Welp…I’ve done it. I’ve crossed the line and fallen into the abyss.
I voted for contestants on The X Factor.
God help me. I’M 48 YEARS OLD.
I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s like I’ve reverted back to my tweens. I mean, it was bad enough when I downloaded Taylor Fucking Swift songs (and proceeded to play them ON A LOOP), but now I’ve actually VOTED FOR X FACTOR CONTESTANTS.
And I managed to convinced myself that it was somehow less shameful because I texted the vote instead of calling it in. Because that’s more dignified.
Never mind the way I blubber during the show every week. Seriously? Friends of mine DIE, and I don’t cry as much as I do when I watch The X Factor. Because menopause.
I often find myself in conversations with my more cerebral friends who discuss the books they’ve read or the moving documentaries they’ve seen, and I just nod my head with a dopey look on my face and a giant thought bubble over my head that’s all ‘I wonder what Alex & Sierra will sing next week…’
Heaven forbid anyone mentions the show in my presence. They’ll bear witness to what they’ll probably consider a psychotic break that features me blathering on (without taking a breath) about this year’s panel vs previous years’ panels. And don’t eeeeven get me started on the shitshow that was Britney Spears, whose music I once enjoyed (I know you’re shocked…SHOCKED), but can no longer tolerate because I suffered through her insipid unscripted drivel for an entire season of the show.
She really is stone-cold stupid. No, I’m serious. I don’t use that word very often, but there’s no denying it. She makes Miley Cyrus look like the fucking captain of a Mensa regional chapter.
This may be even worse than my filthy habit of watching The Young and The Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful. At least those shows are aimed at my demographic and feature commercials for cleaning products and reverse mortgages and adult diapers.
The X Factor’s commercials are for candy and toys and Disney movies.
Yet I proceed undeterred because we’re down to four contestants, and Alex & Sierra have a shot to win it all. And I will weep a river when they do. And then I’ll lament the end of yet another glorious season.
And start the countdown to American Idol (January 15th!!).
My son took his dear, sweet time coming into the world 22 years ago today. It happened to be Mother’s Day that year as well.
‘What a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day gift!’ says almost every woman who hears the story.
They must not remember what labor feels like.
Matthew was my second child. My first was born when I was 18 years old. At that age, I didn’t have the sense to arrange for an epidural in advance. Instead, I opted for ‘natural childbirth’. How hard could it be? Women on television came through it unscathed ALL. THE. TIME.
So, I essentially spent 12 hours screaming like an animal caught in a trap. They were kind enough to give me Demerol, which only served to knock me out between contractions. In case you were wondering, the absolute worst way to wake up from a 1-minute nap is with a contraction.
It was a nightmare.
Needless to say, the moment I knew I was pregnant with Matthew, I made it clear to anyone who made eye contact with me that I was going to have an epidural at the first sign of pain. Unfortunately, my doctor was not on call the night I went into labor, so I was left with the only doctor in the practice with whom I had not had a chance to meet. Maybe he wasn’t a big believer in epidurals. Or maybe he just hated women. All I know is that it took way too long to get relief. I hate him to this day.
But I digress.
Matthew was not a pretty baby. It could have had something to do with the fact that he spent hours in the birth canal (his sense of urgency hasn’t improved much since then), so he came out with a cone head that rivaled anything Lorne Michaels ever conjured up. He had fair skin, red hair, and a long, skinny body.
When he was born, my first thought was ‘OMG, it’s a boy! I’m going to raise him right!’
That’s a lie. My first thought was actually, ‘Sweet Jesus! Thank GOD that’s over!’, immediately followed by ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE ONLY WEIGHS 8.6LBS?!?! WEIGH HIM AGAIN!!’
He was a good baby overall. Aside from a couple of croupy trips to the emergency room to be hooked up to a nebulizer, he was very healthy. He never even vomited or had an ear infection as a child. His only real fault was that he was, for all intents and purposes, nocturnal. It was not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night to find him watching TV in the family room. One morning, I woke up to find an empty pickle jar with a straw sticking out of it on the kitchen table.
ME: OMG, Matty, did you drink the pickle juice???
MATTY (rolling his eyes): It’s called ‘brine’, mom.
He was about four at the time.
From the time he could speak, he was my intellectual superior. When he was about six, he heard me use the phrase ‘blind as a bat’ and proceeded to tell me that, while bats have very poor vision, they are not technically blind. He went on to explain that they use a high-pitched series of pings called ‘echolocation’ to guide them. Or something like that.
I just stared at him and blinked. At that moment, I knew I didn’t stand a chance.
I can win an argument with just about anyone…except Matty. It’s a great source of frustration for me. In a twisted sort of way, it’s also a great source of pride. We don’t always see eye-to-eye (and by ‘don’t always’, I mean ‘almost never’), so there’s plenty of opportunity for him to pummel me in arguments.
We’re opposites in many ways. He’s diplomatic, I’m direct; he’s all logic, I’m all emotion; he’s a Democrat, I’m an American😉. He has my sense of humor and my appreciation for (obsession with?) good grammar, so there is definitely common ground.
He has a girlfriend now. They’ve been together for a year. By all accounts, I achieved my goal. He’s hard-working, polite, respectful, loyal and kind. He’s generous and considerate of her, and he’s even a bit of a romantic.
I raised that boy right.
OMG, you guys, I did something really stupid.
I signed up to go to the RE/MAX convention in Vegas. And I’m dragging Jack along because I genuinely enjoy spending time with him, and I would feel crippling guilt if I left him home alone to go somewhere he had never been.
(Who am I kidding? He would do a fucking jig if I were gone for a week. He could watch hours and hours of Ancient Aliens, Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold and Ice Road Truckers without my endless mocking. Seriously, had I known he would love shows like that and hate The Muppet Movie, I probably wouldn’t have married him.)
We leave in a week and we’ll be there for six nights.
WTF was I thinking?!?
Aside from the fact that I have a well-established acute fear of flying, I am also a world-class couch potato and Vegas is a couch potato’s worst nightmare! I can feel the anxiety building inside of me just thinking about all of that…activity. Don’t even get me started on the stress of knowing my DVR will be neglected for (almost) an entire week!
Also? I don’t know what to pack.
No, seriously. I’ve been obsessing about what to pack for three months. Jack, of course, will pack 20 minutes before we leave for the airport. Classic Venus/Mars situation. Mars totally has the advantage on this one.
My fashionista friend is going as well, so I decided to call her for some packing advice. HUGE mistake.
Me: I have no idea what to pack for Vegas. It’s going to be warmish, so I was thinking I would pack a bunch of capris (that will either be hanging off of me or skin tight) and sandals.
Fashionista: Well, you’ll be indoors most of the time and it’s climate-controlled. Most people are business casual.
(Shit. My wardrobe consists of jeans, sweats and dressy dresses.)
Me: Ugh. I have a couple of pairs of black pants (that are too big around the waist and too long), but what kind of shoes should I wear? I was planning on packing sandals.
Fashionista: Do you have anything with a low heel? You know, like kitten heels.
(Kitten heels? Really?? I would look like an idiot in kitten heels. I’m short and round. If I wear anything other than flip flops or 3-4″ heels, I’ll look like a troll trying to be fancy.)
Me: No. I look like an idiot in low heels.
Fashionista: What about a nice pair of black patent leather wedges?
Me: I can see I’m going to end up at the mall. What else should I pack clothing-wise?
Fashionista: You should pack the dress you wore to the Christmas party.
Me: OMG, that dress was very snug and my boobs were hanging out of it.
Fashionista: Exactly. You’ll be in Vegas.
Me: Gotcha. Also, the boobs will distract onlookers from the rest of the mess.
Now I have no choice but to go to the mall to buy myself a Vegas wardrobe, which, evidently, must include several booby-enhancing tops/dresses/sweaters.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate shopping? I do. I’m not sure how or when it happened, for shopping used to be my greatest joy. I think the change occurred when I gained 40lbs. There are few things more demoralizing than shopping with an awkward body shape that includes, but is not limited to, linebacker upper arms, a JLo ass (flabby version), and Earl Campbell thighs (Google Images, ladies). Oh, and I’m 5’5’ which means I’m an inch too tall for petites and an inch too short for regular clothes.
Fuck you, designers. Fuck you.
Take jeans, for instance. I have a love/hate relationship with jeans. I love the way they look (on other girls), but hate they way they fit. I own at least six pairs. Almost all of them are too big in the waist, snug around the ass, vice-grip tight around the thighs, and either too short or too long. Today I wore a pair of Old Navy Rockstar Jeans. The length was PERFECT. Unfortunately, the low(ish) rise coupled with the huge ass and skin-tight thighs resulted in a lovely plumber’s crack whenever I sat down. Oh, and the tightness around the thighs made it difficult to pull them all the way up, causing the crotch to sag. I may or may not have looked like I have a dick.
Oh so sexy.
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get them off of me. I’m now wearing Old Navy thick jersey sweatpants. They feel like heaven fell from the skies and wrapped itself around me.
Are sweatpants acceptable Vegas garb?
If my husband were smart, he’d move me to a warmer climate. It’s not that I hate cold weather. I actually enjoy cold air every once in awhile; it makes me feel alive. It’s just that I tend to stay indoors more when it’s cold. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I were more like my wacko, OCD-plagued mother who CLEANS FOR FUN.
I’m not, though. Not at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting on the sofa with my besties – the television and its magical remote.
I have an actual office in a real office building; however, I am fortunate enough to also have the option of working from home if, for instance, it’s really cold or rainy or windy. Or if I’m crampy or tired. Or if I just don’t feel like taking a shower.
Needless to say, I work from home a lot, especially during the winter months when the real estate market tends to slow down a bit.
There are few things more dangerous to our financial security than I am when I’m left unsupervised with a television, for all a company needs to do is invent a clever gadget and hire an excitable spokesperson to send me vaulting over the clutter and tripping over the dogs to get to my credit card.
Today’s product was the Wraptastic.
MUST. HAVE. ONE. (or two, as it were, because they’re going to send me a second one FOR FREE if I order NOW!)
The 60-second ads are bad enough, but I practically have seizures if I stumble across a 30-minute infomercial while channel surfing. My only prayer is that the item costs less than my mortgage payment because I WILL OWN IT. Don’t even get me started on the dangers of QVC and HSN. For the sake of my marriage, I have voluntarily banned myself from watching either of those networks. There’s something about that countdown clock that sends me into a buying frenzy.
Here are some items I’ve fallen prey to over the years:
Snuggies – I own four of them; two burgundy, two blue. I upgraded to the ‘plush’ version (because I work hard and I deserve it). They came with reading lights. I never used the reading lights, but I am a proud member of Snuggie Nation. My husband and my son mocked me mercilessly when I bought them, but I’ve caught both of them lounging in them. Total vindication.
Slap Chop – I don’t know what enthralled me about this particular item, except maybe the prospect of not being blinded with tears every time I chop an onion. It didn’t chop evenly, it scared the dogs, and it was a bitch to clean. Waste of money.
The Tony Little Gazelle – YOU CAN DO IT! No, you can’t. I can’t even begin to tell you how convinced I was that this product was going to be the solution to all of my problems.
Never trust a stout, coke-addled man with a ponytail.
I used my Gazelle exactly once and almost broke my hip. I felt (and looked) like an uncoordinated asshole. It’s been in my basement for about eight years. I would put it on Craigslist, but I’m not sure I want the losers on there judging me for having bought it.
Suzanne Somers’ ThighMaster – I thought this would be the PERFECT exercise ‘machine’. I could sit on the sofa and watch my soaps while I worked out! Who knew the dumb blonde of Three’s Company fame was such a genius??
Because she wasn’t. My thighs didn’t get any firmer. You know what they did get? Bruises. Turns out covering a spring-loaded contraption with foam rubber doesn’t prevent it from slipping out of place repeatedly and slamming into your legs. Fuck you, Suzanne Somers.
The Ab Roller – I mean, come ON! It’s a recliner with handles above the head! Look at the lady on the commercial! Look at her go! It’s so easyyyyy!
Only it’s not.
It’s sit-ups. Sit-ups hurt whether you’re on the floor or on a chair. Sit-ups are the devil.
Sold it for 50¢ at a yard sale.
Epilady – This is the most barbaric, medieval, misogynist piece of shit that was ever invented. Do you remember it, ladies? The commercial claimed that it would remove hair painlessly. It depicted a sexy woman running the contraption up and down her leg with seductive smile on her face. I couldn’t order that thing fast enough! I had fantasies about not having to shave my legs for weeks at a time. I could barely wait for it to arrive! When it finally came, I was dismayed that the instructions required that I not shave my legs for several days before using it. I waited the appropriate number of days, then gently placed Epilady on my leg…and screamed like an animal as it literally ripped the hair out of my skin by the roots!! It felt like someone had touched my leg with a cattle prod. I dropped it immediately and never used it again. What they clearly didn’t mention in the commercial was that the smiling idiot was high on nitrous oxide or heroine or oxy. Or that she had prosthetic legs. Obviously.
Pedi-Paws – The first time I attempted to clip my dog’s nails, I cut her to the quick. She let out the most pathetic yelp, yanked her paw away, and immediately started to lick me as though she were begging for forgiveness. I cried like a baby and never tried it again. Then I saw this commercial. What a brilliant invention! An elaborate emery board for dogs! Why didn’t I think of that??
Used it for about three seconds before she pulled her paw away from me, looked at me with disgust, rolled her eyes so far into her head she could see her brain, and walked away from me.
There were plenty of other purchases – the Doggy Steps, the Spin Around Organizer, the Debbie Meyer Green Bags, the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter, the Smart Mop, the Shoes Under, the Oven Gloves, the Ped Egg, and Proactiv, just to name a few.
I’ll never forget the day I wandered into the housewares department at Boscov’s and saw the As Seen On TV display. I swear I heard a choir of angels sing. I stood frozen before it; it was as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had.
God help me.
So…I’ve been out of touch for a bit. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, because heaven knows I’m rarely at a loss for words. It’s just that I was consumed by the election and every time I sat down to write, my words were more hostile than humorous.
Now that all of that unpleasantness is behind us, let’s move onto more pressing issues like reality television, fashion disasters, my son’s love life, and shopping in the presence of unruly children.
Wait…what? Mat has a love life? How did that happen?
More on that some other time.
Most of my mornings start with a walk. I used to walk alone, perfectly happy to listen to my music and check my Facebook and Twitter feeds along the way.
Jack: You read while you’re walking?
Me: Yeah…why are you looking at me like that?
Jack: Don’t you think that’s dangerous?
Me: Not really. I have amazing peripheral vision.
Jack: Except when you’re driving into potholes?
Such a smartass. Let it go. It was ONE FLAT TIRE (…and maybe a couple of alignments, but What. EVER.)
Recently, a friend of mine started walking with me. Yesterday morning was kind of cold, so we decided to go to the mall and walk with the senior citizens. It makes me feel better about myself when I lap an 82-year old.
I’m not proud.
Before we left, my friend wanted to swing through Target to pick up a few things. A woman was walking toward us, pushing a cart with two small children in it. As they passed us, one of the little girls let out a really loud scream for no apparent reason other than to entertain herself. I was walking ahead of my friend and immediately turned to face her. The wide-eyed ‘WTF?’ look on her face was priceless. She was reading my mind. The mother didn’t even bat an eye. It didn’t even occur to her to tell her child to please use her inside voice (or ‘shut the fuck up’, as I used to say when I was a young mother). She just kept pushing that cart with a far-away look in her eyes, as though she was trying to remember which ingredients she needed for dinner.
My friend is having a baby. I call her Barbie because she looks like a real-life Barbie doll (you know, from Mattel’s Knocked-Up Barbie series?). Her shower was today. I received the invitation sometime last month and had plenty of time to shop for a gift and an outfit to wear, but I decided to run out and take care of all of that last night when I was coincidentally at the peak of PMS.
My first stop was the petri dish known as Babies R Us. I’m sorry, but that place skeeves me beyond description. It’s a conglomerate of crying, coughing, sneezing, runny-nosed kids, exhausted mothers and hapless fathers who look like they’d rather be getting a splenectomy than walking around the store scanning gift registry items with their waddling wives.
What made last night especially delightful was the idiotic woman who thought it would be a good idea to take her three children – who all appeared to be under the age of five – to get their Christmas pictures taken at 8:45PM (!!!). The entire time I was shopping, I could hear the photographer desperately trying to get the youngest child (18 mos??) to smile while he let out occasional mind-piercing shrieks. Every time that kid screamed, it felt like a knife going into my head.
When I finally made it out of there, I walked next door to TJ Maxx to find something to wear. While I perused the racks, I was treated to two boys who looked about 9-10 years old screaming at the top of their lungs and running up and down the aisle while their mother just flipped through the clothes on the racks as though she didn’t have a care in the world.
Sometimes I wish I could club people over the head.
This is Barbie’s first child. I am at once happy and exhausted for her. She’s a proud couch potato and a fellow TV junkie. I hope to Christ her daughter is one of those wonderfully lazy, laid-back children, for both Barbie’s sake and for her daughter’s, for Barbie is not the type to suffer foolish children or sugarcoat her feelings about their behavior. Good for her, says I. We need more mothers like her.
One of my beautiful friends is pregnant. I’m beyond happy for her, and for the world at large, because she has great genes that were meant to be passed on for generations. That said, I’m OHSOGLAD it’s her and not me because – I don’t care what you Earth-Mother bitches say – being pregnant (and giving birth) sucksssss!!
I was going to pick up a copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting as a little ‘Happy Pregnancy!’ gift since the gift she’s really going to need (vodka) is out of the question, but I decided the best gift I can give her is honesty, so here goes….
What To Really Expect When You’re Expecting
Your hormones will be completely out of whack. You’ll burst into tears at Flo’s kindness whenever you see a Progressive Insurance commercial, then throw a fit of rage over her lipstick choice.
You’ll experience crippling nausea that will make you look back at the worst, most-violently vomitous hangover you ever had as ‘that one time I felt a little queasy’. If you’re lucky, it’ll end the minute you enter your second trimester. If you’ve cursed the pregnancy gods (as I obviously did), it won’t end until you birth the demon bundle of joy.
But I’m not bitter.
You’ll be forced to take pre-natal vitamins the size of your big toe. The good news is your nails will be strong and beautiful!
Your boobs will swell. Your boyfriend will think it’s cool. You’ll tell him (repeatedly) that they hurt and he’ll still want to manhandle them. Try not to use your new nails to scratch his eyes out when he does.
Your belly will be just big enough to make your regular clothes impossibly uncomfortable, but not quite big enough to wear maternity clothes without looking like an idiot.
Your new body will make sleeping a challenge. Also? You’ll have to pee every 23 minutes.
The baby will start moving! At first it feels like a little flutter across your belly. It’s so exciting! Almost exciting enough to make you forget about how constipated you are.
You’ll be in bed no later than 7:30 every night.
Third Trimester (first month)
Your belly will be noticeably round. If you’re lucky, it’ll look like you’ve tucked half of a volleyball under your shirt. If you’re like me, it’ll look like you’ve decided to become a Sumo wrestler.
But I’m not bitter.
You will have gotten used to sleeping on your side and you will have figured out that the baby wakes up just as you start to fall asleep. Aww…so cute. Sometimes you can even fall asleep with her gently kicking you.
You will have to pee every 12 minutes, but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so IT’S OKAY!
Third Trimester (second month)
You will have to pee every six minutes because the baby has her damn foot on your bladder. Bitch.
You’ll be sick of being pregnant. You’ll have to go to your ‘happy place’ to keep from slapping the shit out of the next person who touches your stomach.
All you’ll want to do is sleep, but the baby will have taken up kickboxing classes that start the minute you go to bed and last throughout the night.
You’ll scoff at your makeup bag and feel like a medal ceremony should take place every time you brush your hair or take a shower (bonus points if you do both in the same day!).
You’ll start to stare at your boyfriend with contempt. Why the fuck is he so happy??
Third Trimester (third month)
You will be OVER IT. GET HER OUT. NOW.
It’s not funny anymore. You’ll be sick of being pregnant. You’ll be sick of people telling you you’re ‘cute’. ‘Cute’ is one step above ugly.
SHE’S KICKING YOUR HEART! YOU’RE SURE SHE’S KICKING YOUR HEART!!!
And that shit HURTS.
You’ll periodically check your groin because it’ll feel like her head is literally hanging out of you. You’ll feel like there’s no sense in even getting off the toilet because you’re just going to be back in three minutes.
Your tits will be sloppy big, your ass will be twice its usual size, you won’t even remember what it feels like to wear rings and you’ll actually start leaving the house in bedroom slippers because THAT’S THE ONLY THING YOU CAN GET AROUND YOUR HOOVES.
People will say ‘good morning!’ and you will spit at them.
Labor and Delivery
You’ll feel the first pang of a contraction and feel a mix of overwhelming relief and sheer terror because you’ve JUST REALIZED how small an opening the monster has to make her way through.
As the contractions progress – and get stronger and STRONGER and STRONGER – any dignity that remained after being poked, prodded and examined both vaginally and rectally (yyyep) throughout your pregnancy will immediately dissipate as you beg anyone and everyone to GET HER OUT!!! Any ‘breathing exercises’ you learned in birthing class will be erased from your memory, leaving you with no choice but to repeatedly scream the rudest, most obscene profanities you have ever uttered (at the top of your lungs). You’ll probably even make up a few new ones along the way. Your boyfriend will gently tell you to try to relax and maybe lower your voice a little and try not yell at the nurses so much. You’ll shoot actual lasers out of your eyes at him and tell him to shut the fuck up before you reach over and rip his throat out with your claw-like nails.
Finally, the baby will come. You’ll cry because it’s over. It’s finally over!
Foolish girl. It’s not over. That was the easy part.
But I’m not bitter.
Or…you might be one of those wicked animals who gains a total of 19lbs, skips though her pregnancy with a basketball belly and a goddamned smile on her face, feels a slight twang of pain, takes a few deep breaths, and pops out a beautiful baby with a perfectly round head who never once makes you pause and wonder how much easier (better?) your life would have been if you had just adopted a dog instead.
In which case, our friendship will be over.