Since I left my nine to five job in January I have become pretty carefree. So much in fact that my husband has been calling me “The Dude“. I can’t really blame him. I have taken up wearing a uniform of sorts which consists of pajama pants and a CBGB tank top with a sweater that looks like a homeless man was wearing for years before handing it over to me. When I leave the house I throw on a pair of workout pants to “dress it up a little”. It usually stops people from trying to hand me dollar bills at the grocery store. I’m not going to lie though, on occasion I just throw on yesterday’s pajama pants. Don’t judge me! (more…)
I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but my family does everything a little over the top. We are an all or nothing kind of family which means I don’t sleep from Halloween until about January 3. My husband literally packs up the hand painted trunk or treat decorations and starts planning the theme for our annual Christmas card while I walk around the house with a glitter filled fire hose decorating and baking enough cookies to feed half of South America. Some years the theme for our card comes quickly, some years we have to brainstorm for a month, but we always have at least one theme that would offend half of our friends and family and my husband tells me no repeatedly while I beg him to hide a little easter egg of something offensive in the background. He and I have a different idea of “holiday cheer” sometimes.
Some past themes have included snowball fights, plans to kidnap Santa and baby Riley dismantling a tree. I think my daughter’s favorite was the year we strung her life sized bear up in the woods so she could have a winter wonderland themed party in the snow wearing a ball gown. She especially liked that I had to carry her into the woods to save her shoes and keep her bundled in a fur blanket until our perfectionist photographer was ready. I literally fell in the snow and used my body as a mattress to save her highness from wrinkling her dress. She really became the part that year, making demands like a seasoned super model. I was lucky to have walked away without having a cell phone thrown at my head.
My favorite card to date has been the Elf on a Shelf takeover, mostly because it took a full day to shoot all of the photos used, and I got to play little elf to the photographer. We used 2 toy elves to create 100 of the little monsters destroying our family room, climbing shelves and ziplining from the fireplace mantle. There was even an elf wielding a cocktail sword holding the child hostage. Plus, she had to stay still tied up in lights for a large part of the shoot. I spent the day climbing ladders, hanging elves from fishing line and keeping out of the shot. The best part about this card is that we don’t even have an elf in our house. We don’t do that cliché bullshit (although I may get myself a Snoop on a Stoop next year).
Based on the feedback we have received so far, our card this year has topped all others. Maybe it’s the magic of it, or the fact that we actually have the whole family in the photo for the first time ever, but the consensus has been that this is the fan favorite. I am the first to admit that I participated in approximately 3 minutes of the making of this card when I sat in front of the green screen that resided in our living room for a month. I didn’t even lend a hand when my husband was photographing himself flying through the air. Believe it or not, he took that photo entirely on his own. I was probably in the kitchen elbow deep in powdered sugar at the time. But sometimes that is how it works, and the final product is even better than expected. I wish I could say the same about my cookies this year. They are still a work in progress…
The other day we were talking about teaching my 10 year old to drive the wave runner by herself. She is tall and she always wants to drive, but having her sit in front of someone is difficult since you can’t see around her Amazonian body and Mowgli hair. In the middle of this conversation between me and my dad, my mom stopped us and said “you know it’s illegal for her to drive those alone right?” to which we both stared at her like she was speaking Greek. I quickly said “Only if she gets caught!” And this is where it is clear I am my father’s daughter, and my child is following right down those rebellious misguided footsteps. We all looked at my mom like she was crazy to say out loud that breaking the law was probably not a good idea.
My Dad gave me my first motorcycle ride before I was a year old. Apparently I caught a cold shortly thereafter and my grandma quickly put the blame on the bike so I wasn’t allowed back on until I was 3. I also got my first helmet that year. It was orange and loud and too big. I loved it, and I loved the motorcycle. So much in fact, that by the time I was seven I was demanding to ride alone. My dad made me show him that I could hold it upright unassisted and operate it alone before I was able to take my virgin solo ride. By the time I was ten I was a little terror in the trails down the street and ripping up the baseball field at the elementary school. I was also very clear on the rules which were “if you see a cop, turn off the bike and say you are out of gas and waiting for your dad to come back.” I was then to walk it home with the cops following me. I partook in this parade quite a few times before the police finally told my mom if it happened again they would see that I did not receive a license to drive at 16. I guess I shouldn’t have been all that concerned since I actually drove myself to driver’s education classes in my own car at the age of fifteen, but at the time it scared my mom enough to make my dad sell the bike. Although that was just the beginning of my tendency to push the limits, the lesson I learned was you don’t get in trouble unless you get caught.
This lesson has trickled down to my daughter. Fortunately, she isn’t doing anything she feels the need to hide from me yet, and with my experience in jackassery, she will probably have a hard time doing so. Right now she is still wondering if she is allowed to do things on her own and when she is given a yes by mom or grandpa she follows up with dad or grandma to get the real story. I just keep telling her not to worry. She won’t get caught and if she does, mom will be in trouble which is a pretty familiar place for mom to be. Apparently my kid is totally okay with me paying the price for her misdeeds as well since as soon as I explained I would be in trouble for making her drive, she grabbed the keys and tried to take off on me. Luckily, the wave runner takes a few seconds to start or we may not have seen her again until she ran out of gas. Although, she drives like a grandma, so I probably could have caught up to her with a quick doggy paddle.
I have had a lot of great experiences in my life, party because I was not afraid of much. I have had some bad experiences for the same reason, but that is a whole different story. Little things like laws and rules have rarely deterred me from trying something new and have often times made me learn a new skill, like jumping off a roof with a skateboard or moving through spaces that are too narrow for a cop car to follow. I am hoping that my kid can learn some of these life lessons from my stories rather than having to touch the ot burner herself, but only time will tell. For now, I am grateful that she will take a chance now and then but drive slow enough for her mom to still catch her.
I’m beginning to think my phone number has made the rounds at an online pirating convention because I have been getting scam calls up the yin yang. I get a call a day from Amazon making sure I meant to make a purchase on my account (which I do not have). I do have to say, when having a stressful day, messing with some asshole trying to steal people’s credit card information is a perfect remedy. My conversation today went a little like this:
“This is Amazon verifying your purchase of $399.89. If you did not make this purchase, you can speak to an Amazon customer service manager by pressing 1.” And you better believe I pressed 1. So forcefully, in fact that I almost threw my phone across the room in the process.
Asshole: Thank you for choosing to speak to customer service today. This is Jerry. How may I help you?
Me: I’m not sure. You called me about a purchase.
Asshole: Yes ma’am. A purchase was made today using your Amazon account. Did you purchase an iPhone 11 for $399.89?
Me: Oh no. I didn’t. What do I do?
Asshole: Well ma’am, unfortunately the parcel has already been sent out so you will need to fill out a form to cancel the charge on your account. You can fill out the form online. Are you near a computer?
Asshole: Okay, now you are on Google Chrome correct?
Me: How did you know that? Are you in my computer?
Asshole: No ma’am. No. Most computers have Google Chrome. So you can go to the search bar at the top, the white bar and type in U as in unicorn, L as in lima….. (and several more letters that I didn’t listen to, but I did hear ice cream at one point). Now, can you repeat what you typed in?
Me: Oh, I wasn’t typing. I thought you wanted me to write it down. Can you repeat that?
Asshole: Yes ma’am. U as in unicorn, L as in lima…
Me: Wait, did you say lima? Do you mean lemur? You didn’t send me lemurs instead of puppies did you? I ordered a box of puppies. That’s what I ordered from Amazon, not an iPhone.
Asshole: What are you talking about puppies? No ma’am. There are no puppies. Can you tell me the address you typed?
Me: I didn’t type anything. I was writing. Where am I supposed to be typing?
Asshole: On your keyboard ma’am.
Me: Oh, my keyboard… you want to hear me play on the keyboard. Hold on.
I then proceeded to bash on the piano for a full minute at which point my daughter started yelling from the other room wondering what the noise was.
Me: What do you think?
Asshole: Ma’am, what are you doing? Are you at your keyboard. I need you to type the address.
Me: I was at my keyboard. Did you like my playing? So, you said the parcel went out. Where are my puppies? Do you have my puppies? You better not have my puppies.
Asshole: Ma’am (now with a raised voice), I don’t know anything about any puppies. But I am going to need you to type the address on your computer to fill out the form. Are you at your computer?
I was not at my computer. I was actually trying to free my leg from my cat’s jaw as he chomped on my achilles tendon. I think he heard me talking about receiving a box of puppies and was feeling insecure and angry. Or my piano playing really set him off. It’s hard to tell.
Me: No. I’m at my keyboard. But I’m going to need that address again. I couldn’t understand you.
Asshole: Ma’am, you need to be at your computer. Do you have a keyboard?
Me: Do they send you to special scammer training to learn how to deal with difficult calls? I mean in Bangladesh or wherever you are, do they teach you special skills to rip off little old ladies and get them to give you their credit card information?
Asshole: (finally catching on that I was being a dick) No, in Pakistan. We go to the Technological Institute.
Me: You must be really pathetic to do this for money. I bet your mom is super proud of you.
Apparently I hit a nerve because he got agitated at this point. He said something about hiding it from his mom and hung up on me shortly thereafter.
So, you’re welcome to whoever was next on the call list. I spent 15 minutes of this scumbag’s time and reduced my stress by at least 50%.
I should have just played this over the phone…
Every year I ask my daughter what she is going to ask Santa to bring her on Christmas morning. Every year I am confused by her requests. This started very early in life. The Christmas before her third birthday she asked for the Hulk. She had a major crush on the big green guy for a few months prior and wanted a 12″ plastic action figure which she then slept with and carried around for months. The following year, she asked for a Catman stuffed animal and Velma barbie doll. Both of these things took months to find and cost more money than the drum set that also arrived Christmas morning.
The nearly unattainable gift requests have continued almost every year. The problem seems to be that my kid, much like her mother, leans toward the unconventional. Last year she asked for a KISS onesie (which do not come in kids sizes), Hocus Pocus dolls (which do not exist) and a hand written note from Santa placed under her pillow (good thing she is a heavy sleeper and I can forge almost any handwriting). I’m not sure if she makes these requests to test Santa’s abilities or if she is just really high maintenance, but at this point I am almost looking forward to the day she no longer believes in the fat man.
I am guessing that day may be around the same age she gets her driver’s license. I believed in Santa for years after my peers gave up. In my defense, my dad was an elfing genius. We took off for midnight mass every Christmas Eve and when we returned home hours later, the tree was packed with gifts. I found out years later that he had some guys who helped with the gifting. I am still impressed that someone was able to get a giant gymnastics mat through the door and into the living room alone.
This year when I asked my daughter what she would be requesting for gifts she exclaimed “a grappling hook and a bullhorn!” without missing a beat. I have no idea what she plans to do with either of these items, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the grappling hook is to climb up to the roof and the bullhorn is to yell at me to bring her things while she is on the roof. Maybe I should get a second grappling hook for my inevitable rescue mission. Actually, I should probably get three so my husband can make the climb once both of his girls are stuck on the roof.
The most ridiculous part of the requests from Santa is that every single year she talks about something she wants for months and then decides she doesn’t really need it at the last minute, but really needs something else (like a KISS onesie). Every year I tell her Santa must be watching her when she receives the Harry Potter onesie she talked about all summer, so I guess it actually helps the cause. This year I was sure she wanted an enormous Harry Potter lego set. I was wrong and I don’t mind being wrong, but it would have been a lot easier to swallow four months ago when I had an additional $400 in my bank account. The good news is both bullhorns and grappling hooks are pretty cheap. But then she did what she does best and informed me that in addition to the two items she already mentioned that she was going to ask Santa for a gaming system and a dozen video games… at least it’s not a pony!
**I’m just elfing around listening to some punk rock Christmas music over here while I simultaneously shop for electronics I know nothing about and try to list a brand new lego set on eBay!!
Little girls are supposed to be full of sugar and spice, but a lot of them are full of piss and vinegar. I volunteer at my daughter’s school for lunch and recess once a week and I see a lot of sugar and a lot of vinegar. It’s always comical to me when I see the girls who try to show me how sweet they are while spitting venom at half of the kids around them.
When my daughter was in first grade a new girl entered her class like a little lightening rod of drama. She told fantastic stories about having to fly to Paris for the weekend for her father’s wedding and how her brother got drunk on church wine at his first communion. It didn’t take a detective to figure out this kid was lying, but it annoyed me that she was so bad at it. Not one of her classmates believed her stories. I explained to my daughter that she did this because she was the new kid and fearful that the other kids wouldn’t like her if she didn’t have enough material to keep them interested. When the girl continued this behavior a year later, my daughter started to really question her motives since she was no longer the new kid. That particular girl went on to a new school last September. She had run out of good stories by then anyway, so it was probably better to put her in a new setting to recycle some of her old tall tales.
Just like a mini Breakfast Club, the role of little liar needed to be filled and another girl soon stepped into that position. The replacement liar is more of a physical story teller, so she not only tells stories, she fakes physical ailments as well. She has a handful of girls believing that her aunt is Beyonce and that a variety of things make her faint, including the mere sight of any cheese lighter than neon orange. She noses around everyone’s lunches and snacks looking for items she finds offensive so she can put her acting skills to use. My daughter is usually one of her targets for commentary since she doesn’t buy into the notion that children should only eat garbage. Apparently the little con artist thinks that being the niece of a pop star entitles one to take the position of snack police because she sniffs around everyone else’s food making sure it is nothing she finds offensive. God forbid anyone pull out a mini mozzarella ball or an ambulance may have to be called.
A few weeks ago at lunch the fabricator was lounging on one of her friends pretending to be out cold from some food item being in her line of vision when I walked by and told her to sit up. She continued to play dead as I asked the other girls what was going on. When I said that clearly she had not fainted because she didn’t wet her pants they all started to giggle and poke at her. She immediately sat up and asked what I was talking about. I explained that when a person faints they often wet their pants since their entire body goes limp, including their bladder. I concluded with saying “so now you all know she is faking if she hasn’t wet her pants” and walked away. She hasn’t faked a fainting spell in school since then.
Interestingly enough, this little con artist is not a big fan of my kid. I think it’s because she has never bought into the stories and fake fainting gimmick. She also called her out when she made fun of a middle school boy because he had eczema on his hands. My daughter’s bully and bullshit meters are pretty strong. She came home the other day and told me that twice in the same week Pinocchio came over to the table she was sitting at and said to the girls she was sitting with “come on guys let’s move over there” to leave my daughter sitting alone. When I asked my daughter what happened next she said “nothing, other people sat down with me” and moved on to the next story she was dying to tell me. The following day I watched my daughter pick up her lunch box and bring two of her friends over to sit with a kid who was sitting alone. Sometimes the lessons learned in the lunch room are as important as the lessons learned in the classroom.
At one point my kid asked me if I had talked to the little liar and her crew about how they had left her sitting alone and I told her I did not. Even though the ring leader was hanging around me more than usual chatting me up like any competent Regina George vying for prom queen, it staying out of the situation knowing my kid can handle herself. Truth be told, if I had my say, I would tell my daughter to stay far away from the little storyteller before she gets wrapped up in some ponzi scheme situation by middle school. But I don’t need to tell her anything, I’ll just continue packing all that munster and mozzarella cheese in her lunch sprinkled with a little holy water for good measure.
*I wrote this while listening to Rat Boy
There are few things I enjoy more than watching people feel uncomfortable. Strangely, I am often somehow connected to their uneasiness. So imagine my delight when I got to experience an old guy feeling very uncomfortable by my presence walking through a casino at 8 am! I don’t know how anyone can feel completely comfortable in a casino at that hour but when you think you are being propositioned by a woman in pajamas it’s probably super awkward.
I was walking back to our room through the casino after dropping off our towels at the pool this morning when I heard one of the interactive tables talking. “Come hither” it called. I had walked by earlier so I knew this little hussy’s sweet talk. The machine straight up flirts as guests pass by.As I was approaching the machine I heard it start in with its sweet talk. “Wanna play with me?” she called. I kept walking as the old dude in front of me turned around and eyed me suspiciously. Apparently he had not passed this talking electronic pickpocket and thought the voice was coming from an actual human near him. Unfortunately the woman in a skull and crossbones sweatshirt and flip flops was the only human nearby. I kept moving as the machine beckoned again “come sit with me.” Once again, the old guy in front of me turned around looking first at me and then all around him trying to decipher who was propositioning him. This time I kind of smiled and then looked away, increasing his uneasiness. I could have pointed at the machine he was standing in front of but that would have cleared everything up, ruining my amusement.
Finally, as the man passed, the machine whine yelled “SIT DOWN AND PLAY WITH ME!!” He finally realized the voice had been coming from the machine all along. He quickly put his head down and skittered away leaving me wondering who actually responds to being scolded by a talking slot machine. Then I remembered where I was.
I can only imagine the story he told his family when he got back to his room. It probably started “So, this hooker in pajamas propositioned me at the casino…”