It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like F&ck This

Sorry for that whole censorship ‘o’ the title thing, but a lot of times blog posts won’t make it into email boxes if they have swear-y words in the title.

Fortunately that doesn’t apply to the content. So here we go.

It’s beginning to look at a lot like FUCK THIS. That has been going through my head over and over, AND OVER, again for about three or four weeks now.

I don’t know about you guys, but Christmastime is a combination of magical wonder and complete and utter bullshit for me. I have been screwed over, stressed out, raked over the coals, and that was just in the prep leading up to the *big day.*

Some of it didn’t even have to do with the holidays, either.

  1. Thankless Thanksgiving

I wanted to do that thing on Thanksgiving that yuppies do, where they go around the table and everyone says something for which they are appreciative. We don’t pray, and the other adults in our house have a hard time being grateful and complimentary; so I just thought it would be a good time to set a better example for the kids, you know?

I was too buried in mashed potatoes and mixed emotions to even remember to have everyone do it.

The thankful part of Thanksgiving – unfortunately – went largely unrecognized. This isn’t to disregard the sincere and kind comments made by our guests; I’m really just referring to the 25 times I had to ask the people that live here “is it good? Is the turkey moist? Do you guys like the sweet potatoes?” …only to receive grumbled “it’s fine”s, or to notice that many of the dishes I lovingly prepared went largely untouched.

Which was fine. We had enough leftovers for me to spend the day after Thanksgiving turning all of it into freezer meals that fed us for roughly 9 days.

2. Who has time for hurt feelings, though, when medical stress descends upon you?

We’ve had some medical situations that sort of pumped the brakes on the rest of life, anyway.

My oldest daughter – almost 16 years old – had been having weird pain symptoms for some time, and because she’s a woman, naturally, every doctor we had seen prior to the last two months has dismissed her as “just another chick complaining.” She’s had three, main things going on – simultaneously: migraine headaches, severe abdominal pain, frequent and unexplainable “sports injuries” (in bilateral joints). We’ve been blown off by doctor after doctor after doctor. “Just a chick with migraines.” “Oh obviously you are playing too much tennis and not resting enough!” “Cramps are normal.”

One doctor at UCLA Women’s Health – a woman, younger than me no less – had the audacity to look me blank in the face, say “believe it or not, pain is actually common in many women that experience periods.” Then she asked me to leave the room and asked my daughter what kind of birth control she was really there for.

So in the last couple of months, it’s all sort of gotten worse. My daughter has hardly played any tennis or worked out at all, and yet she’ll still feeling pain in her knees or her shoulders as if she’s been training 6 hours a day. Her migraine headaches have gone from once a week or two, to Imitrex every day. And a few weeks ago, she started having the abdominal pain she got intermittently, which she describes as barbed wire being wrapped and pulled around her waste and back (those of you familiar will immediately think endometriosis, I know…); well that’s been happening almost daily now, and so badly we’ve wound up in the urgent care, the emergency room, and a solid two weeks of one doctor’s visit after another.

What has made the situation all the worse is this: everyone is a fucking asshole.

Healthcare in this country is total garbage. And I’m not just talking about the expense of it.

I made an appointment with one specialist over 100 miles from our home. We got halfway there and were going to be a few minutes late for the paperwork check in time (but still on time for the appointment), so I called, only to find out that the person who made the appointment never actually scheduled it. We turned around, defeated.

In a startling turn of events, when it was time to figure out the migraine situation – in late November – I learned that there is exactly one neurologist in the entire county that sees children. And he isn’t taking any new patients right now. One. Apparently kids don’t have neurological problems where we live, this is just too perfect of a place, right?

Luckily I found a phenomenal physician in LA County, we just have to drive 57 miles each way to see. Every four weeks.

(But wait…the migraine maintenance medicine he prescribed makes her so groggy and sleepy she can’t even do her schoolwork.)

What else…

  • A kid in the ER one night threw up on me.
  • Over 6 different people have suggested that birth control will resolve everything (it won’t, in fact birth control makes migraines worse and if she really does have something like endometriosis, birth control or any hormones for that matter are not the answer).
  • We hit our out of pocket maximum, and yet everyone is still collecting the money up front, leading me to be owed over $4,000 now at this point in refunds, reimbursements, and “hey this is YOUR share of the medical expenses.”
  • For pain, someone gave her Naproxen, and even though she has no problem with Ibuprofen, with the Naproxen, she broke out in over 20 canker sores inside her throat and mouth.
  • I asked the nurse practitioner at our primary care physician’s office to send her for abdominal ultrasound, just to be sure…sure, sure, no one thinks her pain is anything legitimate, but can we just check? The ultrasound came back with her left ovary literally swarmed by ovarian cysts. (The nurse called to tell me the news and suggested I put her on birth control, even though one day prior we had discussed just how that was not a solution and would only worsen her migraine headaches.)
  • In response to the news that my teenage daughter, who has been experiencing pain in some way or another for at least six months now, to the point that she is unable to function in her normal life on many days, was going to have to start having tests and seeing specialists to get a handle on what is going on, my husband asked me when the budget would be freeing up for him to get some things preventatively done on his commuter car.

The good news is that we are – hopefully – finally getting to a point that we are going to be taken seriously. Why? Because finally the neurologist suggested I just take her to my OBGYN practice. They are old men and they don’t really deal with menstrual disorders, but they won’t blow her off and they will advocate on her behalf to get good care.

3. It’s beginning to look a lot like fuck this

And then there was Christmas. Because of everything going on, Christmas was a scurry in the last couple weeks to make magic. I think I slept about two hours a night, while the rest of the time baking like crazy, ordering gifts on Amazon, and – finally, in a moment of desperation – paying my 16 year old (who is too nonfunctional to do much else) to wrap the majority of the gifts.

I did manage to take the kids to a light show, like we do every year; although – lesson learned – my dad can’t go in the future because he just rushes everyone through it, complaining about how cold he is and ruining the evening with his griping.

When the real FUCK THIS came up, though, was about a week before Christmas, when I attempted to take my kids to the Polar Express train ride out of Fillmore and Western.

If you are in Southern California, you know that one of the priciest and – supposedly – magical Christmas experiences is actually to take a ride of the Fillmore and Western Polar Express. Everyone shows up in their Christmas pajamas, there’s lights and music and they act out the movie/book in front of you as you take a train ride and sip hot chocolate. Everyone gets a bell; it’s fun.

We had never been, and I decided with everything shitty going on, it would be a fun break one evening for my kids. So we attempted to go, and the bad news is that my 3 year old – who gets startled pretty easily – was getting on the train with me, and a man behind us started yelling to his kids who were ahead of us. It scared my little guy, and he started to cry.

Not like a screaming tantrum crying though. A basic cry. It was honestly so loud in there, my other two kids didn’t even know he was doing it.

Nonetheless, we were sitting in the front of that car, and had barely even sat down; he was still crying and I was starting to calm him down, when the train employee came over me and told me I should take him off the train to calm him down.

I understood, but I also didn’t. Like I know my kid, and I know that I can calm him down before the train leaves. We still had 30 minutes, and literally no one could have noticed what was going on. I also knew that if I did take him off the train, there was no way I would get him back on. When a toddler cries for a calmer situation and immediately gets what he wants, instead of learning to self soothe and adapt… well, come on…

Still, I understood that the lady was just doing her job. Right? And I don’t like the thought of being one of those people that ruins the experience for everyone else with drama; especially at an event for kids. So we got off the train, and I – obviously – couldn’t get my little guy to go back on. The train left, without us.

So I emailed customer service, and this is where it gets really annoying. I told them what happened and just asked if they could maybe send us the bells. At the end of the whole thing Santa gets on the train and gives everyone a bell. My kids just really wanted their fucking bells, and I paid for them, you know?

I got an email back from them not apologetic. Not saying I could have my bells.

I got an email back saying it didn’t happen. That what I said DID. NOT. FUCKING. HAPPEN.

At that point, I just gave up and gave in. Christmas became fuck this. I did the gifts, the day. All of it with as big of a smile as I could manage. I made Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, and we did all the things and I’m sure that it is a fact that my kids had fun.

But I was also just done.

The terrifying part is that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is just the start of it for us. Now we have birthday after birthday after birthday, Easter…Moms have it hard you guys. We don’t just do it all, we bear the mental and emotional load of it. We are the figure it out-ers, we don’t just have to take our kids to the stuff, we have to figure out how to make it all work and advocate for them and make sure everything is where it needs to be so that things don’t get worse.

But also, we do it all because we want to. And that is where being a Mom is the weirdest and most emotionally conflicting job of them all.

So if you had happy holidays that resembled the most picture perfect scenario you could ever imagine in a Hallmark movie or quaint Christmas card hanging on someone’s mantle, I am genuinely happy for you. If you’ve had it rough this season, I feel you also. Or, if you are like me, and it’s a mixed bag of negatives and negatives, but also positives and unbelievably happy children – in spite of it all… well, I am right there with you in the trenches, my friend. This is a weird place in life to be. It’s beginning to look a lot like fuck this, but also fucking bring it.

Seriously, Guys, Cut the Banter On Your Recipe Posts

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Am I the only one getting just a little bit sick and FUCKING TIRED of having to scroll through paragraph after paragraph of banter when I am looking for a good recipe on the Internet?

Seriously.

We get it.

You and Brad were celebrating your two year anniversary and you just knew you had to figure out how to replicate those scallops at home.

You were bored one rainy day and your little Cody – who you so originally nicknamed Buddy – was napping, so you thought you’d experiment with homemade ice-cream cake.

Girls Night Out has been a thing with you and your tribe for years, and you guys always get the best cosmopolitans on the town; so you thought you’d share your at-home recipe for a quarter of the cost of getting them out with your squad (note: you are probably too old to be calling your friends your squad).

You have a good story to tell about how you came about whatever the recipe is you have to share with us. That’s fucking lovely.

The rest of us have our own lives to live and would click just as much on your page if you just cut to the goddamn chase.

You also are absolutely certain that the people of the Internet wouldn’t understand a thing about your recipe if you didn’t photograph you doing each and every mundane step. Like when you say to stir the ingredients together, or to measure out a teaspoon of salt. People won’t know how the fuck to do that without your high quality, high resolution photographs that just – in my opinion – add more wasted time scrolling to the meat of the story (the actual recipe and ingredient list).

I have never done a recipe blog before because it would be something like this:

Open packet of chicken. Pour on BBQ sauce. Put in oven for I don’t know like an hour or some shit, until it’s over 165.

End of recipe.

That’s it, and frankly that’s all that is needed.

At the very least, you could spare us so many paragraphs of unnecessary information. It’s like you people have watched one too many episodes of Giadda At Home, where she regales us with all these useless, faux Italian-American stories about her life (but really, no one throws that many dinner parties); or when the Pioneer lady cracks an endless series of jokes about life with teenagers on the farm.

And if I hear Ina Garten talk about her fucking plants one more time, I swear to God…

I have a secret for you all: NO ONE CARES.

Honestly, I think it’s awesome that you all make recipes for good food. If you didn’t, my family and I would survive solely on packet of chicken with BBQ sauce in oven.

But I also think that there’s something to be said for brevity when it comes to sharing your talent.

Or pick an appropriate venue.

Statistically, the more a person has to click or scroll, the less likely they are to go all the way to your ads. It is therefore a win-win for us if you just shut the fuck up already on your website. Cut to the chase, like I did above with packet of chicken.

A better venue, I find, with recipes is a social media platform like Instagram. People don’t have to do much work on the reading-front, and it’s much easier for them to skip past all your bullshit, quaint stories if they just want to get, as I said, the meat.

I posted a recipe for Gooey Baked Apples on Instagram today and it was both sweary and click-through-able. I would never post more than this on my website. You shouldn’t either.

(Recipe below if you guys wanted it, in a better format than all the other long-winded bullshit I find on the Internet; bad news is there is a lot of scrolling because it’s ported over from Instagram…for my preferred venue to view all this and more, please follow my new Instagram @heatherwriteswords for more sweary fun.)

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An Open Letter To My Husband, Regarding Our Home

Just the other day, I went to my husband’s work. I don’t often go, but when I do I always like to move things around. He works in film, so they have a lot of equipment – I especially like to fuck with that stuff. I make sure to spill things all over the machines and not clean it up. I move the chairs around, and the fixtures. Then I fill the refrigerator in the break room with crap that’s just for me, even though I go in there – maybe – once a year.

I’m just kidding. I don’t do any of that. I also didn’t go into my husband’s work the other day. That would have required me to drive all the way there, and have a reason or will to see him during the workday (which I don’t, on either count), and to wear pants and a bra – just way more than I can handle most days.

I think my point was made nicely, though.

Each of us has a space. My husband’s is his place of employment; mine is our home.

And yet while I would never – not in a million years – dream of going into my husband’s space to move shit around to suit my fancy, make a huge mess and not clean it up, leave things in a way that sets others at an inconvenience, and break things without repairing or replacing them, time and again he does this to me.

Well this lady just can’t take it anymore. I’ve had it with working my ass off for it to all be undone, and for all of my own downtime being taken up with cleaning up his shit. I’m issuing him one more, final and public warning.

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Dear husband. Dear, dear, silly husband.

widget_cqSZNdkODnrlWTcyy5lZMPI think it’s “fun” how you fill the refrigerator with so many beverages it looks like a frat house on the eve of a kegger when you open the door to get – oh, I don’t know – some food. That’s a lie, no I actually don’t think it’s fun. I don’t think it’s fun at all. One time my grandma looked in the refrigerator and joked that we clearly live on liquids. That day, no less than 75% of the space had been taken up with cans of beer, bottles of beer, Soda Stream bottles with small droplets remaining, and approximately 36 bottles of Arrowhead water. With literally no room for food, this requires me to cook more often and grocery shop almost daily.

Fuck eating, we’re drinkers right? Wrong.

Yesterday, as with most days, I cleaned. For four hours. Three of those four hours were spent simply putting things back where they go. I put the throw blankets back where they go on our bed. I draped them over the unfortunate wear of the bed frame, versus where they were – folded up at the foot of the bed, implying they had been used (those are not for use) and exposing those scratches on the frame. I also rearranged all six of the throw pillows on the couch that cost $40 a piece, and yet are routinely treated as seat cushions and stress balls, squished and mashed out of shape while we watch movies in our living room.

Fuck having nice things, this shit’s for mashing and folding up right? Wrong.

Then there are things I think are just typical man, careless macho crap; though ironic since you are one of those LA hipsters that doesn’t like to be pegged a “typical” anything. Like when I go to take a shower and get sprayed in the face upon turning it on, because you can’t be bothered to remember to switch the water from sprayer to tub. Or when I clean the house only for you to spill food all over the bar table twenty minutes later while eating your dinner. And not clean it up, just leave it there in a pile of olive oil and pasta, bread crumbs and my forgotten dignity. And then there’s that whole tracking leaves in the front door thing, every fucking time that door gets opened.

Fuck respect for others, this place is your stomping grounds right? Wrong.

What I’m saying is that when I spend about 4 hours of each day in the kitchen cooking, over three different and complete meals, the last thing I want to do is look at a disgusting pile of olive oil, bread crumbs, and bits of pasta that fell from your mouth, sitting there on the bar table.

What I’m saying is that I would like to vacuum once a week. Not daily because leaves got tracked in and then stomped all over the living room.

I am so tired of our nice things being completely destroyed and left as is, as if once you have used and consumed everything you then will just leave behind a wasteland of broken furniture and damaged decor, and we should all just be totally OK with living in a trash dump.

Because let us not remind you of that temper tantrum you threw when I decided to turn our two, broken dining room chairs into a makeshift dining room bench that doesn’t look broken and dilapidated.

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Being a Stay At Home Mom, especially in your early 30s, can be a very stressful and isolating thing. We don’t get time with other moms quite like we’d like to. Or even just other adults. We don’t get to leave the slop and the slovenliness behind for 8 – 10 hours every day either. We have to sit in it, breath it in, see it all around us. If everyone, at the very least, would just wipe up the mess they leave behind – the toothpaste out of the sink, the crumbs off of the counter, hit the button in the shower, flip the shoes off before walking in the door – maybe four hours of cleaning almost daily would be cut down to two; freeing up more time for me to escape for a little bit in a book.

Let me be a little clearer:

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Dear Friends and Family, I Apologize For My Crap Cooking

1795567_724115684753_1794814265_nYou guys remember last week I was whining and bitching about how hardly anyone ate my appetizers, which I stated on more than one occasion I would be making and bringing to put in my homemade football stadium appetizer tray that all the kiddies (and my husband) had requested? And after Christmas I was heartbroken because I baked cupcakes and only two of them were eaten, the rest sent with the grandparents to BINGO later in the week to give away to strangers?

…and you remember that time we had everyone over to our house to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and no one touched any of my pasta dishes I had spent about nine hours preparing by hand?

Or what about the time that my mom’s family had me prepare this big Mother’s Day meal for everyone, only for my cousins to bring in their own fucking food? Of course I use the phrase “their own fucking food” pretty loosely. They brought in Spaghetti-O’s and donuts.

Well, we’ve had another incident. I didn’t think there was going to be one, I mean I didn’t realize – after all of that – that the people hated my cooking so much. I mean to say that I didn’t accept it. Anyone else would have caught on a long time ago, but you know I’m a Stay At Home Mom. We don’t have much intelligence to work with (or so these people that don’t eat my cooking often tell me, or imply).

To the incident. In just about a month we’re going on a mandatory three-week vacation to Texas (mandatory because it’s to take my daughter to visit her biological father), so I’m trying to start weeding out some of the food items in the house. It’s also getting close to spring cleaning time, so when I saw I had a couple boxes of lasagna noodles, a gaggle of miscellaneous cheese, and a shit-ton of vegetables, I figured: why not, I’ll ask my mother-in-law to make some sauce and I’ll make everyone a nice, vegetarian lasagna.

Seemed nice enough, right?

We got there yesterday and I prepared the lasagna. It took about two hours to get together. Chopping, mixing, layering… Then I put it in the refrigerator and watched the rest of the Bulls game with my husband, while everyone took the dogs for a walk.

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Flash forward quite a few hours – pass over the dinner, which I thought was tasty; and the watching of figure skating on the Olympics – and we were getting in the car to head home. The minute the car door shut, my ten year old blurted out: “oh my gosh, Mommy… I want to tell you something, but I know it’s going to hurt your feelings. But I am supposed to not keep secrets, so here goes: while we were walking the dogs, Nick’s dad” [… that is my husband’s father she is referring to, my father-in-law …] “asked if you were using their sauce, then he said ‘well, at least that part will be good.'”

My husband looked like a deer in the headlights. I felt like I had been socked in the gut. That was a pretty mean thing to say, especially in front of little ears. Especially after I stood in their kitchen for two hours putting that crap lasagna together. And to say that the timing is bad is an understatement: this food-related insecurity, and “I can never do anything right by anyone,” has been building and building for some time, now. Remember the examples I started off with? That’s a microcosm of the incidences in which it seems as though everyone in our lives disapproves or dislikes literally everything that I do.

As I felt extremely hurt through the evening, and this morning; and realized how much I try to do these kinds of things so that people will like me, I decided that it’s time to issue everyone a formal letter of apology. And a promise.

Oh, I’m issuing a promise.

Here goes…

Dear Friends and Family,

I apologize for my crap cooking.

That appetizer you asked me to bring, only for it to be thrown in the trash. That time you came over to my house for dinner and drinks, only later admitted that you ate before you came. The fact that you flagrantly say – in front of us, regularly – that Chicagoans can’t cook, that I make certain things wrong, that you just prefer me to bring nothing…

I get it. My cooking sucks. My baking is probably awful, I wouldn’t know – I rarely eat it, for fear I’ll gain too much weight and that’ll give you all another thing to judge me for.

Obviously the people I live with have been having to choke down their three, square meals a day with a smile; all-the-while lamenting their unfortunate positions of having to swallow such tripe in the first place.

Quite clearly I don’t have taste buds either, because of the things I make that I do eat, I’ve always thought it tasted perfectly fine.

But, like I said: I get it. Just as I cannot get the majority of you to read my writing, I can’t get you to eat my deviled eggs or my caprese salads. When I suggested starting a cottage bakery, under the California Cottage Goods law, I saw you all cringe. Every, single one of you. I heard the pause as you said “…yeeah…” like you did when I asked if you read my blog. Or the surprised look on your faces when you hear I’ve written and published three books.

I get it so much that from now on, when you ask me to bring something I just won’t. Nope, I won’t be bringing an appetizer, or even a bag of potato chips. Nor a dessert. None of you will be invited into my home for meals anymore, either. You may be invited, but meals will not be served.

You may be thinking we could just order take-out when you grace us with your sophisticated palettes (what with all of your own cooking, most of which is akin to injecting myself with a syringe full of saturated fats and a hefty dose of Ex-Lax); but then I’d have to shell out more money that I’m still trying to recoup from all the thrown-away dishes of get-togethers-past. Nope, not a single cookie, cupcake, trifle, or apple pie will enter your doorway. No BLT bites will be offered, and certainly no BBQ with my homemade Chicago Steak and Chop sauce.

Consider this my whole-hearted apology. I can’t even imagine how insufferable this situation has been for all of you up until this point. Rest assured, you will all never have to tolerate such agony again.

This cook is hanging up her hat. The kitchen is closed.

Christmas Cuntkies

Hey Christmas: go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself with your stupid lights and stupid expectations and your stupid overspending and your stupid cookies. Seriously. Just go away already.

Alright, I’m not really that much of a grinch. Yes I am, but I’m fine with Christmas sticking around if people give me stuff.

I’m really revealing how much of an asshole I am, aren’t I. Shall we start over?

So Christmas cookies are my current bane of existence. There is a fucking timeline of just how the 2012 bake-a-thon derailed from a quaint, seasonal activity, to cursing obscenities and renaming them Christmas Cuntkies. And I am sure you all will not be surprised that I finally just gave the fuck up. Screaming.

Screaming so loudly the neighbors thought I had either cut off a limb, or finally won my ride in the paddywagon.

Last Thursday

11 o’clock at night, or as I like to call it:

the razor-lined chastity belt hour

I was desperate to avoid doing it with my husband. Running out of excuses (headache had been cured by Tylenol, I clearly wasn’t tired because I was still up and keeping myself busy), I decided to sit down and start planning a Christmas activity. Something quaint. Something that required research and planning. This would surely keep him from trying to get some.

So I sat down and made the list of cookies that I was going to bake. Fortunately, it worked in fending off Poor Nick’s attempts to engage in the thirty most awkward seconds of my life.

Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was signing up for.

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Last Friday

10 in the morning (ish)

Grocery shopping.

This trip to the grocery store would have been normal had I the foggiest idea just what in the fuck I needed to make my ridiculously ambitious (unrealistic) list of cookies. Here is where I admit something pretty big. While I bake cakes like a boss and wield pies like a hooker in Vegas wields her hoo-ha, cookies are always a mixed bag for me. If it’s a cut-and-dry chocolate chip, I’m fine. Anything else and I don’t even know what’s in it.

I was there until almost noon. I was there for so long that I forgot where I parked.

Later that day…

I started making the cookie dough for the first three batches. Then I remembered that I had committed to go to my knitting group, which happened to start approximately 15 minutes after I began the dough. So I finished the dough for those batches and passed the project on to Pookies and my mom. I figured if my mom’s hands were busy, they were less likely to steal shit while she babysat anyway.

Later that night…

I got home from knitting to find that those motherfuckers baked about 12 cookies and left the dough sitting out to spoil. Some of it was even shaped on the cookie sheets and then just never put in the oven.

Not only that, but for some ungodly reason there was flour everywhere. Fucking everywhere. I didn’t leave any part of the dough preparation to them, so I don’t even know why the shit was taken out. But it was and so there was flour on the floor. Flour all over the trash can. Flour on the carpet.

Even flour in my underpants (although that’s another issue altogether).

Saturday

For three hours, I cleaned up the debacle of flour. I cried a little as I threw away all the spoiled dough. In the end, I cursed and pouted and told my husband when he got home that Christmas cookies were not for me.

Sunday

Christmas cookies were for me again! I was back on the horse and ready to bake on Monday. I also began to consider whether or not I might be suffering from bipolar disorder, with such drastic cookie-related ups and downs.

Monday

The whole fucking day was devoted to baking cookies. Then a ream of bullshit came streaming out of nowhere, from problems with my husband’s crashed car situation to dramatics with my mother to a stream of errands for the upcoming princess tea party birthday party we’re having this weekend. The pinata I had worked on making from scratch fell apart. Three more little girls got added to the roster of kids.

So in the end I only got one batch of cookies done on Monday. Here’s were things really started going downhill because it was no longer just other people acting stupid, it was me learning just how poor I am at baking cookies.

I made peanut butter kiss cookies. They are supposed to be round and compact and cute looking. They came out looking like flat tits.

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Tuesday

I started off the day baking sugar cookies with peppermint chips. They looked fucking rad when they went into the oven. I thought surely this meant my cookie-baking nightmares had come to an end. The remaining 18 dozen cookies I would bake would be magical. They would reaffirm the Christmas spirit in our household. I even thought about putting on some Frank Sinatra Christmas music and prancing around in a Santa hat and shit.

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They came out looking like dog vomit. Fucking dog vomit with parts that you could see through, there was just so much grease.

I wasn’t ready to be discouraged, though. I threw all of them into a tupperware container for my husband to eat (he’ll eat anything) and moved on to the pecan turtles I saw on Pinterest. I know what you are all thinking: that’s awfully ambitious of you, B(itch)! With not one success yet, you moved on to something that you have never made, that can be a little complicated.

Yep. That’s exactly what I did.

What can I say? Maybe I wanted to doom the whole thing. Those little turtles looked like piles of dog shit when they came out.

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So my track record at that point was: spoiled dough, flour in my ass, peanut butter titties, dog puke, dog poop. That was when I began screaming. I may or may not have thrown cookies on the floor yelling “these aren’t Christmas cookies! They’re Christmas CUNTKIES!!!”

I calmed myself by eating about three-quarters of a bag of marshmallows and decided I would consider trying one more batch later in the evening. But then shit went to hell again in the other realms of life – I learned that I didn’t have enough tape to finish wrapping the family Christmas gifts, so had to go out and run yet another seemingly endless errand. Then my mother showed up to stop by on her way home from a funeral. I thought I was going to have an opportunity to wield my sword of snark at her for letting the dough get spoiled on Friday, but she walked in and I noticed she had a huge tag hanging from her sweater.

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“Uh … mom, did you wear that sweater to the funeral?”

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“Yeah, why?”

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“Because the tags are still noticeably hanging from it.”

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“Well how else do you expect me to return it after I wore it today?!”

And with that, I was done. Today I had to resume the princess tea party bullshit preparations. I got back to the baking I can actually do successfully – cakes, scones … basically anything that requires little enough attention to allow me to drink copious amounts  of wine whilst I stir.

No more Christmas Cuntkies for me, faithful blog followers. I guess I’ll just have to buy them.

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I Think I Have An Obsession With Balls

Balls on a stick, covered in frosting and sprinkles. Balls mixed with egg and simmered in cranberry sauce for a few hours. Balls made out of cheese and chutney, rolled in a variety of nuts and miscellaneous hanging fruit. Balls drizzled in caramel and covered in – big surprise – nuts.

These will be the centerpieces of the party that we’re throwing this weekend in honor of Thanksgiving. The last minute cancelations on the old RSVPs have really started to roll in, which I don’t know if I’m upset about or happy for.

If I’m upset, it’s because I’m a little offended that we can always go to other people’s parties, but they never seem to be able to come to ours. What’s worse about it is that some of my Trailer Trash Mom’s hillbilly family actually had the balls (no pun intended) to say “something better came up.” Something better came up motherfucker? How about my fist up your rude asshole next time you give me shit because I can’t make it to your kid’s birthday party? But I digress…

If I’m happy, though, it’s because I’ll have all of those balls to myself.

This isn’t the first time something I’ve done has been ball-focused, though. And in fact, I’m starting to wonder if I have a little obsession with them.

Exhibit A

Food In Ball Form

This party will be the third one in which a lot of the food I’ve made for it is in ball-form. I do it all the time; in fact, I just made some balls for dinner the other night.

Is it the calm I get when rolling them out that entices me to do it so often? Is it the ease with which they cook evenly? Whatever the case may be, I roll so much of our food into balls these days, it’d probably be easier to make a list of the food I haven’t made squishy and sphere-like.

Exhibit B

“Suck on my hairy balls”

So I don’t actually have testicles. I know many of you have been wondering for a very, very long time. But I don’t.

And yet the words “suck on my hairy balls,” and it’s equally as effective variant “lick my sticky nuts,” come out of my mouth on average ten times a day. I say it under my breath when someone cuts me off. I say it to my uber-religious father when he annoys me. I yell it at my husband when I clean up his nut hair clippings off the floor.

OK, I totally just took that one too far, and to be clear my husband doesn’t actually clip his pubic hair. I don’t think.

But that brings me to the next point.

Exhibit C

Jokes Involving Testicles

I make a lot of jokes involving testicles. I’m pretty sure it’s because I hear them a lot, but then there are other times when it fits with just about anything.

This Friday I’ll be roasting a few of my favorite bloggers on my STFU Fridays post; all of which started out of an awful joke I made into something of a comic/picture, which (of course) involves a crack about balls. And not a night goes by that I don’t make fun of my husband for that one time he laid in bed scratching himself. Not a single night.

So what’s the verdict? Do I have an obsession with balls?

 

This evening I made some pumpkin bread and had a lot of leftover batter. So the only natural thing for me to do was to break out the cake pop pan and make some balls. Pumpkin balls, covered in nuts. Covered in nuts and drizzled in ball molasses.

Now my mouth is watering to squeeze as many of those squishy sacks into my mouth. See? I can’t even stop myself, even when I’ve taken it to a point even I am grossed out by. I’m totally obsessed. Are you?

The Cost of Groceries, or My Weekly Bend-Over By a Random Guy Named Ralph

This morning I did what I always do. I woke up. I grabbed my computer. I scrolled through to see how people were disparaging me overnight on my blog. I’m not saying that people always do, just every once in a while someone disagrees with me and calls me something nasty. Anyway, so I checked my email and my blog, then my Twitter and Facebook … the usual.

As I scrolled through Facebook, I saw that Momspirational (another mom blogger) had posted a question for her fans: how much do you spend on groceries per week? Oh, you mean how much do I get bent over for every time I go to Ralph’s?

I should have just put in what we spend and been done with it.

I actually should have just kept scrolling and erased having seen the question from my memory.

I should not have clicked “see all comments” or whateverthefuck that stupid Facebook link says that opens to a long list of things other people said that you really do not want to know about. I should not have done this. But I did.

I immediately became nauseous. I very literally felt like I was going to puke.

People’s responses were pretty varied. Some paid about $500 a month. Others paid a little less. A few paid a little more. One woman said she pays $200 a week and doesn’t use shampoo but makes her own soap. That comes a little close to what we spend, but we don’t include toiletries in our grocery budget. (And I don’t make my own soap, either.)

Our food budget every month is close to $1300. This doesn’t include alcohol. It doesn’t include toiletries. It does not include house supplies. It does not include lunch every day for anyone but my husband (I know, seems a little unfair).

Puke.

There are a couple of things that go into this. Despite the fact that he’s going to get defensive and annoyed and come home acting pissed off because I was honest about it, I’ll just say it: my husband eats a lot. I mean a lot. As an example, last week we went out to eat with my dad for dinner and so I made my husband a chicken and vegetable stir fry that I planned on making for all of us. Since I planned on making it for all of us and it turned out being only my husband eating, I thought he would just eat about half of it and the rest would go to leftovers for lunches.

He ate the whole thing. Four diced chicken breasts and a large package of mixed, frozen vegetables. That was organic chicken, the package weighed 3.5 pounds. My husband’s meal that night cost $34.

He still ate dessert.

Had I not prepared that; had I halfed it and just put some in the refrigerator; had I made something lighter or had we eaten at home too; he would have grazed on top of eating dessert for the rest of the night. One night, after eating an entire meal he came into the living room an hour later with an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another night I had a writers group over and after it he gobbled up an entire brick of cheese that I had set out for the group. The whole, entire brick of cheese.

One time I made a 12 pound turkey and he ate 3/4 of it, along with all the sides. I had plans to make three other meals out of that turkey.

One time we went out for pizza and he ate almost the entire thing. You’d think that was enough; I mean I was still eating my first slice when he polished off the rest of it himself. I set down my slice for a second to take a sip of my Diet Coke, and he started to grab the pizza off my plate. Off my fucking plate, faithful blog followers. Off my fucking plate.

His lunches are worse. The stories go on forever.

So you get the point, my husband eats a lot. Rather than admit it, he generally gets defensive. He’ll come home tonight in a horrible mood and he’ll probably start blaming everyone else for all our problems to compensate for how the truth about this makes him feel. (Responsible. I know. How dare anyone take responsibility for their behavior?) And to be fair, I’m not really complaining. It is what it is. He has an appetite. If he eats less, he’ll get cranky. I’ve moved on, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to lie about it or hide the truth just to help him deny the realities he imposes on our daily lives.

Back to our grocery bill. So it’s about $1300 a month. We don’t eat fast food. I cook almost every meal at home. I have to use my share of the spending money to feed us lunch, because if I had that stuff around the house my husband would gobble it up too, and it just isn’t in the grocery budget anyway. Seems a little unfair, I know; but again, it is what it is. I’m choosing for us not to eat fast food. While I joke that we should just start eating at McDonalds like the rest of America, I never will.

There are other factors, though. We live in California where the cost of living is exponentially higher. When we were in Chicago earlier this year on vacation, my cousin’s wife went grocery shopping and bought more groceries than we have ever purchased in our house at one time, and she spent about 1/3rd of what we would have spent. I went to Whole Foods – the most expensive grocery store on the planet – while out there to get a cake to take to a party as well, and was just completely floored when the cake only cost me $8. Eight dollars?! Are you serious? The same cake at the Whole Foods out here costs $27.

So it’s about $1300 a month. When I see people talking about their grocery bills only costing $500 or $600, or even a cool grande with toiletries and house supplies included (we buy toiletries out of our personal spending and house supplies out of a separate, budgeted amount); when I see how much they spend and look at the last grocery receipt sitting in my wallet… Which was just bare essentials to get through the week. Bare essentials. Nothing extravagant. My husband’s lunches, breakfast food, and ingredients for dinner every night. When I see that and hear someone say that what I spent for one week is over half what they spend every month, I want to puke. I want to puke because while I always felt like I was getting bent over every time I go to Ralph’s, I didn’t realize it was really that bad.

Do You Ever Ask Yourself, “Is This Worth It?” I Do.

I do all the time. In fact, I’m asking myself that right now, over a number of different things. Sadly, the answer to myself is typically “no.” Actually, it’s usually a lot more assertive than that. It’s more like a “fuck this” with doors slamming and things being thrown (well, at least in my mind).

This morning as I was scrubbing the floor, I asked myself “is this worth it?” I mean, normally I use my Swiffer, but it doesn’t always do the job. But then why isn’t it? While I was scrubbing angrily, I found stuff on the floor that should not have been there since I just cleaned and mopped yesterday. Like Rice Krispies and spilled juice. How the fuck did Rice Krispies and juice get spilled when this motherfucking floor was just cleaned less than 12 hours ago? I thought to myself as my scrubbing got angrier and angrier. I just cleaned yesterday! What is the point of getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing like CinderHeather, only for it to be dirtied up twenty minutes later when people that are clearly blind and incapable of cleaning up after themselves come through the room for another snack or something to drink?

This afternoon I got my car washed. It was so dirty; dirtier than your mom back on that trip to Cancun in the 60s. Nasty. There was milk spilled in the backseat. There were toys fucking everywhere. I had a week’s worth of mail sitting in the front seat and a package of toilet paper I forgot to bring in the apartment in the trunk. Outside the car looked more brown than blue, and part of my Bulls bumper sticker was covered in mud. When it was done and we got in the car, it was like a dream. I actually pinched myself, it was that nice. Then we got home and a bird shit on it and the kid spilled her apple juice from lunch all over the floor in the back. Is this worth it? Well it seems not, now that it needs to be cleaned all over again.

Just before writing this blog I was wrapping Christmas presents. You faithful blog followers know I handle Christmas shopping and wrapping in September every year, then laugh heartily at everyone else scrambling like chickens with their heads cut off all the way to December 26th. But as I was wrapping in the bedroom, where the air conditioning had not yet hit; sweating like a pig and making everything look beautiful and perfect and elaborate, I thought to myself “Is this worth it?” No one ever stops to admire my wrapping job. No one ever appreciates how nice it looks. They all just open the shit, throw it to the side and say “what’s next?” When I remembered this, I moved to wrapping in bags with extra paper. No one can complain about there being no fun with the messiness of the paper if there is tons of tissue paper to throw around, right?

So you see I ask myself this many times through the course of a day. As I’m writing this post, and I have an 11 pound turkey in the oven, I’m wondering if the elaborate meal I’m preparing will be worth it too. My husband will eat three-quarters of it and everything else will be shoveled down like feeding time at the barnyard. I’m almost tempted to say “screw it” and just serve Taco Bell.

Standing Up For Myself

I know what you are probably expecting when you see that title. “Maybe she finally went off the deep end and told off her in-laws!” or “oh em gee, I bet she let her Trailer Trash Mom have it!” Sadly, standing up for myself involved none of that.

So today was pretty blah … most days the last few weeks have been. I’m not sure why. Okay, actually I do – I’m depressed because I hate California and don’t know how to get out of here. Regardless of that, I do know my blahs need to be remedied, and now. So I decided to do the laundry, take care of a sort-of sick kid, and get the polish color on my nails changed before making dinner. You see: pretty mundane and low key so that I didn’t run the risk of being confronted with anything else that would make me feel more blah-ish. And when I got my nail color change, the guy did some accupressure on my foot that made me feel ghads better. So that was a plus.

Anyway, so my mom called at some point this morning and invited herself over for dinner. Of course, not often standing up for myself with people in my real life (as opposed to my blog life, when I do it all the time), I just acquiesced and went along with my day. I was planning on making empanadas and salad anyway, and I always make way too many empanadas, so I didn’t really care. See how blah-ish I am? Not care about my Trailer Trash Mom coming over? Indeed.

This evening, though, as I began to make the empanadas, everyone started complaining about what I was making. No one wanted my corn and carrot empanadas. Not a one of them. No one wanted my spinach and feta cheese empanadas, despite the fact that every time I make them they melt in your fucking mouth. Not a one of them. Everyone wanted ham and cheese. Ham and fucking cheese – not one bit of healthiness in there; nothing special at all. Of course that is what they wanted. I should have just gone to the grocery store and bought them those nasty ham and cheese Hot Pockets. I really should have, but then I would have been standing up for myself, which is something I just don’t do.

But then my mom took it a step further when she walked in the house: “oh, just so you know, I forgot my teeth so I can’t eat any salad or anything really crunchy.”

Okay, first of all: gross. Who goes out of the house without their teeth in? Second of all, I’ll just throw away the beautiful salad I just prepared, as well as the pita chips. Did I stand up for myself and say this, though? Of course not.

And when I asked her what she wanted to drink, I discovered that she had already pilfered all but a few drops of the $25 bottle of wine I bought while on my trip to Solvang last week.

At that point, I should have just given her one ham and cheese empanada in a to-go napkin (no tupperware or paper plate for her) and shuttled her toothless ass out the door. But I didn’t do that either. I just smiled and poured the last few drops in her glass.

You see: I never stand up for myself.

So as my mother drank my expensive wine, my husband began his journey home to his meal of empanadas, but no corn – I don’t want those corn ones, and while the Pookies whined and bitched about how gross my empanadas usually are, no matter what kind they are – I made that shit with a smile on my face. A smile on my face as I looked over to see that my poor guinea pig was being tortured whilst I slaved in the kitchen for close to two hours, unable to rescue him because my hands were covered in ham … and cheese (okay, you can see it was cute). As I always do, I made everyone’s to order like a goddamned short order cook. The Pookies won’t eat salad, so I heated up some frozen corn and peas and mixed in some olive oil and spices. My mother forgot her teeth so I prepared some of the pea-corn mixture for her as well, and baked down her spinach before putting it into her empanada (because, yes, I decided to force a spinach empanada on my mother anyway). My husband wanted two ham and cheese empanadas, rather than just one, so I prepared a whole extra batch of them so he could have two.

Then I got to the bowl of corn and carrot empanada filling I had prepared last night to marinate. Now, I had already prepared 12 spinach and feta cheese empanadas and 8 ham and cheese empanadas. I had enough corn mixture to make another 12 empanadas, for which none of those ungrateful assholes wanted any. As I went to make more pastry for the empanadas, I realized something I have never realized before – the marinated filling I use for the corn and carrot empanadas is exactly what I use as a base for my homemade corn soup. This led me to realize two further things: (1) there isn’t a fucking reason under the sun why anyone should be shitting on my corn and carrot empanadas because they all worship the ground my homemade corn soup is cooked on; and, (2) since no one is going to eat my corn and carrot empanadas, I should just make a batch of soup to throw in the refrigerator.

Here’s where I stood up for myself: as I served everyone their specially prepared dishes; as I watched my mom swig down my expensive wine in her toothless mouth; as my husband came in the door and reminded me just how much he didn’t want my corn and carrot empanadas … I decided it was about damn time I start standing up for myself.

“I didn’t make any corn and carrot empanadas. I made my homemade corn soup instead. No one gets any but me, though.”

I have a feeling that soup is going to taste extra good tomorrow.

In other news, these are the types of things that bring me joy now. 25 year old self – in school, on her way to a career teaching philosophy in a university – is hanging her head and laughing hysterically at how much of a loser housewife 30 year old self has clearly become.