6 Things No One Told You About Becoming a Stay At Home Mom

When I became a Stay At Home Mom, I quickly learned that most people have absolutely no idea what it really means to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don’t mean that they are missing something about how hard it is.

Well, some are. A lot are…

Some don’t have much respect for it either, which is another topic of conversation altogether.

What I really mean, though, is that the essence of a Stay At Home Mom – what it is really and truly like day in and day out, what it is reduced to – is just never truly clarified for you before you become one. I’m talking about the feelings of it, I’m talking about the actions that become commonplace – that soon define you. Sine qua non SAHM.

Above all, there are six things no one ever told me about becoming a Stay At Home Mom. Things that – above all the hiding in the closet to get a break, and having people assume you are a complete moron because you don’t have a high-powered career – I just wish I had known in advance. So I could have mentally prepared myself for them, you know?

Lucky for all of you, I’m going to do what no one did for me and give you that head’s up.

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1. Fucking. Laundry. Never. Ends.

In the last two weeks, I have actually kept a count of how much dirty laundry our household produces. Right now – Friday of the second week – I have done twenty-four loads of laundry.

Twenty-four fucking loads of laundry.

Twenty-four. Fucking. Loads. OF LAUNDRY.

And I have six more of miscellaneous things sitting there by the washer, waiting for their turn.

The thing about being a Stay At Home Mom is that you notice when things are a little dirtier than you’d like them to be. You look for things to keep you busy sometimes, too; and you spend more time reading articles in the news while you eat breakfast and pick oatmeal out of your hair. What I’m saying is you have more time to be a little bit more paranoid and neurotic about germs and stuff. So you wash the blankets more frequently. The stuffed animals all get cleaned after a cold.

When I was working, I didn’t even know that people washed stuffed animals. Now someone sneezes more than twice and everything is in the washer. Maybe I’m a hypochondriac, or have terrible OCD. Is the hand-washing disorder next for me?

But in all seriousness, when you are a Stay At Home Mom, you usually don’t do one big bout of laundry, you know like once a week. Laundry day and so forth. You just keep doing it as it comes up, so eventually it feels like it never ends. Ever.

Because it doesn’t.

2. The only way to keep things together is to run a tight ship.

I have recently realized that when people say you should let go and let others help; allow more sleepovers with the grandparents or let the babysitter take the reigns on homework once in a while … well, those people are full of shit.

A total recipe for disaster in your household is to let go of your status as Stay At Home Mom – slash – Prison Warden.

Recently, I let go of the reigns to try and get some more “me time” and all hell broke loose. It was like the state of nature in my home. The laundry wasn’t getting done every day. Meals were consistent of crap thrown together or through a drive thru. No one was following the rules – like brushing their teeth, washing their hands, doing their homework before TV.

And what happened? My kid fell while camping with the in-laws and got a mild concussion, then she got food poisoning, then she went to the dentist and came in with an unexpected cavity. And did I mention she admitted that all the times the babysitter had her doing her homework she was allowed to skip reading time? For years I have kept everything in our house in tip-top condition. Let go a little bit to have six hours a week to myself and everything goes to hell.

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Now I don’t know how Working Moms keep everything together, having to rely on daycare, spouses, and family to help. I sometimes think that maybe they don’t have to because they aren’t in it all the time. But because Stay At Home Moms never get that 8 hour with society-time, running a tight ship and keeping shit under control is absolutely essential.

3. Absolutely nothing will ever be just yours.

At least once a week I wake to find that my daughter has helped herself to my expensive lipstick. Usually it’s smeared all over her face ala the makeup stylings of 1990s Courtney Love.

Almost always the lipstick is destroyed.

When you are a Stay At Home Mom, you don’t have a work place that you can hide your nice NARS lip gloss, or keep your adorable pink Martha Stewart calendar book from little hands drawing all over the inside of it.

And for this reason…

4. You will envy your Working Mom friends.

While I will probably never go back to work in an office, at a desk, again (hear that one, honey?), I envy my Working Mom friends. Big time.

They have that desk or that work locker, where they can keep their most prized and cherished possessions – to never be touched by anyone but themselves. Like lip gloss and hair barrettes. And Twix bars.

They have 10 minute breaks to sit in a break room and read. They have lunch hours. Sure, some of them use lunch hours to run errands or volunteer at their kids’ school. But some use it to sit down and be quiet.

They have quiet.

I’m not saying they have it better, or I have it better. I’m not saying anyone’s plight is worse, either. I’m just saying the grass is always greener, and in some instances my yard is dead as shit and my Working Moms, well their yards are lush and beautiful and glorious. And full of non-destroyed lipstick.

5. That whole thing about yoga pants and being unkempt is not just a joke.

I live in California, so often I see Stay At Home Moms out and about town looking very cute. I’m talking adorable tops. I’m talking expensive CK jeans. I’m talking sparkly TOMS.

Yesterday I wore regular pants for an hour and forty-five minutes. That was a bit much for me.

People joke about yoga pants or not wearing makeup, and you think it’s silly and – oh my friends are Stay At Home Moms but surely they don’t really look that unkempt all the time! They are just joshing me!

When you’re schlepping groceries in the house, juggling everybody’s shit because they are too lazy to carry it themselves, vacuuming, cooking a bagillion meals, scrubbing oatmeal out of your hair and fingerpaint off the kitchen floor … there just ain’t no time to be fancy.

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6. The world outside your home will start to seem very odd, very soon.

It didn’t take long before I started to look at life before becoming a Stay At Home Mom as entirely bizarre. Some of the way my life was before didn’t even make sense.

I always hear my father and his retired friends talk about how they don’t know how they got anything done when they worked. The same goes for a Stay At Home Mom. How did all this laundry get done before? How were meals on the table every night? How did I have the time to actually do my hair, when I’m home all the time now and sloppy pony tail complete with dried oatmeal is my normal 30-second go-to? And why are all these people so dressed up anyway, it’s just the grocery store!

Moreover, you start to love it, and that is perhaps the weirdest feeling anyone could ever experience.

If I were to make a word cloud of all the words that best describe being a Stay At Home Mom, it would be the most confusing, fucked up word cloud ever – including phrases like ‘completely isolating’ and ‘euphoric chocolate hidden in the bathroom.’ But it would also include phrases like ‘greatest job in the world’ and ‘wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.’ I guess it’s like the old you have to experience it to understand what I mean.

At least now you’ve all been warned.

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My Christmas Wish List This Year

I wonder if I just became as obnoxious as Home Depot putting out their fucking Christmas decorations in July; or Target playing Christmas music in October. You know that Black Friday actually begins for many stores at 7 pm on Thanksgiving DAY, now, too. Retailers are literally ramming Christmas up our asses.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should go ahead and admit that I do all of my Christmas shopping in the months of August and September. That means that as of this day – October 10th – I have actually been done with Christmas shopping. For 10 days. That’s everyone in our families, for the Pookies, my husband… everyone. It’s just so much more tolerable than standing in long lines, and fighting with people over bargains.

This means that while I was shopping, I officially scoped out all of the things I really really want for Christmas.

Before going into my wish list, though, let me tell you a little story about the Sodastream. A few years ago, my husband got me that for Christmas. It was well-intentioned, sure. I drink Diet Coke by the bucket-load, which means obviously getting me a machine that would let me make my own bucket-loads of my aspartame and caffeine-filled beverage of sheer delight would be a win, right?

Wrong. I can totally taste the difference. What I like about Diet Coke is actually the exact ingredients and exact composition and exact carbonation of the Coca-Cola brand Diet Coke. Maybe it’s all mental (it’s probably all mental); nonetheless, I never use the Sodastream.

Quickly after I opened the gift that year, though, it became vaguely reminiscent of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer buys Marge a bowling ball (with his name engraved on it), in spite of the fact that Marge had no idea how to get the ball down the lane. Within a day, my husband was experimenting with flavors on the Sodastream. He even drank directly out of the bottles. He still does.

Since that year, I have made it a point to make an explicit wish list for Christmas. Last year I really wanted a deer head for our bedroom. I made it explicitly clear; I got a deer head. This year, though, I’m going for quantity… I want to feel the excitement of opening lots of gifts on Christmas morning, like I did when I was a kid again.

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1. A Day of the Dead wine bottle opener/corkscrew from Paper Source. We were shopping a few weeks ago and saw them, and I fell in love. (Note to my husband: Day of the Dead is like two days into November. So…time is of the essence….)

2. Removable plastic sheets for my iPad!!!!! This is an infuriating request for me, because it’s super cheap and available online as well as at Sur La Table as well as at Bed Bath Beyond, and fuck it’s even around $10 for 100 at Target…and I asked for these for Mother’s Day – it’s all I wanted, I didn’t even mind cooking on Mother’s Day, as long as I could have those stupid plastic sheets so that I stop getting food all over my iPad when I cook. It was a REQUEST DENIED, though, so I’d really like some for Christmas.

3. Lots of good smelling stuff from Bath and Body Works, especially the winter scents (like Winter Candy Apple). I have an addiction to purchasing Bath and Body Works products, but lately haven’t gotten that many to try and pare down my stockpile. Around Christmas I will be totally out, though, so it would be totally awesome if someone in my family would replenish my stock – especially since I love the winter line all year long. I really love all their scents, though. Except that Japanese Blossom one, because that stuff smells like a cow’s ass.

4. A “People Mom Would Have An Affair With” personalized 2014 calendar. I would like the months to be as follows:

January: Wolf Blitzer. Duh, I have a huge s(he)hard-on for him.

February: Jay Cutler from the Chicago Bears, but he needs to be in the middle of one of those weird neck/shoulder twitch things he does before a play or during an interview.

March: Jim Cantore doing push ups while reporting from a hurricane.

April: Vladimir Putin. It would be totally rad if he were wearing some kind of a fur headpiece too…

May: Albert Camus. Yes, he is dead. Yes, I would totally cheat on my husband and jump his dead, old bones. Gross, but not sorry.

June: Hulk Hogan. Preferably in tight spandex, in the middle of administering a pile drive (the wrestling kind).

July: Bill Clinton. I would be in a binder of women delivered to his desk any day.

August: Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox (hopefully at this time in the year he will still be with and playing regularly for the White Sox… and hopefully the White Sox won’t have blown it at this point like they had in 2013… and every other year…………)

September: Any random guy with long hair pulled back in a pony tale, a nerdy “I play MAGIC the Gathering every Sunday” kind of look to him; but with no acne and definitely well-presented enough for it to be clear he doesn’t live in his mother’s basement… in the middle of a LARP. Don’t ask me why, but sometimes that Lord of the Rings shit gets me going.

October: As many members of the NBA that will fit onto one page. (Don’t ask.)

November: No photo, just my mantra in large lettering: “No car, no job, no service.”

December: Fuck it: Gandolf.

The way I see it, this is sort of like the people that do those sexy photos for their spouses, only instead of looking at photographs of my husband on a pillowy bed with feather boas all around him and shit, I’ll be looking at the meaty men that I salivate over regularly, in a totally creepy and mental-infidelity kind of way.

5.A gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. You guys may be thinking that I just threw this one in there because I had nothing else for a #5, but I’m totally serious. I never eat there unless I have a gift card. It isn’t the cost, it’s just the place never comes to mind when thinking of where to go. And if there is one thing I need more of in my life, it’s motherfuckin’ cheesecake.

I still think it’s awful that Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year; mainly because it gets old after a predetermined period of time, and it would be really awesome if that time weren’t before… oh, I don’t know… Christmas. Nonetheless, it was important to share my Christmas wish list early. You know, to give my husband enough time to make up some excuses why he got me another Sodastream instead.

6 Products I Would Make Sweet, Sweet Love To If They Were Men

I have no one to tell to shut the fuck up this week, for STFU Fridays that is. I mean I do, but I’m holding it off until later when perhaps certain factions of my personal life won’t take it so … personally.

539192_667233661783_1479698705_nIn the meantime I have come to realize my gross dependence on certain things. It isn’t until they are absent that you realize their importance, right? With all the back-and-forth of helping my dad after his hip surgery, and staying overnight at his house on an air mattress still, I keep finding myself without the products I have come to cherish most in my every day life. With distance the heart grows fonder, I believe is the saying. Well my heart has grown so fond for some of my most-loved products that I realize that were they men, I would cheat on Poor Nick in a heart beat with them by making sweet, sweet love – rolling around naked in the sand and shit.

Here they are, in no particular order:

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#1 Chapstick

The hottest thing ever would be if my husband came home dressed as a tube of Chapstick.

I am so addicted to Chapstick it probably isn’t even funny. But it is, at least to me. I don’t mean that lip balm shit. I don’t mean my lip gloss, that makes me feel pretty and keeps me sane. I mean Chapstick brand chapstick. The plain kind. When I’ve gone for hours – dare I suggest, days – without it, I’ll pucker my lips and put about 200 layers on. Woo! Feels good.

When I was little I used to eat it. Seriously, friends would call and say “whatcha doin’ H-diddy?” and I’d respond “aw nothin’ … just eatin’ some chapstick.” True story.

#2 My Rabbit … electric wine bottle opener

17306_668965236693_191781481_nThis whole helping with the hip surgery post-op is destroying my growing sense of wine-a-hol-ism. I’m hardly drinking at all – which you’d think is a good thing, although wine is actually really good for you in moderation, and I’m a terrible bitch ball of stress and hostility without the sweet, grape nectar calming me down.

And since I’m such a lightweight generally speaking, this means I’ve really gone to near-nothing on the scale of wine drinking.

One of the reasons I’m not drinking that much is because all we’re doing is sitting around, waiting for my dad’s hip to heal. That’s not really an occasion to have a glass, or eight. Another is that sometimes we’re just too busy going to physical therapy appointments.

The third is that I keep forgetting my Rabbit at home.

#3 Aveeno body lotion

Holy balls of sweet, sweet love-filled moisturizer, I have dry skin. I don’t *really* have dry skin, though – I have eczema from my horrible allergies that are just totally out of control.

Regardless of the terrible suffering I go through when my skin feels like ants are crawling all over it, I keep forgetting my Aveeno. Or rather I forget to slather on a thick layer of it when I go home to shower. It’s really becoming a problem, and has made me realize how much I depend on my body lotion.

#4 My Vizio SmartTV

529084_667811573643_771661551_nAt home we have a Vizio SmartTV.

It’s really great – I have no idea how we survived without it. Now that we are stuck with my dad’s beat up old tube set for our TV viewing pleasure, the experience is just … lacking. We have to watch Netflix movies on my computer. The resolution on the TV is such that my husband has to wear his glasses. I have to listen to my Pandora on my iPad or iPhone, instead of the television’s surround sound.

I know what you’re all thinking. If I were to attach hashtags to this one, I’d include #firstworldproblems #whitegirlproblems #spoiledbitchshutthefuckupjustbegladyouhaveaTV

I still miss it.

#5 Febreeze

I bought something like nine bottles of fucking Febreeze for my dad’s house last month and every single one of them appears to have disappeared. Or he used them all; I’m not sure.

I just know that there are smells all over the place bothering me. Pookies spilled milk on the carpet and it smells a little spoiled, in spite of how hard I scrubbed. My dad’s spending tons of time sitting on the chair, and showering less – leaving the chair a little … rank.

I just want to find my Febreeze and spray everything and everyone the fuck down.

#6 My Le Creuset Bakeware

If Le Creuset were a French man, I would swoon over him at first site. I would secretly meet him, while Poor Nick was at work. I would wear a scarf over my head and sunglasses. When we finally met – somewhere on the beach, where I would have stripped down to my unshaven pits in the spirit of the French women that do not shave, I would speak to him in my broken fragments of Frenglish left over from graduate school. I would baste him, swath him, kneed him. I would make the most sweetest of love to him, and my husband would never know.

Cooking without my Le Creuset bakeware is like frying an egg on my bare hands. It’s horrible. No one should have to endure such suffering. I realize now that the prying and the incessant suggestive selling of the salewomen at the Le Creuset outlet was really for my own good. They weren’t trying to make a profit by trying to manipulate my kid into getting me to buy special kid-friendly cupcake tins – they were looking out for my best interest.

I miss you Chapstick, Rabbit, Aveeno, Vizio, and Febreeze. But Le Creuset … I long for you.

Do you have products you just cannot live without, faithful blog followers? Are they as obsessive as mine? Or do you have a handle on things? Just when I thought I was the most immaterial person I know, this happens. Now I’ve become a product of my generation. Dependent on my things, and not looking back.

28 Imperative To-Dos

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So yesterday was my birthday. Did any of you people get me a fucking birthday cake? No. No you didn’t.

To be fair, I didn’t really announce that my birthday was coming up, quite like I did last year. When I turned 30, I wouldn’t shut the hell up about it for about nine months before the day. The 31st birthday isn’t quite as much of a milestone, and – frankly – I’d like to continue to believe I’m still 28 anyway. I mean I just finally referred to myself as “30 years old” a couple weeks ago – for the first time; and even that sent me screaming for the bottle of Xanax and pint of peach Schnapps. I’d like to get back to the whole 28 forever thing.

So I forgive you. I didn’t need the cake calories anyway.

You all shouldn’t feel bad, though, because even Poor Nick didn’t arrange cake for me. We had a little game night last month for my birthday, although I didn’t get a piece of that cake (that I baked). I was too busy playing hostess of game night, then he took it to work the next day. Yesterday on my actual birthday, I celebrated by buying myself a piece of low fat, flourless chocolate cake after it had become clear that no one else in my house arranged anything. It was tastier and better for me than anything they would have gotten anyway.

So in spite of all of the lackadaisical attempts to woo me with carbs and frosting, I have ushered in my 31st year with a little celebration of my own. By “celebration” I mean I made a to-do list of imperatives for the next year. You do all know how much I love my lists, and they’re “imperatives” because these are things that had better happen in the next year, or they’re never going to happen. I kept my list at my dream number. If I think “28” enough times, it will come true. Right?

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#1 Celebrate my generation.

I don’t mean “my generation” like the general group of people that make up these incredibly douchey, overworked, a-hole hipster 30-somethings. I mean celebrate the generation in which I was born. I’m talking about the motherfucking 80s, bitches.

Fortunately, all I have to do is open my closet and I’m confronted with 80s attire. I’ve loaded the Netflix que with 80s classics that can be watched on repeat. And the newest station plugged into my Pandora is “80s playlist.” Now… where’s my crimper?

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#2 On the note of my crimper…

This year’s biggest to-do is to keep up on my womanhood. Keep my hair feeling nice. Take the time I need to shave my hairy legs. Get my nails done when they need to be done, rather than when my feet begin to look like a gargoyle’s. I can’t feel like a woman if I don’t treat myself like one.

#3 Eat more pho.

#4 Drink more Italian sodas.

#5 Punch every person in the balls that I hear judging others for their weight and/or eating habits and/or relaxation activities.

Just because I like to eat salad and be active doesn’t mean I need to judge others for having different values than me. I think I will reach superhero status if I punch people in the balls that do not agree with my philosophy on this.

#6 Knit myself a bunch of shit.

Knit others nothing. All I ever do is knit things for others! It’s time to do some work for myself.

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#7 Finish my goal of reading 52 books for 2013.

I am currently on #13.

#8 Publish my next blog book.

I feel like I’m sort of cheating on this one. My Wife’s a Bitch is already slated to come out Tuesday, June 4th. Have you sent me a video for the trailer yet?

#9 Start working on my next novel.

#10 Stop worrying about blogging, writing, and reading quotas

I know, this runs contrary to #s 7 – 9.

#11 Purge even more things from our apartment than I did during spring cleaning last month.

#12 Update our wall art.

With my own paintings.

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#13 Update my wardrobe.

With clothes that actually fit, versus the ones right now that fall off me – they are just too big.

#14 Buy myself some new bras.

Seriously. I have two.

#15 Consider therapy to explore why I only wear black underpants.

#16 Acquire more jewelry.

Why was I left out on the memo that women wear jewelry? And on how good it can make you feel to wear it?

#17 Acquire more diamonds.

By giving my husband more blow jobs.

That was a joke. I don’t give my husband blow jobs to begin with, so the concept of beginning, or giving “more” is false. But I could perhaps start letting him hug me for his own “personal use” on occasion.

I’m still kidding. I typically prefer to be untouched.

#18 Acquire more animals for my apartment.

My apartment is rapidly becoming a house of murder. I just really love my ode to taxidermy.

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#19 Save money…

…to buy myself a Sleep Number bed.

#20 Move out of our shitty apartment.

Preferably somewhere that I don’t get contact high just from walking outdoors.

#21 Move to a bigger place.

Where I can have a little space from the crazy people that comprise my family.

#22 Demand a room all for me.

…at said bigger place. Right now I get hardly any space, and my writing is confined to the couch; my artwork having to be done outside.

#23 Move home, to Chicago.

#24 Have more babies.

That’s right I didn’t just say “have a baby,” I said “have more babies.” And I just contradicted my little diatribe under #17 about not allowing my husband to touch me. (I think I need to squeeze “spend all year contradicting myself” into this list somewhere.)

In any event, I’m determined to birth as many little, slime-y shitters as I can, just to get revenge on some of our family that seems to be opposed to us procreating like good Catholics.

I also think babies are cool. But I ain’t no spring chicken, and have no plans of being wheeled into my kid’s high school graduation(s) in a wheel chair on life support because I’m pushing 100. It’s now or never, Poor Nick. Now or never.

#25 Embarrass more frequently.

I have really been failing at my job as parent, when it comes to embarrassing. My parents embarrassed the everliving shit out of me when I was a kid. And it’s why I’m able to be comfortable in my own skin, and just be me now.

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#26 Do a three month set of homeschooling…

…that is entirely the way I want to do it. Just to see how it goes. (Right now I still cow-tow to traditional school standards, as well as family pressure.)

#27 Tolerate less bullshit.

…still, kids weald a lot of bullshit too. There is no reason to tolerate the tantrums, and following that up with begging and pleading to get them to stop. I’m telling you faithful blog followers – time outs and consequences aren’t just a thing of the past.

#28 Throw absolutely no more parties this year.

Well, except for a friend’s baby shower this June… but that’s it for me.

It’s time to start enjoying my time on this earth. Life’s too short to always be running yourself ragged for others, while sitting around and waiting for people to celebrate “you” only for them to do nothing. That’s why I bought my own piece of cake yesterday, and why this next year is the year of me.

Or you might call it: the year of the B(itch). It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What are on your to-dos this year, faithful blog followers?

Three Signs He Isn’t Cheating On You

A lot of people think my husband cheats on me. They have for a long time. I can tell with some, by the looks they give me. You know them: the looks of pity that this poor woman is just so stupid she doesn’t see what’s really going on. Others outright tell me. Sometimes my mom and her husband refer to Poor Nick as “that lying’ cheatin’ S.O.B.” and still other friends and family are more eloquent about it than they.

To their credit, he does act like it. He comes home late all the time. He says he’ll be home at a certain time and shows up hours later. He can be kind of a jerk to me at times. By jerk, I mean he blows off my birthday, sides with strangers over me, tries to shame me for being a woman, and ignores the majority of our conversations. He says things like “excuse me, I have a life outside of here” in reference to our family. He withholds affection about 95% of the time. He lies. He spends a considerable amount of time deleting things from his cellphone. He picks fights over petty things. I could go on, but I’m not helping my point here.

Because then there are the signs that he isn’t cheating on me. There aren’t many, but I do know that as long as these status things are in place, all is well in the matter of our marital monogamy.

His feet still smell

IMAG1380My husband has always had the most rancid smelling feet on the planet. I remember when we first started dating. He had a shoe rack by the front door of their condo, and the scent was so overpowering I would always try and find excuses to go in through their garage whenever I went over there.

No amount of foot spray or foot powder or foot anything helps the smell, either. He uses a daily foot spray to avoid spreading his athlete’s foot issues to everyone else in the house, but it does nothing to contain the smell.

Have I told you faithful blog followers about this before? I’m sure I have. The problem with Poor Nick’s feet is his shoes. All of them are at least 10 years old, some of them disintegrate every time he wears them. He has these sandals that are so disgusting – and quite frankly cheap ($30); when he wears them, his feet sweat so badly that he comes home and there are black chunks of sandal stuck into the in-between of his toes. He asked for a new pair for Christmas, and I said “are you going to throw out the old ones then?” to which he said NO. So he got no sandals. On more than one occasion, I have been so horrified by the stench this whole sandal-sweat-disintegration debacle created that I’ve made him go wash his feet.

As long as Poor Nick’s feet still smell like a rotting animal carcass, covered in sweat and mildew, I know his heart is still with me.

He still eats like he’s packing it in for a long winter

One of the classic signs of someone cheating is they change their eating or exercise habits. It’s totally cool to eat more healthy or want to lose weight if you are in the red on either of those fronts. But if it’s sudden, unexpected, excessive, unwarranted, and secretive, you do have cause for concern (although concern over what is iffy – cheating, depressed, eating disorder, etc).

On one occasion, I did actually question what was going on when I saw Poor Nick download a weight loss app to his phone. Those of you that know him know that he is already underweight. The thought that he would want to lose weight horrified me; but then he followed it up by packing in two beers, a meal that had an entire day’s worth of calories in it, plus a dessert. Since then, I haven’t heard or seen anything about weight loss, so I’m resting easy that he isn’t cheating, depressed, or developing an eating disorder.

As long as my husband eats like he’s packing it in for a long winter, I know we’re good. And it isn’t just how much he eats, but what he eats. Red onions in copious amounts. Garlic by the baleful. Hot dogs smothered in relish. There isn’t another human being on this planet that would tolerate the way my husband smells after a rousing game of “let’s see how many hardboiled eggs I can eat.”

He continues to do entirely idiotic experiments with his various areas of hair

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Am I the only woman on the planet whose husband plays experimental game with his hair – head, as well as facial?

“I want to grow it long.” “I told her to just trim the top but let the back grow.””I decided to just buzz it all off.”

“I felt like the feel of a smooth face.” “I like this little patch of facial hair here!” “What’s wrong with hair growing down and around the back of my neck?” “Sideburns are in again.”

This is a weekly thing in our house. Poor Nick is constantly playing games with his hair, which is rife for embarrassing family photos and people thinking I’m in a relationship with a fifteen year old. When he shaves off all his facial hair, he looks like a teenager – really, he just looks so young. When he leaves some but not a full beard, he does this ridiculous gang-banger, cholo thing. Once I Googled it and found picture after picture of gay gang members – all sporting the same facial hair.

Here is how I know my husband isn’t cheating on me right now. In spite of some of the mean things he’s said recently. Besides the fact that he let another woman (the carpool lady) keep him at work two hours late, waiting for her to get off at her respective job, then yelled at me that I just didn’t understand the demands of her career. Spitting in the face of the two hour argument he picked over whether or not we should switch to only two DVDs on Netflix a month to save $3. I know my man is still my man because of his most recent bad haircut.

“I told her just to trim it up” turned into short on top, spiky on the sides, and long in the back. The back actually poofs out behind his ears to make what is perhaps the most amazing inadvertent mullet of all time.

At this point I’m kind of hoping my husband doesn’t read this blog. In more ways than one, I’ve taken him down much further than even Chinatown. But it’s all true, and it’s a good thing – I know he isn’t cheating on me! But if the intoxicating odor of his feet, or his diet and hair habits ever change I know I’m in trouble.

One day, it’s liable to happen though. Poor Nick will walk in the door and his hair will be clean-cut. He’ll say “I’m tired of playing games with my hair, and I’m not hungry tonight. I’m going to the gym. Alone.” Then when he gets home, I’ll notice all new shoes and a surprisingly fresh scent wafting up from his feet. That’s when I’m screwed.

Do you have signs that your significant other is remaining faithful? I bet they’re not nearly as … unique.

Foods That Have Traumatized Me

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This last few weeks was pretty stressful and full of sadness for me, after the passing of my grandfather and all the stuff that came after it. That meant for a lot of stomach upset, which culminated last night in horrible stomach traumas that I will just file under the category of: too much information to share.

It’s times like these that give me an opportunity to pause and reflect on all the foods that have traumatized me in years past. I think you will find that my list is about as bizarre as everything else in my life.

#1 Ice cream and yogurt, but not frozen yogurt or milk or cheese

You want to see me miserable, give me some ice cream or plain yogurt. For a while I thought I was lactose intolerant, but then I ate about a bucketful of mozzarella cheese and washed it down with half a gallon of milk, so I’m pretty sure it’s just the ice cream and yogurt.

But not frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt I can eat until the cows come home (no pun intended … OK, pun may or may not have been planned, you decide).

#2 California Italian food

I’ve talked about this many, many times before, but something about the Italians out here in California makes their cooking taste like crap.

We went to a party before Christmas where a guy told me that Chicagoans “can’t cook Italian food worth shit.” Funny, in the family cooking contest we had both entered, he only garnered one vote (his) while I came in second place. Chicagoans can’t cook Italian food “worth shit,” huh? I’m about as Italian as that guidette Snookie is modest, too.

Every time I eat a California Italian’s cooking, though – every time without fail – I have a problem swallowing it, and spend 3/4 of the night sitting upright with acid reflux. Of course I put on my sweetest smile and gobble the stuff up, but it’s always like pasty mush mixed in a sea of something that resembles baby diapers.

#3 Coffee

Coffee for me is like a recipe for cardiac arrest. Don’t get me wrong, I love my caffeine; but anything beyond the amount found in a $1 Diet Coke from McDonald’s and I am a walking heart palpitation, just waiting to burst.

#4 Fish sticks

No, I’m not piggy-backing off any Southpark jokes, here – fish sticks have actually traumatized me, and therefore I will never (not ever) eat fish, of any kind.

When my parents first got divorced, I lived with my mom for one year (before she decided to leave me behind to move across the country and shack up with a dude that was still married). That year was a little weird for me, mostly because my mother was constantly trying to trick me to eat things she thought would be good for me.

Most of them had very little nutritional value at all.

The worst were the fish sticks. She promised me that they were chicken strips. She showed me a box that they had supposedly come out of. But then when I took a bite into those mercury-filled, fishy-flavored gems, I knew that she had lied to me. Not that I should have ever trusted her to begin with, but from that moment on I had a hard time believing anyone about what I was eating until I tasted it, for at least ten years.

#5 The fried cheese grilled cheese sandwich at Denny’s

Why does this exist? Calling them “grilled cheese” is usually inaccurate to begin with – those puppies are fried just like most every other sandwich on the Denny’s menu. But to then insert battered and fried sticks of mozzarella in the center of a grilled cheese sandwich; well, that just makes no sense to me.

People clearly order it too, because it’s been on the menu for quite a few years now. Fortunately we eat at Denny’s so infrequently that I don’t often see it; but on the rare occasion that we do, and I see it on the menu, my arteries quiver just a little when I see that gooey photo on the menu.

#6 Shellfish

So I’m allergic to everything it seems, and shellfish is included in the list. I’m also allergic to MSG and sodium nitrate, but it isn’t often that a restaurant slips that into your meal, like has happened to me with shellfish a number of times.

The most recent was last August. I had just returned from a few days in the faux-Danish town of Solvang and met my dad for happy hour and dinner at Macaroni Grill. I ordered angel hair pasta with asparagus and chicken, but when I bit into a piece of my chicken it tasted like shrimp. Within minutes my throat was starting to feel tight, so we left and I gave myself an Epipen.

Macaroni Grill sent me $20 for my troubles.

So, faithful blog followers, have you had food traumatize you? I don’t need to hear stories regaling for me the details of your bathroom experiences, or the consistency of your vomit or anything. Then again, maybe I’m the only one who lets her food mess with her head…

Funeral Fails

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So I mentioned almost two weeks ago (the last time I blogged, actually): my grandpa passed away on February 6th. It’s been very difficult to get through it – my grandparents and I have had a very special relationship from Day One.

Fortunately, the funeral events are finally over with. Between my husband’s uncle dying last month and my grandfather passing away on the 6th, we had a total of four funeral days this past week to attend. Are you with me on the overwhelmingness faithful blog followers? The schedule went like this:

Sunday, February 10th 

Scattering of Uncle Stevie’s ashes, breakfast with the family, and memorial luncheon

Tuesday, February 12th

Grandpa’s wake near our home and birthday dinner for my mom

Friday, February 15th

Grandpa’s wake near his retirement home – 250 miles away outside Yosemite area, followed by a military burial, followed by a memorial church service, followed by a reception in the church, followed by photos and flowers by the graveside, followed by scattering bird seed around near their old home (like my grandpa used to do), followed by a family dinner at the casino.

… followed by my husband and I driving home just 24 hours after we had made the trek up

Sunday, February 17th

Grandpa’s memorial and celebration of life locally (they lived around where we live for the majority of their careers, then moved back for the last two years of Grandpa’s life), followed by a reception, followed by another party at our house

To say I am tired of all this shit doesn’t really even cover it.

But in the last week, I have spent an unprecedented number of hours and days with my mom, and quite frankly a lot of people – something that is typically considered a nightmare to misanthropes such as myself. I was talking to my Uncle John yesterday, and said that this is the most time I think I have ever spent with my mother; and his response was that he knew I was ready for some space. That’s putting it nicely, though. It was a fucking nightmare. My worst nightmare, wrapped into a huge ball of anxiety and sadness and missing my grandpa.

And there were a number of funeral fails, or death-related pet peeves that came out of it all.

Funeral Fail #1:

Expecting Everyone To Grieve The Same Way

179783_659293169593_1073053114_nSure, I was sad about the fact that my husband’s uncle died. He was hit by a truck while walking across the street – a tragedy in itself; and his life was very tumultuous as well.

But I also didn’t know him too well, so expecting me to break down crying while we scattered the ashes was a little weird. And still, I was asked by one of my husband’s cousins if I never cry at a funeral, or if it was just them. I understand, people are sensitive with their pain, but my God. I said “I just am glad Stevie is finally at peace in the ocean with the other surfers” and I got a cold shoulder.

I’m sure it didn’t make things any better that I proceeded to then walk back from the edge of the pier to wait for them. I just couldn’t be expected to start sobbing, or be interrogated for not doing so – especially when I was trying to keep myself under control after my grandfather had just passed away a few days beforehand. Nonetheless, it made me think about how many people out there truly do expect people to all grieve the same, exact way.

Funeral Fail #2:

Scheduling Funerals On People’s Birthdays

48119_659676985423_1001985731_nI understand the already-sensitive nature of scheduling a funeral, wake, memorial service, and so on, between the schedules of the churches, parties involved, and funeral homes. But I also think there is something inherently wrong with scheduling funeral events on someone’s birthday.

Two of the dates of my grandfather’s funeral events were scheduled on people’s birthdays. What was particularly frustrating about this was that everyone expected to be able to leave the wake and just chipper up for the birthday celebrations immediately afterwards. To make matters worse, the first was my mom’s. Even in a time of grief and sadness, she still managed to try and micromanage and drama up the entire thing.

First she yelled at me for suggesting that we have a potluck-type thing at my house, since my grandma would no doubt be too exhausted after the wake to go out into a restaurant for dinner. Then she yelled at me for saying it should be potluck, and then told most of the people coming over just to not really bring anything. And in my mother’s typical fashion, when everyone sang her “Happy Birthday,” she just had to call her Hillbilly Husband out in New Mexico, put him on speaker, and involve him in the festivities. She always does that – puts him on speaker, as if this will rectify the fact that the family has either never met him, or only met him for a brief time years ago. This is as if to make OK the lies this guy has told, the fact that they eloped and never really included the family in any kind of celebration afterwards, and all the other egregious offenses that have occurred since this Trailer Park King entered into our lives … but I digress.

None of it would have been necessary had we just been able to schedule the wake the day before.

Funeral Fail #3:

“Do You Remember Me?”

Let me start this final rant off with something nice: I very much appreciated all of the people that came to visit and mourn and pay their respects to my grandfather. He was an amazing guy, who made a lot of friends and treated everyone he knew like family.

To their credit, most of the people that came to any of the three of my grandfather’s funeral days were very understanding of the fact that I might not recognize them. “Of course you wouldn’t recognize me – the last time I saw you, I held you as a little baby!” and so on. Those people were fine.

But then there were those motherfuckers that had to just expect me to know every faceted detail about them, in spite of the fact that I haven’t seen them since I was five. And then there was the lady whose pants fell off while she was looking into my grandfather’s casket (I shouldn’t joke about it, I’m sure it was embarrassing) who kept saying “well, I would expect you to remember me, but I just can’t remember you…”

By contrast were the vast number of people who said the words “oh, I didn’t know your mother had a daughter …” – a statement which speaks volumes, but we will gloss over for the moment.

Yesterday’s was the final straw for me. A woman walked up to me and said “Heather, do you remember me? You used to be my pharmacy technician! Are you still there?” I said that I was not. That I haven’t worked in the goddamned pharmacy since I graduated from college almost six years ago (I left out the expletives). I thanked her for coming to “my grandfather’s memorial,” which is when she said that my grandpa had hired her to work at the church we were in. But then, right as she started to walk away, she turned around again and said “I can’t believe you don’t remember me – I mean, I got a lot of medicine at that pharmacy while you were there…I thought you would have at least taken the time to remember me…”

Really bitch? My grandfather – who, you just explained to me, you wouldn’t have a job here if it weren’t for – just died and you are giving me shit about the fact that I couldn’t necessarily recognize you from a two-bit, part time job I had just to give me some extra cash while I was in college – over half a decade ago? REALLY?!

The moral of the story is that people should really just stop dying. Since that is not going to happen, I suppose the other moral is that when you have multiple funeral events to attend, and are in a position of extreme sadness and grief, you should probably just fix yourself up daily Valium-Wine cocktails. That’s essentially what I did (well, the wine part) this last week. God only knows what I would have done had I not…

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By the way, doesn’t my grandma look amazing for a woman who just lost her husband of 63 years? I think so. While I am absolutely devastated at the loss of my grandfather, I think I can speak for both myself and my grandma when I say that this next phase of life in his honor is pretty exciting. I’m starting it with making a quilt out of his shirts for my grandma, having her come over more to teach me to cook her most famous dishes, and letting my grandpa wrap his arms around me every day as I wear his oldest and most cozy cardigan sweater. I love you, Grandpa.