To Watch Him Love

I went through a year of horrendous online dating before I met the man who became my husband. I wasn’t exactly a poster girl for the most eligible bachelorette, but none of my hold-ups were much excuse for the sort of men I met. I was 24 years old and a full time student. I worked part time, lived with my parents, was divorced, and had two children under the age of five. I’m not an unattractive woman, but men weren’t exactly beating down my door to date me. More so, I knew that I needed a companion, not just a boyfriend.

I couldn’t seem to even meet a normal, down to earth man. Things became enough of a joke around the house that my mother would sit up at night and wait for me to get home, collapse on her bed and giggle while sharing all the terrible details of my odd nights out.

There was the man who was allergic to everything. I gave him an innocent kiss after our date, forgetting that I had eaten a piece of chicken, and almost killed him.

Then there was the guy who asked me to hold his belt while in the mall so I wouldn’t get lost.

The man who took the menu out of my hand and ordered food for me like I was three.

The guy who took me to a movie and proceeded to move down to the front row where there was only one open seat to “see better,” leaving me alone.

The man who figured out where I worked and spent an hour walking around the store trying out different women’s lotions before finally admitting he was one of the men I had denied a date request from on an online site.

The guy who took me shopping and then proceeded to tell me how I should dress.

The gentleman who stripped naked in his parent’s living room while I used their restroom.

The dude who attempted to suffocate me on my parent’s couch.

By the time I got around to talking to Mak, I was pretty wary of dates. A whole year of these kinds of dates will do that to a woman. I had a whole safety set-up – complete with emergency friend phone calls lined up and pepper spray.

Mak invited me over for dinner. I had such a good time that I ended up coming home and looking him up on Google and the case search program to see if he had some shady criminal past hiding. There had to be something wrong, considering my past history with online dating. He had a speeding ticket. That was it. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The next morning we had a quick conversation.

“I’m not really interested in playing around,” he said. “I like you. Let’s make this serious.”

If any other man I’d gone on a date with had said that to me I’d have gone running for the hills.

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t know why. I’d hate to chalk it up to some sort of fate thing, but maybe part of me knew he wasn’t a psycho killer. Maybe there was some deeper connection. Maybe I was just really brave.

Within a few weeks he had met my children and included them in our outings.

541497_397525856932511_2036391058_nA few months later was Easter and I was scrawling ‘I love you’ onto an egg and hiding it in the fridge.

“Go get the orange egg out of the fridge,” I told him.

He got up and I heard the fridge door open. After a moment it closed again and he came back to the couch.

Silence.

“Well…” I started.

“Well what?” He asked.

“What did you think?” I asked. It was the first time I’d attempted to tell the man I loved him and he was being completely stubborn about the whole thing.

“It’s cute,” he said.

“And…” I lead him.

“I love you, too,” he said. “You know that.”

By the end of the year he had moved in. We were blessed in our relationship. There hadn’t been many of the big challenging moments. His father passed a few weeks before our wedding, but it was expected, and while we mourned it hadn’t surprised us. Their relationship had been so strained, for so long. It was the first time though that I ever saw him cry – a moment that I think is imprinted in my memory. There is something about seeing a strong man mourn, something heartbreaking and frightening and so real it hurts that one simply doesn’t forget it.

I remember standing by his father’s bed. He sat in a chair across the room from me. I went to him, but he didn’t reach for me. I stepped back – gave him space. I didn’t know how to handle his grief. He took a few moments to himself and I watched him. I watched the years, the pain, the neglect from that relationship wash away. For those few moments there was love.

There hadn’t been many of those bring-you-to-your-knees moments. We didn’t even really fight or argue. We were thankful to have found a companion in one another that shared a similar sense of humor. Laughter got us through any time things seemed to be getting dark.

He stepped into the role of father as if it were all he’d ever known. It was never a look-at-me exercise, but came naturally. There was a gaping hole in our little family25248_108453875839712_7044406_n and he saw it, stepped into it, and never looked back. It was in the quiet way he made that transition that still never fails to amaze me.

He has a silent strength in him. A code of ethics that can’t be argued or even discussed. They simply are.

Perhaps it’s because of his quiet nature that people find him intimidating. Combining that with the sleeves of tattoos and long dark hair, it’s quite understandable. However, anyone watching him drink tea from a tiny porcelain cup with my daughter would realize how wrong they are.

Four years after that first date and I was talking to my brother in California, planning his trip home to visit.

“When is he coming home?” Mak asked.

“The end of June,” I said.

“Good,” he said. “We’ll get married then.”

Proposal. Date set. End of discussion.

I had a month to get everything planned and ready.

I love you, too. You know that.

After our wedding we decided to have a baby. A few short months later and I was excitedly waving those little pink lines around in the air. We were so excited we told everyone.

We were at his mother’s for a belated Thanksgiving dinner when I started miscarrying. My husband had the kids in the car while I stood white knuckled on the phone with the emergency room and watched my father-in-law toss the kids’ toys into their book bags. Hours and many tests later the doctor gave us the news.

“There’s no heartbeat.”

I’d known when I saw her face. I’d been crying since she came into the room. I looked across the room at my husband. I expected him to get up, to come to me. The doctor left and he still sat there for a few moments. In that space between us I watched him break, hit his emotional knees, mourn, and grieve. I watched him as he cared for himself and then he came to me. He put himself behind and cared for me.

For the following days he held me while I cried and found whatever ways he could to make me smile. We found laughter in the darkest moments. We suffered. We healed.

We spent months talking back and forth about whether or not to try again. The entire process had frightened him so badly. I learned to appreciate what pregnancy can do to a man. It’s a terrifying situation, especially for one who tends to like to be in control of things. There is no control with pregnancy.

He couldn’t see what was happening inside my body.

He couldn’t control what was happening.

He couldn’t stop me from being in pain, from hurting.

All he could do was be there and hope that I would heal.

“I’m not sure we should try again,” Mak said.

We were lying in bed, the lights off and waiting for one or both of us to become too tired to keep talking.

481829_525481010803661_775093643_n“We’ve got a girl and a boy,” he started. “You know? Maybe that’s enough.”

“You don’t want one of your own?” I asked.

“They are my own,” he said.

A few nights later we were repeating this whole thing again. It was like a record skipping, playing backwards, flinging all over the place. I never knew where we’d end up.

“We could try again,” he said.

“We’re not doing anything to stop it from happening,” I answered.

“If it does, it does,” he’d agree.

Three months of this back and forth indecision plagued us.

Finally he said, “I don’t think we should try again.”

“I’m pregnant,” I said.

We collapsed against one another laughing. For weeks we were quiet. We were so careful not to tell people too early. We went to each appointment with our heart in our throats. Every test was a negative, dangerous thing. Every symptom I had was cause to worry. We struggled to find joy.

Mak kept warning me not to get my hopes up.

I kept countering that he needed to not think so negatively.

We flew past each other, both of us on separate ends of our own emotional roller-coasters.

“Are you happy about the baby?” I finally asked him.

“Of course,” he said. “You know that.”

I love you, too. You know that.

I am five months pregnant today. A few weeks ago we went to the doctor and we got to hear the heartbeat. The tiny whomp whomp whomp sound filled the room. I was942205_603602919658136_1585711832_n laid back on the bed watching my husband. He didn’t stand up and come to me. For a few moments, he sat there and smiled. I watched him in this moment of joy and excitement and relief. I watched him take that moment for himself and then he came to me.

He kisses me every morning before he leaves for work. He tells me he loves me before we fall asleep. He doesn’t have to say that he loves me. I know he does. All I need are those few moments, where there is space between us and I have the chance to really see my husband. It is in those moments that I get to watch him love.

Mutant Babies and Free Stuff

Yesterday I had an appointment with the doctor for an ultrasound and blood work and all those wonderful things.

 

Yeah…it basically went like that.

babyBy the end of it though, we got to see baby and find out that everything looks good. Baby is healthy and active and looking just right for 12 weeks.

I showed the husband the pictures and he laughed and said it still looks like a mutant. I told him that he wouldn’t be very pretty stuck in water for that long either.

Silly man.

In his defense, the 3D images of the baby were relatively frightening (hence why I am not posting them). Baby will be beautiful…in a few more months when it gets here and we can dry it off and dress it and such things.

What?

You want me to be one of those women who “Ooo” and “Aahh” over little grey film of something I still need help deciphering as to what part is what of this amazingly ever-changing little being?

That’s not me.

I’m not even the happy pregnant type.

I’m the…give me my baby and let me get on with the mommy thing type.

It drives me nuts to keep saying “baby.”

I’m ready to say a name. And we’ve got names picked out. So let’s have some fun with this, since I can’t find out for six more weeks if this is a baby Lily or a baby Tommy.

I want you to guess!

Leave your guess in the comments below and in six more weeks all those who guessed right will win a free ebook copy of my newest book, Perjury.

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The Curse of the BFF

This is my very first time writing a guest post. Also, I am PMSing like a rage monster. (But I’m still cuter than Edward Norton, Eric Bana and Mark Ruffalo combined.)

*whewf* Now that THAT’S out of the way…

I feel the need to say that I love friendship.

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I’m super cheesy that way. Finding — and then subsequently hanging out with — people that make you feel like you’re not the only weirdo on the planet is cash money. Men and Women in Community instead of Competition is powerful. As long as your common denominator isn’t bullying other people or loving the Biebs, then FRIENDSHIP HO!

However, I have a problem with the title “BFF,” Best Friends Forever. I see it all over the place, mostly amongst 13 year olds whose feelings about anything last approximately 2 weeks.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but being a good friend is a marathon. Not just a wedding, but a marriage. You have to be IN IT TO WIN IT, and you can’t be the only one in the relationship who feels that way, you darling little Golden Retriever of Loyalty, you!

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If you ARE, then you have no cash money. You have slavery. And, chances are, they like it.

And if you’re under the title of BFF with that person from the time you’re pre-pubescent, it’s way easier to lie and rationalize yourself into adulthood about who they really are.

bffOn the scale of Best Friends Forever, from You Make Me Happy To Be Alive to  BFF? All You Do Is Make Me Say “EFF EFF EFF”, I’ve had them all.

I’ve learned that sometimes people are assbutts, and sometimes I’m an assbutt, and sometimes you realize that what you wanted in a BFF at 13 is not what you want at 25.

People change, and I’ve found that women change a LOT in particular. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But ladies, let’s be honest, sometimes it is.

How can we make it better? How can we be a true BFF that stands the test of time? I mean, I get it, not everybody is meant to be BFFs. There are levels of friendship that start at acquaintance and work their way into depth.

But we can still be nice about it.

Here are some Valuable Lessons Life Has Taught Me Like The Heartless Bitch She (Sometimes) Is.

1. Don’t Hold Grudges

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No matter the amount of time you have been friends, one of you is going to mess up eventually. Don’t be surprised or shocked, because, friend, I just gave you the heads up.

If they say they’re sorry, forgive them and move on.

If they DON’T say they’re sorry, you should probably still forgive them and move on because you deserve more than to be held captive by bitterness. **However, if they have a habit of not apologizing even when they know they’ve effed up, consider that this might not be the best quality in a BFF**

And if they’ve said they are sorry, and you’ve said that you forgive them but you haven’t really cause you never know when you might need to bring it up at some distant point in the future to make them feel bad, then guess who is the naughty BFF? YOU, sweetie. DON’T BE A GRAVE DIGGER.

2.  Be There For the Big and Little Stuff

As much as you possibly can.

Some friends are only interested in drama. Unless you’ve got something BIG going down, talk to somebody else. Their shoes are like “What extra mile?”

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Excuse me. Being there for someone means that even if their little story about the nightmare they had 3 days ago is boring you to tears, you’re gonna listen. You’re gonna put your arm around them and say, “That sucks. Good thing dreams aren’t real.”

THAT will get you much further than THIS.

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Big stuff is important too. Engagements, weddings, babies, funerals, break-ups, the list goes on. I’ve done my best to be present at every single one of those events in my friend’s lives. It matters to me.

Dear friends traveled from all over North America to be a part of my wedding, but one of them who couldn’t be there is still mad and won’t talk to me because I got married anyway. Apparently, I forgot that that day was about her. Don’t be her.

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3. Don’t Let Your Personality Burn Bridges

I’m weird. I’m an extrovert who thrives on people but still needs alone time every once in awhile. I have friends who are like that as well — I also have friends who just never. get. tired. of. partying.

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and others who only want to see me in their computer.

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At first, I thought introverts hated me, but now that I’ve matured *a little* I see that it’s not about ME, and it takes all kinds of kinds to make a world.

That being said, can I make a suggestion?

a.) If you are painfully shy or introverted but you love your friends, please try to tell them or show them in some way, at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be face to face. It doesn’t have to be a big long speech. Just let them know you care, because they can’t read your mind and you wouldn’t want that anyway. I know it can be really exhausting talking to people, but a little really will go a long way.

b.) Likewise, extroverts? Be cool, dayum. I know you’re a social butterfly and you gotta flap those wings and BE FREE GIRL, but ya know what is also cool? Making rooted, lasting connections with fewer people. Remembering them. Being intentional and meaningful rather than being perceived as flaky and superficial.

4.  Chicks Before Dicks

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New love. We know how spine-tingly, tummy-full-of-butterflies, and full-abandoney that makes us. It is so easy to jump with both feet into a new relationship, where you’re so consumed with each other that this other person is the only one that matters and how did you ever live without them before?

(I probably shouldn’t only say “chicks before dicks” when referring to relationships; I know that there’s more to the relationship spectrum that just guy/girl. It just sounded clever, aight?)

Either way, it’s not cool to abandon your group of friends for months at a time while you surrender to a haze of Eat, Significant Other, Sleep (?), Repeat. It’s healthy to maintain all of your relationships with balance. What happens if you break up? (OMG, I’m TOTALLY NOT SAYING you would EVER) You think you can just saunter back in on your friends’ lives as though you didn’t just ignore every phone call, text and email they sent you over the past 6 months? It’s shallow and selfish to assume that they will just pick up where you left off.

Or maybe your Love is Eternal and you’ll be together for 50 years until you die.

At some point, you’re still gonna need some friends.

5. Do The Elsa and Let It Go

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If you find yourself in a relationship where you’re being forgotten, undermined, gossiped about, mistreated, given the run-around, and ignored — it’s time to cut ties and say goodbye.

It’s gonna feel like a break-up AKA suckage to the max. Tears, stress-eating and thinking of them every time you hear what was once your favorite song.

I know. I’m in the middle of a break-up right now. I lost a decade-long friend 2 years ago, and occasionally, I’m still tortured by memories of her in dreams AND waking. We had *some* good times, mostly when she was single. But even then, she always had to be better and prettier and more noticed than me. She was rarely honest with me about her true feelings, so I was always left guessing.

After the debacle of her not being able to come to, or be in, my wedding (Her exact words were, “Maybe one day I’ll be able to forgive you.”), the camel’s back was broken. I decided I deserved better, and I let her go. Just quietly; there was no big argument or fallout, only silence.

She’s basically my source for this entire post.

If you’ve had a shitty friend, I’m sorry. You deserve better, and Better Will Come.

If you’ve been a shitty friend, I’m sorry for that too, and it’s not too late to change.

I think the problem can be boiled down to two opposing sides of the attitude spectrum.

“I’m better than everyone”……………………………………………….”Everyone is better than me.”

If you join ranks with someone because their life is “sad” enough that they make you feel better about yourself, it’s not going to last.

If you join ranks with someone because you’re jealous of how amazing they are, and you can’t stop comparing yourself to them so you only get close just to be able to imitate them, it’s not going to last.

The root of both of those philosophies is that you really think it’s all about you.

And friendship can’t survive when you’re just looking out for Number One.

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Why don’t we commit to: celebrating the successes of our friends, recognizing that comparison is the thief of joy, and to loving others the way that we love ourselves?

Other women may have put me down and held me back, but I will not continue the cycle because all they did was teach me what not to do.

If enough of us do this, then maybe the BFF can be redeemed.

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Told ya I was cheesy.

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHola! I’m Carly Butler Hutton, or rather, Button. I’m a birth doula, cupcake maker, ex-illegal immigrant, and I’m the newest cool person you know. Gimme a shout, eh? 🙂 Carly Hutton blogs over at Growing Butterfly, tweets @carlymbutton, Instagrams @carlymbutton and Facebooks as “Carly Button Loves.”

31 Reasons Why

I promise we’ll be getting back to the Five Truths and a Lie game and that I will finish what I started and the lie will be revealed.

But today is a special day.

And so I must celebrate.

Today is the husband’s 31st birthday.

I will celebrate.

I will celebrate because it is an odd number, and we all know how I feel about those.

I will celebrate because he is officially in his 30’s and I am still, hahahaha, in my 20’s. Late 20’s. Almost 30’s. But not 30’s.

I will celebrate because like a small child he wants a confetti cake with confetti icing and that crap is too sweet for even me, so I won’t gain a pound from this cake, because it is one cake I don’t want to eat.

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Hun…can we please grow up beyond confetti cake? Please.

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And so, because I love him and because it is an odd number and I like odd numbered lists, I am giving him, and also you, the 31 Reasons Why I Love the Husband Today.

Why just today? Why not every day? Because every day brings new reasons. And because sometimes, what I loved yesterday…annoys the crap out of me today. Let’s be honest.

31 Reasons Why I Love You Today

1. Last night you made me watch Alien (for the first time) and when the creepy facehugger thing popped onto that guy’s mask and turned him into a living incubator…you crawled a hand across my face and almost made me piss myself.

This is not okay.
This is not okay.

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2. This morning we were working with our son to teach him math. When he got an answer wrong, you comforted him by saying, “It’s okay. Mommy didn’t know it either.”

3. We have a very real communication problem: our understanding of what the act of wearing shorts means. I put on shorts because I am hot and want to sleep comfortably. Because I put on shorts, you believe I am saying, “I’m obviously horny and want sex.”

4. Texas Roadhouse posted pictures of their rolls this morning on twitter. When I complained that it wasn’t fair to torture us, and they aren’t even open yet, you said, “Well, if you’d just figure out the recipe already it wouldn’t be such a big deal.”

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5. I’ve been working on a master plan to get your mother’s apple cake recipe. You concocted one of your own: Asking her for it.

6. When you are sleeping and I climb into bed next to you, you perform the most loving of actions. You roll over, put me into a headlock and growl. It may be the adrenaline pumping in an effort to keep me from realizing I’m suffocating, but those romantic moments make bedtime so special.

7. Last night you explained Predator to me. Your face like up like a little boy and I realized you were having your Dorkraki moment. Go ahead. Tease me again.

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8. When the Family Guy episode came on where Brian does mushrooms, you looked at me and said, “Is it really like that?”

*Side note: I never once….I repeat…never once did mushrooms. Thank you.

9. I explained the moment of conception through battle terms and compared your sperm to a horde of Zerglings.

10. You’ve never read my blog.

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11. When you are playing your games you mumble phrases like, “Death is my bitch” or “My mind is full of bacon”.

12. You’ve also never read my books.

13. I once asked you to read to our son and he brought you Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? You shot me a glare after every page.

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14. I was lying next to you when you grumbled, “Shit. You whore.” I knew there was a Banshee on the screen and gave you a comforting pat on the back.

15. You know I am ticklish and so put a finger into my armpit and tell me not to laugh or you’ll tickle me. This is an impossible request. You jerk.

16. You tell me to shut up during sex.

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17. You have never once questioned the fact that I am submissive with you…even when I go all fembot on someone else.

18. “The foot is down” has become your catch phrase. If you were a superhero you would say it whenever you entered a fight.

19. You were right about Batman…and Ghostrider…and you fooled me into thinking you’d let them watch Predator, but you knew better.

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20. You take a relatively difficult concept and break it down in seconds. I try to explain Global Warming to someone, you say: “Basically there’s this shit called ozone that protects us and we are some trashy motherfuckers, so now the place is a wreck and the temperature is going to get all whacked out until we all die in a fiery VolNadoCane of Doom.”

21. You voted this year.

22. You voted the same as me this year.

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23. You still ask me to play video games with you. Even though I can’t aim. Or walk and shoot at the same time. Or actually hit anything. Or not die.

24. You showed me how to buy dye so my character could be color coordinated in Diablo.

25. You buy me rubber duckies. Therefore my addiction is your fault.

He gave me this one for Christmas.
He gave me this one for Christmas.

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26. You buy me shoes. A lot.

27. I told you I was going on a diet and you looked at my thighs and butt and said, “If those go away, I go away.”

28. Your hair is prettier than mine.

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29. When people come up and say to you, “Your children are beautiful” and you say, “Thanks” while I’m staring back and forth between your awesome tan and my children’s veins shining through their oober pale skin. Whaaaa?

30. You were smart enough to marry a good lady when you found one. Yep. Smart man.

31. Yesterday, I read our son that lovey dovey book that makes him smile and makes you tease him. So I’ll give you the killer line:

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Life Hacks for My Daughter

I was sitting here thinking today about all the things I wanted to make sure I tell my daughter at some point. I’m not talking the ooie-gooey things like, “I love you” or “You’re beautiful”. I’m talking the real, down and dirty tricks that I’ve picked up over the years.

***WARNING***

This post may be full of generalizations, profanity, and of course sex. We’ll rate it “R” for Ridiculously Awesome.

1. Ignore every commercial you see for those fancy women’s razors. Skip that department completely and go straight for the men’s. Regardless of what they say, men’s razors always work better.

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Also, it is perfectly acceptable to go without shaving your legs, as long as you are wearing pants and/or the hair is short enough to not poke through your pantyhose.

2. Speaking of pantyhose…it will never be comfortable. Ever. You can save yourself a bit of pain and buy one size up from what the little box-from-hell says you need. Doing this will not, however, pull in nice and tight all the areas you may be wanting nice and tight. For that, you’re going to need Spanx.

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No need to be afraid. Spanx are basically like packing your own sausage.

3. Oh yes, home-made sausage and fresh pasta and God only know what else his mother makes that you never quite manage to get right. Give up. Give up now. He will always compare your cooking to his mother’s, and she will win in almost every category. There is something inside a man’s head that makes him nostalgic for the meals he had growing up (even if his mother could barely manage Kraft in the blue box). There are ways to combat the feelings of anger this will cause you.

– Do not ask for your mother-in-law’s recipes, or to teach you how to make a certain dish. In fact, compliment her always on her food (Wine helps). This will do two things: irritate her and confuse the balance that she expects to be in place.

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– Take comfort in knowing that if you have a son, somewhere out there is a woman who will feel exactly like you when your son says, “It’s not like my mother’s makes”.

– Offer to house-sit for your in-laws and have sex with your husband in their kitchen. Then when you are over for dinner, just think back on that experience and smile. (Pass the wine.)

4. Instead of worrying about his mother’s cooking, focus on learning one meal really well. I’m talking entree, at least two sides, salad, soup, bread, and desert. Master that meal. Work at it until it is perfect. This will be your go-to meal. Your company is coming over meal. Your his mother is visiting meal. Your time to give the husband the credit card statement meal.

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5. Learn to walk in heels. Go out and buy six inch stiletto platform hooker shoes. Put them on and walk on them until you have nailed those monsters. This way you will be prepared for whenever the husband (or anyone else) gives you a pair of heels. If you can master those, you can handle any, and are therefore less likely to spend weeks walking around in your new gift like a drunken flamingo.

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6. Your children will hit an age where they practically become a parrot. And like any wild animal, you either muzzle them or toss food bits at them until they shut up.

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7. Your body is your own, guard it. Until you have children, then anything you might be delirious enough to believe is still yours, isn’t.

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8. At some point, someone in your life is going to offer you drugs. There are certain steps I want you to take before you accept them.

– Look at the person giving them to you…very carefully. Pay attention to detail here.

– Imagine yourself having sex with them in the next hour.

– Imagine your having sex with them without protection.

– Imagine getting pregnant with them.

– Imagine them 50, balding, and changing the diaper of your sixth child on the ripped couch in your trailer, while the rest of your kids are in the backyard shooting BB guns and attempting to tie each other up with duct tape. Oh, and you’re in a floral moo-moo.

– Turn around and walk away very quickly.

* The same applies to alcohol in excess. Except when you grow up. Then flip the image and imagine all your housework. Drink wine until the image disappears.

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9. Finally, before you ever consider some life-long venture with a man, consider these things:

– Sex sucks the first time.

– Sex sometimes sucks the first couple of times. There’s a reason one-night stands normally stay that way. It takes a bit of time to actually learn one another well enough to have amazing sex.

– That didn’t apply to your father and I…and yes, we were a one-night stand turned marriage.

– Your father and I are NOT the role model in this situation.

– All the sex stuff aside, if they aren’t the kind of man you’d want to introduce to your father…best to just let that one go.

– If they don’t treat you the way you see your father treat me, run.

– If they put their hands on you, experience tells me crock-pots can be dangerous as hell. Make your way to a kitchen and it’ll be like running into the Matrix armory.

– If they cheat on you, they will do it again. If you’re the girl they cheated on someone with, they’ll cheat on you, too.

– If their pants sag, I WILL make them a soprano for life. You’ve been warned.

Most importantly…

– If you can’t laugh with them, lose them.

– If you can’t laugh at them, trip them 😀

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And finally, let me just say…

You are not allowed to look at your body and say, “I don’t like -insert body part here-“.

I made that.

With my body.

made that.

You don’t get to not like it.

Love you.

Back ‘Er Up

A few months ago, the husband and I went through a terrible loss. After multiple trips to the doctor and finally getting the green light for some quality time of the midnight-everyone-is-sleeping-we-still-have-to-be-quiet variety, I took the doc’s advice and went out and bought spermicide.

Let me just interject here and say that we are obviously two people who are simply not meant to use any form of contraceptive except implanted birth controls. Truly, our brains are simply not wired for this stuff.

But the doc said no baby making for two months, so we wanted to get in some practice before we catch that next green light. It was sort of like a Christmas present. Insert spermicide.

Literally.

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I read the instructions and proceeded to remove the applicator and try to fill that thing with the gel stuff. It was like packing my own tampon. I finally called in the reinforcements, which is when we realized that the applicator doesn’t come together in the way it is supposed to be used. You have to take it apart. Switch it around.

After I’d already filled the plunger part halfway with gel.

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Yay. Let’s make a mess.

Finally, between the two of us, we managed to get the thing filled and then I continued with my instruction reading:

It is best to lay on your back, with your knees bent to insert.

Of course I read this out loud. Which is about when I get laughter and this from the husband:

Head down. Arms in. Knees apart.

I mean, as if the romance wasn’t already flowing at this point, now we were collapsed into fits of laughter that made it impossible for me to even attempt to insert this thing. There’s nothing so hot as watching a chick on her back, knees apart, clutching a syringe-looking thing of spermicide while she is laughing uncontrollably, eyes-watering and make-up running.

Hot stuff.

Insert as far as is comfortable.

Gotcha. So I did, let out a loud ouch, and got:

That’s not comfortable. Back ‘er up.

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At this point I was giving serious consideration to slapping him into the moment. I mean, as if this whole thing weren’t stressful hilarious enough, he has to jump in with his little comments. I kept thinking about my mother telling me her horror stories using this stuff. She and my father tried it one time…

By the way, these are the kinds of conversations that put your children in need of therapy. Just saying.

…and my father had some sort of reaction. He supposedly jumped up and ran off with his necessary love-making parts on fire. They obviously didn’t use spermicide again, and we were left with an ungodly amount of fear.

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Yes. Let’s add liquid fire in here. Not like it’s sensitive or anything. This should be fun.

So, we finally get everything in where it is supposed to be and I read the rest of the instructions.

Product is active immediately after use and for up to one hour.

Crap, we only got an hour! We gotta go! Hurry up! C’mon!   -Me

That’s really romantic.

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I won’t fill you in on the rest of the messy details…except to say that at the end of the this tale, we didn’t get our happily ever after.

We got towels and attempted to wipe clean every surface of our bodies.

It just screams “Sexy”, doesn’t it?

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White Shoulders

tradewithtonyThis morning my children are dressed in their Christmas best.

They are ready for Sunday School and in all the hectic chaos of such mornings, my son asked for cologne.

So, I ran into the room, apologized to the sleeping bear that is the husband and grabbed his cologne, patting it on my fingers and dabbing the smelly stuff on my son’s pale little neck.

My daughter wanted smelly stuff, too.

My mother went and got perfume and it hit me, the second she lifted the cap on the bottle.

Even over the smell of the Polo on my fingers, I could smell the White Shoulders, tears filled my eyes, and for a moment I skipped back.

*This is a piece from my first book, Wake Up a Woman.

White Shoulders

White Shoulders

Have you ever noticed that there are places in this world that at certain times, and this is only every once in a while, time skips? It’s like life is a record player, and in our little record are a few cracks. Oh they are nothing major, and the music still comes through, but at times, just certain times, the needle catches. It pauses there, and the music stops. Then, within seconds, it jumps over the crack and starts anew. Who knows how long those seconds are? I mean, what does time mean to God? An eternity for us is but a blink of the eye to Him.

Of course by this point my grandmother had stopped my explanation of cracks and records skipping. She had one of the sighs, the kind that let me know she was ready to come out of her silence. We were sitting there on that park bench, the kind with the curved metal back, that looks uncomfortable, but you end up melded right into it like you belong with the scrolls and dips and dives. Leaves floated around us in the colors of flaming ash, all reds, oranges and yellows. My Grandmother’s cape was red. Not the red of the leaves, or a sunset over tired skies. No, her cape was the color of a fire engine. As if she should be putting out all those little flames that fell around us, and she could have too. She’d been putting out fires all of my life.

“Now stop this nonsense, and tell me what’s really going on.”

Her voice was one of soft strength, and as she spoke, one small, wrinkled, beautiful hand slipped out from under that cape and grasped mine. I couldn’t just settle for her hand though, and instead I curled myself into her, like I’d done since I was a child. My grandmother was no twig of a woman. She was the kind of woman you hugged and instead of being afraid you might break her, you knew she was the one holding you together. She was comfortable, and as I hugged her the scent of White Shoulders chased away everything else.

It was easier to talk now, so I told her of school and how well it was going. I talked about my professors and how much support they have given me in my writing. I spoke of work and the fun I have with the girls there in our efforts to make everyone fall as much in love with their writer’s voice, as we are. I told her of my children, and how we made gingerbread cookies, even though it wasn’t nearly Christmas yet, simply because the kids wanted to cut out cookie shapes. She laughed at that, and reminded me of her old recipe for cookies, one my mother and I don’t make nearly enough.

“Remember you have to roll them flat. Real flat. You want them really thin. Your mother and you never quite get them thin enough.”

And she was right, we didn’t. My mother and I didn’t come ingrained with that same ever-flowing font of patience that my grandmother had, and is. We’d get that cookie dough as flat as we felt like, even though we could hear her in our mind saying that they weren’t ready yet, and roll them flatter. I started to laugh then, and she laughed along with me, the sound filling the empty silence around us. It rose and fell over us, slowly twinkling out, stuck on the breeze and drifting away.

I sat there on that bench and turned to the empty place beside me. My fingers brushed the dead, brown leaves from the seat. Music played again, sweeping through the trees and shaking everything up at the roots, and the world spun around. I laughed again, loud enough to drown out the music. It was laughter laced with tears, and they fell and darkened the wood where my grandmother had sat.

“I miss you Mommom, so much.”

Perhaps I’ll stay here for a bit. Perhaps I’ll make this my home for a time. What is time anyway? It may only be another breath, another heartbeat, and the needle will catch again, and silence will fill a world scented by White Shoulders.

12 Days of WTF

On the first day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

An Uncle with progressing dementia

He has a good sense of humor. We laugh about it.
He has a good sense of humor. We laugh about it.

On the second day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

This. Is. Grandma. I mean, not the picture, but the description. She would totally do this.
This. Is. Grandma. I mean, not the picture, but the description. She would totally do this, but with a few eff bombs dropped in for good measure.

And an Uncle who doesn’t remember today is Monday, not Sunday…no church.

On the third day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Three more things I forgot to wrap last night

imagesTwo loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who just lost his pants again.

On the fourth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Two kids to get ready for school plus two packs of brownies to bake at 6:30 in the morning

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Three presents staring at me like, ‘Whatcha waiting for?’

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who poured three different cups of coffee so far.

On the fifth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Five rooms that need to be cleaned yesterday

downloadTwo kids plus two packs of brownies that are in the oven but are STILL not done

Three presents that may get rolled in tissue paper

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who just said, “Who’s that?” when my son ran by.

One the sixth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

A six foot tall pile of paperwork I haven’t filed all year

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Five rooms to be cleaned and I should start with the fridge and whatever that stain is

Two kids plus two packs of brownies that are finally done but I have no plate to send them in on

Three presents that might just get tossed in the box, ’cause Santa doesn’t wrap, does he?

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who claims to know the men in the Tandy catalog.

On the seventh day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Seven more minutes until its time to take the kids to the bus stop

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A six foot tall pile of paperwork that would make good kindling

Five rooms I might clean tomorrow

Two kids plus two packs of brownies that are going in this pan and I’ll just hope someone returns it

Three presents I got to take the tags off of

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who is wasting all my precious coffee…

On the eighth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Eight hours to get this grimy pair of bibs washed for the husband

download (3)Seven more…no five more minutes until the children get on the bus and out of my hair

A six foot tall pile of paperwork that makes me think we should save more trees and not send this crap home

Five rooms that aren’t getting done this week. Maybe next week

Two kids plus two packs of brownies that I’ve got to figure out how to cut nicely into 26 pieces

Three presents and one’s for a dog so I so don’t have to wrap that

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who just made a record of times to go in and out of a house in under five minutes.

On the ninth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Nine more hours to go until the husband wakes up and has to run off to work eight days straight

'Cept there's no tie involved in his work...more like hard hats and cranes and stuff.
‘Cept there’s no tie involved in his work…more like hard hats and cranes and stuff.

Eight hours to try to remove…What is that?…off his bibs

Seven minutes…no now it’s ten minutes of freezing outside while the bus doesn’t come

A six foot tall pile of paperwork that I’m thinking of turning into origami

Five rooms that if I just get the living room and bathroom done, no one will notice the others

Two kids plus two pans of brownies that I’m going to have to drive to the school…and I should get out of my sweatpants for this

Three presents I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing with, ’cause it’s almost time to box and ship them

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who is hiding things in his truck again.

On the tenth day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Ten times of hearing the Kid’s Bop Shuffle

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Nine hours until grumpy gets up and I have no idea what I’m feeding him tonight

Eight hours to…maybe I’ll just spot clean them. That’s a big spot…

Seven plus ten minutes to get to the school in my car that isn’t warmed up

A six foot tall pile of paperwork that I want to try swimming in like money, just to pretend

Five rooms that seven people trample through all day, so give me a break

Two kids plus two pans of brownies that I took to the school while the principals and receptionists eyeballed the box like, ‘I’m in 2nd grade today’

Three presents…I got to get the blanket washed, too. And wrap the monkey, so let’s make it five.

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who I think just cussed out the guy in the TV…again.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the cosmos gave to me

Eleven recipes on Pintrest I swore I’d try this year

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Ten times of hearing, “To the left, to the left, to the right, to the right, now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick…”

Nine hours until I lose him for a week and by the end of it he’s grown a beard and I am looking at him like, Who are you?

Eight hours to dump those bibs in the tub and spray with Febreeze until the stains melt

Seven people who stop me on my way out of the school and I got rid of the kids…I want to go home

A six foot tall pile of paperwork that…let’s face it, will still be there tomorrow

Five rooms and only one is decorated for Christmas, we can use the front door and let people squeeze by the tree

Two kids plus two pans of brownies that I took to the school…and forgot to take napkins

Three piles of things to ship to my brother and I wonder if he’ll get it in time

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who used my Garnier hair repair oil yesterday…he’s bald.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the cosmos laughed at me

With twelve mental breakdowns left to go

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Eleven recipes on Pintrest…hell, everything’s on Pintrest and ain’t nobody got time for that

Ten times of saying, “CHANGE THE SONG”

Nine hours until the husband wakes and works on a week long zombie impression that could fool the Walking Dead cast

Eight hours to…I promised I’d get them clean -whines-

Seven minutes of talking to the vice principal, but leaving with a smile ’cause he said I was doing a good job with the kids

A six foot tall pile of paperwork that I’m just going to yank the kiddo’s artwork out of and trash the rest

Five rooms and maybe a day at a time…next year?

Two kids plus two pans of brownies that I took to the school and they’ll eat them with their fingers anyway

Three piles of things to ship to my brother and get all sappy because he won’t be home with us this year

Two loved ones in the hospital that I have to go visit

And an Uncle who thankfully can still make me laugh.

Merry Christmas.

This Year…Happened

Which is crazy to think, you know? That we actually lived -coughsurvivedhack- an entire year.

As a wonderful new friend of mine has so kindly shown me the path, I am following in her hilarious, crooked, mismatched, and possibly tipsy footsteps to a new holiday tradition. If you are interested in this sort of visual Twister game, please, please go visit Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy and her awesome Family Christmas Letter. You will love her, I swear. 

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about holiday traditions. But Christmas Happened was more of the slightly funny, but mostly sappy flavor. And since I can’t get through the holidays only baking up one kind of festive holy-crap-I-made-that-and-it’s-actually-pretty creations…I’m here to add my own, traditional Family Christmas Letter.

You know those letters. Those “Look what I did this year” letters. Those “Isn’t my family beautiful and perfect” letters. Those “Aren’t you just so jealous that I have the time to condense my entire fabulous year into 12 pages of ego vomit for your misery pleasure” letters.

They always have a picture like this.
They always have a picture like this.

Merry Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Holidays! Joyous Kwanzaa! Pleasant Hanukkah! God/or Whoever You Do or Do Not Believe in Bless You!  

2013 was a fantastic year for our big, mixed up (we have too many last names to put them all here) family! And as you can see, we’re still working hard on our promotions across Facebook for the freedoms for all religions to worship, or not, as they choose. We’ve added to our list of Things We Post to Make Our Family Block Us: Women’s Rights, Left-Wing Conspiracies, Democrats for Hilary Clinton as President, and Science Does Exist (as does global warming and evolution). I’m happy to report that I’ve gone from almost 300 friends to a overwhelming 27 co-conspirators. We have been so blessed.

These sorts of Facebook photo shares worked well, in case you were wondering.
These sorts of Facebook photo shares worked well, in case you were wondering.

The year started out with so many resolutions. I resolved myself to the fact that I was going to have to be a writer, whether I wanted to or not. The voices simply would not leave me alone, and so I chose to accept them. I started three different blogs, with one who managed to survive to today. My little baby, Badass Women of History is still alive, but struggling. Let’s all say a prayer, have a moment of silence, or ignore this completely if you’d like for her. Hopefully she’ll be out of therapy and on her feet again in 2014!

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I even enrolled back in college, discovered the world was still full of young morons we are happily promoting to statuses allowing them to make important decisions for future generations, and so one semester later…I escaped. That’s right. I ran for the hills and left behind the digital world of online learning, where intelligence doesn’t matter and grammar is a myth. Yes, the world of week long discussions on “Who’s your favorite President of all time?” and “What was cool about that character?”. The magical land where you lose letter grades for writing half a page over the required two pages for a final paper, or mantras like “Who needs to understand the meaning behind this story? NO ONE!” are chanted on every available chat room corner. Yes. I escaped.

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I even started a diet this year. Five times! It was an amazing process. I kept watching the Kellogg’s commercials and then I would run drive to the store (this diet never mentioned exercise) and buy up all the crap is that cardboard? tasty Kellogg’s flakeys I could find. Yum. I gained ten pounds this year. I’m so proud of me.

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March was exciting. I published my second book. I sold two copies of it. Which is eight less than my first book. I knew I was on my way then, and immediately set out to work on book number three. I mean, the only way I had to go was down, and with some really hard work and perseverance…I did it. Book three came out in October and I’ve sold…wait…ZERO COPIES. I know. It’s so exciting!

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Towards the end of April we had a bit of excitement. I even documented the conversation, just so I could remember the wondrous feelings of panic, stress, and oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-puke.

Me:   My brother’s coming home in June.

The Man:  Yeah? Cool.

-Silence-

The Man:  -Playing his video game.- We’ll get married while he’s home. Go ahead and set that up.

Me:   –Insert my own Eyebrow of Doom. (It was a rare sighting, purely brought on by immense shock and unable to be viewed again.)- Whaaaaa?

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So the wedding planning began…the next day. It was a beautiful affair (no sarcasm here folks…it was very pretty). The night before was a lot of fun. The man, the brother, and the friend/crazy stressed-out wedding planner and myself got to decorate the entire space the night before. The man was sick. He got dizzy on a ladder and I got to send him home, to fall asleep without me, while I continued to fill this space with as much green, orange, and yellow as humanly possible.

I only had one major freak out before the ceremony, so I count that as a complete win. And I’m not responsible for any of the therapy I may have induced when I lost it in the kitchen and stood there in my dress, demanding they bring me The Man while tears drew streams of make-up down my beautiful, blushing cheeks.

Bring. Me. Mak. NOW!
Bring. Me. Mak. NOW!

I only managed to hurt myself by accident once this year, and it involved a slip-in-slide, so it wasn’t completely my fault. I mean, in my defense, the year before I played on it all day and I was fine. How was I to know that after four or five slips I would be reduced to a hunched over, whining pile of shit-I’m-that-old. I may have had a birthday this year, but I’m stopped counting them. Everyone else got older though. Everyone.

The husband and I both hurt ourselves on purpose. I let a few men stab me, and he let a big Irish guy poke him. I don’t judge…I let the Irish guy poke me, too.

Our wedding rings. These didn't hurt.
Our wedding rings. These didn’t hurt.
The fembot tattoo...which also did not hurt.
The fembot tattoo…which also did not hurt.
These hurt worse than labor.
These hurt worse than labor.

For some reason I believed that the massive canvas that is my thigh wouldn’t be painful. I wore the Cone of Shame on this one. That’s okay though. I wore the Cone so much this year, I should have gotten an award for it. I may have actually, but since this year was the year the husband domesticated me, and since I suck at that as much as I do, the award is probably lying under the pile of clothes that has never found its way into the closets and drawers…or maybe behind that stack of books that we now use like an extra coffee table. It might even be under the bed. I don’t know what’s under the bed anymore. I think it is alive and it eats things…like my award.

So yes, the husband domesticated me. He started a new job and I quit mine. I mean, I don’t need a job. I’m a woman. My power increases tenfold when I enter a kitchen. I become an unstoppable force, surrounded by a cloud of flour and spitting pure vanilla extra into the eyes of my enemies. I am so glad the husband noticed my wonderful disposition towards this lifestyle, and I’m learning my place, truly.

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I even got all the good kitchen stuff for my bridal shower, including the waffle maker I use specifically to crush cinnamon rolls down into crunchy, made-for-my-thighs goodness. I went on an absolute baking spree, and even did a halfway good job of it. Enough so that I looked into what it would take to open my own bakery. That’s right…I was going to start my own business. I am so good at following through with everything I start…I’m still home with no bakery. You figure it out.

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But those cooking supplies are coming in handy, because we’re back in the holiday season, and now that the husband has made it his goal to put us into eternal debt for Christmas, I’m going to need these baking skills I’ve been ignoring mastering.

All in all, it has been a good year. My children are still alive. I haven’t used my “one” (the one chance I have to nail the husband in the face with no threat of retaliation), and I am still the tattooed, dyed, offensive bitch with a backbone that I’ve always been. I wish you the best in whatever holiday you are celebrating and remember…you’ll never quite be as awesome as I am, but that’s okay. I’m just here to give you a visual image of something to strive for.

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You’re welcome.

 

The Eyebrow of Doom

It may be hard to tell here, but you can almost see the Eyebrow of Doom.

I'm gonna sing the doom song! Doom da doomie da doom doom doomie.
I’m gonna sing the doom song! Doom da doomie da doom doom doomie.

Now, I get the raised eyebrow a lot. Normally it means one of three things:

1. I’m getting ready to get scolded. -In my best the husband voice-

The foot is down.

2. I did something stupid, which means the eyebrow raises only long enough for him to let me know I did something stupid. It’s like the warning shot before the laughter and endless teasing follows.

or 3. I was wrong.

I don’t like that last one.

See, I can handle when “the foot is down”, because this white chick and her lack of rhythm can pull off some fancy dance moves to get around that one. Hence why the daughter is getting the One Direction bed set she asked for…regardless of the many “foot downs” that took place.

And I can handle doing something stupid, because…it’s me. I’ve gotten used to that about myself.

I don’t like that last one. I don’t like to be wrong. I like it even less, because when I finally have to admit it the eyebrow goes up, as does the corner of the mouth in that little I-knew-it smirk, and I get the silent, twinkling of the eye that is the equivalent of some Greek grandmother wagging a finger in my face and yelling “I told you so!” It’s the cone of shame, dammit.

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So, when we went to Walmart and I see a lady standing at the end of the row where the cash registers are looking all friendly and helpful like the Walmart people do standing there when they have no costumers and are ready to wait on someone…

Me:   Oooh, look there’s a lady open down there.

The husband:   I think that’s self-checkout.

Me:   No it’s not. C’mon.  -To the Walmart lady.- Are you open?

Sorry Ma'am. This is self-checkout.
Sorry Ma’am. This is self-checkout.

Oh! And that’s AFTER he found the shirts that I swore they were sold out of, because I couldn’t find them anywhere, except I neglected to look in the main aisle where there were stacks of the neon horrors.

It's more for safety than style...I mean, he works in the dark with big dangerous machines. Give him a break.
It’s more for safety than style…I mean, he works in the dark with big dangerous machines. Give him a break.

Or when we argued the whole way home about this video for Adrenalize by In This Moment. We both might have a bit of a girl crush on the lead singer…

But who wouldn't? She's total girl crush material.
But who wouldn’t? She’s total girl crush material.

And so I swore that in the beginning of the video she was walking out in her nurse outfit with a rabbit mask on. He said no, it was some almost faceless, nude colored mask.

We argued.

I pulled up the video on my phone, but the screen is so small (not small enough that I couldn’t tell it wasn’t a rabbit mask, but small enough that I shoved it back into my pocket and thought to delay until we got home)…

So he pulled it up on his bigger, fancier phone.

Yeah. But there are rabbit masks…later in that video. If you watch the whole thing.

Just saying.

And then tonight happened. You see, while we were at Walmart I grabbed The Dark Knight out of a $5 bin thinking the kids would love to see it. It’s Batman. Of course they’d love it.

The husband:   That’s a little old for them.

Me:   It’s Batman! It’s fine.

The husband:   It’s violent, and the Joker is a little intense in that one.

Me:   Oh, pfft. They’ll be fine.

The Dark Knight came on TV today, and so I let the son sit down and watch it with me.

The son:  The Joker is killing a lot of people.

Me:   Yeah…-Uneasy-

The son:   He said son of a… 

Which is when I slapped a hand over his mouth, shook my head no repeatedly, and turned on SpongeBob.

I forgot how scary that guy was.

And then my mother…my traitorous mother (I say that with love and affection) TOLD THE HUSBAND about the Batman catastrophe…

I had to do it.

I had to put on the cone of shame.

Me:   You were right.

The husband:   Oh yeah?

-Insert Eyebrow of Doom here-