7/26/11

I'm done with Real Housewives. All of 'em.

Yes, I am officially breaking up with a t.v. show.

The Real Housewives of New York reunion was on last night. Part One, of course, because there is only so much vapidness you can shove into one hour.

I won't be watching Part Two.

Yeah, I know, I can hear Andy Cohen weeping into his couch cushions right now...but really. Last night's show just did me in.

I had been at Urgent Care for most of the night (Charlie's right pinkie was sliced open at the gym on Sunday, Big Daddy deemed it "not a big deal" and when it still hadn't stopped bleeding by yesterday afternoon, I took him in. Shocker...he needed stitches. Big bitch-slap...too much time had elapsed so stitches weren't an option. Sigh, Big Daddy.)....

Where was I? Oh yeah. Urgent Care most of the night, staring at the clock and trying to not reach over the front desk and go all Braveheart on the receptionist..."LET US IN NOW, WOMAN! I HAVE SHOWS TO WATCH!". Not only was RHONY on, but there was also a new Teen Wolf AND a new "Closer". So many stories, so little time.

We finally got out of there, and I made it home in time for the encore showing of Real Housewives. I poured myself a glass of wine, moved the dish of Skittles closer to my talons and got ready to be entertained.

I was anything but entertained. Here's the weird part: I usually love the fighting. I don't know why, maybe it's the sneaky eavesdropping thrill, but I can seriously feel my pulse start racing when one of those skanks throws down. For whatever reason, I love to watch the fur fly.

But not last night. Things started out innocuously enough: King Andy, in the middle. The Brunettes stage left, Blondes on the right. It didn't take long for the wheels to come off and for the whole thing to implode upon itself. Bitching back and forth, eye rolling, finger pointing. All of these empty women, sitting on the couches, long shiny legs crossed in front of them, looking like the world's creepiest Barbie doll collection.

Ramona's whole-body spasms, facial tics, dress tugging...it's like watching Elaine dance on Seinfeld .

Alex sitting there, big mouth hanging open, eyes bulging in indignant horror, arms akimbo, hives erupting. And would someone PLEASE get a bra on that woman??

Sonja wiping crocodile tears off of her taut cheeks (not the cheeks down south of course), striking her poses (am I the only one who thinks she's trying to capture Zoolander's Blue Steel look?) , going on and on about her lifestyle and "Being Sonja Morgan".

Cindy, wearing that same "Holy shit where am I" look (or is it, "I smell poo...anyone else smell that?") she had on her face this whole season. Casting mistake, Bravo. Plus her brother Howie gives me the creepy crawlies.

Kelly, looking very medicated but still sounding so mentally ill. You are so inauthentic, Kelly. And that's me being authentic.

Jill channeling Cleopatra and acting all "oh no you din't!".

And The Countess, who actually didn't do much to bug me last night other than her on-going Ed Grimley impression: "I must say". That could be a drinking game, seriously. Take a swig every time LuAnn says "I must say" "Darling" or "gracious".

It got ugly, fast. Molly was watching with me and even she said, about 20 minutes into it, "This is stupid."

It was like refereeing a fight between a gaggle of 14 year old girls. Hair tossing, whispering, chin quivering...and the yammering. If you didn't have a headache before watching it, you probably had one brewing soon after.

And then Andy Cohen told the ladies to Shut The Fuck Up. As funny as that was, it was like a switch being flipped. This was no longer entertaining, or interesting, or even somewhat intriguing.

This was, as my 15 year old daughter so eloquently put it, stupid.

These women are awful people. Truly awful, empty, people. Of course, I don't know them personally. They may be freaking saints in person, but what they choose to be on television is nothing more than icky, glossy/sticky crusts of human beings.

It actually causes me physical pain just to think about the fact that these horrible people have been given so much in life, have every single one of their heart's desires given to them on a perfect, silver platter...when there are such good and decent people on the same planet who have nothing.

And it hit me: I'm partly to blame. Just by watching them, by liking them on facebook, by sitting through the commercials, by writing about them... I am supporting them. Not in a big way, but make no mistake about it: I'm giving them my time and my attention and my broadband. I'm letting them into my home.

We shut off the t.v. after Andy's outburst. I felt icky. I was pissed at myself for giving up non-refundable minutes of my life for these hopelessly narcissistic, soulless, shallow people. And that's when I decided...no more.

I will miss Andy, most of all, he with the wandering eye and the casual linen trousers. My sweet gay mensch, I will miss you the most.

In case you missed it, I will leave you with Andy's outburst. Say it loud, say it proud, Andy. And let's let these lowlifes slink back from whence they came.

My favorite part of this video? The part where Alex is pretending to be a big teal blue balloon losing air. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That made me guffaw out loud. GOL.

The Wives Just Don't Shut Up!

I guess I can still see Andy... Watch What Happens Live is ok to watch, right?

7/22/11

Fill in the blank Friday....


I'm stepping out of my comfort zone here, people. I don't tend to think of myself as a "blogger". I have chosen this outlet as my virtual punching bag, a place where I can spew venom, make funnies and occasionally overshare about my life. There are a few of you who are regular readers, and in my head I refer to you as FRIENDS, not FOLLOWERS.

The blog world is one I am unfamiliar with. I don't know what memes are, I don't have a bunch o' badges, never won any of those "THIS BLOG ROCKS" awards. I come here, I type, I fret about whether or not anyone gets what I mean, I click on the PUBLISH POST button and then walk away (ok so yeah maybe I don't walk away immediately, maybe I go back to facebook and stalk see what my 490 closest friends are doing).

Point is, I've never felt like I am part of the Blogosphere. Today, I'm getting out of my box. I'm venturing out and actually taking part in a bloggy thing. You may have noticed the new BlogHer banner up at the top of my blog. "They like me, they really like me" she whisper/shrieks in her head. I'm taking steps to become a legitimate blogger. And by legitimate, I have no idea what I mean. But I am going to try and do some regular posts, some reviews of things that I use and love (or use and loathe, like AT&T...). I'm going all Activia on this blog, bitches. That's what I'm saying. Got that, Jamie Lee Curtis?

One of my favorite blogs is Linny's Vault. She was one of the first people whom I am not friends with in real life who took time to comment on my blog. She does this thing called Fill in The Blank Friday which I've always enjoyed reading. As I read hers this morning, I thought to myself: Self, you should do this, and then link to the blog that Lin links to. Self balked, and stammered back at me: But Self, what if no one reads it? What if you once again become that frizzy haired, short legged girl trying to pipe up at the lunch table, trying to be part of the cool crowd? I then realized that I was not only talking to myself, I was referring to myself in the third person. Or is it second person? Whatever. I was tiptoeing into Crazy Territory. So I stopped.

Anyhoo. Here is my Fill in the Blank Friday.

1. One of my happiest moments ever was last summer, up at my BFF's cabin. I don't ever recall seeing my kids look so relaxed, so carefree, so happy. That made me happy.

2. Summer is wedding season and weddings are Nice. I haven't been to a wedding in ages (the last one was the wedding of my former sister in law, where I drank too many Cosmopolitans with my former mother in law and ended up weeping in my former father in law's car). But in general, I heart weddings. They always make me cry, but good tears. It's such a symbol of beginnings, of love, of hope.

3. This summer Has been the hottest, most humid mother-effing summer I have ever lived through. I've held it together, though, and only cried once. That was on Wednesday, I took Henry and William to Costco with me and as we walked out it was like being hugged by a giant sweaty John Goodman. That blast of heat, combined with the usual horror of watching people eat their samples, the uncomfortable chafing inside my swampy pants and my two chimpanzees throwing all sorts of random shit into the cart pushed me over the edge. I cried as I unloaded the stuff into my truck. I am so ready for fall.

4. My summer food of choice has been Ummm...have we met? I just like food in general. I guess if I had to pin one down as a summer meal, it would be the marinated flank steak I make, using the recipe that my friend Kelly generously shared with me. It's divine. Slice it up, serve it with some grilled asparagus and some baby potatoes from the Farmer's Market, and voila. The kids inhale it. If there are any leftovers, it makes awesome beef fried rice.

5. My summer uniform has been Either my big girl quick dry black workout capris (we've been hitting the gym almost daily as a family, woooot!!) or else my Gap rolled up cropped jeans. The inner thighs have completely disintegrated now though, so I have to be careful. God forbid anyone gets a flash of the fish belly sexiness down yonder. I have also discovered Fit Flops this summer...comfiest shoes EVER and dare I say, a step up the feminine ladder from my standard Keens.

6. If I could spend the entire summer in one location I would choose a cabin up north, with the kids and of course with regular visits by my hens.

7. My summer anthem is "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. Don't know why, but when it's hot and sunny out, that song pops into my head. Big hands, you know you're the one....good times.

And that's it people. If you have a blog, give "Fill in the blank Friday" a try. Then you can link to the little things we do and spread the blog love.

Happy Friday, my friends ♥

7/18/11

My Apologies

To the fellow (I'm praying it was a man) who stumbled upon my blog by typing this appetizing blend of words into a search engine:

"big naked hairy hausfrau"

Due to the fact that Minneapolis is currently second only to the rain forests in terms of humidity, I've been showing more skin as of late. My razor has been brought out of retirement.

Come back in January. Happy Yeti Hausfrau will be alllll ready for you.

7/15/11

Ahhh...summer t.v. So much to love.

Remember how, back in the day, we only got "new" t.v. shows in the fall? Back in those days, the t.v. was rarely on during the steamy days of summer. It was reserved for movie nights, and rainy days when the kids were driving me apeshit and I'd finally break down and let them watch one of the four or five battered VHS tapes they'd watch over and over and over (anyone else remember the "There Goes A..." series? Dave and Becky? Where are they now? I'd like to see the E! True Hollywood story, please). In fact, I'll still loudly bellow Dave's tag line now and then ("I shouldn'ta done that!!"), much to the joy chagrin of my children.

Anyways. Those days are over. Thanks to the prolific non-network cable channels, we are now gifted with several fresh t.v. shows every summer. And of course, I've been watching some of them.

Here's a sample of what I've been watching, what I wish I was watching, and naturally, what I think of them:


Wilfred (FX, Thursdays 10/9 central): Starring Elijah Wood, all growed up but forever Frodo to me, this is an American remake of an Australian show bearing the same name and of course, the same premise. An awkward, introverted man begins seeing his neighbor's dog as a human dressed in a dog suit. A human in a dog suit who smokes a ton of pot, drinks beer and dry humps a giant stuffed bear. Doesn't sound like much, does it? To be honest, when the previews began airing I was skeptical. But then I watched the pilot, and became an instant believer. Wilfred is funny, like laugh out loud funny. And now I've developed yet another oddball crush, this time on an Aussie wearing a dog suit and using a Gatorade bottle as a bong. Go figure. When I watch Wilfred, I sometimes wish I was back in my old Uptown apartment, getting completely baked and sitting on the couch next to the love of my life, Andy. Gotta love a show that does that, huh?

The Closer (TNT, Mondays 9/8 central): I love Kyra Sedgwick for many reasons. She's married to the Bacon-ater, first of all, and has been for something like 20 years. I remember really liking her in one of my all time favorite movies, "Singles", especially in the scene where she scrubs her toilet with her bastard ex-boyfriend's t-shirt. Priceless. But, back to The Closer. Kyra plays southern belle Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of the Los Angeles Major Crimes division. They call her "The Closer" because of her talent for closing cases. Her character is fabulous, and so very real. She's a closeted binge eater (the first few seasons she had a desk drawer filled with candy and baked goods), she's a cat lady, she has crazy parents. The show is predictable, because by now pretty much every single crime show has covered every possible crime scenario ad nauseum, but it's served up with some good writing and some very good acting. The supporting cast is awesome, and aside from one chick, the entire cast has stayed the same since the start. I don't like change, so this is a bonus for me.

True Blood (HBO, Sundays 9 p.m.) I miss HBO. I miss True Blood. But most of all, I miss seeing Alexander Skarsgard's butt. I'm just starting the book series that True Blood is based upon (thank you Beth!!!!), written by Charlaine Harris. So far, I love it, and since I don't see HBO giving out scholarships any time in the near future, it will have to do for now.


Rescue Me (FX, Wednesdays 10 p.m.) One of my all-time favorite shows. I will always be grateful for that one awful, sad date I had with the eHarmony winner Angry Steve, because he stopped bitching about his ex-wife long enough to say, "You ever watched Rescue Me? It's a great show". Thank you, Angry Steve. Rescue Me is simply stunning. It's raw, it's over-the-top, it's intense. It covers an amazing range of relevant topics: divorce, raising teenagers, alcoholism, race relations and so many more. It also serves double duty as sex-dream fodder for me, so I'm very happy that it's back on. This is the last season, and I'm sure I'll be a weepy mess when the last episode airs. Denis Leary is brilliant, and this show is proof. Bonus: they used my all time favorite Pearl Jam song in the ads for this season. I was verklempt before the season even started.

And here's one that I'm almost embarrassed to admit watching:

Teen Wolf (MTV, Sundays 10/9 central) Ok, I can blame this one on the fact that I have teenagers, right? God help me, I'm hooked. It's cheesy, it's smarmy, it's full of D-list actors, but I love it. I am patiently waiting for Sunday night to arrive. Who is the Alpha Wolf? They want us to think it's Scott's boss, but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Molly thinks it's Allison, Henry thinks it's the lacrosse coach. Personally, I think it's the a-hole hipster teacher Mr. Harris, but we shall see.

And of course, what kind of stalker would I be if I didn't mention my beloved:

Louie (FX, Thursdays 10:30/9:30 central) What can I say? I think this is one of the best shows on television, and not just because I have a pretty creepy obsession with the star. I love the bareness of this show, I love the random guest appearances by some fabulous comedians, I love seeing New York from an "everyday" kind of perspective. I won't mention that I watch this show with the lights dimmed and a body pillow locked firmly between my thighs. Sigh.

There are a few other summer shows that I'd watch if I had the time, the right channels and a DVR: Breaking Bad (I know, Danielle, I know!) starring the fabulous Bryan Cranston, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Men of a Certain Age (I've watched the first season of this one, and it's awesome). I'm sure there are more I've missed but for God's sake, a girl has to take some time to parent and use the bathroom, ya know.

What are your favorite summer shows? Or are you one of those "outdoorsy" type of people who fill my facebook feed with inane blurbs about getting outside and how awesome the hot weather is (hi Faith ♥)? Tell me what you're watching...I'd love to know. In four months it's going to be cold as hell outside and I won't have any guilt about sitting on my ass watching t.v. I need to get my Netflix queue stocked, y'all!

7/14/11

Seeking Women Who Have Lost Their Husbands

So I'm taking that leap. I have my book idea and I'm going to start working on it.

It's so sparse and hollow right now...I have what seems to be a sort of skeleton made out of ideas. Characters, names, cities, families, etc. I need to flesh it out, make it three-dimensional. Make it real.

I need some help, my friends. I am seeking out a few people who wouldn't mind letting me pick their brains a wee bit. Nothing awful, of course. It can be done via email, over the phone, or if you happen to live in my neck of the woods, over coffee or margaritas.

If you are a woman, or know of a woman, who has lost her husband I want to chat with you or her.

By "lost" I mean lost. If he was there before, but now he's gone? That's what I'm talking about. I lost mine in the conventional sense (and by conventional I mean he slipped and fell into a tar pit of Secretary), but there are so many other ways to lose a husband. So many ways to be left.

Illness, accident...that type of reason. Perhaps your husband is still physically here on this earth, you didn't lose him to another person but rather an addiction, or mental illness. I'd like to talk to you, too.

I promise that I will keep whatever you share with me confidential. I promise that I will not judge you, or pity you, or patronize you.

These are the things I want to know: how you reacted when faced with the news. How you handled your family, his family. How you parented before, during and after. How you talk about your loss with your kids, and with your family. Did you manage financially...or did you have to scrap everything and start over?

I want to know how your children have fared. Do they talk about it, or do they internalize? Have you had discipline problems, emotional issues, sibling troubles? Did one child have a harder time dealing with it, did one not seem to be fazed? How did they interact with you in the beginning? And how are they now?

I want to know what you did to cope with the pain. Did you lean on religion? Friends? Booze? Food? Sex? Did you turn to exercise, shopping, gambling? Did you lash out or curl up in a ball? Remember, I'm not going to judge anyone about anything. I slept with a mullet-wearing felon, remember? I am the last person on earth to be castin' any stones.

Please pass this on. You can reach me several ways:

email me at: happyhausfrau@comcast.net

Send a message through facebook

or twitter

Or you can just reply to me here on Blogger.

I should let you know up front that my book is a work of fiction. No actual names or situations will be used. Anything you share with me will be between us. One of my characters may react to something sort of how you did, or cope kind of like you did, but it will not be you.

I already know how bad it sucks to be abandoned in the middle of a life, what it's like to console kids who wake up to find their world cracked in half. I know what it's like to go solo to parties and school conferences and confirmations and concerts. I've gone from happy housewife to ex-wife losing her house, and if you're a regular reader, you know how I've handled it (and how I haven't, some of the time).

But all I know is how it feels for ME. I want to know what it's been like for YOU.

I can't have every character in my book be a snarky, chubby, t.v. lovin', emotional eating recluse, can I?

Thank you, in advance, for any insight you're able to give me.

Jenny



7/10/11

Sh!t Wars: What to do when your kid won't poop.

Yes, this post will be talking about poo. Personally, the talk of all things fecal doesn't really bother me. I've cleaned out crap from under my fingernails, washed up and then continued to stuff my face. I guess it's something that happens after having 4 kids in diapers for what felt like forever.

But I understand that for some people, this kind of talk is unsettling. So I'm warning you now. There will be shit in this post. Lots of it, and I can attest that for some reason, when you read or write about it you may actually start smelling it. Come back later this week, I'm trying to be a little more upbeat and funny, and nothing says upbeat and funny to me like one of my victims. There are a couple I haven't covered here, and I'm itching to share.

So...are the faint of heart all gone now? Sweet. Here we go.

When I mention kids who won't poop, or constipated kids, some people look a little confused. But other people get that dazed, wounded look in their eyes. Like the eyes of soldiers when they return home after a long, exhausting and horrific battle (ok not that bad, but you know what I mean). In my own little circle of friends, there are several of us who have lived through it. Mostly, it happens with boys. I suppose we could go off on a Fruedian mother-son-poop tangent but we'll save that for later. I'm just saying, from what I've heard this is usually a boy issue.

Shit Wars. Like Star Wars, only messier. And George Lucas has nothing to do with it. Once you live through it, you become part of a sad little club. You will find other parents who have been through it, and if you're lucky, you can all laugh about it now. You will never forget the stress, the frustration, and oh sweet baby Jesus..you will never forget the smell.

One of my kids was a "holder". His poop history started out normal. He was breastfed, so the diapers were numerous, but not awful. It wasn't until he was about 2 that the Shit Wars started.

I remember noticing that he wouldn't go every single day like earlier siblings had. And when he did go, what I found in the diaper was shocking. Big, ugly and shocking. I nicknamed him "The Brick Layer" during this little phase of his life. Because that's what he produced. I brought it up at the pediatrician's office, and he suggested more juice, more fresh fruit, more whole grains. I did that, and the big bricks kept coming.

Until one day, they stopped coming. Said child didn't poo for what seemed like a week. I noticed him rocking a lot, like sitting down on his feet, and rocking. He said his tummy hurt. His appetite waned. I called the doctor again, who suggested adding some powdered Metamucil (or something like that), sprinkled on his cereal or in his juice/milk. Nothing.

To be totally honest with you, at this point I was more annoyed than concerned. I had trouble understanding this situation...I mean, really, how hard is it to poop? I negotiated with him, begged him, tried to bribe him. Nothing worked.

One night, Big Daddy and I needed to get out. Back then we often traded babysitting with my old BFF, Big Red, and her hubby. So we drop the kids off, go out, have a grand old time. I'm sure it was something thrilling, like dinner and a movie. When we got back to Big Red's house, she pulled me aside.

"You won't believe what happened." She then went on regale me with the tale of my Poop Holder and the Poop that Finally Was. Apparently, the Holding Child had started screaming, crying, writhing. Big Red had been told of this issue, so she figured that she had simply been lucky enough to be here for the big event. My poor kid finally did it. And Big Red, being a good best friend, had saved it for me.

If I remember correctly (it was a long time ago, and like your grandpa's tales about fish he caught, time may have skewed my memory), it was the size of a softball. Somehow, my sweet little boy and his tiny butt produced what looked like the world's most awful softball.

So this went on for a while. For a day or two or three after the giant poop, he'd be all sunshine and happiness. But once I'd see him rocking on his feet, or notice him not eating as much, the cycle would begin again.

Calls to the doctor led to visits, and the visits led to frustration and growing anxiety (for me, not the kid). I learned more about childhood constipation than I ever wanted to know. About how it's caused by any number of things: a bad potty training (this didn't apply to my kid, because it all started when he was still in diapers), one bad experience with a painful poop, physical issues, mental issues, etc.

Suddenly, the term anal-retentive had a whole new meaning.

It continued for a few years. There was brief talk of surgery (exploratory, to see if he really did have something physically wrong with him). There were countless pairs of Batman, Transformers and Superman undies tossed into the trash (at some point, the actual process of cleaning these stinky, stained monstrosities trumped my incessant compulsion to be green).

Oh, and the sharting. Shall we talk sharts? For those who don't know, a shart is a hybrid. A toxic blend of shitting and farting. Some people call them "farts with dressing" or "juicy toots". They are what happens when a child who has been holding onto a log for way too long tries to expel the foul gas that's building up behind the behemoth clog in his colon.

This is when you actually start to fear that your kid is going to be THAT kid in school. The one who smells like poop. You start to become a sniffer, you watch for the telltale "clenched bun" walk they develop. You notice if he's picking at the butt of his pants.

And all along, you do everything you're told. You feed him grapefruit, oranges, sweet potatoes, grapes. Popcorn, beans, bread so dense and heavy that you could probably pumice your heels with it. You give him doses of mineral oil, prescription stuff that tastes like the shit you're trying to expel (seriously, why did it take so long for the pharmaceutical companies to come up with good flavored meds for kids?). We had a shelf in the cupboard set aside solely for my poor kid's collection of poop medicine.

You try not to make a big deal out of it, but in all seriousness, it causes great strife and stress in a family. The child in question has the ability to turn an entire family upside down all because they won't, or can't, poop. I remember yelling at this kid, out of exhaustion and desperation one night. This poor kid who has made himself a neurotic basketcase now had his mommy yelling at him. I remember Big Daddy getting angry, throwing the child on the potty seat and making him sit there through meals.

I guess that's the number one lesson I learned through my poop journey: you can't get mad at the kid. But it's hard not to, trust me.

Long, unappetizing story even longer: This too shall pass (pun intended). The child I'm speaking of eventually got a handle on it, and through often-annoying but effective reminders from Mommy to "go potty" and asking him, "Have you pooped today?" we made it through Shit Wars alive.

But not without lingering effects...

Want to know what triggered this post? After all, I haven't had diapers on the Target list for 9 years now.

A couple of days ago, I was doing laundry. The laundry room is in the mancave, and the mancave bathroom is in the laundry room. So I of course am now entering the fun part of womanhood where your bladder can go from "we be chillin', mon" to "holeee crap if I don't find a toilet now there's going to be trouble" in the blink of an eye. So, naturally I bolt into the boy's bathroom.

There, in the toilet, was something other-worldly. It almost looked like a chubby 18 month old's entire arm. If you can picture a chubby 18 month old composed entirely of shit.

Yes, friends, one of the fun things that your child will take away from this experience is gigantic bowel movements. The kind that those idiot boys in the dorms at my college used to take pictures of, for bragging rights (I'm so glad we didn't have cell phones back then).

This particular work of art was just sitting there, swathed in a foul wrapping of wet toilet paper. So I flushed it, even though I could see and comprehend that there was no way this was going down any household plumbing fixture.

Sure enough, the water swirled around it, the wet toilet paper waved back and forth like some nightmarish seaweed. The poopy baby arm stayed put.

Of course, dealing with this issue has found me in this exact same scenario before. Plunging doesn't work. Letting it sit for a while doesn't work either. There are only two things you can do. And both of these things, I think, prove just how much we love our kids.

Solution number one: item in toilet can be dismantled into flushable pieces. I've done this, a couple of times, and both times nearly puked. I think I used a wire dry-cleaning hanger, and yes, the back-alley references were at the forefront of my brain too. This works, and if you're lucky all you'll have to deal with is the hanger. Which I dealt with by wrapping it in yards of paper towel and then tying it in a garbage bag and running it out to the garbage.

Solution number two (again, pun intended) is not for the easily ruffled. And it's what I opted for during this particular standoff at the Poopy Ok Corral. The offending child was in the other room, probably feeling much lighter and most likely amazed at his new-found ability to bend at the waist. I calmly walked out and told the child, "You have to come deal with this poop." He put down his XBOX controller without objection, and duly followed me into the crime scene.

I gave him the tools of extraction: Rubber gloves. Three plastic Target bags layered together to form one, triple layered bag. One larger trash bag. Paper towels. And last but not least, a spray bottle filled with bleach.

And I made my child, my sweet baby, my little bundle of joy pick up his own bundle of joy and put it in the triple layer bag. We dropped it into the bigger garbage bag, tied it up and that darling boy of mine ran it outside to the garbage can like a good soldier. I bleached the entire bathroom so thoroughly that I'm pretty sure I may have suffered some brain-damage from the fumes.

So ends the saga of Shit Wars. If you're smack dab in the middle of it, hang in there. You will survive, your child will survive. Many plungers will be broken, many pairs of miniature cotton undies will be thrown away, but you will get through this.

May the force be with you.

7/4/11

Happy Independent Day!

Today we'll be celebrating Independence Day here in the good ol' USA. We'll all gather in various backyards, at lake cabins, at parks. We will barbeque, we will drink cocktails, we will talk about the weather. We'll shoo kids away from hot grills, give them sparklers and watch them play in their red white and blue t-shirts, dresses and rompers. Hopefully we'll all take a few moments out of the day and pay our respects to those who have given us this beautiful independence.

As for me? I'm going to be doing some work, and then heading over to my friend's house for a cookout. The kids have been with Big Daddy since Friday evening. Yes, it's another holiday weekend without my kids, another chance for me to wallow in my loneliness. Another chance for me to dwell on how unfair and sad life can be.

And that's how the weekend started out. Friday night I had an...um..interesting experience with a friend. I'm not going to delve into that right now, but I will say that it left me feeling all sorts of things: awkward, annoyed, confused. It made me think about how ironic it is that the minutiae of female friendships remain unchanged through the decades, and how you can still feel like a dorky, forlorn 17 year old even when you're 44. I took a long walk the next day and in my head, composed what I'm sure was a brilliant blog post about friendships, the rules of friendships and how we obtain and compartmentalize our friends and friendships throughout the years. I promptly forgot 90% of this brilliancy. Note to self: write this shit down when you think of it, or start carrying a dictation thingie.

Anyhoo. That situation kind of pushed me down toward the drain of pity that I usually swirl around on the holidays that I'm "alone". If you know me, or have read this sad diary, you know that I have issues with this particular slice of divorce pie: the holidays. By far the worst side effect of divorce for me; yes, even worse than the financial castration, the social stigma, the emotional trauma caused by infidelity...it's like someone beating you nearly to death, letting you heal up a bit, and then coming back to jab at you periodically over the years. Six days throughout the course of the year when you are hit upside the head with the fact that you're divorced. It's the cruelest part of divorce, I believe. A parent having to spend a holiday, even a psuedo holiday like Labor Day...away from their kids simply because the person they chose to breed with turned out to be an oaf. I hate it. I'll always hate it. That's just how it is.

So. I spent Saturday doing my very best Greta Garbo impersonation until even I got sick of me. I watched a very good, but very sad movie ('Rabbit Hole' with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart...so good I stopped wondering what the hell Nicole has done to her face within the first 10 minutes). I watched a very stupid, but nice to look at movie ("The Romantics" with Katie Holmes, Josh "Why can't you have a thing for older, squishy divorced chicks" Duhamel and a few other pretty people. Dumb, dumb movie. Dumb.). I ate cheese and crackers for dinner. I made egg salad with green olives and Ling Ling Potstickers from Costco. And yes, my house did smell like major dirty butt for a bit after those last two. I had a Skinny Girl margarita, which I so desperately want to like but just can't. Sorry Bethenny. I may have to start my own line of margaritas. Maybe call them "Fat Girl Margaritas" or "Thick Waisted Margaritas". Whatever.

I let myself feel bad. I even let myself cry in the car while on the way home from getting my favorite McDonald's pairings, the large sugar free vanilla iced coffee alongside the grilled chicken Southwest salad. Yes, I just admitted I eat McDonalds. Do you still like me? I sure hope so.

So I boo-hooed, I vegged out, I ate my feelings. Par for the course. But this time I gave myself a time restraint: one day. I allowed myself just one full day of moping. Because I'm tired of dreading holidays like most people dread root canals. I'm tired of watching other people have fun and being holiday-ish and happy. I know that this is something I'm going to be dealing with, long-term, but obviously the way I'm handling it isn't working.

I have been neglecting my eBay biz for quite some time. During the school year I was working almost full time with my regular paraprofessional duties plus the extra work subbing for special ed., the preschool and kindergarten. Ebay took a backseat. But I still shopped for inventory when I had the chance. Shopping for eBay inventory is almost therapeutic for me. Back when I was married, Big Daddy would let me out now and then. I felt tremendous guilt for wanting to get away, so I appeased that guilt by turning my alone time into inventory shopping time. Most chicks would go out and get their nails done, meet friends for lunch, go to the gym. I crawled the thrift stores, church sales, consignment shops. I'd come home relaxed, smelling a little bit like nursing home, and stockpiled with used clothing I'd turn into income for our family. The whole two-birds-one-stone thing.

So I now I find myself with racks and bins full of clothes ready for eBay (all laundered of course...my bedbug paranoia has made thrifting difficult but not impossible). My office was stuffed with it. Now that school has been out for a month, and my last paycheck from the district has come and gone, it's time to get cracking again.

On Sunday, I cracked. I steamed clothes, I dressed and undressed my mannequins, I took almost 500 pictures of inventory. I worked my ass off for the first time in ages. And guess what?

I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I began to understand people who work a lot, people who talk about these things called "jobs" and put lots of hours into them. Granted, my job is not traditional. There is no big office building, no commuting, no parking garage. I do it in my living room, usually wearing pajama-like clothing, the t.v. playing all the shows I've missed (Louie, Leverage and God help me...Teen Wolf on MTV). It dawned on me, finally, that idle hands, and idle brains, really are the devil's tools.

That night, I joined my kick ass nerd posse for trivia at Friday's. We laughed, we ate, we drank, and we came in First Place. I didn't think about being lonely, I didn't think about what my kids were doing, I didn't think about how everyone in the world but me is living life to the fullest. For the first time in ages, I started to feel free.

This weekend was a good one for me. I allowed myself time to mourn what's missing, but this time I put limits on it. It's my goal to be free of this holiday angst I carry with me. I want to be happy, I want to be productive.

I want to be independent. In so many ways.

Happy Independence Day to you all, and Happy Independent Weekend to me.

Please be safe!

7/2/11

Welcome to the World, Spawn.

I don't know your name, little one, although I heard you have been named after your father. Questionable move, considering your daddy's legal woes, but that's beside the point. I wanted to say hello, though, and give you a proper welcome.

I'm the lady who used to be married to your daddy. I'm the mommy to your four half-siblings. You'll probably hear me referred to as "Psycho" or "Fat Ass", but just for the record, my name is Jenny. I was married to your daddy for 12 years, right up until he and your mommy met and fell in love.

Your mommy was married, too. I don't know much about that whole situation, other than she moved far away with that first husband and while she was gone, your daddy decided to give me and our four kids a second chance. It was going swell until your mommy decided that she wanted to be with your daddy, left her first husband and came back to Minnesota to get mine.

But that's all ancient history. I wanted to talk to you about what your birth means to my kids.

A little bird had told me of your arrival earlier this week, and when your daddy sent me a text asking if it was ok that he didn't take the kids for his Thursday dinner hour time slot I figured you were coming home. Because, after all, why in the world would anyone want their new baby greeted by it's four older siblings? I can hardly imagine anything more horrifying.

See, Spawn, this is the part that sticks in my craw. Your daddy has been through the new baby routine four time prior to this. And not once, during any of those other new baby times did he have the luxury of pawning the older sibs off on anyone when the newest member of the family was brought home. Not once. Because, first of all, why? Why would you not let one of the older, preexisting children not be there to meet the baby when it's brought home? But then I thought about it. Your mommy and daddy didn't even tell these same kids that they were getting married. They didn't have them there at the wedding. They only told them afterwards, like "Oh the weekend was great. Good weather, great food..oh yeah, and we got married."

So I kind of see how they wouldn't exactly make your introduction to the family a family thing at all.

Your mommy, Spawn, boy is she something. I think it's funny how someone could snag a guy with four kids and then do everything in her power to make those four kids as invisible as she can. It's my humble opinion, Spawn, that if you decide to go ahead and marry a man who's already a daddy, you know damn well what you're signing up for. Including the kids he's already made.

I don't know if she had you to sink her claws even deeper into him, if she thought it would make their relationship legitimate, not so shady and creepy, or if she honestly thought it was a good idea to bring another life into this world with your daddy.

Whatever the reason, you're here. And I will not say anything awful or nasty about you. Begrudging a baby for being born is like cursing the raindrops for falling from the sky.

But I worry, Spawn. I worry because that's my jam. It's what I do, it's how I roll and whatever other trite expression you want to insert here.

I worry because I'm the mommy of your four older siblings, and I've seen the damage that your parents have caused already. I've dealt with your oldest brother, Charlie, and his fractured psyche, ever since the day your daddy left us. You see, Spawn, your daddy took off at what was probably the worst possible time to leave a boy. He was 10, and his toes were just barely touching the shore of that murky pond we call Puberty. His emotions were a wiry tangled mess already, and having his father seemingly disappear into the night really did a number on him.

I've seen the father/daughter relationship between your big sister Molly and your daddy crumble before my eyes. She has seen your daddy maybe 10 days so far this year. Ten days. I remember when she was your size...your daddy would hold her on the couch and called her "Daddy's girl." Yesterday, she asked me if I'd go get some lunch for her. Some not so healthy lunch. I said no, and she replied, "Hey, come on...my dad doesn't like me, get me some food!". She said it in a joking manner, but the underlying emotion was real.

I saw your older brother Henry's eyes well up when he found out that you had made your appearance and that his company was not welcome. Out of all of your siblings, I think you'll find Henry to be the most tender, despite his South Park-like demeanor at times. Oh yes, Spawn, this will be the brother who teaches you all about swearing and how to do it with great aplomb, but don't let that fool you. Henry's heart is big, and soft. Like a cushy mattress. He wants to love you, and seeing those tears when he heard your homecoming was not all-inclusive made my own heart flinch.

And William...he is the baby of your daddy's family. He's been on the fence about your arrival. He told me he was kind of excited to see you but that it was going to be weird to not be the youngest. I told him, "You'll always be the youngest in this house."

I guess that's going to be the strangest part of your arrival for my kids. Their entire lives, things have been one way. There has always been a birth order, a seating arrangement at the table of life. Your arrival won't do a thing to change that as far as it goes with me, but with their daddy, all is different now. You being here is another upheaval for them. Whether it's good, bad or neutral remains to be seen.

Having a new baby in your life changes people temporarily. Women become more emotional, more loving, more understanding. Pregnancy and nursing hormones usually do their job, and even the coldest and most selfish among us become, for a while, nurturing and motherly.

New dads, when they are in the picture, tend to become a little more puffy-chested. Proof that their seed is powerful and really does make babies is life affirming to them, and if they could drag a club behind them and beat their chests while announcing a birth, they would. I know for your daddy, having babies changes him for a bit. Having a new kid always lit a fire under him. He vowed to me, a few times over, to be a better man. A better husband. A better dad. Something about seeing a fresh, perfect new life gives men a glimpse at their own lives. It reminds them of what they've done right, and also shines some light on what they've done wrong.

I'm hopeful that having you will help your mommy see what it's like to have a piece of your heart living outside your body. What it's like to think about your child every second of the day, to worry about them and to want nothing but the best for them. I'm hopeful that by having you, she will perhaps get some idea of how I feel about your siblings, my own babies. I hope that she never has to go through the pain of being separated from you, of having to give you up every other weekend and to spend holidays and birthdays away from you and in the company of people she's never met. But if she does, maybe now she'll understand me a little more. Maybe she'll treat my babies with a little more compassion now that she's had one of her own.

And your father? I don't know. I do know that I hope he does right by you. I hope that this fifth try at fatherhood turns out better than the previous four. I hope that by having you, he softens up a bit and decides to face the mistakes he's made. I hope that he looks at you and remembers his first four kids at that age, when there was no baggage, no hurt.

When there was nothing but possibilities and that new baby smell.

Welcome to the world, Spawn.
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