So I’m selling my house

So, you probably haven’t even noticed, but I took a bit of a sabbatical from this blog. An extended sabbatical, rather. And you probably have noticed how passive aggressive I am now. But anyway, I quit writing for a long while because I was acting like a kid who lands on that one really huge chute at the top of the Chutes and Ladders board and dramatically yells, “I quit!” all red in the face and storms off upstairs. Everyone else playing the game is kind of relieved, actually now that the little jackass is gone, but someone eventually feels compelled to go up there and coax him back downstairs with ice cream or some shit. I was that jackass. Nobody came upstairs to bribe me with delicious snacks; I just decided on my own that it was time to try again. I felt like Mr. Belvidere without my diary or Oprah without my tequila. It just wasn’t right. I figured I would publish one more entry and that would buy me 3-5 more months of curling myself into a ball and listening to sad woman music.

Since I haven’t chatted with you in so long let me bring you up to speed. It’s been a pretty intense few months. I set my hair on fire purposely. No, just kidding. Actually, I put my house up for sale. But I think I should’ve set my hair on fire instead because that would probably be better in most ways. At least that would be over fairly quickly and culminate in my jumping into a pool or something. The sale of my home, on the other hand, doesn’t seem as though it will ever end. There is literally no end in sight.

I know, I know, it’s really not that bad. I’m just a private person. The thought of strangers traipsing through my house and touching my stuff with their germs and breathing on my stuff with more of their germs gives me anxiety. Are they opening drawers and closets and medicine cabinets? Of freaking course they are! I would, too. People think they want to see inside people’s disgusting habits. The stuff they don’t post on social media or even talk about with their closest friends. But when that actually happens, when you actually discover something like that about someone, you just can’t scrub that out of there. There is no way to purge that from your consciousness. I’m a bit off track since I don’t really think I have anything like that in my medicine cabinet. But you get my point, right? If not, then we can’t continue this relationship anymore. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know you at all.

It’s not just the nosy people invading my space, though. I have to keep this house in pristine condition all day every day. People have to feel like they’re walking through a model home. All signs of human life must be erased (or shoved in closets). But people do live here. Two people, a kid and a dog live here. And eat here and poop here. What do you want from me, people? If you want to live in a house that nobody’s pooped in, you’ve come to the wrong place, brother. Maybe I should cross-stitch that onto some 14 count aida and hang it on the front door.

This whole process helps me understand why some homeowners just snatch up all their appliances and copper wiring and get the hell out of Dodge. I won’t do that. But I will fantasize about it every day. And in that fantasy I will move to the forest and live off the land and the animals will be my friends. They will be my friends even though my credit score would be shit because I walked away from my house. Animals don’t care about credit scores or imperfect eyebrows or that I’m afraid of sushi. And the forest animals will also let me win at Chutes and Ladders. Forever and ever.

Burn in hell, Pinterest

I think. A lot. Too much, really. I think the shit out of a thing and then never actually do it. Probably because I thought so hard about it that it shriveled up and disintegrated, powerless against the intense heat of my brainpower. Call me a procrastinator, call me lazy, whatever. In my humble opinion, there are plenty of people out there who should’ve thought a bit harder about things before just hauling off and doing them. Mark Wahlberg accepting the role in The Planet of the Apes, Counting Crows covering “Big Yellow Taxi”, whenever Michele Bachmann opens her mouth, etc.

Anyway, the other day whilst doing all the thinking, I started thinking about Hell. Does it exist? If so, what is it like? Is it all fire and brimstone and narrated by Vincent Price? OR does everyone get their own customized slice of it? Replete with everything that you loathed on Earth? How absolutely awful and kind of morbidly fun to imagine. If the latter is true, then I know exactly what is waiting for me on the other side: Van Halen, separating coffee filters, close talkers, public pools full of used Band-Aids and PINTEREST.

I’m pretty sure Pinterest was released into this dimension when some poor bastard unwittingly solved the Cenobites’ Lament Configuration. And it has been the source of pain and suffering and silly DIY ideas for millions ever since.

All this thinking makes me sleepy

All this thinking makes me sleepy

Let me put it this way: I am an anxious person. Well, anxious is an understatement – I am a big, electric, glowing and sparking ball of nerves. Why did I ever think something like Pinterest would be a good idea for me? A site designed to make the ordinary, uncrafty, not-so-crunchy people of the world like me feel like defective a-holes. It’s a brand new world of ridiculous to-do lists. A whole slew of absurd tasks for me to fail at. I’m failing just fine at regular people life, like keeping my family alive and the toilet clean. Why do I need to introduce decorative paper folding into that equation? And I know if my origami cherry blossom forest doesn’t look just like the picture, I’m going to lose my shit and possibly burst into flames.

So you’re on Pinterest and you’re creating boards and pinning stuff and you realize you want to have a do-over wedding and become a party planner. You and your whole life suddenly suck. Why aren’t I converting my coat closet into an excruciatingly-hip mini collapsible office with ikat accents? Why am I not handmaking kitschy mustache straws for my swanky mustache-themed backyard barbeque that no one will come to/appreciate? And why in the actual fuck have I not made pistachio shell flowers and miniscule donuts with sprinkles and my own paper and my own ink to write on my own paper AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! If only there was a Pinterest project for cloning yourself I would do that and then slap the crap out of my clone for ever looking at Pinterest in the first place. Then I would make the much anticipated sequel to that awesome Michael Keaton clone movie.

Adults behaving badly

As some of you may know, I have a preschool-age child. This tiny person that I helped to create is the light of my life. She is also the bane of my existence. I never would have, never could have imagined that a human being who is convinced that birds shop at little birdy grocery stores would have the power to fill me with such joy and such a feeling of defeat and worthlessness pretty much simultaneously. We don’t give them nearly enough credit for being the itty-bitty super villains they are. But this post is not necessarily about kids and how they make us want to stick our heads in the oven sometimes. After months of astute observation, scientific experiments and YouTube videos, I’ve noticed that adult behavior is not a hell of a lot different than that of a three year old. Here are some bullet points! Everyone loves bullet points. Except for Roman numerals.

The pitching of fits. For those of you who have never worked in a restaurant or retail store, well, first of all, how did you do that, you lucky sonofabitch? And secondly, you’ve probably witnessed the person in front of you at Target have a meltdown if you never had to actually deal with it yourself. But I get it. It’s totally reasonable that a grown ass man or woman has to resort to red-faced, spit-flying, name-calling, finger-pointing-in-the-face rage monster sometimes. I mean, that Pepperidge Farm Distinct Cracker Assortment was clearly marked buy one get one free on the shelf. OR how else can I successfully relate to the server that she ruined my ENTIRE LIFE because the salad showed up and the ranch was on TOP OF IT instead of on the side? How am I supposed to just let that go? Legally, I cannot stab this person to death for ruining my salad and therefore my life, so I will pitch a big ass fit. In public. Case closed.

Thanks to daddydoctrines.com for this enlightening diagram

Thanks to daddydoctrines.com for this enlightening diagram

Being handsy. My good friend at Mixtape Mom and I like to talk about how magnificent and terrifying it would be if adults literally acted like preschoolers. Walking into a stranger’s home, shamelessly grabbing and touching and exploring, eating the food, peeing on the floor, kicking the dog and so on. Well, to a degree this kind of crap happens all the time. Stop touching me, people! Get out of my safety bubble! And don’t manhandle my stuff, either. It’s not okay to pick food off of my plate without asking. It’s not okay to poke me in the ribs. It’s not okay to grab things out of my hands. Common courtesy. You might as well pee on my kitchen floor.

No filter/no manners. This one is a no-brainer. There is no arguing with me here. Do I even have to waste my time and yours by elaborating on this? Didn’t think so. With the time I’ve saved us here, maybe we can pick up a new hobby or build a home for the needy.

ADD. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a small child? You talk and talk and feel like hey, I’m freakin’ Mr. Rogers. I’m really getting my message through to this kid. The world is that much better of a place. And just when you think you’ve had a breakthrough, the kid starts talking about what the cat did this morning or will ask you the same question you just finished so eloquently answering. It’s a lot like what I imagine a chat with a goldfish would be like. Adults are no fucking different. Do you think your neighbor is really listening to your dumb anecdote? They’re too busy planning what they’re going to say once your mouth stops moving. And I’m pretty sure it will be the same story you’ve heard the past seven times you ran into them at the mailbox. People are way too wrapped up in themselves to pay any attention to the story of your injured ankle/fender bender/promotion/what have you. If you want someone to respond to you, put it on Facebook.

I’ve got your man card right here

So the other day I was somewhere doing something, believe it or not, and I overheard one dude going into excruciating detail to another dude about his recent china pattern selection escapades at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I was enjoying the conversation, and about to interject with a doozy of my own, when dude #2 said, “Dude, hand over your man card.” And it got me thinking. Now this is nothing new to me; I’ve heard this expression a bunch of times in the past. And I’m assuming it’s just an expression, like guys don’t really have these cards, right? Or is it the kind of thing they receive automatically and in secret on their 18th birthday, or 13th if they’re Jewish? Do they get these cards laminated? If a man loses his card, can he ever win it back?

I would think it would be a pretty big to-do to win a man card back. Maybe there would be some kind of quest, similar to a Native American’s coming of age ritual, where one is sent all alone into the unforgiving wilderness with no food or supplies and only his wits to protect him. If he survives for an entire week, then and only then will his card be returned, with a hole punched in it or something. Of course he’d have to go before the panel, in which everyone is dressed like Darth Sidious and drinks Coca-Cola products out of red cups stamped with the Coca-Cola logo on them. I’m 99% sure that John Cafferty of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band is the high minister of said panel. If John Cafferty says you cannot have your man card back, then you must go through the rest of your life man card-less. Or base jump into the mouth of an angry volcano. Covered in fire ants.

Keep firing, Assholes

Keep firing, Assholes

And if men get these man cards and all the hoopla that goes with them, what about us women? What the hell do we get? I have never received a woman card. Unless I am to consider my Sephora rewards card my woman card and in that case you’d have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers if you want me to surrender it. Then again, nobody’s ever asked me to give up my woman card.

If a spirited retelling of a trip to a big box home goods and kitchen essentials store is reason enough for man card revocation, what would it take for me to lose my woman card? I’m pretty sure my piss poor fashion sense and fingernails that look like a fucking 60 year old Canadian lumberjack’s would render me cardless in a jiff. And the fact that Wayne’s World is one of my favorite movies isn’t helping my cause. BUT I love to gossip and the volume of my voice increases in direct relation to my intoxication level, especially when I’m out with a group of girls. So get your filthy paws off my Sephora rewards card.

Wookin pa nub

There are many questions that may forever remain unanswered. Do aliens exist? Why do people choose philosophy majors? Why did George Eads choose that super weird hair and mustache combo in Season 6 of CSI: Las Vegas? And last but not least, how do I find love? Will I ever find love? Is there anyone out there for me? Now there’s a deep well to fall in to. There are plenty of magazines and books to read which will tell you all the dos and don’ts. Just go ahead and disregard all of that nonsense. These few tips are about all you’ll ever need to know about the keeping and the cultivating of love and companionship.

Regardless of what you learn from fast food restaurant commercials, do NOT put bacon in your pockets to attract men. Or women for that matter. Especially if you live in an area heavily populated with coyotes or angry badgers. (Note: Wisconsin residents and Packers fans in general shall disregard this rule)

Do not, under any circumstances, approach a man who has a briefcase at a bar. Or a manbag or whatever. Maybe he’s dressed in a suit, maybe he just got off of the train because he is a commuter and makes a lot of money doing businessy stuff in the city but lives in the suburbs because he prefers a slower and quieter lifestyle. Oooh, how delightful. BUT, not like I’m speaking from experience here, chances are that one peek in said briefcase and you’ll find handcuffs, knives to flay the flesh off bones, warm water enemas, his neighbor’s dead cat and a box of Barnum’s Animal Crackers.

Your happy little trees can go fuck themselves

Your happy little trees can go fuck themselves

If you’ve successfully met someone who hasn’t stolen your wallet or attempted to murder you, a date is in order! Hooray! If a meal is on the docket for date number one, do NOT use a toothpick at the table. Even if there is an entire stalk of broccoli between your canine and your left lateral incisor. I cannot stress this enough. And I’m not just talking about toothpicks. Dental hygiene of any kind shall not be conducted in front of suitor #1; including, but not limited to: using fingers, floss, string, forks or any other instrument to extract food particles from teeth, gargling and/or swishing of fluids, any sucking on or cleaning of the teeth with tongue, so on and so forth. Some of you are thinking ‘why is she wasting my time with this?’ BUT SOME OF YOU are thinking, ‘OH! So I shouldn’t do that?!’ If I’ve stopped just one person from conducting a full tableside dental exam in front of God and everyone else at Applebee’s, I’ll call that a win.

Can everyone agree to not discuss exes on the first date? I understand you are still hung up on Suzie; she was wonderful, almost perfect. But I don’t want to hear about your time in the Peace Corps together or her amazing job in the city or how she ran the Chicago Marathon. Hell, the last time I ran was through an alley trying to escape a gaze of hungry raccoons that wanted my pastrami on marble rye. Let’s focus a bit more on ourselves and a little less on Suzie. Eyes on the prize.

Jokes are great. Everyone likes jokes. But there are types of jokes that are not particularly well suited for first dates or second or third or hundredth dates. Such topics include, but are not limited to: racism, rape, semen-all-over-the-place, knock-knock, etc. Boys, I’m looking at you here. Though, to be fair I’ve known quite a few gals who have told some pretty heinous knock-knock jokes.

I realize that not many people have an arsenal of funny yet non-offensive jokes at the ready. So I have one to tell you, and feel free to use it. It’s basically a surefire panty-dropper: So a guy is sitting at home and watching TV when the doorbell rings. He opens the door but nobody’s there. He looks around for a package but sees a snail instead. He picks it up and throws it across the street. About a year later, the guy is sitting, watching TV again when the doorbell rings. He opens the door and it’s the same snail. And the snail says to him, “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

You’re welcome.

5 reasons I’m a shit mom

December 2013 marks the fourth year in which Facebook and the holiday season triumphantly unite like heralds of the apocalypse; wreaking cinnamon and marshmallow bespattered havoc hither and thither and pretty much making me feel like the worst mom in Mom History. Maybe I’m being a bit too dramatic, but if there’s one thing that the internets loves, it’s the drama. I try, good lord do I try to Laura Van Dyke the crap out of this magical season; but despite my efforts, I tend to Brett Butler-ize the whole deal. Not all of the following reasons why I’m awful are Christmas related, I’m pretty much using this forum like a support group. The holidays are such an emotional time. And I have ADD. Squirrel.

1) Four words: Elf on a Shelf. Three more words: oh, hell no. $30 for this tiny demon to scare the bejesus out of my child and me? I don’t need anyone’s judgmental eyes leering at me, silently asking why I cracked that third beer. On a Wednesday. And I certainly don’t need that thing coming alive in the night and plucking out my eyeballs to use as décor on his House of 1,000 Corpses themed gingerbread house. Anyway, I prefer that my kid think of Santa like the blazing eye of Sauron. Surveying everything from high atop a tower in the bowels of Mordor. He knows when you are sleeping.

He's too busy watching you change to see where the ring is.

He’s too busy watching you change to see where the ring is.

2) Gasp, processed foods. Is that so bad? Short answer, yes. You know, she gets her veggies and her protein and so on and so forth but she also gets her boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets and all that offensively delicious stuff. Yes, I feed her Rice-a-Roni and yes, I still read the directions on the back of the box while preparing it. BUT I use an old-timey wooden spoon to stir it, just like the one grandma used to beat my dad’s ass. It’s the little things that make me feel metaphysically connected to my heritage.

3) I’m not crafty. Not in the least bit. A world full of Pinterest and Martha Stewart and JoAnn Fabrics feels increasingly like a deceptively shallow lime pit to me. For example, my kid recently had to decorate her own construction paper gingerbread man as “homework” for preschool. Sounds like fun! I haphazardly gathered some crafty bits from the store, like glitter and buttons and whatnot. I pretty much let her take the lead on this project, but I did lend a hand here and there to make sure she didn’t glue her forehead to the table. The outcome? A ghastly combo of Frankenstein’s monster and Wesley Snipes’ character in Too Wong Foo. And then Eli Roth puked on it. The most terrifying Christmas abomination since that extremely uncomfortable Bowie and Bing duet. And I’m pretty sure her teachers burned and buried the thing in some ritualistic Hoodoo ceremony. Go ahead and blame this on the three year old, but we all know deep down that mommy sucks.

4) I jam Bubble Guppies songs. I don’t just listen because I have to, if I could jam out to this crap in the car alone, I would. This doesn’t necessarily make me a shit mom in and of itself. Actually it makes me a pretty cool mom to my now 3 year old. It’s mostly a point of shame for me, and will be for her when I’m still making her watch the show at 12 years old. I needed to get that off my chest.

5) I’m eating the entire Advent calendar. Who does that? Seriously? I’m literally taking candy from a baby. AND I’m also rationalizing it by telling myself that an excess of chocolate isn’t good for her, especially after all the sodium and Yellow #5 she’s consumed this afternoon because I was too lazy to peel a fucking carrot. I guess I also want to teach her that life is full of disappointments. I’ve opened that tiny, metaphorical door thinking there was a delicious and rewarding metaphorical piece of chocolate in there, too. And do you know what I found instead? Unemployment. A UTI. A stoner boyfriend who’s convinced his band will hit it big. A useless college degree. The list goes on and on.

So, in conclusion, I’m just the worst. Or am I? Yes I am. Or am I?

9 reasons why modern music blows

Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe it’s my years and years living on a steady diet of 90s alternative, Billy Joel and Hall & Oates. Whatever it is, I can’t stand current music these days. It’s just crap. It makes me sad to think that even I could produce a Top 40 – in my spare time. All I need is a Casio, a 4-track, the ability to rhyme some words and a few huffs of Rust-O. Yahtzee! I wonder which word the brainiacs at Kidz Bop will substitute for ‘vagina’.

For your reading pleasure, or for your complete indifference, I’ve here delineated a few reasons why I hate music today. And I’ve numbered them. Because I’m practicing numbers. How am I doing? You can tell me later.

1) The Biebs.

2) Ke$ha, et.al. I’m just fine with skanks. Really. Skanks are an integral part of the natural balance of humankind. Without skanks, the tube dress industry would be bankrupt and we would have never enjoyed those snappy Valtrex commercials. (I can kayak and ride horseback with herpes? Sign me up!) BUT the music industry is just crawling with these chicks that make me feel as though I should gargle with turpentine just for listening. These young lasses have to remember: porn stars become porn stars because they CAN’T become recording artists. And that’s all I have to say about that.

That's an uncomfortable hunk of metal

That’s an uncomfortable hunk of metal

3) Stop rhyming LOVE and ABOVE. Just stop. Except you, Bonnie Raitt. I love you. Carry on.

4) The return of jaunty sax solos. Really? I’m as much of a fan of Clarence Clemons as the next guy, but sax solos in modern pop music? Whose idea was that? Unless you’re Dave Matthews or Huey Lewis, I don’t want to hear a sax solo in your pop song.

5) Nikki Minaj.

6) Female artists singing in baby voices. You are allowed to sing like a baby when you are, in fact, a baby and no other time. Gross.

7) Whiny assholes. There are too many to name. And I wouldn’t want to hurt any of their fragile, wittle feelers. I mean, dude, go to therapy like the rest of us. Sort out your daddy issues there. Rinse out your vagina and sing about something manly for Chrissakes, like tractors.

8) Guys that sing about tractors.

9) Vampire Weekend. Now, which kind of vampires does this weekend consist of? Sparkly, doe-eyed vampires that feed on deer and game? Or 30 Days of Night, terrifying, rip your throat out and walk around with blood all over your face and you don’t care vampires? Because those are two drastically different weekends. Either way, you’re pretentious.

In the eternal words of some crazy bum I once met on the subway, “I am your gynecologist.”