Friday, June 26, 2009

Heatwave

It's 93 degrees in Tidewater, Virginia, with a humidity level that makes it feel like it's over 100. With this in mind, what's a fun-filled way to spend a leisurely Friday afternoon?

Burning shit, of course.

I am an organized girl. I like things filed away, nice in neat, in it's own manila folder, ready and waiting for me to locate it at a moment's notice. Blaker just likes to toss things in a pile and hope like hell that I'll eventually file it for him. When you combine his aversion to filing with my lack of time for any activity that doesn't involve being the maid/servant/bitch of my needy offspring, you end up with towering piles of paperwork every few months. Towering. As in, mountainous, yo.

We have a shredder. I don't know exactly where it is or how it works, but I know we have one, because I'm the one who bought it. I vaguely remember the box being green and white. I thought Blaker might enjoy shredding things from time to time, being a boy who likes tools and all. I don't even know if he ever opened the box. And I will never open it myself, because I have no desire to shred or operate potentially unsafe manual instruments. Nope. I prefer to burn stuff.

Now, one must consider that in my lifetime, the home that I have lived in has burned down.....2?....3? times. Yes, that's right. I know it's burned TO THE FUCKING GROUND at least twice, perhaps three times. After the second time, particularly when you are a child and a bit fuzzy on the details, it all starts to run together. Although I have never set any of the fires that devastated my family (to my memory, but I was young during them all, so it's possible I guess), I am rather accident prone, so it's probably not the BEST idea for me to play with fire. Does that stop me? Hell, no.

I love fire. I love setting fire to things. I love the heat. I love the different colors of the flames. I love the smell. I love the slight pain when you run your finger through a candle flame. I love to watch the ashes float away in the breeze.

My name is Haley, and I am a pyromaniac. Deal with it.

SO, despite the heat, I decided to give up on the idea of filing a damn thing and just burn it all. I mean, could there really be anything all that important in there? Probably not. Do I really care if there is? Not really. I loaded up an armload of paperwork, took it outside, and lit the pile ablaze. It was hot. I sweated a lot. But it was fabulous. I felt like I had lost ten pounds (which I may well have done, because as I mentioned, I sweated A LOT) without even knowing exactly what I was burning.

Which makes me wonder. How light would I feel if I just set my life on fire?

We don't need no water, let the motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker, burn.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

FML due to PMS

I am really, really cranky today. At first, I thought it was because it was Tuesday, and since I'm always cranky on Tuesdays I just kind of shrugged it off. But then, as I was sitting on the kitchen floor eating frosting out of the can with a spoon and washing it down with vodka I realized, "It's not Tuesday. It's THURSDAY." Shit. I don't really have a good excuse for being a total bitch on a Thursday, nor for eating frosting for lunch. Except I'm too damn bitchy to care, and might punch anybody who points that out to me. Come on. Try it.

Normally, I'm not the kind of girl who gets all pre-menstrual and possessed by the devil. I've got friends who I would literally run through fire to avoid while they are hormonal because they are so damn emotional and crazy I can't stand to be near them. (The worst part is when they are all weepy and want to hug a lot. Huggers piss me off, and make me all tense and uncomfortable.) I knew a girl once who would literally swing from screaming fits to uncontrollable sobs for no reason whatsoever the week before she started her period. (We're lucky I survived that roommate. On a side note, she changed her major our freshman year from Communications to Physical Education because she decided her life's calling was to be an aerobics instructor. No joke. Good luck with that one, Jacklyn.) Myself, well, I usually just stay really hungry when I'm PMSing. Anyway, the point is that this month, I seem to be generally channeling Satan on a daily basis and giving the proverbial finger to the universe when it causes my conscience to murmur, "That frosting will make you fat and jack your blood sugar up so high you'll be a blind amputee by 35." FUCK YOU, UNIVERSE.

Yeah, that's right. FUCK YOU, UNIVERSE.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Little W(h)ining

Last night, noting that we were going Code Red on our wine supply, I decided that this morning I would load up the kids and go wine shopping. (I like to keep both wine racks full--that means 18 bottles, minimum, plus the wine fridge, which is another 9, with a few spares in the closet. I mean, seriously, you never know when you're going to have a REALLY BAD DAY or that the country will undergo hostile takeover and I won't be able to get to Total Wine. Would YOU really want to be stuck in that position? I think not. And if you are uncertain about that, borrow my kids for a few days and get back to me.)

Yes, you heard me correctly. I am, indeed, glutton for punishment. You know how back in the day those Catholics dudes or monks or whatever would practice self-flagellation to atone for their sins? Well, just think of this as my own (accidental) atonement--I drink wine, therefore I must shop for wine. Except my children are WAY more painful than being beaten with a metal-studded leather strap.

By the time we made it home an hour and a half after we left, I had the remains of a strawberry lollipop stuck in my hair, had listened to Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" and Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies" over eleven times each due to the kids' mad DJ abilities, was sporting two new bruises and a small cut on my thigh from being mauled with a shopping cart, had had my arm peed upon from the bicep down by my son while I helped him use the bathroom, had sticky apple juice residue between my breasts (also thanks to my son, who leaned over me to get something and tipped his cup down my shirt), and was ten bottles of wine, a cantaloupe, and a tin of chocolate cat-shaped cookies richer. Dear. God.

Next time we'll just hit the ABC store and go straight for the hard stuff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This Little Light of Mine

Today was my first foray into the world of VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL. Okay, well, that's not exactly true. My Mom, being the devoted mother that she was, used to sign my brother and I up for every single damn bible school within a fifty mile radius when I was a kid so she could go shopping and watch soap operas unencumbered. Despite being an on-again/off-again Baptist, I attended bible schools of every denomination we have near Cleveland. (Which isn't much--trust me. To this day, as far as religions go, I know.....um....a few Catholics, one non-practicing Jehovah's Witness, a whole slew of BaptiMethoPresbyPiscopalians, lot of Church of God worshipers, one Wiccan, and three Jews. Nope, wait. That's not true. One of the Jews was only Jewish by marriage and is no longer, and according to my friend Erin, the other two don't count, as they are technically Blaker's friends, not mine. Instead of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, I have two degrees of Jews. And they don't live anywhere near Cleveland.)

Back to the point. I was contacted and asked if I would help teach Vacation Bible School this year at our lovely United Methodist Church. My response? "Do I have to?" Yes. Yes, I did, apparently. And I was assigned to the Pre-K group.

Kids freak me out. Little kids, babies, toddlers, whatever--they all freak me the hell out. I don't sing kid songs, I don't think Play-doh is really fun, I hate Band-aids, and I think the phrase "Let's all sit Criss Cross Applesauce" is about the most ridiculous damn thing I've ever heard. So you can imagine how the idea of walking into a den of germy, drooly, semi-potty trained little monsters sits with me. My own children (yes, they freak me out too) had spent the night with my in-laws last night, so I was planning to meet them all at church (my MIL works there), get the kids signed in, and go volunteer my stellar Pre-K, Jesus-lovin' services to the masses. Per the usual, things didn't work out quite that easily.

Here are the things that I learned today at VBS:

A DAMN GOOD LIST OF REASONS WHY I WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO VBS TOMORROW OR EVER AGAIN, AT MY CHURCH OR ANYONE ELSE'S (AND NO, JACKASSES, I DIDN'T GET FIRED--THIS IS OF MY OWN CHOOSING) AND WHY I FEEL NO GUILT ABOUT THIS AS ANYBODY WHO KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT ME WOULD NEVER HAVE ASKED ME TO BE AROUND CHILDREN ANYWAY BECAUSE IT'S JUST A BAD IDEA

*Please keep in mind that I showed up hungover and with 50 Cent stuck in my head, though I feel that that did not in any way, shape, or form affect matters either positively or negatively.

1. Kids are messy. I am not. I spent a lot of time cleaning up spilled red juice (Kool-ade?) of some sort when I, being the stain avoider that I am, refuse to give red juice to children in the first place. It was sticky and gross, and I had to touch the little monsters' faces and hands and whatnot, which are just havens for all sorts of nastiness.

2. Four different "teachers" hassled me about not dancing and singing and doing the hand motions to the music. When my response was, "throw a little Lady Gaga up there and I'm all over it," I got only blank stares and snide looks. Get over it, people. Some of us don't want to spend an hour pretending to be an alligator or singing about how Jesus is always there making things better, particularly when we're kind of on the outs with Jesus at the moment.

3. Some punk ass kid stole my jelly beans out of my purse. I don't even LIKE jelly beans, but, dude. It's CHURCH, for Christ's sake. Jesus.

4. One of the ladies running the show mentioned several times that the kids in the music videos looked so happy because they were CHRISTIANS, and they know that they are safe and chosen. I'm so damn glad that somebody FINALLY pointed that out. It's past time that all those Jews and Buddhists and Muslims and the myriad of people of other religions are aware at last that THEY ARE NOT HAPPY, even if they think they are, because only Christians are happy. Duh.

5. When asked by one of the other "teachers" why I didn't seem more excited about VBS, I answered, "Dude. Kids freak me the hell out." That was not met with open arms. Hey, I was honest.

Needless to say, VBS was a wash. To make up for the whole week of plans for the kids down the drain, I am devising a "Camp Mommy" as a replacement. As soon as I get the shaker and bar utensils organized and the cleaning supplies out, we'll be good to go. I'll fill you in on how things turn out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Nickel's Worth of Hundred Dollar Bills


In honor of my Dad on this first Father's Day without him, I have decided to share some of my fondest memories of him with you lucky, lucky people.

A VARIED SELECTION OF MY FAVORITE MEMORIES OVER THE YEARS OF MY SUPER AWESOME DAD (AT LEAST, THE MEMORIES I WAS ABLE TO RECALL AT 2AM THIS MORNING WHEN I WAS COMPILING THE MENTAL LIST FOR THIS BLOG WHILE STRUNG OUT ON ICED TEA AND VANILLA FROSTING AND CHECKING TO MAKE SURE THE DOORS WERE LOCKED FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME BECAUSE, GOD KNOWS, THE ONE NIGHT I FORGET WILL BE THE NIGHT THAT WE ARE ALL BLUDGEONED TO DEATH IN OUR SLEEP).

1. Growing up, my family had an above ground pool that my brother and I pretty much lived in during the summers. One year, when I was about twelve, we noticed that there was a weed (no, not WEED, but A weed) that had poked through the bottom liner and was growing up into the pool. Alarmed, we notified Dad, who very calmly surveyed the situation and headed towards his workshop. When he returned, he was in his bathing suit, wearing a very ghetto belt he had fashioned out of rope and metal pipes, and carrying a cattle syringe of weed killer and the liner patch kit. He proceeded to sink himself to the bottom of the pool, weighted down by his "belt," pull up the rogue weed, inject the hole with weed killer, and then patch it. All while we watched and laughed at him. The weed never grew back again.

2. One year on one of my brother's birthday in his late teens, Mom called Dad at work and asked him to stop by the grocery store on the way home and pick up a birthday cake. Dad, wanting to make things a little more special than a "generic cake birthday" called the bakery down the street, which was run by a bunch of REALLY old ladies and asked them if they could make a really cool cake for his son's (18th? 19th?) birthday. When they asked what kind of cake, Dad gave them free reign, telling them that Zach was really into video games. Not knowing much about video games, the ladies instead made an executive choice based upon what boys in Tennessee like: WRESTLING (my brother couldn't care less about wrestling, being your not-so-average TN teenager). When Dad picked up the cake, the women had used a Superman shaped pan to create a very bad bust of the wrestler THE ROCK, complete with brown frosting nipples. Written on the box beside the cake (in red frosting) were the words "THE ROCK SAYS HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ZACH!" It was AWESOME.

3. When I was a little girl, my Dad was big into hunting. He looked forward all year long to the fall when he could get up at 3am, dress in head-to-toe camo, and go sit in the woods and freeze his ass off for a few hours, often seeing nary a deer. And even if he DID see a deer, my Dad usually wouldn't take a shot at it, being a peaceful kind guy who loved nature. Knowing how much Dad loved to hunt, I used this knowledge one year when I was six or seven to pick out the BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF ALL TIME: an airbrushed baseball cap--you know, one of those trucker caps with the mesh in the back (brown). I had a buck, leaping through the forest, airbrushed in lots of vibrant earth tones on the front, along with his name, "Steve." This beautiful piece of fashion history cost me $20 (over a month's worth of allowance) and horrified my Mom to no end. I thought it was beautiful. Much to Mom's dismay, so did Dad (whose fashion sense was always either way behind or way ahead of the times, depending on how you looked at it) and he wore it EVERYWHERE for months. Until Mom hid it from him.

4. My Dad was the kind of guy who loved his truck, as good Southern men are prone to do. He kept it clean and waxed, and tricked out with multiple tools and weapons, always ready for any situation, from car trouble to hostile takeover. He also had a particular affinity for covering his trucks in many, many lights (of the spotlight variety) that were attached to a multitude of switches inside so that he could flip them on with a moment's notice and make things bright as noon in July. While these lights mostly existed so that he could work on things in the dark if he needed, he also used them occasionally to render people temporarily blind, as he chose to do one dark summer night when I was seventeen. At the time I was casually dating a few different guys, two of whom that had run into one another down the street from my house and chosen to throw down, most likely less in regards to me and more as a result of too much testosterone and beer. Dad heard the commotion, climbed in his truck, hauled ass down the road with no lights until he got right up on them, then flipped on all twenty or so spotlights. By the time the boys recovered their vision, staggering around and wondering what the hell was happening, Dad was standing in front of the truck holding his shotgun. Everyone settled down pretty quickly after that.

5. When I married my first husband, in honor of tradition, I forced my Dad to walk me down the aisle (I let him out of it the second time around). I tripped on my dress twice, and nearly fell down both times, but holding onto Dad's arm kept me upright. He was always there to keep me upright. When we got to the altar and Dad gave me away, he leaned close to me when he kissed my cheek and said, "I love you, Princess," soft enough that only I could hear. It was one of the hardest times I've ever had to let go of him, second only to the night he died in my arms.

To be continued.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Did I Mention That I'm Awesome And People Fear Me?

This week I've run into a little thing in my life I'd like to refer to as A BRICK FUCKING WALL. Can't go under it. Can't go around it. Can't go over it (no footholds). Gotta go through it. What does this mean, my fine friends? Well, it means a few different things. For starters, my kids are driving me absolutely, irreversibly insane. School is out for the summer, and there are arguments abound. I've taken lately to encouraging them to throw down with one another. I figure either they will hurt each other badly enough that they learn to quit fighting, or survival of the fittest will ensue and Mommy will only have one child with whom to contend. Either way, it's a win. To further complicate matters, B had an HOA meeting Wednesday night, went out drinking with friends Thursday (which means both nights were all me), and has a fun-filled weekend planned that includes no less than a barbecue with a bunch of engineers in one-hundred degree temperatures followed by a Father's Day with my FIL. Now, I love my FIL (whose name, ironically, is Phil) but I don't want to think about it being Father's Day. I don't want to celebrate fathers, period, when I know that every day I'm a step closer to July 6, which will mark six months since Daddy died. Selfish? Yes. Childish? Yes. Do I really care? Nope.

That's something else that is irritating me. I spend every single second of my life taking care of the needs and wants of other people. Not that B doesn't appreciate me, because he usually does. But everything I do is centered around my husband, children, Mom, dogs, whatever. For the most part, I don't mind. It's my job. However, just ONCE I would like to have something of my own, of my own choice. Things are looking highly unlikely on that front. Currently, I have an apple juice stain on my shirt, a Barbie who needs her hair fixed in my lap, and carpet burn on my back, all courtesy of the desires of others (yeah, TMI, but it's true).

So how does one get past this stuckedness? (Yes, I know "stuckedness" isn't a word, but I think I really like it.) I. Don't. Know.

Help.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's In A Name?

I have a lot of nicknames. Either people really don't believe I look like a "Haley," or they just like to personalize things in regards to me (which probably means I'm very, very important). I am, depending on the person speaking, known as: HSAB (haleystarrasteroidbelt), Bean (no idea), Angelface (my aunt clearly recognizes my obvious beauty), Cupcake (because I'm so sweet--uh, yeah, that's it), Cosmo (because I make them for my friends), Elverna Bradshaw (kiss my ass, Mom), Bubbles (why, Ang?), and Halo (high school....sigh....). I've also been called "crazy bitch" and "fucking whore" numerous times in the past, but since those relationships neglected to be maintained, we'll just leave those out for now. So how does one keep all of those monikers straight, you ask? DO NOT QUESTION MY BRILLIANCE, MINIONS. Jesus. You'd think you people would have learned by now.

Anyway, as I was mulling over the abundance of nicknames I have accumulated, I realized something. I, TOO, am a giver of nicknames, though I prefer to think of them as pet names. I have Bug, Ray, HoneyB, SuperSutt, Hotstuff, Special K, Adonis, Jean Bean, Sandstorm....the list is pretty much endless. I can't help but wonder WHY I do this. I have no idea. I don't set out into the great and endless world thinking, "Today I shall establish a new nickname for someone less fortunate in the nickname lotto than I." But there must be a reason, right? Hell, I don't even call my DOGS by their real names. Mimi, Maddie and Elmo have always been Pants, Junkyard and Monster. (Why didn't I just name them those names in the first place? Because then I would have ended up calling them something different. Keep up.) Is there something wrong with me? (No. The answer is NO. There may be something wrong with you, but I'm just fine, so back off.)

HSAB is very confrontational today.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All Mixed Up

I, Madame Haleystarr, am the QUEEN OF THE MIXED CD. No, not in your junior high make-one-for-your-crush sort of way (although I have been tempted to make the official "Johnny Depp" mix and send it off to France or wherever the heck he lives--only that damned restraining order stops me), but in the I MAKE AWESOME MIXES sort of way.

Yes, that is a real way. Because I say so.

I make mix cds for my friends, my family and myself. Every few months I make a "Soundtrack to My Life RIGHT NOW" of songs that remind me of what is going on with my life. It's better than keeping a journal, because listening to those songs takes me to a certain emotional location that no words on a page can find. Every time I take a road trip to see my best friend Ray in Chapel Hill, I make an R&B Mix. (R&B being "Ray and Bean"--Bean being her nickname for me--not Rhythm and Blues. Which, by the way, is fascinating because I've never even thought about what R&B stood for until just then, and somehow I JUST KNEW. I swear I am SO psychic it scares me.) I listen to it on the way down, and we listen to it while I'm there during whatever antics we employ. (So far, we've only had two mixes confiscated by the authorities. Not bad for a couple of crazy chicks like us. We might have lost one in a brothel once, too, but I don't remember the specifics. I love that word--"brothel." It just rolls off your tongue.) I make hot "Rock My World, Sexy Husband" mixes, "You Pissed Me the Hell Off, Asshole" mixes, birthday mixes, gym mixes, drunken mixes--all variations of mixes. If you are my friend and I have never made you a mix, I probably secretly don't like you at all. Although it's rare that I secretly don't like anyone. I usually sky write "Burn in hell, bitch. Love, Haley" over your house when I don't like you. But I digress (which is apparently pretty normal for me).

The point is, I think my blog needs a mix. So, I present to you:

THE SEMI-PARTIAL MUSICAL MIX FOR STARR TRIPPIN', CONTAINING SONGS DEAR TO THE HEART ONLY OF THE BLOG, NOT NECESSARILY THE BLOGGER, YET THAT ARE APPROPRIATE, YET SLIGHTLY DISTASTEFUL, AND FIT ONLY FOR EARS PAST THE AGE OF 21 OR SO

1. "You're Pretty When I'm Drunk" --The Bloodhound Gang
2. "Promise Me You'll Never Go Bungee Jumping in Mexico" --Triangleman
3. "Blister in the Sun"--the Violent Femmes
4. "Loser"--Beck
5. "Pretty Fly for a White Guy"--the Offspring
6. "Sir Psycho Sexy"--Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"--the Smashing Pumpkins
8. "Closer"--Nine Inch Nails
9. "Scooby Snacks"--the Fun Loving Criminals
10. "All that Ills"--Bryan Cohen and the AM Disasters

Saturday, June 6, 2009

32 Down, or: Hey, look! Mimi is a winged monkey!


Despite a fretful reluctance to have a birthday at all this year, I survived my 32nd with very little drama. Nothing blew up, nobody died, and and I even had a patch of good luck when a renegade thunderstorm caused the cancellation of the kindergarten trip to the zoo, thus freeing me from spending the day with an army of 5-year-old hooligans from hell.

It seems surreal that I've reached this point in my adulthood. I remember when the thought of twenty seemed old. And twenty-one? ANCIENT. My birthday is far more exciting to my kids these days than it is to me. (Not that I can blame them--after all, it IS an occasion involving frosting, which is one of life's greatest pleasures.) When I woke up yesterday morning, the kids sang "Happy Birthday" to me first thing, put pink-and-silver glitter "birthday wings" on me, and shoved a pink "birthday monkey" named Bella into my lap. (Why did Bellamy's dress-up fairy wings become "birthday wings" and why did her monkey from the school treasure chest--named after herself, of course-- morph into a "birthday monkey"? Good question. When I asked her, I was informed that, "Well, everybody has to have wings and a monkey on their birthday." Just wait until the day she makes it all the way through the Wizard of Oz yet and discovers the winged monkey. That will BLOW HER MIND.) Regardless, once I got a little caffeine into my system I was fairly agreeable about the weirdness. At least SOMEBODY is excited about my birthday, even if I'm no longer all that thrilled when it rolls around.

I just hope all of you are able to have wings and a monkey on your birthday, too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The "Damn. I'm Almost 32" List

Tomorrow is my 32nd birthday. Though I had originally planned to skip it altogether, I realized that if I did that, I would totally get gypped out of birthday cake, which would royally suck because I LOVE BIRTHDAY CAKE, particularly if it has roses on it. Yes, I admit it, that's the one concession I have to acting like a little kid. I want a birthday cake and it better sure as hell have roses and I had better (even surer than hell) get a gigantic one on my piece because I'm a frosting whore. A FROSTING WHORE, I SAY!

*Deep breath to recompose*

Anyway.

To celebrate, I have compiled a list of things I learned while I was 31, for the sole purpose of educating those of you out there who ARE NOT YET 31 (or who were too stupid to learn these things when you were). That's just the kind of girl I am. (You know, wise and helpful and whatnot.)

HALEY'S BREATHTAKINGLY IMPORTANT LIST OF THINGS SHE LEARNED AT 31 WHICH SHE PROBABLY DID NOT WANT TO LEARN OR DID NOT LEARN INTENTIONALLY BUT ENDED UP LEARNING ANYWAY SO YOU'D BETTER DAMN WELL PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE IF I HAD TO LEARN THEM THEN SO DO YOU

*Disclaimer: This is by far not ALL the things I learned at 31. However, I tried to include those that might be especially useful to others.

1. Do not offer to bring beer to the kindergarten cookout. While this seems like a FABULOUS idea to some (like ME), it is apparently not only illegal, but highly frowned upon by stuffy education people (aka principals). Nor is it a good idea to mention to said stuffy education people that you think it is ridiculous to have a cookout at 9:30 in the morning with a bunch of bratty rugrats running around in the Virginia humidity and NOT have a keg handy, and that anybody who thinks differently is a fool. (I suspect that I am no longer welcome at the aforementioned cookout.)

2. If you skip Bible Study in order to complete a freelance writing assignment for an erotica website, keep it to yourself because people WILL damn you to hell (like I don't already know that's where I'm headed--you really don't have to rub it in, people).

3. What's the best way to remove gum, crayon, and Coconut dum-dum lollipops from the carpet? It's called VODKA. You drink it, and then you don't care quite so much that seven different carpet cleaners did nothing to dent the mess on the rug and that the dog won't quit licking the spot where the lollipop is ground in and is probably going to get doggie cancer from the cleaning chemicals covering the non-removable spot. Skip it all and just go for the vodka first thing.

4. There is nothing wrong with drowning out your kids in the car with your iPod. Sure, it can be a safety concern--like when you didn't hear the train coming and the warning arms happened to be broken so you weren't stopped from driving across the tracks. (And you probably shouldn't have been driving anyway because your blood sugar was low-- you know because you checked it WHILE driving.) Sure you nearly killed everybody. But you know what? You would have died happy, with Justin Timberlake bringing Sexy Back, instead of screaming at your children, "NO! NO, we do NOT hold up our middle finger at the lady in the car next to us because....well, yes, Mommy does it sometimes, but it means something bad and....Sutton, STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER WITH THE GARBAGE TRUCK! Belly, put your damn finger DOWN," where your last moments before the train hit were spent frustrated with your children. You know?

5. If you ever run into an Irish wedding party at a bar in NYC, specifically on their last night in town before returning to Dublin, blow off all other plans and spend the night drinking with them. It's well worth all the vomiting you'll do later. Those Irish people KNOW HOW TO PARTY.

6. When you and your husband (or wife) make the list of celebrities that you are allowed to sleep with and receive no marital repercussions, be forewarned: HE IS STILL NOT GOING TO LET YOU SLEEP WITH JOHNNY DEPP IF THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF. I nearly filed for an annulment when I heard this--I figure I could have pulled a Renee Zellwegger/Kenny Chesney and totally claimed "fraud," because I entered into this union truly BELIEVING that if Johnny ever approached me and said, "Hey, Baby. Let's wrestle," I could be ALL OVER THAT and Blaker would be happy for me later. But NO. HE WOULDN'T. And it took me six whole years to find out. Shit.

7. If your uncle, who you hate and who has always been a total dick to you, tries to play nice at your Dad's memorial service, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE HIS SHIT. I wish now, instead of being polite, I had kicked him in the berries and screeched, "Take that you motherfucking sack of shit! And here's another one for Dad!" before taking out his solar plexus. Dad probably would have appreciated it from beyond. And frankly, propriety is overrated.

8. If you wander around the neighborhood in your pajamas (sexy or otherwise) and act like it's normal, people WILL TALK ABOUT YOU. They will look at you like you are perfectly sane while you ask them their plans for the weekend or why they are taking a broken drill from the neighbor's trash, then they will tell everybody that you don't know how to dress yourself appropriately. THE HELL I DON'T. AND AT LEAST I DON'T DIG THROUGH THE NEIGHBOR'S TRASH. But at 7am when I've been scraping oatmeal off a 3-year old's penis ("Hey, Mommy! Look where my oatmeal went! I put it in my pants!") and reminding your 5-year old that NO, we CANNOT go commando to school AND I DON'T CARE IF IT FEELS GOOD ON YOUR GIRL PARTS I do not have the TIME to change into my Homeowners Association Regulated attire. DEAL WITH IT.

9. The locker room at the Y is a haven for scary people, and even if you are naked, they are naked, or everybody is naked, they will still talk to you. I once had an 83-year-old woman tell me in detail all about how her new bra made her breasts look like they hadn't looked in forty years AS SHE WAS STANDING THERE TOPLESS. Did I ask? Did I mention that I needed some additional perk to my girls? NO. One minute I'm asking Sutt if he's ready to go get a cheeseburger, and the next minute I'm getting boob tips from a woman with an oxygen tank. No joke.

10. What's the gift that keeps on giving? Obscenities cross-stitched in pastel colors and then put in a pretty frame. I hate to admit that I did not think of this wonder myself, however yesterday I received an envelope in the mail from my brother and his wife. Inside was a lovely silver frame holding a 5x7 sheet of fabric with F U C K cross-stitched in pink, yellow, green and purple, each letter inside a perfect little heart. It looks beautiful on my dresser, and I know that it is absolutely a gift from the heart as it turns that that Shawna has been working on it for over a year (with Zach cheering her on, as he has less-than stellar cross-stitching abilities). Next gift giving holiday, I am SO on this gift idea.

I encourage you to take those gems, and lock them into your memory. You can benefit from my experience, my brilliance and wisdom. Oh, and if I learn anything else exciting before midnight tonight, you can be sure I'll write an addendum.