I just want to pee and run in peace. And not necessarily in that order.

This week I was driving home from work when four police cars came flying down the road, lights and sirens going crazy. Moments later three MORE police cars whizzed past.

Earlier that day, I sat with my pre-student teacher and the lone junior left in my anthropology class and the subject turned to the harassment of women by men, as it does when you have more than one female in a room.

One young lady recounted her visits to a donut shop where the manager would joke that she was his child bride. 

He was in his 50s.

She was 12.

He would give her free donuts and make the joke again and again. 

Hilarious! Hard to believe he was selling donuts and not making HBO specials.

The other young lady recounted her tale of being asked to help a man jump start his motorcycle. She sat in her car while he arranged the jumper cables, but she made sure to slide her pepper spray out and have her phone in ready emergency mode.

He didn’t make a pass. In this case he really needed a jump for his motorcycle. It wasn’t a euphemism.

So of course, that opened the very girly conversation about the merits of different pepper sprays. Mist? Gel? Foam? 

Yeah, this is what the ladies discuss. Ways to jack yo man ass up if needed.

After that we painted our nails and talked about The Bachelorette. 

Not really.

On Monday, I took Derek to baseball practice at a local state park and decided to relish  in the peace of the trails. But before, I had to pee.

As all women do, I surveyed the parking lot beforehand and noticed two gents and a young lady with her dog. I noted details of the men, like what they looked like and what they were wearing and what cars they were driving. Because this is what women have to do in order to survive.

As I walked to the restroom, the story was immediately in my head. Of another young woman who dared to pee while on a run.

Seattle jogger Kelly Herron was four miles into her run when she stopped in a public restroom for a break. As she told ABC News, “As I was drying my hands I became aware that something was wrong,” and turned around to see a man who had been hiding in one of the stalls. “He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor and I just kept screaming, ‘not today motherf****r,’” which she referred to as a sort of “battle cry.”

During the attack, it occurred to her “this doesn’t have to be a fair fight,” which is when her self-defense training kicked into gear. “All those little things that I learned in my life … how to punch and everything came back to me,” she told ABC. “I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness … but I got another surge of adrenaline and I reached for the door and was able to get out.” In the class she took just three weeks before, “I learned, hit with hard bones to soft fleshy places so I just started hitting the side of his head.”

She is the badass I want to emulate. But I would just say “motherfucker” without all the asterisks.

I’m uncouth like that.

So, I entered the stall, sat, and suddenly heard a door bang.

Was it this restroom or the men’s next door? No clicks of paws. One of the men? Another door shut, this time on the other side of me.

So, like all women, I instantly tensed and prepared for a fight. I peered through the crack in the door while I pulled up my pants. Without turning I reached behind me to flush. I burst through the door looking both ways quickly, and then as normal women and Avengers do, I kept my eyes on the closed stall door while I washed my hands.

Once outside, I, of course, felt ridiculous. 

Ha ha ha… I thought I might get attacked… silly me! So dramatic. So overly sensitive. So a woman who is under constant scrutiny from men who view her as an object to be overpowered…

I did my trail, but kept my eyes and ears open. Watched the shadows. Checked out rustles in the foliage. Made eye contact with everyone who passed. 

And I finished. Relaxed, but not as relaxed as I should have been. 

Oh right. Those police cars with their sirens blaring?

 A 47-year-old man is in custody after a woman was nearly sexually assaulted Tuesday while jogging in the Oakwoods Metropark but fought her attacker off in Huron Township.

Darien Noel Fickling, of Romulus, is charged with kidnapping, robbery, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.

According to police, a 26-year-old woman was jogging alone on a bike trail at about 3 p.m. when a man attacked her from behind and hit her in the face multiple times. She was knocked to the ground.

The attacker told he “was going to kill her” and attempted to sexually assault her, police said.

The woman was able to fight the man off and ran away. During the assault, the man stole the woman’s cell phone.

What. The. Fuck.

I just want to run. And pee. In peace. To get some peace. 

Maybe we need penis-free parks. 

Or this is maybe a business opportunity for running bodyguards. But the bodyguards would also have to be penis-free, because that would defeat the whole purpose. 


That probably won’t be enough, though.

What pepper spray was that again?

Part 2– How to survive a power outage

During and after the wind storm of wind storms (see previous post Here), our power was out.

For six days.

The power has been back on now for almost a week, and now that I have actually slept, done laundry, vacuumed and built a shrine to both Edison AND Tesla, I can reflect on the stages one must go through in order to survive such a long time without power with two children who would volunteer to have wifi hotspots wired into their brains.

STAGE 1– Cool Headedness

The power goes out and you are a rational human. You check with neighbors to see if you’re the only one. You contact your electric company and report the problem. You text your husband to share the news. He replies, “Fuck” and you think, What’s the big deal?

You read the neighborhood Facebook page and find that several trees have fallen. You venture outside, chat with neighbors, offer your manual sump pump and start thinking that this might last a while.

You’re still not panicked, but now you’re silently cursing the fact that the generator is sitting useless in the garage because it didn’t start during the last power outage.

You get a little freaked out, but again, cool headedness prevails. You call a small engine repair shop and luck out with the owner who says he will not only rent you a generator and bring it to your door, but will also pick up the non-running one and fix it.

And he does, and he fixes it and brings it back before nightfall and he even hooks everything up for you because you’ve never paid attention to that crap.

The fridge and sump and wifi are running, and all is right with the world.

Stage 2– It’s an Adventure! (The shortest stage)

With no heat, you pull out sleeping bags and blankets and light the gas fire and cook eggs and sausage on the gas stove.

The house is chilly, but it’s like camping, kids! Look at all the stars we can see! Snuggle under the covers! Maybe we’ll roast marshmallows!

 Stage 3– It’s a Naked and Afraid-type Adevnture where someone might not get out alive

Ok, shit’s starting to get real. The weather forecast looks bad with temps in the 20s. You haven’t slept, so you haven’t cooked and your body is starting to reject all of the fast food and pizza you’ve eaten.

At first, it was cute that all the animals snuggled against you for warmth at night, but now you have dreams that you’re in shop class but you’re the one in the vise and your pets are laughing at they turn the crank.

You start to get a little obsessed with the electric company’s app and the neighborhood Facebook page is filled with comments like, “Says a crew is scheduled!” And you scoff and know it’s a lie. A LIE!!!! You secretly start to think that they are just fucking with you and telling everyone that a crew is scheduled, but you know there’s no crew and the electric company people are all laughing their asses off while they sip REAL COFFEE in their HEATED offices. Motherfuckers.

Stage 4– Going Savage (aka Giving No Fucks)

Every conversation is about heat, electricity, laundry, and food. And all of those conversations contain a healthy dose of expletives. 

You might do irrational things like… put a gymnastics bar up in your sitting room and buy chalk and watch your daughter and friends try things that could end in certain death but you don’t care because they’re occupied and you have your half and half vodka drink and who cares because you’ll probably die anyway and the electricity will come on just in time to keep your bodies from preserving and your cats will eat you to stay alive and….

Let’s just say it’s a very dark (figuratively speaking, not just literally) place and what happens when you get there is no one else’s business. And not to be spoken of again because who are you? No judgment here. We’re all (kinda) human.

Stage 5– Acceptance

We’re never going to have power again, you think. This is my life now, with extension cords, the fridge pulled out and pet hair collecting into tumble weeds. The kids will just have to shower early from now on so they have some light. Maybe we’ll churn some butter later and paint sillouhettes by candlelight. Perhaps a game of jacks, or we’ll tell stories by the fire. It will be like Little House on the Prairie with fewer bonnets and more swearing.

Oh, fuck it. You’re not kidding anyone. THIS SUCKS.

Stage 6– Total Despair and Insomnia

Snow??? WHAT. THE. FUCK. Snow = no generator = freezing house = no sump pump = flooded basement = completely, totally, undeniably FUCKED.

Oh, but the electric company says we now qualify for a credit. Of $25. *biggest eye roll ever*

So you stay up all night checking the app and looking at the weather radar and trying to connect with your inner Bob Vila to figure out how to keep the generator dry and protected when the snow hits. And then you get on FB and post about your insomnia and three other neighbors respond and tell you they are in the same boat traveling to the land of Up All Night. And you finally get out of bed and haul saw horses and a table out of the garage and make a doghouse type thing for your generator that you then feed with more gas that you bought with the kids’ 529 money.

And you drive into work already silent raging and running scenarios through your head knpwing you could quite possibly snap at a student and end up on the news, but you think, “Jail has electricity, right?” And you think it might not be so bad, but then there’s the strip search and gross fingerprint ink and you decide you’d better be extra aware and warn your administrators that you might be filling out more discipline slips than you’ve ever filled out before.

Stage 7– Ahhh, Sweet Electricity!

You don’t believe what the app says anymore. For one person it says power restored by 9:30pm. For another it says 11:30pm the next day. You don’t want to hope to believe positive posts by neighbors that say there’s a truck in your neighborhood and you might get power back that night. You just sit in your chair that now has a permanent ass groove and settle in for another round of Candy Crush trying not to focus on the fact that you’re so tired you can’t even drink.

And then,

out of nowhere,

A light flickers on!

You don’t believe it! You test other lights! You wait for 30 minutes to make sure they’re not fucking with you! You dance, you cry, you turn the generator OFF!!!!

And you go to bed.

And when you’re tossing and turning wondering why the hell you can’t go to sleep, it hits you. 

No generator noise.

Awww, I guess I kinda got used to that little guy lulling me to sleep, you think.

And then you roll over and enjoy the sweet silence.

Why I never go to the fucking mall

Well, a real mall. Not a place where people… you know… Fuck. Let me start over.

Five days before Christmas I was desperate. It was too late for Prime, yet not late enough for Dollar General. I did what all productive workers do and took a day off to get ready for Christmas… and to take Derek to the dermatologist in case my bosses are among the 8 people reading this. 

But I digress.

So I headed to the mall of malls in the area– 12 Oaks. Two full floors of materialistic wonderment with Santa’s workshop and a Starbucks right in the middle. Accidental? I think not.

It’s a Tuesday, I thought. How busy could it possibly be? I slid into a parking spot easily (a little too easily) and thought I was prepared.

Not even close.

American Girl

Goal: gift card and play set for my niece. 

The cult-like atmosphere enveloped me as soon as I crossed the threshold. I was a newbie, and they smelled it. The noise from the mall was sucked away and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the boxes and boxes of perfect little hands and faces. It was like walking into the human embryo lab of Brave New World and seeing a hundred Alpha girls ready to be decanted.

I tried to look like I knew what I was doing, but it was useless. I circled around, but I could feel all eyes upon me– dolls’ eyes. They followed me wherever I went.

With tiny boxes in my hand, I approached the counter to pay. In line before me were two exhausted looking parents who appeared to be engaged in some sort of contest to see who had the brattiest kids.

“Well, I’ve got two girls and they don’t share! They’ll fight each other for outfits and accessories.”

“Two?? Try THREE all one year apart! If I don’t get three of the same thing, it’s not a pretty sight!”

I imagined girls dressed in tandem with their dolls yanking each other’s hair out while throwing plastic tea cups. Meanwhile, the dolls sit off to the side placing bets.


But I survived and made my purchase while refusing to give my name– what the hell is THAT all about? You want my last name? No thanks! And so I was off to…


Goal: gift for Kathleen from Derek

Did you know that the store doesn’t even put their name on the front? It’s just that Omega symbol. I barely know the name of the store, just that it’s “elite athletic wear” and I’ve seen scores of pre-teen girls carrying the red and black bags like mini Carrie Bradshaws.

I was ashamed to ask, so I went out of my way and looked at a directory and sure enough I was in the right place. My first thought walking in?

What the fuck????

The line was 20 people deep. Some had numerous hangers draped over their arms and I naively thought there must be a great sale. 

Oh no.

I looked at a tag on a random pair of leggings. $125. For leggings

My workout leggings come from Kohls because when I go to hot yoga I sweat so much that I can barely stand my own stench on the ride home. All of my gear goes right into the washer with a splash of bleach. Even when I run, I’m hard on my clothes. 

I have a feeling these are not clothes to sweat in, or those in which to be an “elite athlete.”

And I’m also guessing that these clothes are not meant for women because the sizes stop at 12. Yes, 12. Do they not have enough shelves? Hanger space? 

So like any bargain shopper, I wound my way past the clearance rack (Originally $150, now $100) and found myself at the wall of shame– the headbands.

I actually felt guilty for taking up the time of the life-sized version of an American Girl doll by having her ring up my puny purchase. 

“Just this?”

Yes, just this.

I know there are a lot of places where I will never be able to work. An engineering office. A recording studio. But it was pretty humbling to know I could never work retail because I would be the fat ugly one. And old. Too old.

And so it went.

Pink, where things went well, except that I sold my daughter’s soul to become a brand loyalist and started her sexualization by others off on the worst foot. 

Vera Bradley, again not too bad considering the choking perfume and the feeling that I would suddenly see my grandmother in the corner (must have been the hallucinations brought on by the patterns).

But after a while, I was drained. I ceased to think and just moved blindly along. It began getting more and more crowded and my anxiety was creeping to the surface. Suddenly, I knew where I needed to go.


Yes, there is a pet store in the mall that sells puppies. And yes, I know that pet stores are supposed to be bad. Well, if that offends you, I’m truly sorry. And you should stop reading now because I’m about to promote the SHIT out of them.

I looked at all of those four legged beauties– playing, sleeping, watching– and after asking, discovered a balm for my frazzled brain.


I felt like I was in the best bar in the world. I took a seat, said, “bring me the house special” and enjoyed glorious puppy bites and snuggles for almost 15 minutes. 

He was wiggly!

He was snuggly!

I felt like the Pigeon… Awww!!! Puppies!!!!

After that, I had enough energy to shop until my credit card maxed and all was right with the world.

Not really, but I forced myself to two more stores, dragged ass to the car, drove home and slept for two hours.

I decided it would be a cold day in hell before I ever went to the mall again.

And then the kids got gift cards…

I’m fucked.

Things I learned last week

Last week was a long fucking week. Some good, some bad, and some just numbing. It’s the burned out zone for everyone. The Crush of Christmas and the daylight that lasts minutes. After reading 39 essays this weekend (not done), it’s time to take note of all that occurred. 

1. Dogs will puke in the middle of the night. With no warning. And they are especially gifted at spreading it over the side of the bed and onto the floor.

2. Some mothers love their sons unconditionally. You know, except if their sons are gay. If that’s the case, they are told not to discuss it and instead focus on academics. 

3. My skin sloughs off in flakes when the temperature falls below 30 degrees. Even with moisturizer. 

4. Just when I think my bladder has a lifetime record for expansion, it proves me wrong. It might be using steroids. 

5. Some girls have older brothers who molested them. And they need to write about it. And they still come to school and work hard. 

6. Panic attacks can strike anytime and anywhere. And there are some super compassionate people who will help out. 

7. Boys from Kentucky will take a stand against other boys who disrespect women– even if it means getting suspended.

8. One drink is enough to relax. Two drinks causes instant fatigue and a restless night’s sleep. 

9. Try the snowblower more than two days before the first major snow storm. 

10. Students can discuss non-binary gender identities intelligently in class. 

11. Getting only four hours of sleep causes me to swear in class by sixth hour. Nothing horrible. The minor swears. 

12. “Take it Easy” by The Eagles is more than a song– it’s a life goal

13. Some people are quietly fabulous at what they do and deserve a fucking medal for the above and beyond work they do. Especially behind the scenes. 

14. Depression about one thing can be stuffed away when a crisis pops up. But it will simmer and emerge again. 

15. I can survive a hot flash during a Friday evaluation. My shirt, however, cannot. So glad I had a cardigan over it. 

16. I have some fucking awesome kids. They light my path on a regular basis. 

17. I reward myself way too often with chocolate. For things that aren’t reward-worthy. Like finishing a day at work. Completing a level in Candy Crush. Making it to 8pm. 

18. I’m starting to believe I can make it until Christmas break. The snow day helps. A lot. 

19. Sometimes the weather forecasters are right. 

20. Insomnia runs in phases. If anyone’s up between 12 and 2, I’m your gal. 

I’m a bad mom, but I’m getting better at accepting it

What is a “good” mom, anyway?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in anything I do, but one thing I have known for a long time is that I’m a good mom. Tangibles and intangibles, my kids know they are safe and loved.

It’s my fear of everyone else out there.

After I had Kathleen I had my first major depressive episode in the form of post-partum depression. My brain betrayed me in ways that were horribly cruel and vicious. And while a chemical imbalance had a lot to do with it, there were some other bitches that kept the monster fed. And yes, I say bitches because they were all women.

The mother judging starts before you even leave the hospital. My daughter’s birth was traumatic in every sense of the word. We were in and out of the OR twice as her heart rate dropped and stabilized. She needed the NICU right after and they had so much trouble finding my blood pressure that at one point a nurse asked, “Are you still with us?” and I thought I was going to die. Good times.

That night, I was exhausted, Bill was exhausted, everyone was exhausted. And I planned to have my baby sleep in the nursery so I could catch up a bit. When I asked, the nurse said, “Really? Most new moms want their babies to stay in the room with them.”

Fuck. I was screwing it up already.

The next day, a nurse was going to show me how to breast feed. She fondly came to be known as the Breast Nazi as she pushed and pulled and squeezed. When I dared to ask, “What should I do with this arm?” her response was, “YOU aren’t going to do anything.” 

Welcome to motherhood.

So, even though I am confident that I am nurturing good human beings, I have still always been afraid of what others think. I don’t volunteer at the school. I don’t bring in treats for the teachers during teacher appreciation week. I don’t coach my kids’ teams or make snow angels with them and cut their sandwiches into cute little Pinterest-worthy shapes.

But I’m slowly saying fuck it more and more.

Moms– you know what I’m getting at here. There are moms who I admire immensely for having the time and skill to knit elf hats for the entire class for the school play and look like they just stepped out from a photo shoot to arrive in time for pick up after school. 

But there are other moms like me who forget my kid is supposed to wear red for the school play and have shown up so late for pick up that I have to do the walk of shame into the office and prove my identity to drive my own child home. Seriously, I was met by no fewer than five adults all waiting for the negligent parent. Posing for the mug shot was the worst.

And both kinds of moms and all in between have their own shit going on and their own ideas and their own parenting styles and I’m friends with moms of all types.

So why all the fucking judging? 

Some of it is perceived, by all means, but most of that shit is real. We get judged if we let a kid thrash on the floor in a tantrum. We get judged if we don’t have a kid potty trained by two years old. We get judged if we give our kid a $10 and say, “Cranberry and vodka on the rocks, and let the bartender keep the change.”

But I finally had a moment today where I said FUCK THIS SHIT. It was minutes before we were to leave for my son’s birthday party and all of a sudden I remembered:

I had forgotten to get goodie bags for the kids.

I went into a full tailspin. I uttered, “Oh SHIT!” Loud enough for all to hear. Everyone asked, what? and I couldn’t even respond. My husband came over and I whispered my crime to him in horror. How could I forget? What would happen? Would my son be disappointed? And the moms, what about the moms??? Was my boy going to be doomed never to receive another invitation to a party because his mom was an ungrateful bitch?

I almost lost it and cuddled the dog and retreated to a happy place.

I confessed my sin and Derek was fine with it. And the party went really well. 

At one point I even admitted, embarrassed, to a couple of moms that I had forgotten all about goodie bags. This, of course, was to feel them out and see if I would be ostracized. They could not have been nicer about it and not one kid asked where they were when the party was over.

And I didn’t feel badly about myself anymore. 

Derek had a blast. His friends had a blast. I had a headache.

On the way home, Derek said, “Thank you for my party, Mama,” and that sealed it.

I was a good mom.

New (School) Year’s Resolutions

I never make resolutions for January 1. At that point I am on vacation and the last thing I want to do is restrain myself or resist temptation. Instead, I offer my School Year resolutions.

Almost all of which have already been broken. I suck.

1. Only use the paper that I need and double side whenever possible to help the environment.

Umm, this one already went bye-bye. I had a screaming headache and sent a handout to the lounge to print. I forgot that it was two pages long, so when I went to retrieve it I was met by 80 sheets of paper that all needed to be stapled. The mere thought of hearing the staple clank 40 times (with time for unjamming/ refilling said stapler) was enough to make me nauseous. 

By the way, why are those bastards so hard to unjam? By the time I’m stabbing at it with a scissor point, I’m liable to scrap the lesson and watch Schoolhouse Rock instead. 

So, my solution? I went back to my room and re-printed it double sided.

Good news? I saved the 80 now useless sheets of paper to use for scrap. Until I get tired of looking at them at which time they will be tossed in the recycling bin. Which is kind of the same thing and like I used them anyway, so maybe I still win.

2. Make a hearty and healthy crock pot meal on Sunday night to cook Monday so that we have healthy dinners for at least two nights during the work week.

Yeah, no, but I really had good intentions. I bought a pork loin and put it in the freezer. Where it is still sitting three weeks later. In fact, one week we had hot dogs on Monday, McDonald’s Tuesday and ordered Papa Romanos Wednesday. I figure we have so many preservatives coursing through our bodies that we are guaranteed to live until we’re 150. Or, we will die of a heart attack but can be propped up any family gathering a la Weekend at Bernie’s. 

3. Show up each day fully prepared for each class.

This one is usually easy to uphold. I pride myself on being completely organized and ready and always one step ahead. However, my memory has decided to start taking field trips at odd times of the day, and she won’t answer my texts. So, this is super embarrassing, but my class and I read the Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon (don’t you TOTALLY miss high school English?) We started with notes on rhetoric used in the piece (see? Prepared!) and when we went to actually read the damn thing, I panicked thinking, Shit! This is a long piece! Why didn’t I come up with a guide or note-taking sheet so they could make sense of it? So I ended up grabbing an organizer I was using for another class and handed it out. The kids muddled through.

I kid you not, at the end of the SAME DAY, I looked at my table of handouts, and, in fact, I had CREATED a reading guide, COPIED a reading guide, and PLACED a reading guide exactly where it should have been. On the same. Table. Of handouts.

I may need to go in for cognitive testing.

4. Exercise at least three days a week. 

Week 1– Fail. Week 2– Fail. Week 3– FAIL. 

In the morning I write it down in my planner. I visualize getting home early, changing into running gear and heading out the door while it’s still light. I imagine upping my distance, or running some sprints to get ready for the half marathon that is looming next month.

By the time I get home I am wiped out.

Take last Thursday. It was over 80 degrees in my classroom all day. I usually make a mocha to keep me awake on the drive home, but it was just too hot so I stuck with water. After exercising my eyelids during the monotony of 275, I dragged myself into the house, kicked off my shoes, fell on the couch and crashed. I didn’t wake until Derek walked in the door, and it still took me another 30 minutes to fully wake. Super Fail.

5. Get things graded in a decent amount of time to stay on top of things.

There’s no way around it– grading sucks. It’s time consuming, gratifying and disheartening. Some things MUST be graded right away. A free write has to be looked at and returned before continuing the lesson. Papers take MUCH longer due to all of the comments. I was on track and started to believe I would make it this first quarter when… the English 10 essays were due. They were due September 15. There are 33 of them. I have graded 4.

Oh, they’ve come home with me every weekend and even some week nights. We’re like besties at this point. But, yeah, they will take a while and I just have a block. I am writing this right now to avoid them (don’t tell).

6. Write a blog every week

FINALLY something I have been able to do for the last three weeks! Even though they haven’t all been winners, I am writing and that makes me feel REALLY good.

So right now that makes me 1/6 for resolutions. Or 17%. But 17% is keeping me sane and balanced so far, and that really is the ultimate resolution for the school year. 

10 Things I Give Zero Fucks About

1. Screen time for my kids 

I used to be so ashamed of how much TV my kids watched and how much time they spent on their iPads that I would coach them before their annual check-ups. “Now when the doctor asks about screen time, it’s always ‘two hours’.” Then I finally had an epiphany. We live in Michigan and I hate cold weather. So, for six months of the year, pretty much no one is going outside unless they have to. Come to me, iPad! And anyone who says Minecraft isn’t educational should be shot. Future architects, mother fuckers.

2. Eating healthy meals  

I try, ok? I try. And it’s all about the intentions, right? I get into modes where I’m all about making dinner every night and making it healthy and balanced. So I will make grilled free range organic chicken (which seems odd that that makes it better. I mean it’s still dead and on my plate. Is it REALLY more humane to let them live the good life before whacking their heads off? And that reminds me of Hansel and Gretel who ate all that candy only to realize the witch was getting them fat to be eaten, but whatever), with a side of steamed antibiotic free broccoli and humanely harvested sweet potatoes. But before I can even pat myself on the back, the comments start. “This broccoli tastes bad, I only like potatoes with cinnamon, Why can’t we have McDonalds, We’re having THIS?? and the inevitable three bites followed by “Is this enough for a snack?” At this point I wave the white dish towel and make a vat of macaroni and cheese for the rest of the week. If dirt builds immunity, then preservatives and artificial colors build character. Sue me.

3. A clean house

When I didn’t have kids or a husband I gave a shit. Now, not so much. I categorize my cleaning style as my friend Michele once said, “recently looted.”We do have a company that cleans the house every two weeks and the night before they come I’ll run around and go through two weeks’ worth of mail and notes from school and sort things. But that’s just straightening up. And the cleaning company isn’t filled with miracle workers. There are marks on walls and door frames and windows and everywhere else. But who cares? There are four Nerf guns lying around with innumerable bullets that the cats have batted under furniture. My dining room table is piled high with Legos and a moat of them cover the floor like mini punji pits. The wood floors are all scratched from kids and pets and life. Several years ago my daughter had a friend over and at one point she queried, “Why is your house so… dirty?” nose wrinkle and all. After initially wanting to gouge her eyes out, I responded sweetly, “This is more clean than usual! And Santa isn’t real.”

4. Animals all over the place

We have two cats and a dog and we love them unconditionally. But I get that not everyone feels that way (although they are wrong and generally suspicious individuals). It hit me one night when my husband came home late from work. I took in the visual as he sat for dinner. Spot was lying on the kitchen table, inches from the plate. He was curled up against the mound of said mail/ school papers (see #3). As my husband ate, he was simultaneously patting Ginger on her head. I asked, “Do you think other people live like this?” And he sighed, “Probably not.” So, if you ever come over, that hair in your drink could be cat, dog or human. And if that completely grosses you out then we probably can’t be close friends. 

5. Making myself look good

Ok, caveat here. Like most people, sometimes I like to do my hair and makeup and dress with some consideration about my outfit. Weirdly, usually when I’m going out with the girls. But the other 99% of the time, I just don’t care. At work, I might start Monday with my hair done, Tuesday a ponytail, and Wednesday through Friday give up with a messy bun. That may have still been in since the day before. In fact, right now I am wearing an old UM shirt of Bill’s, black workout shorts circa 1990, a hat, no makeup and bun hair. And I’m in public at football practice. At least I put a bra on. Don’t judge me.

6. Too much ice cream

Does this even need explaining? Summer, fall, winter, spring. We have three places near us and I rotate so the workers don’t talk about us. I know it’s bad when I suggest making an ice cream run and my kids are like, “AGAIN?!?!” When we get there I totally play the role of mom-treating-kids. It’s all for me though. Always. 

7. Making 10 things

So, yeah the title read 10 things, but come on… You already know I give several fucks about things I shouldn’t if you’ve read my past blogs. And if you haven’t, you really should. Something like five people recommend them. Including me and my mom (thanks, mom!) And you’re probably happy this ended early, like when you had class from 6-9 and when 8 rolled around the professor was like, “I think we’re done for tonight” and everyone packed up their shit like running from a hurricane. 

You’re welcome.

I Have Not Been Productive All Day, But It’s So Not My Fault

A weird thing happened at Pet Smart today. As I was wheeling my cart filled with all new litter boxes and mats (I feel your jealousy), I came to the end of an aisle and almost ran into someone. As I stammered out an apology, I noticed her shirt. In black letters it said:


In all capital letters. 

And not in a playful font like Playbill, or Showcard Gothic, but in a Serious. Font. Like Copperplate. (Now you’re super jealous. You’re wondering, “How does she know all those fonts?” Years of study).

So the rest of my day was blown because it’s been bothering me ALL DAY (in Copperplate). 

Why would someone buy and wear this shirt?

Is it a warning? Like just in case she’s walking down the street and someone eating pizza walks towards her and thinks about throwing the crust in her face. Don’t you fucking dare! It says NO GLUTEN, asshole! If that’s the case, then the television news has been doing a shit job. I had no idea we were under siege by driveby glutenings. If that’s a word. Spell check says no, but apparently it’s a thing. Keep up, spell check.

Maybe it’s a political stance. Like those No Nukes shirts. Make love not war. Maybe there’s a movement (sorry, couldn’t help myself) called the No Gluten party. Meetings would totally suck without donuts and bagels. Chips would be ok though, right? Now this is something I can get behind (sorry again). I have lots of salsa. And I have the maturity of a seventh grade boy.

But maybe it’s not that and it’s like a public service announcement. Instead of Just Say No to Drugs, it’s Just Say No to Gluten. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that the war on drugs was a bust so telling people not to eat gluten is like planting a wheat shaft in their hands. And that sounds weirdly sex-like in not a bad-not-good-weird way. Forget I mentioned it. 

If there was a comma between the words, it could signify a new supervillain. NO, GLUTEN! Have mercy on me and my intestines! The shirt could be lined with extra cilia to filter evil wanton gluten particles lurking in the air ready to strike innocent passersby.

Wait. What if THAT’S THE NAME OF HER DOG? And the poor thing has diarrhea all the time so they named her GLUTEN! And when she gets the shits, the woman yells out, “NO, GLUTEN,” and she yells it so much someone made a shirt for her?? Poor puppy.

Now I feel bad.

It’s really bugging me though. This woman felt the need to spread her hatred of gluten in kind of a passive-aggressive way. It’s like she wore it just DARING someone to ask, Hey, what’s with the shirt? And then she’d be all up in their grill preaching the gospel of the “gluten-free lifestyle”.

Maybe next time I go to PetSmart I’ll wear an old Bread t-shirt. That band was hot the year I was born, but that’s beside the point. Maybe we’ll glare at one another in the dog toy aisle. She’ll grab a duck, while I snatch a hot dog bun. She’ll snag a rubber tire and I’ll volley with a cheeseburger squeaker. 

It’ll be ON (in Copperplate).