Monday, December 19, 2011

Shopping Shenanigans

Gift giving is always an interesting concept to me this time of year. I understand why we have Christmas (thank you, Macedonia Baptist Church for my good Christian upbringin') but I've never figured out how the Santa/tree/presents thing figures into it. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with it-- hell, these are my favorite parts of the holiday (sorry about that, Jesus). But does it REALLY make sense if you consider why we have Christmas in the first place? No. However, being a girl who scoffs at things that DO make sense, I say, bring on the tinsel, bitches.

I love buying presents for other people. The best feeling is when you think of/run across something that you know is absolutely perfect for somebody you love (or pretend to love, which is usually the case regarding people for whom I buy things-- I AM A HARDCORE BADASS. WE LOVE NO ONE.) On the other hand, it's always funny to me when people ask me what I want for Christmas. I DON'T KNOW. I honestly don't really think about that. And despite my high level of awesomeness and my affinity for reminding others that I AM A SUPREME BEING WHO DEMANDS YOUR RESPECT I can truly say that I don't give a damn if anyone buys me anything. I know that sounds all fucking selfless and shit, but just this once, that's how I'm gonna roll. Which is likely a really positive thing for B, as, after excessive hounding about what I wanted for Christmas, I finally responded with "a peacock blue peacoat." Did I know where one could purchase said item? No. Have I ever seen one? No. Do they make them? Hell if I know. But I like peacock blue, I would like a new coat, and I like peacoats, so there you have it. A peacock blue peacoat. Unfortunately, as we were strolling through the mall a week or so later, B touches an item of clothing in one of my favorite stores and said, "What would you call this?" I glanced at it. "A royal blue poncho." He looked nervous and beads of sweat broke out on his brow. "You mean it's not PEACOCK blue? And it's kind of a coat....." I gave him the Skeptical One Eyebrow (of which I am a master). "No. That is clearly ROYAL BLUE. And it's KNITTED. There's nothing COATLIKE about it {motherfucker}" (note that the "motherfucker" was understood, but not actually stated).

It seems that I may be getting a royal blue poncho for Christmas. But, anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I am excessively grateful for gifts, especially when they are particularly thoughtful or unexpected. Few things touch this heart of stone more than someone thinking of me when they have no obligation to do so. I still am a little amazed when I look back at my gift of flight from a sweet friend or the beautiful sparkly necklace from E for no reason at all, or all the things from Ray that I can't begin to list. Don't even get me started on the amazing things that B has done over the years. The "things" don't matter, but the thought? That is love.

I got really frustrated with my father in law this year because he's been making passive aggressive remarks regarding gifts for pretty much the last twelve months. YOU CANNOT BUY FOR THIS MAN. You give him personal things like a framed photo of the kids, he will wait three months and make some offhanded comment that the frame looks cheap (YOU AREN'T GOING TO PUT IT ANYWHERE ANYWAY. THERE IS NO ROOM BECAUSE YOU HAVE DEVOTED ALL OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPH SPACE TO WEDDING PHOTOS OF JAY.) You give him wine and he complains that it isn't expensive enough ALL YEAR LONG. (WHY WOULD WE BUY YOU EXPENSIVE WINE WHEN YOU ARE JUST GOING TO OPEN IT, DRINK HALF A GLASS, THEN LET IT SIT AND GO BAD BECAUSE YOU PREFER TO DRINK BEER?). There's no point in giving him clothes, as he has three times the amount of clothes that I do. I tell you, he's DAMN LUCKY that I'm not making him another Star Wars Chewbacca layer cake this year (see the birthday blog back in September) as I've reached the point of Subversive Shopping in regard to my FIL. (This is where you make every effort to find the weirdest, potentially most offensive and unsuitable item possible, wrap it beautifully, and present it with glee. It's actually my favorite way to gift someone, now that I think about it.) I'm DYING to peruse the Adam & Eve website and order him a Head Honcho or Ass Princesses 4 (on blue ray!) and put it under their perfect Christmas tree. But I won't do that, because I'M NICE.

Yeah. You read that right. I'M NICE.

At this point, all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. I look forward to seeing the looks on the faces of the kids when they realize that Mommy has indeed been telling the truth and those boxes ARE filled with rocks because they are NAUGHTY LITTLE MINIONS. B will be excited when he receives his gift card to Club Magestical, the purple cinder block "gentleman's club" in the "ethnically diverse" section of Newport News. Mom will LOVE her Forever Lazy fleece jumpsuit. And me? Well, I'll be wearing the hell out of my royal blue poncho.

Happy Gift Giving, Bitches.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fa la la la fuck you

Christmas seems to be rolling in this year with all the usual fucking awesomeness. I've already blown the lights on the Christmas tree three damn times because I SEE NO REASON WHY YOU CANNOT PLUG FIFTEEN SETS OF LIGHTS TOGETHER AND HAVE ONLY ONE PLUG LEADING FROM THE TREE TO THE OUTLET. B, with all his engineering knowledge, has replaced the fuse three times and gently tried to explain to me why this is an issue twice. The third time, he just re-coordinated the plugs so that every single string of lights is no longer connected together, but are broken up a few times. At least he finally figured out that his lectures were falling on deaf ears, poor boy. I PUT THE DAMN LIGHTS ON THE TREE. I DO NOT RECONFIGURE THEM. The garland has fallen off the fireplace two or three times because I AM A GIRL AND NOT GOOD AT HANGING THINGS (push-pins are my answer to nearly everything that must hang) AND I baked a batch of peppermint sugar cookies that Sutton declared "burned and a little funny." Well, Merry Fucking Christmas to you too, minion. Next time, you can bake your own goddamn cookies.

You and I both know that I want to give Christmas the finger.

I took the kids to see Santa a couple of weeks ago and they were pretty stoked. As far as I'm concerned, I'm down with the kids believing in Santa, but I don't think my hopes and dreams will be crushed when they one day stop. I don't believe the magic of Christmas comes from Santa, although I'M not going to tell them any differently. They'll figure it out one day on their own. Anyway, we were at the mall and they were perched on the Big Man's lap, yammering on about Wii games and Polly Pocket as I tried to ignore the OVERACHIEVER MOMMY behind me who had her two toddlers in MATCHING FUCKING OUTFITS (who DOES that-- well, except you, Meredith, if you are reading this. I will cut you some slack on H and M) and kept telling them how they had to "smile big for Santa!" when Santa looked over at me. "Mommy," he said, "What do you want for Christmas?" Hmmmm. Here was an opportunity. Should I tell him "new purple Nikes and Cupcake Vodka?" (what I really wanted) or "world peace" (like a good girl should) or "my Dad back" (the impossible request)? How does one answer Santa when he asks what he can bring you for Christmas?

The kids were watching me expectantly. Overachiever Mommy had quieted down and was likely plotting her own answer, should Santa ask her next ("World Peace!"). I was tired. I was hungry. Fighting my way through Gymboree and Bath and Body Works had felt like engaging in a triathlon (not that I would ever engage in a triathlon-- I'm not stupid). So I told him the truth, Haley style.

"Well, Santa. I would like that one (pointing at Bellamy) to stop calling her brother 'noggin head' and making him punch her in retaliation, where she then bursts into tears because we ALL KNOW that that 34 pounds he weighs packs a lot of power when he punches. I would like that one (pointing at Sutt) to agree to wear underpants to school without the discussion coming to bribery and/or name-calling, as one can only hear 'Noggin head is SUCH a baby and his yoda is going to FREEZE OFF if he doesn't put on his underpants' so often before one (me) wants to SHOOT SOMEONE IN THE FUCKING HEAD. I want the dog, who is old, to quit puking in the floor because it is IMPOSSIBLE to scrub the stain out of the carpet and, despite my proclivity for spot-cleaning I AM TIRED. I want my husband to remember to turn on his work mobile when he is in meetings. which is ALWAYS since his promotion, because WHEN I FUCKING DRINK A GALLON OF BLEACH AND JUMP OFF A GODDAMN BRIDGE FROM FRUSTRATION WITH OUR CHILDREN he is going to need to know about it. YES. That, Santa, is what I want."

All was quiet for a moment. Or, perhaps, a few moments. Then Santa patted each kid on the head and gave them a miniature candy cane. "You kids be nice to your Mommy. I want you to hug her every day." Then Santa winked at me and gestured for me to come closer. "You hang in there, Mommy," he whispered.

Santa knew. He could tell Mommy was hanging by a thread. Hell, after that, most anybody ought to be able to tell Mommy was hanging by a thread. Christmas can go fuck itself. Ho ho fucking ho.

Here's to hoping I'm getting that Cupcake Vodka for Christmas this year after all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just Another Monday Morning

*The following is a copy of an email that I sent to my husband at work around 8:30am yesterday, in response to his typical GOOD MORNING, HOW ARE YOU? email. Clearly, it was a GREAT morning, and I was FABU-FUCKING-LOUS.

HI, B.

JESUS. I don't want to start the day out by bitching like a crazy shrew, but I need to rant for a minute. Today, thus far, has been a freakin'


Okay. SO, I'll pick up where I left off and get to the "HOLY FUCK" part in due time. Today has been a freakin' disaster. I had to drag Sutt out of bed which upset him because he was still tired. Then he got upset because he ate the last of the oatmeal and I couldn't make more (he had had a ton, I think he was fine). He yelled for twenty minutes that I was "STARVIN' HIM HAFFA DEF." The kids then got in a HUGE fight over the fucking Santa advent calendar hanging on the wall because Sutt wants it to be on the 24th until Dec. 1st when we can actually use it, and Belly does not. It came to pushing and screaming and, I believe, some hair pulling. I broke up the fight and sent Belly off to find shoes and she spent over 15 minutes freaking out because she couldn't find ANY shoes where BOTH shoes were present, except her Sketchers flipflops, which she then asked if she could wear (um, NO, it's NOVEMBER). She ended up crying and being furious at me. I was like, "Look, kid, if you weren't so goddamn messy you'd know where your shoes were. This is YOUR problem and YOUR fault, so don't get mad at me." She finally found the black (too small) flats that Barbara gave her, which (kind of) went with her outfit, but told me she COULD NOT WEAR THEM because they felt sandy inside where dirt had gotten in them when she had worn them outside to play. I pointed out that I do not condone her wearing them out to play, this was her problem (again) and it was time to FUCKING LEAVE SO LET'S GO. Then she proceeded to get angry because I made her wear a jacket over her short-sleeved shirt (it covered up her vest! It wasn't fashionable!). SIGH.

Keep in mind that while all this is going on, I'm trying to order insulin from Express Scripts AND find the number for the vet because Maddie is STILL chewing her damn crotch. During this time I see that I can schedule an online appt. with vet, which I try to do because they do not open until 9 and I don't want to wait that long to call. After all the fucking forms I had to fill out, it turns out you can only schedule exams and shots online, and it must be at least four days in advance. LOT OF FUCKING GOOD THAT DOES ME. THANKS FOR TELLING ME BEFOREHAND, WEBSITE.

I get the kids outside and Sutt refuses to tell me he loves me because he's too busy racing his sister to the bus. I yelled that I loved him THREE FUCKING TIMES and I got nothing back. Punkass. It makes me sad. I come back in and get my computer. I realize Maddie has drank my WHOLE GODDAMN CUP OF COFFEE WHILE I WAS TAKING THE KIDS OUTSIDE. That's exactly what the goddamn spastic-ass dog NEEDS to do since she's already functioning at warp speed ALL THE TIME (including times of crotch chewing).


I'm sitting here, pissed at the world, on the loveseat. Mimi is asleep by the end of the sofa. Maddie is sitting in "your spot" on the sofa looking nervously at me because she knows that I know she drank the coffee. AND THEN SHE FUCKING PROJECTILE VOMITS COFFEE EVERYWHERE.

HAVE YOU EVER FUCKING SEEN A DOG PROJECTILE VOMIT? I had not. I have now. It was awful. And it wasn't a little bit, it was like a gallon of sticky, slightly-chunky coffee. All over the couch. All over the loveseat. All over the ottoman. All over the rug and the carpet. It was running EVERYWHERE down in the sofa. OH DEAR HOLY JESUS. FUCK FUCK FUCK.

I chucked Maddie outside, grabbed a towel, and started cleaning. And scrubbing.

I now have puke all over my pants AND my sweatshirt and at this point I don't even fucking care. Belly is pissed at me, Sutt doesn't love me, you are at work likely having some GODDAMN MEETING, Mimi refuses to let me pet her, and Maddie is puking. Also, all the coffee is gone.


Love you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


November ends next week. Sometime. I think. It wasn't all that long ago that I was thinking, "Hmmm. It's August, but before I know it, it will be December." Well, that time has arrived. The halls are decked (due to an ultimatum from the Grief Guru), and the stockings are up (including a newly created "skull stocking" that Sutt wanted to replace his emotionally-outgrown Cars stocking-- as it turns out, one cannot easily find a skull Christmas stocking for purchase, so I had to make one. BEST MOM EVER, that is me.) Hark the Fucking Angels Sing, I'm ready for the goddamn holidays.


Actually, this year isn't bad so far. Thanksgiving wasn't my finest hour, but I have to say I have more Christmas spirit than I've had since Dad was sick. The little things help. For instance, Sutt made me a (construction paper) Thanksgiving Turkey and when I asked why it had X's for eyes, he said, "Because it's DEAD. HAHAHAHAHA!" It was frankly kind of awesome. The kids, for the FIRST YEAR EVER, helped me trim the tree and DIDN'T BREAK ANYTHING. I didn't have to put out all of the millions of decorations (half of them are lodged behind the airplane in the garage and absolutely unreachable) AND all the lights still worked, except for one outdoor set that I somehow managed to blow when I plugged them in (and watched a couple of them explode). All in all, that's pretty good for me.

To ice the cake, my ultrasound did not show anything appearing to resemble cancer, my sister-in-law found a job after being laid off from her former position and I've started wearing foundation and eyeshadow on a semi-regular basis (thanks for the encouragement, E). Life is marching on. Sutt is six. Mimi is eleven. I am thirty-fucking-four.

And for the moment, all is well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things I've Learned From Jabba the Sutt

Tomorrow my youngest child (and the only one conceived on purpose) turns six. Holy fuck, where did the time go? I've always thought that it was bullshit, what parents say about time flying by when the kids are little, and frankly, usually it is, but in this case HOLY HELL. Sutt is growing up.

I think what really bothers me about this milestone isn't that he's turning six at all. It's not that he's in kindergarten or can finally pronounce most (but not all) of his r's and l's, or that he has a "big kid" haircut and just had a (very sweet) 10-year-old friend come over for a sleepover. All of that I can handle. What I CAN'T seem to wrap my head around is that the last time my Daddy saw Sutt, he was barely three years old. He had not yet started preschool, he still had sweet baby chub and sweet baby curls, and he didn't even understand that his Papaw passed away that awful January. Daddy knew a baby, but he doesn't know this little boy I have now-- this little creature who smells like lavender, thinks he has to open all the doors for Mommy, and has an imagination that rivals anything I have ever seen. He's amazing.

Dad would be so proud of him.

It kills me that Sutt doesn't have his Papaw. Literally, I get sick sometimes thinking about how Sutt is deprived of all the cool things that my Dad wanted so badly to do with him. Take him fishing, teach him about animals and cars and airplanes. Tell him stories about HIS Dad, my Grandpa Glenn, who was also a pilot and a character if there ever was one. When Dad died, he took so much with him, and that's something I often cannot reconcile with my reality.


1. Life is Weird~ One morning when Sutt was three, I was driving him to preschool and we were singing along to the music (AC/DC was his favorite at the time). All of a sudden, he yelled for me to turn the music down. I flipped the power off and said, "Yeah, buddy? What's up?" He looked at me in the rearview mirror, completely serious, and said, "You know what's weird, Mommy? Toast. Toast is weird." Um. Yeah. Does my kid even EAT toast, or does anyone ever OFFER him toast? No. We are pretty much a toast-free zone at Casa McPhail. So where in the hell did that even COME from? Who the fuck knows. But he has a point-- if you think about it, toast IS kind of weird. Much like lots of other things.

2. Be True To Yourself~ Yoda was the Ultimate Jedi Master, according to my now-extensive (after having a kid OBSESSED with Star Wars for going on three years now) Star Wars knowledge. Dudes are OBSESSED with their junk, and all seem to think it is the Ultimate Man's Best Friend. Sutton, absolutely by himself, chose to name his junk "Yoda" when he was four. At first, I thought, "What the fuck?" But once I considered it, I realized that Sutt was actually probably ahead of his game. He already KNEW that his bits were the bomb, so he might as well name them accordingly. Everyone he told laughed themselves senseless, but he didn't care. Yoda it was, and to this day, Yoda it is.

3. It's Better When Somebody's Got Your Back~ Sutt REFUSES to sleep alone (let's hope that this changes before he hits puberty). Every single night after he is tucked safely into HIS bed in HIS room, he creeps out of bed and down the hall and crawl in bed with Belly. She's used to it, and doesn't care anymore (most of the time). This has gone on since we moved here in '08 and took down his crib so that he was able to roam free. Lately, though, he's taken to getting up in the very early morning and creeping out of bed with his sister and into bed next to me-- I feel him very gently, very slowly crawling in and snuggling up against my back or belly before softly starting to snore within minutes. This morning, I awoke before he did and lay there, watching him sleep (and listening to him snore like a truck driver) for a few minutes before he opened his eyes and gave me a big smile. I gave him a kiss and then asked him, for the first time, why he was always sneaking into my bed and invading my personal space. He said, "Because I WUV you. And I WIKE to feel you next to me." I'm not a cuddler, and I don't WIKE feeling people next to me. But I realized after I thought about it for a minute that I kind of DID like having him there. It felt primal and maternal and, well, what I thought mother/child love would feel like, if I was capable of such a thing with my icy, granite heart and all. This was a revelation.

4. It's All About Perspective~ A few days ago, Sutt came in from playing outside to tell me that he had just seen a GIGANTIC alligator in the woods. It looked at him, came towards him, then saw how big and strong he was (all 36 pounds of him) and ran away. I considered this. I figured it was somewhat unlikely that Sutt had seen an alligator, and even more unlikely that if he had he had scared it away with his wanton manliness, but still, why burst his bubble? My Dad used to have this killer story about an epically large snapping turtle that nearly conquered the town before he sent it back into the lake with an ax in its back. Was it true? I'm sure the STORY was true. Just like I'm sure Sutt was gazing into the woods at some point and saw some underbrush move around. Was there a turtle the size of Rhode Island? Well, it was likely more the size of a breadbox. Just like the "alligator" was more likely a squirrel or a rabbit. Was I going to be the one to squelch those visions of grandeur? Oh, hell no. In their heads, I'm sure the story was absolutely 100% true. And being a great encourager or imagination, and a true visionary regarding storytelling, I would much rather have heard their "truth" than any other. Because their truth was the one worth telling.

5. If You Are Hungry, Keep Eating~ My Dad was known for having the ability to sit down and eat 4 or 5 sandwiches, or 8 or 9 hotdogs, followed by an entire half-gallon of ice cream or a whole pie or every bite of a new cake. That man could eat like you WOULD NOT FUCKING BELIEVE. He was never overweight, he had a metabolism that was incredible and he worked his ass off, but GODDAMN, he could eat. It was insane. On the flipside, if it was lunch time or supper time and he wasn't hungry, he did not want to eat anything. He ate when he wanted, as much as he wanted, and he was happy. Sutt is the same way. Jabba wakes up STARVING every day. His favorite food on the planet has always been, and likely, it seems, will always be, oatmeal. It doesn't matter what you offer him for breakfast--pancakes, donuts, pastry, eggs--he refuses. All he wants is oatmeal, and LOTS OF IT. Most mornings I feed him two of the little individual packets of Quaker Oats Maple and Brown Sugar, mixed with an entire CUP of regular from-the-canister oatmeal, made with 2% milk. He eats EVERY DAMN BITE and often wants a second helping. Now, keep in mind that Sutt is TINY. He is not even on the growth chart at the pediatrician for height or weight. He's skinny and short and still wears clothes from the toddler department, shoes too. But that kid will eat like there is no tomorrow when he's hungry. But if he's not? You can offer him anything-- cake, candy, ANYTHING, and he won't take it. Being a girl who will never say no to cheese or frosting-covered goodness, this boggles my mind. It's like he has his own little inner nutritionist. Likewise, sometimes I'll be starving but if it is not mealtime, I won't eat (I DO NOT snack--unless I'm drunk, in which case I don't know if I snack or not). I realize this is stupid. Sutt is way more advanced than I.

There's so much more. There is. But I'm tired. And I'm hungry. And, to be honest, I want to go hug my kid.

You know, Sutt is still very young. Hell, people say I am still very young too, although I doubt that more every single day. But I'm learning from him, he's learning from me-- we have that special Mommy-Son thing going on that I never wanted or expected to have. But I'm so glad I do. I'm a lucky girl. Lucky to have my happy, healthy Jabba the Sutt.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Giving Oprah the Bird

One of my very dearest friends has recently gotten hooked on some Oprah bullshit called Oprah's Lifeclass. This friend, whom we will call Easy E, is pretty much the same person as me-- if you took me, put makeup on me EVERY GODDAMN DAY EVEN WHEN I HAVE THE FLU OR AM JUST FEELING SO LAZY I DON'T CARE ABOUT LIPSTICK, dressed me in The Loft, gave me a filter, and erased my proclivity for swearing. (You may be thinking, "Dear Lord, what's LEFT?" but there is a lot left. I promise. Oh, yeah, she's ALWAYS sober too. Hmmmmm. Maybe there ISN'T much left, now that I think about it. Anyway.) The point is, she's not one to fall for a bunch of sappy, Go Life! inspirational shit. She's hardcore. She's street. JUST LIKE ME. Well, just like me in dressier clothes and likely voting Republican.

So when Easy E got all caught up in Oprah, my first thought was, "Holy Fuck. I knew moving away from me was a BAD DAMN CHOICE FOR E. Those goddamn other Moms have BRAINWASHED HER. CODE RED! CODE RED!"

Now, don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for Oprah-- God knows she's done more with her life than I will likely ever do. I'm not dissing Madame O. However, I, myself, can't watch her on tv or read her magazine or any of that crap. It's just too fucking depressing to witness someone who has their shit together as much as she does. I mean, think about it. IT MAKES ME HATE MYSELF. And frankly, I don't like goody-goodys. And Oprah is nothing if not a goody-goody.

But E swore that this Oprah's Lifeclass was so inspiring and eye-opening and whatnot that this afternoon when I stumbled across it while I was ironing B's bazillion dress shirts (this promotion has him looking pretty sexy these days) I actually decided to watch and see what it was all about. And I did. For nearly an hour I listened to Oprah wax poetic about LIVING IN THE MOMENT and ENJOYING THE PRESENT. Blah blah blah. And it led me to give myself a little test-- tonight I would TRY this LIVING IN THE MOMENT crap and see how it went for me. I'm the world's worst about being off somewhere else in my head while everything else is going on around me, so made the conscious decision that tonight would be different. B was in class, the kids were home for a long weekend, LET THE OPRAH ROLL.

Item 1 on the LIVING IN THE MOMENT LIST: Feed the kids something fun. The kids were in their rooms. I called and ordered pizza. (Note: I NEVER order pizza. Pizza DESTROYS my blood sugar. Pizza isn't the healthiest choice for a kid meal, and we try to feed the minions healthy. I spent an hour on the elliptical today burning calories that pizza will LAUGH AT AND RE-HANG MIGHTILY ON MY HIPS. Me, ordering pizza, is a pretty big fucking deal.) Because I never order pizza, I do not have a "standard" pizza establishment from which I order, so I googled Pizza Hut on my phone, put in the ZIP code and called the number it gave. After placing the order, I ran upstairs and said to the kids, "Put your shoes on, we have to go pick up the PIZZA MOMMY ORDERED!" I waited, expecting applause.

Sutt cheered. (I LOVE that kid.) Bellamy rolled her eyes and said, "Why do we have to go GET it? Can't someone BRING IT TO US?"


I cheerfully tickled her and told her nope, we were going to go get it. Five minutes later we headed out the door. Driving down the street, the kids and I danced in the car. We sang to the radio. It took a lot of fucking energy, but I WAS HAPPY. HIP HIP HOORAY. I'M IN THE FUCKING MOMENT. We got to Pizza Hut and the kids tumbled out of the car. We all hurried in and went to the carryout counter, happy and hungry.

Turns out, it was the WRONG FUCKING PIZZA HUT.

Yep. That's right. When I googled it, I didn't check the address. I just assumed that one was the one I was calling because I thought it was the closest. It wasn't.

The chick working inside directed me to the OTHER Pizza Hut, the one we THOUGHT I had ordered from. It was just down the street. Dashing back to the car, we all climbed in and drove to the Pizza Hut in Portsmouth.

Turns out, it too was the WRONG FUCKING PIZZA HUT.

By this point, I'm pissed. It's dark outside, the kids are starving and fighting and I WANT TO FUCKING TEAR OPRAH'S "EMBRACE THE PRESENT" WEAVE OUT AND STRANGLE HER WITH IT while shouting, "The present SUCKS, Oprah. Why don't you embrace THAT, bitch?"

We get back in the car and drive to the LAST FUCKING PIZZA HUT I KNOW OF, in Chesapeake. Not knowing exactly where it is, I turn one traffic light too early. We end up in a Bank of America parking lot. The kids are complaining. I am swearing. I go through the bank drive-thru backwards (angering an black woman in a BMW who probably fucking LOVES Oprah), jump the curb, drive over the median (go, Xterra!) and park in the damn lot. I drag both kids inside, as I won't let them sit in the car in the GODDAMN 'HOOD, lest they get carjacked and sold into sexual slavery by some crackhead who lives in College Park. Everyone (most of whom happened to witness my stunt-car driving outside moments before) looks nervous when I enter, mascara smudged, ponytail falling, kids in tow. They have our pizza (HALLELUJAH, JESUS!). We pay and leave. It has now been an entire fucking hour since we left the house.

When we got home, we ate, and I gave the finger to embracing the present.

You can take your present and shove it, Oprah. I'm done here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm Thankful for Mermaids

Every time I go onto Facebook, it seems that some fool "friend" of mine is blathering about what he or she is thankful for this month. I suppose that this is due to Thanksgiving rolling around in a couple of weeks, but DEAR JESUS it is GRATITUDE OVERLOAD. I do not fucking care if you are thankful for your new four-wheeler, or your (3rd) wife, or your half a dozen redneck kids who all have different daddies. I DO NOT FUCKING CARE.

Which is why I hate November social networking.

Yeah, okay, so I've had a few blogs over the years near Thanksgiving that listed things for which I was thankful. But you know what? IT'S MY FUCKING BLOG AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT. Plus, my lists are interesting. They are not full of sweet, cuddly crap like kids and Jesus. We all know that Jesus doesn't like me-- he's just waiting on a killer moment to strike me down (no pun intended) so why would I start spouting religion come November? I WOULDN'T.

So, as the antithesis of all the pansy-assed, bullshit FB statuses my pansy-assed, bullshit "friends" keep throwing up every FUCKING DAY, here is the Thanksgiving Blog, come early this year.


1. Nutjobs I know: So I have this friend Mia, whom I met when I first moved to Suffolk. She was in this Mom's Group that I toyed with joining, before I realized that I'd rather slit my own throat and bleed out in the desert, letting a pack of wild jackals tear apart my bloody body than join a Mom's group. Mia and I kept up a bit via email and FB for a bit, before she kind of disappeared. And then, last week, she reappeared in my Inbox, to tell me that she was still around and thinking of me, though her family had moved to Newport News. Oh, and one more thing-- She's "no longer a Christian, but became a psychic... lol" WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? AND WHY ARE YOU LOLing? You can't just BECOME a psychic. And are Christians and psychics mutually exclusive (really, I'm asking, because I DO NOT KNOW)? But the important thing is what I gleaned from this whole situation-- I attract awesome (crazy) people.

2. My period. It was late this month. I'm NEVER late-- unless I am knocked the fuck up. And do you know what I would DO if I was knocked up (despite my tubal ligation)? I've covered this with you people before-- I would go to a bridge, slit my damn wrists, chug a gallon of bleach, and shoot myself in the head so that I would fall, backwards, over the bridge. BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER BABY. EVER. Babies are hard and frustrating and cannot discuss literature with me. They projectile vomit and explosively poop and CRY ALL THE DAMN TIME. Sure, they smell okay (sometimes) and are fun to dress, but I've got two, which is MORE THAN ENOUGH. I'm done (Mom, I hope you are reading this-- DONE AS HELL). Thank God I got my period yesterday.

3. Mad Madame Mimipants is my porky Yorkie whom I have had for eleven years. She does not come when called. She usually doesn't remember what "sit" means, and it took her two years to learn to do it in the first place. She is fat and lazy and spends more time snoring or looking at me with disdain than she does anything else. I can't get comfortable at night because she MUST sleep between my legs, which often means that I can't get comfortable. AND I ADORE HER. Maybe it's the excessive bitchiness and total disregard for authority. All I know, is that I am thankful to have my Mims. When B and I lived together but were not yet a couple, every time she got mad at him she would go to his room, climb up in the middle of his bed, and pee in it. I LOVE THE MIMS.

4. Dr. Skansi is a hyperactive, Croatian pediatrician who decided to start dabbling in psychiatrics. Somehow or another, she became my psychiatrist. She is crazy as all hell, and I adore her. We all know that I do not like people to touch me, and Dr. Skansi is well aware of this. Yet every time I visit her she grabs me and hugs me until I tell her to get off me. She tells me tales about Croatia, her children, and how all my problems would be solved if I put my children in daycare and pursued a career for myself, relegating them to second place. She has a valid fucking point. But, alas, I do not take direction well. The point is, Skansi and I have become buddies, and when I found out that she had no plans for Christmas, I invited her to my house for the holiday. WHY WOULD I INVITE MY PSYCHIATRIST TO A HOUSE FULL OF MY CRAZY-AS-FUCK FAMILY? Because I'm awesome. Do you know how FUN that would be? IT WOULD BE AWESOME. I hope she comes. I see institutionalization in the future for at LEAST two family members (myself not included).

5. B and I got a new mattress a few weeks ago. It replaced my twelve year old Serta pillowtop, which had seen better days (and worse husbands). This time we decided to invest in the highly touted memory foam shit in hopes it would help us both to sleep better, although I think we would both sleep better if B would just STAY ON HIS OWN FUCKING SIDE OF THE BED AND STOP SPOONING ME BECAUSE I GET OVERHEATED WHEN SOMEONE WRAPS AROUND ME LIKE AN OCTOPUS AND ANNOYED WHEN THEY ARE CONSTANTLY PUSHING MY HAIR OUT OF THEIR FACE AND I AM TRYING TO SLEEP. But, anyway. So we did our research and found our bed, purchased said bed and had it delivered and IT IS WONDERFUL. It's high and fluffy, and like sleeping on a cloud. I have no idea when he gets up to pee, he has no idea when I get up to wander the house and watch "Dexter" in the middle of the night, and everybody feels good come morning. I love my bed. If I wasn't a neurotic Gemini who can't sit still, I would lie in my bed all day, reading books and learning fluent Italian (not just "get-by" Italian) and eating bon-bons. Additionally, except for Hot Yard Man and that sailor I picked up last weekend in Portsmouth, B and I are the only ones who have ever slept in said bed. It makes it special. High five for new beds.

6. Amazon Prime is a lovely thing. I love books. Amazon has books. With Amazon Prime, you get free expedited shipping, which I also love. With a student account like B's William and Mary account (being a student and all) you are able to get Amazon Prime for a year for free. Our year just ended, but I must say, Amazon Prime and I made some lovely memories during that year. I miss that free expedited shipping. (On the bright side, now I must order at least $25 worth of books to get free shipping, so I often have to find "something else" to add to my order, which is never a bad thing.)

7. In the blink of an eye, we are gone. Gone from earth, from daily interactions in each others' lives, from our jobs, our communities, whatever. I have especially learned this during the past three years-- I lost my Dad when he died, I lost my E when she moved, I lost my friend Wilcox when he made a choice. What I am grateful for is resilience. Since losing Dad I have cried and starved and suffered and railed. Losing E has been more about a forlorn need for the close companionship of someone who isn't within reach. Wilcox was a piece of my heart, broken and gone. But the point is, I'm still here. I'm alive, and breathing, and laughing and dancing and swearing and living every single day. Sometimes it takes work. Sometimes it is fueled by fury or obstinance, but it still moves onward. I still keep going.

So, you see, I AM grateful. I may be complicated and frustrated and an array of other things at any given time, but I am grateful. I love my B. I love my kids. I love my home and my friends and my books and my awesome ability to keep on keepin' on (as my Daddy would have said). I am thankful to still have my Mom and my awesome brother and his wife. I have lost a Mo, but still have a Mims. I have burnt to the ground in grief and risen from the ashes.

I am grateful to be a Phoenix.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poe-ster child

Last weekend, B and I dashed away for a quick adult weekend in Richmond. We had not been back to the city since we moved to the coastal area, so since we were limited on time (and babysitters), we decided that we would just take the hour and a half jaunt instead of traveling further, mostly to return to our old haunts, eat at our old favorite restaurants (including the best Thai food EVAH at Mom Siam's) and just relax a bit and enjoy the company of one another. (Yes, we are THAT FUCKING FUN.) The weather forecast was a mess, calling for cloudy skies and a wintry mix, which made it sound all the more appealing-- time to snuggle up in a nice hotel, read, and drink lots of good red wine.

Which we did. The hotel was lovely, and on the 15th floor we had an amazing view of the city and the old Train Station and such. We ate our favorite Thai, but also found an AMAZING little upscale, authentic Italian restaurant in Shockoe Bottom for a romantic and delicious dinner. I was able to wander aimlessly through Crate & Barrel for over an hour (one of my favorite stores, and one that we do not have in Hampton Roads) with NO KIDS and no stress. We held hands and drank wine and slept late. It was lovely.

But now we're going to get to the part of the blog that really matters: THE CRAZY SHIT. We all knew that was coming, right? Right.

I'm putting it in list form because I have to go get my teeth cleaned in a little while and don't feel like diverting my energy from stressing over seeing a new dentist at a new office and putting what I have to say into melodious prose. Sorry, bitches.


1. Weird Fetish Shit~ So, B and I, while driving around on Broad looking for something interesting to do, decided to stop in at Priscilla's. (For all you holy and naive folk, Priscilla's is a sex shop.) We like to go in and make fun of the adult movie titles, as well as start our Christmas shopping for all the prudes in the family, as fucking with people is pretty much our main source of entertainment. Anyway, there we go into Priscilla's. Of course, being the week before Halloween, there are whore mannequins galore, wearing all forms of glittered, nipple-cut-out, crotchless mesh and whatnot, along with signs emphasizing that customers SHOULD NOT TOUCH! (You can't help but wonder how many times the employees have had to call the police on creepy mannequin-fetish perverts who come in and start humping the faux females. Well, at least I wonder that. Maybe nobody else does.) So we're meandering through the store, marveling at the merchandise when all of a sudden we see something that is STRAIGHT UP SO FUCKING AWESOME IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO BELIEVE. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. What is it? What, what, what? An old lady, probably 70's, on a motorized scooter, perusing the hardcore porn with her Hispanic midget probably 40-ish-year-old boyfriend.

I swear I am not joking. I swear.

NO FUCKING KIDDING. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. I'll repeat it anyway for you.


Enough said.

2. On Saturday morning, after breakfast, B and I decided to walk the seven or eight blocks to one of my favorite places in Richmond-- The Edgar Allan Poe Museum. I love Poe. He was dark and creepy and crazy as all hell, which, if you take away the "dark" part, is pretty much JUST LIKE ME. I've been through the museum a million times, but I just wanted to hit the lobby, which doubles as the gift shop, and see if they had a Poe Wineglass, because I already have a Poe coffee mug, t-shirt, bobble head, and action figure, so what else could possibly make my life complete but a Poe Wineglass? NOTHING, BITCHES. Because, again, it was Halloween weekend and because Richmond is a city packed full of creepy nerds (like myself) the Poe Museum was hopping. The lobby/gift shop is in a teeny tiny brick house that was built in the 1700's, and is roughly the size of my walk-in closet, so with me and B and the eight or nine other people in there, I felt like I was in a musty, highly macabre sardine can. After we had been there for a few minutes, I was smashed against the wall, checking out the Poe finger puppets and wondering how I might incorporate them into my daily life when I heard a woman behind me talking to a cooing baby. I turned around to check out said baby and try to scare it with a bloody, corpse-like Poe puppet, and to high five the woman on starting her kid on Poe early, only to get an eyeful of nipple--two of them to be exact. This twenty-something, velvet-shirted, vintage hat-wearing hippie chick had her (likely hand crocheted by somebody else in her Love Commune) sweater hiked up around her neck, no bra in sight, and both rather large and swingy, leaky, milk-swollen boobs on display for Poe, God, and all the world to see. It was traumatic for me, to say the least. Now, I am not opposed to women breast feeding in public or anywhere else. I think it would actually be extremely convenient to be able to have kid-food on tap, and I'm all about some convenience. Hell, I'd probably be all over that shit if it worked for grown people too as B is ALWAYS hungry. I am also not opposed to seeing boobs, because I think boobs are great and if somebody has pretty boobs, hell, yes, I want to see them. I might even want to touch them. But THESE boobs? FUCK NO. And CLOSE ENOUGH SO THAT I COULD HAVE HAD A SNACK FROM THEM MYSELF? Once again, fuck no. And before any of you earth mommas out there give me any shit, I'd like to remind you yet again that THIS IS MY FUCKING BLOG. DEAL WITH IT, BITCHES. I DO NOT WANT TO BE EXPOSED TO YOUR LARGE SAGGY BREASTS FIVE INCHES FROM MY FACE WHEN I AM IN THE GODDAMN POE MUSEUM. So there.

3. My husband knows everybody. He just does. He's friendly and social and has probably had a beer at some point with your cousin's sister's neighbor's former co-worker's mailman, because, well, that's just B. (Please note how unlike me this is, as I still do not know all the names of my next door neighbors after nearly four years in our current home.) So it shouldn't have surprised me one bit when we were sitting at a nice, romantic, late dinner at La Grotta's on Saturday evening when a waiter brought our wine and when he walked away B said, "Hey. I know him." OF COURSE YOU DO. *sigh* AND OF COURSE YOU WILL REMEMBER HIS NAME, ALTHOUGH YOU MET HIM IN A GODDAMN BAR IN OHIO SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO AFTER YOU WERE ALREADY SIX BEERS IN AND FOUND OUT THAT YOU HAD SCREWED THE SAME LESBIAN AFTER TAKING ECSTASY AT A 311 CONCERT. Okay, so not really. But B DID know him. And he DID remember his name (Zack). Apparently about TWO years ago, B had stopped at a sushi restaurant in Suffolk for takeout and had randomly started talking to one of the guys there who was now waiting tables in a random restaurant in a random city that had nothing to do with where they had met or why we were there. BECAUSE THAT'S THE MAN I MARRIED AND HOW HE FUCKING ROLLS.

4. The hotel that we stayed in in Richmond was beautiful. It was old-Richmond charm with all the modern conveniences (because we all know if the sheets aren't at least 800 thread count, Haley is NOT HAPPY). The one downside was that, in nineteen floors of pampered bliss, we got the CRAZY ASS NEIGHBORS. BOTH NIGHTS. We were staying in the next-to-last room in the hallway, with a room on either side of us. One room was quiet both nights. The other was not. On Friday night, we spent the evening listening to some sort of Asian themed 1940's (ukulele and flute, perhaps?) music. All one could imagine while hearing this music was a Geisha girl, teetering around on tiny little bound feet, serving hot tea to her Johns before she sexed them up, Singapore style. (Yes, I do realize I'm mixing a lot of countries here. Suck it.) While this made for some interesting mental imagery, it also got kind of annoying after a bit. Luckily, large doses of sleeping pills can drown out anything.


Until Saturday night, when the same room boasted occupants that were hands-down two of the most annoying people I have ever met (even worse than you, Mom). A man and a woman, and their stupid-ass baby, who made more fucking noise than any three human beings should be allowed to make. The woman made moronic baby talk and baby-attention-getting shrieks every ninety seconds or so, and the man was a FUCKING IDIOT (I'm basing this on the very clear conversations I heard between them) who sang "Big Girls Don't Cry" ALL THE WAY THROUGH every goddamn time the baby made a peep. And that baby? She busted through my Trazodone haze at 5am and is lucky I didn't go down the hall, kick the door down, and duct-tape her 10-month-old-mouth shut. (I know how old she was because I saw them the next morning as they were leaving the room, gave them the evil eye, and said, "How old is that baby?") Anyway, after a solid chunk of time listening to all this bullshit, I decided to retaliate in the best way I knew how (being a parent and all). I moaned. I screamed. I thrashed about and made sure the neighbors could hear every second of ecstasy. Because every seasoned parent knows they won't have sex again for approximately the next four years, except for the one 3-minute hookup they'll have to create another noisy mini-monster, and it sure as hell won't involve any ecstasy.

5. At this point, I haven't even gotten to the "Back Home Shit." Guess that will have to wait for another blog. And I can do that because THIS IS MY GODDAMN BLOG.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Mommy, Bad Mommy

One afternoon last week as I was leaving the gym, I was struck with an excruciatingly bad headache. Not some dull aching, but full-on, God awful, shooting pains of HOLY HELL RIPPING THROUGH MY SKULL. Suspecting I was likely having an aneurysm and would die alone in the Xterra, soaked in sweat and without makeup, where I would bake in the heat until someone discovered me, two days later, reeking of perspiration and decomposition, I sent a quick email to B indicating that I was dying and to look for me at the gym. Then, I reached into my purse, fished around searching for Advil, popped open a bottle and swallowed the last two pills I came across.

A few minutes later, though my head was still hurting like a motherfucker, I realized that I probably wouldn't die before I got home, so I peeled out for the house. (Logically, if you die in your driveway you are much more likely to be discovered quickly, thus smelling up the car less and subtracting from the Dead Haley Depreciation acquired by said car.) I got home, showered, dressed, grabbed the kids at school, and headed to the grocery store.

Now, visiting the grocery store is NOT one of my favorite forays into public. I do not like people. I do not like to touch things other people have touched. Handling a shopping cart makes my practically non-existent gag reflex (yes, B is a lucky man) go into overdrive when I think about all the germy, disgusting people who have touched it before me. No, it DOES NOT HELP that they provide Clorox wipes to clean the handle with before you touch it. People are ALL KINDS OF NASTY. Using a damn wipe is not enough to remove the potential nose-picking, ass wiping, naughty-part touching, vile swill of humanity that befalls those carts. IT IS FUCKING NOT. Trust me.

BUT, I needed groceries, lest my children starve and I be jailed for abuse and neglect (although, frankly, since Casey Anthony was acquitted I feel fairly confident that I could staple the minions together, throw their asses in the linen closet, and let them survive on bread crusts and Kool-Aid for months and still get away with it) so we headed to the store. Once we parked and got inside, I grabbed a shopping cart and headed in with the minis, thinking about eggs and frozen chicken breasts and whether or not I needed yogurt.

We meandered through the store. This, alone, should have been a red flag. I DON'T FUCKING MEANDER. I haul ass at all times. I am fast, and I am efficient. I am a well oiled machine of EVERYTHING (except geometric proofs-- those take me a while) especially grocery shopping, at which I am a GODDAMN GROCERY SHOPPING MASTER. This is what happens when you have kids-- you learn to get in, grocery shop at a breakneck pace, and get the fuck out before you kill someone, or cave and buy tons of shit just to shut up the offspring. However, this time, I MEANDERED. I looked at things. I read various labels. I zoned out in the cereal aisle for about twenty minutes, recalling days of my childhood (pre-diabetes) that were laced with Cocoa Puffs and a Poptart haze, which then led to a vast recall of various Smurfs and Muppet Babies episodes that I had watched with my brother on Saturday mornings. The kids begged for stupid sugary shit every six feet or so, but I sweetly turned them down, making wise Mommy choices. I never became angry. I never got frustrated.

Once we reached the produce aisle, we decided to look for pumpkins so that we could carve them on Halloween. For over half an hour, I hoisted pumpkins out of a bin that was as tall as I was, lining them up and helping the kids decide which pumpkins were the best. When they changed their minds halfway to the checkout line, I laughed and took them back to the bin, where we compared pumpkins for another ten minutes or so. We were giggly and sweet, and I thought repeatedly, "I LOVE being a Mom! This is so awesome."

And then I realized-- HOLY FUCK. I'M HIGH.

Yep. You heard me. As my mother would say, "High as a kite," (or, in Haley speak "FUCKING HIGH AS A GODDAMN KITE).

Remember those "Advil" I popped at the gym? Yeah. Not Advil. SO not Advil. Hydrocodone. Leftover Dad-strength, cancer pain fighting Hydrocodone that I had swiped after he passed away and stashed into my purse for cramps or migraines or really shitty parenting days (don't push me-- this is a totally valid reason to take drugs). And I didn't take the ONE that was prescribed for Dad. I took TWO. No wonder I felt so warm and happy and fuzzy around the edges. And the sad thing? IT WAS FABULOUS. Probably my best Mommy Day ever (at least, until I realized that those were my last two Hydrocodone and that, unless I purposefully snapped a bone on my way out of the store, my Happy Haze was permanently over).

Ironically, this week is Red Ribbon Week at the kids' school. They keep telling me how DRUGS ARE BAD. What the fuck ever. I'm thinking of jumping off the roof just to score some more. Or at the very least, make a run to Portsmouth where I'm pretty sure I could score just about anything on just about any corner. For now I'll keep that to myself, but you can be damn sure that when my KIDS have kids, I'll be encouraging them to build their own damn meth lab.

Whatever it takes to get by.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're All Special

Ever since Sutton started kindergarten back in September, he has been coming home telling me about his friend, whom we will call "E." According to Sutt, E is awesome because he has a "little hand," with "these [indicating four] fingers stuck together", and "it's awesome" and SUTT "wants a little hand too because it's cool!"

Jump ahead to my first stint volunteering in Sutt's class.

I'm at the school. I'm sober. I'm wearing mascara and a shirt that doesn't show too much cleavage or have swear words on the front. I'm assisting children with their work and calling them "Sweetie" and "Honey" and "Darlin." I'm (begrudgingly) smiling. I'm SUPER-FUCKING-MOM (of course). And I'm also looking for this kid, E, to see what's up, as I'm sure he's just a regular kid with some weird webby fingers that make my kid jealous for the creepy side of life. But as I cut out construction paper apples and grade papers and help the minions take reading tests, I realize that there is no E and there is no weird hand.

What. The. Fuck?

I spend the next half hour wondering if Sutt has an imaginary friend. Does he have mental health issues? Did he inherit them from me? Should I get him a psychiatrist? Or a priest? Is this because one time when I was pregnant I had half a glass of wine and then cried for two hours because B wouldn't let me have more? Before long, I had myself pretty wound up. (Side note: It doesn't take much to wind me up. I get crazy and frantic at least 200 times a day, over random things like when the mail might come or if I accidentally packed Cheez-Its as Sutt's snack because I was talking on the phone when I packed snack but Sutt DOESN'T LIKE CHEEZ-ITS so DEAR JESUS what the HELL am I going to do if he's SNACKLESS?)

Until we went to lunch. I had promised Sutton that I would go to the cafeteria and sit with him while he ate lunch (because God knows I'm not eating that swill they serve in the cafeteria, and I'm not packing my lunch like I do for the kids because I LIKE LIQUID LUNCH. And, much like firearms and farm animals, vodka is not allowed in the cafeteria). We sat down and Sutt meandered into his Thermos of mac and cheese while I chatted up his classmates and counted down the minutes until I could get the HELL outta that sideshow, quit being so goddamn nice, and say "fuck" in a conversation without getting sent to the office. But as we were sitting there, Sutt started to shout, "Hey! There's my friend [E]! The guy with the cool hand! Hey, [E]! How are you today? This is my Mommy!" He was jumping up and down in his seat and pointing behind me, so I turned around. I wanted to see this kid E, and introduce myself as Sutt's Mom-- maybe instigate a playdate. And, for the first time, I saw E. E was not what I had expected. Not at all. E was in the Special Education class. E was severely physically and mentally handicapped. He had to have a special teacher JUST FOR HIM.

I realized then what I had been told early on but had forgotten-- my son was in the Inclusion Class for kindergarten, which meant that some of the kids in the class were more challenged than others, and that once a day for about an hour severely challenged kids were brought to the class also, if only to listen to a story or be around the "normal" kids. E was one of those kids, and frankly, his "little hand" with which Sutt was so enamored was likely the least of his problems. But Sutton hadn't even noticed that, he only knew that E was cool. Why? Because E liked to poke him "in the eyes to tell me where my eyes are!" and because his "little hand is like Nemo's!" Sutt realized that this kid wasn't broken, he was special. And that made me realize how special MY kid was. Sutt, my gifted, perfect, whip-smart little guy didn't notice E's weaknesses, he noticed his awesomeness. He wanted to BE LIKE E. And that made me think.

Yeah, a lot of us are fucked up. Some of us are way more fucked up than others (as I bow to my followers). But we're all people. We're intrinsically all the same (even if we live in a trailer with a meth lab and have been engaged to our cousin-- this is a shout out to my TN relatives). Sutt doesn't see the black and white, the odd, the different. He just sees a kid with a cool hand. He just sees another kid he would like to play with, and introduce to his Mommy. That makes me happy.

Maybe we should all be a little more like Sutt.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Square Peg, Round Hole

This morning, as I was perusing the Bizarre News Headlines of the World (because who wants to read about wars, politics, and the economy when one can read about CRAZY RANDOM SHIT?) and I stumbled across an article from Europe, about an Irish woman who is suing her husband for misrepresenting the size of his penis. According to the Irish lass, she and her beau chose to refrain from sexual contact beyond kissing throughout their courtship, focusing on how wonderful their wedding night would be after all of the anticipation leading up to it. Mr. Irishman talked a big game during this time (literally) as he rhapsodized to his lady love about how he was going to rock her world with his ginormous Irish shlong. He was hung like a stallion and he knew how to use it. Or so he said. Turns out, when their wedding night rolled around and he whipped out his junk for his blushing bride, she was more than a little disappointed. As a matter of fact, she had their marriage annulled, citing fraud (it also helped that it had not been consummated).

High five, Irish Chick. You Go Girl.

Said article immediately sparked my curiosity. You hear the old stereotypes-- Asian men have tiny dicks, black men are hung, blah blah blah (although, for the record, I have found this to be true, though it is based solely on television, movies, and porn)-- but you (at least, I) never hear anything about European penises in general. Clearly, I needed to do some research.

Several million websites and photographs (so many uncircumcised penises!) later, both medical and official, and personal and trashy, I had gleaned the following:

1. Of European men, Irishmen have the smallest genitalia. However, they either don't realize it, or just try to overcompensate for their small size by bragging big. Condensed version: Small dicks, big egos.

2. Of European men, Italian men (Western Europe) and Russian men (Eastern Europe-- and yes, I know Russia doesn't exist any longer-- suck it, bitches. This isn't a goddamn history lesson) have the biggest, but brag the least. Condensed version: Big dicks, small egos. (For the record, Italian men supposedly flaunt their prowess and skills in the boudoir, even though they don't have much to say about size. Irishmen will straight up tell you they have no skills when it comes to foreplay, but their giant penises (that don't exist) make up for it. Whatever.)

You are asking now, "What is the point of all this, Oh Great And Awesome Haley?" Well, I shall tell you. It's not penises. I only told you all that shit because I figured if I spent all that time researching worldwide penis size I might as well DO something with it (like educate you guys). The POINT is, that Irish Chick who sued her under-endowed husband is clearly not your average woman. And I love that.

Life, to me, if often so damn BORING. Everybody I meet is the same. WHY WHY WHY be like everyone else when we don't have to be? I wonder that a lot-- do all these people really TRY to be so fucking dull, or are they ACTUALLY that way? That's why I love the Bizarre News. It's about my PEOPLE, y'all. Where the FUCK are the rest of you?

Last week I was checking in at the gym and a woman came in behind me carrying a box fan. She had her workout gear on, her ponytail, her water bottle. And her big-ass box fan. I didn't think THAT much about it until I watched her go upstairs to the cardio area, plug in her fan, aim it at the treadmill, and start power walking. WHAT THE FUCK? The gym is not hot. The gym has fans aimed down from the ceiling in addition to the air conditioning. And this fan was big as hell. Most people would have just bitched and moaned to their friends or themselves if they were hot at the gym. But this bitch-- she BROUGHT HER OWN DAMN FAN. People looked at her like she was a lunatic, including the staff and trainers. But I got the impression that she didn't fucking care. High five, Gym Lady. I applaud you.

So now, my friends, I encourage you to go out into the world and be somebody interesting. Don't use your filter. Divorce your husband and his small dick. Wear your hot pink Converse with the stars on them when you are 34 years old, and don't even match them to your clothes. Take your damn box fan to the gym. Teach your kids to mix a martini. Most of all, be yourself. If you're boring and you suck when you're being yourself, at least you are still being what you really are. And that, my friends, I applaud as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Tuesday Rundown

It's Tuesday, which means that all hell breaks loose in Haley's World. For most, the fact that this happens once a week would be overwhelming. For me, well, it's just the norm. Here is neat little outline of how today has gone for your favorite blogger.

1. Got up. Had huge fight with daughter over appropriate footwear. Was accused of always "making her wear those same shoes!" even though she has only owned them for four days and they are her FAVORITE (her words, not mine) shoes. Mentioned that she has only worn them twice EVER and that I don't give a DAMN (I try not to say "fuck" directly TO the kids, only AROUND them) what kind of shoes she wears EVER AGAIN. OR CLOTHES. OR ANYTHING. She pouts. I pout. Kids go to school.

2. I race, late and with shower-wet hair, to yoga. Get there late. Find myself crammed into yoga class between an old Asian woman who needs Beano and overweight real estate agent who breathes louder than Darth Vader. Reconsider attending yoga for stress relief. Suffer through an hour of air pollution and Star Wars flashbacks. Do not find my Zen. Rush out to head to Wal-Mart.

3. Purchase Poster board at Wal-Mart (for Belly's school project). It is not lavender. She specifically demanded lavender. I think, "Suck it, you spoiled little heathen." Poster board catches wind in parking lot and blows away. While chasing it, I accidentally hit the fucking button on my keys and set off my car alarm. Catch poster board. It's dirty and bent. Fuck it. Locate car. Kill alarm.

4. Run to Pier One to pick up beads/glass leafs for my fall table centerpiece. Dash in. Dash out. Crash into "In" door while trying to get "out" and develop a mark on my forehead.

5. Get home only to realize that I didn't pick up glass leaves, but glass acorns. I DIDN'T KNOW THEY HAD TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEADS IN THE BOXES. FUCK. I hate acorns. Gather up library books to return on way home. Go back to Pier One.

6. Switch FUCKING ACORNS FOR FUCKING LEAVES, while babbling to sales clerk who also had not realized there were two different kinds. Dash out to get to library so that I can make it home in time for the bus.

7. Get to library. Set off car alarm again (accidentally-- note: this usually happens once a year, not twice in one day). Stop fucking alarm and start gathering books only to realize that I only brought half-- my half, leaving Belly's books-to-be-returned at home. Roll eyes, swear, return books.

8. Check with librarian regarding book that is supposed to be held for me. Am told that book was released to someone else (accidentally) and it will never happen again. Tell them "that's what I thought the FIRST damn time I set off my car alarm today." Leave. Tired.

9. Get home. Clean. Walk dogs. Drink vodka. Greet children. Help children with homework. Drink more vodka.

10. Decide to lie down as vodka has made me sleepy. Just as I lie down, Minion #1 comes in screaming, "There's a snake in the driveway!"

*Side note: For any new readers. I FUCKING HATE SNAKES. I'm not scared of spiders, I'm not scared of ghosts or murderers or hurricanes. The thought of a goddamn snake, however, can send me into Code Red Freakout Mode.

11. Go outside. See snake. Notice that snake is heading INTO MY FUCKING GARAGE. Have mental image of going into garage to take out recycling and being attacked by evil, hiding snake that curls its way around me and smothers me to death next to my deceased Father's airplane as I croak, "B, save me!" only to realize that B is at work or school, as usual. Momentarily black out. Pull my shit together. Grow some balls. Grab shovel. Charge at snake. Decapitate snake.

*Second side note: This is a HUGE FUCKING MILESTONE FOR HALEY.

12. Come inside. High-five self for killing evil (most likely garter) snake and disposing of its writhing, creepy dead body.

13. Open wine. Start drinking wine. Quickly.

And here we are.

In other news, today is my Grandma's birthday. She's 86.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Have My Cake And Eat It Too

This past Sunday was my Father-in-Law's 64th birthday. Per our yearly tradition, the family was invited over to the in-laws' house for lunch following church, and, like any good guest, I asked what I could bring. I expected my Mother-in-Law to say "a bottle of wine" (because, frankly, everybody knows that we drink a lot) or, at worst, "some kind of salad."

It turns out I underestimated the MIL.

Badly.Check Spelling

She asked me to bring the cake. The goddamned cake.

Now, everybody knows you don't ask ME to bring the cake. The cake is the centerpiece of any birthday. Everyone looks at it and forward to it and gets excited about it. Hell, most people set it on fire and sing a damn SONG about it, for Christ's sake. It's THE CAKE. I can't be in charge of THE CAKE. My reputation for fucking up shit is known near and far, especially important shit. Especially SHIT LIKES CAKES. ESPECIALLY SHIT LIKE BIRTHDAY CAKES FOR MY FATHER-IN-LAW WHO IS WAAAAAAAAAY FANCIER THAN I AM AND WHO STILL HASSLES ME ABOUT A POT OF MEATBALLS I FUCKED UP SEVEN YEARS AGO BECAUSE MY BITCH-ASS MOTHER GAVE ME SHITTY MEATBALL-MAKING DIRECTIONS.


Now, I will mention two additional things: 1) My Mother-in-Law makes EVERY FUCKING THING INCLUDING ALL CAKES from scratch and they are always PERFECT and ungodly delicious and; 2) My Mother-in-Law suggested in the email she sent asking me to bring the cake that perhaps I should just order one from Farm Fresh and bring it, no big deal.

What EVER. Like that's ever going to happen.

You see, the one thing I have learned over the years, as I grew and became more wise and awesome is that your must treat parents like you treat small children. You can't just give them what they ask for whenever they ask for it and expect them to grow into what you want them to be. Oh, no. You must MOLD them into the kind of citizens this world really needs (i.e. more like me). Which means that you can't just run up to Farm Fresh and drop $20 on some generic, standard (but delicious) run-of-the-mill cake. Oh, no. My FIL is 64. Who knows how many more birthdays Philosaurus will have-- he deserves the very best. Particularly because my in-laws DO treat me really well, and have worked hard to acclimate to my crazy. I love them dearly. So there was no way in hell Phil was going to get a dull cake.

No, Phil was going to get a Haley Cake Extraordinaire.

I decided to start with some hand-me-down cake pans from my Grandma that I found in her basement about ten years ago and that she had had since the 1940s. I suspect they were supposed to be used for wedding cakes, as there were four of them and they were round and tiered. Not that Grandmama had ever baked a damn thing other than Breakfast Casserole once a year and Weight Watcher muffins, but, whatever. They were cool pans. Because Phil is so awesome, I knew that his cake needed to be layered, and a variety of flavors. Because I also knew that my ingredients were limited and that I was too lazy to go to the store, I knew I needed to tone that idea down a bit, so we ended up with two chocolate and two vanilla layers (alternated, of course). Once I had the cake baked, I used approximately 42 boxes of confectioner's sugar, half a bottle of vanilla, a gallon of milk, a pound of butter, and a bottle of Shiraz (to help inspire decorating ideas) to make homemade frosting. (Side note: I was going to make my friend EB's yummy cream cheese frosting, but I realized--luckily before I added the cream cheese to the batter--that the cream cheese had likely gone bad during the three days we had no power during the hurricane, but that I had neglected to throw it away. I was saving it for hard times. That's what happens when you grow up in Tennessee-- you hoard spoiled cream cheese.) I broke out the electric mixer, and mixed away.

By this time, I had powdered sugar in my hair and down the front of my clothes. It was also probably in my wine, but frankly, I wouldn't have been able to tell if it was. Now armed with four layers of cake and a ginormous bowl of vanilla frosting, I considered my options. And considered them. And thought some more. What I WANTED, was a Jesus. You know, one of those Jesus action figures you see in some stores. I could frost the layers in green, put Jesus up on top looking all holy and shit-- it would be AWESOME. My FIL LOVES Jesus-- and I wanted to make a cake that reflected something he loved. But I had no Jesus. And since I didn't know how to create an interior decorating cake (his other passion), and had no Jesus to park atop my baked goods mountain, I did the next best thing. I decorated by association.

The equation:

Sutt loves Star Wars. Pops loves Sutt. Therefore, logically, in an extended sense, Pops loves Star Wars. (Hey, it made sense after three glasses of wine. As a matter of fact, it not only made sense, but I felt like a FUCKING MATHEMATICAL GENIUS.)

A Star Wars Cake it would be.

So I snuck into Sutt's room and rounded up all the Star Wars men I could find. There was some monkey dude with a couple of guns, a frog-headed looking guy with guns, Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber, a storm trooper, AND the piece de over sized Chewbacca holding what appeared to be a bowstaff.

Now, I have carried these little men around in my purse. I have watched Sutt play with them in the bathtub, on the toilet, in the front yard, and at various nasty, germ-laden establishments all over Hampton Roads. They have dated and married a variety of Barbies and Strawberry Shortcakes, and they occasionally have gone on cross-country roadtrips in the Barbie RV and towing the Batmobile. These men have been around the block. They are carrying all KINDS of the crud. Did that deter me? Nope. I soaped those little bitches up, scrubbed them down a bit, rinsed and started parking them all around the cake.

But wait. Rewind.

Remember that white frosting I made? You can't have a WHITE STAR WARS CAKE. That's insane. I dug around in my spice cabinet looking for coloring options but the only food colorings I could find were red, green, and black. (Side note: No, I do not know why I have black food coloring. Mind your own business.) I threw back some wine, threw in some black, and BAM! Frosting magic.

Back to the Wookie.

I had Chewbacca left once the other men were settled, because I had special plans for that big, hairy fella. Using a steak knife and a lot of drunken determination, I pried the bowstaff from his furry wookie hands and made my own little flag to him to hold, bidding my FIL a happy birthday. I stuck the flag in Chewy's hand, shoved the beast knee-deep in the frosting, threw on some sprinkles and was good to go.

I had made cake magic: a four tiered, slightly tilted, grayish-blackish-frosted, silver-metallic sprinkled cake peppered slightly used Star Wars figures and sporting a giant Wookie brandishing a day-glo yellow Post-It Happy Birthday sign on top, just like an Eastern European color guard girl.


When I presented it to my in-laws, I could see the love and joy in their eyes. The respect. The admiration. The gratitude. And the knowledge that I should never, ever be put in charge of the cake.

Next year, they would like me to bring wine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Bringing Awesome Back

Tonight I was sitting in bed sorting through some books when I realized that I needed some sugar because my blood sugar was getting low. I had had a salad and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, and did not really feel like eating anything. On top of not being hungry but needing sugar, I was already feeling grumpy because it was JUST ONE OF THOSE FUCKING DAYS. You know-- the ones where you feel all itchy and uncomfortable in your skin for no damn reason at all. (Yeah, even in my extreme awesomeness, I still have those days too. Makes you feel better about yourself, doesn't it?) SO, I said to B, "Hey, B. I need some sugar and I'm not hungry. Got any ideas?" His response? "You need a cocktail."

And that is why I am still married after all these years.

But that is not the point of this blog.

What IS the point, you ask?

Well, for starters. after several months of mulling things over, I have decided to reestablish the blog. Although it technically never went anywhere, I stopped writing because I had no intention of picking it up again. It was not a break-- I fucking retired. But, as often happens, I have come out of retirement and for the first time in my life, actually have time to write something.

Hooray for you. Now you have something to read.

Secondly, last weekend I reached a monumental milestone in my life: I met an Asian girl that I actually liked. Yes, you heard me. Take a moment to consider that and its impact, then recover. BAM. No, there is not more to this story (except that I was also watching SESAME STREET-- alone, mind you--and watched an Asian girl hip hop dancing to a rap song by Elmo and Oscar and realized that Asians are stereotyped as scientists and computer nerds for a reason, because they sure as hell can't fucking hip hop dance....but, whatever). It's just that everyone knows I have an extreme distaste for Asians, and now I met one I like. Her name is Natsuko, just in case you don't believe me, and she's quite lovely.

Lastly, I've decided to run for office. (Um, no, I'm kidding. I think politicians are idiots, I can't stand big election years, and everyone knows that I would be assassinated within about five minutes of being elected to anything from the HOA Board to Comptroller. Seriously, would you want me running ANY of your shit? No, I didn't think so.

There is no lastly. I just wanted to have a lastly.

I will leave you now, as I am exhausted and have a LOOOONG day ahead of me tomorrow (aka: Mom arrives in Virginia). But fear not, I shall return, promptly....bitches.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

Yesterday, my baby graduated as part of the Class of 2011. There were royal blue caps and gowns, red, white and blue tassels, visiting relatives, a slide show and pomp and circumstance, all to send him off into the great future that is bearing down upon him. In a word: kindergarten.

Yes. My son graduated from Preschool.

And it is weird.

For eight years I have been in Mommy Realm, where I was only allowed to work as long as it was some type of job that twisted and curved itself somehow into my fucked up Mommy schedule. So I worked from home off and on, did some freelance writing, then this year actually ventured out during the morning hours to a job OUTSIDE my little Bubble of Home, only to rush away each day at lunch so that I could pick up my little guy from school. I had no schedule except THEIR schedule, left to scrape together what I was able from the perimeter of their busy little lives. It was frustrating and irritating and, frankly, pissed me the hell of a great deal of the time. But after eight years of knowing nothing else, I'm left realizing that as I view my Elementary School Parent future in the fall, I'm not exactly sure where to go from here.

THIS is what I was thinking as I watched my great big, five-year-old accept his diploma. (Well, that and "HOLY SHIT. He's the SHORTEST KID IN HIS CLASS! HOW CAN THAT BE? He's nearly a complete year YOUNGER than some of those kids and he's still TINY. I GAVE BIRTH TO A MIDGET!" -- Side note: I saw an African American midget dressed in camouflage at the grocery store today. My weekend HAS BEEN MADE as that was the most interesting thing I've seen in a while. But I digress.)

My kid is big. I am overwhelmed. And so begins the Summer of 2011.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's (Obviously Not) The End Of The World As We Know It

On Saturday, I was all set and ready for the Rapture. Now that it's Monday and I'm still here, I'm a little disappointed. Not because I thought that I, personally, would get Raptured (we all know that Jesus wouldn't touch me with a ten-foot pole) but because I thought that at least a FEW other people would, at the very least cutting down the line at Wal-Mart or making it easier to find an unoccupied elliptical machine at the gym. Alas, no go. This afternoon I stood in line for ten minutes to buy a damn avocado, and my kids are still here (they may be hellions, but I'm pretty sure they could still get into Heaven at this point.) I think this solidifies the "Our World Didn't End on Saturday" theory I formulated yesterday. *sigh* What a shame.

In other news, leading up to the Fake Rapture, I had snake drama last week. On Thursday, EB came to pick up her son at my house, only to discover a large serpent on my porch. Not only did he slither up in front of her from the bushes, but he then proceeded to snuggle up on my doorstep. She called me, frantic, telling me "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR." (For the record, if I had been the one making the phone call, it would have gone more like this: "Code RED, Code RED! Don't OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR or ALL HELL IS GONNA BREAK LOOSE when the SATAN SNAKE falls INTO YOUR GODDAMN HOUSE." But EB doesn't have quite the penchant for crude language that I do (though she's seemingly quite tolerant of snakes). Of course, I lost my mind and flung the window open, hoping that the snake wasn't intelligent enough to crawl up the side of the house and loosen the screen from the frame, before entering the kitchen and battling me to the death. We called B and he left work to come home and slay the beast, while we watched it to make sure it stayed nearby (for the record, I stayed locked in the house with a shovel JUST IN CASE-- EB, on the other hand, followed it around the porch and landscaping, photographing its creepy little snake self and commenting on its girth. Her bravery astounds me.) B came home, it attacked (no joke) and he chopped its evil snake head off with my shovel. Praise (no show) Jesus.

Life, otherwise, is pretty standard. Sutt still wants to marry me. (Hey, I AM pretty awesome. I can't say that I blame him.) Belly is obsessed with wearing her hair in a side ponytail (hello, 1980's-- I can't say I'm all that thrilled to see you again). B and some other guys formed a new band (*sigh*). And me....well, I'm just Happy To Be Here (thanks, Robert S).

It's May. It's warm. I'm going to Tennessee next month to see my Mama and my brother and my sis and (maybe, for the first time in several years) my grandma. Things are okay. I have another week and a half to be 33. I have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and work winds up for the summer on Friday. I'll be on vacation (sans kids!) during my birthday.

At this moment, things are.....good.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Time Is (Not) On My Side

Life, it seems, is a blur to most people. Days pass. Months, weeks, years. Time trickles through our fingers like water, impossible to hang onto or stop from passing us by. Sometimes for a fleeting moment, I can agree with this theory--particularly when I consider things like how my Dad has nearly been gone two and a half years. TWO AND A HALF YEARS seems beyond impossible. But frankly, most of the time, I'm of the school of thought that thinks time moves slowly and life is long.

I credit this belief to being a mother.

Most mornings, I wake up after three hours of sporadic sleep and many hours wandering the house, reading, and sipping tea and think, "FINALLY." Followed shortly after by, "Will the fucking school bus (dinner, bedtime-- it's really rather fill-in-the-blank here) EVER COME?" This morning I had been awake for approximately seven minutes when, while sitting at the table while Sutt ate his breakfast, half asleep and hating the world, I watched Belly laughingly put her socks on her hands while screeching, "Look at my beautiful gloves!" I mumbled, "You look like you're ready for a tea party at the looney bin." And Sutt replied (still eating), "Isn't that the place where Papa and all the old people live?"

Um, no. That's the Assisted Living Facility. But, whatever. THIS IS WHAT I'M DEALING WITH, PEOPLE.

Every damn day I get older. I probably get more lines on my face and fat cells in my body, and absolutely receive more damage to my brain (courtesy of the minions) and my liver (courtesy of the amount of alcohol required to manage said minions). I realize that I'm supposed to be "making the most" of this shit that is my "youth" (in some circles-- personally, I think I'm rather aged {side note: that is to be pronounced ag-ed, please}) but I'm JUST FUCKING TRYING TO GET BY. Survival is key. I drink. I swear. I wear cute shoes and bathe my kids and kiss my husband and mop my floors and hope my dog is secretly immortal because I LOVE HER and can't imagine life without her. I have friends. I work. Life is good (and long and long and longer, still).

I wonder sometimes if when I'm dying I will think, "What the HELL was wrong with me, to waste all that precious time? To wish it away, to live it like every minute had ten minutes more?" Or if, like I do every morning, I will think, "FINALLY."

One can't help but wonder.

We, as a whole, waste food and money and gasoline and love, anger and frustration and jealousy and hate. But time? Can you really waste time? Or, like your skin, do you have to know it's there for a while and that you have to put forth at least a little effort to protect it, but that there's no true way to appreciate it fully? Because that's kind of how I feel. Because if I didn't, I'd hate myself for living so far away from my Mom, for all the years I lived so far away from my Dad, for the minutes my children are out of my sight, or the days that Blaker is floating away on a ship in the Atlantic. Regardless of how crazy any of them make me, when you think of the time you have with them in measured, certain minutes, it's frightening.

But then, Sutton starts to cry because I won't buy (or catch) him a "wobin" (Robin) a "wizard" (lizard) or a bunny for a pet and I realize that it will always be frightening. Even if I am 100 years old, it will be scary to part with this tangible self of mine. And, life, again, becomes shorter.

And I exhale.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Checking Myself

Reassessment is something that I do from time to time. Three or four times a year, spurred by a book or an event or a dream, I will step back from my life and think, "What's broken now?" It's a good way for me to rearrange my thoughts and feelings, and to reevaluate my friendships and beliefs. In essence, it's Time To Fix Shit.

This week, I have entered a Reassessment Phase. Though often not particularly comfortable, this is a good thing, something I needed. I have, for the most part, stepped away from life-- taking time out from everything normal. I haven't been to the gym in four days. I have spent less than five minutes on Facebook since Sunday, and that was only to load some new photos of the kids for my Mom. I'm not talking on the phone, really. I'm not watching television. I'm ignoring the world. I score essays. I mother my children. I talk to my husband. I score more essays. I read books, piles and piles of lovely books, and bemoan the birth of the kindle and all it implies about the world. I think. I think a lot. Not worry, there's a difference. Not worry. Just think.

That is where I am right now.

What I've learned about myself is vital, just as important as my blood and bones and soul. Or perhaps it isn't what I've learned so much, as what I've allowed myself to actually FEEL, as opposed to racing through my days and ignoring what ails me until it builds up to the point of explosion. I let myself miss my Dad. My Grandfather. My Carpenter. My E. My Ray. I let myself stay up late and wander the house, reading my Dad's obituary at 2am, or to go to bed at 8pm because I'm too tired and sad to keep my eyes open any longer. I skip lots of meals. I forget what day it is. I just allow myself to be, with no expectations, as best I can. I am hollow and zen.

And I also experience the good things. I lie on the floor with the dogs and just play with them. I take deep inhalations of my children, smelling their lavender shampoo and sweet sweaty smells. I sit on the porch and spend twenty minutes alone looking at a double rainbow, the brightest I've ever seen. I taste my husband's skin. I find joy in our blooming lilacs, a quiet cup of coffee, a message from my Mom.

There is no how and why to my life. It's messy and hard-- messier and harder as I grow older and wiser. In a few days, I'll probably return to the whirlwind that is myself, hopefully with a sunny handful of lessons in my grasp that I will hold close to my heart and keep fresh in my mind. But even if I don't, even if nothing stays with me, at least I have now. At least I have these few sweet moments. And for that, I am thankful.