Friday, October 31, 2014

Photo Evidence

Last Friday, I wrote about the 5 reasons I hate Halloween.  Reason #1 looked like this:

1. Adult costumes
No, I will not dress up with you. You looked shocked.

Why won’t I? Because I’m fcking 37 years old and past my Raggedy Ann prime. And so are you.

Oh, you’re throwing a party and nobody gets in unless they’re in costume? Have fun, dickwad. I’ll be at the bar down the road with the rest of the adults.

Listen, peeps, it’s not like I haven’t tried. As if I needed any help being unattractive in college, the one time in my adult life that I decided to dress up, I went as Mimi from The Drew Carey Show.It was a misguided Halloween costume effort by a dorky horseface who’d been raised by her dad.

And it might have been funny, I guess, but the problem was, nobody had told me that in a college town, the most hailed and appreciated costumes were the sluttiest ones. Hell, some people didn’t even wear costumes…they just glued sparkly pasties to their boobs and called themselves hookers.(I never figured out if they were legitimate hookers or not…or how well they were paid. Not that it would have made any difference in my career choice, of course…)

Needless to say, after about 5 (okay, dammit, 10) people looked right at me and laughed into my blue eyeshadowed-face, cutting me off with an eyeroll and an “Oh, we know” as I tried to explain who I was, I finally got sick of it.

I found a dark corner of the bar, a dedicated waitress who pitied me and served me pitcher after pitcher of beer on the house, and a bucket so I wouldn’t even have to get up to piss.

Never again.
Because I’m a giver, peeps—it’s just who I am—I decided to search for a picture of the night in question.  And guess what:  I found one.

A friend of mine found this muumuu for me and helped me stuff it, and I thanked her.  I actually thanked that bitch.

I told you it was horrible.  But now that it’s 15 years in my past, it’s horrible in a good way, because I’ve been able to step back from the situation and realize the many gifts this ill-fated costume has given me.

Take, for example, the chicken wing.  I had forgotten all about that gnawed-off chicken wing bone.  I think the reason it slipped my memory was because the bone wasn’t a prop for the costume.  Back then, there was nothing out of the ordinary about seeing me walk around with a chicken wing bone in my hand.  One time I wasn’t holding one and a friend asked if I was feeling alright.  “Sure,” I’d replied.  “Why?”

She’d stood there for a moment with her brow furrowed in concentration, studying me.  “I don’t know,” she’d finally said, shaking her head.  “It just seems like you’re not all there.  Like something’s missing.”

Yes, back in the day, there was nothing I loved better than some greasy bar food, and chicken wings were at the top of my list.  I’d say, in fact, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a picture of me from my 20’s where I wasn’t holding a chicken wing bone.

I was even assigned a project in college once where I was to write 10 things for which I was thankful.  We then had to give a speech about them.

“Number one,” I’d said, standing before my class.  “Chicken wings.  Number two—“

“Wait—wait,” my young professor interjected.  “Did you just say chicken wings?”

I’d paused and looked at him.  “I did.”

He grimaced as if the answer was wrong—as if any answer could have been wrong on that stupid assignment.  I mean, for fck’s sake, it wasn’t a Christian university or even a goddamned philosophy class.  Since then I’ve become fairly certain—based on my own teaching experiences—that he had been hung over and in need of a bullshit assignment to pass class time. 

This was before my fear of public speaking took over, so I just stood there comfortably at the front of the room, blinking at him, waiting to see if he was going to say anything else before I could get on with my speech.  Instead, he sighed, and I took that as my cue to continue.

“Number two, long jeans…”

I’m not sure what my thankful items said about me, but I like to think it’s that I can see the blessings in the small things (boyfriend pictured above included)—and not that I’m a complete dumbass.  I suppose it’s a toss-up.  In any case, the only thing that’s changed is that I’ve gotten married and had kids, so out of a sense of obligation, they’d have the #1 spot.  Seventeen years later, chicken wings and long jeans would only be bumped down—not taken off of the list.  Let’s be clear about that.

And ahhhh, let’s talk about the Crocodile Hunter to my left in the picture, aka “Little Tom,” who has also succeeded in making this picture even more hilariously terrible.

Listen, folks:  Beggars can’t be choosers, and when you’re 6 feet tall and look like a horse, it’s slim pickins.

If I’m being completely honest, which I usually am (I can’t help it; it’s like a fcking disease I have)—

Okay, here’s a quick tangent.  My dad once told me that I’m sometimes honest to a fault.  “You don’t have to go into a job interview and tell them everything, Shay,” he had said after I’d told him that I’d had an interview for a teaching position at a Catholic school and had informed the principal that I was currently “living in sin,” but my fiancé and I “hardly ever do it,” so that didn’t even count, right? 

I still got the job.  Well, after I promised the principal that my fiancé (now husband) and I would take a quick trip to the altar and be married by their parish priest if any of the students or their parents found out.  I was cool with that. 

“Do you think the priest is available today?” I had asked.  “My fiancé’s kind of dragging his feet, and I need health insurance.  I gave it up when I quit my job to move with him.”

Anyway, like I said, if I’m being completely honest, I was the one who asked Little Tom out first.

See, what happened was, I had just been caught cheating on my really hot boyfriend.  When I say “really hot,” I actually mean it.  He was hot.  So hot, in fact, that one of my friends once asked me, “How did you get him?” and another had interjected and said, eyes wide in disbelief as she shook her head and shrugged her shoulders, “Her really fun personality always lands her the hot ones…”

I can dig a compliment out of the depths of any backhanded insult, so somehow, I walked away from that conversation feeling really good about myself.

So anyway, I had just been caught cheating on my really hot boyfriend, and he had very unceremoniously dumped my ass.  And wouldn’t you know it, it was right around the time that my older sister was getting married to her first husband.

The hot boyfriend in question had been a part of our lives for several years, so of course he was invited to the wedding—along with his new girlfriend, whom he’d begun dating about 3 hours after dumping me. 

Obviously I had to have a date for the wedding, too.

My best friend Leigh was dating a guy named Tom at the time, and he was friends with Little Tom.  Boyfriends with the same name?  Leigh and I figured it was destiny.

When I told Tom that I was going to ask Little Tom to attend my older sister’s first wedding with me, Tom had replied, “You’re interested in him?

I remember puffing out my chest with pride.   I understood his implication:  He was surprised that I had taken a liking to Little Tom because I was so much hotter than he was.

“Why?” I had asked.  “Because I’m so hot and he’s not?”

My best friend’s boyfriend had looked taken aback.  “No,” he’d responded.  “Not that at all.  I was wondering because you’re 6’ tall and he’s, like, 5’5”. You could literally pick him up and put him to bed at 9:00 after reading him a story and getting him a sippie of milk.”  

But the Crocodile Hunter—Little Tom—was a cute little guy, and he was funny.  Also, I was a woman scorned, and there was no way that I was going to show up to my older sister’s first wedding alone.

All of these things combined to result in what ended up being a semi-happy 4-month relationship with Little Tom.

Yes, sadly, we did break up.  Somewhere in the middle of that 4 months, I met a fiery red-headed hairdresser who ended up being my roommate.  She taught me the art of makeup and hair bleach, and let me tell you:  You wouldn’t think that going from “horse” to “Tori Spelling” would be that huge of a leap, but my new look started bringing in the suitors—at least the really drunk ones.

And after a few heady weeks of this, I became the superficial bitch I’d always wanted to be, tossing Little Tom out like a bloody tampon (Great simile, right?) to begin what I affectionately refer back to as “The Skank Years.”

Ah, memories.  It was a fun season of life.

I ran into Little Tom several months after we’d broken up, when I was at the grocery store with a new boyfriend whom I’d only begun seeing a couple of weeks prior.  Little Tom stopped, looked at me, looked at the new boyfriend, and said, “She’ll cheat on you, dude.”

The new boyfriend and I looked at each other and shrugged.  We figured he was probably right.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Tuesday, 4:00 PM

Me: "Let's go inside so Mommy can change out of her work clothes, and then we'll come right back out and play."

My 3-year-old: "And you will sit in your chair and read your magazine and drink coffee?" 

Right, so I guess that precedent has been effectively established over the last 6 years of my being a mom, hm?

Fellow parents:  I’m sorry that I consistently set the parenting bar so very high.  I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to try and keep up with the stellar example that I set.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Monday Night Musings

Last night, I realized that I had drunk about 43 glasses of ice water, and as I got up to fill another, I found myself wondering if this was my body's way of telling me that beer for lunch and dinner on tailgating Saturdays with old friends will always catch up with you in one way or another when you're 37 years old, even if you did feel fine the next day.

It was something to ponder as I chugged my 44th ice water of the day...

Hey, don't judge.  My parents, despite (or maybe because of) being divorced for 23 years, still love doing stuff together (and I will leave "stuff" open to interpretation because your guess is as good as mine), and they called the hubs and me last week, complaining that they hadn't gotten to have our boys for an overnight in awhile.  What could we do but oblige? 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Winter Wardrobe

Over the weekend, I scored 3 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of canvas shoes—the majority of my winter wardrobe—at Wal-Mart...because I'm stylish like that. Don't be jelly.

I got a stick of beef jerky, too, but there’s not a chance that it’ll make it to the winter.  In fact, it didn’t even make it onto the belt:  The lady had to scan the empty wrapper that I held up for her after snarfing my jerky while waiting in line.

My husband always tells me that it’s trashy when I do that.  I tell him at least I don’t toss the wrapper to the floor when I’m finished, effectively stealing my beef jerky.

No, I don’t do that.  All romanticized fantasies I’d ever had about shoplifting went straight out the window a couple of years ago, when I was pumping gas and watched a stringy-haired man walk into the convenience store and walk right back out, a gallon of milk peeking out from under his oversized black t-shirt.

I remember thinking—how in the HELL does one blithely tuck a gallon of milk under his shirt?  Isn’t it cold?  And that t-shirt was so big that I wondered if he had anything else hidden up there. I almost stopped him to ask if we could sit and have a picnic lunch together.  I’d totally become an accessory to the crime if he’d split a bag of Cheetos.

What was I talking about again?

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Reasons I Hate Halloween

Several years ago, when the hubs and I were struggling to have kids, one of my biggest dreams was to someday be able to take my own kids to the pumpkin patch just before Halloween. I yearned for it so badly that I found it hard to look at other peoples’pictures of their own kids, smiling from the middle of a huge mound of pumpkins.
I like to keep that memory at the forefront of my mind around this time of each year, when it suddenly strikes me once again how much I actually hate Halloween. The memory provides a little perspective when I’m suffering through what has become one of my least favorite holidays.

Oh, I’ve got the kids now, and they’re freaking awesome. And I still tear up a little bit every year when we visit the pumpkin patch and I get my own pictures of my sweet kids jumping around in fields of pumpkins. It always occurs to me how long I waited for those moments and how blessed I am to have them.

But the rest of Halloween? It can suck my phantom balls.

I’m not a complainer, folks. I am known in my group of friends as the one who can find the silver lining in any situation. In college, my friends would come to me for validation after they’d done something they felt bad about, and I’d dispense shit like this: “Oh, you had a one-night stand? With a nerd? Well, at least that lessens the possibility of catching an STD since you were probably the first person he’d ever had sex with…and see, you did your good deed for the day for that little guy. So really, you should feel good about yourself. Go in peace to love and serve the world, my friend.”

None of my friends were Catholic or even religious, so I could pull lines from Mass out like that and it never failed that they’d look at me in awe. I probably shouldn’t have exploited that by making up random sins that they’d supposedly committed and then absolving them only after they shared their beer with me, right?

Anyway, this week, as I found myself complaining about Halloween to friends, family members, co-workers, my priest, the cashier at Wal-Mart, and that guy in the gray hoodie that was getting into the car next to me at Panera Bread, I realized that I was…well, I was being a complainer.

This was confirmed when I was bitching, once again, to one of my sweet co-workers, and I stopped and said, “I don’t mean to be all bah-humbuggy about Halloween—"

“—But you are,”she interrupted.

“Right,” I agreed.

So I decided I might as well grab a little silver lining out of it all with a blog post…that will not make me any money, but will quite certainly make me look like a huge asshole.

Whatevs.

Silver lining, bitches.

And so, I’d like to present to you on this otherwise lovely Friday morning (drum roll, please):
5 Reasons I Hate Halloween
by Trashyblog.com
1. Adult costumes
No, I will not dress up with you. You looked shocked.

Why won’t I? Because I’m fcking 37 years old and past my Raggedy Ann prime. And so are you.

Oh, you’re throwing a party and nobody gets in unless they’re in costume? Have fun, dickwad. I’ll be at the bar down the road with the rest of the adults.

Listen, peeps, it’s not like I haven’t tried. As if I needed any help being unattractive in college, the one time in my adult life that I decided to dress up, I went as Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. It was a misguided Halloween costume effort by a dorky horseface who’d been raised by her dad.

And it might have been funny, I guess, but the problem was, nobody had told me that in a college town, the most hailed and appreciated costumes were the sluttiest ones. Hell, some people didn’t even wear costumes…they just glued sparkly pasties to their boobs and called themselves hookers. (I never figured out if they were legitimate hookers or not…or how well they were paid. Not that it would have made any difference in my career choice, of course…)

Needless to say, after about 5 (okay, dammit, 10) people looked right at me and laughed into my blue eyeshadowed-face, cutting me off with an eyeroll and an “Oh, we know” as I tried to explain who I was, I finally got sick of it.

I found a dark corner of the bar, a dedicated waitress who pitied me and served me pitcher after pitcher of beer on the house, and a bucket so I wouldn’t even have to get up to piss.

Never again.

2. Decorations

Holy shit, I didn’t hang up my flannel shirts and start wearing makeup until I graduated college. People thought I was a lesbian until I was 23 years old. And now I’m supposed to have somehow found the grace and knowledge to decorate my house for Halloween?

I don’t think so.

Luckily we found some of those handpainted wooden pumpkins and ghosts on stakes for $5 a pop at the local Farmers’ Market. The hubs and I pound those fckers into the ground, throw an arm over each other’s shoulders as we stand back and look at the yard with its two decorations, then nod our heads in satisfaction before going into the house and grabbing a pumpkin beer.

Fortunately our neighbors go all out, so we’ve decided that if our kids ever start complaining about our lack of decorations, we’ll just tell them to look to the left a little bit.

We may not be parents of the year, but we sure are squeaking by, my peeps.
3. The aforementioned pumpkin patch that truly does make me realize once again how blessed I am, but still…

Oh, dear God, the amount of pumpkin patch visits that are required when you have kids. Pumpkin patch with our own little family, pumpkin patch with the grandparents, pumpkin patch with the best friends, pumpkin patch with the preschool, pumpkin patch with the Kindergarten class…

Holy shit, just give me the obligatory pumpkin patch picture for the year, and I’ll be fine. And you know what? We don’t even have to pay the admission and enter the pumpkin patch for that. We can just do a drive-by.

Here, kids, get out for a second, but stand on the other side of the car so that we can see the pumpkins in the background…

The last time we went to the pumpkin patch, we had the added bonus of realizing (about 3 hours later) that my youngest son must be allergic to the airborne stuff that was flying around in the huge corn kernel pit he was jumping in.

But when I said that to my mother-in-law, she responded by glaring at me and saying, “It doesn’t look like a corn allergy. I’m sure it’s something you’re doing wrong.”

Yes, mother-in-law. It normally is, isn’t it?

Oh, and let’s not forget what happens as soon as you purchase a larger SUV: Your son's preschool finds out about it.

“Oh, Shay, we need drivers to the pumpkin patch again this year. You don’t mind, do you? You’ll only be responsible for 8 children—not including your own.”

Oh, and I get to install all of the carseats into my car all by myself? And 2-3 of the kids aren’t fully potty trained?

Well, fck me.
4. Kids’costumes

I spent no less than $40 on my older son’s costumes this year. Yes, that is plural. I said “costumes.”

That’s because the child had been asking to be a zombie for no fewer than 6 months, but then one day at Wal-Mart, he jumped the gun and begged me for the Captain America costume. He swore up and down that that’s who he wanted to be—even after I reminded him that he’d been wanting to be a zombie for months.

So we bought em-effing Captain American and his godforsaken shield. And then 2 weeks later, at Wal-Mart? A zombie costume magically appeared where no zombie costume had been before.

Hey, folks. We’ve all had moments of buyer’s remorse, so who was I to fault my little guy for it when I’d done it plenty of times myself? Especially when I, as his mother, should have known better in the first place. So I bought him the zombie costume.

A week later? He wanted to be Captain America again. The zombie might scare the old people who are out walking while we’re trick-or-treating.

Holy shit.

And don’t even get me started on my younger son. I knew he would throw a fit if I tried to put him into a costume—he’s just that type of kid—so I googled “easy costumes for kids” and found something that he’d hardly notice he was wearing: an apron. I would pair it with his little plastic pizza set from his little plastic kitchen and call him a pizza parlor owner. I wasn’t even going to make him wear a mustache.

And even though my child ADORES his little plastic pizza set and his little plastic kitchen…even though I literally have to TEAR HIM AWAY from it all, kicking and screaming when we have to be somewhere on time…when it became a “Halloween costume,” he was.not.having.it. He ripped off the apron, threw down the pieces of pizza, and shouted, “NO pizza! NO pizza!”

Then he started in on the art of compromise, something that makes me proud that he’s learned at the ripe age of two, but also the teensiest bit annoyed because he employs it on a minutely basis with me. This time, he said, “Pizza shirt. Pizza shirt” as he pointed toward his room.

He has a t-shirt with a pizza on it, picked up at the local pizza parlor one day while we were eating lunch there. He wanted to wear that as his pizza man costume.

And you know what? I can’t say I blame him. You wanna slap on a goddamned pizza t-shirt and call it a day, buddy? Good idea. Let me go find my Wonder Woman t-shirt.
5. Carving pumpkins

It’s not the actual carving of the pumpkins that’s bad. We kind of love that part, really. The hubs has sort of made it his thing with the kids, and we’ll all sit on the back deck and help carve, then we’ll stick our fingers in the goop and take silly pictures.

The problem arises when, inevitably, my 5-year-old asks if I will bake the pumpkin seeds. And, inevitably, I will respond with an excited, “Of course!” because the ones at the store are so fcking delicious and seriously, how hard could they be to duplicate?

And then, every year, my boys and husband will watch in breathless fascination as I pull the pan of baked seeds from the oven. We’ll all pop them into our mouths at the same time. And so we’ll all realize at the same moment that, once again, they’re chewy and soggy and gross. And I’ll look around at my family as I plaster a satisfied look on my face and try to choke the damned seeds back, and they’ll all be shooting me dirty looks.

I swear I can look into my 2-year-old’s eyes and see what he’s thinking: First the corn, and now this. You skank.


This content was originally posted on Trashy Blog on October 31, 2013, and trust me, the sentiments remain the same.

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Ebola Humor

I returned home from work one evening last week, pulling into my driveway. 

As is customary in our neighborhood, there were about 4 kids ranging in age hanging out on the sidewalk.  They all started moving in my house’s direction as I unloaded my kids, backpacks, lunch boxes, my coffee mug, purse, etc., from the car.  As I normally do, I threw my keys on top of my car for a moment so that I could get a better grasp on everything I was juggling in my arms.

One of the neighborhood boys, a middle schooler, sauntered over to chat and, while doing so, grabbed the keys from the top of the car.  He’s a good kid; he wanted to open my front door for me since my hands were full.

Suddenly, he stopped.  “Have you been to Africa?” he asked me, eyeing my keychain shaped like the continent.

I thought it was a weird question.  Our neighborhood is very tight-knit, and I’ve known this boy since he was barely out of Kindergarten, when we moved in just after bringing our then-6-month-old son home from Africa.

Still, I couldn’t help it. I puffed up with pride, thinking, I’m so worldly.  “I have,” I answered, beaming.

“Oh, that’s really neat,” the neighborhood boy answered smoothly, nonchalantly turning the keychain over in his hands.  “Really cool, Shay.  I’ll bet it was a great trip…EBOLA CARRIER.”

I gasped. 

Then we all started laughing.  Clever little shit.

My dad got in on the Ebola fun on Facebook last week with this status update:

I do not have Ebola but I did have Abowla cereal…does that count?

When my 4 siblings and I were kids, we hated Dad’s puns.  He used them all the time, inevitably cracking himself up so hard that he would almost choke while the rest of us rolled our eyes and sighed.  And then before we knew it, we grew older and found ourselves laughing at them, too.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed at a Panera Bread coffee table with my husband when I came across my dad’s Abowla status update, and I tried—I really tried, you guys—not to laugh.  I clapped my hand over my twitching mouth, but I realized that my shoulders were shaking, too, and tears were rolling down my red face.  Trying to stop the laughter from coming was a lost cause.

Dammit.

“What’s so funny?” my husband asked, looking up from his newspaper.

“See—but that’s the thing,” I started, gasping with laughter.  “I don’t think it is.  I mean, I’m pretty sure that it’s not even funny—and yet I can’t stop laughing.”

I read it to my husband and he rolled his eyes, but I could tell that he got a kick out of it, too.  He doesn’t like anyone to think that he’s actually happy, God forbid, so he has this habit of coughing and swiping the back of his hand across his mouth to literally wipe the smile off of his face.  Problem is, I figured out years ago that the moments when he’s the most happy are the same as those when he’s desperately trying not to be.

Anyway, his laughter encouraged me, and I joined my sisters and brothers in adding a bunch of the other puns we’d grown up hearing all of our lives to the comments of my dad’s Facebook status update.  Two of our favorites:

Yeah, I’ve met Denise…but what about Denephew?

[The priest says] Let us pray.  [My dad whispers to the person sitting closest to him] Why can’t the tomatoes pray? 

He’s been saying that second one at Mass every single Sunday since my older sister was born 39 years ago—and probably before that, but I wouldn’t know since I wasn’t even a fetus yet.  I believe, then, that if I attended Mass with my dad one Sunday and he didn’t say it, the Mass “wouldn’t count,” as we Catholics love to say.

It’s been often imitated but never duplicated, and I have to remind my husband of this on those Sundays when we go to Mass with Dad and my husband, the joke stealer, hurriedly tries to say it before Dad gets a chance to. 

That saying is sacred, dammit—almost as sacred as the Sacraments—and when Dad is present, he’s the one who gets to say it. When he’s not there, we keep a running tally that we double check just before Mass and take turns.

Anyway, as my sisters and brothers and I were cracking each other up all over Dad’s Facebook page, I got to thinking. 

Yes, it took me 37 years to laugh at my dad’s jokes, but that’s not a bad turnaround for a joke, right…

…EBOLA CARRIER?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Clown

I walked into the kitchen yesterday morning to find my 3-year-old son, marker in hand, brow furrowed in concentration as he drew all over his face.

He refused to let me wash it off because he wanted to "be a clown" at preschool.

My 6-year-old, who was hard at work coloring a picture next to his brother at the table, looked up at me, shrugged, and said, "I didn't think you'd mind.  I handed him the red marker to help because clowns' noses are normally red."

Obviously.