I Suck at Twitter & Other Shortcomings….

“It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.” ~Peter Gibbons, Office Space

This past November, I was laid off from my corporate job where I had worked in a  management level HR position for a million years.  Actually, it wasn’t quite that long, but trust me, it felt that way.

But before you feel sorry for me, please know that my termination was not abrupt.  I was made aware that my time was coming a full year in advance of the hatchet officially falling, so I was prepared.

I was grateful’ish for the head’s up, but I also felt a bit robbed by the anti-climatic end of my career.  In the years before my own fall from the corporate ladder, I had witnessed the lay-off of dozens of co-workers and their responses had varied from peaceful acceptance to fury.

Typically, the news would be delivered and the displaced party would be offered the opportunity to clear out his desk of personal belongings before being escorted from the building; stripped of his Amex, laptop computer and key card.

Most took only their personal photo’s, kids artwork and personalized coffee mugs; abandoning their certificates of achievement and leaving their plants to die….like their careers.

Sometimes though, people would storm out the door shouting, “Burn it!”  

Either way, once they were gone, I would casually rise from my desk and head toward their abandoned offices, so that I could loot them for the good stuff before anyone else got a chance; extra laptop power cords, the good stapler, gel pens, an oversized computer monitor.

Sometimes, the seat of their ergonomic office chair was still warm from their body heat when I settled myself into it in my own office.

“He doesn’t need this anymore,” I would say as I slipped my own family photographs into some else’s picture frames.

Then, I would sit back and wonder which type I would be when my time inevitably came.  The type who would haul my belongings out in a Staples brand cardboard box that had, moments prior, contained reams of paper?  Or, the type who would shout “Burn it!” as I stormed out?

Maybe I’d give them a one figured salute out of my car window as I peeled out of the parking lot, George Michael’s “Freedom” blaring from the speakers.  You know, the stuff of legends.

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But alas, I will never know.  I was given the news at a Starbuck’s….after I’d already paid for my own coffee….and a full year before my last official day.

However, I took comfort in knowing I could slowly clear out my office before the end.  So that when my co-workers made their way in to scavenge through my belongings after I’d left at 8:15am on my last day, they would find only some hooks and some wire.  Just like the Grinch when he left Who-ville.

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But now, here I am, like six months since my lay-off and I am finally going through the boxes of office crap that I didn’t want anyone else to have, but that, for the most part, I don’t want anymore either.

Among other things, the boxes contain literally dozens of small notebooks.  I do love notebooks.  I’m a list maker and a jotter downer of stray thoughts.

So the notebooks are full of things like daily To-Do’s, (work related and not) grocery shopping lists and random sentences that sprang to mind for who knows what reason.  Deep thoughts, like, “You can’t breath and swallow at the same time” and “The mouth of a jelly fish is also it’s butthole.”

Also, the notebooks contain my honest answers to questions asked during group team building exercises and ice breaker activities.

“Tell us about your greatest achievement” and “What do you feel are your top three strengths and your top three weaknesses?” and “What are your five year goals?”

In my notebooks there were always two sets of answers to these questions.  What I had to say and the truth.


Actual Examples:

Question:  Tell us about your greatest achievement.

What I was supposed to say:  My greatest achievement to date was my promotion into a corporate leadership position at the age of 25, because it ultimately led me to this opportunity and the privilege of working with this team.

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The Truth:  My son.  I gave birth to him au natural.  No epidural, just a stick to bite into.  (The stick part isn’t actually true, but I like to over-exaggerate).


Question:  What do you feel are your top three strengths and your top three weaknesses?

What I was supposed to say:  

Strengths:  My organizational skills, my ability to listen, my attention to detail.

Weaknesses:  I care too much (lie), I sometimes focus too much on perfection (lie), I can be too much a stickler for rules and processes….

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The Truth:

Strengths:  I’m really good at telling people what I think they want to hear (survival skill learned during my childhood).

I have EXCELLENT selective listening skills.

I’m so obsessed with efficiency that I have figured out how to do this job in, like, four hours a day and I’m pretty sure I could teach a monkey how to do it at this point.

Weaknesses:  Shit, only three?  I’m going to overachieve here:

  1. I suck at Twitter.
  2. I never cut my cuticles, I pick at them sometimes, but that’s about it.
  3. I run out of gas and have to call AAA at least once a month.
  4. I don’t always wash my hands after I go to the bathroom.
  5. I think some of my friends babies are ugly.
  6. I am NOT a team player.
  7. I hate small talk
  8. I hate ice breakers
  9. I hate team building exercises
  10. I sometimes still read my old Babysitters Club books.
  11. I still haven’t finished my son’s baby book.  And he’s six.
  12. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom and watch Netflix and tell my son I’m pooping.
  13. I never return phone calls….or answer the phone.
  14. I never listen to voicemails.
  15. I like to look up the people who were mean to me in high school on social media and it makes me happy when it looks I’m doing better than they are.
  16. I eat a lot of my kids Easter and Halloween candy.
  17. I usually throw away the goodie bags my son get’s at birthday parties….after I eat the candy and steal the pencil.  (Want to know how many times he’s asked about the location of those goodie bags post party?  ZERO times.  So no, I don’t feel bad about it either).
  18. I judge people who don’t use reusable shopping bags.
  19. People who liter, are people I want to punch in the throat.
  20. I can never find my keys.  Ever.

Question:  What are your five year goals?

What I was supposed to say:  I love my current role and in five years, I’d like to be seen as a subject matter expert within the department.  I would also like to take on more next level managerial responsibilities and take the lead on some bigger projects so that I can build the skills needed to take my next career step.

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The Truth:  I would like to win the lottery.  Preferably a mid-level win.  Enough for my husband and I to retire and to share with our family and close friends, but not so much that it makes national news and my hillbilly relatives from the deep south start showing up and asking for money.

If that isn’t in the cards, then I’d like to have the balls to start my own small business.

I would like to have an Instagram account with a check mark next to it.

I would like to own a riding lawn mower.

I would like to be raising some chickens.

I’d really like a yellow beach cruiser bicycle with a brown wicker basket in the front.

I’d like for people to stop being assholes.  In other words, I’d like world peace.

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As I read through these entries and others like them, I realized two things:

  1.  I was lying to myself when I wrote only 20 weaknesses.
  2. I’m actually working on a few of my real goals.

I guess I learned something after all.

Flashback Friday….That Time I Saw a Vagina at Chipotle

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”        ~Dr. Seuss

Earlier this week, I got a hankering for a five bajillion calorie steak burrito from Chipotle with all the fixin’s.

Not even the risk of getting the plague, or whatever is allegedly in their food these days, could sway the craving.

With a single-minded focus, I pointed my car in the direction of the nearest location and with my stomach growling and my mouth salivating, I put the pedal to the metal with hungry anticipation.

But then, I remembered that time a few years ago, when I was happily satisfying a similarly intense lunch hour burrito craving, when I came face to labia with another woman’s vagina.

She had apparently forgotten to zip her fly and being that she was going commando, her lady parts gave me a little vertical smile as she cruised by.

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In that moment, two things happened….

1.  I gained an unfortunate amount of knowledge regarding the grooming habits of a strangers pink taco.

2.  I grudgingly tossed my loaf of bread sized burrito into the trash and told myself I’d probably never again appreciate the perfectly seasoned balance of their tortilla chips.

Because, even though I can never remember how old I am, or why I went to the grocery store, I never forget a dirty look.

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Flashback Friday….That Time an Old Boyfriend Called in a Welfare Check

“I’m fucking crawling out of my skin.  I should’ve left you at the flea market.” ~ Clementine, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

My preferred way of ending a relationship, back in the day, was The Ghost Method.

If you don’t know what it means, “Ghosting,” per the official Urban Dictionary definition is: 

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.

I know, I know, it’s shitty….but I don’t love conflict.  Or, having difficult, intimate conversations.  Or, conversations.

Instead, I preferred that the guy believed me to be an inconsiderate, jerk.  Which, to be fair, was kind of true.

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But that seemed better than having him think I was shallow for breaking up with him because….no matter how many times I dropped subtle hints about his horrible, tapered and pleated khaki pants….he still continued to wear them.

Of course, it was early 2,000 and my own fashion choices consisted primarily of peasant tops, shiny pants in pastel colors, chunky heeled shoes and all the accessories from Claire’s….but whatever.

Anyway, most of the time, the Ghosting worked.  After a few days/weeks of dodging phone calls, the guy would get the hint and I’d be off the hook.  Often, by the time I ran into him again, he hated me and wasn’t at all interested in even making eye contact, let alone asking, “Um, what happened?”

Essentially, it would be exactly like it never happened.  Most of the time anyway….but not all of the time.

I met Brandon when I was in college, at an off campus party I attended with a friend who was dating a guy, who knew a guy, who knew the guy hosting the party….Brandon.

Brandon was incredibly nice.  He was sweet, smart, thoughtful, and handsome.  He was respectful and polite, but soooo fucking needy.

And if there is one thing I can’t handle in a guy….besides tapered, pleated, khaki pants, gnarly fingernails/toenails, tightie-whities, and jean shorts….it’s an overly needy personality.

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I am not now, nor have I ever been, the kind of person who wants to spend all of my time with anyone.  I need space and alone time, like I need air.

Some women might love a guy who calls all the time and always wants to hang-out and showers her with his undivided attention.  But that makes me feel like I am suffocating.

I was an individual person, with individual interests and quirks that existed before I became a better other half.  And those things don’t just go away when you become a significant other.

And I was always really upfront about my space demands in the beginning of a new relationship.  Saying that I was not a needy woman, was always the truth and not the hook I used to catch the big men fish.

But apparently, though men claim they don’t want a relationship with a woman who will go through their pockets looking for digits scrawled on a bar napkin, or hack into their voicemail accounts (the last time I was dating, it cost a billion dollars to send a text and you only made a call if you were dying) they are liars.

Anyway, back to Brandon.  Like I said, he was a great guy, but also a stage five clinger.  He wanted to know and insert himself into everything.  Like, my Wednesday evenings spent with my girlfriends, drinking Boones Farm, direct from the bottle, while watching Beverly Hills 90210.

And our Caps Competitions, which were held every Friday night, in my friend Kate’s dorm room while we rocked out to music we downloaded from Napster.

He wanted to be invited to brunch on Sunday mornings, with my fellow Alpha Sigma Sigma (ASS) sisters (a sorority we made up as an FU to our colleges greek system) where we met up for $1.00 Bloody Mary’s at a dive bar and commiserated over our bout’s with the Bud Mud’s from the prior evenings festivities.

Worse than all of that though, he wanted to come along, when I needed to withdraw and be alone for a while to recharge and reset.  He couldn’t understand why I would want to go to a movie, or go for a walk, or visit a museum alone, when I could have his company.  When I tried to explain that it was just how I was wired, the questions would start.

“Is everything OK with us?”  

“Did I do something wrong?  Are you mad at me?”

“Are you depressed?  Is it something we can talk about?  You know you can talk to me about anything.”

ARGH!

He had to go.

But Ghosting is always difficult when you’re dating the kind of guy who is likely to show up with a boombox and stand outside your window, a la, Say Anything.

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So, I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  For days and then weeks, I avoided his calls.  He wasn’t a student at my college, so I didn’t have to worry about running into him on campus, which made it easy to be evasive.

Then, one evening, while making some soup on a contraband hot plate I had in my dorm room, I heard a knock at the door, followed by, “Campus Security.”

I immediately began scrambling to hide both the soup and the very hot, hot plate among a number of flammables in my closet before opening the door, prepared to lie, while also praying the room didn’t catch on fire.

Campus Security:  Are you James?

Me:  Uh, huh

Campus Security:  We got a call from your boyfriend, Brandon.  He said he hasn’t seen or spoken to you in a number of days.  He was extremely worried about your well-being and he asked us to check on you.  Everything alright?

Me:  Yeah.  It’s just that I’m in the process of breaking up with him.

Campus Security:  Does he know you’re breaking up with him?

Me:  Well, I mean, I haven’t returned any of his phone calls.  I haven’t acknowledged the flowers, or the card he slipped under the door while I pretended I wasn’t here by immediately shutting off all the lights, turning off the TV and sitting stone still on the couch until he went away, so I feel like he should….those are pretty solid hints.

Campus Security:  Why don’t you just tell the poor guy?  He was really worried when he called.

Me:  Yeah….

I never called.  I’m an ass, I know.  But I assumed that the security officer most likely called him back to tell him I was fine, but it was over.  So, you might argue that part of my college tuition went toward a security guard breaking up with a boyfriend for me and honestly, it was money well spent.

I imagine that Brandon probably went on to find a woman who loved to be smothered and for this, I would like to tell her, “You’re welcome.  I’m glad I tossed him back in for you.”

I Love Pampered Chef….and Other Lies I Tell at the Post Office

“My life is just a series of awkward and humiliating moments separated by snacks.” ~Unknown….I saw it on the internet

This morning, I stopped into the post office to pick up some bread and milk.  Just kidding…I stopped to mail a package.

Anyway, there was only one person working at the desk and a relatively long line.  After about five minutes, the woman in front me turned and asked if it would be OK if she stepped out of line for a moment to set her heavy looking package on the counter.

I smiled and told her I didn’t mind at all.

When she returned, she informed me that her daughter had just recently moved to Arizona and she was mailing her a box of duplicate Pampered Chef items she’d accidentally purchased more than once, while at different parties.

I thought about telling her the last thing my mom mailed to me were treasures from my childhood….covered in green mold and mostly broken….but I didn’t, because I’m working on improving my small talk skills.

“Obviously, I love Pampered Chef.”  She said.

“Me too.”  I lied….for literally no reason.  “I have so much of it.”  (Lie)

“What’s your favorite product?”  She asked.

“Fuck.”  I said.  (Lie)

I have one thing from Pampered Chef.  A pizza stone I bought when a neighbor hosted a party at least eight years ago and I doubt it’s the pinnacle of their product line.

What I actually said was, “Just one favorite?!  There are so many.”  (Lie)

She told me she had a lot of favorites too….including some kind of pan, that had some sort of foam thing and maybe a heart, I’m not really sure, I wasn’t really listening, but then she said her prized items were the knives.

That sounded good, so I told her I would have to agree. (Lie)

Apparently, those knives are pretty damn special, because she informed me she is the only person in her household allowed to use them.

I told her I was the only person in my household who ever cooked and that I doubted anyone in my family would even knew where to find a knife, let alone what to do with it if they did.  (Lie)

Then she asked if I purchased often and if I knew a consultant, or just attended regular parties. Then, I panicked.

I knew that if I told her neither applied, I’d probably end up leaving there with a business card, a catalog and possibly a commitment to host a party in the very near future.

So, I told her I had a consultant.  (Lie)

“That’s great!  Good to have the connection.  Is she local, what’s her name?”

“Fuck.” I said.  (Lie)

“No, not local.”  Her name is Wendy.  I’ve known her since college, she lives in Kentucky.”  (LIES….ALL LIES).

Then she gave me her card and told me that if I was ever interested in attending a local party and meeting some new people, to give her a call or send her an email.

“Awesome!  I definitely will!”  I said with enthusiasm.  (Lie)

Now, I have to find a new post office.

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Flashback Friday….That Time I Tried Atkins

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” ~ Kate Moss

Personally, I think her bony ass is full of shit….but, it took me awhile to figure that out.

Throughout my twenties, I did my fair share of fad dieting.  The South Beach Diet, the Cleveland Clinic Diet, Slim Fast and the Hydroxycut and Coffee diet I invented myself….which was kind of my take on the Super Model diet (champagne and cocaine).  But since I couldn’t afford cocaine, or champagne, I doubled down on the uppers and I’ll be honest, how I didn’t die of a massive heart attack, I’ll never know.

If I could go back in time, I’d just smack the post closing time Taco Bell, taco supreme out of my hand and suggest fewer buttery nipple shooters, in lieu of torturing myself during day time hours.  But, wisdom comes with age, or so they say.

I began my journey of unsustainable dieting after gaining a few pounds at my first office job post college.  I didn’t make a lot of money and so my food options were pretty limited.

Most of the time, I lived off Ramen Noodles, or Spaghetti noodles with butter.  When I had a little extra cash, I bought a few Banquet TV dinners and ninety-nine cent frozen pizza’s.  I ate whatever was cheapest, which meant I mostly ate crap.

The office was relatively small and the owner of the business liked to take us out for lunch a few times a week.  I quickly learned that if I ordered intelligently, I could squeeze several meals out of the leftovers.

This meant, I almost always ordered a hearty pasta dish, since the servings are typically larger compared to that of a salad or sandwich.  I also learned I could steal other people’s leftovers.

image3.pngEvery Friday, the office supplied bagels from a fancy bagel shop, along with a selection of gourmet cream cheeses.  I took my morning bagel and then casually returned to the kitchenette to snatch up the extra’s for home; hiding them behind piles of paper I had clutched to my chest, and in my purse while trying to make it look like I was just on my way to/from the bathroom.

Once, I pulled a container of cream cheese, with approximately one tablespoon of Pumpkin Spice remaining in it, out of the trash….because that’s wasteful and I had no shame.

And then there were the birthday celebrations and the grocery store sheet cakes that came along with them.

I liked to volunteer to clean-up the break room, after the five minutes of forced celebrating had concluded, so that it would make sense when I asked the birthday person if she wanted to take the cake home.

The answer was always no, because, who the hell wants to walk out of work with half a sheet cake?  Oh, ME.

So yeah, it didn’t take long before the one pair of Jaclyn Smith black work pants I owned, started crying at the seams.

One of my co-workers, Ned, a middle aged guy with horribly bad breath, suggested I give Atkins a try.  He’d been a devotee for most of his adult life….long before the diet peaked in popularity.

I was immediately lured in by the idea that I could go to McDonald’s, order a whole bunch of cheeseburgers, and all I would have to sacrifice would be the bun.

So….what you’re saying is that I can fry up a package of discount hamburger from Aldi’s and eat the whole thing in one sitting?  

I could eat an ENTIRE carton of eggs?

A WHOLE block of cheese?

ALL the bacon?

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It sounded so easy and I am all about easy.

I never made it to ketosis.

Shortly after I started the induction phase, Ned was hospitalized with a serious illness that had something to do with his butt-hole falling out.  Apparently, he wasn’t properly supplementing his fiber intake all those years on Atkins and the result was, Butt-Hole Fall-Outis.

I’m sure there was an actual medical term for whatever was happening and I’m sure there was more to the story, but all I heard was “Its like his butt-hole is falling out.”

Even though I didn’t really give much thought to my own butt-hole on a regular basis, it seemed the kind of body part a person would like to keep and so that was enough for me to hop off the Atkins bandwagon….immediately.

On my way home from work, I stopped in at the grocery store for a family sized can of  Beefaroni and a container of Planters Peanuts, that I opened on the way to the car and devoured while clenching my butt cheeks together.

But still, it took years of fad dieting and failure, before I discovered that weight loss/maintaining a healthy weight did not have to include suffering and/or the elimination of food groups.

Eventually, I discovered simple calorie counting and for me, it’s made all the difference.  Setting a reasonable and HEALTHY, per day caloric intake….along with exercise….has been key in helping me to maintain a healthy weight.  It’s also significantly improved my overall energy level.

Knowing  that I can essentially eat whatever I want….so long as I stick to my daily goal….helps me make better choices throughout the day (most of the time) and it allows me some slack when I want to indulge….all without sabotaging my efforts and throwing my bodily functions, off track.

I’ve also learned a lot about food in recent years….the differences between calories, carbohydrates and cholesterol….and the best way to give my body the fuel it needs to properly function.

But let me be clear….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, I have written here should be considered, or taken as advice.  I don’t know anything.

I’m a cancer survivor and one of the benefits of that, includes a team of doctors and nutritionists who have given me new insights and instructions regarding my overall health these last six years.  I do what they tell me, because cancer sucked and whatever I have to do to prevent getting it again, I’ll do.

But, if you are on the look-out for great recipes that are healthy and don’t taste like cardboard, I am a huge fan of this lady:  Skinnytaste.

I don’t personally know the author at Skinnytaste.  I just really love her recipes and when I get compliments on her meals, I take all the credit.

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10 Things I Swore I Would Never Do When I Became A Parent….

“I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup.” ~Gwyneth Paltrow

I admit it.

Before I had a kid, I was 100% one of those judgey, know-it-all jerks who made grand proclamations about all the things I’d never do when I became a parent.

Which was pretty bold considering that, for years, I’d known nothing about raising children.  Like, literally nothing. 

Was it acceptable to put Kool-Aid into a baby bottle?

Did you wait to change a child’s diaper until it had reached maximum capacity?  I mean, diapers are expensive and if you can make a 24 pack last 24 days, that’s practicing good economics….no?

And, it’s not that big a deal to leave a toddler in the car if you’re just running into K-Mart for ONE thing, right?  So long as the kid is strapped down somewhere and unable to reach the lit cigarette resting in the cars ashtray?

What can I say?  I didn’t have the best example.

It wasn’t until books and television taught me that I was basically a degenerate, that I began to form loftier opinions about things.

The police never showed up at the Seaver residence because Maggie was in the backyard with an ax hacking up the lawn furniture after a fight with Dr. Seaver.

Mrs. Walsh, of Beverly Hills 90210 never hissed at Brenda, “I am going to kick your ass so far up around your neck, you’ll have to spread your butt cheeks to sneeze!”

And not one of those chick’s from the Babysitter’s Club, had to take their earnings and immediately spend it all on candy at a sports bar/grocery store called Smokies before their mother could steal their wages.

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Smokies #ICan’tMakeThisShitUp

So, it’s really thanks to the likes of the Tanners, the Camden’s, The Huxtables, Mr. Belvedere and Beverly Clearly, that I became self-righteous AF.

10 Things I Swore I Would Never Do When I Became A Parent

1.   Let my kid eat a hot dog

Fast forward six years:

Me:  Hey Snugs, want to have a hot dog and mac & cheese for dinner?

Snugs:  I had that yesterday!

Me:  I know, but it’s your favorite!

2.  Leave the house in my pajama’s

Post Kids:  Ok, I’ll never leave the house in my PJ’s without a bra.

A few more years post kids:  Well, if I’m staying in the car and just going through the teacher assist drop-off line, it’s not like anyone will notice I’m not wearing a bra.

3.  Let my kid buy school lunch

Me….Every Day:  Oooh, buddy!  French toast sticks are on the menu at school today and tomorrow, it’s nachos!

4.  Allow screen time

A hot minute after giving birth:  Get ready!  To Wiggle!  

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5.  Forego my personal hygiene

Post Parenthood Google Search History:

  • How many days in a row can you use dry shampoo?
  • How many days in a row can a person go without showering before the smell is too great to mask.
  • Is Listerine an acceptable alternative to teeth brushing?

6.  Give-up my corporate career for family

My employer (a year ago):  You haven’t made a career move in five years and we’re going to eliminate your current position.  You’ll need to either move up, or move out.

Me:  Cool, should I go ahead and start packing now?

I know I’m supposed to be leaning-in and pulling up a seat the table and bursting through the glass ceiling and blah, blah, blah, but I was over my career.  OVER IT.

I didn’t want to spend my time traveling all the over the place, working insane hours, while someone else raised my kid, all for the privilege of helping to stuff the already bulky pockets of the executives and shareholders of corporate America.

I decided I didn’t want to pull up a seat their table.  I decided to build my own table.  I’m sorry if this isn’t the choice I was supposed to make.

Actually, no.  I’m not sorry.

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7.  Participate in the Elf on the Shelf

Before my son was born, I considered the tradition to be an unnecessarily stressful addition to parenting and the holiday season.

Actually, I think I was just really jealous that I hadn’t thought of that bajillion-dollar idea myself.

After my son was born, I jumped right onto the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon and I’m not getting off anytime soon.

Quite frankly, I participate in the tradition for one person and one person only….and that person is me.

My childhood had all the magic of life at Spahn Ranch with the Manson family, so it makes me feel good to sprinkle my son’s youth with wonderment.

Also, that little Sprite gives me a whole month off from parenting….and I’m not going to lie, I can use the break….especially during the holiday season.

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8.  Formula Feed

To be clear, it never crossed my mind to judge another mother for the way she chose to feed her kid.  If it hadn’t been for Hamburger Helper, Chef-Boyardee and Tang, I might not have survived my own infancy.

So, fed is best, as far as I’m concerned.

But I had a lot of guilt about being diagnosed with cancer while I was pregnant and so I felt like if I couldn’t breastfeed, I would essentially be a worse mother than Susan Smith.

Mom guilt.  Am I right?

I wanted to breastfeed, but I couldn’t.

To make a long story short, my son was born premature, I had to finish chemotherapy and it wasn’t safe for my son to breastfeed while I was pumped full of R-CHOP.

I tried to “pump and dump,” but my body was all, “F-You.  I’m not cooperating.” 

Since starvation is, in fact, the worst of all options, I decided that what was best for my son, was formula.  And what was best for me, was to stop torturing myself.

PS….to that lady from the online La Leche support group I reached out to for advice on stimulating my milk supply, the lady who told me I should really consider stopping cancer treatment because, Breast is Best!

I still know who you are.  My social media stalking skills are on point and oh honey….time has not been good to you.

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9.  Subscribe to a parenting philosophy

Me, today:  I’m the I Don’t Give a F*ck Mom.

The IDGAF mom is the one who can’t even commit to the long term implications of a bumper sticker, let alone a parenting philosophy.

She’s the one who sometimes feels like she’s got all her shit together and then other times isn’t so sure, because she can’t find her shit.

The mom who roots for other mom’s, (except that bitch from the La Leche support group….I never let go of a valid grudge), because she knows that parenting isn’t actually a competition.

We’re all just doing the best we can to roll with the punches of parenting and life and in the end, we all want the same thing.  Nice kids who are healthy and happy and who go on to be productive and kind members of society.

But let’s face it, none of us know really know what we’re doing.

10.  Allow my kid to throw a tantrum in public

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I really thought I would have this one down.  I assumed that I was the adult, the one in charge.  I thought my firm, but loving approach to child rearing would be thing that would separate me from the mom with the toddler sprawled out and screaming on the floor at Target.

I thought that right up until the time my son was about three and I told him it was time to leave Chuck E. Cheese and he looked at me and said, “Over my dead body.”

Ok, so he didn’t actually say that, but trust me, his wails and feet stamping and fist pounding on the Skee Ball machine made it clear that I could suck it.

So, now I just like to tell myself that he’s strong willed and that strong willed children become adults who change the world.  I high five myself and hope that he’s at least a good dictator someday.

Then, I take another helping of humble pie with a side of crow, pull up my yoga pants and tell myself that, at the very least, I’m still way better than that La Leche lady.

 

Poop Talk….

“Some come to sit and think.  Others come to shit and stink.” ~ Poet Unknown

Since the advent of indoor plumbing, it’s pretty much an accepted fact that men’s public restroom’s are a cesspool of filth….with sticky floors and ample amounts of urine, caked and dripping, from every porcelain fixture.

Yet, for the most part, the women’s room has managed to eschew this reputation….undeservedly so.

In the movies and television, the women’s restroom is portrayed as some kind of pristine oasis, where we women go and set our dainty tushies upon gleaming white thrones and, I guess, shit lavender and roses?

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I’m sorry, but when it comes right down to it….women can be just as gross as men, maybe even grosser….it’s just that all our stalls are enclosed and we’re better at hiding it.

So, the other day, I was wandering through a book store, sipping a coffee….among my favorite hobbies….when nature called.

I made my way to the back of the store toward the restrooms, entered the “ladies” room and selected a stall.

Side note: The first stall in a women’s public restroom is always the cleanest, because it’s the least often occupied by female public bathroom users.

You are welcome.

Anyway, I opened door number one, to find that I wanted no part of whatever was in there.

It looked like someone had perhaps gotten the crap beat out of her….literally.

Or, perhaps a shitsplosion, caused by way too much espresso, had occurred.

And you know what, whatever.  I’ve been there.  I get it.  Shit happens.  (Yes, I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy).

But seriously, what kind of heathen makes that kind of a mess and then walks off all, “la dee da.”  As though her fecal matter is somebody else’s responsibility?

If you’re out there lady….and you know who you are….B&N on Route 1….I feel like it’s my doody (heh) to give you and ladies like you, a little Public Restroom Etiquette lesson.

Basically, I’m just like Emily Post.

Here goes:

1.  If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle, Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie

Every woman has utilized the hover craft method at one time or another while trying to avoid cheek to seat contact with a public landing pad.

It’s a method that requires a bit of lower body strength, a decent core, balance and the ability to regulate flow in order to maintain proper control of ones aim….take away the necessary skill set and the result is essentially the same as shooting water onto a teaspoon.

Wipe it up!  All the necessary tools are there.  You know, toilet paper.  And don’t even try and say you didn’t realize it was there.  We all have to turn around to flush.

2.  Nesting

For those germ concious women who know their hovering limitations or simply enjoy a fully seated go on the pot….when toilet seat covers aren’t available, apparently an entire roll of toilet paper will do.

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I’ll admit I’m not particularly well versed on all the apparently horrendous dangers a public toilet seat is harboring and quite frankly, I prefer it that way.  I mean.

I don’t have the time or the architectural skills necessary to craft this kind of set up….but for those who do, please note that the rest of us probably don’t have the time, or the bio-suit, required to clean it up when you’re done.

So please, rather than render the stall useless for the rest of us, take your nest with you when you go.

3.  If At First You Don’t Succeed, Flush, Flush Again (Or Just Flush….Period).

No one is interested in what happened behind that stall door.  What you do there, what you drop there, flush it down there when you leave there.

4.  Everybody Poops

Unless you are actually giving birth….not just sounding like it….I have no interest in becoming involved in your moment.

I don’t want to know that Chipotle goes right through you, or that you must have had some bad fish the night before.

There is no need to apologize because your rear-end sounds like a kid playing a trumpet….because really….what do you expect to hear in return?  “Oh, haha, I know how that goes?”  Or, “No worries, just hang in there, you can do it.”

Everybody poops….but not everybody needs to be involved.

5.  Are You There Black Patent Leather Pumps?  It’s me, Nude Ballet Flats

As much as I don’t want to commiserate with anyone during bowel movements, I also don’t want to be doing any favors.

Personally, I always check the TP balance before committing to a stall.  I would rather do the wiggly shake and just hope for the best, than ask anyone to pass me a wad of toilet paper.

For one, how do I know where those hands grasping that tissue paper quality, public TP have been?

For two, conversations in a public restroom that start out with, “Can you do me a favor?” could go so many ways and I’d hate to commit to something I’m not willing to follow through on.

“The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts.” ~Emily Post

The Birds & The Bees….

Do you pee out of your butt? ~ My Son

A few years ago, my son, Snugs McNugget (yes, that’s his real name), walked in on me while I was using the bathroom.  He was about four at the time and immediately upon seeing me on the toilet, he inquired, “Are you dropping a deuce?”

When I informed him that I was peeing, he began laughing as though I was a complete imbecile.

Snugs:  You pee standing up.  You poop sitting down!  

Me:  Honey, Mommy is a girl.  Girls pee sitting down.

Snugs:  Where is your penis?

Me:  Mommy, doesn’t have a penis.  I have a vagina.

Snugs, laughing hysterically:  A bagina!  What’s a bagina?

Thankfully, he lost interest shortly thereafter and I was spared the need to provide any additional detail.

Now my son is six and a Kindergartner and he’s become interested in understanding where babies come from and the anatomical differences between males and females.

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Earlier in the school year, he came home from school and informed me that one of his classmates, Jacob, had seen his sisters “wagenda.”

Me:  Her what?

Snugs:  Her wagenda.  You know, her wagenda (points to his crotch).

Me:  Oh…her wagenda.  I see.

Snugs:  Can I see yours?

Me:  No.  That would be inappropriate.  You should never ask a woman if you can see her wagenda.  It’s a private part and remember, it’s important to respect a person’s privacy.

Snugs:  I just really want to see one.  Jacob said it looks like a butt.  Does it look like a butt?  Do girls have two butts?  Wait, do you pee out of your butt?

Me:  Um….

HELP!

I haven’t the slightest idea how to have these conversations.

For the most part, nobody talked to me about this stuff when I was a kid.  When I asked my great-grandpa where babies came from, he told me he found me in the yard one afternoon, sitting in a buttercup.  And I believed it….for years.

Later, I picked up the general basics from movies and from walking in on my mother having sex with a guy named Ron she met in rehab.

The only other bit of education I got was when my mother said, “Do you want your cooter to smell like a fish stick?  No?  Then keep your pants on.”

I’m fairly certain the fear of smelling like a Gordon’s fisherman was the reason I preserved my virginity far longer than most of my peers.

So, what amount of information is too much information?

What if my son goes to school and shares his knowledge with other kids, who tell their parents, who then call me and are all like, WTF!?

Honestly, it’s moments like these I feel woefully ill-equipped as a parent and a little bitter about the lack of accurate information I was given as a child.

In most situations, when I don’t know the exact right answer, I say, “We’ll find a book on the subject.”  

A quick internet search proved that there are apparently a million choices.  Does anyone out there have a recommendation?

Something by Dr. Seuss perhaps….There’s a Wagenda on the Agenda!IMG_5489.PNG

Actually, that sounds more like something Mike Pence would write and so no.  Just no.

I don’t want my son to grow-up misinformed (except for the whole wagenda thing, I’m going to let that one go for a while), or embarrassed to ask questions he might have about sex.  I’d prefer he ask his dad, but whatever.

I’ve convinced him that I know everything and so heavy is the head that wears the crown.  I need to deliver.  But first, I need book suggestions….

 

Jesus….Don’t Leave Earth Without Him

“When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad and that is my religion.”

~Abraham Lincoln

When I was growing up, organized religion occasionally entered into various scenes of my life, but it was never present long enough to recruit me into a particular belief system….or to create a spiritual foundation upon which my entire life would be built.

When I was very young and my parents were still married….and my mother was still mostly undercover crazy….we lived in a small, mid-western town where it seemed everyone attended the Methodist church on Sunday mornings, followed by lunch at the only restaurant in town and then home to sit on front porches or to call on neighbors….or recover from serious hangovers….my mom, not me.

After my parents divorced, my mother gained primary custody of my brother and me and promptly moved us away to a suburb on the outskirts of a small city in order to be closer to a guy she met in rehab.

We still attended Church….multiple times a week actually….we just spent all our time in their smoke-filled basements at AA meetings.

We all lived and breathed AA.  All of my mother’s boyfriends were guys she picked up at a meeting, or at an AA sponsored social event.  Her friends and by extension, our friends, all came from people we met through the program.

It was in those days, that my brother developed an affinity for carrying a purse….he insisted on being Penny from Dirty Dancing any time we played house….we both had a little crush on Patrick Swayze….and he frequently walked to school with a dog turd stuck to the end of a stick to ward off the neighborhood bullies.

As for me, I lied….constantly….and about everything.  I told kids at school that I had 13 additional brothers and sisters….but they all lived with my dad because my mother only wanted my brother and me.

I occassionally gave a riveting account of how my grandmother survived the sinking of the Titanic….except she was no where near the Titanic in 1912….in fact, she wasn’t even born yet.

I told people I was a Cherokee Indian….never mind my white blond hair, green eyes and fair complexion.

I convinced my brother that he was adopted and that his real name was Figgendad.

And….did I mention I cursed like a sailor?  As a third-grader, I had quite the repertoire of curse words and I wasn’t afraid to use them in social settings with my peers.

“Ready or not, here I come mother-fuckers!”

Perhaps, we could have used a little religion in our lives….albeit a very progressive and open-minded religion.  Maybe something like a cult….probably wouldn’t have hurt anyway.

Not too long after my parents divorced, my mother remarried a man named Steve who she met at an AA meeting.

Steve brought to our lives a whole new layer of dysfunction.

That’s a longer story for another time….so for the purposes of this post, I’ll just say he met my mother’s criteria for a mate in the aftermath of my parents divorce….a handful of sobriety chips and an instability greater than her own.

The marriage was essentially doomed from the start.  More often than not, they were embattled in vicious fights and my brother and I regularly inserted ourselves into the drama.

As their fights escalated to physical attacks….typically perpetrated by my mother….my brother and I would hurl heavy items at Steve in her defense….trying to buy her the seconds needed to get in a good, swift, kick to his balls or a solid upper-cut….she was our mother after all….and we were like little assassins….constantly shifting our positions to maximize impact.

When the fighting was over, it wasn’t unusual to find shards of coffee cups lying around, or matchbox cars lodged into the drywall….a police cruiser in the driveway.

Every now and then, when the bail was posted and the dust had settled, Steve and my mother would come to the conclusion that we could really use God in our lives and so we would traipse of to church.

It never really stuck though, until one Easter Sunday when our neighbors invited us to attend services at their church.  They were Pentecostal, which meant nothing to me….until we filed into the pews and the service began.

While the church choir jammed out to hymnals….accompanied by a small band….a projector displayed the words on a large screen as the congregation stood to sing along.  I watched as the people seated around me clapped their hands, tapped their feet, swayed their arms and raised their hands as if trying to catch something imaginary while shouting “PRAISE JESUS!”

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The sermon involved a lot of yelling, pulpit smacking and intermittent shout-out’s to the heavens from the incessantly murmuring congregation.  It seemed a bit too theatrical and over the top for me and I wasn’t at all drinking the grape juice.

It didn’t matter though, because the next thing I knew, I was in the Youth Group, we were attending Church three times a week and Steve, tone deaf and without the slightest bit of rhythm, had unfortunately joined the choir.

Our deep dive into this new religion did little to change our lives between services though. Whatever lessons we were supposed to be learning were promptly forgotten by Sunday evening when shouts of, “Jesus Christ, you’re a stupid idiot” could be heard ringing throughout our house.

Putting on a show though, that was something the adults could get behind.  My New Kids on the Block and DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince cassette tapes were forcibly replaced with Amy Grant and DC Talk.

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Car radios were permanently set to various Christian music stations and Steve would warble along loudly while pretending to play a piano on the dashboard, randomly shouting, “Hallelujah!”

Our car sported a chrome fish emblem with “Jesus” in its center and bumper stickers stating things like:  “WARNING!  In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned.”  Leaving me to wonder how God felt about false advertising.

We were just posers though and it didn’t take long before the cracks in our fragile facade began to show.

During services, I mostly sat in the back of the church, where I would be free to read Helter Skelter, or The Stand unnoticed.

The churches teachings on certain topics didn’t ring true for me and my attendance was not voluntary.  My lack of enthusiasm during youth group activities and my knack for pointing out hypocrisy, made me less than popular, but I was just a kid.

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The weakest link, was Steve.

Unlike my mother, who was content to simply show-up and play along with the crowd, Steve needed to be in thick of things and the center of attention.

He wanted to become a church leader and to sing solo’s during holiday services.  He was baptized in the church, which had a baptismal pool in the sanctuary.  Unlike the other parishioners, who were quietly baptized and then exited the pool, Steve did a full on Shamu the Whale performance, erupting out of the water and shouting, “Hallelujah!”

Once, in the midst of morning prayers, Steve threw himself into the aisle and began stammering in what sounded suspiciously like Pig Latin.  He wailed and sobbed….sinking to his knees….rolling around on the floor and then finally crawling toward the pulpit.

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I found this on the internet, but it looks suspiciously like Steve…

 

No one in the congregation seemed to be in any particular rush to lay hands on him, like they did when other members of the church were so overcome with the spirit of Christ that they spoke in tongues.  Of course, none of them said things like, raisepa, esusja!”

It was clear that no one was buying what he was selling, which was at least a little comforting to know that these people thought him a fraud, as I found it hard to reconcile the person leaping and prancing in the name of the Holy Spirit, with the guy I caught spying on me while I was taking a bath.

Our stint as Pentecostals eventually came to an end.  I’ve never known the full story, only that we were asked not to return.  Yup….we got kicked out of Church.

After that, we bailed on the whole organized religion thing and instead adopted an every person for herself approach to spirituality.

It ended up being the best religious education they could have given me. It forced me to find faith on my own and often in places and circumstances where it would have been easy to believe it couldn’t be found.

It was my belief that there had to be a reason and a purpose to my life, that helped me survive a difficult and abusive childhood.

When I was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with my son, faith gave me strength and hope.

And while I’ve personally never looked for God in a Church, or within the doctrine of a specific religious affiliation, I’ve also found I don’t have to.

“She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”  Proverbs 31:25.

Congregate

I Would Run….from a Serial Killer, or a Zombie….

“Remember the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.” ~Sarah Condor

Yeah….the last time I remember enjoying a good run, was when I was motivated to kick some elementary school ass during my Presidential Physical Fitness Test in the early 90’s.

Since then, not so much.

I’ve tried to like it.  There have been many times I’ve gone out and invested in expensive, top of the line running shoes, devised a training plan and envisioned myself crossing the finish line of the Boston marathon.  But then I just end up gardening in my expensive, top of the line running shoes and watching the marathon from a bar on Beacon Street.

I just can’t get into it.  I have a friend who get’s all kinds of exhilitrated at just the opportunity to discuss her running routine.  She prattles on about her runner’s high and the euphoric sense of calm and peace she experiences while running and I’m all

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I can always tell who the real runners are vs. the people like me who go out thinking, I’m going to pound out some miles and then end up walking three minutes in, because that shit sucks.

Real runners seem to glide, their strides steady and light, their facial expressions stoic, their breathing, steady.

When I run, I look like a sack full of rocks being dragged across a bumpy road as I desperately suck wind.  My facial expression says, “This sucks, I’m bored, I hate every minute of this and it’s only been half a block.”

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The thing is, I am totally open to most forms of exercise, but I draw the line at running.

I will hike for dozens of miles carrying a 30 pound backpack up and down mountains for days with a giant smile on my face.  I will bike ride for hours.  I will Spin and Bootcamp and Booty Build and Muscle Pump and Namaste every day of the week….but I cannot bring myself to jog a lap, let alone a mile.

I know that for most people, becoming a real runner takes time, patience and commitment….but I have none of those things.

In fact, I’m pretty sure if I were ever in a run for my life with someone else, I would probably just trip that person, so that I would be free to casually walk away.

So, when a friend recently asked if I’d like to go for a run, because, “it would be fun,” I looked at her like she had just lost her fucking mind.

“Nope” I said.  “But if you want, I can drive along beside you playing something like, ‘Eye of the Tiger.'”  

Because even though she’s a damn liar, I’m a good friend.