Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Hermit Crabs Are People, Too

If my husband had known that his wife was going to turn into a bleeding heart animal rights activist who would spend $64 for additional supplies—including a friend (That’s him in the upper right-hand corner, the one with the holes in his carrying case) because “he must get lonely sometimes”—I’ll bet he’d have thought twice about the purchase he made on vacation for our older son, who chose a hermit crab as his living beach souvenir.

The hubs wasn’t even mad when the kids and I came ambling excitedly up the stairs, loaded down with bags of hermit crab stuff.

“This is my fault, isn’t it,” he said.  It was a statement, not a question.

Why yes.  Yes, it is.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Snack

This is what happens when your children tell you from the backseat of the car between activities that they're hungry, and you reply, "You know what?  You boys have been so good all morning that I say we do something WILD...something CRAZY...something we've NEVER DONE BEFORE!  Let's stop at Break Time and I'll let you each pick out one snack and one drink--anything you want!" (Okay, so we don't always walk on the wild side around here...)

I sighed in defeat when we reached the counter. I'm not sure why, other than maybe I felt like being dramatic.  Because really, what had I expected? 

Because I am a woman of my word, I forked over the cash for the snacks and silently said a prayer of thanks that I wouldn't be the one dealing with my 6-year-old after he'd guzzled the Mountain Dew.  He was on his way to an afternoon day camp that he'd decided to do this year, you see, and so someone else would have him for the next few hours.  Goddammit, I can be an unfeeling asshole sometimes.

As I was paying, I gave my sons my best serious mom face and said, "I really want you guys to enjoy your treats, because it's green beans for the rest of the day."

"Okay, Mom," they agreed, smiling up at me.

I'm going to sauté these little dandies as soon as my boy gets home from camp.  After all, I am a woman of my word.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Movie Night

6yo:  Mom, I can totally watch this movie.  It’s not violent. I mean, there’s a lot of blood, but it’s green blood.
Me:  But it’s still blood…
6yo:  Yeah, but it’s not, like, human blood. It’s like robot blood.

And is there something wrong with me because I could totally see his point?  I was all, “In that case, son, I’ll make the popcorn!”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Liars and Facebook

A couple of weeks ago, the hubs and I took the boys on a weeklong beach vacation with my family, which included my mom, dad, sisters, brothers, and all of their kids.

When we got home, all of my friends commented on how fun the trip had looked.  “I saw all of your pictures on Facebook,” they said.  “It looks like you guys had a blast!”

“Oh, please,” I would say, shrugging them off with a wave of my hand.  “That’s just the picture we portrayed on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong; it was fun.  But nobody put up a video of me screaming ‘YOU’RE A FCKING LIAR!’ at my older sister for taking the best room in the whole condo after we had agreed to draw numbers out of a hat for them.”

Honestly, I didn’t care that my little family and I got the shittiest room in the condo.  It was a beautiful place, so even the shittiest room was pretty great.  My whole point was, don’t go out of your way (OLDER SISTER) to send a group Facebook message to the entire family saying that even though you’ll arrive at the condo first, you’ll be very fair about drawing numbers out of a hat in order to assign rooms since we all paid the exact same amount to rent the place.

Because there are no secrets when my mom is around.  That woman sings like a canary. And she said that what actually happened looked something like this:

My older sister, drawing a number out of the hat:  Oh.  Oh, crap.  I don’t want that room.  I’m drawing again.
My older sister, drawing again:  Oh.  Oh, crap. That’s not the number for the room upstairs, the one with the marble Jacuzzi tub and private deck.  Where is that number?
My older sister, drawing again:  Damn, that’s not it, either.
My older sister, looking at my younger brother and my mom, who had arrived at the same time as she had:  I’m just going to take that big room upstairs.  You guys pick whichever rooms you want, and we’ll tell Shay that we drew for her and she got the downstairs room, the small one right off the kitchen with no private bathroom and no ocean view.

I’m not a diva.  I don’t need a goddamned private bathroom (although it should be noted that everyone else got one) or view of the ocean. If I wanted to see the ocean, I could just walk out the back door and step onto the beach. Like I said, it was an awesome place.

What I do need—or at least like—is honesty. Give me the room that nobody else wants and tell me that I got it because I was the last to arrive at the condo—I’ll totally jibe with that! But dammit, just don’t lie to me.

So one night after a few Mixxtail Firewalkers, my sister and I got into it about it, and I told her all of this, albeit with a few “fcks” peppered throughout the conversation.  And then the next night, she and her husband got into it over something else. 

On one of our last nights there, after the kids had been set up with the pullout couch, popcorn, and a movie with Papa and Grandma in the living room, my brother-in-law and my husband and I sat on the beach drinking a couple of beers.  My older sister’s husband looked at me and said, “It’s been a great week, hasn’t it?  Hardly any fighting!”

I looked at him, my mouth hanging open in disbelief. “Are you forgetting those two humongous blowouts from earlier this week?”  (Guess who was in the middle of both? MY LIAR SISTER)

“Yeah, but only two!” my brother-in-law said, shrugging cheerfully and taking another sip of his beer.

When I laughingly (I promise it was laughingly) told these stories to my friends, I was surprised at how readily everyone admitted to portraying something other than real life on Facebook. I swear that one of my friends, a newlywed who just married her adorable baby’s daddy, looked me dead in the eye and said, “Oh, GIRL. I get it. I always put all of these pictures of my happy little family on Facebook, but I swear I hardly even have time to post pictures in between the many daydreams I have about smothering my husband with a pillow in his sleep.”  Here, she stopped and laughed.  “Of course, I’m totally kidding.  I would never do that!  But I don’t like him very much at all.”


Isn’t it funny how a person starts to write something and then it ends up as something else entirely?  Here I had a sweet post all planned out about something my adorable little 3-year-old did while on family vacation, but I do believe I’ll have to save it for another day.  I don’t want to soil his story with all this talk about family vacation fighting and pillow smothering.

So instead of launching into that adorbsy story right now, then, I think I’ll go post an honest picture on Facebook. Maybe an image of my chin in its pre-whisker plucking state…although my friends are probably getting tired of seeing that. It’s one of my favorite things to post. I'll do all different angles and then come up with fun captions like, “Hope you weren’t in the middle of dinner, A-HOLES!”

It’s a wonder I have any friends, no?  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


The word of the day around here is penis because, well, because my boys are 6 and 3 and no word in the English language is more hilarious to them.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our boys on a little weekend getaway to my dad’s vacation house.  (Although it’s actually a house he found in the city for way cheap, I love calling it “my dad’s vacation house” because it makes us sound old-money rich.  I learned on Real Housewives of Australia that there is a very important difference between “old-money rich” and “new-money rich,” and that one should always specify because it’s way better to be old-money rich.  Apparently that kind of rich automatically comes with a shit-ton of class.  I’m actually neither form of rich, but it’s good to know the rules, just in case.)  We were eating at a popular restaurant beloved by both kids and adults when my 3-year-old announced that he needed to use the bathroom.

It’s easier if I just take him into the women’s restroom with me, as he’s still scared of how loud the toilets flush in public places, and I’m currently the preferred parent for when he’s scared or upset.  An automatic flushing toilet will just about send him over the edge, poor guy, and even if the toilets are manual flushers with handles and I wait until he gets out of the stall to flush it, there are still the sounds of other people flushing toilets in the surrounding stalls that scare him.

It’s kind of an ordeal sometimes, but we’ve worked out ways to deal with public restrooms, and he does okay.

On this particular visit, he wanted me to come into the stall with him because it was busy and toilets were going off left and right.  By the grace of God, he peed without incident, and then, since it really was very busy and there was a long line of women to get into the restroom, I asked him if he’d be okay if Mommy went potty, too, while we were already in there.

“I’m okay, Mommy,” he assured me, hands clasped tightly over his ears.  A toilet in a neighboring stall flushed and he jumped, but then he reassured me by saying, hands still over his ears, “It’s okay, Mommy.  It wasn’t that loud.”

So I peed.  I noticed how big the cracks in the door of the stall were; I saw at least 3 other women waiting in line outside the stall and hoped they couldn’t see me.  I remember thinking with a laugh that at least I had worn my cute Victoria’s Secret underwear.  I don’t get the really cute ones, mind you, because I’m a huge tightwad.  Mine come off of the 5 for $27 table and I always get the cotton—but at least if the ladies in line decided to be peeping Toms and watch as I popped a squat, they’d see some pretty underwear.

Tell me I’m not the only one who has absentminded thoughts like this as she’s taking a piss in a busy place with unusually large stall cracks?

Anyway, after I finished, I stood to quickly pull up my shorts. My son, now seemingly completely at ease in the bathroom despite the multiple flushes going on all around us, picked the ONLY SILENT MOMENT—the only whole second that there had been between toilet flushes since we’d been in there—to say this:


I gave what I hoped was a girly chuckle.  “How many times do I have to tell you that girls don't—just, never mind.  Mommy doesn’t have a penis.”

I’m not sure how believable I sounded, because even when I try to make it high, I still have the huskiest-ass man voice you’ve ever heard.  So instead of trying to explain once again (because we've had this conversation before) that girls do not have penises (peni?), we just hightailed it the fck out of there—toilet left unflushed—before any of those peeping Toms had a chance to mistakenly call security over the pervert in the women’s bathroom.

Dammit, I’M A GIRL.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Season Passes

I am really glad that I was never one of those people who said that I hoped I never sounded like my parents, because dammit, I sound more and more like them every single day of my life.

My husband found a great deal on season passes for a theme park in our area, so he snatched them up so that this summer we can head there anytime we’re bored.

Believe me when I say that taking my kids to a theme park in the 100-degree, sweltering-ass weather “anytime we’re bored” is me taking one for the team.  Because except for my eating habits, I am not a kid at heart. 

“Get in the bouncy house, Shay!” an adult hosting a kid’s birthday party will giggle, hair flying behind her as she jumps higher and higher, unwittingly toppling over all the 3-year-olds in her way.  “It’s soooooo fun!”

Um, no it’s not.  It’s not fun.  It stopped being fun when I was 10 years old.

And roller coasters?  Please.  Give me a cup of coffee, a couch, and a good book, and I’m set for days.

The bonus of season passes, though, is that we don’t have to stay all day.  I grew up with 4 other siblings, and with such a big family, Mom and Dad couldn’t afford a weeklong beach vacation.  Instead, our annual family vacation was an all-day trip to the theme park that was about two hours away.

Like I said, I hate that kind of shit now, but back then, I loved it.  We all did.  My brothers and sisters and I looked forward to it all year. 

We knew the rules:  NO BUYING ANYTHING.  There were no funnel cakes, no huge turkey legs, no sodas, (and don’t you DARE ask for a picture keychain)—and that was okay with us.  Because part of the fun was meeting at the front entrance at a certain time so that we could head to the station wagon’s hatchback, where a cooler full of pre-purchased Kentucky Fried Chicken awaited for us to eat before going back to the excitement of riding rides for the rest of the day and into the night.

The drawback of it being our one and only family trip was that Mom and Dad wanted to make the most of it, squeezing every single bit of fun they could into those days.

“Oh, no, Dad, it’s fine,” I would say when night had fallen and my legs ached from walking around and standing in line for 12 hours.  “I don’t want to ride The Scrambler again.”

“COME ON, Shay,” he’d say, checking his watch even as the employees were scooting us toward the front entrance.  “I synched my watch to official theme park time the moment we entered the gates.  They don’t close for another 30 seconds; we have time for one more ride!”

I swear there was a crazed Chevy Chase Wally World look in his eye, so, with sighs as my dad gestured wildly to his watch, the employees would always let us ride that last ride. 

I would look longingly toward the park’s exit as the worker in charge tugged the buckle on my seat to ensure that it was latched properly, and I might catch his or her eye.  If it was a nice employee, I might receive a look of sympathy and a pat on the shoulder as he or she watched a single tear slip from my exhausted eye and roll down my cheek.

And then we were off.

Despite the physical and mental exhaustion of those days, thought, I loved them.  And I imagine my boys feel the same way when we walk into the park—except that, because of the affordability of the season passes since my husband and I only decided to have two children as opposed to a litter of five, we can simply leave when we’re tired and then come back next weekend if we want.

I was telling my 1st grader all of this one day last year as we walked into the theme park.  “You know, buddy,” I said, “I hope you realize how lucky you are to get to go on so many vacations and do so many fun things like this all the time. When I was little, Papa and Grandma had so many kids that we only got to go on one vacation a year—and it was to a theme park like this one.”

I shit you not, my son’s little lips started quivering and tears welled up in his eyes as he jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug.  I felt his lips brush my ear as he squeezed me tightly and murmured, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Mom.”

He was totally serious, and dear God, I could not stop laughing.

I never was very good at imparting lessons, peeps.  I think that, like most of my bad qualities, I get it from my mom.  I remember when she, too, was trying to explain to my older sister and I how very spoiled we were and how blessed we should feel.

“You guys always get piles and piles of presents from Santa Claus for Christmas.  You know what I got once?”  Here, she took a moment to look us both in the eye so that we understood the gravity of the situation.  “I got a box of turtles and a magazine because I was only allowed two presents that year,” she finished, eyebrows raised emphatically to ensure that she’d made her point.

I remember mirroring her expression right back at her, because my 6-year-old self felt the need to teach her a lesson, too.  “Well, maybe that’s because you were bad,” I pointed out.  “Do you think that’s why Santa doesn’t bring you anything now, either?”

And then my 8-year-old sister:  “I don’t know…a box of turtles sounds kind of fun…”

My eyes lit up.  “Yeah!  A box of turtles—wow! Were they snapping turtles or were they nice?”

My mom was frustrated, although my older sister and I didn’t understand why.  “They weren’t real turtles—" she started, but my sister, still warming to the idea, cut her off.

“How many turtles were in the box?” she asked.  “It might be fun to teach them to turtle race…or cage fight.”  My sister shrugged.  “Or, maybe we could paint their shells.  We could do some really cool designs…”

Amidst our excited chatter, my mom tried to cut in again.  “They weren’t real—they were these chocolate and caramel candies called turtles—"

My sister and I hadn’t heard a word Mom had said; we had latched onto the painting idea and were discussing it.  “Although if you didn’t have a paint set,” my sister said, “that would require another gift, which would exceed the 2-gift limit set by Santa because you were bad that year…”

“It wasn’t set by Santa—" my mom tried.

“—So you might not be able to paint them, but still, they’d be fun pets,” I said, I turning to my mom.  “Do you think Santa will bring us a box of turtles for Christmas?” I asked as I jumped up and down excitedly.

By this point, I swear my mom was close to tears at the failed lesson.  “Just—never mind.  You guys are spoiled brats.  That’s all I was trying to say.”

My older sister and I looked at each other, shrugging our shoulders and shaking our heads in that She’s crazy kind of look that every sister has shared with another sister at least one time in reference to their mother.

We understood the lesson as we got older.  We had no choice; our mom told us the goddamned box of turtles and magazine story EVERY SINGLE YEAR in her attempt to make sure we were not the spoiled little assholes she was afraid we would become due to the huge pile of Christmas presents under the tree as a result of her shopping addiction.

We got the message, alright.  I still have nightmares about turtles and Cosmo magazine. 

It may have seemed like a small Christmas present to my mom at the time, but trust me: It’s the motherfcking gift that keeps on giving—whether you want it or not. 

Thanks, Grandma!

What was the question again?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Trashy Shorts: He Likes Me; He Really Likes Me

Because this is how my husband and I communicate from opposite ends of the house...

Me, shocked and more than a little bit proud as I yell over my shoulder down the hall while swiping my finger across my phone: "Thanks for 'liking' my comment, hubs! You never 'like' anything! Not even, like, life in general!"

Him:  "I didn't mean to.  I unliked it."


Facebook:  Tearing families apart one accidental "like" at a time.