Friday, March 9, 2018

How ARE You?

The other morning, a co-worker walked down the hallway toward her desk and then, as an afterthought, popped her head around the separator of my cube.

“How are you today?” she asked.

She’s new; she still hasn’t learned that if a person asks me that question, he or she should expect to actually hear how I’m doing. 

One time I told my dad that I wasn’t doing all that well, thank you very much, because I had gotten a part of my flappy labia caught in a tampon applicator and not only had it hurt, but could he please tell me why I had to be one of the few women God chose to bless with a flappy labia and chin whiskers?  If God had wanted me to be a boy, I asked my dad, then why hadn’t He just made me into a boy?  Then I narrowed my eyes and said, “Did you and Mom try to do some kind of gender selection shit and order a boy but something went terribly wrong somewhere in the petri dish and I just came out like this?”

My dad had recoiled with a huge harrumph.  “For shit’s sake, Shay!” he’d exclaimed.  “Trust me, if your mother and I had filled out a questionnaire with all of the qualities we’d wanted in a child, you definitely wouldn’t have been what popped out.  And gruugh” (it’s the best word I know to describe the noise he made) “nobody wants to hear all that shit you just told me!”

“Well, you asked!” I retorted.

“I did not ask about your…I did NOT ask for specifics. I just asked how your weekend was going."  He took a deep breath and shook his head, averting his eyes as he muttered, “Where did I go wrong?”

He rarely asks how I’m doing anymore.

But this co-worker…like I said, she’s new. She didn’t know yet.

So I sat there, a range of emotions playing on my face, I’m sure, while in my brain, civility tried to beat out oversharing. 

She doesn’t really want to know, Shay.  She’s just trying to engage in polite, day-to-day conversation the way normal people do—

“That bad, huh?” she laughed.

I shook my head, clearing it of inner dialogue.  “Oh, no, not at all. It’s just that I was trying to decide if you really wanted to hear how I was doing or if you were just trying to be polite.”

Well, what could she say to that? 

Of course I want to hear!” she said, even if she didn’t actually want to hear.  But it was all the green light that I needed.

“Well, I’ve been in kind of a pissy mood,” I began, “because I’ve gained like 8 pounds over the past few weeks, and I can’t figure out why. I’m doing everything right—eating my fucking vegetables, working out, getting enough sleep…

“…the only thing I can think of,” I continued, “is that maybe my husband didn’t pull out fast enough during one of the nights we had a bunch of drinks and then had sex.  He’s had a vasectomy, but sometimes we still practice the old pull-and-pray just in case…and maybe his timing was a bit delayed because of the drinks. I tell you what, I’ve been so damn hungry and grumpy and fat lately that I’d swear I was pregnant.  And if I am, I’m going to march myself to that vasectomy doctor’s office and demand a fucking refund—after I threaten to leave the baby on his door step.

“Not since I was 20 years old and a slut have I been this worried about being pregnant.  I’m 40 and really happy with how easy my life has become with a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old.  Those little a-holes basically raise themselves anymore.

"I tell you what, though—and here’s a tangent—it’s not as bad as in college when I used to wake up with the night sweats—I mean, so much sweat that my sheets were wet and stank of perspiration—and worry that I had contracted AIDS from one of my random hookups. When I asked my dad for his thoughts on the matter, though, he said, ‘You don’t have AIDS, dumbass.  You’re sweating out the case of beer you and Leigh drink every night.’”

I paused for a moment and looked up.

And to her credit—oh my gosh, to her immense credit—my new co-worker threw back her head and burst into hysterical laughter.  “I am SO GLAD I asked!” she roared.  “You have just made my morning!”

As she walked away, chuckling all the way through the office, I caught myself smiling.  Some people can handle me like a champ and the new girl?  She’s one of them.

She’d made my morning, too.

(By the way, I’m not pregnant and I’ve lost 3 of the 8 pounds I’d gained.  But I still have the flappy labia and chin whiskers. Maybe if I make an appointment to get a labia reduction, I’ll lose that last five pounds…?)

Friday, January 19, 2018

On Life and Heaven

My sons have recently been cracking me up with their honest and deep questions and thoughts about life. 

About two weeks ago, my husband came home from grocery shopping and started unloading.  I was helping him put everything away when my older son entered the kitchen.  His eyes lit up when they rested upon a full, unopened box of Capri Suns.  His face broke into a huge smile and he looked at me, eyes wide and sparkling.  “There’s, like, no better sight than a full box of Capri Suns,” he commented as he ripped open the box and retrieved one.  As he popped the straw in, I began to muse aloud.  “I know exactly how you’re feeling, son. It’s like when I used to smoke in college. There was no better feeling than a full pack of cigarettes in my hand…”

I got that faraway look in my eyes that I get when I’m reminiscing about the good old days until I was snapped out of my reverie by my husband’s pointed cough.  “Mom?” the hubs said wearily, his eyebrows raised in a glance toward our son, hanging on my every word. 

“Oh,” I said, catching myself.  “Oh.  Well.  Of course I gave up the habit years ago…”

“Then why did I catch you smoking in the backyard with your friends last summer?” my older son asked.

“YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED!” I said for the millionth time.  We’d been over this before.

Listen, peeps.  I know smoking is stupid. I also know that texting your boss to say you won’t make it in because even though you thought you were over the trots, you had just shit your pants while bending over to help your son tie his shoe is stupid.  But does that stop me from doing these things?


In my defense, I VERY RARELY smoke. In fact, I have ¾ of a pack of cigarettes that’s been in my hiding spot in a mug on top of the fridge for about 6 months.  It’s kind of like how I still sleep in the same bed as my husband even though we’ve already had 2 kids and we don’t necessarily want any more.  (“We don’t do it for fun, Doc,” I told my doctor when he and I disagreed on my second son’s due date. “We do it for a reason. I know exactly when this kid is due.”  Lucky for me, my doctor was stubborn and stuck with his due date, which was 2 weeks before mine.  Then by the time my real due date came around, my doc thought I was two weeks overdue and induced even though my son actually wasn’t late at all.  I WIN.)

Basically what I’m saying is, do I need to have any more sex with my husband?  No.  But I keep him around just in case I get a hankering.

Do I need to smoke? No.  But I keep ciggies around just in case I get a hankering during a night on the town with the girls.

Then there was the time my younger son paused one morning as he was buckling his seat belt just before the drive to school.  “Mom?”

“Yeah, buddy.”

“Do you think God has plain cheeseburgers—with only cheese on them—in Heaven?”

I nodded in understanding, glancing back at him in the rearview mirror.  “Oh, buddy, I totally know how you feel. More than once I’ve asked myself if God has rum and diet Coke in Heaven because they say Heaven is perfect and everything a person has ever dreamed of…but if there’s no rum and diet Coke, that can’t be the case, right?”

“Right,” he agreed.

“So if I were a betting woman—which I’m not because I always lose, but if I was, I would say yes.  A thousand times YES. God DOES have rum and diet Coke in Heaven.”

“He was asking about plain cheeseburgers, Mom,” my older son reminded me.

“That too,” I replied with a definitive nod of my head.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Heartwarming Holiday Time Spent with Family

A few years ago, my dad traveled to Amsterdam. He insisted on going alone because we “slow him down.”

We all knew he was going alone because he didn’t want to share the legal hookers with anyone else.

I knew it had to be bad, though, when he came home and I asked him how his trip was.  “How many prostitutes were graced with your presence and money?”

Dad shook his head sadly.  “Oh, Shay…I admit that I walked through the Red Light District.  But I didn’t visit any prostitutes.  So many of them didn’t have any teeth and just looked hungry.  I just wanted to buy them something to eat…but what do you buy a prostitute without any teeth?”

“Soup?” I ventured. “A blender?”

Dad nodded his head.  “I thought about that, but I didn’t want to offend anyone.  So I just walked on through.”

Moral of the story?  My dad’s kind of a slut.  But he’s a kind-hearted slut.  So while he loved Amsterdam and his trip was fabulous, he didn’t partake in any legal prostitution.  That he admitted to, anyway.

My siblings and I adore our dad, and we are so proud when we can say we got any of our personality traits from him (minus the hooker thing).  One thing we all got from him was the Ugly Duckling Syndrome. We all have an awkward phase from, oh, birth to…let’s say 22 years.  By then we figure out (in my case, by using bucketloads of bleach and lots of makeup) how to look good.  (It does normally take some time, though. One morning a couple of weeks ago, I motioned toward my face and made a joke to a co-worker about how “it takes time to look this good,” and my boss, who happened to be walking by, said, “Not enough time. Maybe you should take a few more hours.”  Then I screamed “#METOO!” and he ran off, apologizing the whole way back to his office.)

In the case of a good-looking divorced dad, that means lots of divorced women asking us to set them up with him.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I said to one of my parents’ old friends who had reconnected with us through Facebook.  “Hell, no, I won’t set you up with my dad!”

“Are you worried about your inheritance?” she asked.  “Because I wouldn’t touch—"

“Screw my inheritance.  I’ve got my own money.  What I’m worried about is you catching some disease and then blaming me for setting you up with him.  No, thanks.  You’re not pinning that chlamydia on me.”

For reals, the STD thing was a joke. My dad doesn’t have any STD’s…that he’s admitted to, anyway.  The real reason I won’t set people up is that he’s the best, most thoughtful boyfriend in the world—sometimes for up to 2 years. Then he “doesn’t feel like it” anymore and just stops calling them and my sisters and I have to deal with the repercussions.  And nobody needs a sobbing phone call from a 60-year-old woman at 1 PM on an otherwise gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  (“What did I doooooo, Shay? Why hasn’t he called me back??”  “Um…I don’t know?  Maybe call one of my sisters and ask them? I’ll bet they’ll know more.”)

A few years ago at Christmas, I decided, after a couple of rum and Diet Cokes, that I needed to impart my wisdom on my aging father.

“Dad,” I said, leaning back in my chair on the screened-in back deck, “I know you’re probably having sex—"

“Oh, Jesus,” he harrumphed, lighting his once-a-year cigar.

Not deterred by his lack of enthusiasm, I continued.  “I read this article about old people and AIDS.”

My dad rolled his eyes.

“Dad, Geriatric AIDS is no joke.”

“Geriatric?  Screw you,” he said.

“Listen, old man,” my older sister piped up.  “If my pregnancy was considered geriatric when I was 37, then you can damn well bet that your AIDS is considered geriatric at 63.”

“I don’t have AIDS!”

“That we know of,” I said.  “Have you been tested? Are you being careful, Dad?”

My dad shot me a dirty look.  “None of your business, SIS,” he said, which is the term he uses (usually with a rough poke in the shoulder) to let me know I’m treading on dangerous ground.  I softened my words a bit.

“I just worry about you, Dad.  Remember that nobody is immune to AIDS. Even old people like you.”

My dad shook his head.  “Please.  Getting AIDS anymore is like catching the common cold.”

“I don’t think it’s exactly—"

My dad leaned forward to address my sister and me.  “You know what I’d say if my doctor told me I had AIDS?”  He didn’t wait for an answer from us.  “I’d be like, ‘Okay, great talk, Doc.  Got any good buffets around here?’”

It was my turn to roll my eyes.  “Whatever. I did my best.  But you can be damned sure that I’m not using your toothbrush if I forget mine next time I visit.”

“Good,” my dad said.  “Stay away from my toothbrush. Your breath smells like shit.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, all! My wish for you is that your holidays spent with family are as sweet as ours always are.

And remember:  Use protection!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fall: The Season of Ass-Grabbing

Ahhhhh, September.  The beginning of fall.

I was once accused of being like “every other leggings-wearing white girl” by one of my white friends when I professed my love of fall. I remember my response: “Oh, I’m sorry, racist asshole. I didn’t realize that black people don’t wear leggings or enjoy fall. My mistake. Do you know if Mexicans enjoy fall?  Asians? I’m just wondering because obviously I need to get my stereotypical ducks in a row before I embarrass myself by commenting that I enjoy fall again.”

From then on, this certain person kept her damn comments to herself if she happened to be in the vicinity and heard me enjoying the small things in my life a little bit too much for her comfort.  Surprisingly enough, we’re no longer friends. Was it something I said?

Ah, well. You win some, you lose some, that’s what I always say.

Fall, to me (and every other leggings-wearing white girl, apparently), means crisp, gorgeous Saturday mornings on my back deck with a book and a cup of coffee; cool nights in the driveway with neighbors, a mini-fire pit, cold beers, and the sounds of our kids running all around us, making memories; pumpkin patches; apple picking; and my husband grabbing the asses of my good friends…

…wait.  What was that last one?

Maybe I should back up a minute.  Or two years, to be exact.

It was fall of 2015, and I had just cleaned my bathrooms, so on a break from work that Friday, I sent out this text message to all of my neighbors:

My shitters are clean and it’s a gorgeous day.  Those two reasons alone are enough for a neighborhood shindig this evening.  Our backyard.  Tonight. Be there or be square.  By the way—this is a group text so don’t talk a bunch of shit on anyone unless you want them to see it.

(If I I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times:  It’s a wonder I have any friends.  But when I once asked my best friend about it, she gave an answer that made complete sense:  “Because you’re fun. And you’re ridiculous, too, so you make everyone around you feel better about themselves because no matter what they do, it can’t be as stupid as some of the shit you do.”  My chest puffed up with pride at my best friend’s explanation, and to this day, I’ve never forgotten it.  I’m so blessed.)

That evening, everyone gathered around the little fire pit that my husband had just gotten from Lowe’s.  We were roasting marshmallows for s’mores, everyone in a jolly white-person fall mood, when I announced that I had to go to the bathroom and I would be right back. My little sister Joanne (not her real name) was visiting, and she followed me because she had some really good gossipy story about one of our old friends that she wanted to share. (It was actually probably about our older sister, but there I go again trying to make us look just a little bit nicer than we actually are.)

After I’d gone to the bathroom, my little sister and I sat on my bed for a moment, chatting, until my husband ran into the bedroom, his eyes wild.  “Shay!” he said to me, frantic.  “You know that hoodie that you always wear?  The one with—" here, he paused for a moment so that he could motion horizontal stripes with his hands "--the stripes?”

I eyed him quizzically and looked over at my little sister to see her doing the same, an amused smile playing on her face.  “Um, yeaaaah?” I said slowly, trying to figure out what the problem was. “I let Kim borrow it.”

My husband nodded one time quickly, as if that statement made perfect sense.  “Okay,” he said, nodding once again.  “Okay.”

My sister and I exchanged glances.

“Okay,” my husband said again.  Then he met my eyes.  “Well, I thought it was you from behind.  And I THINK I might have spanked Kim’s ass.”  He stopped a moment, a hopeful look lighting up his eyes.  “OR I might have come up a bit short because I realized it wasn’t you at the last second.”

My little sister and I burst into giggles.  “Well, did you explain it to Kim?” I asked.  It seemed a pretty obvious thing to do…

My husband shrugged.  Gave me a blank stare.  “No. I ran away.”

This is when my little sister and I lost it, picturing this 6-foot-tall, burly husband of mine getting freaked out over his mistake and turning and hightailing it to the bedroom to find me so I could fix it.

After we’d wiped the tears of hilarious laughter from our eyes, my little sister and I made our way to the fire pit, where we explained my husband’s mistake to Kim and her husband, Mike. 

Kim threw her head back in laughter. “I was wondering if that’s what had happened,” she said.  “But when I turned around to give him shit about it, all I saw was his back as he ran up the stairs and into the house!”

For the rest of the night, Mike teased my husband and me by saying, “I get to smack Shay’s ass now, too, right?” to which I would respond, “I thought everyone knew mine was always up for grabs…”

I thought I saw Mike shudder…he’s a good sport and all, but we’re all pretty close friends and maybe I’ve complained about my chin whiskers and smelly farts a little bit too much in his presence.  I’m pretty sure the last thing he wants to do is play a little grabass with me, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a neighbor feel good about herself by going along with it, right?

In any case, happy fall, y’all!  May the leggings-wearing, fire-pit, ass-grabbing season begin!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trashy Recipe Recommendations, Summer Edition: New England Clam Chowder

Sadly, the end of summer is near.  My kids, as usual, have had a great one filled with swimming, big vacations to the beach, mini-vacations to surrounding cities, and much, much more. But next week, they’ll be back in school.

Before summer officially comes to an end, I thought I would share one of my favorite summer recipes:  New England clam chowder.

I make it every single summer and sometimes throughout the school year, too.  It’s surprisingly quick and bursting with flavor.  I made it one Friday evening last summer, and as I ladled the steaming stuff into bowls for my two boys and husband, I began to reminisce aloud.

“Ah, boys,” I said, stilling my dripping ladle for a moment as I got a faraway look in my eyes.  “This recipe is the exact same one we used during the summertimes of my youth, when I grew up on Long Island and summered in Nantucket.”

My boys’ eyes filled with wonder. My husband dropped his spoon with a clatter.  “What the…?” he muttered.

I ignored him and went on.  “Grams used to take us to the beach all day—we weren’t wussies afraid of the sun back then.  Grams felt like it was good for our souls and good for our health.  We would frolic in the waves and the seafoam, collect sea glass, feast on fresh lobster rolls, and not begin our short trek back to the beach house until the sun was going down.  Yes,” I continued, so into my memories that I didn’t notice my husband rooting through the recycling bin, “your aunts and uncles and I worked up huge beach appetites that could only be quenched with hot, steaming bowls of Grams’s famous clam chowder.”

“New England clam chowder,” I finished, breaking out of my reverie to continue serving the thick soup.  “The stuff of my youth.”

As my boys oohed and aahed, begging me to continue with these stories they’d somehow never heard, my husband stopped foraging and revealed his prize.

“This, boys,” he said triumphantly, holding up an empty can of Campbell’s Chunky New England Clam Chowder, “is your mom’s definition of ‘summering on Nantucket.’”

“You’ve always got to ruin everything,” I muttered, slopping some more of my canned clam chowder into my husband’s bowl so that a little dripped onto his seat.  I hoped he wouldn’t notice until after he sat down and it was too late.

Listen, you guys, I can’t help it if Elin Hilderbrand equals summer to me and I hoard her novels, only reading them between the months of May and September because I’m a seasonal reader and love beach novels in the summer.

Of course I didn’t grow up on Long Island and summer on Nantucket; I’m a Midwestern girl and “summering” meant being dropped off at the local pool all day so that my mom could lay out in the back yard and drink. And it was awesome. But Nantucket is still a place I would love to visit—thanks to Ms. Hilderbrand.

(Remind me to tell you about the time I took a trip to Ireland because I loved Maeve Binchy’s books…or the time I flew to Spain to meet friends of a friend but couldn’t actually point Spain out on a map when I got there.)

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks after my husband called me out last summer, I knew the gig was up.  So as the boys waited patiently at the table for their lunch after a long morning of swimming, I grabbed a can of this stuff out of the cabinet in full view of them and started cranking the can opener.

My older son looked at me, crestfallen.  “But Mom…what about your summers on Nantucket?  Frolicking in the waves…feasting on fresh lobster rolls…? You mean…you just…open a can?”

“Oh, buddy,” I said, kneeling down so that I could address him eye-to-eye, “you didn’t think Mommy was serious, did you?  All of that ‘catching the clams with my net over the boat’ shit?  Hell, I don’t even know if there are actual clams in clam chowder. I thought your dad cleared all of this up a couple of weeks ago…?”

My boy’s lip quivered. “I thought he was joking,” he said.


But dammit this soup is good. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sibling Rivalry and Nostalgia

It’s become a tradition that during the summers, I keep my nephew for a few weeks.  Obviously it’s because I’m a much better mother than my sister is.

Okay, really it’s because my boys are very close to his age and I have a much higher tolerance for noise than my older sister does. It’s like a neighborhood party around here all summer that every kid in the tri-state area wants to attend, and I love it.

Except for those days when I find myself screaming the F word at all of them before stopping short and going, “Oh, shit. I forgot to take my Zoloft.  Carry on, children, carry on!” and then scurrying down the hall to the medicine cabinet with a cup of water in hand.

It reminds me of my own idyllic childhood, where ours was the house in which every kid in the neighborhood wanted to convene—and my mom was awesome about it. I’m not sure if she, too, popped anti-anxiety meds in order to deal with all of the chaos (she was more of a daytime drinker; potayto, potahto), but in any case, I love providing that for my own kids. (Not the anti-anxiety meds.  The LOVING CHAOS.)

But it’s crazy when your kids are getting older and you start thinking back to when you yourself were a kid.  You see, the thing is, I don’t feel old.  I definitely don’t feel old enough to be the mother of an almost-9-year-old and a 6-year-old, but here I am, KILLING it.  Like, I’m pretty damn good at it, you guys.  But every once in a while—okay, at least once a day—I’ll look around and realize that I’m the adult in the room and not only that, but I’m responsible for these two kids that are mine.

And then I’ll get to thinking back to when I was their age and how old I thought my own mom was and how recent it all seems…it can’t have been thirty years ago that I was the same age as my 10-year-old nephew…can it?  It’s fucking surreal how life works.

The most fun part, though, is seeing your siblings’ kids do something that your siblings would have done as kids, or seeing the way your own children interact with their cousins and remembering how you used to have the same types of interactions with your cousins.  My older sister and I used to spend at least one week each summer at one of my dad’s older sisters’ houses because she had kids who were exactly our age.  It was so fun. Watching my own kids and nieces and nephews takes me back to those days, and even if the memory is kind of a crappy one—like when my nephew and son are fighting and I remember similar fights we had as kids—I still love to reminisce.  I’m a sucker for nostalgia.

Yesterday, I took my boys and my nephew to the KFC drive-through and ordered a bucket of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, potato wedges, and biscuits.  We were all ravenously hungry after three hours of swimming at the local pool.

I was handed the huge, hefty bag through the drive-through window, and I turned around and passed it to the first kid I saw in the back—who happened to be my nephew.  “Now I know you’re hungry, buddy,” I said, “but don’t open the bag because you’ll let all the hot air out and we want to keep it warm until we get home.”

He nodded his head very seriously, and in that moment, I had a flashback from a similar experience that his mother and I shared when we were growing up.

She’s two years older than I am, so when she turned 16, she began driving me to and from school.

She used to skip lunch and instead save the lunch money that Dad gave us every day to use on fast-food takeout for an early dinner on the way home.  I was always jealous because there was NO WAY I would have been able to skip lunch; I LOVE to eat and was always starving by 9 AM.  So I had no money left to buy anything from whatever fast-food joint my sister’s taste buds had deemed “the one” that day, but by the time we were pulling through the drive-through, I was hungry again and would begin salivating as soon as the bag was handed through my sister’s driver’s side window.

“Ugh!” she would say, wrinkling her nose in disgust at me as she passed the bag over.  It was my job to hold the steaming, delicious-smelling food in my lap until we got home. “Quit making that face!  It’s like you’ve never eaten before.  Stop staring at the bag!”

I once tried to put the bag of food onto the floor in front of me so that I wouldn’t get into trouble for looking at it the wrong way, but my older sister had slapped me and made me pick it back up.  “It’ll get cold on the floor. I need your body heat to keep my tacos warm.”

I swear that really happened. 

One day I almost lost it on her.  We were in the Taco Bell drive-through and she had just been handed her Mexican pizza.  She started to pass it to me so that it could scorch my legs per usual as it rested on my lap, but then she stopped, the bag hovering in the air between us.

“How hot are your legs?” she asked me.

I blinked. “Huh?”

She sighed as if I were the one being the dumbass in this particular situation.  “I ASKED how hot your legs are. Like, what temperature?”

My mouth dropped open.  “What do you want me to do?” I asked.  “Jab a fucking thermometer into them and find out for you?”

I’m just kidding. I didn’t say that.  I was scared to death of my sister.  She had once gotten into a physical fight with someone at a party and later laughed, showing off the bite mark that the girl had left on her boob. My dad didn’t think it was so funny.  “Imagine having to tell all of your friends you got AIDS from a girl who bit your boob at a keg party,” he kept saying.  “You need to be more careful when you fight.”

So of course I didn’t mouth her, because that crazy bitch would have probably pulled a thermometer out of her purse and done it for me.  It wouldn’t have been a stretch—our dad is a food inspector.  Meat thermometers were plentiful around the house. (“Hmm…no, I can’t find a pen, but here’s this meat thermometer if that will help?”)

Instead, I gave a slight shrug of my shoulders, an uncertain lift of my eyebrows, and said, “Like, 98 degrees?”

I had just learned in health class that that was where your body’s temperature should hover, and it seemed like a good enough answer to me.

And to my older sister, too. She narrowed her eyes, sizing up my legs to see how much heat was radiating off of them.  Apparently she was satisfied.  She plopped the hot bag on them, muttering, “My Whopper was kind of lukewarm yesterday. Your chicken legs better not make my food cold today…”

Ah, memories.

I wonder what today’s shenanigans with my nephew and boys will drudge up from the recesses of my mind?  I hope it’s something good, like the time my older sister and cousin stole the 50 cents my mom would give each of us to buy one snack for the entire 5 hours she would drop us off for at the pool, and they ate Reese's peanut butter cups in front of me, licking their fingers as I writhed on the wet concrete with hunger pangs...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Are You Pregnant?

Before I discovered a low-carb diet that includes replacing every single delicious noodle and potato chip with a form of vegetable or rum, I was one of those people who had the she-may-or-may-not-be-should-I-risk-asking perpetual three-month pregnant belly. 

(I always say that unless you’re watching as the baby is actually crowning, DO NOT ASK.)

What was annoying about it was that I have always worked out like a motha.  I also ate like a complete and total fatass, so there was that.  I just figured if I ran 6 miles, I should've been able to have a damned cheeseburger, so you can bet your arse I was snarfing one right after I hopped off the treadmill.  And 7 chicken nuggets.  And small fries.


Anyhoo, my mom, an avid worker-outer herself, always told me the gut was hereditary.  I remember one time, years ago, we were both at my dad’s house.  Mom was watching me run stairs while she snarfed a bowl of chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, hand-crumbled chunks of Oreos cookies, and Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips.  My parents had been divorced for a good few years, but Dad still stocked the cupboards with that kind of stuff because she liked it.

“You’re never going to be able to get rid of the gut,” my mom said, eyeing me lazily as I turned to walk down the stairs so that I could double-hop up them once more.  “Trust me.  I tried for years.  It’s just hereditary.  You’re welcome.”

I stopped for a moment and looked at her, drops of sweat dripping from my face.  “Haven’t you been divorced for, like, 3 years?  Don’t you have your own house to get back to?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied, “but mine doesn’t have ice cream.  I’ll leave when I’m finished with this bowl.”

I rolled my eyes, but I knew she was right.  I had seen her doing the exact same stairs routine I was doing for years; where do you think I learned it?  In fact, when she and Dad had bought that house, one of the first things that attracted her to it was that it had been built on a perfect one-mile running route.  She, too, had worked out like a motha.

And still always looked like a 3-months pregnant one.

I figured it was just my lot in life.

All of this still didn’t stop my mom from asking me from the time I was 14 years old if I was, in fact, pregnant.  Don’t take it the wrong way; she was trying to be a caring, concerned mom, there for me if I’d gotten into any “trouble” and needed a mom-shoulder to turn to for advice on babies raising babies.

But I think it was fairly obvious that I wasn’t getting any action simply by drinking in the sight of me:  mousey brown hair that flowed in a sister-wifey, lank kind of way (this was well before I discovered what a vat of bleach could do for even the horsiest of creatures), thin bangs, and a long, Tori Spelling-like face.

Friends, suffice it to say that I probably couldn’t have even engaged in reverse prostitution and paid someone to do it with me just to see what it was like.  In fact, I used to thank my mom when she asked if I was pregnant.  “So you think I have a chance?” I would whisper hopefully, tears of joy springing to my eyes.  “That someone will want to have sex with me someday?”

I swear there’s a point to all of this.  I mean, not a good one or anything; not something you couldn’t have gone your whole life without hearing, but still…there’s a point.

A few years ago, I saw my sweet grams just as her dementia started encroaching on her lifelong prim, proper, and always classy personality.  (I don’t know how she ended up with a granddaughter like me, but I always tell her it must be God’s way of getting her back for something really bad she did in a past life.) And when she excitedly pointed to my belly and said, “Oh, we’ll get to plan some more baby showers!  Shay’s pregnant!” I laughed.  Honestly I kind of enjoyed this new no-holds-barred (what the hell does that actually mean?) personality of hers.

“No, Grams, sorry.  I’m not pregnant.”  I seriously wasn’t even embarrassed even though several members of my family were pointing at me and laughing.

I could tell Grams felt bad, though, so I gave her a hug and told her to please stop getting upset; in fact, she’d just given me a topic about which to write.

Because comments like that?  I’d been involuntarily training for them since I was 14 years old.  It’d be like asking me now to run a mile after I completed my 15th half marathon.

Bitches, please.  I got this. I’ve always had this.

Oh, and by the way—I love you, Grams!