...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, July 26, 2010

honey, they don't call it a job for nothin'

Hey gang! Let's play a game I call "Who's Day Sucked More!?!" It's a spin-off of the wildly successful party game "Oh, Trust Me, I Am SO Much Sicker Than You!!!" of which I'm the reigning world champion.

(My husband spent the entirety of last winter suffering from pneumonia, became anemic, AND THEN developed pneumonia-induced asthma that he still suffers from today, which is his excuse for not mowing the yard, but oh, I'm on to him there, friends! However, my non-drugged, rapid-fire deliveries of his two heirs and the weakened bladder muscles I'm forever reminded of as a result thanks to a wee bit of, well, wee brought on by every sneeze, jump, or casual run I take means I win. I WIN INFINITY!)(Also? Hahahaha...me? Running? Hahahahaha! Priceless!)

The rules of this game are simple. We all sit back, sigh with as much resignation as we can muster, and then toss the day's horrible experiences back and forth until a winner's declared. I say declared, but bear in mind, there's no way you're going to beat me at this game.


OK. We all begin with 120 'This Sucks!' points because it's Monday. These points are a given. Next, I'm going to subtract 100 million points from my score, leaving me with a deficit, because, as I do every day, I went through this one without coffee. Some of you need it to survive, but I don't. Does that make me stronger than you? Debatable. However, you now all have 120 million points.

(Is that right? No, that's not right. Is it? Jeepers, math is hard!)

I know you're probably feeling confidant. You think the massive points spread that separates all of you from me is so vast there's no way I can beat you.

Think again, losers!

(sidebar - I do not now nor have I ever considered any of you to be actual losers)

(You're all going down, though!)

OK, now, go ahead and tell me a few of the horrible things that happened to you today.
  • You got stuck in a bear trap and had to chew your own leg off below the knee to escape? Yowza! Thirty points!
  • Your boss yelled at you and made you cry? Ouch! That probably seemed like it sucked! Fifteen points!
  • Your name's Tommy and you used to work on the docks, but the union's been on strike so you're down on your luck? That's tough. Fifty points.
  • You forgot to hit 'save' the entire time you were writing what was to be the next great novel (or Twilight saga)(bazinga!) and your kid ran through the room, tripped, and yanked the computer chord from the wall, causing your hard work to disappear? Bummer, dude. Eight points (mostly because I can't believe you never once did a 'save as').
Now it's my turn!!
  • Ten minutes after arriving at work in the children's department (automatic 100 points) at the bookstore, a mother changed her toddler's diaper right there in the department. What's the big deal? Hasn't that happened before? Yes. But just let me tell you! She spread that kid out ON the Thomas the Tank Engine train table and yanked what was, without a doubt, the rankest, most excrement-laden diaper I've ever been witness to off her child atop a play set revered my millions of children daily at my store. No amount of Lysol I could (did) spray on it after she (tossed the diaper in the waste basket right next to my customer service counter, of course, awesome, thank you) left could kill the issues that presented. Listen, I know the train table is awful. Personally, I never touch it. EVER. If I find a toy train somewhere other than on the table, I use a tissue to pick it up, then go scrub my arms down, Silkwood-style. Every child who plays there sticks a train either in their mouth or nose. Many have eaten off it. Kids have peed on the floor around it. Hair has been pulled and punches thrown. I've witnessed gangland murders go down around it. It may seem like a bathroom, but it ain't no bathroom! Gah! Two million points (Plus previously mentioned 100 points)(You do the math)(I'm serious)(Please?).
  • As if poop couldn't dampen my day, what say you to puke? "Oh, now you're just pulling our leg, Fadkog! First you have what's possibly a dead, poop-entombed animal festering in your wastebasket, and now you're going to tell us there was puke involved in your day, too?" YES! Just before I was going to take my (much needed) break, a child yakked her lunch up right in the center of the department. Delightful! It appears she'd enjoyed some Chik-fil-A about 45 minutes prior. Who cleans that up? Ahem...ME! As a result, I'm now totally off the bird. And probably waffle fries, too. Ten million points!!
  • After poop and puke, I needed one more thing to make this day a triple crown winner. Luckily, I got it. Ready? PENIS! Dear heaven, yes! Penis capped my work day off in fine fashion when I was shelving young reader picture books and rounded a shelf to find an elderly gentlemen tucked in a chair in the corner, thumbing through a book on the Third Reich. No big whoop, I thought. It happens. Then I noticed his shorts were uncomfortably short. So short, in fact, they appeared to be riding way, way, WAY up his leg. So far up his leg, in fact, I was left dumbstruck when I realized his penis had ventured out and was reading along with him. Awesome (in a completely, absolutely not awesome way). Thankfully, no children were around, and I alerted a manager to handle the matter. Then I awarded myself 90 trillion points.
Of course, this clearly makes me a winner in today's game (and I'll willingly submit to a drug test if you pansy out and make claims I'm 'roided up), but because my easy win had my adrenaline pumping, when I left work, I figured why not go for the bonus round! As soon as I punched out, I headed to Kohl's to burn a $10 voucher. I need some new black shoes for work, so I made a beeline for that department to hunt for a comfortable pair. As I approached a young man working in the department to see if he could help me, I realized he was on the phone with a customer, so I stepped back to wait. As he spoke, he was waving a black tennis shoe around in the air, and then he described the shoe to the customer.

"To be honest, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't like this particular tennis shoe. They look exactly like something a really old lady would wear," he said.

I glanced down at my black tennis shoe-clad feet, then back to the one he had in his hand. It was, of course, the same shoe.

Of course.

So when he finally got off the phone, I offered him a Werther's Original, yanked a tissue from the sleeve of my shirt, dabbed at something on his cheek, then shuffled off as fast as my tennis ball-tipped walker and my old lady tennis shoes would carry me.

945 kabillion trillion million points to me! SQUARED!!!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

if you don't hear from me for a few days, hope for the best, but expect the worst

I came home from work an hour ago to find my husband and sons missing.


I know what some of you might think (How? Why, thanks to my amazing power of thought stealing, of course! Bwahahahaha!) if you were to come home and find your loved ones (and your husband)(it's been a long week, friends)(Wait...it's only Tuesday? Damn...) absent from your home.

You'd think aliens abducted them!

Trust me, it was the first thought that crossed my mind, too.

No, I take that back. My first thought was "Well, it's good to see the mess they all created yesterday, the mess I'm purposely NOT picking up so they learn to be responsible, is still scattered throughout the place! Nice. Reeeeaaaal nice."

THEN I thought aliens.

OK, that's not true. After bitching about the mess, checking to see if anyone had found the stash of peanut M&Ms I have hidden behind the Tupperware, changing into a pair of shorts, and clearing out voice mail messages, THEN I thought aliens had swooped down from the heavens and taken my family. Personally, I think it's the aliens navigating that mysterious glowing sausage that was spotted floating over China last week. I think they want to probe my children's knowledge of video games for new and exciting offerings from Nintendo, offerings that will hopefully be available for purchase in time for Christmas 2011!

I honestly couldn't imagine what aliens might want with my husband, even after spending this past hour mulling it over. The only conclusion I've come up with is maybe they want to harvest the vast knowledge of space and space civilization he's gleaned from hours spent watching ScyFy channel programming. Seems plausible.

Then, of course, I remembered. They left this afternoon for their Second Annual Testosterone Throwdown (and fossil hunt)!

So, do you know what that means?

If you said "You're going to spend the next two days fighting for your survival and trying not to freak out by every damn noise you hear when it gets dark and poor whittle baby has to go to bed?" then see what I mean? I TOTALLY CAN STEAL YOUR THOUGHTS!!

Of course, that's exactly what I'll be doing. Trying to stay alive while alone in my house. Listen. I know it's tempting to drop everything you're doing right now, Google Earth my exact location, marvel at the caulk jobs Tool Man has done to the house over the years by basking in the site's street view option, stop at a convenience store for Cheetos and Red Bull, and then drive like a maniac for the next 4 to 26 hours until you arrive at my front door, pound on it, and successfully scare the ever-lovin' bejesus out of me, but I'm begging you, think twice. Then think two more times. Between the Chinese UFO and not one, but two chupacabra sightings in Texas last week, well, I think we all know it's just a matter of time before my much feared Bigfoot comes to stand under the streetlight I look toward when I peek out my bedroom window every night before bed.

Oh, mark my words, friends, it will happen one day. I just pray a Loch Ness monster doesn't rise out of the man made lake across the street from my house first.

"Great. So NOW what are we going to do with our time?" you're thinking now (do I really need to explain this to you a third time?). "We can't come hang out with and/or scare the hell out of you, you probably wouldn't share your peanut M&M stash with us, and listen, if we're being honest here, we're just as scared of Bigfoot as you are, so tell us, what can we do now?"

Glad you asked.

Please, please, please go visit me at Polite Fictions! Remember that awesome collaborative fiction site I'm part of with a band of awesome writers who keep me around because they're wacky? Click on that link and go read my newest submission! We're all writing on the theme of "What happens after...", which opens up a ton of ideas. There's just three so far (mine is the third, but please give some love to the ladies who've laid the smack down before me, then return for the gauntlet tossing the rest of my friends will be challenging you). Listen, I know we're all busy, and who needs (exasperated sigh) another (geez!) website to visit, but honestly, do this, please, because it's like a free gift of awesome for you, and you're not even going to think about wanting to return it. Critics call it "Thoughtful AND thought provoking!" and "THIS is why the Internet was invented! Who said it had anything to do with easy access to porn? Did you say that? Well, you're wrong! It's this!"

Did you know I fuh-reak the hell out when it's my turn to write for Polite Fictions? Oh, baby. In fact, to say I freak out is a slap in the face and complete disservice to the word. I go loco. Maybe that's evidenced in what I produce. I don't know. I'm a wee bit of an over-thinker (so as you can imagine, it's exhausting trying to steal my own thoughts), but I could use some feedback on what I've written, so I honestly would love it if you'd take a moment and visit.

I'd also love it if you didn't prank call my house over the next two nights and yell things like "Boo!" or tell me how much you want to do me, because that once happened to me when I lived alone and the dude sounded EXACTLY like my boyfriend at the time, and listen, um, I may have ::finger quotes:: talked ::end finger quotes:: to that stranger about some things I only talked to my old boyfriend about, which probably explains why he'd call every night at 3 a.m., for two weeks solid before I got wise. Oh, yes, I got wise, but that doesn't mean I'm not still a big old weenie (and that may have been part of what I talked about with the stranger...anyway...)

Long story short, please go read my newest attempt at fiction, won't you? Now that I know my family is safe, I'm going to go bask in the quiet and watch what I want to watch. At least while it's still light out.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

and when you're wise enough, you'll know...


My oldest son's voice drifts toward me from the back of the minivan as we venture out on yet another journey to his friend's house a few miles away.

"Hmmm?" I hum, clicking pause on the iPod to snuff out Katy Perry's tribute to California girls.

"How will I know when I've finally been struck by puberty?" he asks.

Before the invisible dot can be hung at the bottom of his question mark, my mind races through all the signs that have been springing up like billboards around me to signal my son's arrival at this most magically awkward time in life.

That voice that's just queried me. The one that seems deeper today than the day before.

The time spent traversing to and from the bathroom to ponder the state of his lengthening hair.

Speaking of lengthening, how about those showers, huh? The quick "Did you really, really take a shower?" showers have been replaced and now force us to yell things like "Water doesn't grow on trees, you know!" to get him to finally shut it down.

The golden downy fuzz I've noticed starting to tickle his upper lip.

His realization that he now kinda sorta (his words, not mine) thinks girls are far more interesting for far more reasons than he did a few short months (perhaps weeks) ago.

My realization that the person plugged into his cell phone contact list as 'T-Rex' who clogs many of the entries in the 'calls made' and 'calls received' categories is in fact a girl and neither a boy whose name starts with the letter T who thinks he's super cool nor a real tyrannosaurus Rex, which WOULD be super cool, but also seemingly impossible thanks to said species incredibly short arm-to-ear reach.

The musky scent of Old Spice deodorant that hits me in the face each time I pass his bedroom. It comes from the sample-size stick he's waited patiently to use since receiving it during his fifth grade puberty class and seems to crash forcibly against the impenetrable wall of generally odd odors boys just seem to put out.

All the time spent in front of the bathroom mirror flexing his muscles and admiring his, and I quote, six-pack like he's The Situation. Of course, this time of worship only happens when he's finally given up pushing his bangs back and forth in an unrelenting quest to achieve the perfect style.

I glance in the rear view mirror and smile as I catch sight of him waiting for my response.

"Oh, honey...I'm pretty sure you'll feel the sting when puberty ups and smacks you one."


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

i will be forced to tweet this post because, well, tweeting about it will seem really obvious when you read it

The boys and I were enjoying a pleasant dinner earlier this evening when, in between the din of gulped drinks, daily recaps, and forks clattering against plates as the boys shoveled food down their gullets, I kept hearing a squeaking sound.

"Please stop rubbing your tennis shoes together!" I begged my oldest.

"I'm not!" he declared.


I immediately shot a look to my youngest.


"It's not me!" he insisted.


"What in the? What is that noise?!"
I asked. By now it was louder, more insistent, and coming directly from the other side of the door that leads one from our garage into our house.


"There's a bird in the garage!!!" the boys cheered in unison.


"Oh, HELL NO!" I cried.

If there's one thing I hate in life more than anything, it's social injustice. Additionally, I'm not a huge fan of birds (don't EVEN get me started on birds that are unjust socially), so realizing I had a bird sitting right outside my door, chirping not because it was in distress but because it was talking itself through an elaborate plan to turn the doorknob with it's downy wings and come inside in time to watch Wipeout put a gigantic damper on my evening.

You might say it even ruffled my feathers.

(rim shot!)

I implored the boys, who, unlike the bird, were eager to return to the wild after finishing dinner, not to exit the house through the garage. The last thing I needed was a giant crow or perhaps irritated bald eagle soaring through my home, wreaking havoc on the carefully crafted and woefully unintentional country-like decor that is my living room. Remember when I said the thing was squeaking? Well, by now, the bird was mad and feeling wronged by all its former high school classmates for the years of teasing and snickering they subjected him to. It was like the demon chick in Paranormal Activity (who, for accuracy's sake, was NOT an actual chick nor fowl of any kind).


I knew without even going outside to investigate that this bird was evil. Also, it was clearly rude, what calling me cheap and such. It started thumping its beak against the door. A few minutes later, it was slipping photographs of me in smashed picture frames under it. I knew I had to get it out and get to my garage door opener to seal off the hell hole before I woke up in the middle of the night to find it standing beside my bed, rocking back and forth and preparing to peck my eyeballs out.


The trouble with this scenario, of course, is my husband, the man I'd naturally turn to when terror strikes our home, is out of town (p.s. - stay away, potential attackers!)(at least until Thursday!), and this forced me to panic and then try to come up with a way to solve the problem. If you know me at all, you know I've caved under lesser pressure involving both the carbon monoxide detector going off in the middle of the night and neighbor kids clogging the toilet (though not at the same time, but if that should ever happen, well, then, just feed me to the Bigfoot I'm so very terrified of because I'm as good as a goner anyway). So I did what any sad, unfortunate grown woman would do.

I called my mommy.

She doesn't like it when I call her that, though, so I just refer to her as Mom. Her first suggestion? Go see if the neighbor guy would retrieve it. Nice. And make my neighbors think I'm a wimp? Unacceptable (though very true)! Her second? Trap it under a laundry basket and scoot it out of the garage.

"Let me see if I got this. You want me to toss a plastic basket over a pterodactyl and slide it out of the garage?" I repeated.

"Something like that," she said.

And I'm the crazy one!

Not as crazy as the bird was becoming, though. With its voice growing louder and my will to live ebbing, I figured it was time to go out and investigate my foe (or potentially my fowl). Care to see what I was up against? Brace yourselves!

Picture not to scale. Mostly because I took it with my telephoto lens behind a barrier constructed from a large box and the driver's side door or my trusty Dodge Grand Caravan. I respectfully await your call, National Geographic magazine.

Two words. First word? Bad. Second word? Ass! Look at that mad face! Look at that scowl! Fall victim to those beady black eyes! This? This right here makes that praying mantis freak show from last fall look like a delicious cake walk in comparison!

What's that? That's a baby robin, you say? A tiny, defenseless baby robin? Rockin' little robin go tweet, tweet, tweet, you say?


Here's a sampling of how I attempted to remove this beast from my garage after two hours of listening to it squawk:



Telepathically signaling my neighbors to come see what I was doing by walking up and down my driveway like mad.

Taking to Facebook and begging for help.

Facebook had the (loving) nerve to laugh at me before suggesting I pick up the bird and place it back in nature because, get this, the bird was too young to know how to fly! Color me crazy, but if the bird was smart enough to stroll in, then this bird should have been smart enough to stroll back out! I was nauseated thinking about having to touch this animal.

Finally, my Mom called to see if the wild kingdom was back in its rightful place. I laughed nervously (to mask my tears) and told her I was still working up the nerve to touch the bird.

"Oh, for God sake. I'll be right over," she said, falling right into my trap, which, you know, if I was the trap setting type, this would have put things at Me - 2, Birds and/or Moms - 0.

A few minutes later, she pulled up to my house, emerged from her car wearing a pair of gardening gloves, and eased into the garage talking like the Bird Whisperer. "It's OK, little birdy. Mama's gonna take care of you. Come here, little sweetie." I may have had a flashback to my teenage years and wanted to ask if she thought if she'd spoken to me like that when I was young and impressionable, did she think maybe I'd not have gone through years of disordered eating (here's a hint - I didn't exactly eat like a bird), but I didn't want to crush her groove. I did get the nervous laughs, though, because I thought had it been an owl trapped in my garage, I'd have spent a large chunk of my night walking around singing "Who you gonna call?" because, well, if it's not obvious, you won't get the pun.

(OK. Owls. Who. Ohhhh...)

Two seconds later, she had, well, a bird in the hand, and I stayed a safe 20 paces ahead of her as we walked it to a tree in my backyard. That way she couldn't see me cry (kidding!) as she cooed and air kissed the bird, telling it how she could feel its tiny heart beating a mile a minute in its tiny little chest. After two hours, this potentially tragic crisis had been successfully averted, thanks to my Mom, who is now known in some circles as the best substitute husband a girl could ever want, and, lucky you, the end of my story neared!

As soon as she left, I did comfort myself with a fudge-dipped Oreo. What? It'd had been a truly stressful night and I may have been having flashbacks, mostly of that time I got caught in the chained entryway at our zoo's aviary display and not necessarily my teenage years, which could be a metaphor for the other, but I digress.

(btw, thanks again, TwoBusy!)

Speaking of food, remember when I told you the boys and I were enjoying dinner when we first heard this interloper? Want to know what was on the menu?

Scrambled eggs!

Yeah. You honestly think now that bird wasn't trying to send me a message?