Yes, I Am Allowed To Take a Vacation. So Are My Kids.

Something really weird happened to me today.

My kids and I are on vacation. I know, shocker. Everyone else takes a vacation and there are photos and stories and Instagrams and Snapchats and canceled plans – “sorry, going to be in Cabo that week!”

I take a vacation and everyone acts like I’ve gone on a two week cocaine bender and spent the electric bill money on a balloon of heroin.

My kids wanted one thing for Christmas: a trip somewhere. Anywhere. We so infrequently leave the area, and having just about everything under the sun they could ever imagine or want, it’s what they naturally asked for. I had a trip planned that was drivable, in our Christmas budget, and would involve stuff they enjoy (shopping, tennis, waterpark, etc.).

Then as Christmas neared, it all sort of fell apart.

First, my dad had surgery on his hip and it was taking much longer to recover than planned. That meant he would need someone to stay home with him.

My husband was SWAMPED at work, I mean swamped; so a vacation was not exactly ideal for him either.

But the kids and I were still all about it; packing and getting those little travel sized bottles of our toiletries…we were just about ready and the day was swiftly nearing for us to leave, then my oldest daughter hurt her knee and rendered herself un-vacation-able.

The resort was nice enough to refund me our entire booking, and I quickly sprung into action to salvage Christmas. I filled the bottom of the tree with some basic gifts I knew my kids would appreciate, and started trying to plan a substitute vacation that wouldn’t require so much physical activity on her knee.

I mean…a trip was what they asked for, and had already been promised…

So I said I would take them to El Segundo to shop and stay for a few days before the holidays; that didn’t pan out because Christmas chaos got in the way. Then I thought *well how about Solvang for New Years.* Didn’t happen. My kids started getting that whole *things Mom promises never come true* air about them, though, so you guys can imagine my delight when both of their tennis teams got invited to the section championships…

…in the same exact place our original trip was planned for (only further out enough in weeks for my daughter’s injury to heal).

Easy peasy, right?

So I got back on the horn with our reservations and the plans; I kicked our activities planning and packing back into full swing. I had an entire bag of those travel sized toiletry things now. My dad and husband’s restrictions were still in place, but that wasn’t going to stop us this time.

So on Tuesday, we headed out. And we are here now.

But I’ll be honest with you guys: I’m not really enjoying it.

We slept really late yesterday, and I woke up feeling like shit. Not like I was ill, but like I should have been up doing things.

We are on vacation and all I could think about was doing the laundry and wiping down the counters.

I took the kids to explore the town a little. We came four days ahead of the rest of their team mates, so we have time to kill and there is a lot to do here. Because my kids play tennis and we’ve never been to the BNP Paribas, I took them to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to have a look around. We headed out to the Living Desert Zoo. Then we ended our day on a local court so they could get in some pre-tournament practice.

I felt awful the whole time. Same thing: others are still up at home working, going to school, doing their chores. And we have the gall to be here enjoying ourselves?

Today – Thursday – has been no different. I woke up feeling unsettled. Like we needed to be doing things. Productive things, not enjoyable things. Not relaxing things.

Definitely not relaxing.

My kids homeschool, so they aren’t missing school or anything; and actually they worked on school all through the public school Christmas break. So while other people we knew were in Hawaii and Cancun and Cabo and Chicago and Bali and Thailand and Big Bear and Aspen, we were at home doing school work and canceling our own plans.

Still, I woke up looking for educational things around the area we could do. Because I just feel like I shouldn’t be taking breaks, from anything.

Why is that?

Then today it came to me, like an epiphany: I feel like shit because I am still letting others influence my feelings and thoughts.

I still let other people’s comments affect how I live my life.

I still let other people’s negativity impact my knowing that how I’m raising my kids is the right way for us.

In the weeks and days that led up to us leaving this past Tuesday, I found myself explaining over and over again to every person I saw just why, how, and what was the reasoning behind us going to the tournament early.

And to be fair, people often questioned or commented or even demanded answers.

“Oh I wish I could afford to go early” – from someone that spent their Christmas in Mexico.

“Wow, must be nice to not have kids in school so you can do whatever you want” – from someone whose middle schooler skipped the first week of school this year to go to Europe.

I counted a whopping 15 questions and comments as I sat here this morning, from people we have seen or talked to over the last few weeks, that were all along those lines.

This is my perpetual dilemma, and it’s weird and I’m tired of it. No one else feels they have to ask permission or explain themselves for the way they live their lives to me. So why do I?

Today I realized that it’s perhaps just the aftermath of all the years of me putting myself in this defendable position. The tangled mess of those years of opening myself up to the judgment and opinions of others won’t unwind overnight. For whatever reason, I still don’t allow myself to enjoy my life. Which is a shame, because I’m teaching my children to do the same.

I fell down in my quest to enjoy life unjudged and in peace this last week or two, when I apologetically explained and defended to everyone that asked just why we would have the gall to do something so heinous as go on vacation. But, I’m correcting that right now before it’s too late.


Something really weird happened to me today. I caught myself allowing old habits to creep up and ruin this experience. I am allowed to take a vacation. So are my kids. The details of it – where we are going, why we are staying there, how we can do such a thing when other people are at school and work – is just a fact of life.

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I’m Good On the Vacation Now

So I mentioned the other day that we are on vacation. Specifically, we are visiting family in Central Oregon. This will be the longest visit we have ever made here.

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In the past, we’ve come up for two or three days at a time. This time we made it a ten day jaunt; and let me tell you guys…on Day 7 I’m ready to go home.

There is no such thing as a “vacation” for mothers.

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Sorry, but there isn’t.

Anyone that tells you she has small children and was able to go on vacation with said children and actually came back feeling relaxed is a fucking liar.

I’ve still been doing laundry. I’ve still been ref’ing the fights. I’ve still had to cook and clean and administer medicine and answer “can I have a snack” thirty to fifty times a day and tuck in and bathe and homeschool. And then there was that whole incident when I learned that they had not packed appropriate clothing for the weather.

It sounds cliche, but by the time we get home Sunday night I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

My husband caused some major shade to be thrown my way by his family.

The first three nights we were here, we stayed at his grandparent’s home. But when it was getting to the point where he had to fly home for work and a job interview, he realized that the arrangements there were not going to work for the whole ten days.

Besides their bedroom, they have a very uncomfortable couch, a double sized bed in a tiny extra bedroom, and a whole lot of hardwood floors. Beyond that, they go to bed around 8 o’clock every night, and get up around 6 o’clock every morning. So from the time they go to bed until the time we go to bed, we’re desperately trying to keep everyone quiet. And then first thing in the morning we’re woken up with their chores, their music, their breakfast, and their bickering.

For a few days, we could all cram into that space and deal with it. But for ten days? It’s not very realistic, especially with the dog sleeping halfway up my asshole all night long and the children getting more and more difficult by the day from having been woken up so early every morning.

So my husband drove down the street to the first nice hotel, and checked us in for the remainder of the trip. He then flew home for the whole work and interview thing I mentioned before; then tomorrow he’ll fly back and enjoy the comfortable beds in the hotel room as we have all week.

In response, since he flew home, I have gotten some major shade from his grandparents over the issue. They don’t think it’s right that when you stay in the same town as family that you would stay in a hotel. They think we should all just deal with being uncomfortable, and that it’s not a big deal to have to get up early every morning for 10 days.

They’re old; they’re set in their ways – I get it! But that didn’t make the flack I’m catching daily any easier to take. Tonight his grandmother yelled at me that when he gets back tomorrow night, I should let him sleep on the bed alone and sleep on the floor to give him space to rest. Because he works so hard.

FUCK THAT is about all I have to say to that one.

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There isn’t a lot to do here.

We’ve shopped. We’ve eaten. We’ve shopped and eaten more. We went to the lone, local museum. Then we shopped and ate again.

Now everyone’s bored. Today I knitted an entire scarf. Yesterday I did an entire scratchboard drawing (that typically takes around 12 hours to do).

And the children are going stir crazy. If they have to do one more puzzle to keep busy, I may have to coax them down off a ledge.

We’re city folk. How terribly hillbilly and rednecked for me to say that, but it’s damned true. Of course we enjoy the peace and the quiet. The vegging out on the couch eating loads of Italian food while Clark Gable movies play in the background.

But we can only take so much. We’re getting antsy and bored. We’re ready for our regular lives to resume.

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You know, there was once a day when I would have loved to go on a vacation and never come back. I could live on hotel food and in different rooms weekly without batting an eyelash. I guess as I get older, though, I have become more of a homebody. As if what came shuffling through the front door along with my 30s was a sense of stay-put-edness. Or maybe I’m just on burn out with the visiting family thing – I need a vacation to somewhere exotic where I know no one, and can therefore be entirely myself.

Whatever the case may be, our daily routine of tennis-school-tennis-school-laundry-clean-laundry-cook never seemed so attractive.

 

So I Wiped My Dog’s Butt The Other Night

We are on our annual, fall vacation. No big deal, just a little jaunt to Central Oregon to visit my husband’s grandparents and my great aunt. My husband drove us up, then after a few days flew home for work; the trip will end next weekend with him flying back to drive us back home.

There have been a lot of…shall we say…revelations so far on this trip. Realizations? How about realities. There have been a lot of realities presented to me in the few days we have been here; I am sure as the days unfold even more will crop up.

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1.

My dog is way cool with me wiping her butt.

Just when I thought I was never going to have any more butts to wipe, my dog got diarrhea.

The situation was as follows: we fed her a lot of different things on the way up and the first two or three days here, because – well – it’s actually really hard to travel with a dog that eats homemade food. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that with the majority of them, a change in diet is a recipe for diarrhea all over your carpeted floors.

So we’re sitting there the other night, watching Full House (because what the hell else do they have on TV here in the middle of nowhere-Oregon?), and all of a sudden I realize that just across the room the dog is taking a massive shit on the carpet.

By the time the dog has finished and moved on to return to eating kibbles, my daughter has jumped up and yelled “it looks like chocolate pudding!!”

A wonderful visual for you all, I am sure. “It looks like chocolate pudding,” though, means one thing, and one thing only, to me: the dog’s got the runs.

So we get up to clean it and then I notice the dog still has “chocolate pudding” all over her backside. Being concerned that she would scoot around and destroy even more of the floor in this place we are guests (I mean, obviously at home I wouldn’t give a shit what she does – which says a hell of a lot more about me than I’d like it to), I realize the reality of what we have to do.

We have to wipe the dog’s butt.

I won’t go into any more details about this; I’ll just say that she was very OK with it. Disturbingly OK with it.

2.

My regular life is really stressful.

It always takes these little vacations, away from my daily reality and regular life, to get perspective on things.

The perspective I have now is that my regular life is really stressful. It’s full of problems I shouldn’t have to deal with. Stressors that are beyond my control, even though they should be within my grasp.

And my newest development: a myriad of bullies that I cannot walk away from, because – gasp, big surprise here!!! – they are family.

In fact, my myriad of bullies has stopped me from writing. Writing on this blog. Writing my next book (yes, there IS a next book in the works). Writing even in my journal – perhaps the most important part of a writer’s day.

Now I knew they were bullies before the vacation. I knew that if a family member told you you should move out of town, concluded with a “Bye Felicia” …well, if they said something like that, you could assume they were intentionally trying to be mean to you. (By the way, I had to look that up, because I had no idea what it meant – in spite of the fact that I’ve seen all the Friday movies.)

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And I knew that the gossip had reached a fever pitch, as well. It got to a point where I felt it was necessary to post this:

Facebook Post

 

But I also was trying to give everyone the benefit of a doubt. Maybe they were just joking when they told me I was an asshole for saying I was tired of cleaning up the mess from the renters that lived in the family condo we moved into in June. Perhaps excluding us, and only us, from family events was just oversight on their part.

I am far too nice.

Since we got here, I’ve been posting TONS of photos of family on my Facebook page. Every day. I haven’t heard so much as a peep from any of my bullies – big surprise, right? Then I realized that this is the way it ALWAYS goes. They NEVER pay attention to the good stuff. The important stuff. The positive stuff. The fun stuff.

But say a man accosted me in my parking lot and I’m not happy about it (true story), or that I got a bad haircut at a salon their friends work at (a real life tragedy), and they are ALL OVER IT. And by all over it, I mean sitting right there, just waiting to tell me to shut the fuck up, and that I’m wrong for whatever it was I did or said.

As usual, at the end of my vacation I’m affirming that I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. But, then again, I always say that…

3.

I am again reminded that if I want something done right, I have to do it.

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For some reason, I thought that we had reached a point where I could give a list of things that needed to be packed for vacation, and that those things would actually be packed.

The list was very simple:

  1. 2 outfits for cold weather
  2. 2 outfits for warm weather
  3. 3 pairs of pajamas
  4. 4 sets of underwear
  5. An extra sweater
  6. A jean jacket

Guess what was packed?

  1. 1 outfit for cold weather, pants don’t fit anymore
  2. Nothing for warm weather (it’s going to be in the upper 80s and 90s for the rest of our trip)
  3. 1 pair of pajamas
  4. 1 pair of underpants, no undershirts
  5. 4 sweaters, 1 sweater dress, 6 pairs of tights
  6. No jacket

What’s more disturbing is that there was a 20 year old adult (the babysitter) assisting in this endeavor, so I have to ask just why the shit my list wasn’t followed.

 

Nonetheless, I had a little meltdown about it today, because after all the expenses of moving and the possibility that my husband will be changing jobs and taking a slight pay cut in the near future, having to go buy ANYTHING, when we have plenty of perfectly adequate things at home, is upsetting.

So in short…

…this trip has been a little strange. Eye-opening. I’ve realized a lot, and been reminded that there really is no such thing as a vacation when you’re a mom. I’m still doing laundry every day; having to wipe everyone’s assholes; cooking, cleaning… It’s really just the same old shit in a different place.

But at the end of it, I will say one thing: it’s nice to have gotten my head out of the smog. Both the literal smog of California, as well as the metaphorical smog. There may not be anything I can do to change these situations in my regular, every day life, but at least I can acknowledge them and act accordingly. It’s much less stressful to know things for what they are, than to hide under the veil of denial. For that reason, and that reason alone, I’ll call this vacation a success.

Oh, and there is some pretty amazing shit to look at here too…

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How To Make It Into My Next Book – Vacation Edition

I’ve been somewhat quiet on the blog lately, mainly because I’ve been on vacation for three weeks now. I have one more left to go and I am certainly ready to get home. It isn’t that I just love the community in which I live in southern California SOOOOOOO much. You guys know that isn’t true. It’s just that I like my own kitchen. I enjoy having more than one bathroom for my whole family. And my bed at home doesn’t have springs sticking into my side every night when I go to bed.

But there is something I just can’t keep quiet on much further. Something so profound in its impact on this vacation that to say nothing would be a detriment to my own mental health:

How some on this trip will make it into my next book.

Last night I was helping my cousin – getting married this Friday – put together place cards for the reception. It was pretty involved: cutting, sticking, hot gluing, printing … and, in fact, the job wasn’t even finished after five hours of work. As I burned off almost all of my finger prints with the hot glue gun (which will be to my advantage later, I’m sure), we were talking about my book and how people could get into it. Well, really we were talking about how my cousin (the one getting married) could get into it; or how she could secure herself a book all about her.

While I’m not sure that Bridezilla will get a book of her own (kidding about the Bridezilla thing … OK, not really kidding … see Lins, you’ve made it in my blog TWICE now!! … just don’t have a Bridezilla meltdown), I did come back to our hotel room and think about ways people on our vacation could make it into a future book.

Stay With Me In A Hotel Suite

You had better believe that you will get an entire book written about you if you stay with me in a hotel suite. A small hotel suite. A small hotel suite with a small kitchen that you move things around in all the time, in spite of the fact that the only one that actually ever goes in the kitchen to get anything for anyone is me. A small hotel suite where you get the comfortable bed (dad) and we get the shitty bed with the springs that stick into my back in the middle of the night, and the pillows that could really be called “instruments of neck destruction.” A small hotel suite with one bathroom. A small hotel suite that has a bathroom which we all have to share that seems to be occupado for thirty minutes or more, multiple times per day, whenever a man (dad or husband) goes in there. A small hotel suite where there is limited space for clothes and shoes, and my expensive shoes and clothes get repeatedly moved around, wrinkled, smashed, folded incorrectly, or damaged. Or lost. A small hotel suite where we have to do laundry once a week, and you offer to help with the laundry so you go up to the laundry room and promptly lose four of my irreplaceable and staple clothing items.

All of that. That will get you into my next book.

Don’t Ask About My Book

This is what really hurts. I can count on one hand how many people have asked about my book since we got here. And I’ve seen and talked to a lot of people. I’m starting to think I’m just more of a B(itch) than I thought.

I don’t want to sound like a spoiled and temperamental writer. But at the same time, I want to not let people continue to focus on their lives only when in conversation with me. I want to exist in their minds. Maybe not equally, but if we are to have some kind of a relationship it has to be a fair one where we both do things and are important.

Let me repeat that: I can count on one hand how many people have asked about my book. If I lost my thumb and pinky finger in an unfortunate accident involving a lawn mower, a gas can, and a lighter, I could still count on one hand how many people have asked about my book.

For those of you actually interested, I wrote a book. It’s actually my third. A member of my family even just learned Saturday night that I have done such gloriously rewarding things, and that my time is actually not always spent in total mediocrity. Just what in the fuck does that say?

Sales are going well, thanks for asking.

Oh you read it? Well I hope you enjoyed it. I don’t offer refunds if you didn’t.

Promotion is going great too! Thanks for taking such an active interest and being so supportive! Next time you run a marathon and need a donation, join a band and want to get people to your first show, run a Kickstarter for your creative project, have a baby or buy a house or get married or engage in any other major life moments, I will make sure to show you the same exact level of encouragement and support that you have showed me!

I’m starting to sound bitter, so I think I’ll stop there. I’m actually the furthest from bitter anyone could imagine. I know what you are all thinking – how could you suffer the disappointments of losing articles of clothing, sleeping in a bed with springs, and your major life achievements being disregarded simply because no one thought to look?

I’ll tell you why: because it’s all making it into the next book. You might call this blog post the teaser…

From California

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I take it pretty offensively when people refer to me as “from California.” First and foremost, I don’t really like California. It’s nothing personal against anyone that does – I just don’t gel with it. Secondly, though, I’m just not from there. I’m from Chicago. Get over it. Just because I happen to live in California right now doesn’t mean anything.

I would get just as annoyed anywhere said besides where I’m actually from. It’s linguistically wrong.

But then there is the added insult that comes when someone says that you are from California, because they don’t just say that. That you are from California. In the last few days, I’ve witnessed quite a few embellishments on the statement.

“You talk like you’re from California…”

You don’t say. What exactly does that mean? For someone to talk like they’re from California?

Is it the accent? I don’t really have an accent, in fact if I do it’s still a Midwestern one. My ‘a’s are always hard, and on occasion I get that Northern ‘you know’ that you find in Minnesota.

People say all the time in Chicago that I talk like I’m from California, and I’m not entirely sure what they mean by that. I didn’t think that I said words such as ‘like’ or ‘oh my God’ or ‘rad waves dude,’ but perhaps I’ve become so much from California that I don’t even notice it anymore.

“You’re from California… you must want brown rice, tofu, and vegetables…”

It is true that in California we often eat very light food. Brown rice. Tofu. Salads. California style food is supposed to be fusion, but a lot of the time it’s just shit. Shit with shit piled on top. Add some asiago cheese to make it sound slightly more appealing, and that about sums it up.

We were at Panda Express today and I was talking with the guy behind us in line about how we were visiting from where we live – in California. When we got to our turn in line, the guy slopping the faux-Chinese food onto the plates said “oh you’re from California… you must want brown rice and vegetables.”

Kiss my hairy ballsack, you minimum wage employee. What a horrific stereotype.

“Coming from California, you must be spoiled from the weather…”

People’s response when I say that I want to move back to Chicago from California is always one of horror. How could you not love laying on the beaches in the sunny, 70 degree weather every day? Basking in the glow of the warmth that showers down on the Golden State literally every day of the blissfully perfect year?

How dare you insult us as we sit in the snow, or the muggy heat? How dare you insult us with such a suggestion that the perfect climate in California is not something you would give up everything for?

Coming from California, you must be spoiled from the weather… you must have forgotten what it’s like.

Actually, no. I haven’t forgotten what it’s like because it still gets cold and it still gets super hot, and we still have really muggy days and the times that it is legitimately 70, sunny, and perfect are so few and far between that we don’t really know how that California stereotype came about.

What’s worse about California weather too isn’t just that it isn’t what everyone thinks it is, but we’re not equipped for it. When it rains, we have massive flooding. And mudslides. When it’s hot we have disastrous fires. When it’s hot we have no air conditioning. When it’s humid, our houses get demolished by mold.

And even when it’s nice in California, the air is so filled with the pollutants and pollens that you can barely breath without choking and getting a migraine.

From California…

Being on vacation – this vacation in particular – is hard enough without having to deal with that kind of stereotypical bullshit. It just goes to show that everyone is judgmental, or has their opinions on what it means to be this or that.

If people are proud to be from California, kudos to them. For me, it’s just not who I am. Daily I struggle with the influence that the California culture has had over me. I feel guilty for eating anything beyond air. I can’t go out without making sure my hair, my makeup, my accessories, and my clothes are just right. When you’re from California, this is the kind of crap you do; you do more – I do more – but that is just the tip of the iceberg that is my daily struggle.

Really it’s all of our daily struggles, though, when we find ourselves in a place that is not conducive to who we are. It doesn’t matter if you are from the Midwest, from the East Coast, from another country, or from California. The ongoing crisis identity is not reserved for the alleys of high school hallways, nor people that go somewhere new to reinvent themselves. Wherever you go, people will notice that you are not from there. Or maybe they just assume when they hear it that you are different.

STFU Fridays: “Only Old Ladies Craft”

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I am 30 years old. I have no more (less) than 4 grey hairs (the hair stylist says they were a fluke, because they never came back). I still wear boots a lot. And skinny jeans. I don’t have arthritis (just yet). And my days are not defined by bowel movements (at least not mine).

My point is this: I am young and spry. And yet I craft like a motherfucker.

I have been on vacation in this weird, faux Danish town and one of the things about these types of places is that they are filled with old ladies and their quilting bees. The town’s local hero is Hans Christian Andersen. And they have a year-round Christmas store called Jule Has. That’s about all they’ve got going for them; so you know – what else are they going to do but quilt and knit?

Back to me: if you can imagine the sound of a dolphin having an orgasm while giving birth, that is about the noise that came out of my mouth while at the first of many craft stores I visited on this vacation to the Hans Christian Andersen-Jule Has-town of old ladies and quilting bee shit. Non-human ecstasy combined with sheer horror. You see, while getting my craft-gasm on, I overheard someone walking by outside the store, saying that “only old ladies craft.”

Shut the fuck up, bitch.

If only old ladies craft, then stop posting DIY shit on Pinterest

Seriously, the whole concept of Pinterest is crafting. Saying something is DIY is synonymous with saying it was a craft. Everything is creative and adorable and cute (crafty), or else why the fuck would you pin it?

Bitches that Pinterest all this creative, adorable shit and then say that only old ladies craft need to shut the fuck up. Bitches that post food porn and then say that only old ladies craft need to shut the fuck up as well (because nice-looking food is – in essence – crafting too).

Bitches that DIY their whole fucking wedding, or create house decor out of duct tape and spray paint, and then say that only old ladies craft for real need to shut the fuck up. Shut. The. Fuck. UP.

If only old ladies craft, stop wearing hand-knitted sweaters

Reaping the benefits of not-old-ladies crafting and then saying that only old ladies craft deserves a very large STFU.

Nothing makes me more angry than someone who talks shit about something, and embraces it anyway. You know, like someone that says Taco Bell is for people with no taste buds, but then gets a part-time job there when the hooker and blow fund dries up. Or a person that rails on about people on welfare, while standing in line for a prescription paid for by the free, state healthcare for people of low income.

Unless bitches know for a fact that their hand-knitted sweaters, socks, bags, scarves, or dildo warmers are – in fact – crafted by some crafty old lady, they for real need to shut the fuck up.

If only old ladies craft, then why is Etsy full of young people selling their crafted wares?

Have you ever been to Etsy, faithful blog followers? It is full of a lot of shit. I mean shit in a neutral term – some is cool (I bought the head piece for my wedding off of there); a lot is junk. There’s also some opportunism going on over the site, like that guy that was selling the homemade heart clutch bags to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting (and not donating a penny of it victims and families of the shooting).

But old ladies don’t sell their crafts on Etsy! Most of the old ladies I know don’t even know what Etsy is!! Etsy is loaded with young bitches that do a lot of crafts, who then think that they’ll just jump on the bandwagon and make some extra money like all the other young bitches that sell their crafty wares on the website.

I craft like a motherfucker. And I am young and spry (well, sort of). This Shut the Fuck Up Fridays is for all those bitches and their hand-knitted dildo warmers who say that “only old ladies craft.” Young ladies do too; and it probably isn’t fair for me to imply that it’s only the ladies that craft, because men craft all the time – and that is totally OK.

So all those bitches with their DIY Pinterest accounts can just keep their dildos in their hand-knitted warmers and mouths shut the fuck up.

Vacation After Kids

I always think it’s funny when people act like things won’t change a single bit once they have kids. You hear these yupster couples, talking at dinner parties over sushi and flippant conversation that they will be different when they have kids. Life won’t change for them. Vacations will still be all about wine tasting and relaxing during couple’s massages and shit. Their kids will just backpack through Europe with them.

Not for us, though. For us there were no flippant conversations or unrealistic expectations about just how much having little terrors around would change things. We knew that children meant an entirely different way of life – with everything. Including vacations.

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See this? This is me. I’m not the bear, though. I’m the fish inside the bear’s mouth. The bear is my Pookies; and after just three days of vacation I’m done fighting for my little, fishy life. Maybe it’s because my husband was not along for this one.

Or perhaps it’s that children really do change the way our lives are, whether we wanted it to or not.

Vacation After Kids: Constant Talking

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Whether you have one kid or twenty kids (although, if you have twenty kids, you are a fucking moron if you take them anywhere), when kids come on vacation with you it involves a nonstop stream of chatter, prattle, and bickering. The bickering is the worst, especially when you are in a restaurant in a strange place, trying to enjoy yourself, and your little angel decides to bicker with you about whether or not s/he is going to eat what is on the table.

We have been on vacation for three days and in that time there has been not one singular moment of silence. At one point yesterday, I thought about feeding Pookies to the ostriches at Ostrich Land in hopes for just a little bit of silence.

Vacation After Kids: All Sorts of Eating (Not for you, though)

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Vacation is – for many people – about eating. The thing is: you are in a new place and have the opportunity to savor the local cuisine, so to speak. And who doesn’t enjoy the opportunity to have every meal cooked for them by someone else?

But not when you have kids; no sir-ee-motherfuckin-bob. When you have kids, you will sit there and argue about what you ordered for them off the kid’s menu. Then they will destroy what is on their plate, making it totally sticky and inedible. And finally they’ll turn to your plate and eat everything on it, instead.

Yesterday I ordered Danish pancakes for myself and got one bite. Then at dinner I had a chicken salad, only none of my chicken was left after Pookies got a hold of it. Today I just said “screw it” and split a meal. I am sure it will be no surprise when I say I got very little of my half.

Vacation After Kids: What Adult Activities?

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There was a time when my husband and I were able to go on a trip and do adult things. I don’t mean sex. We never did that. I mean massages. Gambling. Wine tasting.

Now if we want to do anything like that, we have to call the babysitter to come to wherever we are, or else we aren’t doing it. On New Years Eve, I was telling my in-laws all about the trip we were going on this week and they asked if I was going to gamble. Did I miss something? Do they allow children in casinos now? Is that cool on the ol’ Indian Res these days, to bring minors in to a smoke-filled establishment where I will no doubt lose every penny I came in with?

No. No it’s not OK. There will be no gambling or excessive drinking or massages. There will be ponies and ostriches and bickering and stealing the food off my plate. That’s about it.

Vacation After Kids: I Never Want To Go Home

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Whenever I see friends post after a vacation on Facebook, I can usually tell if they have kids or not based on the following: are they happy to be home, or praying for death upon reentering their house and normal life?

My logic isn’t going to go how you think it is on this one.

People that don’t have kids are happy to come home. They come home feeling relaxed. They come home wanting their own bed. They love going back to their daily existence, that is oh so posh and urban, and fulfilling. And after they have kids, it will still be that way. Because we’ll be different, right?

People that do have kids pray for death upon reentering their house and normal life. Maybe it’s just as a stay at home mom, whose life is confined to the walls around her and the slobber and puke she spends her days cleaning up, that gives me that perspective. Or maybe it’s because vacation provides no (or very little) relaxation after you have kids.

Whatever the case may be, regardless of how un-relaxing, unnerving, and un-adultlike vacations can be as a parent, it is still a break from the prison cell that is the daily grind. And back to my own bed? You mean the one where I constantly have a child’s foot wedged up my asshole, as opposed to vacation where the concept of a hotel bed keeps the Pookie foot out of my bed, and subsequent nether-region?

I always feel a little depressed when I get home to the same-old, same-old.

The next time one of your friends is sitting at a sushi bar, hair combed back perfectly and entirely free of Cheerios or vomit; and s/he says to you that children will not change a thing about life, tell them to take your kid(s) on vacation for a few days. I guarantee they’ll feel like a fish in the bear’s mouth too. Chomped at the bit and ready to fold.