Tuesday, May 29, 2018

False Teeth

I’m a night owl, but because I’m a mature and responsible adult, I have learned to kind of reset my nocturnal tendencies and fall asleep by 11:30 PM.  Some nights I do it kicking and screaming, forcing myself to shut off my DVR'd episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (getting boring) or Real Housewives of New York City (still love) or Vanderpump Rules. (I don’t care how good-looking Jax Taylor used to be.  Who would date that asshole?)

Other nights it’s easier, and I fall into a deep sleep around 11:17 PM, not even waking slightly to fluff my pillow in the middle of the night. 

Coincidentally, those easy nights are the ones in which I indulge in a little rum and Diet nightcap or two.  I say “falling into a deep sleep,” you say “passing out.” Potayto-potahto. 

Whatever the case—rum-induced or not—because I fall asleep by 11:30 each evening, I can awake bright-eyed and bushy tailed (and, oddly, bright red-nosed) by 5:30 or 6:00 AM each morning.  When I’m not working on a piece before my regular 9-5 (Isn’t it cute how I said that?  “Working on a piece”?  As if I’m some serious, legitimately paid author who doesn’t crank out curse word-addled blog posts that not even my dad reads anymore?), this gives me time in the morning before anyone else in my family is up and moving to sit on my deck, sip my coffee, and enjoy the sounds of a neighborhood waking up while reading a book and waiting on my morning poop.  (Quick aside:  One morning when I stepped into the kitchen to refill my coffee mug, my husband said, “I’ve already been up for an hour getting stuff done; it’s going to be a busy day.”  I said, “I’ve been up for an hour, too” because it’s a competition between the two of us.  Then he said, “Well, yeah, but I’ve actually been DOING stuff. Sitting around on the deck waiting for your coffee to make you poop doesn’t count” and I said, “Um, YEAH IT DOES because if I didn’t poop in the morning, it would make my stomach hurt later and decrease my work productivity. It’s called EFFICIENCY.”)

Anyway, my alone time on the deck is glorious.

Except when my husband decides to join me.  Then, because I’m a good wife, I close my book (only softly ruffling the pages, not slamming it open-faced onto the table) and invite conversation.  I even keep my annoyed sigh to gentle mode so that he understands he’s infringing on my sacred morning solitary time but that I will allow it because I’m a good wife.  <<See what I did there?  Sighed like a total bitch but kept it at “gentle” so he feels privileged that I’m letting him join me without complaint, which in turn makes me look like a sweet, thoughtful wife?  That’s what 13 years of marriage will teach you, young brides. Watch and learn.  Watch.and.learn.

TANGENT:  I once read a People magazine article that showcased some big Hollywood star. She said she liked to get up “early, around 7:30, before everyone else was waking up” to sit on her porch and meditate.  I was like, “EARLY?!  In whose world is 7:30 AM EARLY except someone with a damn live-in nanny who’s there to wake the kids, get breakfast ready, and get them to school on time?  EARLY my ass.”

A couple of weeks ago, the hubs plopped down on a deck chair next to me. I took my time finishing the page I was on before sighing gently, ruffling the pages softly, and closing the book.  I looked up at him and he started talking about his last dentist appointment.

“I guess they’re going to put a cap on that back tooth,” he said. “I told them it’s not like it matters; I’ll end up with false teeth anyway.”

This comment gave me pause—and when I say “pause,” I mean I gasped and recoiled in my deck chair so hard that it almost toppled over.

“Like hell you will!” I screeched, probably a bit more loudly than I had meant to.  Any remaining neighbors still sleeping were most likely wide awake now, thanks to me. Oops.

My husband looked amused.  “What do you mean?”

“I mean you have great teeth—not that anyone notices because you never smile, but still.  Great teeth.  Why would you think you ever needed to get false teeth?”

“Well, I didn’t mean like right now—"

“When did you mean?”

“I don’t know…like when we’re 60?”

“SIXTY?!  That’s right around the corner! We’re 40!  Sixty will be here in the blink of an eye, and it will NOT bring false teeth with it—for you or for me.”

“Maybe having to get false teeth is kind of hereditary,” my husband mused aloud.  “Mom and Dad both have them.”

“Are they related?” I asked.

My husband smirked at me. “Well, your mom has them, too,” he pointed out.

“Yeah, and have you seen the dandies she picked out?  Her mouth puts a horse’s grin to shame.  NO THANK YOU.”

My husband leaned back in his chair and smiled at me.  “What, you won’t find me attractive if I get false teeth when I’m 60?”

I shook my head. “Hell no, I won’t.”

His smile widened as he leaned forward in his chair and reached out to grab my hand. “I’m kinda glad you care.” I rolled my eyes.  

“Well, what if I decided I did want to get them someday?  What age would be appropriate for false teeth?” my husband asked me.


“I won’t live that long,” he replied.

“Then you’ll never need them.  End of discussion.”

I always win, you guys.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Trashy Recipe Recommendation: Beet Smoothies

I read in Shape magazine that beets make you all skinny and hot, so I was like, what the hey?  I want to be all skinny and hot; I’m going to get me some beets.

I figured it didn’t really matter what they tasted like; I would eat them. I eat anything and usually enjoy it. And if I don’t, I just douse it in loads of Himalayan pink salt (I heard it was healthier than the regular white stuff and I figure with those mysterious health benefits and the blood pressure meds I pop daily, I’m golden) until I do enjoy it.

Tangent:  When I first started working for my current company about 7 years ago, my co-workers in the break room would watch in horror as I shook salt all over my lunch; they would ask things like, “Doesn’t all that salt make you bloated?”

I would use one hand to point to my stomach and go, “Yep” while the other continued salting my Brussels sprouts.

One of them once tried to grab the salt shaker from me—something that has happened all my life and annoys me to no end. I clutched the salt shaker to my bosom and spat, “I don’t slap the cookie out of your mouth when I think you’re looking a little bloated, do I, my friend?  So leave the salt shaker where it is, thankyouverymuch.”

It wasn’t the best first impression to make, but she and I are now really good friends. She no longer touches my salt shaker (of course I have my own salt shaker that I carry with me everywhere), and I leave her food alone, too, except for the one time I actually did snatch part of her lunch out of her hands, but only because she was going to throw away the rest of her Lean Cuisine chicken broccoli fettucine alfredo and I grabbed it at the last second—just before it left her fingertips to sail into the trash can—and ate it, using her fork and all.

I mean, that stuff is delicious. I couldn’t just watch it splatter into a trash can, low-carb diet or not. It just felt wrong.

Anyway, I eat anything.  I once almost came to blows with a friend over a tater tot casserole.  We were around 22 years old and we were at her place for after-bars.  I must have made a huge impression on the hot dudes we’d brought back to the apartment when the first thing I did was make a beeline for her fridge, stick my face in, and start rooting around like an old sow.  My whole body quivered when my eyes alighted upon a tray of tater tot casserole.  I grabbed it, set it on her stove, and started eating it cold.

“SHAY!” she said, snatching a tot out of my mouth with a hooked finger, mom style.  “That tater tot casserole is like two weeks old.  You’ll get sick if you eat it!”

I grabbed another tot from the pan—this one with a little dried up beef hanging off of it, SCORE—popped it into my mouth, and held up my index finger. “That’s where you’re wrong, my friend,” I said around the tot in my mouth.  “I have a stomach o’ steel.  This old broad?” I said, pointing to my stomach.  “She can handle anything.”

She tried to wrestle the pan from my cold, drunken hands that night, but I wasn’t having it.  We ended up in a stalemate in the kitchen, one side of the tray in each of our arms in an inebriated tug-of-war as we stared at each other, breathless, while our two after-bar attendees watched, slack jawed, undoubtedly thinking, “What mistakes have I made in my life that have brought me to this point in time, trying to score with a girl who is willing to fight to the death for a tater tot casserole?  Why is God punishing me?  These girls aren’t even that hot…”

I woke the next morning, fully clothed, belly full of tater tot casserole.  I was fat and happy and I had won.  Who needed those dorks, anyway?  If they’d been that cool, they’d have already found a couple of sorority girls or something and wouldn’t have had to wait around at bar closing time for a couple of last chances like my friend and me.


You want food stories?  I’ve got plenty.

Another time, I was dating a guy named Milos who was from somewhere in Eastern Europe and had the best accent.  He was a little bit of a shady character; it was rumored that he was a drug dealer and the cops were after him, but I figured that was just my cop friends ribbing me and being silly, so I always laughed it off.

Until one night when we went on a double date with another couple and we were standing in the movie ticket line.  Milos walked confidently to the front of the line and paid for all four of our tickets.

I looked up at him, breathless, and smiled.  “WOW, that was really nice of you, babe,” I said.  He smiled dazzlingly down at me (he was 6’7” to my 6”), but then when I made what I thought was a joke—“Maybe you really ARE a drug dealer, haha”—he literally jumped, snapped his head around in all directions, and said “SHHHHHHH!”

Still I didn’t believe it until I heard he was arrested for—wait for it—dealing drugs.  This was after he had broken up with me for the upstairs neighbor at my apartment building to whom I had introduced him benignly one night.

It’s really fun being me.

Wait, what was the question again??

Oh!  So anyway, one night when we first started dating, Milos the drug dealer and I went to a karaoke bar that I used to love, and I parked my car in the bank parking lot across the street since it was after hours.  Because I’m a responsible drunk, Milos and I called a cab when we were finished singing our hearts out…and then overslept the next morning because even though it was Monday, it was during the summer and I was on summer break from college and he was a drug dealer who could make his own hours.

We hurried to the bank parking lot…only to see that I had been towed.  (I swear there’s a semi-point to this story.) It was 11 AM and probably 100 degrees outside, hot and humid.  We got ourselves to the towing place and Milos, my affluent drug dealer boyfriend, paid the $200 to free my car. 

When we finally, blessedly, got inside my hot, sweltering car (I had cracked the window but it was still a sauna in there), we were assaulted by the smell of farts, and that’s when I noticed the fiesta nachos, leftover from our dinner at Chile’s the previous evening, that I had placed on my passenger seat.  As they had been broiling in a 105-degree car for the past 12 hours, they smelled horrible, but they looked oh-so-good.

Milos watched in horror as I held up an index finger, indicating that he needed to wait to sit down so he didn’t crush my nachos (although it would have been hard because by this time they were wilting), and grabbed the one that looked the most delicious—a small puddle of grease in the middle of the gooey-ish, matted cheese; crusted over refried beans and a bit of beef in the middle—and ate it in two long, slow bites, savoring the flavor before moving the Styrofoam container to the back seat and allowing him to get into the car.

“Babe, you going to get sick,” he said in that thick, adorable accent as he settled his long legs into the passenger seat.

“That’s where you’re wrong, my friend,” I repeated in what had become my mantra.  “This right here?  Stomach o’ steel.”

Come to think of it, that might have been the beginning of the end for me and old Milos.  And even though he chose a passing acquaintance of mine over me without even telling me—he did one of those sort of graceful slides out of my life, calling less and less frequently until I stopped waiting for him to call at all and then ran into him several months later at a bar with my neighbor—I still thank him for the stories.

I mean, who gets to say that they were unceremoniously dumped by a drug dealer who ended up in jail?

This girl does.

Another tangent, but it has to do with food: When I first started dating Milos and told my siblings about him, my younger brother misunderstood and thought I said I was dating a guy named Meatloaf.  A nickname was coined, and a few weeks later, I called my dad and told him I was bringing Meatloaf over for dinner the next night.  Dad’s response was, “Okay, great.  I’ll make some mashed potatoes.”

I had thought it was kind of an odd thing to say; I mean, usually when people are making dinner for others, they don’t sing the praises of the sides. If they’re making steaks, they’re not going to say, “Yes, I’m so glad you can come for dinner!  I’m making green beans!”

So when we arrived at Dad’s the next night and he did, in fact, simply have a pot of mashed potatoes warming on the stove, I looked at him quizzically. “Where’s the rest of the food?”

“I don’t know, you tell me,” he replied.  “Where’s the meatloaf you said you were bringing?”

I stared at Dad blankly, then realization dawned on me and I burst into laughter.  “Right here!” I said, pointing to Milos.

I guess Dad hadn’t heard my brother’s nickname for my flavor of the week.  Or he just didn’t care. I went through a lot of them back in my day (casual hair flip) and Dad didn’t even try to keep up. 

It was okay, though, because Milos and I were used to drinking our dinner, anyway.  We hadn’t come to eat.  We’d come to hang out on the back deck with my siblings and drink beer.

So here’s the point of the story:  I eat anything. 

I had tried beets at an old friend of mine’s house one night after I’d gone back to my alma mater to watch a football game.  She had recently read an article about the life-changing nutrition of beets, and she was trying to get her family to eat them.  She was using me as an example:  “SEE?  Shay loves the beets, so you guys should, too!”

And I did like them…but then again, the copious amounts of rum I’d had during the tailgate and after the game could have been coloring my view.

In fact, I think that was the case.  Because when I bought a bundle of beets the next week and prepared them in the exact same way that my friend had, I came to find that…well, I can eat anything…

…but I can’t eat beets.


Here’s the rub: I want to be all skinny and hot and all nutritious, so I wasn’t ready to give up on the beets. I just had to find a way to make them work for me.  So I got out my trusty Ninja and made a smoothie and omg you guys, it was DELISH.

An added bonus to the fact that I’m fairly certain I’m going to be all skinny and hot really soon with the help of my beet smoothies is that it keeps me from drinking rum until a little further in the evening.  And if my beet smoothie can save even one hour from my rum habit?  Well, then it’s all been worth it.

Here’s what I put in what I like to call my Beet Smoothie:

1 banana
a handful of frozen pineapple bits
3 slices of a beet along with a big beet leaf
½  (or so) cup of ice
½  (or so) cup of water
a big honking tablespoon of sugar (which probably negates all of the health benefits of the beet)
Blend, stopping to add water in order to get the desired consistency

My younger son, my little sugar addict, walked around the house like he was getting away with something as he drank his the first night I made them.  “What, Dad?” he said out of the blue, daring his dad to say something about his sweet treat as he sucked on his straw and gave a shrug and a nod. “It’s really healthy.”

I was inspired to write this post when I received an e-mail from testfacts.com letting me know that they had reviewed my blog and placed it on their Top 300 Mom Blogs list.  Although I made fun of myself in a text to a friend (“Top 300??  LOL I’ve hit the big time!” He responded, “But like IN THE WORLD!”), I loved their review of Trashy Blog, and I saw that they really liked my Trashy Recipe Recommendations, so I thought hey, I’ve been wanting to write about my beet smoothie for a while, anyway, so why not?

Thanks for including me and inspiring this post, testfacts.com!

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.