Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spreading The Love

It was suggested last week by the GG that, rather than gratuitous swearing, I say something nice to someone instead. A twist on the old, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," I suppose. I was doubtful that this would bring me holiday cheer, but since I'm not the one with the Ph.D., I decided to give it a go and see what happened. The girl is always up for new experiences. Later that day, when an old man at the gym told me that if I was ever going to get a husband, I "needed more meat on my bones," I smiled and used my brute force to help adjust the weight machine settings for his fragile, elderly body, rather than saying, "At least I can lift more than ten pounds without snapping a damn bone, old man!" A friend who normally gets only my shining sarcasm got a heartfelt, "I love you, man" paragraph in his message, though I really wanted to give him shit for his chronic inability to reply to me in a timely manner, leaving me to Google him on occasion just to see if he's dead. On the family front, though Sutton spilled his drink on the kitchen floor three times in one day (THREE FUCKING TIMES), I never once muttered "Goddamnit" under my breath. I was sweetness and light. I was a saint.

And you know where it got me? NOWHERE.

The little old man didn't even say "thank you." I may have traumatized my emotionally deficient friend. Sutt spilled his drink twice the next day.

Did I at least feel better, after spewing all that merriness out into the world?

Nope. Not even a little. I just felt like somebody other than me. And why would I want to be somebody other than me? I'm awesome. Prone to fits of violence, drunkenness and crude language, but awesome nonetheless.

Therefore, old man? I want you to know that you are old, brittle, and hateful. And I can assure you that I have plenty of meat on my bones, and that if I took off my clothes to show you, you'd likely keel over and die from the thrill of it all.

Friend? You suck at email, and I'm going to kick your half-wit ass someday.

Sutt? Learn to use a mop, kid. I will teach you. My mopping skills are unsurpassed.

And everybody else? Don't look for anymore sweetness soon. I'm all tapped out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes


1. (Sutt): "Hey, Mommy. I dialed on Daddy's cell phone and I CALLED A REAL PERSON! It was awesome! They talked and everything! And you know who I called? 911!" (As it turns out, you can call 911 even from an old cell phone that is charged but no longer in service. Bet you didn't know that, did you?)

2. (Belly): "Hey, Mommy. My ear is all weird and plugged up. It's like the toilet gets after I go poop and we need to use the plunger. I guess I mean it feels like somebody pooped in my ear."

3. (Sutt): "Hey, Mommy. You know what my favorite flavor is? Mitten. Like Peppermitten."

4. (Belly): "Hey, Mommy. I think my cold has gotten better, and my eyes feel better, but I still have a problem. I have a crusty butt. Feel how crusty it is." (*To my relief, she was referring to dry skin on her extreme lower back. THANK GOD. One can only guess when one hears "crusty butt.")

*Side note: Have you noticed a pattern here with how my children begin EVERY FUCKING SENTENCE? And we all wonder why I drink.

5. (Sutt-- in the bathtub): "Hey, Mommy. What's this fat part of my junk called?" (Me): "Testicles." (Sutt): "TEXTICLES? What do I need TEXTICLES for?" (Me): "If you want to have a baby someday, you'll need them." (Sutt): "But right now, I don't need any texticles, right?"

6. (Belly): "Hey, Mommy, I don't want to eat anything, because every time I cough I puke in my mouth a little. So it's kind of like I'm eating all the time because I'm coughing all the time."

7. (Sutt): "Hey, Mommy. Guess what? This week is V week at school. And you know what word I told Mrs. Lentini starts with V? VINO!"

Ah, yes. The joys of children.


Friday, December 3, 2010

'Tis the Season

A few minutes ago, I was sitting outside in the freezing cold looking at the sky while the dogs powdered their noses. A plane was sailing overhead. I wondered where it was going. I could look down the street and see a handful of houses all lit up with Christmas lights, just like mine. Some people prefer all clear lights, but at my house colored always wins out. Maybe it's the Tennessee coming out in me. Maybe clear lights are just a little too straight and narrow for my family.

This time of year is tough nowadays. I miss my Dad, and it's hard to explain to two extremely excited kids why Mommy feels sad at Christmas. My Grief Guru says that this year will be easier than last, and next year will be easier than this one-- so on and so forth. I've long suspected, due to her taste in hairstyles (among other things) and her penchant for vests that she may be crazy as hell. Regardless, what am I to do except believe her? Emotionally, it's my best option, I guess.

B is serving jury duty this week, sitting as a juror on a child neglect case. I hate the thought of that-- that there are kids that are cold or hungry or don't have medicine when they are ill. Or even worse than that, that nobody even cares that they are cold or hungry or sick. I may not be the greatest Mom ever, but my kids will never suffer neglect in any way, shape, or form. When I die, they will still have lots of people who love them. They are lucky that way.

You see, when I lost my Dad, I lost a great big chunk of "the people who love me." My Mom loves me. B loves me. My kids love me. Aunt Tina and Ro and a handful of friends love me. I'm lucky that way, too. I am grateful for them all, but I still miss the way my Dad made me feel. When people disappear from your lives, in whatever capacity they once were in it, it leaves a hole that just doesn't go away. You can't fill it with something else (I've tried), you can't ignore it (tried that too), it's just there. It hurts. Case closed.

So this is Christmas, and I'm hanging in there. It's confusing and uncomfortable, but it is what it is, and I can't change it. I would if I could. I put up the tree, hung the lights, and wrapped a few gifts. I haven't thrown anything at the mall Santa or started involuntarily swearing when Christmas music comes on the radio. I'm missing some people I love, though. I suspect that's part of life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Hail My Genius! or, It Must Be Idiot Night On Jeopardy!

After an afternoon that involved light-saber fighting, second grade math homework, and teaching my children to make waffles (it was breakfast-dinner night), my IQ was hovering around 65. Technically, I was functional. To my knowledge, I was not drooling upon myself or suddenly incapable of tying my shoes or doing the US Weekly crossword puzzle, but I was definitely a little dull around the edges (the martini during math likely didn't help). Once the kiddos were tucked into bed, I decided it would be in my best interest to sharpen my mental pencil with a little help from Alex Trebek. It was time for a little Jeopardy!

(Side note: Hey! The Grinch just came on-- the old school cartoon Grinch. That's awesome. I, too, have a heart that's two sizes too small. I also hate Whos and would rather have a dog than a reindeer. But I digress.)

I settled in to watch Jeopardy! in my pajamas (with a lovely glass of Merlot--the martini had worn off) and sized up my television opponents carefully-- an anemic-looking Emo chick named Allie (whose anecdote was a ridiculously pointless story about using a hair dryer in France), an old dude in a red shirt named Tom, and the champion, who was so unremarkable that I can't even remember his name, only that he had exceptionally large ears and he kept giving the camera what I like to refer to as "seductive eyebrows," which is kind of a sexy little eyebrow wiggle that can either look suggestive or like a nervous tic, depending on how it's executed. (Please note that his was more of the nervous tic variety.) I was feeling confident. Even with 14.5% alcohol content coursing through my veins, I could kick these losers' asses.

Then the question board was filled. The categories included "Name That Country," "G-roceries," and "Massachusetts Symbols." My first thought was, "Shit. I'm going to SUCK at this board. And when Emo Allie beats me at Jeopardy!, I'm going to be PISSED." (My second thought was, "Who comes UP with this BULLSHIT? These categories BLOW GOATS. ") All the questions appeared on the board, and the nerdfest began.

But hark! (I used "hark" specifically in honor of the season. Please recognize and appreciate this for a moment.) You won't believe what happened. I. Knew. Every. Freakin. Answer.

No joke. I fucking mopped the floor with those fools.

Now, I'm damn good at Jeopardy! (Most of the time.) (Side note: It's KILLING me to use all these fucking exclamation points, as I HATE exclamation points. I love capital letters, but that's irrelevant. However, I feel the need to represent Jeopardy! correctly, and in reality, it does indeed end with an exclamation point. I felt the need to point this out in case anybody thought I was being overly enthusiastic--which is not the Haley way--rather than grammatically correct.) However, I am not Rainman. I do not mutter every answer in its full and perfect form under my breath while counting cards and demanding to change the channel to The People's Court. Yet somehow this time the stars aligned and I became the JEOPARDY! MASTER. I was still in full glory when Double Jeopardy! began. I didn't end up with a perfect score at the end, but I still did pretty damn well. (I shall now neglect to discuss how Final Jeopardy! was a question in the category SPORTS, the answer was something about a Canadian hockey team, and I missed it, subsequently losing all of the theoretical thousands I had raked in during my Jeopardy! massacre because I theoretically BET IT ALL. You heard me, I DO NOT BACK DOWN. I BET IT ALL, BITCHES.)

All this begs the question: "Am I that brilliant, or was it Idiot Night on Jeopardy!?" (It also begs the questions: "Does Merlot make me smarter?" and "What, exactly, the hell was Alex thinking with that black suit and tie and green shirt tonight?")

The answer? That remains to be seen. But for a girl who has never been to Massachusetts, yet got every single Massachusetts Symbols question right, I'm feeling pretty damn intelligent this evening.

Yes, indeed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Thanksgiving Blog

Now THAT'S a creative title. You can tell that I'm really working hard today, no? Poor blog--I've put about as much effort into it this year as I have my gardening (which is why I have a bunch of dead plants in my front yard--in Tennessee, where we have things like lynch mobs [this is a little shout out to Polk County, y'all], the HOA would have already shown up at my house and lynched me. Except that in Tennessee, we don't have HOA's, particularly in Polk County. And since we don't have lynch mobs in Virginia, it looks like me and my dead mums remain safe.)

But I digress.

A few years ago ("few" because I don't really have any idea if it's been seven or one) I started my annual Thanksgiving Blog, where I like to publicly give thanks for the little things in my life for which I am grateful. Not my family. Not my home. But the things that rarely get the recognition they deserve. While I admit that I'm not feeling particularly festive this year (yet again), I'm going to give it my Haley Best and share my thankfulness with the world anyway. So here we go.


1. My crock pot~ Now that I am working so much, including two nights during the week when my children must still be fed but which I dislike leaving Blaker in a "what's for dinner lurch" (please reference the night he gave them scrambled eggs with peas for dinner, if you are questioning my feelings) the crock pot is my miracle tool. You can cook anything in that bitch, yo. Seriously. Throw in some meat, vegetables, water, bullion cubes, leftovers, whatever canned items are in the pantry and a little salt, turn it to low and wait 8 hours and BAM! You've got dinner. (Or turn it to high and wait 3, if you are impatient. Still, BAM! You've got dinner.) High five for you, crock pot. I do love you so.

2. Text messages~ I am not a big texter, in general. I think it's a great tool to have, and I like to occasionally let someone know I'm thinking of them or that I'm running late or that I wish they would drop dead and burn in hell via text, but it's pretty rare, in general. Part of my texting hesitation is probably due to the fact that I text so slowly an elephant could likely gestate its young before I can send out a quick message, but that's really not that important. It's not like I'm pressed for time, dude. Life is long. Anyway, what I like about texting is the same thing I like about a few other things (cleaning, ironing, shooting someone)-- instant gratification. You think of something or someone, you text, if they are well-mannered and in possession of their (charged and "on") phone, you hear right back. Quicker than email. Quicker than snail mail. A hell of a lot quicker than telepathy. You know they are alive. They know you need milk from the store. You know their kid wears a size 2T or that they will be 5 minutes late meeting you or that they think your kid might have just robbed a bank in New York while wearing a Darth Vader mask. Instant gratification.

3. Urban Cowboy, the movie~ So Kate Middleton and Prince William are getting married. The world is full of fairytale romances, happily ever afters, love and infatuation. But you know what the world is even MORE full of? Dysfunctional, screwed up, love/hate relationships between messed up people who need years of good therapy and a lot of mood-altering medications. Enter Bud and Sissy, the two main characters of the old 70's movie, Urban Cowboy. Every time I get depressed, all I have to do is pop in this classic gem and automatically I start feeling better. There's the iconic soundtrack ("Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?), the fabulous one liners ("See ya, girls, I got me a cowboy!") and the overwhelming excitement over the wedding gift of a single-wide trailer. It always makes me want to put on my fringed boots and go ride a cowboy....oops, I mean, go ride a mechanical bull. Nothing can cheer a person up like watching Debra Winger get smacked around by John Travolta while they are both wearing ten gallon hats. Nothing, I say.

4. Lotion~ Ah, you think I'm going to whip out something dirty with this one, don't you? Well, my friends, sorry to disappoint. This one is all about my kids. You see, they get up in the middle of the night an average of six hundred times most nights. They have invisible bumps, scrapes, rashes, bug bites, itches, cuts, and various other alien ailments. There is no sending the little monsters back to bed. You can yell, you can throw things at them (not that I would know....), threaten them, and spank them. It doesn't matter, they still get up again five minutes later with some horribly incurable skin irritation that no one but them can see and that they did not have when they were tucked in twenty minutes ago. Enter: the lotion. Lotion works wonders. You tell them it's medicine and rub it on whatever body part is hurting. They think you've done something to help, you've pretended not to dismiss their complaint, everybody is happy. Vaseline works the same way. Hell, Belly can read now and the bottle clearly says "Lotion." She knows what lotion is, and IT STILL WORKS. Miracle stuff, that lotion.

5. Melatonin~ Many of you already know that I am an insomniac. I've taken sleeping pills, tried warm milk, done yoga-- nothing really helps much. I fall asleep rather easily most of the time, but I don't sleep well and I don't sleep long. Does Melatonin help this? Nope. However, Melatonin does something else that adds interest to my life: it gives me completely psychotic dreams. If you've ever tripped acid in the mountains with a hippie nudist colony, you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are good, sometimes they are just crazy. Regardless, these dreams add spice to my life in a completely harmless way. My doctor seems baffled by this, but fully encouraging, therefore I continue to trip in my on little happy Melatonin stupor for a little while most nights. Hey, it's better then dreaming about being at work, or replaying events from the day. It's cheap, it's legal. I figure one day I'll get bored with it or it will quit working for me, but for now, all hail the Melatonin.

That's five. Only five. But at least it's a nice odd number.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mommy Needs A Cocktail

School was canceled in Suffolk today because it rained.

Yeah, it rained a lot, but SWEET JESUS, IT'S ONLY RAIN. I don't care if it was a torrential downpour for three days, or that water was standing several feet deep in some areas. I don't care if a dam broke on Holland Road and the flooding made it impossible for buses to get through. I don't care that it took me half an hour to get Bellamy less than one mile to school yesterday after a ridiculously stupid two-hour delay (like the flooding will magically disappear after two hours), or that half the roads in the city have washed away. I DO NOT CARE.

You want to know what I care about?

What I care about is the fact that I nearly had a nervous breakdown today, trapped with two kids who are going stir crazy because they haven't been able to go outside in three days and whom I had to take to the mall because it was the only indoor place I could think of to go. I care that I became that psycho Mom who, in the middle of the greeting card aisle at Target, had to threaten to beat her child if he didn't SHUT THE HELL UP from his incessant screaming for a C3-P0 stress ball from the dollar bin (sure, it's $1, but it's about the principle, not the cost) while his sister whined that she REALLY NEEDED MORE DAMN SILLY BANDS (no, she didn't say "damn," I added that myself) and I mentally kicked myself for not carrying airplane bottles of vodka in my handbag like all smart women should do. I care that I may well lose my mind if my children do now grow up very, very quickly. MOMMY DOESN'T CARE IF SHE GOES TO JAIL FOR SPANKING HER KIDS OR PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, FOLKS. Jail might be a sweet little vacation, with three meals a day and downtime. Hell, if I'm naughty enough, I might even get solitary confinement, which actually sounds like my idea of heaven at this moment. Throw in a couple of bottles of wine and a stack of paperbacks and I'm set.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dead Ahead

As you can see, I'm on a death kick here with my subject lines. There is no hidden meaning behind this, you don't need to worry that I'm going to Sam's Club and buying Draino in bulk to mix with my Crystal Light or anything. My entry does, however, have a morbid element to it, as I am writing it to detail exactly how I want things to go down following my death. And you (YOU meaning every single one of you who outlives me) can bet your ass that I'll be haunting the hell out of you if I don't get my way. Damn straight I will.

But I should start at the beginning-- namely, what spurred this blog in the first place. A bad day? A bout of depression? Feelings of inadequacy? Nope, my day was fabulous, I'm not remotely depressed, and we all know that I'm so fucking awesome I that I couldn't be inadequate if I tried. What started it all was The Block Party on the radio station Power 99. Specifically, the Guns N Roses block.

Now I know it's a great big trashy trailer-park livin' redneck cliche', but I DO love some GnR. Those boys can just SPEAK to me. I hear them and I remember making out in a deserted cul-de-sac in my Honda in high school with a boy who was NOT my boyfriend (and who is most likely now in prison). "Patience," "Don't Cry," "Sweet Child of Mine".....I get a little weepy just thinking about them. Dude, I'd do Axel Rose in a heartbeat if he wanted me and I think he's about as nasty and disease infested as a public toilet seat at a a Nickelback concert. Yesterday, on the way home from the gym "November Rain" came on (during a rainstorm, which made it all the more poetic) and I had the opportunity to sing my heart out, much to the horror of my children (especially because it was the LONG, 11-minute or so version--none of that abbreviated shit the radio tries to play so often instead). It was soul-wrenching, and I can't carry a tune to save my life. YOU WOULD HAVE CRIED. (If you don't believe me, I can give you a small list of people to whom I sing to their voicemail on occasion. They will back me up.)

Anyway, today, on my way to the mall to search for end-of-season patio furniture on sale, I had the great fortune to hear the GnR version of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for the first time in years. *Everyone pause for a moment, with your hands over your hearts, and try to hear the song in your head. Axel's whining, Slash's guitar......focus, focus......* Yep. That's what I thought. IT BLEW YOUR FUCKING MIND. Mine, too.

On any given day at any given time, my thought processes skitter all over the place. I'm not ADD or anything, I'm just a hardcore multi-tasker, and I can literally think of about fifteen things, fully and completely, with total focus, all the time. Which means that today, while singing along (loudly) to the radio, I was able to link "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" to dead to who I know who has died to when will I die to what do I want to be done with me when I die (I certainly don't want to be donated to science and have some creepy med student defiling my still super-hot dead body in some formaldehyde smelling classroom somewhere--we all know those med students are weird as hell) to HMMMMM.....what DO I want to be done with me when I die?

I always told B that I wanted to be cremated and sprinkled partially in Barnes and Noble, partially in the Nordstrom's show department, but we all know he isn't going to go to the trouble to hit up two different places with my ashes and bone fragments, so I'd better just condense it as best I can.

And then I realized my death dream. I want to be cremated. I want to be dumped in a freezer bag. I want to be driven to the Ocoee River, sitting in the passenger seat of somebody's car, with "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" blaring on the radio, I want to be put in a raft (preferably with MT), and I want to be sprinkled all the way down the river, particularly in the middle section. It's beautiful there, and peaceful and spiritual. It's the closest to Heaven's Door I've ever come.

The EPA and all the other rule-making groups, be damned. This is what I want, and this is what I shall receive. Yes, I will. (Side note: Afterward, I expect all those present to go to the Ocoee Dam Deli and have sweet potato fries, dipped in honey mustard, because that's how I like them best. I also hope that someone from the Ocoee Dam Deli reads this and sends me a certificate for a lifetime supply of sweet potato fries, although now that I think about it, that really isn't that helpful because they are only, like, $2 and I only get in to Tennessee about once a year. Sigh.)

Just dump me in the Ocoee, bitches.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Undead

FOREWORD: I would like to dedicate this blog to Ro, with whom I was accidentally swapped at birth, albeit twelve years apart, and for whom I will always be ready and willing to make a Princess Bed in order to bring her good cheer. You are likely my biggest blog fan (see pink roses for reference) and I will always love you like my little sis.

So, as you can see, I didn't die. I mean, I wasn't planning to die or trying to die, but I HAVE been AWOL (again) for a while, so I thought perhaps some of you were thinking (hoping) I was dead.

I'm not.

A lot has happened this summer, per the usual. We've been to the beach house twice. I trekked to Tennessee, inherited some dominatrix gear, and rafted the river with my sweet MT. My E moved away, my Ray launched her website, and I got stood up for a drink for the second year in a row by a good friend whom I was really looking forward to seeing. I inherited a plane, yelled at a preschool director, and gave up my hopes of moving to San Diego within the near future. Yeah. That hits the high points. Now you're caught up.

However, none of that was worthy of pulling me out of my blog avoidance and spurring me back into writing mode. It takes something monumental for that--something that entertains me and fulfills me so thoroughly that I can't help but share it with the world via my (incredibly awesome) written words.

Two nights ago, I was finally inspired (and chastised by Ro), to write again. It all started with the trashcan.

You see, Thursday morning is trash pickup. On Wednesday night, I make the rounds through the house--bathrooms, bedrooms, playroom, kitchen, etc.--gathering up everything that needs to go. I bag it up, take the can out of the garage, and walk it to the curb. (Side note: I am proud to announce that this week, the McPhail family produced two small bags of trash. Our recycling can, however, runneth over. We're saving the world, one oatmeal canister at a time.) I usually do this around twilight (I love that word, and not because of the stupid books), when the neighbors are out, sitting on porches and watching kids play, having post-dinner cocktails, tiki torches lit, unwinding as the world twirls by. It's routine. I'm a girl who is all about routine. This is how I roll. Routinely.

This past Trash Day Eve, as I was strolling out to the curb I noticed that the Dad across the street was sitting outside, drinking a beer with his brother-in-law, and watching his toddler play in the driveway. A perfectly normal evening. Except........hmmm......something was not quite right. I looked closer. Toddler was playing with a ride-on car, inherited from Sutt who had outgrown it. As he wandered along, he pushed the car with one hand, and in the other hand he clutched something weird. What was that? Hmmmm.....yes....I think it's..... a bra. Yes, indeed. He was carrying a bra. A largish- D-cup-ish, nude satin bra. Fascinated, I watched as he dragged the bra along the concrete, picking it up from time to time to shove it in his mouth and suck on it a little around his pacifier. It appeared to be a push-up, the kid had a death grip on it, and my curiosity was peaked.

Interested, I did what every normal neighbor would do. I stared for a while, then shouted across the street, "Hey [neighbor]. Did you know [Toddler] has got a bra?"

Neighbor took a swig of his Budweiser and wiped off his mouth. Then he sighed. "Yeah, it's his security blanket. He doesn't have a Blankie, he has a bra. He takes it everywhere."

Silence all around.

Fucking awesome.

When my children were little, they had lots of things to which they were attached. Belly had Bun-Bun (a pink bunny/blanket that Ya put in her NICU bassinet when she was born), Green (a monkey/blanket), Roberta (a pink gorilla from her Papaw), and various other items. Sutt had a stuffed Buzz and Woody, Curious George, and a beagle (stuffed) that he named Power Ranger. They both had pacifiers. Nobody ever had a bra. Or any other kind of lingerie, just to be fair. At least, not to my knowledge.

After a moment of consideration, I yelled back to Neighbor, "You know this doesn't bode well for his teenage years, right?"

Another swig of Bud, "Yep. We're counting on some trouble."

[Toddler] squealed and shook his bra in the air.

I said it before, I'll say it again.

Fucking Awesome.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Finds the Easy Bake

I am now on Day 7 of SUMMER BREAK (Day 11 if you count weekend days, which I don't, as the minis would be around on those days regardless). Seeing as how I haven't faked my own death and absconded to Mexico, nor have I flipped my lid and taken off on a country-wide killing spree in the Xterra, chain-smoking Marlboro Reds while wearing cutoffs and mirrored sunglasses, and taunting the police from pay phones in really boring states like Missouri, I consider SUMMER BREAK to be a success, thus far. We have spent a great deal of time at the pool. We have been to the water park at the Y. We have seen a movie. We have gone on a quest to locate and purchase both a blue light saber and a green one, we have filled up the Barbie pool and let Barbie and all her boyfriends (Ironman, Batman, Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk, and Darth Vader--clearly the girl gets around AND has a certain "type" of man she prefers) have a pool party, and we've had a good dose of Jesus at Bible School. We've visited the library, the mall play area, and the park (in hundred degree weather, I might add). And what all this means is: I have officially shot my load. (I hope everyone enjoys that attractive sexual metaphor, as every time I hear it I feel mildly queasy and truly only chose to use it in this instance to see if anyone else also felt mildly queasy at the mental image. Please tell me if you did. However, if you merely got excited by it, I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW, SO KEEP IT TO YOUR DAMN SELF, PERVERT.)

Throughout all of these activities, I have plastered on a smile and pretended IT WAS THE FUNNEST THING EVER (yes, I said "funnest,"--suck it up and deal, yo). Why? Because I am a good Mom. As a matter of fact, I decided yesterday I am the BEST FUCKING MOM EVER. And for good reason: Belly found her Easy Bake Oven.

Now, let me explain how the Easy Bake Oven came into existence. (Please note, this is not the history of the Easy Bake Oven itself, but more of an overview of how the McPhail Family came to own said oven, as any Mom on the planet will tell you that EASY BAKE OVENS ARE THE DEVIL AND YOU NEVER PURCHASE THEM FOR YOUR CHILDREN UNTIL YOU ARE ON DRUGS, OUT OF YOUR EVER-LOVING MIND, OR BOTH.) One of my mother-in-laws (yes, I have two) purchased the oven for Bellamy for Christmas. When she told me, I immediately flinched in pain, then dropped to my knees to pray to God that perhaps he would deem me worthy to have just one teeny, tiny little prayer answered and the damn oven would magically disappear. He did not, and it did not. However, he did buy me some time--Barbara misplaced the oven for six months, which means that Belly did not receive it in December for Christmas, but rather for her birthday in June. Bellamy was ecstatic. I had a fourth glass of Chardonnay.

In the midst of the excitement over her other birthday gifts, I managed to swipe the Easy Bake and stash it in the closet. The "closet" being the storage closet upstairs, where random McPhail items go to hide for years at a time, and where no one ever goes unless B decides it would be really fun to go play in the attic for a bit, using tools and man things like air filters and such. Anyway, there the oven rested for a month. Until yesterday. When Bellamy, somehow, located it.

So last night I was forced to Easy Bake. Let me just point out that whoever decided it would be really fun to make an "oven" that "cooked" things like "cakes" the size of sugar cookies and "cookies" the size of dimes by using a light bulb that actually creates enough heat that one can be easily burned if one touches this oven should be dragged out into the street and shot, after being forced to Easy Bake for the duration of the life of an economy-sized pack of 100 watt light bulbs. Creating the batter involved opening a packet, dumping it into a bowl, adding a teaspoon and a half of water, stirring and putting it in the tiniest little cake pan you've ever seen, then shoving it in the damn oven with a big, yellow utensil. Being the watchful eye while all this was done by a seven-year-old and a four-year-old took OVER AN HOUR and ultimately involved one eye poke (Belly to Sutt), one punch to the arm (Sutt to Belly), LOTS of bickering (both) and cake batter on the table, floor, and children. Considering the amount of cake batter produced to begin with was probably less than a heaping Tablespoon, this was quite a feat. Twelve miserable baking minutes later, we had a cake. A very small, very rock hard cake. My children were enchanted. I needed a shot of tequila and a Xanax.

Needless to say, I think I deserve serious kudos for cheerfully Easy Baking the hell out of some yellow cake. I won't even mention suffering through making "frosting" and adding sprinkles. One more complicated Mommy activity down, only a summer full of more to go. Let's hope I'm still standing in September.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes I sit around and consider the following things:


1. Playboy Magazine~ I get the idea of Playboy. I am not in any way, shape, or form opposed to Playboy, nor am I disgusted or jealous of it. I once got B a subscription to it for his birthday, because hey, who doesn't want to check out hot chicks? I love hot chicks. The cartoons are often rather stupid, but it's not as if anybody really buys Playboy for the cartoons (that's why you buy The New Yorker, or the Far Side desk calendar). The issue I have with Playboy is this: if you take a random sample of issues from the past five years THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. The girls pose the same way. They look alike--large breasted, smoothly shaved, either olive skinned, dark-eyed brunettes, or platinum blonds, all with kickin' spray tans and a penchant for looking cute in pigtails. There was one edition a few years back where some tennis player chick was featured and her boobs were tiny. I wanted to high-five Hugh Hefner for giving the under-endowed a chance. However, she's the only one that broke the mold, unless you count Cindy Margolis with her landing strip. Which I don't, because she's still big breasted and platinum blond, so even her minimal (but existent) pubic hair isn't enough to set her apart.

2. What the world would be like if we spelled most of our words phonetically, and how I would lose my importance in our universe~ I know several very intelligent people who can't spell worth a damn. I am not one of them, and I do not judge them. (For the record, I was in hot pursuit of the National Spelling Bee title when I was eleven, but was thwarted by a bad case of chicken pox. Otherwise, that crown would have been mine, ese.) Because I am an excellent speller, I find it both amusing and exciting that some of the words in the English language are spelled in such a complicated and contradictory way. It gives me an internal shiver of delight when I consider how "cataclysm" has no "i," and a slightly giddy tremor when I see how many people misspell "definitely" as "definately." I want to go around teaching everyone to spell with my stellar skills and knowledge, saving the world one poor speller at a time. Not because I am superior to them, but because we all have to be good at something, and this is MY THING. I can't do math in my head, I can't carry a tune, my artistic abilities are atrocious, but I'll be damned if I can't spell the pants off anyone around me.

3. How can claims be made about things that can't be proven?~ Maine claims to be the only state without a single snake within its boundaries. Scientists claim that when a person tells a lie, he or she nearly always glances to the left while telling said lie. Texas officially states that it is home to the best Mexican food in our great nation. But you want to hear something scandalous? NONE OF THIS CAN BE PROVED. Can every inch of Maine really be simultaneously scoured for snakes and declared snake free? I don't care if the climate does not work in reptilian favor or that no one ever runs across a giant copperhead while mowing his lawn. What I care about is that it can't be PROVED. Just like I can look you straight in the eye and tell a whopping lie without ever glancing away, and it's my belief that the best Mexican food on the planet is pseudo-Mexican and located in Carrboro, North Carolina. BAM. There you go.

4. What if~ I once had a chance to run off and marry a marine I barely knew when I was twenty years old. I was angry at B the night I conceived Belly because he had done something incredibly stupid and almost didn't sleep with him that night (damn you, Corona with lime). I had a gun held to my head in high school because I walked in on a drug deal while looking for a bathroom at a party. WHAT IF: I had gone for it, I had stayed sober and gone to bed, I had used my biting wit to oppose my captivity? I might be happy or sad or dead. There's no telling what could have happened. Every day contains so many choices, so many options. Even the tiniest decision (looking for the bathroom when you have to pee) can affect you forever. There is always a "what if," no matter what you choose.

5. What would Maddie do?~ Remember those "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets from the late nineties? Those who jammed for Jesus sported them proudly, looking others square in the eye and daring them with their piety to explain the meaning of "WWJD." It was a way to not only show your devotion to your homeboy JC, but also to minister to others because hey, they asked, right? High five for Jesus. Although I never jumped on that collective bandwagon, I have since created my own: What Would Maddie Do? On my never-ending quest for eternal happiness, I sought far and near for those in my life who exhibited the most contentment, the most happiness, the most true joy in their daily activities. After careful consideration, the winner of the Convivial Award mutt, Maddie May. In 2002, I rescued Maddie May from the pound in Charleston, South Carolina, TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT. I went in looking for a nice, reserved small dog that would be a lovely, yet docile, companion for my cantankerous Yorkie, Mimipants, while I was off teaching high schoolers the importance of literacy. Instead, I left with this high-strung, high-energy, matted mess of a canine whom the shelter had nicknamed "Chatty," but whom I immediately christened "Maddie" all because I was intrigued by her spastic-ness and terrified she was going to be put down. Maddie is a (potentially) Westie, Poodle, Maltese, Who-Knows-What mix who was captured by Animal Control as a stray and was the HAPPIEST FUCKING DOG THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN. Because of her vivacious personality, she had already been shipped from one pound to this one, rather than being put down, in hopes she would find someone willing to put up with her crazy. Since nobody does crazy like me, I figured we were a good match. A $75 adoption fee later, I hauled her off for a grooming and called her my own.

Maddie was ecstatic. No, really. You have no idea how fully I mean that--MADDIE WAS ECSTATIC. Maddie is the happiest little creature EVER. Maddie does not care if she has to take a bath, if she's not allowed on the furniture, or if the kids put a dress and bonnet on her and force her to be their "baby" for hours on end. Right at this exact moment, Maddie is wallowing in the floor and chewing on my toe, oblivious to the fact that she is being ignored, and has been ignored all day. Maddie is just happy to be alive. Food, shelter, petting, treats, toys--those are all serious bonuses to Maddie. She loves her people, she loves her blanket, she loves EVERYTHING. No matter what. So here lately, when I'm having an extraordinarily shitty day--my laptop gets yet another virus, both kids have a fever, it's 109 degrees outside and the air conditioner in my car isn't working, B has class that night, my IC is all AWOL, AND I forget and call my Dad's cell because I REALLY FUCKING NEED HIM RIGHT THEN (or now, the house phone too, as it has been disconnected)--I try to stop, take a breath, and think, "What Would Maddie Do?" Maddie would be happy, no matter what. And if Maddie can do it, so can I. Maddie is my mentor.

The things I think of are blips. They come and go so quickly that sometimes I can't even remember from minute to minute what's going on in my head. That said, this was your little peek into my brain. This was your Haley Invasion. This was what I thought of today--at least, for a moment or two.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Something I Stole...

After writing my Gemini blog this morning, I came home to find an article about Geminis on the MSN homepage. I thought I would copy and post it, because in many ways it sums me up well.
Versatility is a great keyword for this dual sign. Expressive and quick-witted, the Gemini presents two distinctive sides to his or her personality, and you can never be sure which one you're going to come face-to-face with. On one hand, Gemini can be outgoing, flirtatious, communicative, and ready for fun, fun, fun! Yet when the other twin is present, you can find this Air Sign contemplative, serious, restless, and even indecisive. Both Twins are able to adapt to life's circumstances well, making them wonderful people to know. Things are never boring when a Gemini is on the scene.

Friends and Family
Geminis are social and love spending time with friends and family. There will be times when this outgoing sign will want to go bungee jumping, and there will be times when sitting at home playing cards will suit them. Either way, friends are plentiful. Those who can match the Gemini intellect and love of variety will go the distance. One quality they seek out in others is communication. Gemini loves to talk and gain insight from others. Without a clear flow of talk, Gemini will lose interest pretty quickly. Family is important, especially to those of like mind. Friendship with siblings is quite common for the Gemini, and time spent together is cherished. Meeting responsibilities with family can pose a challenge at times, but almost always, Gemini comes through.

Career and Money
The best-suited careers for a Gemini are those that stimulate the intellect. "I think" is the key phrase for this sign. Geminis are inventive and often literary. It's important that the work they commit themselves to is dynamic and challenging so boredom doesn't set in.

Careers as a teacher, debater, reporter, writer, preacher, or lawyer are all well-suited to this sign. Any platform that gives the Gemini room to talk is best! A sales profession is another excellent choice. You can expect to see many tools for communication around this sign, such as PDAs, laptops, and cell phones. Generating new ideas and problem-solving are other areas where a Gemini will shine.

Deciding between practicality and pleasure can be a tough thing for a Gemini. While money is a necessary evil, most don't spend a lot of time worrying about where their next dollar is coming from. They don't put much thought into balancing their checkbooks, yet they manage to get by just fine. This is largely due to the flexibility Geminis have.

Love and Sex

Fun-loving and always up for an intellectual challenge, the Gemini is a spirited lover. The talk that precedes the interlude is just as important as the actual physical contact for this sign, and when it comes to wit, this sign holds nothing back. Flirtatious and curious, the Gemini must find one that can match their intellect and energy level. The Gemini needs to experience excitement, versatility, and stimulation to feel fully satisfied. Once the perfect match is found, though, a Gemini can settle into a lifestyle for two for the long haul.


Each sign has a part of the anatomy attached to it, making this the area of the body that is most sensitive to stimulation. The anatomical areas for Gemini are the lungs, collarbone, hands, arms, lower back, shoulders, and the nervous system.

Ruling Planet
The ruling planet for Gemini is Mercury. Representing intellectual urges and the avenue of expression, this planet rules reason, rationalization, words, awareness, and communication. Its action is quick, and it deals with travel, speaking, writing, trade, and emotional capacity and technique.

Lucky Numbers
Gemini's lucky numbers are 3 and 7.

Geminis are most compatible with Libra and Aquarius.

Opposite Sign
The opposite sign of Gemini is Sagittarius.

The Perfect Gift
A surprise party, gift certificate to a bookstore, any activity with friends, Scrabble or another intellectual game

Music, magazines, books, music, blogs, chatting with nearly anyone, short trips around town

Repetition and routine, being alone, being confined

Curiosity, ability to share ideas, adaptable, affectionate, kind

Scattering energy in too many places at once, fickle in love, nervous, short attention span

Charismatic marks
Expressive eyes, quick, bright, often small-boned, refined features

The Reality Of It All

Geminis are known for their split personalities. Being a Gemini, I am no exception (much to the chagrin of my husband and a few of my friends). I am very much "what you see is what you get," unfortunately, you just never know what you're going to see or get. I use this in the broadest sense of the definition.

In my last blog, I mentioned how Michael, The Workout God, voiced his concern regarding my gym vs. drinking habits. I've been thinking about this a lot the past couple of days. Michael is one of my oldest and closest friends, he knows me better than nearly everyone else on the planet. Yet this is an excellent example of the confusion of the Gemini personality--Michael has seen me have a glass of wine exactly twice in the eighteen years that I have known him. Once when having dinner at his house, once when he was up visiting me in Richmond. Michael knows that I am somewhat obsessed with being healthy--working out, eating well, managing my diabetes, caring for my body. He knows that I am frequently essentially a single parent because B is always working or at school, and that I am responsible and dependable to a fault. But all the joking and FB statuses and references to happy hour led him to confuse the two of me. How can this be? Am I THAT good at portraying myself as someone else? Does anybody really know ME?

Most people I know cannot tell when I'm being serious and when I am not. They do not know when I am lying and when I am not. They do not know when I am happy or sad or angry. I like it this way. It has been said that being like this makes your life less full, and perhaps this is true, but if it is, it's a fullness I have little interest in obtaining. I enjoy being a force of one. But I can't help but wonder--those few whom I have chosen to enter the circle, do they have a decent grasp of who I am? And why does it sting a little to think they may not?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perception Deception

Tonight, I had a telephone conversation with one of my dearest friends, Michael. Michael is a workout fanatic. He has been this way for years, and has the body of a Greek God to show for it. Women fall at his feet, weeping and begging for attention, because he's just so damned good looking. Fortunately, I am immune to Michael's hotness, which means for the past seventeen or eighteen years, we have been able to love one another without our otherworldly hotness getting in the way of our relationship. (Yeah, okay, so I'm not actually as hot as Michael. Not even. But that doesn't stop me from claiming to be, nor telling him that he's actually not all that good looking and should get over himself.)

As usual, our conversation turned to the gym at some point, as the gym makes up a large portion of Michael's life (because he likes to lift) and because I am there quite often myself (because the gym provides childcare and it's the only free time I get some days). After a brief discussion about my extensive cardio pursuits, Michael says, "Well, I hope you aren't binging on alcohol and then doing all that cardio just to burn off the calories."

Dude. Why the fuck else would I be there?

Hey, Michael--do you have my kids? YOU HEARD ME, YO. DO YOU HAVE MY KIDS? No. I think not. Last time I checked, your life consisted of a hell of a lot of peace and solitude and zen. How long has it been since I have had peace, solitude or zen? Hmmmm......let's see.....Bellamy will be seven on June thirteenth, so NEARLY SEVEN FREAKIN' YEARS. I can't even shower in peace, as there is always someone ripping open the curtain saying, "Hey! It's boobies!" or "I spilled my cup of juice in the fridge!" Dinner, with me frequently the only parent available, is high drama ("I don't like shrimp on Mondays!") as is breakfast ("You cooked my oatmeal! I don't like it cooked! I only like it in the microwave!") as is EVERY DAMN MOMENT OF EVERY DAMN DAY. So, hell yeah I drink. We're lucky I'm not also addicted to Oxycontin and Snickers bars, weighing in at four-hundred pounds and with a raging reality tv habit. I eat super healthy, I go constantly to the gym, I manage my diabetes and pay my taxes and make sure my house is clean and my children are safe. Additionally, I know all the words to "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and make regular donations to Goodwill and the Humane Society. I'm square with Jesus. I'm good to go.

If you have to have an organ give out on you, I think the liver is your best bet. I've already got a dead pancreas, so why do I care if I kill off another body part? I don't. And at this point, it's my liver or my sanity, and my sanity is giving my liver the finger, as it holds a dirty martini in the other hand.

And that, my friends, is just how it is.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Roses Are Not Always Red

Today I went rose shopping.

I am not one of those girls who is hung up on roses. In reality, they do not even make my top five favorite flowers (gardenias, hyacinths, tulips, poppies, hydrangeas). However, I wanted something that would bloom for a long time during the summer, and so my step-MIL directed me to a particular variety of rose, named the Knock-Out Rose. So this morning we headed out to the Smithfield Garden Center in order to seek out this Knock-Out Rose.

(This is the point at which you may think that the story will continue with a tale of rose shopping, with two children in tow, choosing from all the colors and varieties of the Knock-Out Rose. You are incorrect. We did purchase a double pink Knock-Out Rose, but that is not what the story is about--bear with me.)

You see, as many of you may know, the color of a rose is important. Different colors mean different things. White=pure love, Red=lust/true love, Yellow=Friendship, Pink=Happiness...there are likely meanings for orange, lavender, etc, although I am not savvy enough to be aware of them. Yellow roses remind me of my Dad--he bought me several when I was young, to plant in my rose garden in the yard, and a gorgeous one of the climbing variety as a housewarming gift when I built my first house. I planted it outside of my bedroom window and loved it completely. When I moved out, it was the only thing I regretted leaving (one might note that I left everything except my dog and some clothes, including my husband, so this is rather telling). When Daddy died, there were several arrangements sent to his service that were nothing but yellow roses. No one sent white. No one sent pink or red. Only yellow. I like to think this was because my Dad was a good friend, although I suspect it had more to do with yellow being the most socially appropriate rose color for a man.

I do not like red roses, though I keep the reason why to myself. I've only received white roses once, in high school, from my long-term boyfriend, because he "wanted to be different." No one has ever sent me pink, which are my favorite.

The point is that you can say a lot of things with nothing more than a color, a simple gesture, something that people seem so often to forget. I saw a bunch of irises today at the supermarket and thought about how lovely it would be for someone to give me one lone iris, just because they knew I loved the color purple. A Post-It that says, "I love you the way you laugh," or "this song reminds me of you because the tune makes me feel happy." The best things cost us nothing at all, except the price of a piece of our thoughts, a sliver of our emotions. These are the things that mean the most.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Remains of the Day

Lately, life has been busier than usual. Spring soccer started for Sutt, B has been traveling for work and trying to wrap up the end of his semester at school, and Bellamy wants to become legally emancipated and purchase her own home so that she can leave her Barbie Diamond Castle in the middle of the living room indefinitely without losing computer privileges. There hasn't been much time for blogging, and what little time I have had I seem to spend lost in my own thoughts. Therefore, to play catch-up, I present you with a list:


1. Angelic Belly~ One evening, while brushing Belly's hair before bed, she asked me, "Mommy, why do they talk about GOD so much at church? It's all God this and God that ALL THE TIME." Despite being noticeably absent from church myself most of the time, I still felt fairly confident that I could answer this one appropriately and knowledgeably for my six-year-old. So, stroking her soft little brown curls I said gently, "Dude. Church is God's freakin' house. Methodists are ALL ABOUT GOD, that's what they talk about. It's SUPPOSED to be "God this" and "God that," because CHRISTIANS DIG GOD." After a moment of contemplation, Belly sighed deeply before saying, "Well, I wish they'd knock it off for a while with the God talk and just talk about angels. I LIKE ANGELS." I'm still awaiting the lightning strike that will take us both to the angels.

2. Noticing that Sutt had been quiet for approximately two and a half minutes one day (which is two and a half minutes longer than normal), I wandered through the house looking for him. I finally found him in the kids' bathroom. Naked (except for a pair of black dress socks, but that's really irrelevant to the story) and sitting on the floor, legs akimbo, getting up close and personal with his junk. Uncertain as to whether I was going to interrupt some monumental Freudian moment in his life, I hesitated to question him, before my curiosity got the best of me. So I said, "Hey, Sutt. Whatcha doin' there, buddy?" Unfazed by my presence, he continued his examination, saying, "Why don't I have any HAIRS down here? Daddy has HAIRS on HIS boy parts." Fighting the urge to make something up (it's because you don't put your laundry in the hamper! it's because you won't eat zucchini!), I gave him a brief but apparently satisfactory lesson in adolescent development. He is currently at least temporarily appeased with his lack of pubic hair.

3. On a particularly lovely spring afternoon a week or so ago, I needed to run to the library and pick up a book that was being held for me. Because I felt as if I had been neglecting my poor somewhat geriatric Yorkie, Mad Madame Mimipants, that day, I offered to let her ride along with me, a huge treat in Yorkieland. En route, she hung her head out the window, let her ears blow back, and all was right with her world for the whole three-minute ride. Arriving at the library, I told her to stay put, made sure the windows were rolled down halfway, and dashed into the library. I was gone for three minutes. No exaggeration. Three fucking minutes. When I got back, I pulled open my door only to discover that my seat was full of dog shit, and Mimi was nowhere to be found. Taking a quick moment for a creative swearing tirade, I looked the car over and found Mimi cowering in the very back of the Xterra. I scavenged up some dried up baby wipes, cleaned up the mess, and took the car home to scrub the upholstery. Now, Mimi had just gone outside. But Mimi, she is a crafty one. She is not the sharpest tool in the shed (you may remember mention from a former blog about how it took her two years to learn how to sit), but she knows revenge like the back of her paw. And that bathroom break on the driver's seat, that was all revenge. Mimi does not like being left in the car.

4. I got my nostril pierced by a man named Bones who told me he was going to make it hurt, because "if it doesn't hurt, it doesn't count." Yeah, okay. I'll agree with that.

5. Yesterday, while waiting on Belly's bus to bring her home after school, I wandered up to my neighbor's house. Betty, my neighbor, is a curvaceous black woman with an attitude the size of Texas. I love her. For some reason, however, Betty was in a mood, and kept trying to wrestle me. (Yes, you heard me right. WRESTLE.) I was having none of this, however, as I do not wrestle other women, unless we are liquored up and in a kiddie pool filled with Jell-O. Politely inching away from Betty, I started making my way down the sidewalk back to my house. One minute I'm walking, the next minute, I'm flying through the air in a crumpled wad, then rolling down a hill towards the pond (which is, coincidentally, known for its poisonous snake population). Alas, it wasn't Betty pile-driving me. It was Chloe, the special needs kid next door, fresh from the handicapped bus who had mounted her bicycle and decided to fucking mow me over in an attempt to get to me as quickly as possible so she could get a hug (and perhaps, a Popsicle). I have a bruise on my leg you would not believe.

And THAT, my friends, is pretty much what you've missed as of late. I'll try to stay more on top of things in the future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jane Austen at the Chik-Fil-A

I was standing in line at Chik-fil-A the other day because, in my constant quest to hydrate, I was going to get diet lemonade. Since it's non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic, it's not my beverage of choice, but I knew I needed fluids of that type and despite B's constant lectures about how Splenda is either going to give me Alzheimer's or a brain tumor, I drink it anyway.

There was this guy in front of me, probably early twenties, wearing khakis, a white shirt, a tie, and a name tag for FYE. He was waiting on his food, and staring off into space. I immediately ranked him about a 5 (straight up average) on my Dude Hotness Scale (I automatically rank every guy I meet, attractiveness-wise, on a 1-10 scale. This guy would have probably made it to 6, but he was a member of the Unfortunate Facial Hair List, because he was trying to grow a beard, but it just wasn't working out for him.) While I was discreetly studying his sad little beard, this chick tapped him on the shoulder and asked to speak to him. She was probably 18-- pretty girl, from what I could tell, but SUPER high maintenance. Tons of makeup, tons of hair products, big boobs in a tank top, and expensive sunglasses (that she was wearing despite being inside the mall).

Without ever looking up from her Blackberry, on which she was furiously typing, she said to him, "So, um, my friend over there? Her name is Kendall? And she thinks you're really cute? So, I'm, like, going to give you her number? And you can, like, text her? And, like, get to know her? And then maybe you guys can, like, talk or go out or something?"

The dude stammers for a minute and says something I can't hear.

The chick (still texting) says, "Hey, Kendall, come here."

Kendall, who is a less pretty version of the sunglasses-inside girl heads that way. Sunglasses says, "So, I, like, told him you think he's cute?"

Kendall does the high-school girl squeal, covers her face and runs away. Sunglasses (still texting) gives the dude Kendall's number, says, "Text her? Like, soon?" and wanders off.

This is where I step in.

I tap the guy on the shoulder again. His name tag says "Bryan." (Unfortunate spelling, by the way.) We have a conversation that goes like this.

ME: Bryan, how old are you?
Bryan: 20
ME: Okay. So, I've got over a decade on you physically. Mentally, it's probably closer to two. We need to talk, Bryan.
Bryan: (Looking nervous, mumbles) Okay.
ME: Have you ever read Jane Austen's work?
Bryan: (Looking more nervous.) Um. No.
ME: You should. Because back in the day, you didn't get to know somebody by TEXTING? How in the hell do you get to know somebody by TEXTING??? If you don't want to talk face to face, you write long, arduous letters, about your tortured love affair, and how beautiful you imagine her face looks in candlelight! You ask to court her, and then you spend hours walking round and round the parlor after dinner while being properly chaperoned! You don't text! (I had had a lot of caffeine that morning.)
Bryan: Um. I'm sorry?
ME: You know that girl is trouble, right? And not the good kind. She's the screw-you-once-then-stalk-you-forever kind. She will lure you to her house when her parents are out then spend the next two years posting psychotic comments on your FB and telling everybody that she miscarried your baby, whether that ever actually happens or not. She will jump out of the back of your Toyota Corolla crying her eyes out and brandishing a knife. Do you hear me, Bryan?
Bryan: (Now looking terrified.) For real?
ME: Abso-fucking-lutely. You have been warned.
Bryan: Do you know her?
ME: Nope. Never seen her before. But I know teenage girls.
Bryan: (His food arrives.) So are you, like, a counselor?
ME: I am today, darlin'. I am today.

I probably saved that boy's life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Isn't That Perfect

I have spent my life in an ongoing mission for perfection. So far, it's not going so well. Let's review the quest thus far:

The Perfect Daughter~ Not me. I kept my room spotless as a child. Like, seriously, white-glove spotless. This only seemed to freak my Mom out most of the time and give my brother even more reason to call me a nerd (neither of them are particularly neat). I made excellent grades. Yet, I still didn't go to Harvard or Yale or some other awe-inducing university covered in figurative (and literal) ivy. I didn't end up unmarried and pregnant. Okay, so that's a lie, but I was twenty-six and eventually married the baby daddy, making everything copacetic and creating the perfect little nuclear family. (On the plus side, I also didn't Lizzie Borden my family or join a cult, so perhaps we can call it even.)

The Perfect Wife (take 2, the starter marriage doesn't count)~ Not me. I cook. It's usually edible, although there is the time I threw the crab cakes out the back door and cried until B ordered Chinese, and the time I became angry when my crepes kept falling apart so I threw the entire batch on the kitchen floor and cried until B convinced me to try it again. I clean. My house is usually very clean, although all this has gotten me is ridicule from the neighbors who find it amusing that I vent my frustrations by spot-cleaning the carpet. I can't sew worth a damn. I do not enjoy socializing, particularly at B's work-related functions because they make me nervous (I use a different side of my brain than all of those freaky engineers). I'm extremely organized and focused, but can become agitated when disorder enters my domain, therefore becoming at least mildly bitchy (maybe a lot bitchy). (Plus side: I'm frequently naked and give great back rubs. Not sure how that evens everything out.)

The Perfect Mother~ Not me. I play with the kids if it involves books or things that interest me. I'd rather be tortured than play Barbies or trucks. I keep them fed, but am frequently a Nazi (though not as bad as B) about what they eat, therefore depriving them of many fun kid foods like Cocoa Puffs and Cheetos. I take my library book to soccer practice because I get really bored watching them run around the field. I'm just now learning from a friend how to relax and not freak out when they run with sticks or eat mulch at the playground (I'm more than a little overprotective). There are many days when I like them best when they are sleeping, and I can snuggle them up and smell their sweet smells and not have to listen to them ask for something every two seconds. They are clean, happy, fed, safe, healthy... but sometimes I yell at them when they fight over the booster seat with the red stripe or won't stay in their beds at night. (Plus side: I would die for them, in a heartbeat. I would do anything to make them happy, when it comes down to it. That counts for something, right?)

The Perfect Friend~ Not me. I hold the title of Worst Matron Of Honor In The Universe. I was pregnant with Sutt when my BFF Ray got married. I bailed on her bachelorette party because I didn't feel well. She had to jump through hoops to get extra fabric so I could have my bridesmaid dress maternity-ized. I was bitchy at her wedding (in my defense, it was July in Chapel Hill, hot as hell, an outdoor wedding, and I was ENORMOUS). I have missed the births of two children (so far). Pretty much, I suck. (Plus side: There is none. Ray's a saint.)

The entire time I was growing up, I watched my Dad do this same thing--strive to be perfect. And it didn't get him anywhere. Frankly, it only made him unhappy. When his father passed away, it almost seemed to set him free--he didn't have to keep working to be perfect for this person. But since my Dad died, I only feel it more. I have to be this person that he absolutely would have been proud of, no matter what. Everything has to be perfect, even though I know he didn't expect that of me, and he loved me despite my flaws. It's a lot of pressure. So I'm still plugging away, trying to be perfect. Gotta be perfect.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Little Bit of This

Last week was one of those weeks that left me contemplating exactly how wrong it would be to fake my own death, then hide out in the islands until 2012 when the world up and explodes are whatever the hell everybody thinks it's going to do. (For the record, there are people who have built concrete bunkers in the mountains of Turkey and think they are going to ride out this Mayan apocalypse. I say, go for it, dude. Because, first of all, the Mayans didn't say the world would end, it just happens to be when their calendar ends and when they believed "a change" would come about. Second of all, if I have to live in a concrete bunker in Turkey indefinitely in order to survive whatever the Universe had in store, I'd rather just keel over and die from the apocalypse. I don't even like to camp, in a camper with electricity and a shower. I'm most certainly not going to live off jugs of water and Spaghetti-O's while I recycle the same two pairs of underwear. I'm not even sure exactly where Turkey is on a map, or why they think these mountains are a safe place to hide. But I digress.)

So last week sucked hardcore, and rather than bore you with the details, I will talk about other things, like the few parts that didn't suck. As a matter of fact, because there are so few of them, I will make a list of the parts of last week that did not suck. A list seems like a pretty decent way to wrap up the week anyway.


1. My Pleasure~ Friday night I attended a Pleasure Party at a friend's house. We kicked off the night in a circle, passing a large rubber pink penis around using only our legs, partly because the rules of the game dictated no hands, and partly because we were holding glasses of sangria. This was followed by a spiel from the Sex Toy Lady, who passed her wares around and let us all handle them (at one point I got a great neck massage from a giant blue vibrator with a face on it), and some lovely snacks, including a delicious chocolate cake with a large penis on top (made out of cookie dough) and cupcakes that looked like boobs. Eventually we all ended up in the master bed with the host and hostess and a bunch of vibrators. While I give you a moment to work on that visual, I will mention that we were all dressed and stayed that way, and merely checking out her new mattress she got for Christmas. (Sorry to disappoint.)

2. Smile~ Wednesday morning I had my teeth cleaned. For many people, going to the dentist is a traumatic experience. I, personally, rather like it. Nobody is asking me to do anything but open my mouth and occasionally bite down or turn my head a little. My teeth feel great after it's over. It doesn't hurt, and I never need dental work. Plus, the dentist likes to say flattering things to me the whole time about what great teeth I have, which is a nice little ego boost. (I may not have had time to brush my hair this morning, but I have great teeth!) All in all, I'm down with the dentist, yo.

3. I'll take Manhattan~ On Tuesday, I discovered that Netflix had shipped me the newest season of Mad Men on DVD, for my viewing pleasure. I love Mad Men. I love that Don Draper sleeps with everything in a skirt. I love that his crazy wife, Betty, chain smokes and drinks martinis while she neglects two of their children and is pregnant with the third. I love that Joan Holloway makes me consider becoming a lesbian just because I think she's so freakin' gorgeous I could probably be happy batting for the other team. I.Love.Mad Men. Yes, I do.

4. Ace in the hole~ Last week it all become official that I would be working for Pearson, scoring first the 8th grade OSA essays, then, a few weeks later, the 7th grade essays. I did the hours of stupid training. I took my qualification exams (and kicked ass by scoring a perfect score on both). I got the okay that all is ready for me to begin working this Wednesday. High-five for Haley. None of my friends understand why I am excited. They think we must either seriously need money, or that I have lost my mind. The idea of voluntarily working when I could just keep doing what I do now (kids, laundry, waiting to die in the apocalypse) is appalling to them. I'm working so my brain doesn't shrivel up and die. The end.

5. Tumbler Troubles~ I have long thought that the perfect cup would be much like the plastic cups with lids and straws that Starbucks gives you for their shaken teas, only reusable. Light weight, a straw, dishwasher safe. I don't have to worry that a bug will land it in at soccer practice because it has a lid. I don't mess up my lip gloss because it has a straw. I don't have to throw it away when it's infested with bacteria (a kid sneezes on it, the dog decides to have a taste) because I can throw it in the dishwasher and disinfect it. Alas, this product has always eluded me. Until yesterday. HALLELUJAH, TARGET! Yep, I found it. It's perfect. It's like Jesus heard my plea, went to Starbucks, thought, "Damn, that's a great idea!" and created it, much like the sun and the moon. (For the record, Jesus, I love the cup but I can think of lots of other requests I would rather have had answered. Just so you know. But, anyway, thanks man.) It's plastic. It's sweat-proof. It looks like soda cup, and has a sturdy straw. It's awesome.

So there's five for you. Clearly, since one of the high points of my week was locating a plastic cup at Target, you can't begin to imagine what the low points were. And I choose not to discuss them at present. But I must say, take heart. Because if I can get through last week, I can sure as hell survive a concrete bunker in Turkey, should I so choose. All is right with the world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Supermarket Smackdown

A few Saturdays ago, I ditched the family and went grocery shopping solo. This is pretty much equal to a vacation to me, being able to study labels and peruse aisles without someone yelling that they want the cereal with the Transformer on the box or announcing when the cart is half full that they need to go potty. I see it as my little corner of Mommy Paradise. Some Mommies get pedicures (I'm not that fancy--I do my own), this Mommy looks forward to choosing what scent laundry detergent she wants to buy without any little people opinions in her ears.

As I put the last few things in my shopping cart and headed to the check-out lines, I noticed that as usual, there were only three lanes open, each with approximately thirty-seven people in each line. Though I am not one who enjoys standing in lines (who is?), I wasn't too distressed--since I was alone I could stand there and flip through a magazine and patiently wait my turn. No big deal. I chose the line that appeared to be the shortest, and settled in for the wait.

The woman directly in front of me was a petite Black woman, dressed in jeans, a furry jacket, and a snazzy hat. ("Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the fur, the whole club was lookin' at her....sorry, I digress.) Girlfriend was wearing more jewelry than I own, and day-glo fuscia lipstick that could have been spotted from the space station. Her arms were filled with random toiletries--toothpaste, shampoo, the biggest bottle of hand sanitizer on the planet, etc. I could tell by her demeanor that she was irritated about something, she was shuffling and tense and muttering underneath her breath. As the minutes passed and the line neglected to move, she finally dumped her armload of stuff onto the floor and whipped her cell phone out of her purse. This caught my attention, because her fingernails were roughly the length of my arm and painted bright orange, with a rhinestone of some sort glued onto each thumbnail. (We all know that flashy never fails to catch my eye. Why have I never had rhinestone nails???) She tapped away at the phone with her nails, then stood waiting for an answer, lips pursed, eyes wild.

This is where it gets good.

The phone was loud enough that I could hear a female voice say "hello." That's when Flashy Nails lost her shit. Seriously, yo. I mean, full-on, psycho bitch, LOST HER SHIT. It went something like this:


(Imagine this being screamed in the middle of the check-out line, please, complete with hand gesticulations and foot-stomping.) I was fascinated.

At this point, the lady on the other end of the conversation must have hung up. Flashy Nails then turned to me. "Can you BELIEVE that bitch? She hung up on me." I chose not to answer. I'm badass, but there's no way in hell I plan on tangling with a mentally unbalanced Black girl who's all riled up about some dude in the middle of the supermarket. There are security cameras there. That's an episode of COPS in the making, and I don't want any of that action, yo. I do not need my 15 minutes of fame.

Luckily, Flashy Nails was too excited to notice my feigned indifference. Chances are, with my unpainted nails and lack of rhinestone adornment, designer labels, or hair extensions I wasn't really worthy of her recognition anyway. Snapping the phone open again, she hit "send," redialing the previous number.

The genius female on the other end answered again. Clearly, she was either a dumbass, or found this whole situation as entertaining as I (secretly) did.


Click. Hang-up.

By now the manager had arrived. Gently, he explained to Flashy Nails that she was causing a disturbance, there were children around who didn't need to be exposed to her language, etc. He had a very soothing voice (you could tell he thought F.N. was as bat-shit crazy as the rest of us did). She agreed to come to Customer Service, where he went behind the counter and immediately rang up her purchases before escorting her out the door and on her way.

I was still standing in line.

Next time I'm in a hurry, I am SO going to fake some sort of crazy so that I can skip the line and get an escort to my car. Hell, if my kids are with me, I won't even have to fake it.

Lesson Learned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

(Un)Comfortably Numb

I'm told it's March.

I didn't actually realize this in the kind of way that allows it to sink in until I was at the bank getting something notarized last Friday and the notary kept screwing up the date. Then she started laughing and talking about how she couldn't believe it was already March.

Well, hello, March. I'm so glad you came.

Do you ever wonder what makes "good" good and what makes "bad" bad? Like, who decided that stuff anyway? Who was it who had the authority to make those decisions? To decide that if you don't yell at your kids and feed them properly you're a good mother, if you don't sleep around you're a good husband, if you don't FaceBook at work you're a good employee?

It's sure as hell nobody I would have enjoyed knowing.

You see, I have my own ideas of what constitutes good and what constitutes bad. They may not always match the world's proverbial moral compass, they don't necessarily follow the Bible or the Constitution or the Golden Rule. But, you know, that's pretty much the norm for me. I think it takes more than making sure your kid eats his or her broccoli to make you a good Mom. And I don't think if I accidentally swear in front of them it makes me a bad one (nor does it make me a bad Mom if I swear on purpose). I think honor comes from being true to yourself, and respect is something that we have to work for, but not always in the way that we think we should. There is a lot in this world we can do, make, have--but we have far too many rules that we try to follow. Words change, thoughts change, feelings change. People change. You don't have to hurt anyone else, but you do have to be fluid. You have to be malleable. You have to take what you're given and make it yours.

Just like time.

Hello, March.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not To Do

A little bit of my newest list:


1. Cut my hair into anything that might be construed as "soccer mom-ish," even if my Mom REALLY likes my hair better short

2. Drunk dial ANYONE, and sing "Wind Beneath My Wings." Nor should I do this sober.

3. Wear yellow. I look terrible in yellow.

4. Drink Long Island Iced Tea. Not only does it make me take my clothes off in public, it makes me take my clothes off in public THEN vomit. Not a pretty combination.

5. Speak French when B is near. He just laughs at me because his accent is better.

6. Read anything by Fenimore Cooper. He's, perhaps, the most boring writer in the history of American Literature.

7. Get my nipples pierced. Ick.

8. Allow the FedEx Man to tie me up when I invite him in for hot sex. You never know when he might leave you there for your husband to find you, tired, sweaty, and still bound to the bed. (Not that this has ever happened. Nope. Not even once. Or twice. Or with the UPS man.)

9. Buy the kids musical instruments, or encourage them to learn to play one.

10. Marry a third time.

11. Take up golf, particularly if it involves wearing a sweater vest and one of those weird little hats.

12. Say hurtful things to midgets. Or dwarfs.

13. Cave (this will only mean something to some of you--sorry to the others).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marching On

It never ceases to amaze me how, despite what may happen in the world, life goes on.

I don't remember the first time I actually considered this, but I know I was young. Likely, it was elementary school, when my fourth grade teacher sent me home for being a smartass (imagine that) and my parents grounded me for the first time ever. I can't really remember. But I know I've thought this through break-ups, divorce, births, deaths--I specifically remember thinking it after September 11th and the Tsunami in Thailand. It doesn't matter how bad things get for me or for someone else, life pauses for no one.

I still haven't made up my mind as to whether I think life is long or short. People say it passes in the blink of an eye. Other people say it is endless. I think it is what it is, filled with moments you want to hold onto forever that pass in the blink of an eye, and moments you think you'll never survive that linger on for what feels like forever. It's the way of the world, the nature of life. I look at my children and think of how I long for the days when they can give themselves baths without my assistance, then I think of how I love how Sutt still looks like a baby when he sleeps, on his stomach with his bottom pushed up into the air. I yearn for freedom, but once it arrives, will I actually lap it up? Or will it turn out to be not nearly as sweet as I remember? I won't know until then, and by then it will be too late to change anything.

This life is hard. It's survival and it's lessons and it's full of mistakes. But I'm trying to learn to embrace it. To own it. To just accept it for what it is, and make the most of it. To just be. And that, THAT, would make all the difference.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mama Mia!

Some of you got the call last Wednesday. Me, hunched over the phone, eyes darting furtively, whispering, "Code Red! Code Red! Sweet Jesus, Mom is here!" as I mixed myself another drink.

Yep, Special Kay is in the 757. (BTW, I just realized that 757 is an airplane. Or wait, is that 737? Anyway, I don't mean my Mom is in an airplane. I mean that she's in my area code. Just for clarification.)

Mom reads my blog, so she's probably perusing this at this very moment (Hi, Mom). Which makes it an excellent vehicle to express myself via the written word. I do not express myself well while talking to others (unless I am screaming like a banshee and throwing breakables--then I have no problem). As we have already established, I don't like hugs, snuggles, or anything remotely emotional and/or mushy. I'm like a dude with a really awesome rack (now that I have "the bra.") Feelings are not my forte'.

Some of you have met my Mom. She's a total spaz, and always has been. As soon as I'm able, I plan to stick her ass in a home and leave her there permanently (with no baby doll, Mom) so somebody else can deal with her crazy. This is if I don't kill her first. You never know. The feeling is mutual, she may try to come after me, but I'm extremely confident that I could take her down. We've discussed this before.

I know what you're thinking, Mom. You're thinking, "This is where she tells me, via her blog, to get my shit and leave." Except you would not have used the word "via," and probably would have thrown a "y'all" or a "over yonder" in there somewhere, potentially while whipping out your dental floss in public (this freaks me out, Mom). Alas, you are incorrect. I have something different to say.

I love you, Mom. For real. You make me bat shit crazy on a totally regular basis. Occasionally, I have to fight the urge to throw myself in front of a fast-moving semi when you are around, or takes swigs of vodka every time I visit the kitchen, but that's just become you're YOU. You've been this way my whole life--you're Fun Sandy. Not so much an adult, but someone who boggles my mind, thus keeping me on my toes. The inventor of sock pants, and how to turn Fritos into a dinner entree'. You are the Queen of Improvisation, and the most carefree person I know. But I still have a problem. You see, I have a lot of frustration and exasperation that comes from the fact that I can't protect you from the world, can't make everything all better, can't assure you a "happily ever after," even though you ask me for none of these things. I know you don't expect me to take care of you, but DAMNIT WOMAN, I feel like it's been kind of left to me. Much like I need to make sure my children are happy and healthy, I feel like I need to do the same for you. And I don't mind this--I really don't--but I haven't a fucking clue how to do it. I'm in over my head. Dad didn't leave me with an instruction manual, and I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to be doing, I just know that he would want me to watch out for you.

And I'm trying. But I think I suck at it. And you're uncooperative, so together we make a sad little package.

So where do we go from here? I haven't a clue. But Mom, know that I love you. Or at least as Bellamy would have said, 'most the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baby Got Stacked

Let's talk about my breasts for a few minutes.

(Oh, come on. This is not a family blog. If you find my breasts offensive, stop reading now. NOW.)

So, most of you are aware that I am not a girl of overly large endowment in the chest region. Translation: I'm a B cup on a good day. While I realize that there is nothing wrong with having small boobs, and that my frame probably wouldn't support enormous, Playboy-esque cleavage anyway without making me look like a severely disproportionate circus freak, I can't help but sigh every time I pull on a tank top, wishing that I had a rack like Scarlet Johansen. (B wishes this as well, but we're not blogging about him, we're blogging about me.) My Mom had giant boobs, followed by breast reduction, and those suckers are still oversized. Both Grandmothers have big boobs. Where the hell are my DDs? One can't help but wonder. Poor, deprived Haley.

But now, after 32 years of wishing I could lose things in my cleavage like my friend Ray (who can actually store things in there for later, if she so chooses, due to the size of her chest), the Cosmos have chosen to answer my prayers, in the form of the Victoria's Secret Bombshell Bra. (*Cue the singing angels and light from the heavens*)

Keep in mind that by nature, I am a skeptic of everything. Where boosting my girls is concerned, my skepticism reaches new heights. They are what they are, and no flirty little push-up bra is going to change reality. I had seen the commercials, I had read the print ads, all promising to increase your bust by two cup sizes, but had not been swayed by the hype. Two cup sizes, my ass. It was sheer boredom that led me into Victoria's Secret Saturday night, scoffing as I scooped up the Bombshell Bra, heading to the dressing room ready to denounce the claims and tell Victoria's Secret to suck it.

I peeled off my shirt, unhooked my bra, and slipped into the new one. I had my back to the mirror as I fastened the clasp and pulled the straps over my shoulders, turning around as I adjusted to see how it looked. Then my jaw dropped, and I nearly passed out on the hot pink push carpeting. Dear, Sweet Jesus. I was stacked. Like, seriously STACKED. Un-fucking-believable.

Nobody would believe me. I KNEW nobody would believe me. I had no witnesses. I could hardly invite the dressing room attendant in and request a letter of reference for my breasts. What to do, what to do......then I remembered my phone, and for the first time, appreciated the foresight of the man who decided to combine the camera and the phone, two things I always secretly thought were a mildly ridiculous compilation. I whipped out my shiny purple Verizon something-or-another (I am not phone savvy--I do not see the point in being so), screwed around until I got the camera on, and snapped a photo of my boobs. BAM. There we go. Documentation.

Slipping out of this satin Miracle of God, I contemplated the sheer joy of staring at my own boosted breasts. This is when I decided that I must purchase said bra. No dollar amount can be placed on total breast admiration (any guy will tell you that). It would be money well spent. And I can assure you it was. As can B, my Mom, and all of the random men I have caught staring down my shirt checking out my cleavage since last Saturday night, plus the ones I have voluntarily flashed just for my own enjoyment. It's my own little way of making the world a better place, two breasts at a time.