No Such Thing As Global Climate Change, MY ASS

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We’ve been in the throws of a heatwave for three weeks now. It’s more like a heat tsunami. It’s basically hell. We live in hell now.

The issue, actually, isn’t the heat or humidity – per se. It’s the fact that fucking no one in this town has air conditioning; save for the newer houses that no one wants to live in because they’re built like trash.

Trash filled hell.

Which means that the town smells like trash. More so than usual, that is. Typically, 5 days a week, if you stand outside long enough for the breeze to blow past your nose, you can smell the faint scent of fertilizer, since we are surrounded by farms. Add 90-100 degree temps and high humidity to that and it’s like living in the middle of either a trash dump or a cow’s asshole.

I’m still trying to determine which.

So. I’m in a bit of a mood because of this hell I’ve found myself in yet again. Not sure if you guys can tell…

What’s more maddening than the heat and humidity and the lack of air conditioning and also the general scent around town, actually, is the way people talk about it.

“Oh…it never used to be like this.” (No shit.)

And:  “it’s not usually this warm here!” (Lies.)

Also: “well…you know I’m still not 100% convinced about this whole climate change thing, even in spite of the heat.” (You moron.)

Those are the most common things people lie to themselves and others about, on the regular around here.

I get that twenty, thirty, forty years ago, heat waves weren’t quite as bad, frequent, long, and often as they are now. But they did happen.

And the fact that they happen so often now is just more evidence than modern science has already fucking provided of global climate change.

We’re also at a point now where this is – factually – the norm. So it seems a little irrelevant to say that it never used to be like this. Sometimes, it almost seems as though by saying that people are implying that this is temporary – that’ll it be not like this again.

I just don’t think that’s true.

It has been like this for at least a decade now. You can’t really say this is new, and you definitely cannot imply it’ll stop anytime soon.

I’ll say it one more time: it is usually this warm here now. It just is. Deal.

People like to lie to themselves and say that it’s not because it allows them to justify the cost of living with pithy witticisms like “oh well you know we pay for this wonderful weather!”

Fuck that. I very seriously believe I should get a reduction of my rent for the amount of time I have to deal with this shit. Because we don’t have air conditioning: IT. IS. NOT. WORTH. IT.

For three weeks we’ve eaten take out, deli sandwiches, and nothing. Enough.

I haven’t really cleaned my house, because the average temp downstairs is 86, upstairs is over 100. ENOUGH.

We basically can’t do anything but sit in front of fans and be miserable. But we pay for this beautiful weather!

Can it with that shit and cut me a break already.

This weather fucking sucks.

Climate change is real.

I have very little interest to continue to living in this trash pile if we cannot do something to make it more palatable. At the very least that would be a little honesty with ourselves about the state of things.

 

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It Could Always Be Worse

Have you ever had someone say that to you?

You’re having a bad day. You found out you have high blood pressure. You got into a car accident. Your company announced pay cuts. You’re frustrated, you’re tired, you need to vent, and so you meet up with friends or family for drinks and vent over beers; or you climb onto the ol’ Interwebs and post a gripe on your Facebook.

Then there’s always that asshole, someone just sitting there waiting for the opportunity to invalidate another person’s difficulties with those varying sets of words that always mean the same thing:

It could always be worse.

“Just remember there are people out there without homes;” “your health problems are nothing compared to people dying of cancer;” and “at least you have a job” are a few of the many varieties people throw out there.

They all have the same intention: to tell you to shut the fuck up, and to remind you that your life is always more fortunate than others. Even if it’s not (necessarily).

Well, I’m sure that not everyone has a purely malicious intention behind saying those evil and unnecessary words. Some people honestly – not sure why, but honestly – believe that by highlighting the misfortunes of others, that they are really doing a service to make you feel less like shit about your own situation.

This is such a social phenomenon (comparing others to ourselves in an effort to feel better about our worthless existences), that modern psychologists have given it a name: Downloading Social Comparison. It’s a little complicated, and more about people that intentionally seek the hardships of specific others to feel good about themselves (rather than to highlight it to another person in a general “other people have it worse” sense); but the concept is still in line with the same.

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By downloading a look at another person’s life, our own issues seem paltry and petty by comparison. (Sometimes. I mean I have a few Facebook friends whose lives definitely make me feel like every time I think that I have my own shit together, I am reminded by their posts that I am actually – in reality – literally the most disorganized and unkempt person on the planet.)

Downloading Social Comparison is actually considered a factor in mental illness by many psychologists. Mental illness, and yet somehow the Nosy Nancys of the world think it’s a positive thing to point out the shit of another person’s even hypothetical and generalized situation every time you gripe about anything shitty that happens to you.

But what’s truly wrong with the “it could always be worse”-ers of the world is also very simple.

Is it possible that someone else has it worse off than you do? Very likely. Especially if you live in a privileged country, such as the United States (I say privileged in the sense that we have clean, potable water and Wifi just about everywhere you go).

Though to use that in an effort to stifle or push away a person’s natural and healthy feelings about their own personal experiences is – in a word – wrong. Sure, other people have it worse, and in particularly dark times it’s nice to remind ourselves to be grateful for the things we do actually continue to have through adversity, when others may not. But to always compare in an effort to forget or to shame a person’s complaints is like saying that  their problems are trivial and unimportant, when in many cases they are anything but. It would be like telling someone they shouldn’t be upset about having to file for bankruptcy because there are some people who can’t afford a roof over their heads. Does the terribleness of others really make it any easier to deal with having to file for bankruptcy? I mean, really…

comepete-with-yourself-1024x1024And anyway, aren’t we allowed to be upset about shitty stuff that happens to us, without having the shame and guilt of someone else’s worse hardships shoved down our fucking throats?

So this happened to me today, actually, which is what prompted this blog post. I posted a Facebook status about how after a year and a half, today was the first time since I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy that I actually felt like crying about it. I just wanted Girl Scout cookies so badly, and there was no way I could eat any of them. In response, someone told me that my gluten intolerance was better than dying of cancer.

Really?! Really.

1ca2d460b89d87aa9db35238d9c3330fOf course being allergic to wheat is better than dying of cancer. Of course it is. What kind of a person would even compare the two? But what I felt after reading that was exactly what that comment’s intention was to make me feel: shame. Shame for thinking that not being able to eat Thin Mints sucked. Shame for being sad that I can’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if I want without having to bake my own bread. Shame for it all, because somewhere out there other people have it worse. Somewhere out there a person is dying of cancer, and their dying thoughts are clouded by all the ungrateful assholes who sit around complaining that they are allergic to the ingredients in a delightful case of Caramel Delights.

How dare I have feelings about my own situation. It could always be worse.

I have one much simpler response to all of that…it’s simpler than explaining Downloading Social Comparison, and a lot easier than going into all the things that are wrong with trying to invalidate the feelings of others. Just one response, which goes like this:

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I Don’t Care About 3D Mascara, Jamberry Nails, Facials, ITWorks Wraps, or Beach Bodies

That may sound a little harsh.

i-dont-always-do-my-hair-makeup-but-when-i-do-i-make-sure-to-post-it-on-facebook-d8951Of course I care about mascara, I wear it often enough to. Not often enough to obsessively buy your Younique 3D lash mascara that comes out with something new every two months. Not often enough to suddenly abandon my go-to make up brands for the occasional times that I wear a full face-worth of the stuff. As though Benefit and Smashbox weren’t good to me all these years. As though because someone I once knew of in high school selling Mary Kay cosmetics or Younique fiber lashes is going to erase all of my previous and perfectly acceptable experience with Revlon.

And while I definitely like for my nails to be well-kept and nicely polished, I heretofore politely decline any and all invitations to your Jamberry Nail Parties.

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What I don’t give a flying fuck about is getting facials. I’m a stay at home mom and a writer – I can’t afford that bullshit. And anyway, I must have magical skin made out of unicorn puke and Carebear stare juice – because I have literally never considered doing anything other than washing my face with some basic ass soap every morning, followed with some moisturizer I got on Clearance at Target that has an SPF in it. I have no wrinkles. I have no frown lines. I have no cystic acne. My skin does not flake or peel. I am perfectly content with my skin and do not need Rodens + Fields or Nerium or Beauticontrol that all cost a hell of a lot more time and money than my bar of Dove.

I have no interest in wraps, either. Whether ITWorks or not, I don’t fucking care. As I scroll through my Instagram feed and see photo after photo after photo of people’s before and after ITWorks shots – bulbous legs, arms, and bellies suddenly made ultra thin by a piece of miracle saran wrap – I am more compelled to sign off social media altogether than at any other time in my daily social media usage.

That is how much ITWorks annoys me. Be it the photos, or the fact that one person selling ITWorks follows you, and suddenly you’ve got forty-five spammy ITWorks people sending you messages about how you too can sell ITWorks and change people’s lives!

I have a way to change people’s lives and help them get skinny: eat a fucking apple and get off the couch.

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The newest thing showing up in my Instagram and my Facebook and my Twitter and my email and in just daily life is the Piyo. The 21 Day Fix. The Beachbody. The Shakeology. I don’t know if these are all the same thing, or if they’re different, but I do know one thing: you people drank the Kool-Aid. Drank it. Drank that shit right up, probably out of your Shakeology blender while posting thirty selfies of your post-work out sweat.

I do not begrudge anyone getting in shape. I do not hate people eating healthy.

What I can’t stand is when they’re shoving it down my throat, trying to force me to drink their Kool-Aid too. What I do begrudge are the people suddenly becoming Beachbody consultants – or whatever the fuck they are – and making a little fan page on Facebook and asking me to “like” it, when just a few, short years ago NONE OF THEM would “like” my fan page for my WRITING CAREER.

I am like an elephant – I have an exquisite memory. When I was doing my undergrad, I worked full time at a pharmacy, and I had a disturbingly uncanny ability to remember all the customers, recognize their voices over the phone, and even some of the details of their medications and insurance claims. The manager of the pharmacy used to say that it was like Cheers: everyone came to our pharmacy, because when they walked in the door I’d always shout “Norm!”

I remember who was supportive of my writing career from the get-go. I still have the unfortunate and recent memories in my mind of all the people who said they don’t read books and don’t like blogs, and don’t “DO” fan pages.

Well guess what? If you were supportive of me, and continue to be supportive of me, I will cheer you on to the end of days as you sip your kale smoothies and make your pastas out of ground up beans, because the 21 Day Fix told you to. I will “like” your fiber lash updates, and politely and quietly just ignore your attempts to sell me make up. I will attend your Jamberry Facebook parties, and even though I won’t buy anything I’ll at least be supportive.

Because I really and truly think that’s what people should be doing for one another – supporting each others’ endeavors, no matter how few fucks they give. That’s what friends and family are for, right?

But just know that deep down I don’t give a shit. My level of shit-giving is currently at -15, and it gets lower with each invite to sell ItWorks or to join a Piyo training session.

Congratulations if you have figured out a way to make some extra money off of your lifestyle choices. Kudos – really! I am genuinely happy for any and all people from my past, my present, or just in general that have been able to balance life, health, happiness, and to earn a little extra cash doing so.

But that doesn’t take away the sting when many of those very people were so unsupportive of my own endeavors just a few short years ago. I’m suddenly expected to jump on board with their shit – which I do, to the extent that I can be supportive without having to buy anything – while they continue to tell me that they don’t “do” blogs or “do” books. But could you give me advice, Heather, about starting a Facebook fan page? Oh and could you make sure to please “like” all of my many weekly Runkeeper updates?

Life and relationships are a two-way street, people; and at the end of each road, you won’t always find a set of Jamberry Nails.

The Dress is White and Gold, and By the Way It’s Also the End Of the World As We Know It

If I live a long life, I imagine myself to be like one of those old people in the movies – the narrators, the storytellers. You know, they always have one, final story to tell. The movie begins and ends with them. It’s always about the defining moment in their lives, invariably unloaded onto some unsuspecting sap who will sit there and listen to the story no one has ever heard.

Like in Edward Scissorhands – it’s snowing and the lady tells her granddaughter the story about the creepy man-made boy with scissors and sheers for hands. Or in Fried Green Tomatoes, when an elderly Idgie Threadgoode gives Kathy Bates’ character the story personal liberation through her friend Ruth and the Whistestop Cafe.

I would sit there, old as fuck. Rocking in my rocking chair, covered in blankets as the old ladies in those movies always are. Someone would bring me my tea and tell me I need to rest. I would cough and weakly wave my hand – no, no. I have to tell my story. My period story; the story of my time. And most importantly: a story about something outlandish. Life-changing. Defying everything we thought we knew about the world.

If I’m lucky, my unsuspecting victim will pass my story on. Maybe they’ll make a movie out of it in which I am depicted rocking in my chair by a future generation’s Angela Lansbury.

As years have gone on, though, my dream has been shattered by a dearth of material to concoct my noteworthy tale. Will I have a story about a creepy man-made boy with scissors and sheers for hands to tell? Or about my own Whistestop Cafe? No. I won’t. Will I have a tale about the boy who aged backwards, like in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Or one like Forrest Gump had to tell – that was a whopper.

Nope. I won’t have anything quite as good as any of those, and all the other, movies. And while I am sure I will have plenty more opportunities to find a story, I suspect we have reached our height as a generation and a people. It is evident that it is all downhill from here.

What I’m saying is that as a society we have reached our apex, so my story will have to be the one about the day the Internet, and subsequently the world, lost their fucking minds over the color of a dress.

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You would have thought something really crazy happened, judging by how people responded to that photograph.

As for me, I saw one person post about it in the mid afternoon, then went about my day. Read a book for several hours, made dinner, and went to my library book club.

When I got home, everyone had gone completely insane. Videos of families fighting over the color of that dress had gone viral. Parody comics were posted. Then the scientific analysis began. “The science behind the dress.” Some people are color blind. Some people have their screens adjusted differently. It’s an optical illusion.

Legitimate news sites were posting serious articles debating theories about that goddamned article of clothing. All within the span of about 12 hours.

It carried on into today, and I have sat in utter disbelief over how an ugly dress has caused such an uproar for several hours. Like, literally, just sitting here – perplexed. In my bathrobe, hair still slightly damp from the shower I took several hours ago. Completely shocked.

How are people so up in arms about this thing?

I only kind-of-sort-of get it when things go viral. The dancing babies and the screaming goats – they’re funny. Glozell’s Cinnamon Challenge and her cereal in the bathtub thing. I understand the heartwarming things that trail their way around the Internet too. The husband with the pink tutu campaign; the kid with cancer that wanted photos of dogs to cheer him up.

I get it, these videos, photos, stories – they are entertaining or heartwarming, or we relate to them. Maybe not so much eating cereal out of our bathtub, but there is still an appeal there. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s there. It’s funny or it means something to us in some strange way.

But the color of a dress? What. the. SHIT?

What’s next? What color is this towel?

We have a set of dark pink bath towels, that are pretty old. I’m fairly certain they came from my father’s home when he moved in with us; nonetheless they are – somehow – still a part of the regular rotation when the towels are changed in all the bathrooms.

Every once in a while, I’ll hear my dad call for someone to get him his brown bath towel. Maybe he’s spilled something and forgotten we have paper towels and cleaning rags too, or he doesn’t realize I’ve changed the towels in the bathrooms and that he is actually – gasp – allowed to use whatever bath towel in the house he likes. He is not limited to his brown bath towel.

But wait a second, I said it was pink. And it is pink, a dark pink – almost like a magenta. And I know this for a fact, because it says “dark pink” on the worn tag.

And yet my dad calls it brown, and on several occasions we have asked the opinions of others, taken and texted photographs for opinions, and gotten mixed responses. Brown, pink, magenta, red…one time my dad said it was dark green, and that is when I seriously started to question his sanity because he had been defending the towel’s brown-ness for years prior to then.

So if I post a photo of this towel, will it go viral too? I mean, yesterday was a huge day for Net Neutrality. Leonard Nimoy died today. But surely the color of a dress or a towel is what’s really important. Right?

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Credit: The Oatmeal

So – regrettably – this is the defining moment of our lives, people. The dress. This is the story I will tell when I am an old lady, rocking in my chair. Surely they will make a feature-length film about it as the recipient of my story will pass the tale on and find meaning in it.

What meaning could there possibly be, you ask? Well when you’ve reached rock bottom, you can only go up from there. Arguably, we are there. The. Color. Of. A. Dress.

So I can see it all now.

The movie will be about the end of an era for humanity. The dress will be symbolic for the crumbling of society as we know it, which it clearly is a sign of. Hopefully someone like Michael Fassbender or Bradley Cooper will be cast as the savior of humanity. Who will rebuild society from its crumbled, intellectual ruins. As the future Angela Lansbury plays me, rocking in my chair, refusing my rest; determined to tell the story of the dress that destroyed everyone’s minds once and for all.

We will rebuild, people. And by the way, the dress is white and gold.

Confrontation At My Local Disney Outlet

I had forgotten how many assholes live in my community.

For the last year or so, we have been really swamped. I mean really. Between my father having hip replacement, and us staying with him during rehabilitation; the decision to move closer to him for seven months while we got his home ready to sell; three vacations amounting to a total of nine weeks (Chicago, Chicago, Houston); moving back into our “home community” to a newer, bigger place; then in the culminating event of the past year, selling my dad’s home and condensing his house into a storage unit and one room in our new home…it’s been a little chaotic. I haven’t had a lot of time to get out. Relax. Mingle among the locals.

Now that we are moved in and our place is perfect, homeschooling is on autopilot, and we have no more unanticipated vacations coming down the pipeline for as far as I can see, I’ve been able to get back to normal life. I got back to my book club. And my knitting group. We started having people over for BBQs and dinner again.

And we’ve been out more in the community. Among all the assholes.

It’s been a long time since a bizarre situation appeared itself before me. Trips to the nail salon have not involved police in years. And I can’t remember the last time I witnessed a parent-on-parent confrontation, especially one in which I was involved.

So today, owing to my apparent amnesia as to the state of this community at large (the simple fact that: a lot of people in our town are pretentious, nosy assholes), I decided we were going to have a “girls day” and go shopping. This were just going too well. I had gotten so comfortable in this lack of drama and confrontation that I thought we’d have a good time.

And for the most part we did.

The outlet mall has outdoor corridors, and it was a beautiful day to walk from store to store. We went to the Toys R Us outlet and used up some old birthday gift cards. We went to Michael Kors and I drooled over the purses. I got a shirt at Levi’s for $9 and two pairs or stretchy pants at Charlotte Russe for $15. My wedding band inspection was due, and so we stopped in at the Kay’s Jewelers, which revealed a majorly loose diamond in need of repair. All in all it was fun, relaxing, and productive.

Then we had one, final stop. The Disney Outlet.  They had a sale on kid’s hoodies I wanted to check out, and allowance day was earlier in the week. It was going to be quick. It was going to be easy. How dramatic could a trip to the Disney Outlet be?

We found the hoodies, quick and easy. We started perusing the stuff in the allowance price range, and then a lady came in with two, young children. I mean I have young children, but I mean these two kids looked maybe four or five, and acted two. The little boy started immediately knocking things off the shelves. The little girl, every minute and a half – right on time, as if she had a stopwatch – screamed as loud as she could.

The mother kept coughing and coughing, the entire time. I tried to shuffle through the store quickly. Crashing things. Screaming. Cough cough cough.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

“Can I help you find anything?” a sales employee asked, and the woman said they were just looking, between coughing, coughing, whooping… whooping

“Can I get you a drink of water, you seem in distress,” he said and then she admitted she was getting over a case of whooping cough.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

Communicable diseases.

I continued to shuffle through and it just got worse and worse with these people. I heard two other employees standing near us, quietly talking about how they’d called the manager for approval to stay later in their shifts to clean up the mess this lady and her two kids had made.

It was that bad.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

Communicable diseases.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. They were really close to us at this point. Like looking at the same merchandise. I said “ok, we have to get going so pick what you want now please.”

And then I got protest. Can’t decide. Everything’s great. Blah blah blah. So I did what any other parent in this situation would do, well at least a desperate and at the same time civilized parent, and I leaned over to my ten year old and whispered – WHISPERED – ‘look I can’t take this kid screaming anymore and that lady has whooping cough, we need to go.’

She looked at the disaster of a family standing right next to us – coughing, screaming, and crashing things to the floor; she said she understood. Allowance purchases were selected and we were ready to go within less than a minute.

As we started to walk to the cash register, I heard amidst coughing, screaming, and more things crashing someone shout at me. “Did you just whisper about my family?”

We were the only people in the store, but I still ignored her and walked off. The employees had been talking about her. And anyway, I had whispered. What I say quietly to my kid is my own business. I did absolutely nothing wrong.

But ignoring her was apparently the wrong thing to do; because while checking out, this crazy, coughing lady followed us to the register and started screaming at me “I asked you a question you fucking cunt.”

Disney Outlet. Young children. Do You Want To Build A Snowman playing over the loudspeaker.

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom. You fucking cunt.

Now a lot of people would have turned around and belted that bitch in the mouth. A lot of other people would have turned around and confronted her. Her with all her issues, her lack of belief in the whooping cough vaccine, this psychotic family, and the obvious absence of mental and social decorum.

I signed my credit receipt and instead said as we walked out that I had not heard her. “It’s a little loud in here.” We walked out of the store, the door greeter apologizing for the incident.

With the exception of this lady yelling “fucking bitch” as we exited, the situation was over.

When we got to the car, my daughter asked why I hadn’t “told that lady off,” to which I responded with the common lines about choosing your battles, feeling sorry for people with so many problems, and so on and so forth. Morals. Lessons. Moving on.

But as I drove into my garage, and got everything into the house, I thought about the fact that this is not only a stark reminder that there are a lot of assholes in my community, but that we live in a society in which everyone thinks everything else is their business. So what if I whispered to my daughter about them? Is there something so special about her and those kids that makes that unacceptable?

At least I whispered, others would have said something much louder, and to her face. I chose the high road, while at the same time using tact to get us out of a bad situation. I’ll say it again, and defend it to the death: what I say quietly to my kid is my own business.

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.

Just When I Thought My 30s Could Not Get Any More Annoying, New Years Eve 2013 Rolled On In

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_nHappy fucking New Years. Seriously. I hope you have a really nice fucking 2014. Eat a dick.

That was directed at my 30-something friends, 30-something bloggy people, and 30-something colleagues in this illustrious career of a pajama jeans-wearing, ass-wiping Stay At Home Mom. The rest of you can skip the dick eating. Unless of course that’s your thing (GROSS).

It was only recently that I became physically able to say that I am 31. I mean like a couple of weeks ago, and even then it was ugly because I couldn’t remember if I was 31 or 32. Pretty fucking hideous state of affairs, huh?

I’m already back to saying I’m 28.

As I see it, I’m a fucking war hero. I survived that phase when everyone was getting engaged and/or married. I mean every damn weekend someone was posting photos on Facebook of their engagement rings (ain’t nobody doin’ that no more). Engagement pics were up next, and then of course the wedding planning status updates and social media meltdowns leading up to the big event.

I didn’t get invited to many of the weddings, though to be fair I didn’t invite many to mine. The ones I did – where I actually attended – were equal parts intolerable and lessons in banality.

And the drum of growing up marched on with its beat. I held my head high as my husband and I have slowly, but surely, become two of the few people we know that does not own their own home. I smiled as suddenly everyone was becoming those people that go on cruises for every, single, fucking vacation they take.

Currently, I am navigating my way carefully through the early divorces, and the baby-belly pics. I’ve learned to “hide all” from friends that share their nude popped-belly-button photos. I’ve managed to avoid conversations about breastfeeding while out for dinner and drinks. Everyone does it, why the shit do we have to talk about it? That’s what Le Leche support groups are for, not fucking girl’s night at the local Applebees.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m definitely excited for all of the people I know that are going through these awesome stages of life. And for the parts that I am partaking, I am happy for myself too. This is what it means to be in our 30s – all these great things (new jobs, new lives, new families, new experiences) and more.

But do we have to fucking remind ourselves of this every step of the way? That we have moved on beyond those treasured years of our 20s, when we didn’t always need caffeine to get going in the morning? When we could go out and have a few drinks and dance without having to call the goddamned babysitter to see if anyone puked? Can’t we just allow ourselves to stay nestled in the security of feeling like we will be young forever, rather than reminding ourselves constantly that time has not paused, and will not ever stand still?

I hope you all can sense at this point that my 30s felt up until this point that they could not get any more annoying. I truly thought they wouldn’t. Then New Years Eve 2013 rolled on in and it got even fucking worse.

1501770_10151848041001395_1761194694_nI logged onto Facebook at some point today and what did my newsfeed unveil to me but post after MOTHERBITCHING POST about staying at home in pajamas. “I wonder if I’ll be able to stay awake to midnight!” was perhaps the most commonly said phrase by people I know in their 30s. Suddenly people that were posting shit-faced photographs of themselves in the bathtub on New Years Eve just a couple of years ago are wearing their goddamned matching flannel pajama sets and playing Scrabble in bed. SCRABBLE IN BED.

Now sure, I stayed home this year too. Quite frankly, it’s the best thing to do on the most dangerous night of the year. Also, I’m tired and fucking lazy, and while we did have plans to go to a family party we ended up staying home instead and just hanging out. Truth be told, I cleaned until about 45 minutes ago. But was I yucking it up left and right about how old I’ve become? “OMG we have become soooooo old we will have to sleep a week to make up for staying up past midnight!!!” How I have passed on through this right of passage that apparently says that to prove you’ve become some old piece of shit you have to suddenly tuck yourself in before 6 pm on a night you used to let last until 6 the following morning?

Ugh. Seriously. Eat a dick people.

I get it. We’re all getting older. We’re getting more tired. We have more responsibilities, like kids and shit. We are done with the nonsense and the games, and drinking and partying all night just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We’ve been around the block a couple of times.

But looming over all of this is an image of my future: a future New Years Eve that all this pajama-comfy-night-wonder-if-I’ll-make-it-to-midnight-Facebook-bullshit says is speeding towards me at an unprecedented rate. That image is of me as an old woman. An old woman sitting in my easy chair, hair in curlers. My New Years Eve will be spent not partying but watching the Perry Mason NYE marathon. I’ll sit there while my dog licks toe jam off my feet, eating frosting directly out of the can until I fall asleep around 9:45 only to drool all over myself until one of my seventeen cats wakes me up to go to bed. I get that this is what’s probably next. Who knows when it will strike, but if only my 30s could just slow the fuck down with all this getting-old bullshit and let me just enjoy my warm, naive ignorance for a little while longer.

Happy New Years. May 2014 be as full of denial as I clearly hope it will be.

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