How does that shoe taste?

Once again, I have totally put my foot in my mouth. Some colleagues and I were talking about a really annoying client, whom I have met in person and they have not. I said, “He is the biggest loser. First of all, he told me he lives with his mother. Secondly, he’s got a stupid long ponytail consisting of about 7 hairs, a mullet in the front, and he has… a….. moustache…..” At this point I realized I was not only describing our client, but I was also describing my colleague’s husband. I just tried not to look at her as we finished the conversation but I know she made the connection, because I immediately got about 500 Instant Messages from other people in our office, laughing at me for describing the Ultimate Loser and having it match her husband to a T.

Then, not TEN MINUTES LATER the client came up again, and I thought to myself, here’s a chance to say something about the client that makes him such a total dork that R doesn’t take it personally. So I said derisively, “You know what else about that guy? I guarantee you he’s a Trekkie.”

You got it– R’s husband is a Trekkie.

    How to Have a Bonfire

    1. Marry man who insists on keeping financial records from the Time Before the Moon.

    2. Convince him to destroy all records from the 2 oldest years (this will take approx 7 years of marriage).

    3. Somehow get it into your head that it will be fun to have a fire in your firepit, on the patio, and use the financial records as kindling.

    4. Choose a hot and humid evening. (Be sure to sell the idea to the kids ahead of time, so you have no chance of backing out for weather reasons.)

    5. Bathe kids, get them into pajamas and assemble s’mores ingredients while husband inexplicably makes 4 toasting sticks out of wire hangers (why four?!?!? Does he plan to give each kid a stick and say, “Here you go- stick this into the fire while Mom and I grab a beer?”).

    6. Have husband forget everything he knows about fire and physics, and stick a shopping bag full of paper into the firepit, pack wood tightly around it, and attempt to light. In ensuing thick plumes of undoubtedly toxic-fume smoke, repeatedly save blinded children from running into the caustic flames.

    7. Take some photos of husband trying to start fire. Note that husband is not amused. Wonder if neighbors have called the fire department yet.

    8. Allow kids to play on swingset in the dark, while fire gets going. Look up just in time to see son at bottom of slide, blindly holding out his arms while his sister barrels down the slide like a bullet– straight into his face.

    9. As you run to the rescue of 2 screaming, bloody children, notice that the burning shopping bag has collapsed. Husband is now holding 2 sides of the firepit closed, and looking worriedly at the other sides.

    10. Daughter is fine. Son’s upper lip is shredded and approximately the size of a banana. Give him freeze pop– freeze pop sticks to skinned lip. Daughter notices freeze pop and shrieks for her own.

    11. Fire is, miraculously, going and under control. Lawn and house are not aflame. Make some s’mores with kids, then put them to bed.

    12. Sit outside with your feet up on your husband, chatting idly and watching the fire. Realize that you have had an awesome time tonight.


      Dave likes to make me breakfast in the mornings when I go to the office. He also packs me a lunch to take with me so I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to eat. But several problems have cropped up here:

      1. He packs my lettuce and tomato EACH in separate baggies from my sandwich, and includes a teeny little Tupperware with mustard (so that everything is fresh at lunchtime). So every day I’m going through 3 Ziplocs, besides which it takes me 10 minutes to assemble everything.

      2. He packs too much food, every day. Then he thinks I’m not eating enough during the day.

      3. He thinks I’m short on protein, so he makes me scrambled Egg Beaters on an English muffin every morning for breakfast. I have told him that this is too much food, that I would rather have a banana or maybe a yogurt smoothie, but he insists that this is better. So as a result, every morning I get to the office and am absolutely stuffed.

      Now, I know what you’re thinking. And I totally realize how thoughtful this is of Dave. But if I keep eating according to Dave’s Megadiet, I’m going to have so much junk in my trunk that none of my clothes will fit. So I guess the real question in this: how do you get through to a man, who is doing something nice for you, but who is also convinced that he knows better than you, what you should be eating?

        How much Wood Trim is Enough?

        I don’t know if Dave and I will ever truly fit into suburbia, because we continue to have that uniquely urban attitude toward our neighbors, i.e. Don’t Bother Me and We Won’t Bother You. Those of you who live in a large city know what that’s about. But we now live in the suburbs, which means making friends with our neighbors. (BTW my neighbors are all nice people– it’s just the concept I have trouble with.)

        On Wednesday, I got cornered. We were on a walk, and Cammy stopped to play with some kids playing in their driveway. I normally wouldn’t mind their playing together, but I really wanted to get home and give the kids a bath; but the husband made a beeline for me: “Hey, how’s it going? Did you move in recently? We just moved in about a month ago” blah blah blah. So I was chatting with the husband and mentally searching for an escape, when he mentioned that he was putting up trim in his kitchen. “I bet it looks great,” I said absently…. and the trap was sprung. “Come on in and have a look!!!!!” and before I could formulate a response, we were in the house.

        Oh my God, the kitchen trim. It was like…. you know those cars you see on the road that have been COVERED in chrome, everywhere? The cabinetry in the kitchen is white, countertops are white, walls are white. And the trim is honey oak, and it is everywhere. The top of the backsplash. Along the sides of the backsplash. All over the kitchen island. Around the pantry door. Along the top AND THE BOTTOM of all of the cabinets. This contrasting oak trim against the white painted surfaces. Wood grain against smooth surface. It looks quite simply, absurd. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I said, “Wow, it looks fantastic!…… but I really have to go.”

        I dread passing by their house again. I might have to declare that street a no-fly zone.

          “Don’t laugh” revisited…..

          We were having dinner, and Gabrielle decided she wanted to get down; however, she hadn’t eaten anything; she seemed to be trying to absorb the pizza through her skin instead as she was covered in sauce. So, she started sticking her leg off the chair, saying, “I need det DOWN….. I need det DOWN…..” and Dave said, “Gabby, you cannot get down until you get cleaned off.” And then the deathmatch began:

          Gabby [enunciating very clearly as though Dave is an idiot]: Daddy. I. Need. Det. DOOOOOOOWN.

          Dave: Gabby, if you’re getting down, then I need to wipe you off first.

          Gabby: [staring Dave in the eyes, starts easing herself off the chair]

          Julie: [bites inside of cheeks to keep from grinning]

          Dave: Gabby, do NOT get down until I have wiped you off.

          Gabby: A-wight. [puts toe on floor]

          Dave [sternly]: Gabby!

          Gabby: [jumps and yanks foot back up]

          Dave: Okay, let me just…..

          Gabby [singing loudly]: I need det DOWN….. I need det DOWN…. I need det DOWN……..

          Dave: Gabby, that’s way too loud. Please stop it.

          Gabby [leaning over the table so we can all hear whispering]: I need det DOWN…. I need det DOWN…..

          Julie: [still trying to hold it together]

          Cameron [shaking his head sorrowfully]: Wook at her, Dad. She’s gonna get down.

          Julie: [starts giggling quietly]

          Dave [sternly]: Mommy, this is NOT funny. Gabby, I will be right there to clean you off. Stay right there on that chair and….

          [Gabby suddenly makes her move. She jumps off her chair and scrambles onto Dave’s chair. Once there, she pushes her hair back from her face with her sauce-covered fingers and starts airily eating Dave’s pizza. I’m trying like hell not to laugh as Dave decides whether this is an infraction of the rules, and Cameron congratulates Gabby on an excellent jump. She sees me wavering, and decides to finish me off:

          Gabby [to the McDonald’s jingle]: Dah dah dah dah……. I wuvin it!!!!

          Yep. I started laughing. I can’t freaking help it– she’s just so damn funny sometimes.

            Swisher SWEETS?!?!?!?

            Remember Swisher Sweets? Those disgusting, skinny, cheap little pseudo-cigars you can buy at Walgreens?

            I was at a friend’s house yesterday; her husband’s sister had come to town for a few days and there was a large group of adults and kids in the back yard. She was playing a game of beanbag toss with some of the kids, and I glanced up at one point to realize that SHE WAS SMOKING A SWISHER SWEET!!! Where do I even start with how annoyed that made me… 1. smoking in the midst of a group of non-smokers; 2. smoking while playing with children; 3. and frankly, smoking a Swisher Sweet?!?!?! Isn’t that made expressly for 16yo high school boys who want to look cool??

            No, I didn’t say anything to her, by the way. She was outside so I doubt it seriously damaged my kids’ lungs, and it’s easier to just let that stuff go when you can. But I’m still just flabbergasted at her choice of tobacco product.

              What's Your Worst Moviegoing Experience?

              I was reading my friend Whitney Gaskell’s blog (it’s so funny. If you haven’t read it, you must do so immediately) about how she always winds up next to some jerk at the movies. I was mentally agreeing with her when I remembered that I have, in my opinion, one of the worst movie experiences EVER. See what you think and feel free to share your own:

              Four or five years ago, I was at a movie in a theatre with stadium seating. Directly behind me was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, with his brother and his parents, loudly smacking popcorn. At one point he started coughing and hacking, and I felt my hair suddenly move violently. The kid and his brother dissolved into giggles and I heard the words “popcorn” and “hair.” Oh my God, I was livid. I, a total germophobe anyway, had just had FOOD COUGHED INTO MY HAIR?!?!?! I whipped around and said to the kids, “WHAT did you just do to my hair?!?!?” They froze and looked at me fearfully, while his father leaned over and said, “What? What?” (Like he wasn’t right there when it happened, but whatever.) I answered that his son had just coughed popcorn into my hair and was now laughing about it. “No, no,” he assured me. “Nothing landed in your hair. He was just coughing. Sorry about that.”

              And as I turned around, the mother leaned over and belatedly asked her husband,. “What’s going on?” Then, as though I had been magically transported to a soundproof booth and couldn’t hear him, the father replied, “Oh, he just spit some popcorn into that girl’s hair.”

                Adjunct Faculty Dinner, or How to Best Annoy Others and Drag Out the Dinner.

                I had a work dinner last night. Here is a list of the Top Ten Annoying Things that are said and done at these events, where approximately 45 minutes of information are dragged out into a 4-hour evening. I will remind you that my freelance self works for several different entities, and I am not about to tell you which one it is.

                10. When at the buffet dinner: come back for seconds. Cut in front of the small woman who has arrived late. Scrape up the last of the salad, take the last chicken breast (leaving wings for the small woman behind you, who doesn’t eat wings). Also take the last piece of vegetarian lasagna, then blow past the carrots and green beans to grab the last piece of cake. Turn around, look at the plate of the small woman behind you which holds only carrots and green beans, and say, “Not hungry?”

                9. Use any of these phrases: “Back to the grind,” “The summer went by so fast” or “One year closer to retirement.”

                8. During the seminar segment of the evening, ask a question by way of a long and rambling monologue. Repeat yourself at least twice. Get in some political views if you can.

                7. Fall asleep during the speaker’s presentation. (Actually, I kind of sympathized with this guy.)

                6. At your department meeting, ask a whole bunch of questions that don’t affect anyone else and have nothing to do with the agenda, such as, “I can’t figure out how to change the projector to Video mode.”

                5. Interrupt the meeting leader to debate the answers he is giving to questions posed by others. Tell everyone tersely that you have been working here for 23 years, and you have never heard of such a thing as a XXXXX Form, nor do you intend to use it.

                4. When you are reminding everyone of who you are and what you do, try to make it seem like you are only working here because God gave you the year off.

                3. Have very long hair. Sit in front of the starving small woman who has had nothing to eat but carrots and green beans, wearing that hair twisted up in a weird and view-blocking style style that requires 3 Goody barrettes and a big hair clip at the very top of your head. (It goes without saying that this woman will introduce herself as an ARTIST.)

                2. As the secretary, refuse to accept any documents electronically. Rather than admit that you don’t know how to print attachments, accuse others of “Not including enough information” in these attachments. Then admonish them that the department spends way too much money on copy paper and ask them to cut down if they possibly can.

                1. End the evening by announcing, with great fanfare, that everyone will receive a raise this year…… of basically $50 per week.

                  People I Wish I Didn't Know

                  I wish that, when I heard the following names, I was able to stare blankly at the person speaking. I resent that I have any personal knowledge of them at all. I wish that I had no idea whatsoever of the exploits and tribulations of the following people:

                  ~Kevin Federline
                  ~Lindsay Lohan
                  ~Paris Hilton
                  ~Paris Hilton’s dog
                  ~Tara Reid (not to be confused with Paris Hilton’s dog)
                  ~Ryan Seacrest and his Frozen Face
                  ~Bill O’Reilly
                  ~Lil’ Kim
                  ~and Jessica Simpson plus her creepy, creepy father

                  That is all for now. You may now go back to your regular activities.

                    My college girlfriends

                    There is nothing like the friends you make in college. I am fortunate in that most of my college girlfriends live in this area, and after all this time they remain my closest and dearest friends. 5 or 6 years ago, we all lived close to one another in the city. A few of us were married, but most were not. We mixed and matched roommates among ourselves, and when we went out it was often together. We saw each other all the time, we would drop by in our jammies for coffee on a Saturday, we had spats and we had fun and we spent lots and lots of time together.

                    And now– all but one of us is married (and she is engaged). Three of us have children. Emergency relationship issues that rally us together used to be, “I don’t think he’s going to call me again,” and now they are, “I am afraid I married the wrong person.” My emails to Ali are filled with recipes for homemade baby food, and when we throw parties they are for 1st and 2nd birthdays, instead of for the sole purpose of hooking up Ann and John. We have mortgages and careers and, when we got together last Wednesday night for Jane’s 30th birthday, most of us came straight from work (and left early, too– staying out until 3AM on a school night is for amateurs. BTDT.). Oh my God– we are functioning adults– when did that happen?!?!

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