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.

Oops.


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.

DAMMIT.

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!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wedding Season (aka "Three Ways to Get Kicked out of a Wedding")

Wedding season is almost upon us and I should know. I’m almost 40 years old and most of my friends and one of my sisters are in that fun stage of life where they’re divorcing and moving on to their second marriages.  It’s awesome for me because I LOVE being a bridesmaid.  I also love how, for once in my life, I’m the person people look up to.

“Wow, Shay,” my best friend once said to me slowly, eyes wide that she was actually entertaining the thought while she and her husband were trying to work out some issues, “it feels so weird to say this, but your marriage is the one that everyone strives to have.  And you were the person we all thought would be the first to fail at it.”

I nodded sagely.  “I know, dude.  It’s like I always tell you guys: You weren’t slutty enough in college. It’s what makes my marriage work now.”

I stand by that. I was such a humongous whore in college that I quickly (well, after about 2-3 years of skanking out) learned that it was all the same.  I could be boning Brad Pitt (which I never was, by the way, but only because he’s not hot enough) and get sick of boning him after about a year.  It doesn’t matter how good someone looks—look at Tiger Woods’s ex-wife versus the girls he was slutting around with—you will eventually get bored. It’s simply human nature.

So basically, I knew that when I found a good-hearted, smart, stable, handsome one, I should keep him—but only when I was sure that I was ready to settle down.  I understood that things might get boring—even mundane, I dare to say after 11 years of marriage—but that when you have a good thing, you should work at it because the next relationship would get just as stale after a lengthy period of time.

So while all of my friends and family were chuckling about my slooter habits (Older sister, shuddering:  “How can you stand to wake up in a strange bed with some strange guy that you only met the night before?” Me, shrugging:  “It’s just what I do.  I think I’d feel weird waking up in my own bed without a hangover.”), I was learning a very valuable life lesson, one that would help me not get divorced in the long run. 

Anyway, I don’t say this to be all holier-than-thou, because we all know that I’m not.  It just feels good, when you’re normally the dumbass in the room, when your family and friends all agree that you were actually right about something for once in your life.

And so, in honor of wedding season (whether it’s your first or your third), I present to you…

“Three Ways to Get Kicked Out of a Wedding”

1.)    Don’t be invited in the first place
This one happened years ago, and it’s one of my favorite (albeit very hazy) memories.  My best friend and some other college friends and I had just come off of a Garth Brooks concert where I’d gotten into trouble for STANDING UP.  (Side note: Who the hell doesn’t stand up during “Standing Outside the Fire”?  If you’re not standing up during that song, then YOU DON’T BELONG AT A GARTH BROOKS CONCERT.)

I was also very drunk.

After the concert (which was AWESOME, by the way), we happened upon a bar that looked really fun. People were all dressed really nicely and dancing and eating, so we decided to join them.  When we walked in, we saw a buffet table set up with the most gorgeous spread of food.  And it was all free!

I helped myself to a heaping plate and sat down at a table full of really nice guys who started laughing and giving me shots.  I didn’t notice that my friends were still standing, unsure, at the entryway to the really fun bar.  My face was nose-deep in a pile of free chicken fettuccine alfredo (my favorite!) with a bunch of hot guys in suits egging me on and feeding me shots.

It wasn’t until security came to the table to (very kindly, I must say) escort me out that I realized that it wasn’t a bar that we had happened upon; it was someone’s really nice wedding.  The guys at the table shouted jovially that I should get to stay, but the security guys were having none of it. 

They let me snarf one more forkful of alfredo before it was time for me to go.

2.)    Get caught stealing a chicken finger off of the head table
I still stand by the fact that this one was not my fault.

My best friend and I (I’m starting to notice a pattern here) attended a wedding just last year, and although we had actually been invited, RSVP’d, and placed our handbags at a table in order to secure our spots while we went to grab a drink at the bar (there wasn’t assigned seating), by the time we got back to that table just a few minutes later for dinnertime, someone had moved our handbags—TO THE FLOOR—and there weren’t any spots left at any of the tables.

After we had squatted uneasily, drinks in hand, to the floor to grab our handbags, we stood there awkwardly for a minute while everyone else was seated and waiting for the wedding party to make their entrance.  We were literally in the middle of the small room full of occupied tables standing there like dumbasses while people openly gawked at us.  The dicks who had stolen our seats actually joined in the gawking—as if the entire situation wasn’t their faults.  Assholes.

My best friend and I decided that we would go back to the bar, which was on the other side of the room, just so that we could escape the embarrassment of looking like wedding crashers.  This was years and years after our first wedding crashing experience, and we didn’t really think it was funny anymore. We looked like losers.

While everyone else ate their goddamned grilled chicken, fish, or steak with asparagus tips smothered in butter, my best friend and I stood at the bar, out of sight, making friends with the sweet lady bartenders.  At one point, some douchebag walked up, slipped a five dollar bill—A FIVE DOLLAR BILL—into their jar, winked, and said, “Remember me later.”

My favorite bartender actually tinkled out a shy laugh and responded, “Yes, sir,” as if he had just put a one hundred dollar bill in that jar.

When he was a few steps away—but close enough that he could still hear me—I barked out a laugh.  “Did that DICK just tell you to ‘remember me later’ as he put a goddamned five dollar bill in your jar?”

The bartender lost it then.  She laughed uncontrollably and said, “Girl, some people put a quarter in there and say that.  So five bucks isn’t so bad.” 

After witnessing that awful display and drinking 3 of my favorite bartender’s strong drinks on an empty stomach (remember that my seat had been stolen so I’d had no dinner), I was on fire.

When I saw that most of the head table had finished eating and moved on to their various dances (first dance of the couple, mother of the groom dance, father of the bride dance, etc.) and were completely occupied (or so I thought), I danced my way to the head table, where I had spotted a plate of fried chicken fingers.  I grabbed one and shimmied back to the bar, where my best friend watched me eat it.

“Where’d you get that?” she asked me, salivating.

I flicked my chin toward the head table.  “On a plate over there. I’ll go get you one.”

I walked to the table and started to grab another chicken finger when I felt a small slap on my hand. I looked up to see the groom shooting me a dirty look.  “That’s my STEPSON’S plate, SHAY,” he said rudely.  “He’s THREE.  He needs to EAT.”

“Well, dickbag,” I retorted.  “I’m 39 and have had 3—wait, 4—strong rum and cokes and I NEED TO EAT, too.  I understand that you just became a father 7 minutes ago, but in my experience, a hangry adult is much worse than a hangry kid.  If he was so hungry in the first place, why hasn’t he touched—“

This is where my best friend saw the commotion and grabbed my elbow.  “She’s sorry. It’s just that between getting ready for the wedding and traveling here, neither of us has had anything to eat all day.”

“What about dinner?” the groom asked, motioning toward the tables.

My best friend looked at him apologetically.  “Someone took our spots and there weren’t any more chairs.”

So we weren’t exactly kicked out, but we were embarrassed enough that we slinked off to a bar down the road. When my best friend tried to talk some sense into me, I quickly shut her down.

“Well, Shay,” she said, digging into the hot dog and fries that we had each just ordered, “you DID take a chicken finger off the head table.”

Oh, yes,” I replied, squeezing mustard onto my own hot dog.  “Because people who hang out with us are so classy and have never done anything worse than that.  Remind me, Leigh—isn’t this the same guy who, just last summer, got drunk and tipped over a full port-a-potty while his best friend was in it, then laughed when the poor guy walked out all streaked in shit? 

“But I get it,” I added exaggeratedly. “He’s a married man, a father now. Way too classy to put up with someone on an empty stomach who took a goddamned chicken finger only because there hadn’t been a place for her at a dinner table even though she’d been invited.” I looked at Leigh with wide eyes dripping with sarcasm. “MY BAD.”

“Well, when you put it that way…” Leigh acquiesced.

I think maybe I’m still bitter about the whole situation?

3.)     Talk to the mother of the bride
Except you don’t realize that she’s the mother of the bride, and you say something like, “My little sister can’t remember if she actually had sex with the groom or if they just made out.”

My little sister had been standing next to me when I made the snafu, and she gasped and slapped me in the arm.  She shook her head and rolled her eyes at the lady in an “I’m sorry; she’s slightly retarded and can’t help herself” way before saying out loud, “Shay, that’s Caroline’s mom.”

“Oh!  Shit!” was all I could reply.

Later in the bathroom, I apologized to my little sister.  “I didn’t realize who she was,” I explained.

My sister gave me a look.  “So you just thought you were telling some random woman that I couldn’t remember if I had sex with the groom or just made out with him?”

I could smell what The Rock was cooking.  I knew what she was trying to say, and she was right.  I had no words.

“Why do you guys take me anywhere?” I asked, sincerely apologetic.

My little sister looked at me in the reflection in the mirror, a sparkle in her eye as she put on her lip gloss.  “Because you’re so damn fun. Everybody loves you.”

Somehow that one worked out in my favor.  In fact, we ended up not getting kicked out but instead sitting at a table with the mother of the bride and taking shots.

Win-win.


Happy wedding season, everyone!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

High Blood Pressure and the Blame Game

The other day, I walked into work and made a small complaint about indigestion.  “Or maybe it’s heart burn,” I said to one of my co-workers, Shannon.  “I don’t know since I’ve never had either.”

She froze in her tracks.  “You haven’t?”

“No,” I mused.  "Which is lucky, I guess, since I’m almost 40 years old.”

Suddenly Shannon was grabbing at my arms, yelling into the next office.  “Donna!  Come quick!  Shay’s stroking out!”

“Wait—" I started to protest, but then I stopped and allowed Shannon to raise both of my arms into the air.  Was I stroking out?

Shannon let go of my arms as Donna rushed into my office. They both studied me for a moment as I stood there, arms above my head.

“Well,” Donna mused, “she’s able to raise her arms up, so that’s good.  Now say something, Shay.”

“Like what?”

“Just give us a sentence.  Any sentence.”

“Um…I hope I’m not stroking out?”

Donna looked satisfied as my boss, interested in all the commotion, walked into my office.  “Her speech isn’t slurred…” Donna said.

“Well, no more than usual,” my boss contributed.  I shot him a dirty look.

“Can you smile?” Shannon asked. I gave a big, toothy grin with no trouble.

“Maybe it is just indigestion,” Donna said.  “What did you have for dinner last night?”

I didn’t have to think too hard about it. I have the same thing for dinner every night. “Two rum and Diet Cokes.”

“Well, that definitely wouldn’t have done it,” my boss said. He looked at Shannon and Donna.  “In fact, she’d probably be sick if she didn’t have them.  Have you ever seen that show Intervention and how those alkies get when they don’t have a drink?”

Donna’s and Shannon’s eyes widened.  “Oh my gosh, YES!” Shannon said.  “It’s crazy.  One time there was this one guy who was shaking so hard he had to drink hand sanitizer to make it stop and—"

“Um, excuse me, you guys,” I interjected, still standing there with my hands in the air and a goofy smile on my face. They looked back at me and I could tell they had forgotten what the point of our little impromptu meeting was.  I brought them back to the subject by saying, “Maybe I didn’t make my drinks strong enough last night?”

Donna, Shannon, and my boss ignored my suggestion.  “Well, if it wasn’t what she ate, maybe she is stroking out.” Donna looked at me worriedly.  “Did you take your blood pressure pill this morning?”

Interesting fact about me:  I’ve had to take blood pressure meds off and on since I was 22 years old. Back then, it was what I considered a funny little tidbit.  Yeah, I know I work out an hour a day and I’m fit and young and you wouldn’t expect a person like me to have high blood pressure, but it makes sense when you look at all of this hard living!  A 12-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes a night will do that to you!

It’s not so funny anymore, you guys.  As a 39-year-old, I'm still fit and active, but I don’t live so hard anymore. There’s no nightly 12-pack and cigarettes.  I’m lucky if I can sneak in one ciggie a month with one of my responsibly-consumed rum and diets.  I was off of the pills for over 15 years before having to go back on them last year for no apparent reason except that I felt like my blood was going to squeeze out of my skin.

Now, instead of hard living, I blame genetics.  I blame someone in my past even though I don’t know whom to blame because we can’t find an example of anyone—not one goddamned person—in my family fucking tree who could take one for the team and make me look good by having had high blood pressure.

Which sucks, because my dad loves to say things like, “Ya pansyass.  If anyone should have had high blood pressure, it should have been your grandparents, who came to America via Ellis Island straight off the boat. What do you have to get all worked up about?  That your LulaRoe leggings didn’t come in the mail on time?”

Goddammit.

I still blame genetics. People will say things like, “But Shay…you eat so healthfully and work out constantly…how is your blood pressure high?”

And I’ll shrug my shoulders wryly and sigh and look pitiful and be all like, “Genetics.  You can’t choose your bloodline.”

I mean, it’s got to be genetics, right?  Someone waaaaaaaay down the line had to have given this shit to me. It couldn’t possibly have been the hard living at 22 and then, years later, the shaker of salt I have to replace once every 6 months because I pour that shit on everything including salad.

In the break room one day, I was eating a humongous, healthy kale and greens salad.  As one of my co-workers pounded her way through a Wendy’s fried chicken sandwich, I shook some salt onto my salad.  She stopped chewing for a moment to openly laugh at me and say, “Oh my gosh, you’re salting your salad?  Who does that?”

I do, motherfucker.  I do.

And guess what?  Just for that, I’m no longer blaming the hard living of my past, my family, my salt habit, or my age for my high blood pressure.

That’s right!

I’m blaming lunchroom bullies.

You guys, I’ve got to admit:  This blame game is kind of fun.  No wonder all the cool kids never take responsibility for their own shit.  It’s so much more fun to find someone else to toss the blame on!

By the way, it really had just been indigestion/heart burn that day.  And just to make sure it didn’t happen again the next morning, I made my 2 rum and diets extra strong that night.


Because it’s never rum’s fault.