find out: just how disgusting in general are men, really?

It began when I sent Bizarro Dad out to feed our puppies (now five weeks old). I prepared their mash of puppy formula and canned Iams in a bowl and sent the husband out with instructions to give them their food in THIS bowl and retrieve the OTHER bowl from yesterday so I could wash it.

Bizarro Dad stared at me for 30 seconds with wide, incredulous eyes.

Me: Have I given you instructions that you don't understand?

Him: You feed those puppies... in our SOUP BOWLS?

This is, of course, absolutely ridiculous. I don't drop the puppies in the bowl to feed them. They eat FROM the soup bowl. But "soup bowl" is the material point I must address.

Me: I wash the bowls, dear. With soap, even. It's fine.

Him: (beginning to smile) But they use their TONGUES.

Me: (smiling back) Their mouths are probably cleaner than ours, honey.

Him: I doubt that. They lick themselves.

Me: So what? You'd probably lick yourself if you could.

At this the husband stops, turns, and looks right at me.

Him: No. I would NOT lick myself. That is disgusting.

Me: Don't be silly. Any man would lick himself if he could.

Naturally a brief fake argument ensued, interrupted when I shut the door between us so he would go feed the ass-licking puppies already. But it made me wonder:

Would men actually lick themselves if they could? Even once, just to try it? Anonymous replies are welcome.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hatchling Unmutated Non-combative Chelonians

Bizarro Dad told our daughters that if we couldn't take them to the beach this weekend, we'd get some new fish for the fish tank (45 gallons, and we only have two algae eaters and one very aggressive cichlid who eats any other fish we introduce).

Bizarro Dad then remembered his final exam is on Monday, and if he passes THAT, the state exam is two days later. All his spare time (when he's not watching Black Snake Moan, apparently) is devoted to study and making flashcards. Guess where we're not going this weekend?

Knowing this would be the case, my darling husband went to a nearby fish store, presumably to get some more cichlids or a betta, something we're already equipped to take care of.

It was so simple. I thought it would be safe. He went alone.

He came back an hour later with two Red Ear Slider turtles and a floating faux log.

Most of the stuff they need, we already have, like a filter and an aquarium heater. The pet shop guy gave him a little bag of turtle pellets, so they've got food. And of course there's the log, so little Crush and Squirt have a place to climb up and rest themselves. Even the cichlid, Nemo, left them alone once he realized he can't bite them into submission (those darn hard shells). Turtles are completely compatible with our tank.

But uh-oh. Pet Shop Guy neglects to inform us that we also need a "basking area" for the turtles, a place where they can climb up and sun themselves under the vitamin-enriching rays of the UVB lamp.

Husband goes out and gets ANOTHER floating thing, one that will remain stationary, and cuts a hole in the tank hood so the light from our lamp (repurposed from our garage lighting) can get through. The turtles love it! Except that we don't actually have a UVB bulb, and they're just making due with a 60 watt.

Oh, and it turns out Crush has an open wound where his tail used to be. This is especially bad, since all his peeing, pooping, and sexual activity will take place from one location: the cloaca, located in (you guessed it) his tail. Bizarro Dad has to take him back to Pet Shop Guy for an exchange. Oldest Daughter, who is now sobbing about Crush's departure, is told that Crush is getting his tail fixed. She moves on to sobbing about missing Daddy, and when is Daddy coming home?, and I lost my Daddy and miss him so much, can I see a picture of Daddy?
My research also indicates that we should throw away the pellets Pet Shop Guy gave us and get some high quality stuff, in addition to calcium supplements, aquatic plants, red-leaf lettuce, that UVB bulb I mentioned, the occasional live prey, a vet that can handle exotic animals, and a home improvement loan.

Wait, what? Oh yeah, you read that right. Two adult Red Ears require two hundred gallons of water, and if either of them are females then I have to provide a nesting area as well. Do you have any idea how much it will cost to build a two hundred gallon pond complete with filtration, nesting area, basking area, shaded area, unclimbable border (to prevent escapes), and protection from predator animals?

The best part, though? Captive Red Ear Sliders have an average lifespan of 40 years.

Forty. Years.

I will be 68 years old. My children will be middle-aged and have their own grandchildren on the way before these turtles no longer need me to care for them.
Don't get me wrong, the turtles are very cute, and I look forward to enjoying their presence. But I wasn't expecting a 40-year commitment to drop in my lap because my husband promised to take the kids to the beach the day before his final exam and then suddenly remembered he had to STUDY!
Next time, I don't care if it's raining, exam time, or two days before my due date, I'm taking those girls to the beach. That, or making sure I don't send Bizarro Dad to the pet shop alone. God help me if he brings home a pet that requires I name one of our great-grandkids its legal guardian in our Will.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fourth of July

One block.
Three houses.
Forty or more adults.
Fifteen to twenty children.
Two hundred burgers and hot dogs.
Ten ice chests.
Numerous beers, waters, and sodas.
Unknown quantities of mixed drinks.
Five trays of red and blue Jello shots.
Fifty lawn chairs.
Four police officers and three EMTs, all of whom showed up for the food.
Eight hundred pounds of hardcore fireworks (retail value $6000.00), including 8 boxes of "Sexual Fantasies."

The best Independence Day block parties are the ones hosted by a cop. Except for one little thing:

Burns acquired due to improper spacing of fireworks by drunken, overzealous idiots, resulting in the still-burning and whizzing embers landing directly beside my chair:
  • Two on my neck
  • One on my arm
  • One unfixable hole on the leg of my favorite spandex sexy-pants.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ya gotta love stupid MySpace surveys

You know the usual MySpace survey questions: "What's your middle name?" "What were you doing last night?" "What's your favorite color?" "When are you going to be out of the house for longer than three hours?" "Where do you keep the spare key?" It gets weird. Here are some sample questions from an actual survey, along with my answers, all of which are true. (Yes, this is in fact a fluff post. Fuck off.)

1. When was the last time you shaved your legs?
Trust me, you don't want to know, and I can't really remember anyway. I've had a rough week, dammit.

4. What are you wearing?
After the leg shaving question, are you sure you even want to know? I didn't know you were into fuzzy-legged women. Should I get out the lingerie?

9. Do you have a crush on anyone?
Yeah, that hot guy from Supernatural, Jensen Ackles. If I had a list, he'd totally be on it. At the top, even.

10. Do you know the words to the song on your MySpace profile?
What kind of un-American asshat could love rock-n-roll and NOT know the lyrics to "Carry On My Wayward Son?"

11. Do you have any famous relatives?
No. Wait, yes I do! Wow, I forgot he was even famous. Man, I suck. Here he works so hard and travels all over the country, and I continue to think of him as the little boy who I used to get into fights with over nothing.

12. Have you ever had sex in a public place?
Why yes I did. And you know what? It was better AFTER his goods were stung by the jellyfish.

13. Have you ever made out in a public place?
Why does this question come AFTER the public sex question? Okay, here's a list: public library, movie theater, beach, by the pool table at a bar, arcade/go-kart place, park, another park, by a pond, zoo, in the street in front of my best friend's house, church parking lot, another church parking lot, a third church parking lot, Whataburger parking lot, museum parking lot, mall parking lot, Toys R Us parking lot, parking lot outside my boyfriend's apartment, parking lot of a chemical company, inside the building of the same chemical company, on a Metro bus, on a school bus, at a rodeo, in a pool, in the band hall, outside the band hall doors, outside the cafeteria doors, outside the door of my algebra class when I was supposed to be on a bathroom break... I think that's it. No, wait...

17. Are you good at math?
I'm a math genius, bitch!

19. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
Clearly I am otherwise occupied at the beach. (Meaning I am busy chasing the kids around. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

20. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
I think my record is 60 hours.

21. Do you like the ocean?
I've never been happy unless I've lived within an hour's drive from the sea. Which explains why the college years sucked.

22. Do you stay friends with your exes?
I never really see any of them. I'm not even sure where most of them live. And even if I did see them, there's only one who I straight up refuse to speak to. Even Notorious D.I.C. and I are on friendly, if guarded, terms.

25. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive?
Nope. The last one died years ago, may he burn in hell, that fucking pervert.

26. Where do you keep your change?
I KNEW you were trying to rob my house. I keep my change in the BANK, ASSCLOWN!

27. Who is the most awesome person in your life?
My kids are the two most awesome people in my life. Anyone who warns you that while you're driving you should be careful for other cars and ostriches is AWESOME.

28. Would you rather sleep with someone else or alone?
I'd always rather sleep with my husband. Unless he's in the doghouse. Then I like having the girls next to me. I miss the warmth of another person. Of course, in my husband's case it's more of a heat generator, but you get the idea.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Here's my cadaver value:

$4765.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth

Mingle2 - Online Dating

And this one is my Popo's:

$5530.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth

Mingle2 - Online Dating

However, I think perhaps his may be inaccurate because, although he no longer smokes, drinks, or eats anything that isn't piped in with a tube, he once did all those things, and for many years.

Here's to my Popo, the man who refuses to die, no matter how many chances he is given.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

If this doesn't boggle the mind, nothing will

If we destroy our planet or just ourselves, the universe won't give a shit. Just like we don't care about a random ant colony on the other side of the world.

Explain to me how our problems are supposed to be solved by talking to the sky? Clearly the sky is full and has infinitely greater things going on than our petty grievances or even than our legitimate concerns.

We only have one tiny part of the universe to use. If we're going to continue our existence, we need to stop relying on an invisible hand to bail us out of our own mistakes at the last minute and instead just fix things ourselves. Even if God does show up, He'll certainly be happier if we get our act together and behave like rational creatures than if we just make a mess and wait around for Him to clean it up. If He's up there, He is clearly busy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Heart attack on a bun

Last weekend, six different kinds of animals died for our dinner:
  1. Shrimp
  2. Catfish
  3. Pig (bacon for the shrimp, plus hot dogs and sausage)
  4. Cow (beef fajitas and hamburger patties)
  5. Chicken (chicken fajitas)
  6. Turkey (turkey patties and grilled turkey breast, which was supposed to be turkey fajitas but in reality was turkey jerky)

Also giving up the ghost were several mosquitos, which were not used in food prep but unwillingly gave their lives when burned by the massive fire erupting suddenly from my dad's BBQ pit.

But don't worry about our health, good people. I also made some white rice.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My New Hero

When I gave birth in a military hospital, I had a private room all to myself (well, if by "private" you mean "sixteen different nurses, doctors, midwives, medical assistants, orderlies, and various emergency pediatric personnel." Sterilized equipment was used, along with monitors for both my contractions and baby's heart rate. Someone even came in with a what looked like a really REALLY long plastic crochet hook and burst my water for me. I'd taken classes on childbirth and how to take care of a real live baby. I had blankets and pillows, a bed that converted into a birthing chair, an bassinet with a warming pad inside it, oh and drugs (not an epidural, because I'm not a wimp, but a form of Demerol, because I'm not insane, either).

This evening my dog gave birth under my house. In the dirt. In the dark. By herself. With no prior experience, no instruction in what to do or how to do it, and no one to help her. (I didn't know what was going on until I heard the tiny cries. They sounded like cats.) The only way I can see them is to stick my camera under the house and aim it into their little hollow.

My dog is officially my new hero. Mother and babies (number unknown) appear to be doing fine, although I hope to take them to the vet this weekend if possible.

Congratulations to Xanga the Wonderdog!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kelley and Traci #1

Here at Sleep? What's That?, we are committed to providing a variety of entertainment to you, the three readers who check in on a semi-frequent basis. Today we'd like to present our newest feature, Kelley and Traci: Conversations of Bored Stay-At-Home Moms.

Traci: Hello?

Kelley: Hey, whatcha doing?

Traci: Oh, I’m stuck folding laundry and watching Blues Clues instead of the Today show.

Kelley: Me too. At least they’re rerunning the Steve episodes now.

Traci: I know. I hate the Joe episodes. At least I can still have my Steve fix with the reruns. He’s my favorite eye candy on a kids’ show besides all those Sesame Street guest stars.

Kelley: Oh my God, do you remember when there was, like, this big conflict between the creator of Blues Clues and the network?

Traci: Yeah, I remember hearing Steve Burns made it a point that there was no “conflict,” just creative differences—

Kelley: Which so means a conflict.

Traci: --like how he wanted to do simpler stuff, and Nickelodeon preferred more of the CGI stuff.

Kelley: So the network demoted him from executive producer to creative consultant.

Traci: All while he was still STARRING on the show.

Kelley: Wasn't there some kind of documentary on Nick about how he was going bald and didn't want the kids to know, and that's why he left the show?

Traci: I never saw that, and even if I did, I wouldn't believe it. If he didn't want kids to know he was going bald, why FILM and AIR a public statement about it, especially on the SAME CHANNEL!

Kelley: I can’t believe the guy they got to replace Steve. Joe is butt ugly.

Traci: You’re so wrong. Joe is not butt ugly. He’s just a network puppet, slinging crappy Blues Clues episodes at my last remaining toddler.

Kelley: You’re right, he’s not butt ugly. He’s FUGLY.

Traci: Just because he has that odd face—

Kelley: You just said you hated the Joe episodes.

Traci: Yeah, I do. They suck. But that’s no reason to compare a man’s facial features to his ass-ial features.

Kelley: Did you just say ass-ial?

Traci: Shut up.

Kelley: That’s what I thought. Hey, they’re showing more ads for cleaning products.

Traci: What a surprise.

Kelley: Right? Like, afternoon shows get commercials for ravioli in a can and Spiderman toys, but morning shows?

Traci: Get ads for Swiffers and vacuum cleaners.

Kelley: Speaking of which, have you seen those ads for the Oreck store?

Traci: Yeah. Like anyone’s dog will ever shed that much hair at once.

Kelley: And like you wouldn’t just grab a freaking broom or a roll of duct tape.

Traci: Still, I wonder if the Orecks are any better than the Dysons?

Kelley: Well they can’t possibly be any more expensive than a Dyson.

Traci: Excuse me, but yes they can. The Oreck Titanium is $750.

Kelley: AMERICAN dollars???

Traci: I’m not talking yen.

Kelley: Wow. Even Dyson’s most expensive vacuum is only $600. And you can’t even buy the six hundred dollar model at Target.

Traci: Why do you think Oreck has it’s own store? It’s the Ferrari of vacuum cleaners.

Kelley: So what does that make Dyson? A purple Mustang?

Traci: More of a Camaro. Possibly a Corvette, but that's debatable.

Kelley: And here I was all excited about my Hoover Wind Tunnel bagless, for less than $200.

Traci: Hey, don’t complain. That’s like a souped up Mercury, or something equally street-racer-y.

Kelley: What do you have?

Traci: Drrfll

Kelley: What was that? I couldn’t quite make that out.

Traci: Dirt Devil.

Kelley: You’re kidding.

Traci: WITH a bag.

Kelley: Oh my God. That’s like…

Traci: A Pinto. With a busted radiator. Mr. Saving Up For A Motorcycle won’t hear of an upgrade.

Kelley: What is wrong with your husband?

Traci: Something about not really caring about a little dust, so long as there are no obvious bits of dirt and debris on the carpets.

Kelley: Doesn’t he know those things just blow more dust in the air?

Traci: He’s going to really notice it this year. I’m replacing his over-the-counter allergy pills with white Tic-Tacs.

Kelley: Now who’s wrong?

Traci: Well obviously my husband. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Kelley: Your devious mind never ceases to amaze me.

Traci: That’s what happens when I’m stuck watching Nickelodeon all morning. Good thing Steve is on to soothe my nerves, or I’d be replacing those allergy pills with Ex-Lax.

Kelley: Remember when we were young and talked about wanting a guy who had a motorcycle or a hot car?

Traci: And now we get all hot when a guy is responsible.

Kelley: I know! And drives a minivan!

Traci: And looks like Steve!

Kelley: You need help. Seriously.

Why I will ALWAYS love Sesame Street

Seriously, how can you not LOVE a show that makes your favorite music accessible to young children?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Perfectly delicious way to pass the afternoon

Run, don't walk, to your nearest grocery store, preferably with a good seafood counter, and get the following:
  • a barbecue pit (if you don't already have one)
  • 1 bag charcoal
  • lighter fluid
  • bamboo skewers (soak these in water for 1 hour before use)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. jumbo shrimp
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • butter, margarine, or spread
  • lemon juice
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • cayenne pepper
  • cumin powder (a.k.a. comino)
  • garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper

Chop the bell peppers into 2-inch rectangles and set aside. Shell and devein the shrimp, being sure to count how many pieces you have. Cut bacon slices in half so that you have the same number of bacon slices as you do shrimp. If you have an odd number of shrimp, cut one of the bacon halves long-ways so you get an extra strip. Partially cook the bacon over medium heat, but do not let it get crispy. Set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup butter (melted) with 1/2 tsp each of cayenne, comino, onion powder, and lemon pepper, 1 tsp (or more) garlic powder, 1 tbsp Worcestershire, and 2 tbsp lemon juice to create marinade. Toss shrimp in this marinade and let it sit 30 to 60 minutes (original recipe says to do this at room temperature, but I advise not to leave your shrimp at room temp. for longer than 30 minutes). Remove shrimp from marinade, reserving marinade for later use. Carefully wrap one slice of bacon around each shrimp, securing it by inserting the skewer through the bacon. Skewer a piece of bell pepper, then another bacon wrapped shrimp. Continue this patter, alternating bell pepper colors. Skewers should hold no more than four (sometimes five) pieces of shrimp. All shrimp should be able to lie flat when lain down on a surface.

To cook, place skewers on a hot grill, and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, brushing on the remainder of the marinade after skewers are flipped over. Shrimp should be opaque throughout. Serve with melted butter for dipping. Suggested sides: rice, corn on the cob (also cooked on the pit), baked potatoes (ditto pit).

Big thanks to for the original recipe. Extra big thanks to My Dad for buying the ingredients and manning the pit. I *heart* my daddy!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why I Love Pinatas

SpongeBob Before

SpongeBob After

For pure therapy, there's nothing quite like taking an effigy of the cartoon character who invades your household peace and beating the shit out of it. Or, in this case, letting your kids and all their cousins and neighbors beat the shit out of it. You know, I think I want a pinata for MY birthday this year...

My creative side puts in an appearance

These are rugs that I crocheted by hand, using fabric remnants and old sheets. Both measure about 24 to 30 inches in diameter, and are machine washable and dryable. Tell me, would YOU buy something like this? (I ask in earnest, as I would like to sell my wares online, just like this guy, a very talented artist whose work I enjoy.) How much would you pay for something like this?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CrazyHead Explained

As I mentioned before, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, Subsection: Hispanic Party Regulations, I did NOT serve alcohol at my child's 3rd birthday party, nor did I hire a DJ or mariachis or even rent a moonwalk. Paying for music and a giant inflatable castle just wasn't financially feasible this year, and even if it were, I don't think I would have bothered. That's NOT how I roll. As far as not buying beer for any of my guests, I know, Manny, disgraceful to my people, but since I was raised by an alcoholic who made every holiday and occasion hell with the addition of beer or spirits available to everyone, I have refrained from inflicting the same shame upon my own daughters.

Slouchmonkey, since you're taking notes, I'll answer you as well: No, postponement doesn't really happen with a kids party, not when there's only one day when everyone who can help you is off work and so many things have to be ordered/prepared in advance, like food, the cake (which does not count as the food), 50 lbs of ice, etc., not to mention prearranged entertainment or sno-cone machine/popcorn machine/table and chair rentals. (Tangent: Do you know that you can actually hire a girl to come to your child's party dressed as a non-slutty Princess Jasmine and have her do little crafts and games with the children? This is not even the most over-the-top thing I've seen at middle class parties.)

To be fair, I wasn't expecting quite so many adults at a kid party (some of my relatives dropped in uninvited, but since they brought gifts I let it go), and I had initially planned to have everyone outside so the kids could play in the sprinklers and toss water balloons at each other. But I'll tell you one word that saved my living room from a massive pinata beatdown: CARPORT. That has saved many parties from being exclusively indoor affairs. Once the rain is not quite so torrential, a carport is your best friend. If you don't have one, then for God's sake, have a clean garage people can hang out in, preferably with a beam or hook in the center of the ceiling from which to hang that pinata.

One activity I wish we'd been able to do was Smoke Egg War. Basically, you take empty egg shells (1 inch hole on the top, washed, dried, and saved up in advance) and fill them with flour, then cover the holes with tape and crepe paper. Yes, just like Confetti Eggs, only messier. Outside, you throw the eggs on the ground (or crack them on someone's head) and let the flour get picked up by the wind and make a fake smoke. Nobody really wins, but everyone has a good time. I was looking forward to this activity, but Bizarro Dad warned me that even if it hadn't rained, Smoke Eggs + Sprinklers = T0rtillas All Over the Front Yard.

*sigh* I never get to have any fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Just Call Me Ms. CrazyHead

Insanity is trying to jam 23 people into one living/dining room with one loveseat, one recliner, a variety of dining chairs, office chairs, and lawn chairs, 2 ice chests (no alcohol), 7 pizzas, 1 giant salad, 2 cakes, 1 dinner table, 2 little tables, 10(?) gifts, 4 kid-friendly-but-messy indoor activities, 10 party favor bags, and 1 enormous SpongeBob SquarePants pinata bigger than the birthday girl. During a rainstorm.

Thank the Maker, the next kid's birthday is not for another 6 months.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who's a trekkie?

This is my new wallpaper. I don't care if makes me a nerd-girl, Star Trek is one of those shows that's cheesy AND awesome at the same time.
Seriously, why is it that whenever the Enterprise ever had a problem, they always referred back to the knowledge of Earth in the 19oo's? Never the 21st century, and never any time before the 20th, was there an appropriate scenario from which to extract the know-how to get out of a hostile alien situation. Bazookas may have been a product of the 19oo's (and even that's debatable, because what is a bazooka if not a hand-held cannon?), but gun powder wasn't invented in the 20th century, Captain, so can we see you giving the ancient Chinese some credit? Hmm? Oh well. I suppose I should be grateful that space-captains of the future will have studied the century I was born in so well that they can concoct the same weapons Schwarzenegger used out of rocks. Now if only we can get them to distract the aliens with that song "Inna-Gotta-Da-Vida." Now THAT is some ingenuity.
If this post makes no sense, it's because I'm drinking coffee for the first time in 12 years. I hate it! It sucks! But I'm awake! Quick, gimme a broom and dustpan, before the caffeine high goes away!
Thanks to N for the recommendation and especially thanks to The Echosphere Webmistress for concocting these posters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wrap it up

So today I'm watching Everyday Food on PBS, and there's a recipe for Southwestern Chicken Wraps.

Yeah. Because in the southwest, they call chicken, beans, tomato, and avocado on a tortilla a "wrap."

It's a taco, bitch. It has always been a taco, it always will be a taco, and no amount of white-lady influence will ever make it anything else but a taco, not even the use of whole-wheat tortillas. The only thing that makes it something other than a taco is the method you used to wrap it up. Now it's a burrito.

The only good things I can say about this are that the chef didn't pronounce tortilla like "tor-TILL-ee-ah" and that the overall food seemed like it would taste good.

Wraps indeed. Damn Martha Stewart productions...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Questions for the Readers

Okay, ladies and gents, it's time for you to settle an argument. (Not a serious one, mind you, but one that's annoying me.)

If a husband, after getting off work at midnight, stays out until 2:00 AM and doesn't call (he usually does, just not this time), does that man have a right to tell his wife, when she's going to her best friend's house, not to come home at an "ungodly hour" (which he then defines as "midnight or something"). Even if the best friend lives around the corner? Does the answer change if alcohol is involved (which it wasn't in either case, but I'm just saying)?

As a side question, when there is concern over a local pervert running around quietly breaking into houses and exposing himself to children, is there a difference between a man leaving his kids home alone late at night with only their mother there and a woman leaving her kids home with only their father there? Does the lateness of hour make a difference? Does it matter if there are guns in the house? Does it make a difference if one spouse is more proficient with firearms than the other?

And for the record, I didn't stay out past 11:00, my husband is a police academy cadet, not a wimp or a fraidy cat, and his brother the police officer was here, too. Also, how is it that I can get the kids pajama-ed and in bed by bedtime, but my husband doesn't even know how to get them in their room?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

In Which Mama Tells Off a Network

Dear ABC,

I realize that it's become much harder to keep the masses focused on you now that cable TV is so cheap and families like mine would rather watch home makeover shows on HGTV or that docu-drama about those fishermen on Discovery or CSI reruns on the Spike channel. That, apparently, is very difficult programming to compete with. Clearly this must be the case, or you would not have to work so hard to keep coming up with new, brilliant shows to entice viewers.

But seriously, whichever executives are in charge of that "coming up with new shows" need to be fired, because, well, Cavemen. First of all, the premise is one that cannot be sustained for an entire half hour. It only works in the short, Geico-commercial-length increments because if the joke goes on any longer it just gets old and annoying. And second, the clip you have up on your website? Crap. It is just crap. I suppose you think you're making social commentary on race relations, but dude, did you seriously just say that black people are essentially like cavemen? How are you expecting this to go well for you? This show will never make it, and you will have wasted all that money on make-up and prostheses.

Private Practice, your spin-off of Grey's Anatomy, is going to get some viewers because you are intentionally creating buzz about it (don't think I don't know it's you). But soon people will realize that they don't give a rat's ass and go back to watching Criminal Minds on that other network, or whatever the hell is on Fox that night. There has to be a reason that none of Tim Daly's shows since Wings (which was cancelled 10 YEARS AGO) have gone on to do more than 13 episodes. And excuse me, but if you can't even keep me hooked on Grey's Anatomy itself with all their oversexed shenanigans, how do you expect me to give a crap about what Tim Daly and Taye Diggs do with one of the characters from Grey's Anatomy?

Big Shots is a new show I've heard absolutely nothing about other than its cast and basic premise (which, by the way, sounds weak; it's not like all the other shows about four close friends/siblings have done very well or are looking too good). I am willing to check it out once, but only because it has Michael Vartan in it. But the I have to warn you, you have very stiff competition on Thursday nights, what with Smallville and Supernatural leading into the early news, not to mention Without A Trace and ER competing in the same time slot. Besides, nobody wants to stay up until 11 to watch a show they aren't that excited about. We're all just too damn tired.

Also in need of firing are the absolute morons who have convinced you that anyone still watches or even cares about The Bachelor. Got it, monkey boys? NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ANYMORE. We don't watch it, we don't like hearing about it on the entertainment segment of the local news, we don't care where any of the contestants came from, we aren't "rooting" for someone in particular, we don't even watch the freaking COMMERCIALS that are on during that time slot. This is no longer an interesting social experiment. At this point it is just pandering. It sucks and I hate it. It was "five minutes ago" back in 2005, if not earlier. Get. It. Off. Your. Lineup.

Also? I don't care for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition anymore. I have an entire channel devoted to that sort of thing, and none of those shows force everyone to use Kenmore appliances, nor are they being sued by orphans. I will admit that some of the shows on HGTV are hosted by and/or feature pretentious assholes, but at least they give you actual TIPS on how to improve your own home on a realistic budget, and they don't do things to a house that the family will eventually grow out of and find impossible to replace without causing structural damage. Oh, and none of the HGTV landscapers are stupid enough to plant an OAK TREE right next to the FOUNDATION OF THE HOUSE. Why do you do it, ABC? Why do you hire idiot landscapers who don't take structural integrity into account during the planning phase? Have none of your people ever heard of a root bed? When that happened I'd never even SEEN a big-budget home makeover show before, yet I knew that was a stupid thing to do. I'm certainly glad that you've helped so many people, but if this is something you want to continue doing, then I strongly suggest you make some alterations to your staff and hire more people who know what they're doing. For the love of crap...

Thank you for keeping Ugly Betty on the air. I'm looking forward to the finale, and I really hope y'all do more to advance the story. Also, take a cue from the tele-novella you've used as your source material and have an ending for the series in mind. The problem with most dramas (and even some comedies) is that they have this story arc going on, but they don't really have an ending for the show. You can't properly tell a story if you don't have an ending. This isn't The Simpsons or Diagnosis Murder, in which you can just make up any old plot for any day and not worry about it having an impact on future episodes or how the show will eventually end. Get in your head now how you want this story to play out and how much time you think you'll need, whether it's another two years or longer. You don't want your premise to get old because the story is not moving along, and you don't want your story to suffer because your writers don't know where they're supposed to be going with this. Everything has an end. Figure out how to get there and you'll have a winner on your hands.

And for God's sake, give Victor Garber something better to do than wait around until it's time for mid-season replacements. The man is a freaking genius, WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT!?! How can you keep the SPY DADDY sitting on a SHELF!? Have you no memory of the Bristow Death Glare? The Bristow Elbow? The Guy Who Can Wear a White Linen Suit Without Looking Stupid? The Man Who Goes Through Potential Sons-In-Law Like Weed Eaters Go Through Crab Grass? Show some respect! HE DESERVES BETTER THAN A MID-SEASON REPLACEMENT SHOW!

That is all. For now.

Sleepless Mama
a.k.a. Miss Never Wrong About This Kind Of Thing

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blessing or curse?

Last week my mother told me that if she ever has heart failure, she does NOT want a pacemaker installed. Especially not one with a defibrillator.

Her father, my grandpa, is in ICU right now. His lungs keep filling up with fluid and his kidneys are failing, so his heart has to work ridiculously hard to keep the blood flowing. It's so painful just to breathe that the nurses are keeping him sedated. He has all these medications and fluids and tubes and inserts and oxygen masks and goodness knows what else. If we take him off, he won't die quickly, but will suffer for several weeks, so that's not an option.

When he had his stroke (was it last month?), the only thing that kept him from dying was the defib in his pacemaker, which he had installed after a previous stroke several years ago. It sent a series of shocks to his heart because it detected that the heartrate fell below some predetermined number. My grandfather was being electrocuted from inside his own body, and it kept him alive. Which would have made us happy, I guess, were it not for his near-constant pleas for death for the last year. Even as I sat in the hospital watching him drown, one of the nurses looked up at the monitor and said "Oh, that red light means his pacemaker is doing something."

I am sure he was very happy for the extra five years his pacemaker gave him right. He was able to live long enough to walk again and see both my children and enjoy their laughter. But now, after this stroke, he can't remember who my kids are, nor can he move his leg or remember how to speak English. This most recent stroke was so bad, he has reverted back almost completely to Spanish, his language of comfort. Not an uncommon phenomenon, but seeing as he did not allow his children to learn Spanish when they were little, they now cannot translate for him when he speaks to his white and Asian doctors. Grandma simply refuses to visit him and translate for him anymore (let's just call it a prior grudge), so Grandfather is surrounded by people who can't understand him. Not that it matters much now, seeing as he's unresponsive to anything, even when you shout in his ear.

My mother seems to be in denial about his condition. She tells me that the machines he's on are "just giving him a little help." It is true that taking him off dialysis won't kill him immediately, but she has this idea that he will walk again and come home eventually. Since she's the one who's usually talking to all the doctors, I would think she'd know better than all of us that this stroke was too severe. True, she has seen her father come back from death's door and walk again. But why does she think that will happen every time?

For the last few years, whenever Grandpa told her he wanted to die already, she'd get mad and tell him off. I don't know what arguments she used against him, but it probably involved all those doctors, nurses, and physical therapists who worked so hard to keep him alive. She told me he was just saying he wanted death and not admitting he's really scared to die, but I think he might know more about that than she does. Does she really think he would rather be trapped in his own body than dead and free of this pain?

I don't want to see my parents like this, with bleeding bed sores and catheters and swollen yellow bodies and no clue who I am. I want my mom to live long enough to really know her granddaughters, and for them to know her, but at what point do you say "Sorry Mom, but now you're just existing for the sake of existence"? I wonder, will I ever be faced with carrying out my mother's wishes? Will I have a doctor thrusting a form at me and saying "Do you want your mom to live or die?" and another one saying "What about her quality of life?"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Time Capsule

25 Years Ago

I drove a car that looked like this:

I was three and a half. One of my mom's brother's had died right before my birthday, so when she had my brother, she gave him my uncle's name as a middle name. True to family tradition, nobody ever called my brother by his first name or middle name, and instead called him something else entirely: "Bub." By this time 25 years ago, my brother was two and a half months old and was already a better baby than I ever was. He was what Mom called a "sleeping baby." Very quiet, always asleep, not colicky and fussy like I was. I'm glad he was such a good baby, because I would have hated for my mother to have TWO babies who cried for 24 hours straight. She would have gone even crazier than she already was.

I have very few memories from this age. I do remember my 3rd birthday party. It was a costume party (my birthday is in October), and I was Minnie Mouse. The tail hurt my butt. I remember, at some point, standing in a doorway and looking at my mother in the kitchen, asking her when I was going to turn 4. Once I translated my brother's baby-speak into English for my Dad. And I even recall my mother getting upset with me because, when she asked me to grab several diapers for her as we were leaving, I didn't know how many "several" was and had to ask. I don't think she was upset that I didn't know; she was just in a hurry, and she didn't want to have to try to explain something as she was backing out of the door and down the steps with a heavy carrier in her hands.

That year, my parents would separate and, if memory serves, divorce. I did not understand why my father could not be with me anymore, and I cried for him all the time. I have never ever forgotten that pain, not even during the times I have lived with him. It is burned on my soul.

10 Years Ago

I drove a grey car just like this:

I was 18, in my senior year of high school, and had been living with my dad for three years. It had been over a year since my baptism into a religion different from that of my parents. I was engaged to a young man who, at the time, was serving a mission for our church. Yes, I said "engaged." He got on his knees and proposed and everything. My readers know him as Notorious D.I.C. At this time I was involved in Honor Society, JV soccer, calculus study sessions (in prep for the Advanced Placement exam), college credit English class, 5:30 AM seminary class, and other stuff I don't remember anymore. At church I spent two hours every Sunday as a Nursery assistant (I don't know who I was supposed to be assisting, since there was no Nursery leader to speak of, just me and whoever volunteered to help that day). Most nights I didn't sleep at all, staying awake to chisel at the mountain of homework or work on scholarship essays and college applications. I also spent a fair amount of time writing to and calling(!) my boyfriend.
During this time I was in and out of depression. I know, I know, how could I function while depressed? It's fairly simple, really: habit. I had been depressed since, as you see above, the age of 3. It was second nature, although it certainly didn't make my daily tasks any easier. I was driven to succeed in school, but sometimes I would burst into tears or faint without warning. During a practice AP exam, I had terrible back spasms. My calc teacher urged me to stop the test and just go home, but I insisted on taking the test, pain and all. I had to lie flat on the classroom floor, and I cried whenever I moved. When I finally left school and drove myself home, nobody was there. I called my boyfriend's mother, and she drove me to Minor Emergency Care. She remains my friend to this day.

That year I avoided prom (I thought it would make my boyfriend happy), I graduated magna cum laude, and I was accepted to the school of my choice. That year I spent a lot of time wondering if my boyfriend actually loved me, and whether I still loved him, and what this meant to my future. That year I wanted to just die a few dozen times, but I always woke up in the morning, and I just kept on going. I didn't know any other way to be. Prayer maybe kept me from going over the edge, but it didn't keep me off that edge, no matter how hard I prayed.

The following year, my mother would remarry. I did not like her husband very much, as he was obviously a terrible alcoholic and had no job. But then Mom always had poor taste in boyfriends, and since I was living in another city by then and no longer had to live daily with her chosen companion, it didn't much matter to me who she married, so long as she wasn't getting abused.

5 Years Ago

I drove a car just like this:

Five years ago I was living in Jacksonville, NC, celebrating the second anniversary of my marriage to PFC Bizarro Dad. We had an infant daugther (Gina), a house on base that had been built during the Korean War era, and a brand new washer and dryer bought with my husband's first and only Christmas bonus. It wasn't too bad, being a military wife. Even with a baby, life was much calmer than it had ever been. My husband was non-deployable, so I didn't really have it as hard as some of the other wives. I was pretty happy, actually, despite being poor.

It was during this year that my husband's grandfather, the man who raised him, took him out looking for produce boxes to sell back to grocery stores, bought him pecan rolls, and taught him the proper use and handling of a machete, passed away. We were able to get emergency leave and fly down to Houston for the funeral. There was a very big fuss at the viewing, I remember, because Grandpa had been living with one of his daughters (Aunt Margie the drug addict), and she kept changing the story of how, and even when, he died. She had not allowed an autopsy. We were all suspicious (she'd tried to give him a deliberate medication overdose in the past), but I remained polite to Margie, and Bizarro Dad and I both spoke at the funeral. Margie had sold Grandpa's house out from under him and taken all his money, but she had just enough ethics (and perhaps not enough of an eye for antiques) to give my husband his grandfather's pocket watch. It is over a hundred years old, and the little cogs are exquisitely engraved. Grandpa, my husband remembers, would often take the watch to a jeweler to have the battery replaced. They'd certainly charge him money, but the battery never kept working. Upon receiving the watch, my husband took it to an expert watchmaker to have it examined. The watchmaker told us, among other things, that this watch had no battery, and needed to be wound daily.

It was either this year or the next (my memory is hazy) that my own grandfather would have a stroke, forever changing my mother's priorities and forcing my grandmother to care for my grandpa in a whole new way. This, while very sad, did not seem to have a daily impact on my life six states away. I felt bad for my family, and I prayed for them, but I could not just pick up and move back to Texas with a baby and leave my husband stationed in NC. In this respect, I was now different from all my ancestors, who took care of their parents and grandparents at all costs.

1 Year Ago

I drove (and still drive) a van like this:

By this time our family was living in Houston again, with my dad. Also living with us at the time was my husband's brother, J the Irresponsible. We were gearing up for my second child's second birthday, but we didn't much feel like having a party. Instead, we bought a very nice "rock climber" playground set, the type of thing you get from Toys R Us and have to figure out how to haul back home (even with an empty van, I still had to discard the box in the parking lot just to make all the parts fit my vehicle), then put together yourself with only a screwdriver. Good thing the kids loved it.
One year ago, my grandfather was still in and out of the hospital (fluid kept building up in his lungs because he didn't understand the term "salt-free diet"). My mother was living with her parents to take care of them and herself. In fact, by that time my mom had been sober for nearly two and a half years. She was also very sick (a liver virus) and taking weekly injections. At this time she was a widow, her own husband having quite literally drank himself to an early grave the year before. (This is not why Mom quit drinking, so don't think she learned a noble lesson from a personal loss. Mom quit drinking because the judge said she had to after she drove her van into somebody's house on Christmas Eve one year. Her husband simply would not join her in quitting, despite the doctor's warning that he'd die in a year if he didn't give up alcohol. Doctors are a lot smarter than drunks think they are.)
My husband's Aunt Margie died of a drug overdose. She was 46, and her teenage granddaughter was about to have a baby. Yeah, you read that right. If she hadn't been so stupid, Aunt Margie would have been a great-grandmother before the age of 50.
Nothing too special was happening in my own life. I was doing Cub Scouts at church, but I only had one boy to work with. I was always pissed off at my brother-in-law for not mowing the lawn or leaving a mess or playing X-Box all day instead of getting a damn job or bringing porn in the house or systematically staining and/or tearing up the floor in his bedroom. I was pissed at my own brother for leaving a dozen boxes of stuff for me to pack up and store in our already crowded garage. Everybody was still pissed at my mother-in-law for not doing anything to discipline her youngest daughter. I was pissed at my husband for ignoring me and the kids in favor of his own video games, and for not coming down harder on his brother for things that were obviously way over the line, and for allowing his brother to stay in our house way longer than he promised me in the first place, just because their older sister didn't want him in her house anymore. I was also pissed because I'd been sharing a bedroom with my children for a year instead of having my own room (before J came to live with us, my own brother had lived with us for nearly a year), and the only adults in the house not having sex were the ones who were actually married to each other. (J, what with the porn and the wife living way over in California, was obviously having sex with himself.) My mother was pissed at my husband and my brother-in-law for not doing more to help my father with the yardwork (we have very large yards in this area, and since my mother and her parents live across the street from my house, Mom sees all.) My dad was pissed that J was leaving messes, and that he was leaving Dad's clean clothes lying on top of random stuff in the dirty garage instead of just taking 10 extra seconds to bring it in the house. My husband was pissed that my dad was giving me a hard time about J and that I was giving him, Bizarro Dad, such a hard time about J, and he was also pissed at his brother for leaving our DVDs out of the case and lying on the floor, and for hogging the X-Box (my husband is the one who paid for the stupid thing, and my husband was the one with a job). I was also pissed about J's stupid dog, who pissed and pooped everywhere and on anything, and who was essentially locked in J's room all day long whenever J did finally get a freaking job.
So basically, everyone was pissed about everything a year ago. Now we're pissed about different things, but at least J's gone, the husband and I do have our own bedroom, and no one else that I didn't give birth to is coming to live here.
That's life, I guess. Kind of sucks, doesn't it? But at least I have the kids to make me smile.