Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
I didn't get health insurance or a company car or enough money to wear a fancy coffee-colored leather jacket as the hipster slave in the video below. If I was lucky I got awkward, stretched out, hand-me-downs that consisted of cheap sun dresses and lopsided J. Peterman slacks once worn for an Entertainment Tonight interview in close-up and old pancake make-up I loved like an orphan loves a stained stuffed animal. The long, luxurious grocery lists included three hundred dollar pantyhose and fifty dollar bottles of cabernet for monologue-hungry maniacs while my rent checks wobbled and my tears formed every fortnight.
Maybe if I were shlepping around L.A. picking up designer dry cleaning and purchasing overpriced baby lettuce and Lanvin leggings with the new Blackberry Personal Assistant App my life as a jet-setting janitor would have been a thousand times more cool. But I highly doubt it.
I do miss the buckets of free Bic pens and unlimited access to Post-It Notes and printer paper. Maybe they have an App for that.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Now all I need to do is dream in Black Amex.
You guys are great! Vote HERE or in the left column and yes, I am as subtle as a bear in a butcher shop!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
A recent Thursday, a long, long time ago…
I take Otto straight from school to his pediatrician’s office after the teacher tells me that Otto has complained of a side ache and a headache most of the day. It could very well be a simple case of preschool pestering and an overdose of over sharing but I take no chances and drive straight to the 90210 where I find the clean streets of Beverly Hills littered with a crunchy bunch of old people covered in gold trinkets, generic talcum powder and salacious secrets. We park and walk half a block where we stumble onto a pack of wild paparazzi waiting for someone of star fucker significance to exit the very building we are entering.
As I pass the photogs who ignored me and carry Otto to the elevator I wonder three things to myself. One, what would it be like to leave my gynecologist’s office after a particularly unpleasant Pap smear and anal exam only to be confronted by a rabid throng of telephoto-lensed lunatics vying for a picture of my unwashed hair extensions and $3000 dollar sweatpants? Two, where do I go to get the real, dead- person hair extensions that will make me a star? And three, when should I drop my first album?
We enter the office and sign in and before taking a much-needed breath I tell the receptionist that my son has a boo-boo in the belly and that there is a football huddle of hideous cameras outside and ask what the deal is. She immediately tells me that Kim Kardashian has her nails done next door as well as her yearly breast exams one floor up and that the cameras are here for her and her Buick-sized booty. I am thrilled and disappointed all at the same time. No amount of fake hair, wood glue and silly putty will make me look as famous as her or someone who should be as famous as her so I abandon my plan of a fifteen-minutes-of-fame makeover and focus on Otto’s abdominal abnormalities.
He is pushed and pulled and prodded and poked with no fever and a negative swab and the doctor says, “Eh, go home, lots of water an maybe a poop.”
I have promised Otto a new toy car for being so good and allowing a virtual stranger to stick a four foot Q-Tip down his tiny, Strepless throat. So, we walk to a nearby Rite-Aid where Otto finds a $10 Lamborghini the size of an oven mitt and I take the depressing dive into the pool of middle age by trying on a pair of reading glasses that I have been told will help me read without feeling car sick. The pair I choose reminds me of Lisa Loeb, which, in turn, reminds me of my early 90’s, high-waisted, black body-suited, flannelly youth. There is no question that these glasses will change my life for the better so I take Otto’s hand and steer him toward the cashier and my new career as four-eyed bookworm and a budding coffee house crooner.
While Otto and I stand in line waiting to over pay for our purchases, a Donna Summer doppelganger comes bouncing towards us to get in line. Screaming Studio 54 wearing over-sized, 70’s sunglasses a current day reality star would maim for and a flowing, wrap-around, see-through sundress the color of a mango, her gigantic boobs do their mammalian best to reach out to me and shake my hand with nipples as aggressive and self-assured an American car salesman in 1977.
She parks her fabulous self directly behind us and then looks at Otto as if he is an ample appetizer before the much anticipated main course.
“Oh hello there,” squeaks this disco sister, “You are soooo cute!”
Otto looks up through her cleavage, says a quick “hello” and then turns back to his new car with the cool and calm of Cary Grant at a wet bar.
Donna turns all her fabulous towards me and says, “ He is so adorable.”
“Thanks,” I reply, still fixated on the beach balls that ate Cincinnati sitting directly under her chin.
She hands me her card, which apparently she has been holding in her hand the entire time and confidently informs me, “If you ever need my services please call.”
I look down at the card, happy to finally be distracted from her double-duty décollage and read:
Dr. S. Roberts
Intensive Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Non-Intensive Treatment of Various Challenges
Learn to enjoy your SELF!
See other side
I, or course, obey the tiny, lavender-trimmed card decorated with flowers that look like Easter-inspired spermatozoa and turn it over to read:
Dr. S. Roberts* is a Registered Psychological Assistant working under the supervision of:
Dr. L. Greenland*, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Just because I am not wearing anything that Bianca Jagger or any half-descent drag queen would use as a kitchen towel AND my hair is confusingly unkept AND I am buying supremely outdated specs AND my small child is lying on his stomach on the pharmacy floor pretending to drive a tiny, $300, 000 car off an imaginary cliff, Bad Girl seems to think I am a rusty car careening out of control. But really, who is the wacko here? She is only an assistant to a head shrinker and is dressed like the twice-fired, pill-popping Pointer Sister who no one remembers and cannot possible have the authority to call out the crazy or prescribe the pills, the two most important components in the one-sided relationship of patient/doctor Doolittling.
“Well, even if they (pointing to Otto) are fine now, you need to get them young just to make sure. Or maybe just a tune-up for yourself?”
“This whole thing is so hilarious,” I say to Lady of the Night. “I could not have written this.”
But I do anyway.
(* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the truly, madly and deeply idiotic)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
How do I say this without coming across as a shrill, judgmental wack-a-do who should learn to rise above the fray and just move on up? I am not sure there is even a way so I will simply proceed and be done with it.
Last week and last month and last year I was lucky enough to be graced with the concerns of a few other parents who felt that they truly needed to express their opinions on my decision and my husband’s decision to only have one child.
LAST YEAR: A few moms standing around, one drinking a putrid diet soda, the kind with too many flavors and empty promises in a single can, the other insisting on only putting water in her “temple” and the third, wondering when she may have the time or inclination to force herself into a nearby mall and replace the pilling, stretched-out sweater she wears most days, the one that is cobbled together to look trendy and knit by hand but was, in fact, machine made in an impoverished country that favors child labor and no bathroom breaks. I am one of the three. Take a stab.
So, these ladies are standing/sitting/whatevering around and the topic of children bubbles up like a geyser on a lunch break. One mother, after waxing poetic on the joys of diapering severely red rashes or breast feeding while eating quiche or the brilliance of the CW fall line-up turns to me and says, “Are you guys planning on having another one?”
I turn back to her, and with a quiet wistfulness seeping out of my pores along with a shaky sense of clarity that seems to help in keeping me upright, I say, “We love having one and are definitely done!”
See there, I even rhyme it out old school to make light of a tough but clear decision-making process that occurred in MY family, not hers.
She then chirps back, much like a teenage song bird who has not yet realized she is hopelessly tone deaf, “Oh, don’t worry. I know a few only children who are normal.”
“You are horrible!” I say to myself.
LAST MONTH: I am in a local park with my kiddo and a virtual stranger walks toward us with a welcoming smile and an outstretched hand. This stranger stops and compliments my son with an, “Oh, he’s is so cute and what a nice boy and gee, where did you get that t-shirt for him and do you have any more children?”
I quickly evaluate the situation making sure over-friendly is not a pedo-freak or a child stealer or a proud owner of a white, slightly rusted, 1979 Ford Econo-Line van with tan interior and swivel seats or a park to park salesperson drumming up business for The Church Of Scientology’s junior division. After noticing that her shoes are far too impractical and expensive to run in, I respond in kind.
“Thanks and I do too and the shirt is from Target and we love having one and are done having kids and I like your flats.”
“Oh, no, that’s not fair. You can’t just have ONE! You have to have another one right away, bang them out and then they take care of each other!”
“So you don’t have to?” I say to myself.
LAST WEEK: I am at a party with kids and husbands and food and chaos and one parent is sitting down holding their youngest, who I have just held and given back after the parent has told me to be more careful and not to hit the baby’s head on the door jam after I gently lift the tot into the air to elicit some smiles and joy and drool and I never get close to the door jam or the ceiling or the light fixture or the sun. The control-o parent then asks me, “Are you and Dave planning on another baby soon?”
I respond with a gentle and honestly contented, “Nope. We’re done.”
Control-O’s eyes get super wide, like a house on the highway and he shoots back, “Don’t you feel sorry for your son?”
I say nothing to him and nothing to myself.
I don’t tell him how horribly rude and hurtful his words are. I don’t tell him how difficult a decision it was to have only one child and that every day I feel a little guilty and a little sad and I wonder what it would be like to have more children and a louder house and nuttier nest. I don’t say anything about the honest yet cruel choice it takes to listen to your heart and do what’s right for your entire family and to not have another child simply to satisfy what I may think the first child’s desire may or may not be or to fill some hole in a gut left empty by life’s little inequities or to prove to the world that having a large brood makes me better or stronger or richer.
I don’t tell him that having a sibling isn’t always a joyful Christmas card covered morning filled with luminous, mini-light bulb love, sweaty mugs of spiced cider and matching reindeer sweater sets. I don’t tell him that on many an afternoon I refuse to truly open my eyes to a world of out-of-control over population and excessive consumerism, a world that promotes disposable diapers as much as disposable income and a world that sells those festive sweater sets at a 300 percent mark up to the haves who can afford them and to the have nots who cannot.
I don’t tell him about the guilt-ridden rush I feel after I fill my bright, red Target cart up to the brim with shiny, colorful detritus that will eventually choke an ocean and crush a critter. And I most certainly do not tell him that I will absolutely purchase the entire cart of “very necessary, life-enhancing” items regardless of my guilt and hope that my aggressive recycling habits are enough of a contribution to the solution.
I don’t tell him that I sometimes take in a good, deep, dark breath of the dirty air that we have given our children and our children’s children by supporting a rape and pillage economy that has devastated our planet and cut us off from the reality of what buying in excess and eating in excess and killing in excess really does to a world that refuses to hear the words, “Take what you need and then take no more.”
Nope, I just grabbed a few candy corns from the lead-filled, crystal candy dish and told him how crazy I was about my one, single kid and about a park he would really like and a mom I thought he should meet.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Maybe I am coming down a bit too hard from a cheap sugar high, post-Halloween blues attack. Maybe all those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and parental worry made me hung over and grouchy this lovely November morn. Maybe having to stand by as older kids jostled for space and shoved my small, lovely Astronaut Space Man into the hedges just to get a better grab at the middle-aged baffoonatics passing out candy dressed as their favorite characters from Beetlejuice forced my mood to capsize like a dingy in a perfect storm. Maybe this mother bear woke up on the wrong side of the cave and plans on a good, malicious mauling if her bear cub is ever again treated like the three-legged runt of the litter by the other bear cubs that prefer rude ramblings instead of rugged respect. Maybe a Baby Ruth, a Butterfinger and Benadryl do not a merry prankster make.
Or maybe I am nostalgic for the simpler times when pals were pals for life, the only real worry came from what kind of candy you got, not what might be in the candy and the costume was second to the fun you had. I used to love Halloween even if my costumes were always supremely lame in intention as well as execution. Back then one could depend only on themselves or someone in their immediate family to turn them into a special someone else using nothing more than old button thread, yellowed Elmer’s glue and raw enthusiasm.
Nowadays a quick trip to the party store gets you a full-fledged outfit fit for a foxy feline or a polyester princess, a mass of itchy, toxic, flammable, authentically Chinese material cobbled together under duress for a mere fifty dollars and a smile. But where is the soul? Where is the proof of the blood, sweat and torrent of tears over the crass, cross-stitching and colossal mishaps of the costumes of Halloweens past? Where is the milquetoast mistakes and lop-sided love of a rancid Raggedy Ann or a mutant Marilyn Monroe? Where is the long, lost love for the five-minute, thrown together look of a wino on roller skates or a whore in high-heels?
No, I didn’t dress up this year because, like so many Halloweens before, I didn’t get my shit together in time. I used my limited mental energy to make sure Otto had two options he loved and a cool trick or treat bag in which to hold his candy bar collection. I didn’t have the guts to throw something together at the last second and own it like a ten year-old truck at a tailgate party. I wore my favorite black pants, a black vest, a perpetual look of un-costumed shame and the hardened exterior of a motherly bodyguard protecting her charge from crappy kids and mean meanies.
But next year, if all else fails and I find myself too busy to make an ironic, Sarah Palin costume made up of an old, Ann Taylor business suit with Alaskan King Crab legs staple-gunned to the shoulder pads and lapels, A.K.A. Alaskan Queen Crab, or collect all my bikini wax trimmings from the entire year and painstakingly glue-gun them onto a full-length, brown body stocking and go as Snookie’s inner thigh, I will dig into the early 90’s winter wear storage box in our garage and pull on an old, white, L.L.Bean turtle neck and even older, less-white pair of Danskin, aerobic tights. Then, looking like a life-sized tampon I will reach under the kitchen sink for a huge 40-gallon Hefty bag and a piece of cardboard from the recycling bin and after spending a long, trying five minutes of finger painting, I will hang the cardboard sign on my neck using trice-used Christmas ribbon and I will proudly and unapologetically, walk out the front door as real, honest to goodness, homemade WHITE TRASH.