Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lady Bits

I love being a girl.  I love hot rollers (it's the Tennessee in me), makeup (more mascara, please), perfume, lotions and products (gotta have hairspray for those hot roller curls).  I love dresses and tights and girlie pajamas and hair accessories.  I LOVE jewelry, even cheap costume jewelry, which is mostly what I wear lest it get broken or lost.  I LOVE heels.  I love nail polish.  It's all awesome.


Despite how much I love all this stuff, I do think that it's ridiculously unfair that women are expected to put so much effort into how they look when (most) guys don't put any effort into how they look at all.  (Disclaimer:  I am not talking about B's expectations-- he couldn't care less if I went out with him in workout clothes with sweaty hair and no makeup.  I know this for a fact because I've done it many, many times.  I've actually had to point out to him that there are places I would rather NOT go this way because I LIKE to look nice, and he seemed completely oblivious to the point.  I'm talking about society in general.)  It's not just the hair and makeup and clothes that are involved in going somewhere, but it's the UPKEEP.   A lot of women I know regularly get manis and pedis and facials and waxes and highlights.  They work their asses off at the gym to tone up those finally-done-having-babies bodies and exfoliate regularly.  They tweeze their eyebrows.  They bleach their teeth.  Hell, it's a full-time job JUST TO BE A WOMAN.  

Men?  Well, with a couple of friends who are exceptions (both gay and straight), men don't do SHIT.  You know what B does for self maintenance?  He showers at night, washes his face in the morning with plain old soap, and shaves his head about once a month.  And occasionally trims his fingernails.  THAT'S IT.  I HAVE FOUR DIFFERENT KINDS OF FACE WASH, THREE DIFFERENT SHAMPOOS, THREE DIFFERENT CONDITIONERS, TWO BODY WASHES, GIRLIE SOAP, AND AN EXFOLIATING SUGAR SCRUB JUST IN MY SHOWER, FOLKS.  It looks like an aisle at Sephora.  Don't even get me started on my nail polish bin or makeup drawer.  B's product list in its entirety consists of nothing more than a bar of Ivory.  And a man would likely be considered completely ridiculous if he did HALF the things ladies do to maintain their appearance.  I would certainly think it was damn stupid.  If B did almost any of the things I do to look pretty I would laugh my ass off at him and never let him live it down.  Then I would laugh some more.  Then I would probably take video and post it on social media, and laugh some more.

And then this morning, I learned about something new. 

I spend a lot of time reading random articles and essays, and today I read one by Jenny Slate featured in the "Lenny" newsletter.  You can find it really easily online if you look.  The article was about a new trend amongst the fancy crowd, specifically in NYC and LA.  This trend is called "the Vajacial," and it's a facial for your vagina.  Literally.  It's all about aesthetics, which means the vajacial exists to make your vagina more attractive.  Because you know EVERYBODY is wandering around looking at EVERYBODY else and thinking, "I hope her vagina is glamorous.  I mean, the rest of her looks great, but I hope she hasn't let her Queen Victoria go all to hell."  Anyway.  So it seems that the aesthetician cleanses and tones and tweezes random ingrown hairs and puts some kind of masque on your vagina, then lightens the skin to hide any redness or dark spots, and then turns you and your newly fancy vagina out to face the world.  Sweet.

Because we haven't already spent enough time as ladies doing the REST of the shit that we do to be pretty.  Now we need fancy vaginas.  Not just manicured vaginas (I'm supportive of a simply maintained vagina, don't get me wrong), but FANCY VAGINAS.  Note that I haven't read any articles about Pimping Your Penis or Festooning Your Phallus.  (Although that might make for an interesting submission to "Men's Health....)  

I do not foresee The Vajacial becoming a part of my beauty regiment.  However, seeing as how the Ladies of Augusta roll, I expect to see this advertised in a spa near me soon.  I also feel strongly that, since monograms are ALMOST proportionate to Jesus down here, some pubic hair monogram waxing could really bring in the big bucks for whatever salon jumps on it first.  I plan to keep an eye out at the gym locker room for evidence that someone has implemented this idea.  And then I'm going to show them the date on my blog and ask for royalties, bitches.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lost in Georgia

When we moved to Augusta in December, I decided to try super hard to be normal.  Or, at least to contain my crazy as best I could to situations that didn't involve people outside my family.  I mean, B is a respectable citizen with a grown-up job, my kids are getting older, and I suspected it would be in my family's best interest to behave my bad self and act like a good, sweet, Southern adult who cares how she presents herself and plays well with others.  No wandering around the neighborhood in my nightgown and carrying a glass of wine.  No freaking out on other people and following them through parking lots yelling curse words at them.  No bedazzling the things that I buy so they'll be their own original item.  No telling my kids to stop acting like assholes when other people can hear me.  No saying what's in my head EVER.  So that's what I've been doing for the past ten months.  Smiling and carefully minding my manners and making sure I leave the house in lipstick.  Behaving myself.

Let me tell you, guys-- it fucking blows donkey balls.

You know what it has gotten me?

Well, let's see.  There was the guy I met who told me that he had heard of me and what he had heard was that I was "passive."  (First of all, I wanted to laugh because I've been called "batshit crazy" before, but not "passive" until I moved to Augusta.)  There's the fact that I don't talk to ANYBODY about ANYTHING because I am afraid that I'll slip and forget to be reserved and they'll get a tiny peek into my real self.  There's that I'm miserable ALL THE TIME because I feel like a big ole LIAR for acting this way and that I hate myself for essentially living life as a Stepford Wife.  All because everyone here is SO judgemental and SO concerned about status and I don't want to reflect poorly upon B and the kids.  I don't want to be the home that other children aren't allowed to play at because "that Mom is super weird."  And here?  I feel like here that's exactly what would happen.

This morning I was thinking about all this and I checked my Facebook page only to see the button pop up where you can look back at your old memories from this day on years before.  The first thing that popped up was a 2013 status from my friend Janine that said "I'm having a Haley McPhail moment right now!"  The comments that followed from my friends said a lot-- here they are:

"Because you've had too much wine? Or because you're a magnet for crazy strangers? Or because you just dyed your dog's hair pink?"

"Because your daughter just shouted, "Somebody give Mommy a Xanax!"? Or because when you asked a kid in the art class you were subbing what the number 1 rule in Mrs. McPhail's class was (answer: don't talk when Mrs. McPhail is talking) and he said, "Don't poop on your art paper?"

"Because your kid automatically brought you a martini at 5pm that he had mixed himself?"

"Because you've been banned from ANOTHER public place for something you probably didn't do?"

"Because somebody just sent you an unsigned letter with a ring, a $20 bill, and a death threat?"

And they said these things because THEY HAVE ALL HAPPENED.  And they are just a drop in the bucket.  My life isn't SUPPOSED to be normal.  I'm not SUPPOSED to pretend to be something I'm not.  If that made me happy, then looking back at these memories from friends who truly know me wouldn't have made me laugh so much.  I miss my pink dog and weird life and my occasional assault charge.  I don't even know what I'm DOING here, with all this cookie-cutterness.

So I gotta stop.  Because I'm not gonna find my Augusta people if I don't.  (Although one good friend of mine from Suffolk did suggest that my people are probably the ones hanging out at "Alley Katz," the dive bar downtown that advertises $3 Jaeger bombs.  It wasn't an insult.  I'm pretty sure she was trying to help.)  It's time to dye the dog and glue ribbon and rhinestones on my rainboots and give the finger to all that goddamn Lily Pulitzer bullshit that people in Georgia are so fond of but that I think is super hideous.  

It's time to find my Tribe.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

So a Pope Walks Into the Capitol...

I don't often write about religion.  I don't really write about politics either.  I have my own views of both, very strong ones in fact, but for the most part, my choice is to keep those things to myself and support my own beliefs in whatever manner I am able.  To vote for the person in elections who best represents me and how I feel, to look to a Higher Power that I feel is present and true, and to live my life in a way that would make my Dad proud.  That pretty much covers my Haley Guidelines.  This blog?  It's just something I mess with for fun and to get a reaction from people who don't understand that.

I am not Catholic.  I've always been drawn to Catholicism, but I think that is more for the beauty and the history than for anything based on religious beliefs.  I was an English major with a History minor after all, so even at a university in rural Tennessee, we studied about a lot of Catholics.  I have a handful of friends who are Catholic, and I've begged them to "make me a Catholic because it sounds really cool," but they know that I'm joking and that I would make a terrible Catholic because I'm totally supportive of divorce and birth control, and know that Lent is not for me.  I know a handful of other people who are also Catholics, but I wouldn't call them friends because they are assholes-- not because they are Catholic, but just because they are unpleasant to be around.

I tease and I write, but I don't judge anyone.  Well, I DO, but then I usually catch and morally reprimand myself (like right now, for example) because JUDGING ISN'T NICE and I at least I try to keep it to myself.  I mean, I didn't LIST the assholes I mentioned above, right?  And maybe it's more of a comparison than judging, but I don't believe most humans are capable of functioning and not doing this at times. Also,  I don't feel this way because the Bible says you shouldn't judge (although it does) but because I do not believe that my God would want us to judge.  My God supports the greater good of mankind and love, and judging is neither good or loving.

I have a point.  I promise.  Hang in there.

Today, while I was on the elliptical, I listened to Pope Francis address our Congress.

I can tell you about the Pope, from a historical standpoint--basically, things that I was taught in school or read about whomever was Pope at the time.  I've always thought the Pope was highly intriguing, but I'll admit that, based on my limited Pope knowledge and Baptist/Presbyterian/Methodist raisin' in the heart of Protestant Land, the Pope was not a very influential person in my life.  When Pope Francis was elected, I became vaguely more intrigued than usual because he seemed like a very "modern" Pope, for lack of a better word, and this was quite different than what I expected and from what came before him.  (I'm pretty sure that I only first learned that Popes are elected when I read Dan Brown.)  Today, when I watched him being chauffeured in his little Fiat to the Capitol, I thought it was kind of neat, and I knew that his speech to Congress was a big deal.  I mean, the guy doesn't even speak English all that well-- Spanish is his native tongue as he was born in Argentina, although he's fluent in Italian (which is HARD to speak, by the way, as I can tell you from personal experience) due to his ancestry.  Yet he came to America, where we (and our media) are often not that nice, or, maybe Fake Nice is a better description, and spoke to us about how he thinks God wants us to be.  All of the articles I have read since the speech was given have nice things to say, or give a very non-judgy rundown because HE IS THE POPE, YOU DON'T WANT TO PISS HIM OR JESUS OFF BY SAYING BAD STUFF ABOUT HIS SPEECH.  However, I am not the media and I say whatever I want, whether Jesus likes it or not.  And what I want to say is this:

The Pope made me cry.  I don't agree with everything he said.  I don't believe the same that he does in, actually, a lot of things.  Some of this misalignment in beliefs is regarding things about which I feel very strongly.  Hearing them from a figure like him feels like being kicked in the stomach.  Regardless of that, I feel something when I hear him speak that no preacher or pastor has ever made me feel before.  I feel hope.  I feel peace.  I feel like here's a guy who God might TRULY be listening to--not because he's the Pope, but because HE CARES.  He wants the Greater Good.  I can submit to that, even if the specifics aren't the same.  God never touches me in a church unless it is a centuries old church in Europe that I'm touring and certainly not attending for the sermon-- he has touched me out in nature, in my living room with my Dad when he died, in a hospital room when I held my sick 8-week-old baby boy and thought he wouldn't recover--but apparently, he also touches me on the elliptical.  Hallelujah, Evans Fitness Center.

I've traveled and studied and read and learned in my thirty-eight years.  Not as much as a great many people, but much, much more than some.  My Dad is my greatest hero, and he never left the country except for a traumatic day trip to Tijuana once with my Mom before I was ever born.  His blood ran red, white, and blue.  He believed that America was the greatest country in the world, and although I think we are failing in SO MANY WAYS (he would be pissed that I said that) and that we have so many problems (that too), I agree.  I want to make our country better, and for us, in turn, to make the world better.  Not by taking things over and forcing our beliefs upon others (this is not a comment regarding the middle east, but a generalized statement), but through love and goodwill and hope.  I want the whole world to stop being assholes.  I want the whole world to be like Pope Francis.  My Dad would be on board with that.

We need to be better.  I, you, probably even the Pope, all have the capability of being better.  We should embrace that.  We should heal the world.  We probably won't, but I'll be damned if we shouldn't give it a shot.  Failure is OKAY-- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?  I've learned that lesson repeatedly in my life.

My Dad always told me, "Work hard every day, and take care of the people you care about."  Maybe we should all start caring about a few more people.

Maybe that's something to think about.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Going to the (Ex-Girlfriend's Alaskan Wedding) Chapel

I know it's silly, but every time I come to write a post, I stop because right now I have 333 posts.  You have to understand that 333 is a magic number for me.  I was with my Dad when he died at 3:33am, and I looked at the clock specifically to see what time it was, mostly because I am so OCD that I was afraid the coroner would need to know the exact Time of Death (grief negated the reality that I am not qualified to officially establish the Time of Death).  Since then, I see 333 all the time, and it reminds me of my Dad.  It used to make me sad, but now it feels sort of like him saying, "Hey, I'm here."  B texts me all the time at 3:33 just to tell me it's 3:33.  He's a sweetheart that way.

But I'm writing another post.  It's probably going to be a mess, because I'm a bit of a mess these days, but it should at least be entertaining because I'm going to tell you about our Alaska trip to go to B's ex-girlfriend's wedding (which JUST reminds me that I never blogged about how B and I nearly went to jail in Italy two years ago-- later, I promise).  Bear with me, guys.  Life is tough sometimes.  Like now.


We only decided to attend the wedding about a week and a half before the event.  In our defense, Heidi (the bride) only gave the World at Large a month's notice anyway, so it wasn't like we were SUPER rude with our change in RSVP.  Just, you know, SOMEWHAT ill-mannered.  I texted her first and asked if it was too late for us to come and she said no, so we bought tickets and that was that.  Our plan was to drive to Atlanta on Wednesday night, stay at a hotel until 4am when we had to get up and get to the Atlanta airport to catch our super early flight, and land in Seattle before 9am (their time) to spend 24 hours with a good friend we hadn't seen in YEARS, then head to Juneau on Friday.  Easy, right?

Things were not easy.

First of all, the same week we traveled, I had the last-minute endoscopy and the Celiac diagnosis.  Yay.  The endoscopy was no big deal (they didn't even give me pain killers for recovery that I could hoard and take whenever my Mom came to visit, those bastards).  Neither was the diagnosis.  But it's still hard for this anxiety-ridden girl to have outpatient surgery, get a new disease, and travel 3000 miles in one week.  I DON'T ROLL THAT WAY.  I'M A PLANNER.

B did some Internet research for a cheap, close-to-the-airport hotel we could crash at in Atlanta so we didn't have to leave Augusta so early to get there.  He found good reviews, booked the room, and we headed out around 7pm.  HOLY SHIT, Y'ALL.  Around 9pm we arrived at what was easily the 2nd grossest hotel I've ever stayed in (the first being a random pit-stop in Hattiesburg, MS, on our way to New Orleans when EVERY PLACE WE STOPPED WAS BOOKED except this super-sketchy joint called the "Western Motel," the likes of which I am still having nightmares about).  Now, you have to understand, I am NOT SNOBBY.  We just wanted a place to sleep.  But Sweet Jesus, I was afraid to sleep here.  Afraid I would get murdered, afraid I would catch an infectious disease, afraid the scent of maple syrup that mysteriously permeated the room would soak into my veins and jack my blood sugar.....there was a lot going on.  It was bad.  I SLEPT IN MY SHOES SO I DIDN'T GET UP TO PEE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND FORGET TO PUT THEM ON AND CATCH SOME WEIRD-ASS FOOT FUNGUS.  It was that bad.  B is still reaping the punishment, poor fellow.

We got up at 4am and showered, dressed, and headed to ATL, shaking the maple syrup scent out of our clothes.  Once we got on our flight, I took a handful of Xanax, put on my sleep mask, and gently slumbered (aka:  probably snored and drooled) against B's shoulder while Alaska Airlines whisked us off to Seattle.  All was well until B mentioned that we were IN Seattle and had been circling a while.  Then the pilot came over the intercom to announce that our wing flaps wouldn't unfold due to a mechanical issue and we were GOING TO HAVE TO CRASH LAND.  But never fear, EMERGENCY VEHICLES WOULD BE ON HAND JUST IN CASE.

(Just in case WHAT?  If we crash, we DIE.  They are just there to extinguish the fire before the airport explodes.  I KNOW SHIT LIKE THIS BECAUSE I COME FROM A FAMILY FULL OF PILOTS.)

So we crash landed.  And rolled down the runway with six emergency vehicles following us, lights and sirens a-blazin'.  B was videoing the whole shebang.  I was swearing.  I was actually rather impressed with the pilot.  He did a stellar job considering we landed going nearly 200 mph faster than we were supposed to.  Kudos, Alaska Airlines.  Plus, I like your sweet adjustable headrests.

Once in Seattle, we picked up our rental car, only to find out two things.  1:  one of the friends we were supposed to meet was in the hospital with his child who had been attacked by a dog at his preschool the day before (what kind of preschools ARE these in Seattle?); and 2:  the friend we were staying with was at the hospital (different hospital) with his daughter, who had broken her finger.  (Don't worry, they sent photos.  They weren't just making up excuses to avoid us.  I requested proof.)

So we took the car and had a fabulous day wandering around Seattle.  I hadn't been out there in a long time, and the weather was GORGEOUS that day.  We saw the Fremont Troll, browsed a gluten-free bakery (yay!), had lunch at the dogbite kid's dad's Puerto Rican restaurant (La Isla, it was WONDERFUL-- if you are ever in Seattle, go there), and meandered around Pike Place Market.  We bought flowers and wine for our friends with whom we were spending the night, then headed to Port Orchard to see them.  It was lovely-- they made an amazing dinner, we met their beautiful, smart, wonderful kids, saw their lovely new home,  and we got to chat and catch up and, honestly, it was one of the best nights I had had in a very long while.  The next day we headed to the airport and caught the plane and headed to Juneau.

This time there was no crash landing, but I have never flown into a place so....desolate.  When you looked down from the plane, there were no houses, no cars, no streetlights, just lots and lots of trees and land.  Once we landed I found out just how desolate Juneau is-- did you know there are no roads in or out of Juneau?  If you want to leave the city, your only options are boat or plane.  IT WAS LIKE WAYWARD PINES ON CRACK.  (Did anybody else watch that this summer?  It was weird.)  We had ended up finding out in Seattle that we were on the plane with two other friends of Heidi's, one of whom I had been drunk with before (and who ran up to me in the airport, threw her arms around me and screamed "HEY, BITCHES!" even though I had only met her once in 2009 and hadn't seen her since-- I LOVE YOU NATHALIE, YOU KICK ASS) so Heidi's two aunts picked the four of us up and delivered us to our respective locations.  Several family friends had opened up their homes to wedding guests, and we were staying at the home of Heidi's Dad and Stepmom's closest friends, Lee and Sherie.  Now, for an introvert like me, it's terrifying to fly into a strange place and stay with people you've never met, but OH MY GOODNESS they were SO AMAZING.  We immediately bonded and I will love them for life.  Lee used to be a reporter for the LA Times, Sherie was a nurse, they have lived all over and done so many things and have this amazing home on the beach in Juneau-- it was incredible.  I LOVE THEM.

I'm digressing due to my love for Lee and Sherie.  Sorry, they are just really awesome.

Once we got settled in, we had about an hour before we needed to leave for the whale-watching rehearsal dinner.  Since so many people were coming from so far away for the wedding, Heidi and John (the groom, because I don't think I've mentioned John yet) invited everyone to everything, which was lovely.  You know how you go to weddings and meet people and are around them for 2 hours and never see them again?  Well, we spent 3 DAYS with this motley crew, so we REALLY got to know some people.  We saw whales and sea lions playing in the ocean.  We had dinner on a tiny island, in a pretty little cabin.  And later that night, we saw GUILLOTINE RIOT play, the groom's band, a Punk Metal group from New York City whose lead singer is my girl crush, Christa.  (I love you, Christa.  Even though I may be older than you, I want to be you when I grow up.)

The next day was the wedding.  The wedding was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, the reception was amazing.  It was like a fairy-tale, minus the hike through the forest in heels and the 50-degree temperature, for which I had not packed.  The highlights for me were the following:

1.  I insulted a Muslim neurosurgeon, when I refused to believe was a neurosurgeon until I googled him while standing in front of him and realized OH SHIT, HE IS THE CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY AT FSU.  My bad.  I apologized and offered to find him a wife (any takers yet?)  He's really funny.....

2.  I had the best Manhattan of my life, courtesy of my husband, who knew that by the time we reached the wedding I NEEDED SOME WHISKEY.  

3.  I exchanged numbers with Christa, who offered to take me and Belly on a girl's voyage through Brooklyn next time we're in NY, exchanged info with Adrian, who offered to send me spicy margarita mix from his company, and met Danae, a lawyer to whom I now text random photos of my dog (because we're awesome like that).

Lowlight:  B and I got in a nasty fight over him wanting to set up Nicki and Alberto, to which I cried "No!  CHRISTA, MY GIRLCRUSH, IS WITH ALBERTO!  IF I CAN'T HAVE HER, ALBERTO MUST!" and then I threatened to kill and disembowel him (B).  Apparently I went into a lot of detail in regards to the killing.  Oops.  I was drunk.  And I think I have PTSD (but that's another story).  I was BAD, BAD BAD.  *SORRY B*

Don't worry.  We're okay now.

The next morning, everyone showed up (extremely hungover) at a skate house near a glacier where we were supposed to eat bagels and go on a hike (I can't have bagels now and the hike was canceled due to rain).  It was still lovely (but cold) and I got my first chance to see a glacier and a waterfall RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER.  In Alaska.  How cool is that?  And I met a dog named Buoy, with whom I am madly entranced.

The next morning, we headed home.  We left Juneau on an 8am flight, and got into Atlanta at midnight, where we still had to get our bags, retrieve the car, and drive 2 1/2 hours home.

Other items of note:

1.  Juneau has the best coffee ever (Heritage Coffee) and GLUTEN FREE FOOD at the Hangar, in case you are ever there and need said items.

2.  Juneau is tiny.  Everywhere we went beyond the strip where the cruise ships dock, people asked us "Are you with the Hansen wedding?"  Because everybody knows everybody.  It's fabulous.

3.  People do not like to be called "Eskimos."  Don't do it.  Although they will forgive you if you are from the South because the manner in which you say it is so charming.

4.  I could never live in Alaska, despite the beauty, because the weather and the darkness would make me leap off a glacier to my certain (hopefully) death.

5.  Sleep is overrated.

Congratulations, Heidi and John.  Although I did not get to make a fool of myself on your wedding video (no videographer), we had an amazing time just the same.

And the 333 spell is broken.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Enter Chaos

You know how you're sailing along through your life, and everything is pretty much the same most every day for the longest time and then all of a sudden the Universe sweep kicks you and you go tumbling down a rabbit hole of batshit crazy?

Welcome to the past three weeks of my life.

It started with me sitting on the porch, drinking a cup of tea and waiting on Sutt's bus to drop him off from school.  It was Thursday and things were feeling pretty settled around here, for the first time in a while after moving and adjusting.  It was hot, but it's always hot, I had been cleaning all day, and it was nice just to sit still.  Then my phone rang and it was a Boston area code (I know this because B used to have one) and since I don't know anyone in Boston (at least, no one I really want to talk to), I ignored it.  They left a voicemail, so I decided to check it, only to hear my doctor say, "Don't freak out, but I'm calling you from my personal cell and I need you to call me back at this number immediately."

WHAT DO YOU MEAN "DON'T FREAK OUT?"  When your doctor gives you their personal cell phone number and calls you on her day off, two days before you're expecting to hear regular old blood results, and says "don't freak out" your first reaction is to FREAK THE HELL OUT.

Side notes:  My doctor had recently moved here from Boston, and she is a badass.  She went to med school at Harvard, did her residency at Beth Israel, and then joined Harvard's faculty where she's won a zillion awards and published a bunch of papers and SHE'S ONLY 40.  (I looked her up-- I always do my research because I have no desire to put my life in the hands of some person who went to med school in the Caribbean because they weren't smart enough to get into a decent one elsewhere, or who has been sued for malpractice thirty-two times already when they have only been practicing for five years.)  Anyway, the other side note is that I have been feeling pretty rough for a LONG time now-- like, several years-- and had seen a slew of doctors about a slew of symptoms only to repeatedly be told that it was all caused by anxiety.  ANXIETY, MY ASS.  My joints hurt, my hands kept going numb for no reason, I had a weird rash appear on my knees, and I felt like I was getting a cold ALL THE TIME and was always exhausted.  THAT'S NOT ANXIETY.  Even I know that.

So I called Rakhi back (by the way, doctors who ask you to call them by their first names are my favorite, because they are usually less likely to be assholes) and she started explaining that my blood panel had come back and that I very likely had Celiac Disease.  A normal person's numbers were supposed to be 0-19, 30 was a strong positive for Celiac, and I was 140.  AWESOME.

So while she's telling me all this (which was complicated because I didn't know ANYTHING about Celiac Disease), call waiting beeps in.  I ask her to hold for a sec because it's B and it was unusual for him to call at that time.  I answer, and before I can say anything but "hello," he says, "Hey!  So, we're gonna go to Alaska next week."  HUH?

Then the landline rings.  Belly brings it to me (while both lines are still occupied on my phone) and it's Sutt's school calling to tell me that he missed the bus and I need to come get him.  NOW.

While the school secretary is talking, the phone beeps again.  It's the hospital OR scheduler calling to set up my endoscopy.  WHAT IS AN ENDOSCOPY?

AT THIS POINT I HAVE FOUR PEOPLE ON TWO PHONES, AND I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT THE HELL ANY OF THEM ARE TALKING ABOUT.  Not to mention that Belly is hovering over me asking, "who's on the phones?  what's going on?"  Holy shit.

I hung up on everybody except Rakhi.  She kept telling me "honey, you have to feel really bad" to which I politely answered that I'VE BEEN TELLING YOU PEOPLE, AND HALF THE DOCTORS OF HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA, THAT YES, I FEEL LIKE SHIT.  SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME.  Luckily, for Rakhi AND for myself, the Celiac thing wasn't that big of a deal to me, but more of a relief.  I've been thinking I had cancer or something and that I was going to keel over before anybody figured out what was wrong.  Plus, I already have diabetes and deal with that crap all the time, so giving up gluten?  Whatever.  She gave me the number to return the call to the OR and told me she wanted to run a tube down my throat and take some samples of my small intestine on Monday, I said cool, and we hung up.  Then I headed to get Sutt and scheduled the endoscopy on my way in the car.

B showed up at home about the same time I got back from picking Sutt up, and by then I had forgotten he wanted to go to Alaska.  (Yeah, ALASKA.  WHO CALLS THEIR WIFE ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK AND GIVES THEM A WEEK'S NOTICE THAT THEY WANT TO GO TO ALASKA?  B.  THAT'S WHO.  AND THEN WHO FORGETS THAT IT HAPPENED ONLY A HALF HOUR AFTER HE CALLS?  ME.  I DO.)  He immediately launched into how he had found tickets and made a plan and we were going to go to Seattle first and visit old friends, then hop up to Juneau for a few days and he would talk to my Mom to see if she could watch the kids.  Heidi, his ex-girlfriend, who I've known and loved for years (and who came to OUR wedding) was getting married near her Dad's home in Alaska and he had made the decision last minute that we would be able to work it out and attend.  Yay.

Which was awesome except I was already feeling a little overwhelmed from the previous hour of getting diagnosed with a new disease, setting up surgery, and locating my missing child who is too much of a dumbass to listen to the announcements when the buses are called.

That was three weeks ago today.  Since then, I have had the endoscopy.  And a CT scan for a lump in my abdomen (scar tissue).  And an MRI for a mass in my liver (still waiting on the results because it was only done yesterday, and we only found it because it showed up in the CT scan, totally unrelated).  And been to Seattle (where our plane crash landed-- next blog), and Alaska.  I have been to a whale-watching rehearsal dinner on an island, my first Catholic wedding in a shrine to which you had to hike through a forest to reach, and a brunch by a glacier in a skating cabin.  I have befriended a Punk Metal band from New York City, made life-long buddies with an amazing couple who opened their home to us in Juneau, met the lovely wife and kids of a long-time friend who I haven't seen in thirteen years, and traded cell numbers with a lawyer in DC for the sole purpose of being able to randomly text her photos of my dog.  I got to know a neurosurgeon (whom I harassed for a while at first because I thought he was lying about being a neurosurgeon--he wasn't) for whom I am now trying to find a girlfriend. (Any takers out there?  I can set you up.  I think he's hilarious because, like me, he doesn't have much of a filter, but everybody else seems to think he's kind of an asshole.)

And I did all this stuff while becoming Gluten Free, which, as it turns out, is ridiculously more complicated than I thought it would be because gluten isn't just bread, it's in SO MUCH STUFF.  Gum.  Makeup.  Cleaning supplies.  Soy sauce.  Pretty much every sauce you can imagine.  SO MUCH STUFF.  And Georgia is NOT A GLUTEN-FREE FRIENDLY PLACE.  I'm pretty sure I may starve to death here.  But I'm learning and I'm getting there.  I feel so much better already, which makes sense because since my small intestine wasn't absorbing a lot of what I ate, I wasn't getting any of the vitamins and nutrients and whatnot I needed, hence the feeling like I was getting sick all the time.  My joints/legs/etc are much better (JJ, if by some reason you are reading this, file away in your mental medical file that Celiac is something to consider, especially if you see a Type I diabetic with mystery ortho pain), my headaches are gone, my creepy knee rash is gone.  Life just still feels crazy, though.  I gotta readjust.

Next blog I'll tell you about our trip.  It will be funnier, I promise, and highly entertaining.  Just covering my bases here.

Happy Thursday.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Today's Theme is Anxious

Sometimes my anxiety gets really, really high and I don't even realize it until I do something like, say, break my finger while I'm scrubbing the kids' bathtub (that isn't even dirty) like a madwoman at 9pm on a Tuesday night, yell and tell my husband I'm pretty sure I just broke my finger, keep scrubbing, then stop scrubbing long enough for him to wrap it in ice, and follow it with Therapeutic Mopping of the bathroom floor (which actually WAS dirty, because my son is a boy, hence he is incapable of directing his urine entirely INTO the toilet, but rather pees all AROUND the toilet).  Later when all the Random Intensive Cleaning is done and I feel more in-control, I stop and go "Oh.  I must be anxious."

You'd think I'd be more aware of my feelings.  But I'm not.

I've always been a girl who liked things with themes, and I've spent my life giving different themes to days of the week (most recently the week consisted of HUG YOUR GODDAMN MIMZ TUESDAY, WINE WEDNESDAY, and INTENSIVE CLEANING FRIDAY.)  I change them up every few years and recently realized that I needed to start afresh because I no longer have a Mimz to hug on Tuesday, I drink wine every day so Wednesday isn't special, and Intensive Cleaning Friday needed to be changed to Monday for convenience reasons (and to accommodate cleaning up the mess my family creates after a weekend with no school or work).  Therefore, I implemented ZEN WEDNESDAY-- "ZENESDAY," and FEELINGS FRIDAY.  Oh, and of course, INTENSIVE CLEANING MONDAY.

ZENESDAY is awesome because every time the kids have an argument, I make them sit and meditate over why they are being assholes to each other.  Belly is a disaster at meditation, but I've learned that Sutt is incredibly good at it and might actually have career potential as a Kundalini yogi someday (see photo below).  It's fun for me to watch and it works better than yelling at them because they hate sitting still and being quiet, so it's win-win.  Zenesday also includes making everyone be calm and happy and peaceful, which are things that I suck at, but the idea is that YOU FAKE THAT SHIT TILL YOU MAKE IT, so I'm hoping that one day maybe I will actually be calm and happy and peaceful FOR REAL.

As for FEELINGS FRIDAY, I haven't gotten that one sorted out yet except that being aware of my anxiety this week made me go OH SHIT, I NEED TO SIT DOWN AND EXPLORE WHAT'S GOING ON IN MY HEAD ON FEELINGS FRIDAY.  I feel like if there is an established day set aside for something, I might actually do it.  Also, when the kids are assholes on FEELINGS FRIDAY I make them write long letters to each other telling their sibling things they love about them and reminiscing over fun times they've had together.  It's pretty awesome and entertaining for me, and again, they despise it and it works great preventatively.

INTENSIVE CLEANING MONDAY should be pretty self-explanatory.  If it's not, then you should immediately stop reading my blog because you are too stupid to enjoy it.

ANYWAY.  I'm open to suggestions on themes for the other days of the week.  And for magical anxiety and broken finger cures.  Just so you know.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Melancholy Monday

Today's blog is probably going to be all over the place, because I'm feeling kind of all over the place.

First of all, yesterday I got my Mimz tattoo.  I've been planning on doing it since she passed away back in January, but I knew it was going to be an emotional experience and I wasn't sure where to go since I've never gotten a tattoo in Augusta, so I just kept putting it off.  I kept looking at fonts and I couldn't decide what I liked or what represented Mimi best.  Then one day B and I wandered into a tattoo parlor next to a restaurant where we had had lunch and spoke to them about having it done and everything in my brain just screamed "NO NO NO NO" so I just left and put it on hold.  But August 12th would have been her birthday, and I wanted to have it done before then.  Yesterday I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I NEEDED TO GO LOOK INTO IT, STAT STAT, so I grabbed B, found a sheet of paper on which I wrote her name myself, and headed to a tattoo parlor I'd never even been into before.  I planned to just talk to the guy there about setting up an appointment, but when I went in the door, his puppy ran out into the room, which kind of seemed like a sign.  Then, "Sweet Child of Mine" came on the radio and MIMZ LOVED HER SOME GNR, so that was it.  It was over.  It took only a few minutes, and James (the tattoo artist) was very sweet and supportive and gave me a big hug when it was over.

I'm glad it's done.  I'm glad it's in my handwriting.  I'm glad that whenever I look in the mirror when I brush my teeth or put on my makeup, I see it.  It makes me happy.

On to today.  Today feels like one of those days where the Universe just keeps throwing me roadblocks.  I got up and went to Boot Camp at the gym, but it literally almost killed me because for whatever reason, my blood sugar was about 200 points higher than it needed to be and for anybody who has diabetes, you know that high sugar makes you feel sick anyway.  Throw in an hour of Boot Camp and, hello, welcome to Hell.  When I got home I showered and dropped Belly off at a friend's house, then tried to take Sutt to get the last of his school supplies (which he had already thrown a fit about having to do and was pouting hardcore in the backseat) when we were detoured by a broken down train in the middle of Augusta.  I don't know my way around Augusta all that well yet, my GPS is a magical mystery to me most of the time, and everywhere we turned there was another detour (IT WAS A BIG DAMN TRAIN).  I finally found something I recognized, gave up, and just came home.  Then I baked lasagna for dinner tonight because we have two school open houses and a doctor's appointment to attend from 4:30 on so I won't have time to cook later, and realized after I had it in the oven that I had completely left out the mozzarella cheese--that's, like, one of the main ingredients.  Just totally left it out.  While it sat on the counter and mocked me.  Awesome.

On top of all this, I'm just sad.  A friend of mine lost her younger brother last night to cancer, and it just BREAKS me.  I didn't know him, she and I are not close, but she is lovely and wonderful, and very close to her brother.  I learned from losing Dad that when you lose someone you adore, NOTHING can make it better.  There is nothing anyone can do to fix it.  And I hate it when someone I know, regardless of how well I know them, is hurting and I CAN'T DO A DAMN THING.  I hate things that don't make sense.  I hate when I can't do anything to help.  Seeing her family go through what they have the past few months has really made me think.  When her brother was sent home from the hospital and told he only had a month left, her family was amazing.  They celebrated Thanksgiving and had Christmas and did all these things for him and with him that were SO positive and SO loving and really worked hard to make the time they had left together joyous and memorable.  I admire that so much because I don't know how you pull together that kind of strength.  When the doctor told me that my Dad didn't have much time left, he lived another 6 weeks, and during that time I think I only cried and desperately looked for any magical pill, drug, herb, diet, or cure I could find.  There was none.  And deep inside I knew that.  He just slept and suffered and watched a lot of tv.  He was nearly silent, and I couldn't make him talk to me.  I wish so much now that I had had the wisdom and composure and TOUGHNESS to take that time and make it as happy as I could for my Dad, somehow.  Done SOMETHING for him to bring him joy.  It hurts to think about.  I fucked up and there's nothing I can ever do to change it.

Sometimes, the world just pisses me off.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Like I Said Yesterday...

Several months ago, I received an email from a lady named Jody who lives in Alabama and who invited me to join her home owner's association "Neighborhood Circle" site.  I ignored it, thinking Jody would realize that she had sent the email to the wrong address, until I received two more requests within a week.  After that happened, I replied to Jody and explained very nicely that she was sending the emails to the wrong person--I do not, nor have I ever, nor WILL I ever, live in Alabama.  I am most definitely not a resident of her neighborhood.  Please remove me from your neighborhood email list.  She responded to my email almost immediately, apologized, and told me that she would take me off the list right away.

Two weeks later, I got an email inviting me to a neighborhood cookout.  Once again, I very nicely emailed Jody and reminded her that I was NOT whomever she thought she was emailing, and that I would like to be removed from her contacts.  She responded within five minutes or so, apologized, and told me it would be taken care of.

Last week, while we were in Hilton Head, I got an email from Jody with suggestions regarding how they should treat the neighborhood pond, which apparently has a terrible algae problem.  I replied AGAIN (for the fourth time now), still politely but a bit more emphatically and said YOU HAVE THE WRONG ADDRESS.  PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST AND YOUR CONTACTS.  THANK YOU.  Very quickly she emailed back and told me she was SO sorry, it would be handled right away.


Two days ago I got the following photo and message in my inbox from Jody:

It's Cappy's Sweet Sixteen!!!!

This is a copy of my reply email:

Oh, happy Sweet 16, Cappy!  I've been working on his gift for a while, but I wanted to give it to him in person.  WHEN CAN I COME OVER???  I bought him a jaunty little felt hat that I've been embroidering to match the needlework on his suspenders that I carry in my Etsy shop.  Have you ever VISITED my Etsy shop?  It's Cat-tabulous!  It's good that he's lived this long because I am just SO SLOW at embroidery!  But that Cappy-- he's worth all the sweat and tears and time I've spent, late at night, plugging away at my birthday needlework!  Such a sweet little pussy!  He's going to look so dapper!  Are we having him a party?  What can I bring?  I make a tuna fish casserole that is just OUT OF THIS WORLD that I bet he would love!  OOH, WE SHOULD TAKE HIM AND HAVE GLAMOUR SHOTS DONE IN HIS NEW OUTFIT!  SO exciting!  I definitely want a copy of one for my living room-- maybe on a canvas?  He's just so photogenic!!!!  LOVE HIM!

Jody has not replied to me this time.  It's been over 48 hours.  

I thought we were friends.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm Dangerous When I'm Bored

When I'm super bored, like I am today, I get an insane amount of pleasure from fucking with people.  I tend to do this in person occasionally (more often than not with my family, but if the opportunity presents I love to mess with strangers too), here on my blog, or, more often than not, on Facebook.

I mean, seriously, what else is Facebook there for?

The people who know me in person and who have spent time with me ("real friends" versus "FB friends") can generally tell when I'm screwing with their heads.  At the very least, they know me well enough to realize after the fact that they shouldn't get too worked up about it because IT'S WHAT I DO.  IT'S PART OF MY CHARM.  If they didn't know that, we wouldn't be friends in the first place.

You see, growing up, I was always a "pleaser."  I wanted to make my parents proud.  I wanted to be accepted and admired and avoid all conflict.  Then, sometime during the Spring of 2001, I realized TO HELL WITH THAT.  I JUST WANT AN INTERESTING LIFE.  I think most people do this when they become adults.  Also, due to my social aversion, I rarely give a shit what anybody thinks about what I say or do because I DON'T WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU ANYWAY so I have no problem saying COMPLETELY ridiculous things (that I often don't even believe) just to set off other people's crazy or make them wonder about my own.

It's fun.

Which is why:

1.   I like to tell my black friends that Obama is a terrible president BECAUSE HE'S BLACK (not true-- I mean, he is a terrible president, but it's not because he's black, it's because he came into a giant mess with no experience to clean it up.  And I even voted for him the FIRST time because Palin was such an idiot I sure as hell didn't want her as our VP.  It's just fun to watch them lose their minds.  Note that I ONLY do this with my FRIENDS though.  I may be an asshole, but I would never say that to a stranger.)  I also really enjoying telling everyone that I don't like Asians because they are just too damn happy (I DO say this to strangers).  THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE.  It also tends to confuse people and they never seem sure how to respond when I say that.  And it's even funnier because I have two Asian stepsisters.  It's also funny because my sister-in-law is extremely politically correct and it took her YEARS to not take anything I said seriously, so I'm pretty sure she hated me for the first 5 or 6 years after she married my brother.  Now we're best friends.

2.  I like to tell conservative, white, Republican men (particularly strangers, because they will believe me) that I think abortion is perfectly acceptable because I'VE HAD KIDS AND THAT SHIT ISN'T FUN TO DEAL WITH OR PAY FOR.  Do you KNOW how many people I've pissed off with my abortion banter?  A LOT.  (The ironic thing is that it's usually MEN who get so worked up about this.  I always want to laugh because REALLY?  Men shouldn't even get a say-so in that conversation.  Oooh, how many people did I just piss off with that comment?)  I've BEEN there--pregnant while on birth control and told I couldn't have kids anyway, unmarried, young, and not making much money.  Obviously, I didn't have an abortion, or Bellamy wouldn't be here.  But people never seem to put those pieces together.  PULL IT TOGETHER,  YOU STODGY OLD MEN.  YOU'LL LIVE LONGER IF YOU JUST LEARN TO IGNORE ME, BECAUSE YOU KNOW MY COMMENTS ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR ALREADY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

3.  I like to make it very clear that if you are a Pisces or a Capricorn I WILL NOT LIKE YOU BECAUSE I'M A GEMINI AND YOU ANNOY ME.  This one is fun because if I tell it to someone as soon as I meet them and say it with a totally straight face and a lot of emotion, they are always left speechless.  THEN I JUST WALK AWAY.  Mic drop.

4.  I enjoy scaring people I don't know, in totally non-scary situations.  Like, you're standing in an aisle at Target and there's someone five feet away and suddenly you jump at them and yell "Boo!"  HAVE YOU EVER TRIED THIS?  If not, you should.  One day, I will likely get my ass kicked for it so I don't do it often and when I do I try to do it to teenagers who are less likely to punch me or have a heart attack and die from the surprise.  BUT IT'S SO FUN.

5.  I like to leave completely inappropriate comments on my FB friends' statuses.  Particularly my friend E because she's a devoted mother of six, presents herself as much more normal than I suspect she really is, and has a lot of conservative and religious friends, specifically Catholic ones.  Over the years I've had one friend whose parents asked her to unfriend me because I was GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL AND SHE SHOULDN'T BE AROUND THAT INFLUENCE, at least 100 people unfriend me just because they didn't like what I said on SOMEONE ELSE'S PAGE, and I've made a lot of my family's friends who have never met me REALLY REALLY ENTHUSIASTICALLY ANGRY.  Once, I got a death threat THROUGH MY BLOG COMMENTS.  That was pretty much the highlight of my blogging career.

Lighten up, people.  Things aren't always what they seem.  And be careful if you're ever standing next to me at Target.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Insane in the Membrane

I am an Overthinker.  I overthink everything.  This is definitely to my detriment, but I realized today that it could also be to YOUR entertainment (or annoyance.  It's definitely to poor B's annoyance, since he has to live with me).  Today, just for the hell of it, I placed a blank sheet of paper and a pen on my kitchen table and every time I walked by it, I jotted down what was on the forefront of my mind at the moment.  This is what we got DURING THE FIRST TEN MINUTES.  (Note:  I quit after thirty minutes, because it was just too much.)

1.  Wow.  The kids are being really good today.  They must have sniffed out that I'm having a high-blood sugar psycho crazy day, because that can be the ONLY damn reason why Sutt hasn't asked what his "electronics time" limit is today.  And Bellamy brushed her hair and she never brushes her hair without a fight.  You know, we have really great kids.  People tell us that all the time.  But I mostly just yell at them and say things like "DON'T ACT LIKE THAT, YOU WEREN'T RAISED IN A BARN!" and "SANTA DOESN'T COME SEE ASSHOLES!" and "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A JOB AND A HOME OF YOUR OWN YET?  YOU'RE A SMART KID!"  Now Belly is hitting puberty and next thing I know she'll probably have a stoner boyfriend and a tramp stamp she forged my signature to get.  SHIT.  THINGS CAN ONLY GO DOWNHILL FROM HERE.  CODE RED CODE RED.  And I yelled at Sutt in Kroger yesterday for fighting with his sister over cookies.  I'M A TERRIBLE MOTHER.  WHEN HE ENDS UP IN PRISON FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND EMBEZZLEMENT (because he's really good at math) AND THEN KILLS SOMEONE WITH A SHIV MADE OUT OF A TOOTHBRUSH WHEN THEY TRY TO MAKE HIM THEIR PRISON BITCH, DATELINE WILL INTERVIEW HIM AND HE'LL BE ALL LIKE "I WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE IF MY MOM HADN'T CONVINCED ME AS A CHILD THAT I HAD BEEN BORN WITH A THIRD TESTICLE THAT HAD TO BE REMOVED" (Note-- in my defense, I made that lie up to teach him a lesson when he accused Belly of the birthmark on her stomach being a third nipple.  I feel completely justified in doing so.  BUT STILL.)  I'm screwed.

2.  I need a job.  Like, FOR REAL, YO.  This whole staying home with the kids thing off-and-on for the past decade has been great, but I am LOSING MY MIND.  I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.  I CANNOT WORK FROM HOME ANYMORE.  What the hell am I gonna do?  I'm 38 years old.  All the jobs I want to do (psychic, exotic dancer, pet therapist) are out of my reach.  MY PARENTS LIED WHEN THEY SAID I COULD BE ANYTHING I WANTED TO BE IF I ONLY PUT MY MIND TO IT.  Shit.  That means I should start telling my kids things like "Well, you can be anything you want to be within reason, taking into consideration your time constraints, beliefs, physical shape, and talents and natural abilities."  WHY DIDN'T MY DAD EVER TELL ME, "Honey, you'll never be a nun"?  It's SO APPEALING.  I mean, I really like sex, so I don't want to give that up, and I'm not really down with being married to Jesus, but IT SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A PEACEFUL LIFE AND I HATE THAT NOBODY EVER MADE ME AWARE THAT I DO, INDEED, HAVE LIMITATIONS (like be a nun, even though I'm also not Catholic).   And what if I had wanted to be a model?  I'm not tall enough or pretty enough to be a model, but MY MOM AND DAD NEVER SAID THAT.  THEY SAID I COULD DO ANYTHING.  THEY FUCKING LIED.  Shit.  Being a parent sucks.  It's hard.  I wonder if they thought it was hard.  Maybe it wasn't hard for them, maybe it's just hard for me.  SHIT SHIT SHIT.  THANKS FOR BEING BIG, FAT LIARS, MOM AND DAD, AND FOR NOT SQUASHING MY HOPES AND DREAMS WHILE I WAS STILL YOUNG AND FRAGILE ENOUGH FOR IT TO BE EFFECTIVE.  AND FOR NOT TELLING ME THAT PARENTING IS HARD AS SHIT.

3.   What in the HELL are the dogs barking at now?  Oh, geez.  It's the Indian people who live down the street out walking.  THEY GO WALKING ABOUT 20 TIMES A DAY AND THEY ARE ALWAYS WEAR FLANNEL PAJAMA PANTS AND T-SHIRTS.  What IS it with the flannel pajama pants?  It's July in Georgia. The heat index is 118.  PUT ON SOME DAMN SHORTS.  Hell, go naked.  I DON'T CARE.  Wait, I must care or I wouldn't be so upset about the flannel pants.  AM I JUDGEMENTAL?  SHIT.  I try all the time to stress to the kids that you should not be judgemental, and now I'm being judgemental.  Fuck.  But really?  Flannel?  Oh.....damnit.  Sutton sleeps in fleece pants all the time.  When he complains he's hot I tell him "TAKE OFF THE STUPID FLEECE PANTS, IT'S JULY IN GEORGIA, FOR GOODNESS SAKES" but he still wears them.  Maybe I'm not judgemental.  Maybe I'm just smarter than everybody else.  Wait-- is that judgemental?  I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE.  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TEACH MY KIDS TO BE GOOD PEOPLE IF I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF I AM ONE?  But I'm still hung up on the pajama pants.  The Indian people seem pretty conservative, so WHY WOULD THEY WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD IN THEIR PAJAMAS IN THE FIRST PLACE?  That's not a conservative thing to do.  They give me dirty looks when I go to the mailbox in workout pants and a sports bra, so what's up with the pajamas?  And why do the dogs only bark at the Indian people.  OH GOD, MY DOGS MUST BE RACIST.  Shit.  Is that my fault?  How did that happen?  I TURNED MY DOGS INTO RACISTS AM I'M NOT EVEN A RACIST MYSELF.   THERE'S NO WAY I CAN TEACH MY KIDS TO BE GOOD PEOPLE IF I ACCIDENTALLY MADE MY DOGS INTO RACISTS.  

4.  Where the FUCK am I going to get a recorder?  Sutt needs a recorder for school and I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT A RECORDER LOOKS LIKE.  And WHY does he need a recorder in the first place?  He doesn't WANT a recorder.  He doesn't even know what a recorder is (I asked).  That's a REALLY STUPID THING TO PUT ON A SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST.  The schools here are so good but they are RIDICULOUS.  I wouldn't be surprised if the supply list didn't ask you to get all your kids' shit monogrammed.  I'm a good Southern Girl who loves a monogram as much as the next lady, but DAMN, there's a limit.  DOES EVERYTHING YOU OWN REALLY NEED TO BE MONOGRAMMED?  I don't think so. And for the record, I wore a monogrammed sweater to get my third-grade school photo made back in 1985 and I NEARLY GOT BEAT UP FOR BEING SUCH A NERD.  THANKS, MOM.  THANKS FOR RUINING MY LIFE WITH A MONOGRAMMED SWEATER.  But the recorder... Sutt is going to hate the recorder and suck at playing it.  I wonder if I should go ahead and warn him that he's going to suck at playing the recorder?  Like, "SUTT, DO NOT GET YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS UP ABOUT BEING A PROFESSIONAL RECORDER PLAYER BECAUSE IT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN.  IT JUST WON'T.  LET IT GO, BABY, LET IT GO."  I don't want him to look back at me someday and think I was a liar (besides the third ball thing...and the shrimp vaginas.....and, well, actually lots of other stuff).

5.   WHY ARE THOSE DAMN BLUEBIRDS CONSTANTLY PECKING ON OUR WINDOWS?  I have never had this problem.  Are they possessed?  Are they dangerous? Should I be afraid of them?  I've never been afraid of birds before but I kind of feel like this is an omen.  There could be a zombie apocalypse on the way or, at the very least a wildfire.  Were there any pecking bluebirds in the first season of "The Walking Dead"?  I CAN'T REMEMBER AND THIS COULD BE IMPORTANT.  If it's a wildfire, and you use your garden hose to help fight it, does the state reimburse you for all the water costs you rack up while being an amateur firefighter?  That only seems fair.  Or maybe it's the county, since I think the water is a county-wide system.  Maybe it's my Dad sending a message to say hello.  WHAT IF MY DAD IS SAYING HELLO AND I THINK I'M FIGHTING A WILDFIRE AND DEMAND COUNTY REIMBURSEMENT WHEN THE ISSUE IS ACTUALLY A PARANORMAL VISITATION INSTEAD OF A WILDFIRE?  I would probably recognize a wildfire though.  I would probably be able to figure it out if the damn birds would quit pecking on the windows and waking me up.  I'm so tired. 

I'm gonna stop here.

Can you imagine what it's like to live in my head?  B says all the time that he can't (and he doesn't want to either).  Sometimes he'll be sitting on the sofa staring off into space and I'll ask, "What are you thinking about, Honey?"  and he says, "Oh, I wasn't thinking at all.  I was just sitting here."  AND I'M PRETTY SURE HE'S TELLING THE TRUTH.  I don't know what it's like to have an empty head, mine is always racing, racing, racing.

They should really make good meds for this, but I haven't found any yet.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photo Roulette

Today, just for fun, I've invented a new game where I am going to go into my vast photo files, and (randomly, with my eyes closed) choose 5 photos to put on my blog.  Now, seeing as how I am not good with my camera and accidentally photograph my fingers, the floor, etc on a pretty regular basis AND never delete a photo, this could be interesting.  There are also photos that B has taken, the kids have taken.....THERE COULD BE ANYTHING IN THERE.  I promise not to publish any of the wide assortment of naked selfies I take.  Well, maybe just a few of the tasteful ones if they pop up.  Or a distasteful one or two if I start drinking while I'm writing this.  Let's be honest, who knows what you're gonna get here.  READ ON!

1.  This is me.  I think I'm holding the Mimz.  I'm definitely at the Suffolk house.  And despite being very blurry, it appears that I have excellent cleavage, which makes me supportive of this photo.  It also looks like I'm talking, which is normal.  Actually, B probably took this photo because he was bored with whatever I was saying and started playing with phone.  He was probably thinking, "She's never going to shut up or hold still, but at least her boobs look good."  That doesn't happen that often because I'm pretty flat chested.  WAY TO GO ON GETTING A PICTURE OF ME WITH CLEAVAGE B!  High five, baby.

 2.  This photograph is interesting because it appears to be a selfie of Belly.  As Batman.  I have never seen this photo before, and when I look at the details it appears to have come off of HER camera, when she was about six.  WHICH IS AWESOME.  When I clicked on it and saw it I started laughing so hard I choked on my water.  I need to print a copy of this for her because WHO DOESN'T WANT A BATMAN SELFIE OF THEMSELVES?  It kind of makes me want to go find Sutt's old Batman mask and take one of myself, then put them in a double frame.  Mother/Daughter Batman selfies?  LOOK OUT, PINTEREST, HERE WE COME!  Who wouldn't want THAT hanging over their fireplace?
 3.I love this photo, although I don't remember it.  Shawna probably took it, because it's at her and Zach's house.  There are a couple of great points here-- 1) We don't allow Sutt to have soda, and he's chugging a Sprite.  2)  Neither of them is playing video games, but Zach is totally absorbed in the tv, which means they are probably watching something COMPLETELY kid inappropriate like "The Walking Dead."  3)  Mimi is passed out snuggled against her Uncle Zach.  She's probably drunk.  We liked to give her wine on vacation.  Anyway, the point is that when Sutt and Uncle Zach have "man time," all the rules go out the window, which is EXACTLY what makes me happiest about it.  SO my kid is now obsessed with zombies and has a few cavities?  SO WHAT?  Uncle Zach time makes him so happy that it's worth it.

4.  SO this was that time that B and I went out for Mexican food, had too much tequila, and invited that chick in the background (whose name I can't remember) back to our house for a really hot, dirty threesome.


I literally have no idea what's going on here.  I don't know that girl in the background.  I don't recognize that restaurant.  B looks tanked and is wearing a sombrero......so I'm guessing it's a typical Tuesday at some point in the past ten years.  I'm pretty sure I was no part of this (threesome or otherwise) so I'm just going to let this one go.

5.   OH SHIT!  THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOS EVER!  I've been looking for this thing, because I couldn't remember what year it was from, so I'm super stoked that it appeared.  THIS IS THE BIRTHDAY CAKE I MADE MY FATHER-IN-LAW A FEW YEARS AGO.  Is he a Star Wars fan?  No.  Did he ask for a 4-tiered, lopsided cake with black frosting and silver spray-sprinkles?  Hell, no.  I came up with this shit on my own.  THAT'S JUST HOW FUCKING AMAZING I AM.  This is what cemented my future as the MCPHAIL BIRTHDAY CAKE MAKER FOR ALL ETERNITY.  Since then, I've made a "Moses Parts The Red Sea Cake," a "Shark Attack Cake," a "Blazing Sparkler-Horned Unicorn Rainbow Cake" (that one almost burned the house down).  It's always my own idea and my own creation.  And in this head of mine, the possibilities are ENDLESS (just ask my poor family).

This was fun.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Daddy's Girl

I'm struggling a little more than usual today missing my Dad.  You would think after six years, six months, and eight days, this wouldn't happen, but it does and I'm inclined to think it will probably never totally stop.  These days come less frequently now than they used to, but I don't think I'll ever be totally free of days that are just HARD because he's gone.  I can't call him and freak out when things get overwhelming and hear him promise me that everything is going to be okay.  I can't sit next to him on the sofa and just feel better because he's there and he makes me feel safe.  I can't hang out on a stool in his workshop and talk about any and everything while he works on his latest project.  I miss those things.  A lot.

I don't really like to put my real feelings out there a lot, but today I'm blogging about it because I'm hoping if I spit it out, I'll feel better.  I also know I have a couple of friends who are struggling the same way I am right now, and maybe they'll read this and maybe they'll feel better.  Solidarity, sistahs.  It sucks.  I understand.

I decided to compile a list of things that have happened lately that I wish I could share with my Daddy.  Things that would make him happy.  Things that would make him proud.  Dad always did love a good list (at least we know where I get it from).

1.  We recently bought a desk for Bellamy's bedroom, and then realized that it would benefit Sutt to have one too for homework or Legos or whatever.  I talked to him about what kind he would like and his response was that he wanted Blaker to BUILD him one, not buy him one.  Of course B was stoked (although he's rather slow at it due to his penchant for perfectionism, B loves him some good carpentry and woodworking time).  His one caveat was that Sutt had to HELP him build it, which Sutt was thrilled to do, so they headed off to Home Depot and spent the weekend measuring, constructing, sanding, and painting.  This is the finished product.

My Dad could literally build ANYTHING, so the fact that Sutt is learning to build things too would make my Dad super happy.  One of the biggest heartbreaks for me in not having my Dad is that my kids lost out on the opportunity to learn all the things he looked forward to teaching them-- how to fish, how to camp, how to build and plant and just DO things.  My Dad could do anything.

2.  The last time my Daddy saw Belly, she was 5.  She still had baby fat, had never lost a tooth, and and was obsessed with princesses.  Now she's long and lean and nearly as tall as I am, STILL hasn't lost enough teeth (at least not enough to get braces yet, but at least she's lost some), and is obsessed with Percy Jackson and unicorns.  I don't even know if he would recognize her.  I don't know if he would recognize EITHER of them (although Sutt looks like him, so that might help).  I mean, check this out--this was what they looked like when my Dad died, and what they look like now:

How does that even HAPPEN?  HOW?
All these years later, Belly can't pronounce the words "aluminum" or "innocent" to save her life.  Sutt gets angry when he watches House Hunters Beachfront Bargain Hunt (which he loves) because they show "coming up" teasers before the commercials and he says "it spoils what's going to happen because it takes the surprise away!"  My kids are SO DAMN WEIRD.  Coming from B and I that's probably to be expected, but STILL.  I LOVE their weirdness.  My Dad was kind of weird too, and he would have reveled in their quirks and their individuality.  I wish I could say "Dad, LOOK HOW AWESOMELY WEIRD THEY ARE!" and hear his response.  It would be priceless.

3.  My Dad always loved B.  They got along really well and had a lot of the same interests, even if they were nothing alike.  Dad thought B was brilliant (he is) and respected and admired him for being such a good husband and Dad, and I wish Dad could see how B has only gotten better over the years.  How he adores and spends time with his kids, how he always puts me first.  How hard he works and how far he's come in his career and just in his own maturity.  We are so lucky to have him, and Dad knew that already, but I still wish he could see how we are as a family, six more years down the road.

4.  Dad has a granddaughter now that he never got to meet, never knew was coming.  A WHOLE NEW PERSON!  How amazing is that?  A beautiful, hilarious granddaughter who has white-blond hair and jet-black eyelashes and can give the meanest death-stares I've ever seen.  Mia inherited my brother's ability to give zero fucks about shit that doesn't matter, and she inherited her Mommy's awesomeness.  She has Belly's fashion sense, and Sutt's love of playing rough.  Although she looks a lot like both Zach and Shawna, I like to think she looks a little like me too.  Here's me and my Dad when I was little:

This is Zach and Mia:
Dad loved his girls.  Mia would make him so very happy.  And SO very proud.  As would my brother and Shawna, who are amazing parents and who have grown and changed so much since Dad died.

5.  And most importantly of all (obviously)-- I REALLY WISH MY DAD COULD HAVE WATCHED "BREAKING BAD."  I realize this doesn't necessary fit with the sappy stuff I wrote above, but DAMN IT, Dad would have LOVED that show.  Walter White reminded me of my Dad in so many ways (so much that the show was often hard to watch) and my sweet, rule-following, do-no-harm Dad would have loved living vicariously through Walter White.  I think it's a travesty that it wasn't created until after Dad was already gone.  Damn you, Breaking Bad creators, for not getting your shit together in 2003 or 2004, so that Dad could have watched the series.  You probably missed out on your biggest fan.

So there.  That's all I got in me.  Dad, I hope you're listening somewhere, looking somewhere.  I hope this isn't all lost on you.  I wish you weren't lost on us.  I miss you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stranger Danger

I'd like to talk about love.

I've never been the type of girl who goes around loving everyone.  As a matter of fact, most of the time I can intuit within the first minute of meeting someone if I will even LIKE them, much less love them.  I know that's probably not the best way to go about things, and occasionally I find that I'm totally wrong about someone, but truly, more often than not my intuition is spot on.  I don't know what chemical or brain function or spark in the universe causes love, but I find it interesting to think about.

When I was pregnant with both of my children, I assumed (even the second time, when I knew better) that when they came out I would instantly recognize them as my own, as PART OF MY TRIBE, and love them mercilessly.  I didn't.  Hell, they whisked Belly off so fast to the NICU that I didn't even see her.  When I was finally able to go to her later, if it hadn't been for that little name tag on her isolette, I wouldn't have had a clue which kid had been popped out of me.  I felt no recognition.  The little person I had grown for 32 weeks and talked to and played with and felt like I knew so well was an unidentifiable little stranger.  It was fucking weird.

With Sutt it was a little bit different.  I was a little more prepared to not know my kid, and he actually LOOKED exactly like newborn Belly, so I probably would have recognized him (but not if he had been born first).  He was still a bit of a stranger though.  I probably loved him more at birth than I loved Belly, just because he was a little bit familiar, and because he wasn't immediately taken from me so we had time to bond.  But I don't go around loving strangers, so that ain't saying much.

I realize that this sounds terrible and you're all judging me and thinking WHAT A SHITTY MOM!  WHO SAYS THAT?  But, you know, whatever.  The truth sucks sometimes.  I don't care.  Because as I got to know my little humans, I realized that I wasn't SUPPOSED to immediately recognize them.  I didn't HAVE to instantly be madly in love with them, I just had to protect and care for them.  What I never knew until I had my own kids is that babies don't come straight into the world 50% you and 50% their father.  You don't KNOW them because they share your DNA or the DNA of the one you love (or, at least got knocked up by).  Regardless of their genetic makeup, they are their own little people, with their own looks and quirks and personalities.  You have to get to know them to understand who they are.  You have to learn to love them for themselves.

And now, 12 and nearly 10 years into knowing my kids, OH MY HEAVENS HOW I LOVE THEM.  More and more every day. They are complete pains in my ass, they bicker all the time, but they are smart and kind and well-mannered and hilarious.  They are WEIRD AS FUCK.  They take the term "nerd" to a whole new level.  And it's more obvious than ever that they are NOT just half me and half B.  Bellamy's facial features and hair are B, made over.  But she's built exactly like her Aunt Sarah Catherine, with those long limbs and big feet.  Her personality is a lot like a bizarre mash-up of her Ya-Ya and, oddly enough, B's stepmom, Barbara (her Grandbabs), who isn't even related to Belly by blood.  But they are so much alike.  And Sutt, my Sutt.  He has my Dad's eyes, but my eye color, my Dad's mouth, but B's exact body and movements.  He and Bellamy look nothing like.  But I love looking at each of them and seeing bits and pieces that I DO recognize, and enjoying aspects of them that are all their own.  I don't need a kid that is half me and half B.  I got something infinitely better.

They are so much more than the sum of their parts.  They are the sum of the parts of many, many people that I've cherished, laughed with, cried upon, and adored.

And that is what love is to me.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kiss My Asss

My friend Megan recently introduced me to a weekly video blog called "Wine About It" done by a writer named Matt Bellassai.  Basically, the idea is that he sits at his desk, drinks an entire bottle of wine (or two) and drunkenly covers whatever is his chosen topic of the week.  I think it's brilliant because 1) he gets to drink at work in the middle of the day and 2) I want a job where people basically pay me to bitch (and bitch while drinking, nonetheless).  Anyway, Mr. Bellassai beat me to the idea, but I told Megan I may start doing my own version anyway, just because it would pretty much be the highlight of my week, and I could TOTALLY use a weekly highlight these days.  I actually had the same idea a year or so ago (minus the video part) and looked into starting a new blog just for my drunken rantings.  I was going to entitle it "Winey Little Bitch."  Sadly, some ASSHOLE already had that domain name and was using it for wine reviews (and they aren't even saucy wine reviews-- they are ridiculously boring wine reviews), so I chucked the idea and moved on.  But today I feel like doing a little bitching, so I'm just going to blog about it.  

Side note:  I'm not drunk.  I'm drinking water with ice and watermelon cubes in it.  Just for the record.  This blog would likely be far more interesting if I WAS drunk.


1.  The person who parked next to me at Tuesday Morning~  Do you know how some parking spaces have extra lines in between them?  Sort of like they are outlined in between the spaces to give you extra room?  Well, I was in one of  those spots (remember--plenty of room) and so was the white Impala who parked next to me.  Half sideways.  With the nose of his or her car blocking the driver's door to MY car.  Now, I realize that anyone who has approximately 20 empty potato chip bags in their passenger seat and a pot-leaf air freshener hanging from their rear view mirror may be in a hurry to get into, say, Kroger or the Circle K, but TUESDAY MORNING?  Do you need a discount curtain rod THAT badly?  Perhaps you were dashing in for their 20% Off All Spring Merchandise sale?  There are no snacks OR weed in Tuesday Morning, asshole.  I know this for a fact.  PULL YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, IMPALA DRIVER.  I HAD TO CLIMB THROUGH MY PASSENGER DOOR TO GET INSIDE MY CAR BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO HIGH TO PARK STRAIGHT.  YOU CAN KISS MY ASS.

2.  Paul and Ken~  So they are they assistant manager and manager at the gym, as best I can tell.  And I don't have a really good reason for disliking them other than Paul is just kind of slimy and chatty and makes me feel like I need to wipe myself down with a Clorox wipe after I talk to him to kill any Creepy Asshole Germs that might have jumped off onto me from him.  Plus, unless he's selling you a gym membership, he's kind of a dick-- one of those people who talks, but doesn't listen.  I can't stand those people.  And Ken is always up in my business about using the heart rate monitors on the elliptical machines so he doesn't get a notification down at the desk that an elliptical is being used but whoever is on it has no heart rate (in a moment of frustration, I may have once told him that I was a vampire and had no heart rate).  I mean, REALLY?  His theory is that I could be having a heart attack and they'd never know because my heart rate isn't being shown and my response is KISS MY ASS, KEN.  IF I WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK I SURE AS HELL WOULDN'T WANT YOU AS MY FIRST RESPONDER ANYWAY.  OR YOUR CREEPY-ASS SIDEKICK PAUL.  AND WHEN YOU COME UP TO CHECK ON ME BECAUSE I HAVE NO HEART RATE AND YOU SEE ME WATCHING "BOTCHED" AND POWERING THROUGH ANOTHER RANDOM HILL, SHOULDN'T THAT TELL YOU I'M NOT FUCKING DEAD?  Now leave me alone and let me get back to my blood-drinking and sparkling in the sunlight.  I signed the stupid safety waiver when I joined the gym.  If I want to ellipticize until my heart fucking explodes I will.  Kiss my ass.

3.  Barnes & Noble~  This is pretty straightforward.  I ordered a book.  It was supposed to arrive today.  It didn't.  KISS MY ASS, BARNES & NOBLE, WITH YOUR BIG, FAT, LYING-ABOUT-DELIVERY-DATES EMAIL.  KISS MY ASS.  What if I REALLY needed to know what happened in Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian's perspective?  I mean, I probably don't.  BUT WHAT IF I DID?  According to the B&N order page, Christian Grey's birthday was on Thursday and that's when the book was being released.  WHAT IF I DIDN'T WANT TO MISS CHRISTIAN GREY'S BIRTHDAY?  What if I was in desperate need of another version of one of the most poorly written erotic novels ever created and, particularly, needed it TODAY?  WHAT IF IT WAS A LITERARY SEXUAL EMERGENCY?  What about that, B&N? You can kiss my ass.

4.  My therapist~  Today we had a conversation that went a little something like this:
HER:  Do you ever have suicidal or homicidal thoughts?
ME:  I think we need to break that down into two separate questions, for clarity's sake.
HER:  Okay.  Do you ever have suicidal thoughts?
ME:  Yes.  Who doesn't?  But I would never leave my kids.  I have far too much meddling to do in their lives before I'm outta here.
HER:  Have you ever considered how you would do it, if you did?
ME:  Oh, yeah.  I want it to be big and spectacular.  Like, if I could make myself spontaneously combust in the middle of a really crowded place, like the mall right around Christmas, that would be really cool.  Maybe right by the Santa station?  
HER:  I doubt you could make that happen.  Do you have other thoughts about how you would do it?
ME:  Well, I really like fire.  And explosions.  I also think poison would be awesome if it was like a Shakespearean play and I could take the poison, give a speech in Old English while acting surprised I had been poisoned, then dramatically expire in front of an audience.  I'd want there to be a sword involved too, but I don't want to be stabbed.  Maybe someone else would be so sad that I was poisoned they stabbed themselves?  I haven't finished thinking this one through.
HER:  I think you are misunderstanding the question.
ME:  Nope.  I am absolutely NOT misunderstanding anything.
HER:  Let's move on.  Do you ever have homicidal thoughts?
ME:  Yes, I'm having them now because you don't want to let me theoretically die in the manner of which I am most interested in dying.
HER:  I'm not sure I can help you.

OF COURSE YOU CAN'T.  You're the one who asked the questions, lady.  I just answer them in the most truthful manner I can.  If you don't like that, you can kiss my ass.

5. All Morning People~  Now, I realize that this is a very mean and random one, but hey, IT'S MY FUCKING BLOG.  I can hate you if I want to, and, honestly, I do.  Why?  Because I am NOT a morning person.  And my mornings, on top of not being the time of day that I'm at my best, are usually shit.  Let me tell you what the first twenty minutes of a typical morning in my life is like.

I wake up to Poe, the puppy, pouncing on my face.  The little guy is cute as hell, but has a built-in alarm clock that doesn't let him sleep any later than 7, and I swear that by then he's already been awake for three hours and BARELY holding himself together waiting on me to wake up and play with him.  (Have you ever seen "Elf"?  He reminds me SO MUCH of a puppy version of Will Ferrell's character in that movie.)  Anyway, while I'm trying to get him to quit biting my hair and pulling it, Belly bursts into my room to tell me that the other dog, Lola, threw up on her sheets.  Five times.  And she doesn't know what to do (because SHE'S ONLY 12 IT'S NOT LIKE SHE'S OLD ENOUGH TO, SAY, BE MARRIED OFF IF SHE LIVED IN ALABAMA OR ANYTHING).  So I help her strip her sheets and clean up the mattress pad before I put the sheets in the washer and start a load of laundry.  I still haven't washed my face or put in my contacts, so I feel greasy and I can't see worth a damn.  I make it downstairs only to see that Poe has pooped on the rug by the back door because I didn't get him out in time because I was distracted by the Lola puke.  I clean it up, take him out and am immediately hit by an UNGODLY wave of heat because HERE IN GEORGIA THE HEAT INDEX IS ALREADY OVER 100 BY THAT TIME, FOLKS.  Then I realize that Belly didn't bring Lola outside, so I go upstairs to look for THAT dog, only to find that she's hiding deep under the confines of my ginormous bed and that the only way to get her out is to army crawl under the bed and drag her by her collar, which is exactly what I have to do.  I get HER outside and force her to pee, then I come back in (still can't see), try to make coffee, and knock a minimum of three things out of the refrigerator just trying to get to the milk.  Of course, the hummus that falls out lands upside down on my foot and splatters all over me and the island and the floor.  Both dogs start licking it up, which is probably GREAT for Lola's vomit issue, and then Sutt wanders downstairs, decides he's hungry, and walks THROUGH the humus without ever noticing it on his way to the pantry for cereal.  I JUST WANT TO PUNCH SOMEONE IN THE FACE.  No wonder I swear so much.  And yes, this exact morning happened as stated.  And happens, with a few variations, regularly.  So all you people who wake up happy and chipper and have great mornings where nothing is covered in hummus or vomit, you can kiss my ass.  KISS MY ASS.

HAPPY MONDAY, Y'ALL.  Looks like it's finally cocktail hour.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Crazy

Recently, I had an appointment in a quaint little town called Edgefield, in South Carolina.  The only way to get there from my house was through a series of two-lane county back roads, which made for a scenic drive, despite being a bit longer than I had hoped since I had to spend half my time dodging tractors and riding behind pickup trucks with no license plates going fifteen miles an hour.  However, it was a pretty day, and I was in no real hurry, so I cranked up Missy Elliott and rolled to SC.  I was feeling pretty zen, and all was well.

Until I got lost.

This is the part where I need to make something clear-- I am GREAT with maps.  I grew up watching my Dad map out a careful course for every drive we ever took, and when I turned sixteen and got my first car, Daddy gave me my own, beautiful, brand-new Rand McNally so I would NEVER BE LOST.  And you know what?  I never was.  Until GPS came along.  I can't use a GPS to save my life.  It's always on my phone, and I've been through numerous phones since they started having GPS on them and I've never found one I was remotely able to use.  I just can't follow the directions.  Or I accidentally zoom in somewhere on the screen that is completely unrelated to where I'm going and I can't figure out how to zoom back out.  Or a call or text comes in and I lose the whole thing completely while I'm driving and freak out.  I've been known to pull over and call B and curse him up one side and down the other for texting me when I'm trying to drive somewhere while using my GPS.  And I don't want it to talk to me because I'M NOT AN AUDITORY LEARNER and I get all anxious and stressed and distracted by the robot voice.  It sucks, but that's how it is.  I'M TECHNOLOGICALLY STUNTED, PEOPLE.  I'VE DISCUSSED THIS WITH YOU BEFORE.  Gmail baffles me (I lose conversations ALL THE TIME because of how it groups them), I have no idea how to photo edit anything, and I only recently learned what the hell a hashtag was, at which point I promptly invented two of my own, used them three or four times, got bored, and forgot about them.  What can I say?  I was born in the wrong century.  I blame God.  But, anyway.

Pulling into a parking spot in the lovely little town square, I looked at my GPS (why, oh, why did I bother?), realized I had no idea what the hell it was trying to tell me, and called the vet's office where I had the appointment.  I was already a couple of minutes late, but everything moves slower in the South, so I figured it was fine (even though I despise lateness and usually pride myself on being, if anything, early).  A very, very sweet young lady answered the phone, and reassured me that I was close by.  The following is our conversation, nearly word for word.

ME:  Hi!  This is Haley McPhail, I was supposed to drop my dog off at 8:30, but look, I've gotten a little lost.....

VETERINARY ASSISTANT (to be referred to, from here on out, as VA):  Oh!  No problem.  Where are you at now?

ME:  I think I'm in the town square or something?  It's a giant roundabout with a garden in the middle.  Really pretty.

VA:  Okay.  You are SO CLOSE.  This is what you need to do.  What are you looking at RIGHT NOW?

ME:  (looking up)  A brick building that says "Whiskey" on the front.

VA:  OKAY.  Now, you need to go around and look for the turkey wearing overalls.  Make sure it's not the turkey with the moustache, but the one in overalls.  If you turn at the turkey with the moustache you're gonna go the wrong way.  Then you're going to look for the ice cream sign and turn by some men at some black tables.  You'll go on down the road a ways and you'll know you're going the right way when you pass the church don't nobody go to no more.  Then you'll see a yellow house and we're right past there!  We'll see you soon!

CLICK.  (She hangs up.)


As I mentioned earlier, I was feeling fairly zen that day, which was a good thing since THOSE WERE THE CRAZIEST DAMN DIRECTIONS I HAD EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE.  I wasn't all that concerned about the turkeys because I figured if I saw a turkey in overalls or a moustache, surely I would notice it.  SURELY.  But the church?  How was I supposed to know what church "don't nobody go to no more"?  Was this ice cream sign a billboard?  THERE ARE LOTS OF YELLOW HOUSES IN THE WORLD.  Holy hell.  But I didn't have any other options since I'm GPS handicapped, so I got back into my car and started following directions.

1.  My start point.  At the time, I was parked right in front of the white columns, so I had not gotten far enough down the street to see the turkey in overalls that  is in the right corner of the photo.  Yes.  THE TURKEY IN OVERALLS.

2.  THIS turkey in overalls.

Not to be confused with the turkey with the moustache that was on the OPPOSITE street corner.

3.  Also opposite the ice cream sign, although when I took the photos, the men were no longer at the black tables.  By the way, you can see ANOTHER turkey back there.  This one is called "the barbecue turkey."  I know this, because I went inside and asked.

4.  Then you have the "church don't nobody go to no more" or, as we non-Edgefield folks call it, Edgefield Presbyterian Church.  I only figured out that this was the abandoned church because I found a man walking down the sidewalk, rolled down my window, pointed to it and asked.  I do not know why no one goes there anymore (I did NOT ask THAT).  I suspect it could be because in the South, we are Baptists, damn it, and we all know everybody who is NOT a Baptist is going to burn in hell, so we might as well run all those sinning Presbyterians out of town.  I mean, GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT THOSE PRESBYTERIANS ARE UP TO.

5.  Then there was the yellow house, that really had more white than yellow on it and was mostly obscured by trees.  I actually went back AFTER I found the vet, looking for the yellow house.

Needless to say, I found the vet.  Eventually.  And they were super nice about me being late, and all was well.  And it was a nice reminder of where I came from, as directions in my hometown (and most country towns, I suspect) were given similarly when I was young (although it was more along the lines of "turn at the red light by the Bi-Lo" rather than "turn by the turkey in the overalls").  In Suffolk, or Richmond, or RDU, people don't give directions that way.  They use street names (like freakin' normal people), which is how I give directions now too, after being out of "the south" for the past sixteen years.  But now things are different.  Maybe some deep South will rub off on me.  Let's hope so, or I may never be able to get where I'm trying so hard to go.