6/13/15

Things I Need To Avoid Whilst PMSing

There were a few months, last year, when I was convinced THE CHANGE was happening. I went three blissful months without a period and began embracing life without that monthly reminder that my body was still armed and ready for Invasion of the Uterus Snatchers (aka, babymaking).

I dreamed of white sheets and underwear any color other than black. I smiled as I thought of not having to look at the stability ball I sit on at work after getting up just to make sure I hadn't left a horrifying smear. I whistled Dixie as I walked past the tampon aisle at Target.

And then, of course, my period came back. Just popped in, like nothing had happened. "What's up, Jenny?" I could almost hear it say. "Long time, no leak!" 

This time, however...something's different. I've always had a bit of pre-period whackadoo, some months more intense than others, but lately? It's bad. 

It starts about a week out. That's when I find myself thinking many swears in my head during normal non-aggravating daily events. Like, driving behind someone who is obviously unaware that the speed limit is not 14 mph. 

On non psychotic days, I'm very much meh about slowpokes. That's why you leave the house with plenty of time to spare before you have to be somewhere. 

On the psycho days? I hate these people. I want to drive my ugly little car literally up over their trunk and onto the roof of their slowpoke vehicle and then down the hood so I can get past them. And scream insults at them while I do it. 

Of course, being Minnesotan, all I do is look at them with sad-eyed disappointment when I finally do pass them. Oooh but if looks could kill!!

Or when the kids do something at home that on any other stretch of days wouldn't even register on my freak-out meter. The boys share a bathroom down in the mancave. I don't dare enter that scary little room unless there's an emergency, like a spontaneous case of Urge Incontinence while standing in front of the washing machine. But there's a fan in there, you know, the kind you turn on while showering or after pooping. The kind I wish we had in the staff bathrooms at work because OMG all the gluten-free and paleo diets.

My sons never turn the fan off. Therefore, that fan is constantly on. Until I go down and turn it off myself. Usually? Not a major thing. I might mutter a little bit while flipping the switch, but I mutter a lot anyway.

Ohhhhh...but when I'm in my Crazy Week? The hum of that fan will make itself heard throughout the entire house. My ears are already tingling during PMS, every little sound seemingly dredged in annoying and then fried in frenetic and when I hear that fan? I go nuts. I start yelling as I stomp my way down to the mancave bathroom, hurling accusations and packing little overnight bags for a quick guilt trip. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH OUR ELECTRICITY BILL IS EVERY MONTH?" I scream/ask. "WELL, DO YOU??" Nobody ever responds except to peek from behind whatever piece of furniture they've hidden under. As I thunder down the stairs and through the laundry room and in a lunatic, grandiose gesture turn off the offending fan, I scream as loud as my now-raspy throat will allow, "AND HOW ABOUT HANGING UP THESE MOTHER EFFING TOWELS...FOR ONCE!?!?"

It's awful and embarrassing and I'm sure it's going to come up in several, if not all, of my children's future therapy sessions. My childhood? Oh it was okay. Fine. You know, the divorce sucked and all. But we were good. Oh...except can you please turn down that fan, doctor? Why? I don't know...fans scare me. I'm just going to crawl here under this couch until you can TURN OFF THE GODDAMN FAN!!

I'm sorry, kids.





According to my period app, I'm going to burst like the dam in that Little Dutch Boy story any day now. Like I needed an app to tell me that. The past few days have been a bloated, bitchy blur. I had three glorious bonus days off from work and I spent them just trying to not eat everything in the house or inflict even more mental harm unto my innocent children. Which means for the most part, I've been holed up on my porch with the laptop, a water bottle and my patient dog who is really starting to piss me off with those weird looks he's giving me.

Um, oops. Sorry. So I've decided to write down everything I need to avoid during these dark days. For future reference, yes, but also as a guide for any of you who might have the misfortune of running into me and not quite understanding why I look like the angry Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 



I might just print this list and put it on the fridge, along with a calendar marked with a few sweet little daisies. So my kids know when to hide.


THINGS TO AVOID DURING PMS
the jenny edition


Booze and scissors Separately, these things are fine. Together, not so much. A few days ago I made two yummy homemade margaritas. And then I went on Google and typed in "how to cut your own bangs". The next thing I typed in on Google was "how to fix really awful home-cut bangs". There is no fix, by the way. Also, yay for bobby pins. I didn't know they were still a thing.

Brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts 23 days out of the month, I find these abhorrent. I've never tried smearing a saltine with Crisco and then sprinkling it with cinnamon, but I bet it would taste exactly like a brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tart. Except, of course, when I am tearing apart the kitchen in order to quell the hungry hormonal beast within. NOTHING SATISFIES. So I console myself by devouring two packs of cinnamon Pop Tarts (yes, that's four of them) and then wrapping the mylar packaging material around me like a shroud of remorse.


The entire Internet If you know me even just a little bit, you are aware of my comment section problem. This past week was a doozy, I was commenting and deleting my comments like a madwoman. People, I was keyboard-fighting about breastfeeding! I haven't had a suckling in over 12 years and yet there I was, clickety-clacking away about boobs. (I'm pro-breastfeeding of course, but in the interest of being web-friendly I will say that I've never judged another mom for how she feeds her kids. Except the people who send their kids to school with an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in their lunches. Those children do not share with me.

There was another one, in which an article written BY a single mom, PRAISING single moms was swarmed with stay at home moms saying "Oh em gee! This sounds like it was written for me on those two days my husband is out of town. LOL." Nope. Not even close, sisters. But again to be web-friendly I will say I've done the SAHM gig, and the single mom gig and both are tiring. Only one of them, however, leads to you not being able to sleep because you're so worried about how you're going to support your kids and also how you're going to have to work until you're 95 because you don't have a cushy 401k or a spouse's retirement fund. Or is that just me? 

See? Here I go again. Relax, Jenny. Breathe.

Noises Any of them. Repetitive ones in particular, and most particularly, my neighbor Anal Retentive Lawn Guy and his godforsaken leaf blower. Someday he will wake up with the blowy part of his leaf blower decapitated and in a pool of oil next to him in bed. And I'll be all Don Corleone on my porch, saying in a Hannibal Lecter voice, "Can you hear the leaf blower, Clarice? ME NEITHER."



recording someone from my porch. NOT CREEPY AT ALL. 

Being Hot It's not terribly difficult to avoid this one in the fall and winter. In the summer? Trickier. The air conditioning comes on once I am no longer able to sit without perspiring, or after my first semi-uncomfortable night. Or when the house starts to smell like cat urine (we don't have cats so this is always upsetting). We've kept it off so far this summer, but it's inevitable.

I don't like being hot under even the most ideal circumstances. Throw PMS into the mix and I become this guy:



I don't like to use the oven when it's hot out. It's like throwing a lasso around the sun and bringing it into the kitchen just for giggles. 

The kids have a hard time grasping this "oven off in the summer" concept. Yeah, I know, there are chicken tenders in the freezer. And french fries. They'll keep until fall or at least until I crack and turn the thermostat to 62. Repeat after me: the oven stays OFF.

I don't care if Papa Freaking Murphy himself walks into the kitchen and motorboats me with a complimentary family sized pepperoni take and bake pizza. NO OVEN! I might retract this statement if someone tells me Papa Murphy is even remotely good looking. But probably not.

For the sake of brevity I will quickly list a few other things I need to avoid while basking in the warm pretty glow of premenstrual syndrome:

Videos about dogs
The Maps App on my iPhone
Any show on MTV, especially "Finding Carter"
Plastic bags
Any object which might get stuck to my foot
Matt Walsh, his blog or anyone who enjoys either one of them
Cords (the electronic kind, not the pants)
Mirrors
Clothing with buttons or zippers
Polyester
Self-checkout lanes
Hipster dads
emails from Bath and Bodyworks

and last, but not least:

Sexy stuff. Because the PMS makes me HULK SMASH with lusty feelings. But also, so irritable. I don't know if I want to hump it or kick it. Conflict makes this Libra uneasy. Best to avoid anything that makes me tingle.

I hope this list is helpful to someone. It was frightening to type it out because nobody likes to see actual proof of their insanity. But, I'm consoling myself with Season 3 of Orange Is The New Black and two Strawberry Pop Tarts. Netflix is awesome, and Costco only sells the brown sugar cinnamon Pot Tarts in a bulk pack with the gross Strawberry ones. The frosting part feels the same in my mouth, and the silver wrappers are identical so there's that.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant, PMS-free tomorrow.










6/4/15

7 Ways College Kids Home For The Summer Are Exactly Like Mice



I have two college kids. One lived in a dorm room a couple hundred miles away during the school year, the other lived in a big house with friends just a short drive from here. Both have come home for the summer, joining their two younger brothers, the dog, and me. Yay!


Our house is almost 80 years old. It’s been updated, of course, but one of the less-charming aspects of living in a older home is there are lots of nooks and crannies which are the perfect size for mice to squeeze in. Every fall we get a few. It’s nauseating at first, but they are dealt with and life goes on.


Those two facts don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, do they? Except, oh my God. They have so much in common, college kids and house mice. Have you had either of them? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about.


For those of you who are new to this experience, let me give you some insight. Here are ways that having your kids home from college for the summer is a lot like having a mouse infestation.


1. They leave tell-tale signs. With mice, you find droppings. With college kids, you find wet towels everywhere, dirty dishes in bedrooms and Bob Marley posters.


2. They will eat anything and everything. With mice, you will find holes chewed in cereal boxes, chip bags, sacks of dog food and pretty much anything else you haven’t shoved in the freezer. I once found a half-eaten stick of butter with tiny mouse bites all over it during one particularly grueling mouse season. College kids are the same, only sometimes they’ll open boxes with their hands instead of their teeth. And they tend to avoid dog food.


3. Sightings of either one are rare. If you go into the kitchen late at night, and quickly flick on the lights, you may spot mice scurrying along the baseboards. You may also spot a large man/child, motionless in front of the open refrigerator. Both are startled easily and will flee back to their nests.


4. Speaking of nests...mice like quiet, dark, undisturbed spots for their lairs. They will shred paper and cloth to make it soft and warm. College kids home for the summer oftentimes build nests in their old bedrooms using several Rubbermaid storage tubs, every single blanket in the house and various articles of your clothing. They will sometimes overtake sectional sofas as well.


5. You can hear them at night. With mice, you will hear scuttling, gnawing and scratching noises. With college kids, you will hear scuttling, gnawing and scratching noises along with the THUP THUP THUP bass drops of Skrillex and Diplo.


6. They kind of stink. Mice emit a musky odor. Depending upon the sex of your college kid, the odors emitted may be musky in an Old Spice/dirty laundry way, or it may smell like a Bath and Body Works store has exploded in what used to be your daughter’s bedroom.


7. The excrement of mice can be dangerous. The excrement of college kids isn’t so much dangerous as it is annoying. Did all of your roommates get pee on the bathroom walls, son? Or is that just your way of marking your territory here at home? And oh, my darling daughter: toilet paper might have been “free” in the dorm, but it’s not here. Ease up, Miss Wipes-A-Lot.


Those are just a few ways a mouse infestation and kids home for the summer are alike. Of course, we deal with the two issues in entirely different ways. With mice, we set traps and call the Orkin guys. With the kids, we sneak hugs and have intelligent conversations and marvel over how fast the years have gone by.  


The hardest part of this experience is knowing that the mice will always be back. The kids? There will come a time, very soon, when they will nest elsewhere and your house will be quiet, mess-free and the fridge will always remain full. It’s going to be pretty cool, I’m sure...but I have a feeling it will always seem like something, someone, is missing.

Enjoy them, and the summer, while it lasts.
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