Tales from the bar

Wow, I haven’t written anything in a while. Sorry, I’m working more and life is beating me down, I can barely muster up the energy to make my move in “Words With Friends” lately, nevermind structure something interesting and worthy of reading.  It isn’t that I’m lacking material. On the contrary, because I have been working so much, I have a  virtual treasure trove of crazy shit that has been piling up in my mind, so much that I am concerned my leaky brain is allowing these stories to escape before I can get them down. Therefore, I am going to attempt to get back on track with my regularly scheduled posting.

Most nights behind the bar offer an interesting story, although they tend to become repititious….drunk, belligerent customers, screaming, laughing women who are discussing penis size entirely to loudly, server arguments that become heated fistfights in the kitchen, check jumpers that I have to chase into the parking lot. I was recently forced to participate in a “bartender championship”, which basically entailed having my old ass throw bottles around timed to music. It was obnoxious, stressful and annoying, but at least it broke up the monotony of my normal workplace activities.

Another constant but interesting facet of being a bartender is that you tend to get hit on often. This is  something that used to irritate me in my younger years, but I have to admit that the older I get, the more appreciative I am of this occupational hazard.  The bar where I work is often frequented by African-American men, who tell me that they love me for my FA (definition: “fine ass”.  I interpret it as “fat ass”, but whatever). Truthfully, I do have a little too much junk in my trunk, but in the humble opinion of the men who frequent my bar, too much is never enough (this is what they have told me, I shit you not). I think that is the reason why I have continued to work in Manassas, I shamefully like the attention.  FA appreciators aside, in general the quality of gentleman who are now asking me out on dates has been downgraded, and handsome young businessmen have been replaced by toothless 55-year-old men wearing Hawaiian shirts. I am also being wooed on a nightly basis by a crazy old margarita drinking guy who never tips. COMDG always wants to hang out with me after work (yeah, sounds great, I’ll see you at 3AM!) and constantly tells me how beautiful I am. Yes, it’s a lovely compliment, but I think his perception is a little off, since he has the misfortune of having only one working eye.  Ahh, whatever, at this point I’ll take the compliments where I can get them, when the attention stops I’ll definitely know it’s time to shelve the beer popper and hang up the wine key. Working behind the bar is a lot of things, but it is rarely boring, and for that I am usually grateful.

The other night I was able to add another story to my ever-growing collection of bat-shit crazy bar experiences. I started thinking of my most told bartender stories, so I’ve decided to compile a list. I apologize if you’ve heard them, most of the people who have known me a while have heard all my stories over and over, so much that they probably throw me an eye roll when I start in on a story for the 6,437th time.  So if you are one of those people or if you are easily offended, quit reading now, because there is definitely some offensive material here. For those who wish to continue, I present to you some of my top bartending tales, in chronological order.

December, 2000

This is not so much a story about me, but about my  friend Miranda. As you work your way through bar after bar over the years, you tend to pick up some good friends along the way, and Miranda is one of them. My husband, sister and I had to good fortune of bartending with her about 10 years ago, and now she can’t shake us. Not only was she a kick ass bartender, but she is also one of the kindest women I have ever known, and has the ability to make me laugh so hard that I have to change my underpants. Truthfully, I could fill a book with Miranda stories, but this one is my favorite.

Miranda was pregnant with her son, very pregnant.  I am presently working with several girls who are close to giving birth, and I am always amazed by their stamina. I am personally a big  weenie, and at about 6 weeks into my pregnancies I would bow out, take a leave of absence and drop all the bill paying at Bob’s feet for the next 9 months. However, Miranda was one of these women that kept on keeping on right up until her due date, for which I give her tremendous props.

Anyway, super pregnant Miranda was working point that night, which means that she was taking care of anyone who decided to sit up at the front of the bar. A group of preppy college kids came in, complete with their polo shirts and twin set sweaters, and sat down at the front corner of the bar. That front corner sucked big time. A poorly placed beer cooler blocked the ability to reach the bar top without standing on your toes and stretching, so you can imagine that a 37 week pregnant belly made serving that area nearly impossible. Still, Miranda grabbed a bar towel, went over to greet the children of privilege sitting in the corner, and started wiping the bar down to the best of her ability. It seemed that Muffy expected a perfectly clean bar prior to indulging in her 5 appletinis and the drunken frat house romp that surely followed. She outstretched her french nail tip and pointed at an unreachable area of the bar. “Ummm, you missed a spot..”  Miranda stared at the girl for a minute, and then jumped on top of the cooler and climbed on to the bar top. Her baby belly rested right in front of Muffy, and she started scrubbing the “missed spot” furiously. “THIS SPOT? THIS ONE RIGHT HERE? DID I GET IT? IS IT GOOD NOW?” Muffy nodded, Miranda climbed down, and the rest of us were rendered helpless for the next few minutes because we were doubled over with laughter. Gee, I hope it was clean enough for her. Lesson learned, Muffy: it’s best not to fuck with the bartender, and you DEFINITELY don’t want to fuck with a pregnant bartender. She’s lucky she didn’t get slapped.

January, 2002

Part of my uniform, no matter where I worked, was a pair of black pants or a skirt. Because I tend to beat the hell out of my work clothes, I am always looking for a bargain pair of pants that I can add to my collection. One day my sister and I were out shopping and I found a cute pair of pants that fit me right and were on sale, so I picked them up and planned on wearing them that night. Unfortunately, when I was getting dressed I realized that the material was so thin that I had a very defined panty line. I asked my sister for help.

“Do you think I can get away with this?”

“No, it looks like shit. Just wear a thong.”

“I don’t have any, I hate them. It’s like having a wedgie all night long that you just can’t pick.”

“So just go commando. You are just about the only person that wears underwear there anyway.”

I don’t like going commando, I’m a big fan of the underpants. But I had waited too long to try on the pants, and I didn’t have time to wash an old pair. I took my sister’s advice and went to work with a nice smooth booty, underpants free.

We had a great deal of liquor on display at that bar, and cleaning duty for that night was to get up on a ladder and clean the display bottles. I was working my way around the bar, going up and down the ladder as service bar tickets needed to be made. While I was making a strawberry daiquiri for a table, I spilled strawberry puree all over my leg. I turned to the other bartender and showed her the mess.

“Look what I just did to my brand new pants!”

“Yeah, that sucks. You better take care of that.”

She had a weird look on her face as she walked away, a little too weird for just some  puree all over my leg. Whatever, I grabbed a towel and went in the back to clean myself up. While I was wiping my leg, my sister  came into the kitchen to dump some dishes, and I turned to her and showed her my pants. She looked at me, her mouth dropped open, and saying she started to laugh is an understatement. She grabbed me by my shoulders, directed me into the employee bathroom and pushed me in front of the mirror.

My bargain pants turned out to be not so much a bargain, because they had split wide open, from the bottom of the zipper to the middle of my crotch. My “winter bush” was hanging out, for all the world to see. (I tend to shave less in the winter months, because why bother? It’s a good thing it wasn’t summer.) So I had been going up and down that ladder all night, my exposed crotch at the eye level of every bar guest. Not one person told me.

A very nice boy who worked with us went to the store and bought me a sewing kit, and I sat on the toilet and sewed my pants back together so I could get through the rest of the night. I also threw on an extra long t-shirt, just in case my sewing skills weren’t up to par. When I asked the other bartender why she didn’t tell me, she said I thought I knew. Really? I knew my bush was hanging out and I was cool with it? Okay then.

Oddly, I have no shame about this incident, which leads me to believe that I am more of an exhibitionist than I thought. I have told the story a million times, so I guess this makes it a million and one. The most common question I get is if I saw an increase in tips that night. Sadly, the answer is no.

July, 2011

Our bar is in very close proximity to a concert venue, it is maybe 4 or 5 miles away. The concerts generate some decent business, before and after we are always busy with people on their way there or on their way back. We always get our fair share of concert going weirdos, but how weird they are depends on who’s playing. Stevie Nicks had a concert on this particular night, and while we did get a few people dressed up in Stevie-ish hats and scarves, for the most part the guests we saw were pretty normal.

After the concert, two women walked in who had come up from southern VA to see Stevie. They were dressed fairly conservatively, both were wearing nice, nondescript dresses, blond hair pulled up, with quiet jewelry and expensive hand bags. They ate dinner and were drinking champagne splits. They were staying in the hotel next to the bar, and after an hour or so one of the women decided that she was tired and wanted to leave. The other woman, Barbara (I won’t ever forget her name) wanted to stay and drink a little more, so she was left alone and started a friendly conversation with the couple sitting next to her.

I have to assume that Barbara was not usually a big drinker, because after 3 glasses of champagne, she really started to loosen up. The conversation went from a polite chat about her children’s school too her recently acquired boob job. I find that women who have breast augmentation do not find it enough to just talk about it, they often have to offer a visual as well, and Barbara was no exception. I turned and looked down the end of the bar to find that she had completely pulled down the top of her dress, and she was cupping a huge tit in each hand, bouncing them up and down. What the fuck. I ran over there and convinced her to cover those babies up, which she did with apologies.

Well, the fun didn’t end there. A group of people walked in for a drink right before last call, and Barbara apparently found it unacceptable that there were people present who had not yet seen her bodacious ta tas. This time she pulled her entire dress up over her head, pink granny panties showing, now exposing not only her knockers but also her less than fit belly, complete with her c-section scar.

I asked her again to cover up. Instead, she went to an open booth, laid down and explained that she wanted to demonstrate how she could bounce quarters off her stomach. Really, lady? Thankfully enough, it was now 2 AM, so it was time to send Barbara and everyone else packing. The nice couple who were sitting next to her volunteered to walk her to her hotel so she would get there safely, or maybe they planned on setting up a night of swinging. I don’t really know what the hell was going on there, but I was thankful that I didn’t have to walk her there myself. Later Barbara, time to go home to your husband and kids, I guess we’ll see you and your titties next time Stevie Nicks rolls around.

October, 2011

Last week, I was working my usual uneventful  Sunday night shift with my friend Chris, when an old couple came into the bar. They were  both probably in their late 70’s, early 80’s, they walked very slowly, the lady had a little trouble getting up on the bar stool. The old man was bald, wearing a tweed chappy and an outdated suit, the lady had  very short, grey hair, a flowered dress, and bifocals on a chain. They ordered two Cadillac margaritas.

While they were drinking and snuggling up with each other, the lady announced that they were “pre-engaged.”  She showed us her ring, and informed us that she was wearing it on her right hand, and if she said yes, she would move it to her left. I oohed and ahhed appropriately, and went about my business.

Lovie and Thurston were clearly dying to tell us their love story, and since I didn’t have a whole hell of a lot going on at the time, I stood and politely listened. Here is how the conversation went.

“We have been friends for 40 years! We met in 1971, I was in the Air Force and her husband was my best friend!”

“That’s right, he was, they were best friends.”

“Yup, and we were friends too, and we were always attracted to each other, but we were both married to different people, so we never did anything.”

“That’s right, we didn’t. I was also friends with his wife, but my husband, well he was a motherfucker!”

“That’s true! He was a motherfucker! Right to his core, that motherfucker!”

Um, excuse me? Did they really just say that? Okay….

“Um, well, that’s a long time. It’s nice that you found each other again after all those years.”

“It sure is. My daughter became terminally ill, with the same ailment from which his daughter had just died, so I called him to talk to him about it.”

“Cancer. They had cancer, and I knew what to expect, so she called me, and I was living in California, so I told her to come and see me. So after her daughter died she did come and see me, and stayed for a week!”

“Well, I’m very sorry to hear about your daughters.”

“Thank you dear. Anyway, I went out to see him, and we fell in love.”

“But I didn’t fuck her! Not once!!”

“That’s right, he didn’t fuck me at all!”

Okay, now this just can’t be happening. I started looking around to see if anyone else was hearing this conversation, no one was. Maybe I was being punk’d, or they were bringing Candid Camera back on TV, because this conversation was just too insane.

“Um, well, that’s good, very respectful, I guess.”

“That’s right, we were being respectful, because she was still married to the motherfucker, so she had to get out of that. So she went home and ended her marriage.”

“50 years I was married to that motherfucker! 50 years! So I broke it off, and I went back to California, and I stayed for 3 weeks.”

“THEN I fucked her! Isn’t that right, honey?”

“You, sure did!”

“I fucked her so hard she couldn’t see straight! All night long! I fucked her, and then gave her the cunnilingus!”

“That’s right, he did! He fucked me good! And now we are pre-engaged, because I haven’t said yes yet, and when I do I’ll move the ring to my left hand.”

“So now we are going to go back to our hotel and fuck some more. We’ll take the check.”

“Okay, I’ll get that for you. Thanks for telling me your story.”

“Thank you for listening dear, we love to tell it.”

I bet you do, and you tell it so well. Holy shit.

They paid the check, hobbled out, and I guess got busy next door. I don’t know how I kept a straight face, I’m not sure I did. All I know is that once they left, I started laughing so hard I couldn’t even tell the story. Chris was thankful he wasn’t the recipient of the tale, because he isn’t sure what he would have done. I, however, will be ever grateful, another awesome reminder to never judge a book by its cover.

So there you have it. Like I said, my job is many, many things, but it is rarely boring.

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Follow up on yesterday’s post

Just wanted to write a quick note about yesterday’s post. I followed up with Robby’s teachers and case worker, and he will not be put into the CBI program for employment training at this time.  There are scheduled trips that fall under the CBI program for funding purposes, but they involve other subjects, such as science and history (for example, there is a trip planned to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.)  While the paperwork outlined information for vocational training under the CBI program, it is a blanket permission slip and information package that is put out by the school system to cover all trips for the special needs classes.  For that, I will sign.

In addition, there is a tremendous amount of time during his school day that will be focused on reading, his teacher has her masters degree in education for special needs students, specializing in reading. We are taking a back to basics approach, focusing on sight words at school as well as at home, and I am still going to look for some additional support from a tutor a few days a week. She will be sending me information about the program they will be using, so I can follow-up with the same program at home.

His teacher also discussed with me what I hope for Robby’s future education. I explained to her that once we get past the reading, that he will be capable of doing just about anything.  She took great interest in what Robby had in mind for his future, and the path we need to take to get him there. For that I am extremely grateful.

I have once again, underestimated this wonderful school system. Over and over again I am surprised by the amazing programs it offers, and high how they raise the bar in this area for all their students. It seems that Robby’s education is no exception. I was too quick to assume the worst, but after speaking to several teachers I am convinced that they do have his best interest in mind.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation to make sure that it stays that way.

More Autism fun….Not Giving Up On Robby Roo.

I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately. For those who have been keeping track, or give a shit at all, it has been two weeks since my last post. I’ve been tired and busy, and unfortunately no one is yet paying me to blabber on about whatever is spewing from my mind. I sat down to write today because there are things that are weighing heavy on my mind, and I need to get it all down. Therapy, I guess.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my son lately. Well, let me rephrase that. I always think about my son a lot, but lately it has been excessive. He entered high school this year, and is heading toward adulthood at a pace that is quicker than I care to admit. He has grown taller, his voice is deeper, he has lost what was left of the baby look on his face. These things are all wonderful and hard to deal with at the same time, I imagine most parents feel the same way when their children enter their teen years. However, for me, my son becoming an adult has some tangled strings attached. His autism leaves us with too many questions about his future, and my worry keeps me up at night. When I get past the worry enough to finally fall asleep, I dream about my son.  

Robby’s autism hovers in a gray area of disability, there is nothing black and white about it. His autism is considered mild in most circles, he is very self-sufficient, can speak well, and doesn’t have too much trouble expressing his feelings or processing the feelings of others. He has some social issues, but none that cause too much concern. I’ve met many people who are not on  the autistic spectrum that are more introverted and awkward in social situations than my son. This thing that has a hold of him makes life very complicated, because he is extremely intelligent, yet struggles academically. His problems lie mostly in language; he knows what he wants to say, but has trouble finding the words. Words are a hinderance, both spoken and written. He can sound out a word when reading, but never quite gets to a place where he is fluent. He explains that there is a cloud in his head that keeps him from finding the right word, or seeing a word as a whole when he is reading. I wish I could understand more, I wish I could lift the cloud, so he could see things clearly and carry on with his life. I just don’t think I can.

His language disabilities affect every area of his life, but they bear the most weight when he is in school. Almost every aspect of learning in a classroom setting involves reading. Until he is able to finally clear this hurdle, he will not be able to progress. He is stagnant at a grade school level, unable to move forward because his reading, writing and comprehension are so far behind his grade level. Every assignment is a painful task, every minute of his school day is frustrating. We have failed him somehow, despite the years of focusing on his reading skills. Now I am left with the question of what we can possibly do next.

Do you know how much a special needs tutor costs? Probably not. Well, the least expensive option I have found is $80 an hour. $80 an hour to tutor one child who desperately needs help. I’m confused by this pricing…I don’t know of a single teacher who makes that kind of money, even in the special education field. Let me do the math for you…a 40 hour week at $80 an hour would gross $166,400 a year. Okay then. Robby’s problems are extensive, so I figure we would need at least 4 hours a week. That’s almost $1300 a month. If you have been reading this blog, you know that right now we have a better chance of seeing God than coming up with an extra $1300 a month.  I’ve looked into financial assistance, and we qualify for none of it, which I find hysterical. So let me break it down….we are simultaneously too poor and too rich to help our child finally learn to read. More shades of gray.

So I’m looking into other options now. I’m hoping I can find someone who doesn’t necessarily specialize in special needs kid, just some sort of basic reading support. I’m hitting brick walls here as well, but I know there has to be someone who can help this boy. I wonder if someone will help us in trade? I could watch their kids. I could clean their house. (I may as well clean someone”s house, even if I’m not cleaning my own.) A reading tutor in exchange for sex? Would that work? Hell,  I’m willing to do anything I have to do to get this kid to read, and I don’t think Bob would mind taking one for the team, either. I’ll have to remind myself to mention that idea to him later.

As I was going back and forth trying to figure out where I could find some extra reading help for Robby, he handed me a permission slip I was to sign and return. I started reading the paperwork,  because I tend to like to read these things before I sign them.  As I was going through the details of the permission slip, my face started to burn red, my stomach tied itself in knots, and I became extremely agitated. Because you see, this wasn’t an ordinary permission slip, no school trips here. It was permission to allow my son to work for free in some kid of community based vocational training program. They want to take my son out of school, so he can spend a part of his day bagging groceries, stocking shelves, washing windows. I am wracking my brain trying to find extra academic help, and they actually want to take away from his academics so he can learn what they consider “life skills”. Wouldn’t that time be better spent in a remedial reading class? Boning up on some math skills? Learning about science and history? You know, learning the things that one tends to learn in school?  “Community Based Instruction promotes the acquisition of skills necessary for independent functioning within the community.” Is bagging groceries really a life skill that needs to be acquired, in place  of working on his academic weaknesses? I think he has that one down, he’s very helpful when we go to the food store together, I haven’t had to bag my own shit in years. He even knows that the bread goes on top.

I feel like they have given up on my son. The are telling him to be realistic, preparing him for a life of mediocrity, because they assume that his disability will prevent him from achieving more. They want him to bag groceries and stock shelves. I want him to catch up on his reading skills and prepare for college, or a decent paying skilled trade. Clearly there is a difference in opinion here. I really don’t mean any disrespect to the program, or the children that participate. For some, I’m sure the program is a good fit. But I know my son, better than anyone, and I know that he is capable of more if given the chance. The boy who peppers me daily with questions about science, transportation, and how things operate can surely reach for the sky, despite the clouds in his brain that have been holding him back.

The teachers have probably decided that I am yet another unrealistic parent, unable to deal with the limitations of my child’s disabilities. Maybe that’s true, I refuse to settle into the idea that my son’s disabilities define him, or that they define what he can achieve.  Isn’t it my job as a parent to promote the idea that he can do anything, in spite of the road blocks that life has thrown at him? Sure, it’s a struggle. Life itself is a struggle, for everyone.  If, at the end of his school years, we are faced with a situation where bagging groceries is the best he can do, than so be it, I’m sure he will be the best bagger that ever bagged anything, and I will support him. I’m sure the on the job training he would get at that time would be sufficient, without the high school warm up.  And I’ll be damned if they are going to have him work someplace for free, as if they are doing him some sort of favor, a community give-back to those with special needs.  Right now, at only 14 years old,  I am not ready to accept that as his fate, and neither is he. I will not sign that permission slip, abso-fucking-lutely not.  I will not give up on my son.

I know I sound like an asshole, I really do. I understand that they are simply offering a chance to learn what it is like to go to work, and have adult responsibilities. I get that. There is definitely a benefit to a working vocational program, and I would have no issues with idea if they were actually teaching him a vocation, like they do for the “regular” kids who want to learn a trade.  Unfortunately, this is different, they are not teaching him a trade. They are teaching him to settle. I ended up settling with myself, and now I work a bullshit job. I have bigger dreams for my children, with no exceptions.

A somewhat comical add-on to all this came in the mail yesterday. We received a letter  that invited Robby to participate in a foreign exchange program next summer. They offered him an opportunity to study in abroad. Hmmm. I’m thinking the school system needs to get their shit together, and work out some communication issues. Unless, of course, they are planning on having him stock shelves and bag groceries in China.

Blah.

“Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” John Cougar Mellencamp, Jack and Diane, 1982

You’ve got that right, Jack. I’m not finding much thrill in anything these days, and all I have to say right now is blah. Specifically, I would like to say blah to the following things:

 These headaches that feel like someone has inflated a balloon inside my sinuses, the pressure never-ceasing no matter what over the counter bullshit drugs I take.

 The mountain of laundry in my basement, the clothes I have to go through to see what still fits, what I will be discarding and what will be stored away as future hand-me-downs.

 The stupidity of my job, with my immediate hatred for every person that sits down. The knowledge that I have to perform like an all-star and make no mistakes, with the hope that in the end they will leave me a decent tip. The idea that I have to “depend on the kindness of strangers” to get paid (a little “Streetcar Named Desire” for you). My entire weekend being spent at work, while I cater to people who able to spend their weekends doing more enjoyable things. The people who get to spend time with their spouses and their children, while I’m busy mixing up Island Punches and drawing beers for happy couples.

The bastard ants that have invaded my home, and won’t retreat no mater what caustic concoction I use to block their path. The kids who can’t get it through their heads that one stray potato chip left on the floor is all that is necessary for an entire colony to come a callin’.

The rooms that never stay clean, having to clean them again, over and over, like I’m playing out a scene in “Groundhog Day”. Cooking dinner every night, and my inability to come up with a creative, delicious meal that everyone will eat.

School shopping, orientations, back to school nights. This summer that is over without my having enjoyed it, and that I will soon have to live on 2 hours of sleep per night because I need to get my son on a 6:30 AM bus.

The fact that this week’s  paycheck had already been spent before it even hit our bank account, and because we have been working our asses off for years with not much to show for it.

 Blah blah BLAH.

I suppose it’s easy to tell that I’ve landed in a valley of pessimism, so to speak. I run on these highs and lows, some might call it a disorder, but I disagree. I’ve tried the drugs on TV that make the sad little cartoon guy into a happy little cartoon guy. They may work for him, but the only thing they did for me was give me jaw clenching head pain and a few extra pounds on my ass. They warn you about the side effects on the commercial, but you don’t pay attention to the fine print, you focus on becoming a happy little cartoon guy yourself and ignore the fast talking announcer who tells you the dangers of their drug, as to prevent future lawsuits. The fact that the pills the cartoon guy is pushing may decrease your libido, increase your desire to kill yourself and saddle you up with an everlasting twitch doesn’t matter, you want to be HAPPY, dammit, even if it means you have to wash down some serious mind altering chemicals to do so.

So I’ve cast the drugs aside, because I truly believe that the only disorder I own is eternal crabbiness, caused by the feeling that I have been beat down by day-to-day life. My newest thought is that the only thing that will help me is not a drug, but creating my own happiness. How the hell do I do that? How do I force the “thrill of living” back into my life, when my life is so overcrowded with doing things that irritate me from the minute I wake up until I finally fall asleep? Take a vacation? Nope, you need money to do that, and eventually you have to come back. Join a club? No, I hate clubs. I don’t mind being social, but it has to be my idea and in a less organized fashion. Run away? Now there’s an idea. “They made up their minds, and they started packing, they left before the sun was up that day…”(The Way by Fastball, 1998). The big hitch with that one is that I like my family, most of the time anyway. High tailing it out of here would definitely cause them some future issues, including the inability to trust human beings, the need for some serious therapy, and possibly some sort of substance abuse. I love them too much to do that, and I would probably miss them after a few weeks or so anyway. So what is a girl to do to get away from it all?

I decided to write. As it turns out, I like it. I vaguely remember liking it years ago, long before I had to worry about who I was responsible for and what bills I have to pay. Now it’s my escape. But like any good escape, there is a catch. Find something you like to do purely for pleasure, and eventually you will be racking your brain, trying to figure out how to turn your pleasure into profit. So that is where I am now, writing as often as I can while entertaining delusions. Delusions  that somehow I will be able to turn this little thing into something big, that I will someday have my writing published, that more than 100 people a day will want to read about my random bullshit, and pay to do so. Delusions of grandeur.

If my delusions ever came to be, I could probably scratch a few things off the above blah list. I could probably get rid of them all, now that I think about it, because having money is power, or so I’ve heard. I could pay someone to do everything on the blah list, really. Exciting stuff. I wonder if I would still enjoy writing, if it ever became something I had to do? Would it still be my escape, or would it become number one on my blah list, simply because I don’t enjoy being told that I have to do anything? Am I just that naturally crabby that nothing would really make me happy? I don’t know, but I am sure as hell willing to find out. I’m going to give it a try, and maybe someday people will pay to read about whatever craziness escapes my head and lands on a written page. I tremble at the thought.

It seems I had more to say than just blah. My mistake.

You Gotta Have a Gimmick

I entered my bedroom last night to find my husband watching a documentary. I was initially surprised, because he is not a huge documentary viewer, although I have definitely seen him watch a sports documentary now and again. At that time of the night he is usually tuned in to a rerun of “Two and a Half Men”, so I was thrilled for the change up. The movie was called “Burly Q”, and it detailed  the history of burlesque. I sat down to watch this very interesting film, it focused mainly on the strippers of the golden age. Because it was on Showtime it wasn’t censored at all, and contained an abundance of titty shots. I suppose that explains why Bob put down the remote.

The movie had me captivated. I loved watching the beautiful women dance around the stage, removing articles of clothing one at a time, first a glove, then another, a stocking, a skirt, until they were left wearing nothing but a g-string and pasties. They would flash gorgeous pictures of these women in their heyday, sexy posters of headliners in their 20’s.  The old footage was followed up by present day interviews, old ass strippers who were now in their 80’s, barely resembling the stunning women we had just observed dancing and baring all. They were telling their stories in detail, and dishing the dirt about other strippers. I loved it.

The “then and now” aspect of the film was extremely interesting.  Bob and I discussed how we would sometimes look at old women and try to make out what they looked like before time caught up with them. When you looked past their aging faces and into their eyes, you could see the younger version of the old women giving the interview.  Their faces would be wrinkled and drooping, but their eyes would stay the same. Some had aged gracefully, but most not so much.  Some obviously had a tremendous amount of work done on their faces. I totally get wanting to look younger, but an 80-year-old woman with a tight jaw line and no wrinkles is just weird. I suspect accepting the aging process was difficult for these women, when your entire career is centered on how you look, succumbing to the wrinkles of old age is not an easy pill to swallow. My present day life has nothing to do with how I look, but I’m still not thrilled about the bags under my eyes or my drooping chin. These women sadly discussed how they thought that they would stay young forever, and how difficult it was to accept their aging. There were even some women who hid themselves away in their old age, and a few who committed suicide.  How sad that an entire life is defined by beauty, so much that the natural aging process made these women feel like life was no longer worth living.

There was some discussion about Gypsy Rose Lee, probably the most famous stripper ever. These old broads had nothing nice to say about old Gypsy. Apparently, she was rude, unattractive, did not have a good body, and couldn’t sing, speak or dance. I loved hearing these catty old ladies tear her apart, it cracked me up that an entire broadway show was based on this woman’s story, and her peers hated her. Classic. My personal favorite was a stripper named Tempest Storm, who was so famous back in the day that her breasts were insured by Lloyds of London for a million dollars. She is 83 years old now, but she still sports a huge mane of curly red hair, and didn’t retire until she was almost 70. I have no idea who was paying to see a 70-year-old woman strip, but the whole idea of her refusal to hang up the pasties makes me smile.

I’m sad to say that the golden age of burlesque ended when porn became mainstream. The strippers were finding it difficult to draw a crowd when the theater across the street was presenting a XXX film. It’s a sad state of affairs the way things are today, just seeing a nude body is nothing now, and in this age of the internet nothing is left to the imagination. Once upon a time a little flash of tit and ass would sell out theaters, and every bump and grind would make the audience scream. These days a nearly naked woman waving feathers or emerging from an oyster shell would produce nothing but a collective yawn.

At the end of the movie, I concluded that I was born about 50 years later than I should have been, because I would have made an excellent burlesque stripper. Those women came in all shapes and sizes, so while my smallish tit factor may have kept me from becoming a headliner, I’m sure I could have pulled in a crowd. Hell, since I’m pretending I was born in the 20’s, I may as well pretend I was born in the 20’s with a D cup. I would have come up with an awesome gimmick and bared all. Those women were making decent money, they had furs, diamonds, and men falling all over them. They all swear that their time in the spotlight was the best time of their lives. I totally could have toured the country, dancing and stripping, bumping and grinding with the best of them.  They weren’t  like today’s strippers, the down and dirty snatch in your face kind of stripping. These women had class, and what they did was an art form.

Yes, I was definitely born 50 years too late, I would have made a hell of a stripper. Now, back to cleaning my kitchen. Maybe I’ll do it in the nude, my own personal tribute to the days of burlesque.

Hindsight

I started dating my husband when I was 22 years old. During those first few years of dating, he bought me several gifts that are still floating around our house. A stuffed monkey named Milton, a gift on Mother’s day long before I was anyone’s mother. A watch for valentine’s day that lives in my underwear drawer (it hasn’t worked for years). He has bought me jewelry, Lladro, and a hope chest he had refinished (it eventually had to be thrown away, it had broken into several pieces and became unrepairable and dangerous. I’m still sad about that.) Flowers, candy, clothes. I’m not sure what I bought for him in return, obviously something less memorable, but I’m positive I must have thrown a gift or two his way over the years.

I started thinking about all the things he gave me over the years because of one particular item, a gold bracelet that comes along with an unpleasant story. We were together for about a year or so, and we had plans to go out for the night. We would often start our evenings off at a local bar where he worked, and we were sitting at that bar when an old friend of his showed up. I don’t think it was a coincidence, I think there was some behind-my-back planning that went on there, which I’m sure neither one of them would ever admit. Anyway, “spur of the moment” plans were made to go to Atlantic City, and when it was time to leave I was surprised to find that I wasn’t invited, and I was told to go home. I flipped out and an argument ensued, which escalated into a screaming fight in the parking lot. I can’t recall exactly what was said, but at some point I attempted to smack Bob in the face (yeah, I’m crazy, I know) and my bracelet flew off my arm mid smack. I hopped in my car and left, accidentally running over the bracelet in the process.  I can’t remember if Bob found the bracelet that night or if I went back the next day, but I did get it back, all flattened and twisted. We tried to have it repaired, and it was fixed somewhat, but it basically remained a broken piece of gold. It has been tucked away in the back of my drawer for almost 2 decades, useless as a piece of jewelry, but a reminder of how far we have come, and the problems we had to overcome to get us here.

I love looking back at moments that, at the time, I didn’t realize would remain embedded in my memory. I love the knowledge that comes along with hindsight. “If I knew then what I know now….” it isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes it’s just funny to later understand that you were experiencing a life changing event without even realizing it.  I had crossed paths with my husband long before I ever actually saw him. He worked in places I would frequent, first a pizza parlor and then an ice cream shop. I’m sure he had made me several hot fudge sundaes when I was a kid. Wednesdays were “buy one get one free” at Carvel, my father would often bring us there on Wednesdays as a summertime treat. I wasn’t aware that my future husband was scooping my ice cream, as he was always working the busy Wednesday nights at the Jackson Carvel. I wonder if I ever noticed him behind the counter, the hard working  teenage boy who held a part-time job, working to save money when he wasn’t at  school or soccer practice.

 It would be 10 years before I would actually see Bob for the first time. It was about 3AM, and I was at a diner with my friends. A few tables away was a handsome man with jet black hair, black pants and a white shirt, eating a piece of chocolate cake. A friend of mine had recently broken up with her boyfriend, and we were encouraging her to talk to the cute guy who was sitting alone. She had just about summoned up enough courage to introduce herself, when he left to go sit with some friends on the other side of the diner. We ran into “Chocolate Cake Guy” at a bar a few months later, and then again a few months after that. We had mutual friends, we had now had a few conversations, but he was dating a girl I knew from high school, and I had a boyfriend. It would be another year before we finally got together.

When I think about it, I realize that fate had been throwing us together in one way or another from the time I was 11 or 12 years old. I laugh when I think about “Chocolate Cake Guy”…. I was experiencing a life changing moment, and I wasn’t even aware of it. I was trying to get my friend to introduce herself to this man who would become my whole life. I was looking at a random guy in a diner at 3AM, completely unaware of the fact that for the first time, I was seeing the father of my children. He was my future, and at the time I didn’t even give him a second thought. Life is filled with these little amazing things… starting elementary school and meeting friends you will keep for life (my friends Sue and Jacki). Applying for a job that dictates what you do for the next 15 years (thanks a lot, TGI Friday’s). Conceiving your child without trying (whoops! I did that three times!). Quitting school thinking you will eventually go back (it only took me 20 years). Getting in a car to go to work only to get in an accident on the way there (my brother in law Kevin can tell you about that).  Smoking a cigarette and starting a hard to shake addiction. Buying a winning lottery ticket (I’m still waiting for that one). Life changing moments.

Here I sit, reminiscing  about my past, with my flattened, twisted bracelet in my hand from so many years ago. Why did I finally pull it out from the depths of my underwear drawer? Well, gold is now at an all time high, as are our expenses. Fall is upon us, school is about to start, and Chocolate Cake Guy and I have four children that need new sneakers, clothes and soccer cleats. Therefore, I’ve decided that I’m going to sell the ill-fated bracelet. After all, the memory attached to it isn’t going anywhere (as awful as it is), whether or not I own the twisted piece of gold. Who would have thought that the bracelet I ran over with my car in fury would someday be used to put shoes on the feet of our future children?  I’m a little sad to see it go, but I would be more upset not giving the kids at least one swanky new outfit to start off the school year. I still have plenty of gifts left that awaken better memories, including Milton the Monkey who now resides in our daughter’s room, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe selling the bracelet will be a life changing moment, I’ll set aside a few dollars and pick up a couple of lottery tickets. You never know.

Just Another Autism Post.

Reality has smacked me in my face.

I was at work the other night, standing around doing not much of anything. I think there was maybe one guy at the bar, and the only thing rolling into service bar was the occasional slushy or kid’s chocolate milk. My boredom left me to observe the few people who had wandered into our restaurant on a rainy Monday night, I sometimes like to people watch and try to figure out their deal.  As I was pretending to wipe down the empty bar for the 35th time, a family of five walked through the door. Elderly parents, mid to late 60’s. A man and a woman in their 30’s, obviously a couple. Then there was the fifth family member, a man also in his 30’s. But this man was different from the other man who I am assuming is his brother.  He wasn’t different because of anything physical, he had a perfectly normal face, handsome even. He was tall, broad-shouldered. The difference was the way he carried himself, his expression, a look in his eyes. The way he held on to his mother’s hand like he was a little boy. This man had a developmental disability….it was clear to me that he was autistic.

I watched them sit at their table, look over the menus. I watched his mother help him decided what he was going to eat, pointing things out on his menu. I watched the waiter take their order, and I watched him roll his eyes as he headed back to the kitchen. I immediately headed into the kitchen behind the waiter, ready to pounce on him if I heard any crude remarks about the “retard” at his table.  I already have a deep dislike for that kid, he is 23 years old, annoyingly cocky and sports a faux-hawk that just screams “I’m an asshole”. I found out recently that he has a child somewhere that he hasn’t seen in over a year and doesn’t support. He was sure to turn the man’s autism into some kind of a joke. I didn’t think I needed yet another reason to hate working with him, so I exercised some rational judgement and turned back to the bar.

At some point during all my looky-looing, I stopped seeing the man who was seated at the table, and I started seeing my son. The parents became my husband and I 2o years from now. I no longer saw the family that was actually there, I saw my own family. I saw our future, my son’s future, and the reality of it all crashed into my mind and left me feeling sick. A girl I work with asked me if I was okay, and I started to explain the expression on my face. I couldn’t finish, I choked up and started to cry. I walked into the back to compose myself, and I started to sob. There I was, standing on the prep line, crying about my son as if I had just been given the news that he is autistic. It has been 12 years since we made this discovery, why was I sitting here at work crying about it now? Shouldn’t I be able to deal with it at this point? Nope.

Here is the thing about having an autistic child (or any child with disabilities, I imagine); you grow accustomed to it on a day-to-day level.  You stop seeing the odd behaviors, you answer the random questions, you adhere to obsessive compulsive schedules so that life remains calm. You live in the present. When I look at my son, all I see is my child, my child who is wonderful one day, stubborn the next, a pain in the ass the day after that. I love him for who he is like I do all my children, the good and the bad. I see him through a mother’s eyes. Suddenly, something happens that makes you acutely aware of how the rest of the world sees your child, and you are aware of the challenges he will always face. The reality hits you like a brick, and sends you reeling. There problems that I can’t help him overcome. No matter what I say or do, I will have always failed when it comes to making his life easier.

I dedicated the following day to Robby, taking care of the random shit around the house that has been bothering him. Our desktop crashed a while ago,and he has been nagging me to take a look at it.  I finally sat down and got it working again. I programmed the cable remotes so that they controlled the TV. I bought a new power cord for our external hard drive, and I ordered a digital converter so the downstairs TV could once again get Nick and the Disney channel. I can fix all these little things to try to make him happy. But there are things that I will never be able to fix.

The day after “technology fix it day” I took my son shopping. My youngest sister and her boyfriend recently got engaged, and we were attending their engagement party this past weekend. Robby wanted a new “handsome guy” ensemble for the party, so instead of digging through his father’s old clothes I took him to the mall so he could pick something out.

“Are we going to get my tuxedo?”

“No Rob, the tuxedo is for the wedding. You just need to wear some nice clothes.”

“Okay, but I want to wear a tie. That’s what teenagers wear when they are going to a fancy party.”

“No problem, we’ll get you a tie. Now try on these pants.”

“Mom? I don’t want my belly to be so big. I would look better if it was smaller.”

“Okay Rob, but you have to exercise to do that. And we can’t make it smaller before Saturday.”

“Okay. Can my shirt be blue?”

“Your shirt can be any color you want, and you can wear a tie. We will try to make your belly smaller by the wedding. Now can you please just try on these pants?”

“Mom, I love you.”

“I love you too Rob. TRY ON THE PANTS!”

Four-five minutes and six pairs of black pants later, we were finally able to move on to the shirt and tie. He finally settled on a purple shirt with a matching tie that had blue in it (it was very important to have something blue). There was a women who was looking at shirts next to us, and she had an odd smell about her. Food or something, I don’t know, but it was pretty strong. Robby grabbed his nose and held it.

(Whispering) “Robby! Stop holding your nose! That’s so rude!”

(NOT whispering) “I can’t help it Mom! That smell! I can’t take it!”

The lady quickly left. Awesome. That’s not the first time that has happened, and I assume it won’t be the last. Robby then wanted to buy new shoes, but I insisted that his father had black shoes that he could wear, I was done with the shopping trip, and I wanted to get the hell out of there before someone else smelly decided they needed to shop in young men’s dress clothes. After questioning a very confused cashier about their security methods and what would happen if someone stole some clothes, we left the store.

Engagement party day came, and Robby was proud and handsome in his new clothes. For what it’s worth, he had a hell of a time. He was a dancing fool, happily jumping around with his sisters and cousins to the music provided by the DJ. I found myself scanning the crowd to make sure no one was mocking my son (no one was.) The party was family only, but there were people there who didn’t know Robby, and my back is always up. It’s a knee jerk reaction for me, something I am going to learn how to control.

 Robby is 14, well on his way to becoming an adult. I will not be able to always protect him from people who are less than kind, and I have to let go of the idea that I can. There will always be a kid who makes fun of him on the bus, there will always be a waiter who laughs at him when he goes back to the kitchen. I can’t stop these things, I can only try to teach him how to deal with them, and I have to teach myself how to deal with them as well. I have no idea how I am going to learn how to let go.

Flatulence 101

My husband is always suggesting new ideas for my blog. Some ideas aren’t bad, while others I find completely uninteresting. Most of the ideas push the boundaries of what I am willing to write about. For example, he has been pushing a piece on sex, a general listing of the different kinds of sexual partners there are out there. I’m sure there is plenty of material, but because I have only had one partner in the past 2 decades, it would be a stretch. I don’t think my memory goes back that far, and they say you should write about what you know (if he comes up with too many specific suggestions for the piece I am going to start becoming a little suspicious). Anyway, I have quite a few family members who read my blog and would rather not hear me discuss that particular subject, and  I’m not sure how well I can transition a post on Monday about my kids and a down and dirty post on Tuesday. Maybe if I get desperate enough for material, I don’t know, the jury is still out on that idea.

 One of the suggestions he came up with the other day was a fart post. I told him he was out of his damn mind, that no one wants to read about what comes out of  my ass, or his, for that matter. He insisted that it would be a great read, that people love that kind of shit (no pun intended). He went on about how Howard Stern made an entire career out of that sort nonsense, how funny it would be, blah blah. Bob loves Howard, it was no surprise to me that he mentioned him. He mentions him often, if Howard says a movie sucks, Bob believes it sucks. If Howard tells him he should do something, he pretty much wants to do it. I should call Howard and ask him if he will talk about how great it is to clean out the gutters, because those suckers are so clogged that a Niagra-like waterfall pours in front of my back door every time it rains.   On second thought, forget it. I don’t think even Howard could get Bob’s ass on the roof.

While it is unbelievable even to me, I have decided to take Bob’s advice and write a post dedicated to farts. We are big fans of toilet humor in my family from way back. Every Sunday dinner eventually makes its way around to a conversation about bodily functions, much to my mother’s dismay. “This isn’t table talk! It’s disgusting!” I disagree. I believe that we have proven, over and over again, that it is indeed table talk. Our farting/shitting/booby talk has withstood the test of time, and you really shouldn’t mess with what works. Once when we were kids, my brother and sisters and I must have been extremely bored, so we dedicated an entire photo shoot to toilet humor. We dressed up in crazy hats and darkened our eyebrows with mascara, made crazy faces and posed around the toilet for pictures. Just the presence of the bowl  made it funny to us, I’m not sure why.  We were right, it was funny. I still laugh when I see those pictures. I think I should dig them up on my next visit home and scan them, I think they should be preserved for future use.

So here I go, taking the low road. I present to you various fart phrases my family has grown to love over the years.

  • Crop dusting

Crop dusting is the act of walking through an area filled with people, usually a public place, and dropping several big smelly ones as you breeze by. My sister Vanessa is known for her crop dusting capabilities, and I have been known to successfully dust a few crops in my time. I am a huge fan of crop dusting in Wal-Mart. I love Wal-Mart for its prices, but I hate it for its clientele. Not only is it always crowded, but I also have found that Wal-Mart is frequented by some extremely rude fuckers. They block aisles with their carts, let their children run wild in the cereal section, and take an ungodly amount of time deciding which flavor of Ragu they should purchase. I tend to hit Wal-Mart after dinner, so if I have had a decent intake of veggies that evening, I am locked and loaded. Nothing is more satisfying than a good crop dusting in a crowded aisle full of annoying people. I leave them gasping for air, staring each other down with accusing faces, while I continue my shopping down the next aisle. Beautiful.

  • Walkie-talkies

To the best of my knowledge, this phrase was coined by my Grandmother many moons ago. (I told you we were lovers of the toilet humor from way back.) A walkie-talkie is when you blast the trumpet while simultaneously walking. It is even better if you are climbing a flight of stairs, and you let one rip each time you take a step. Walkie talkies are rare. Pay close attention when you come across a good walkie-talkie, because it is truly a gift that has been bestowed upon your ass.

  • Poop farts

Poop farts are an unfortunate thing. You think all you have to do is fart, but you were sadly mistaken. Out with your seemingly harmless air stink is a little bit of poop that didn’t want to wait its turn to emerge. Hopefully you are in your comfy home when you encounter a poop fart situation. Unless you are in the habit of bringing a spare pair of underwear with you everywhere you go, your ass is going to be stinky for a while. Even worse is when your poop fart situation is chronic…more than just a little comes out. If you can’t cut your plans short you are going to have to spray a lot of perfume on your ass, tie a jacket around your waist, and hope for the best.

  • The dog did it

My Dad has a great joke that he likes to tell. Here it goes.

A guy was invited to his girlfriend’s house for dinner, to meet her parents for the first time. He wasn’t feeling very well that day, he was having some stomach problems and was feeling very gassy. He wanted to make a good first impression, so he decided not to cancel the plans. While sitting at the dinner table, he felt a fart coming on, and he was unable to hold it in. When the loud fart escaped from his ass, the table fell silent, and he started to panic. His girlfriend’s father turned to the family dog, who was sitting under the boyfriend’s chair, and said “Rex!” The boyfriend was relieved. “Phew!” He thought. “He thinks the dog did it! That’s great!” Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the boyfriend had to let another one go. The father turned to the dog again and said “REX!” Now the boyfriend was totally relaxed, he thought to himself “I can sit here and fart all day, and he’s going to think it was the dog! I’m home free!” After that , the boyfriend stopped trying to hold his farts in and just let them go, one after the other, and each time the father would turn to the dog and yell “REX!” Toward the end of the dinner, the boyfriend’s stomach was worse than ever, and he let go the loudest fart imaginable. The father turned to the dog and said “REX! GET OUT FROM UNDER HIS CHAIR BEFORE HE SHITS ON YA!”

We love that one. We don’t have a dog, we never have, so it’s difficult to blame dinner farts on the dog in our house. But that joke is so classic that whenever someone does accidentally let one rip at dinner, we all yell “REX!”

  • Cabbage soup farts

Occasionally I’ll have some event that I am attending, usually requiring me to dress in something nicer than my regular uniform of jeans and a t-shirt. I have a closet full of old dresses that “sort of” fit, but tend to pull a little too tight around the ass and belly regions, so while I can pull them on, they tend to be less than flattering. So rather than shop for new clothes, I make a plan to drop the extra 10 lbs I have been carrying around for a while. This plan rarely comes to be, so a week before the event I start to panic, and that is when my cabbage soup diet comes into play. Basically I eat nothing more than cabbage soup and drink water for a week, the weight comes off, and I fit into my dress. Then I eat normal again and the 10 lbs reappears, so I don’t recommend this method if you want the weight to stay off for more than a few days. I’ve done this for weddings, anniversaries, even my husband’s homecoming from Afghanistan. So when a pot of soup appears on my stove top, my kids know whats up…with cabbage soup comes cabbage soup farts. Then they all start yelling. “Oh no! Mommy is eating cabbage soup! Run!” “Can I sleep over my friend’s house while you eat your cabbage soup?” “MOM! I HOPE YOU REMEMBERED THE BEANO THIS TIME!!!” The whole house stinks, first when I make it, then later when I eat it. I can’t really blame them for the protest, cabbage soup farts are some of the most potent around, and the entire week is pretty much one long stink fest. You may not be able to light a match in my house by the end of the week, but my dress always fits, so I don’t give a shit who complains.

  • Pregnancy farts

Otherwise known as farting for two. These are the worst, so infamous in my home that the sickest smelling bomb leads my husband exclaim “Wow! That one was as bad as a pregnancy fart!” It is rarely discussed in the parenting magazines that along with the beauty of impending motherhood comes some of the most noxious fumes ever expelled from one’s ass, usually smelling  like a deadly combination of onion, veggie and egg farts all rolled into one.   I swear to you, for 40 weeks I was one big gas-bag, I just farted my way through the seasons, sending everyone running for cover. The funny thing about giving birth is that all the little quirky body problems end as soon as you push that kid out, the heartburn immediately stops, your back feels better and you get right back to your regular fart schedule. So at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Dutch Ovens

Everyone is probably aware of what is involved in a good dutch oven, but I feel like they need to be mentioned. You are laying in your bed all cozy-like, watching TV or reading your book, or just on the fringe of finally falling asleep. Your joker of a bed-mate then decides it is time to bring out the dutch oven. He or she throws the covers over your head, pins you down and lets one rip. You struggle for freedom, gasping and gagging, but you are trapped in a bubble of shit smell while you hear laughter from up above. In my house I am always the victim, I am simply not able to carry out a successful dutch oven because my husband is at least 30 times stronger than I am. I always try to wriggle out of his grasp and head for the foot of the bed, my best option of escape. Ahhh, fun times. I hear it is very important to a good relationship to keep things lively in the bedroom, but I don’t think this was what the experts had in mind. Even though I find my husband to be a gigantic pain in the ass when he does these things, I’m okay about dealing with the occasional dutch oven. The year I spent alone in our bed during his deployment has given me some insight….better to have someone farting in your face than no one there to fart at all. You can quote me on that, those are words to live by.

  • Farting in english class

I thought I would round out my list with not another type of fart, but a fart situation that has lived in my mind for over two decades, as one of my more embarrassing moments. It was my junior year of high school, and I was taking honors english. That english class was small and quiet, there were maybe 10 or 12 students in there, and I sat at the front of the class. We were reading “The Crucible”, each student would take a turn reading out loud, until our teacher decided that we were not injecting enough dramatic flair into our reading, and take over. It was one of those days when my teacher was sitting perched on her desk with her mini skirt hitched up and her loose-fitting v-neck shirt hanging low.  Her earrings were violently swinging back and forth as she animatedly read passages of the book to the class (“I KNOW you John Proctor!”)  We all sat quietly and pretended to listen, mesmerized by her crazy hand gestures while counting flashes of boob and “Basic Instinct” moments.

English was an end of the day class for me, I want to say 7th period, which followed my 6th period lunch. I’m not sure what they were serving in the cafeteria that day, but whatever it was I ate it, and by the time english rolled around my stomach wasn’t doing so well. I suppose you all know where this is going, in the middle of my super quiet english class I let a go a big rumbling ass cheek shaker. My teacher stopped reading mid-sentence, and stared dead at me. I felt the blood rush up through my neck and to my ears, and I thought I would die right there and then. I’m certain I stayed red for the remainder of the class, and I am also certain that the memory of my embarrassment will stay with me forever.

So there it is, my fart post. I hope you are all appreciative of the highly educational stuff I have presented today. I am attending my sister’s engagement party at the end of the week, so now I have to go and make some cabbage soup. If you are planning on stopping by, you have been warned.

Nine Signs That You Are No Spring Chicken

Of course we are all familiar with the typical signs that we are getting older. More responsibility. Gray hair starts popping out of your head. That little bit of extra weight you are carrying won’t go away as easily as it used to. Then there are the signs of age that sneak up on you, transformations in your life that you didn’t realize were happening Suddenly, there they are, staring you right in your drooping face. Changes that were forced upon you, or changes you made because you became a more rational person. Changes you made even though you swore you never would. Here is my list of 9 signs that you are getting up there.

  •  You don’t find the current popular music so appealing

I like a lot of today’s popular music, and I am not yet old enough to stick to the “classic rock” stations exclusively. Those stations bother me anyway, probably because I am not yet willing to admit that anything by Pearl Jam is old enough to be considered classic. I’m appalled when I’m on what would be considered an “easy listening” station, and Bon Jovi comes on. How could that be? Isn’t Bon Jovi sort of still considered rock? I’m sure my mother was screaming “Shut that shit off” when I was listening to my “Slippery When Wet” album, which should automatically disqualify it as easy listening. Bread is easy listening. The Carpenters, Lionel Ritchie, Barry Manilow, all easy listening.  Not Bon Jovi. My kids run screaming when my husband blasts his 80’s metal, because they don’t want to hear “Daddy’s old music”. Old music! This is some rebellious stuff right here! This isn’t some do wop from the 50’s! Clearly they have it all wrong.

In my opinion, many of the current artists suck. I can’t get into anything they put out, and judging from the huge popularity of most of these artists, it must mean I’m getting old, or I’m set in my musical ways, or whatever. Katy Perry’s bubble-gummy pop makes me want to scream, whether she’s singing about California girls or Alien love or last Friday fucking night. Her music all sounds like dippy bullshit to me, and I leave it tuned in only when I have small girls in my car singing along. Even then, I sometimes change the station despite their protests. That fucking Firework song was in such heavy rotation for a while, I couldn’t escape it no matter how many times I’d turn the dial. I also find Lady GaGa’s musical style beyond my listening limits. Okay, I’ll probably be crucified for saying this, but I really can’t stand her shit. I find it repetitive, and her voice grates on me. I have yet to like a single song that crazy implanted horned bitch has put out. So there. If you were born prior to the 80’s, I dare you to look at your iPod. See how many songs are on there from the last year or so. Okay, there are some, but not that many, right? Now look and see how many songs are at least 10 years old, if not older. If you are like me, the bulk of your playlist falls into that category. In fact, most of my stuff is from the 90’s, when I was in my 20’s. I have done what I swore I would never do….found myself stuck in the music of the past, much like my parents did years ago. Suddenly I am realizing that my mother’s “old music” wasn’t that old to her. It was from the 60’s and 70’s, when she was in her 20’s. Damn.

  • You are attracted to the father figures in movies and tv shows

I recently went to a concert with my kids, featuring the girl who stars in the TV show iCarly. A friend of mine pointed out that she liked the show because she has a crush on Carly’s 35-year-old brother, Spencer. I realized that we have turned a corner. When you are watching a tv show or a movie, and the person you find yourself attracted to is not the young star, but the father figure? Guess what, you’re getting old. I think this is a good thing, in a way. If you are 40 and still getting all hot and bothered by some Justin Bieber looking kid, you may want to take your pervy self on over to the nearest therapist, stat. My tastes in men haven’t changed that much, they have just aged right along with me. So I say, without shame, that I still love George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Taye Diggs and Dermont Mulroney. In my opinion they are as handsome as they were 20 years ago, and with them probably comes a wisdom I could appreciate (except for Matthew McConaughey, I’m pretty sure he’s still a dipshit). I’ll leave the 20-year-old kids to be drooled over by the next generation, thanks.

  • Going out for the evening is a carefully planned event

It occurred to me that there isn’t much left in my life that isn’t meticulously planned. Back in the days of freedom, all it would take to get a night out would be the question “Hey, you want to go out tonight?” Go out we did, nearly every night of the week. Sure, an event like a concert would usually require planning, but everything else was left to my mood of the day. It didn’t matter if I was working, work was just a minor hiccup in my life, all it meant was that I had to go out a little later with more money in my pocket. Did I want to go to the beach? Out to a club? Atlantic City? It didn’t matter where, the most planning I had to do was deciding which shoes I was wearing with what super tight dress.

Life is different now. My schedule is no longer my schedule, it is the schedule of those who surround me, with my needs squeezed in the cracks. Any desire I may have to let loose for a few hours is penciled in behind work schedules, school schedules, homework, cooking, cleaning, softball practices, soccer games, and back to school nights. If there is any time left to do something after everything is completed, leaving the house is a matter of finding a sitter, and fighting exhaustion. It almost never happens. My friends schedules are kept pretty much the same way, so aligning the schedules of several families to simply find time to grab a drink requires months of planning, rearranging, and an excel spreadsheet.

The light at the end of this tunnel is that eventually this scheduling dilemma will come full circle. Our daughter is just now reaching an acceptable babysitting age, so there is a slight chance that once all the time suckers are said and done,  my husband and I may get out of the house once in a while. The idea is more than just a little exciting. At some point they will all become adults and move out, and we will once again taste the sweetness of total freedom. Sadly, I have my suspicions that when that day comes, we will have absolutely no idea what to do with our time.

  • Even though you know what the fashion trends are, you aren’t sure if you should follow them.

Once you reach a certain age, dressing becomes a daunting task. It’s a time where you walk a fine line of fashion, too old for a mini-skirt but too young for an old lady frock. You have to start deciding which fashion trends you can get away with, and which you should leave to those who still think that blacking out after a bar crawl meant it was a good night.

In the past, I heard a wise fashion guideline that said  “If you are old enough to have worn it the first time it was in style, you are too old to wear it when it comes back. ”  or something like that. Wise words. When the insane colors of the 80’s resurfaced (WHY??) I knew enough to back away from the pink neon. That was a pretty easy decision, as is my avoidance of the big rubber “LIVE” bracelets that can be found at Five-Below. After that, it gets hairy. Skinny jeans? I don’t know, there is nothing skinny about me, so I’m not sure I should be wearing something that has that word right in its title.  I also don’t think I should be slapping on any outfit that is one piece. I saw some 40-something  lady rolling with a strapless denim jumpsuit the other night, complete with an extra large red belt, and she looked like an extra-large jackass. She also had on big chunky red heels, big red earrings, super bleachy hair and makeup that looked like she just came off stage, so she was a mess all around. Did I mention that I was at a  Jersey shore boardwalk? No? Did I have to?

I generally try to stay away from anything that is super trendy, for two reasons. One, because it will probably make me look like an old asshole attempting to look young, and two, because I simply cannot afford to purchase anything that will no longer be in style next month. Actually, I can’t really afford to buy myself clothes EVER, so my problem is solved right there. But for those of you who are lucky enough to shop for yourselves once in a while, please exhibit some fashion caution. And a little common sense.

  • You see people you think are older, only to realize that you are the same age

My husband and I had one of those rare occasions where we were able to go out for a few drinks. I was doing my usual bitchy sizing up of the other patrons, and I noticed a group of “older” people hanging out at a table close to where we were sitting at the bar. I soon discovered that they were out for a special occasion…a 40th birthday. Imagine my surprise to find out that the old broad with the tiara (stupid unless you are turning 5, sorry) was my age. In fact, I’m actually older by a few months. Say it ‘aint so. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a problem when it comes to viewing myself as others see me. In my head I look 25, while the mirror begs to differ. I pointed the woman out to my husband and asked him if I looked of similar age. He answered “No Baby! Not even close!” (He’s a liar, but at least he’s a smart liar.) The irony of this entire event (if you want to call my talking to myself an event) is that the birthday princess was probably looking at me, thinking “How did that old bitch get a night out? I had to wait until my birthday!”

  • A fancy new appliance excites you more than a new pair of shoes

Not that I don’t love a new pair of shoes, because I do. However, being the realist that I am, I would get way more mileage out of something sold at Home Depot. After all, where the hell do I go? While a gorgeous pair Manolos would put a smile on my face  (that would never happen, by the way)  I would love me a stainless steel fridge with an extra-large capacity freezer just as much, if not more. A range with a magnetic stove top would send me into a giddy fit.  Give me one of those hot looking red front-loading steam washers, and you will send me spinning into a vortex of happiness. Throw in the matching dryer and pedestals, and I will be yours forever.

  • You can’t remember the last time you were carded for anything

If one more stupid bastard sells me a six-pack without even blinking an eye, someone’s gonna get cut. Seriously, they don’t even hesitate anymore, and that annoys me. Okay, so I’m obviously over 21, but they could at least look at my face for more than a second before they ring my shit up. I could be one of those really old-looking teenagers, right? Like Dylan on 90210?  I’m seriously dating myself with that comment, but if you are still reading this post you undoubtedly know who I’m talking about. While I’m on the subject, have you seen Luke Perry’s old ass lately? I saw him on an episode of Criminal Minds not that long ago, and the years haven’t been all that kind. I bet he doesn’t get carded anymore either.

  • You search for places to go where you can have a conversation

Long gone are the days when I would spend my nights in a club that left a faint buzz in my ears for the next three days. I’m kind of chatty,(really?) so even when I was in my 20’s I found it annoying to have to scream over music just to make fun of  some girls ugly dress. In those days, I would get over my irritation about not being heard by getting my ass on the dance floor. As I stated earlier, these days my ability to get out of the house for pure entertainment purposes is about as easy as pulling on a pair of size 2 low-rise jeans. Once I’ve accomplished that feat, why would I want to waste my night not being able to talk to anyone? (I mean the feat of getting out of the house, not the size 2 jeans. If I could still get on size 2 jeans, I would totally go to a club and be okay with my silence. I’d just walk around there with my flat stomach and my shapely ass, looking all size 2-ish…..you get the point.) Anyway, I would rather spend the night catching up with my friends or my husband or whoever, preferably in a local bar where the crowd isn’t too young or too old. I would also like some super cheap drink specials and an available pool table if at all possible. So if you come across one of those places, please let me know.

  • You can’t get home at 4AM and still function the next day

I’m sorry to say, I really just can’t hang anymore. I used to be able finish work, change into a cute outfit, hit the bars by midnight, drink until last call, and not leave until they kicked me out. Then we would all head to the diner or Denny’s and bullshit about the night while slurping down copious amounts of coffee and feasting on a “Moon Over My Hammy”.  I would roll in about 4 or 5 AM, and until I moved out I would fight with  my angry mother who had not yet received the memo that I was an adult. (Now that I have kids I feel kind of bad about that. Your babies are always your babies, the worry doesn’t go away just because they hit the legal drinking age. Honestly she had every right to worry, I wasn’t the most rational decision maker back then.) I could then do it all over again the next night, and the night after that.  Now, 4 AM  totally feels like 4 AM, and the next day(and the day after) I usually feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

 This feeling of being smushed by a semi is particularly problematic for me, because my more adult years still involve staying out at a bar until it closes, and not getting home for several hours after that. Unfortunately, instead of sitting at a bar drinking, I am now standing behind it trying to scrape together enough money to buy school clothes and pay the electric bill. Then I get the extreme pleasure of cleaning said bar. I go home, sleep for 2 hours or so and then have to get up and take care of my kids. My kids don’t give a shit how tired I am, those little ankle biters still want their chocolate milk and pancakes, and are completely unfazed by the fact that Mommy feels (and looks) like an extra on “The Walking Dead”. So mark that down as  number 563 on the ever-growing list of reasons why I need a new job….I’m just getting to damn old to keep these bullshit hours.

So in conclusion, if you can totally relate to any aspect of this particular post, rest assured that you are getting on up there. Don’t fret; we all had our time, right? There are so many pros to getting older. You have control of your own life (well, theoretically anyway). You get discounts on your car insurance, hell, you can even rent a car all by your damn self!  And just think about all that extra money you’ll have once those social security checks start rolling in! Don’t try to fight it…I know there are people out there who would prefer to follow the sage words of that easy listening giant, Jon Bon Jovi, when he sang “I’ll live while I’m alive and sleep when I’m dead!” Fuck you, Jon. I’m tired. I need to sleep now.

Teenage Babies

My sister and I had 3 kids in 2 years, basically one right after the other. First came Vanessa’s daughter Haley, who is now 15, then my son Robby, 14, and Emma, who turned 13 last week. So now we are both in this crazy time of life, where we are trying to parent our early life babies and our later in life babies simultaneously. (My sister has me beat, my youngest is 3 while her youngest is not quite 4 months old, an impressive age span.) It’s a quite a situation, having to deal with adolescence and diaper changes at the same time, not to mention the kids who are in between (we have 8 between the two of us). It’s more than just crazy, it’s downright fucking weird.

I didn’t really think all that much about how quickly the babies stop being babies until my son pointed it out to me one day. Robby has a way of explaining complicated things in a manner that makes everything very black and white.

“I miss baby Lucy. I wish she would come back.”

“What do you mean? She’s sitting right next to you.”

“No, not this Lucy, baby Lucy.”

“Oh, you mean you miss Lucy being a little tiny baby?”

“Yeah, you know, baby Lucy. The one that was so cute and little. Not this Lucy, who steals my stuff and screams all the time. The baby that is inside this Lucy. Now she’s just another sister.”

Poor Robby, the only boy in a house full of pain in the ass sisters. But I get what he means. You live with your kids every day, and they change, little by little. You sort of notice, but not really, because you are too close to the situation to really see the changes. Then one day you wake up and they are this whole other person. I think missing the baby inside the toddler is how I ended up having four kids. Once my youngest would reach school age, I would subconsciously miss the baby-ness of it all, and soon I would find myself pregnant once again. It is for this reason that I plan on having my tubes tied as soon as I possibly can. I love having babies, but I think I need to get on with the next phase of life. That and the fact that if I was to get pregnant now, Bob and I would be 63 and 59 once the 5th kid graduated high school. Yikes.

Okay, I miss the baby inside Lucy The Screamer as well. But she is still cuddly and cute and carries around a Care Bear blanky and her 3 pink cars named Honey, so there isn’t that much of a difference. The older kids are a whole other story. Haley, Robby and Emma are worlds away from being the babies that live inside them. When I look into their faces I can sort of still see the babies that used to exist there, but now there is a distance from those former babies that freaks me out. It’s becoming harder and harder to connect the memory with the person that stands before me, and I don’t like that, not one bit.

Let’s take, for example, my niece Haley. I held her minutes after she was born. I changed her diapers and fed her baby food. I crafted cute little Halloween costumes for her, and my sister and I would buy matchy matchy smocked dresses for her and Emma to wear on Easter. I called her Buggy (I still do, she probably hates it but I don’t care). Now she is this tall, beautiful teenager, with a ridiculous body that I certainly didn’t possess at 15 years old (I’m a little jealous).  Her smocked dresses are gone, replaced by this cool sense of style that makes her look so totally put together. She does her own things, goes out with boys, and will be in college in 3 years. Oh my God.

Last Sunday, Haley was taking down everyone in the family with some arm wrestling (still not sure why, but okay). I took on her challenge, and she had my arm hurting and on the table in 10 seconds. (In my defense, I have never had any upper body strength. My toothpick sized arms never allowed me to climb the rope in gym, I always failed the static arm hang. Now the toothpicks are big mammalukes, but they still possess only toothpick strength. Haley is a dancer at a performing arts high school, and has some major muscle. The most exercise my arms see are when I change the occasional keg.) My point is, I used to carry this girl around. Now I’m sure that if she wanted to, she could kick my ass. What the fuck? I just can’t wrap my head around any of it.

It’s a similar situation with my own kids, although I think if the occasion arose I could still take Emma at arm wrestling (Robby not so much).  My little overall wearing son is now taller than I am, his sweet little bowl haircut a thing of the past, his high-pitched laugh has been replaced by a voice as deep as my husband’s. My little Emma now prefers jeans to pink dresses, her little face has morphed from chubbiness to high cheekbones, she straightens her curls, and I recognize now that her body shape is the same as mine (sorry, Em). It’s not just the physical changes that get me, but how they are rapidly changing into a way of adult thinking right before my eyes. They have their own plans, their own opinions. One minute they are still like little kids, needy and climbing into my lap, and the next minute they have little use for me, because they have some sort of agenda that I didn’t map out. I thought being a teenager was confusing, but being a parent of a teenager is equally as mind-boggling.

I can only assume that I will feel the same way when they are full-grown adults, I will look back at pictures I just took of Emma’s 13th birthday and wonder where that girl went, along with all the baby pictures I am so fond of looking through now. My sister and I will watch our children walk down the aisle at their weddings, two old broads discussing how time flies by. I have to say I love watching my 3 amazing babies grow into amazing adults, but I still miss the baby times. Maybe I will have another one.

I’m only kidding Bob. Relax.