Tag Archives: Aprill Brandon

Mommy and the Purple Crayon

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New year, new blog title

Say hello to Chick Writes Stuff.*

Don’t worry. Nothing else will change. The web address is still aprillbrandon.com. The writing will be the same. And believe you me, my art skills have NOT improved (if anything, they’ve regressed).

I’ve just never really liked the original title (which I thought of four years ago after taking a Tylenol PM and drinking a vodka and cranberry).

*Thanks go out to my good friend Nick for the suggestion.

This one is dedicated to all of you

Hey, you know how when you have really, really good news and you want to tell everyone you know about it? For that matter, everyone you don’t know? In fact, you want to practically shout it in their faces because you’re so excited? Because it’s just the best news ever? A dream come true? But then you’re not quite sure how to do that without looking like you’re a bragging stuck-up snob? So instead you just sort of downplay the whole thing?

Yeah.

So I published a book.

(Did it work? Did I hit that sweet spot between proud yet nonchalant?)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely happy about this accomplishment. Giddy even. It was No. 1 on my bucket list: Become an author. And after ten years working as a humor columnist, where I documented my transition to adulthood, I finally had enough material to write a tongue-in-cheek guide to growing up, from post-college to turning 30.

To be honest, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. But don’t take my word for it. The early reviews speak for themselves:

“This is the greatest book ever written ever. I’m so proud of you, honey! Also, are you eating enough? You look skinny in your author photo.” –Aprill’s mom

“Holy crap, you wrote a book? I thought you were just playing Candy Crush on the computer.” –Aprill’s husband

“Who is this? I told you to stop calling here.” –Whoever answers the phone at the New York Times Book Review

“…*fart*…” –Aprill’s dog

It wasn’t easy. As they say, dreams come true, not free. So, the past several months were spent like this:

The Writing Process

Book writing

Book writing 2

Book writing 3

The Editing Process

Book writing 4

Book writing 5

The Publishing Process

Book writing 6

(That’s…uh…that’s all I really remember about this part).

But it’s done. And all that hard work was worth it. My book, “Why Does the Cheese Always Fall? (A Guide to Faking Adulthood)” is now out there in the world.

why-the-cheese4

Specifically out there at Smashwords.com, an indie author website where it is available to download on all Apple and Kindle products and pretty much any other electronic device you have, and also now available at Amazon.

For only $2.99.

(Did I hit that sweet spot between giving you information and blatantly marketing my book to you?)

The only thing missing from it is a dedication page, which was not included because I completely forgot about it. So, if I may, I’d like to add that part here.

To all the indie authors and writers with stacks of rejection letters in their desks, who slave away writing day and night because they know no other way than to write, this book is dedicated to you.

To all the local musicians, wherever you’re from, who practice and tour and play tiny, tiny bars only to get paid in beer year after year because they know no other way than to play music, this book is dedicated to you.

To the artists, who work day jobs and then come home and stay up half the night working on their masterpieces because they know no other way than to create, this book is dedicated to you.

To anyone who has ever had a dream, because they know no other way than to dream, this book is dedicated to you.

So go buy it.

(Did I hit that sweet spot between genuine and yet desperate for money?)

I’m a better housekeeper than NASA

Oh, you read me right. I am officially better than some of the most brilliant minds on the planet at keeping my shiz in order. I may have dust bunnies the size of Sam Winchester* under my bed, but at least my trash isn’t orbiting the Earth and threatening to decimate Idaho.

Aprill: 1

Astrophysicists: 0

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, not to sound like these guys:

But did you guys read that article in the New York Times about how we are only just now considering doing something about the huge amount of space junk we so generously left behind for the past 50 years? Apparently, it’s becoming a hazard. Like, “hey, there are 20,000 pieces of junk just hanging out up there and most are the size of a Greyhound bus” kind of hazard.

Yes, we take the same healthy attitude of “meh” toward destroying space as we do with our very own planet.  

Luckily, the same brilliant minds who never considered the consequences of leaving huge piles of crap right above our heads have also come up with totally viable solutions to clean up their mess. In no particular order of ridiculousness, they are:

  • A giant net to round up wayward items
  • Giant balloons that would nudge wayward items away and make them Venus’ problem
  • Firing lasers from the ground
  • An $11 million vacuum cleaner called “CleanSpace One”

But perhaps my favorite idea is the Celestial Broom.**

If you’re having trouble picturing that, never fear. I drew a visual aid:

Now, I know I’ve written about my lack of domestic skills before (here and here and here, for example), and I’m not going to lie, I used to beat myself up about it.

But HA! Not anymore. Cause while I may currently be going commando because I’ve been too lazy to do laundry for three weeks, at least my mess isn’t large enough to warrant our Martian neighbors giving the TV show “Hoarders” a call.

*Bonus points for you if you get that nerdy reference

**Which would also make a great band name…DIBS!

Woman spontaneously combusting

So, regarding the title of this post…

1. That’s a kickass band name and you know it.

2. That is just one of the many random search engine terms that led unwitting civilians to this very site.

Yes, apparently while I (foolishly) thought I was just writing about trying to survive adulthood and the wacky twists and turns life takes as you get older, the Internet had a much more…shall we say…subjective point of view of this website.

Naturally, after discovering that Google (or AltaVista if you are still living in 1995) had taken it upon itself to connect me and my writing to the idea of (quite literally) being a hot mess, I decided to do some investigating and find out just what other terms Google thinks suits me. And lucky for me, my host WordPress keeps a very detailed log. 

Now, I’ll admit, some of these terms excited me and made me feel like I was getting somewhere with my writing career. For example, I am apparently the leading Internet expert on motorboating considering the amount of people led to my blog via typing in “Motorboat me,” “Irishman motorboating you” and “My guy friends motorboat me.”

I am also apparently one of the top results for “black friday poems,” so…yeah. Suck it, Emily Dickinson.

I’m also apparently a “mom I’d like to do” even though I don’t have kids and someone who is in the know about “brownies busted for underage drinking” even though I was never actually in the brownies nor have I ever written about them (although I might have some knowledge of underage drinking but in my defense it was a Zima and the cop was kind of a douchebag).

But perhaps the one I’m must proud about is “kerfluffin ring,” a term I, well, at least thought I made up but apparently at least one other person in this world was just as drunk while typing and happened to hit the same random number of keys in the exact same order as I did.

Of course, this journey down “Search Engine Term” lane hasn’t been all positive. Some of the phrases and ideas people looked up and then were brought into my web were less than…flattering. So let me break them down for you.  

(And just as a reminder, these are all exact terms that led people to click on this site).

Terms that make me think I should really re-evaluate my life:

Hangover

Expletive

Old woman in a corset drinking a beer

Cookies for you in my fanny pack

I love my big lady and she loves me *

*I’m only a size 8, Google. Back off.

Sluty [sic] wifes [sic] in Xmas outfit

Hiccups girl drunk -mee -murder

You aren’t funny, hobo

How to deal with feeling hor **

**I’m assuming they meant “horny” with that last word but apparently my website popped up so fast they didn’t even have to finish typing it.

Terms that might possibly make my husband think he should re-evaluate his life and/or his association with me:

My husband is exhausting

Do I talk to my wife about my inferiority complex?

I’m starting to hate my wife

Pictures of mixed girls that r kinda fat not to [sic] much

Snort emergen-C

Other search engine terms that led people to this website that would also make a kickass band name:

Drunk Monkey

Tom Felton Hairloss (and/or Breaking Hairloss News)

Forced Corset Corpse***

***I swear I am NOT making these up.

Florida Baby Grasshoppers

Uncles Noogies Wedgies

Spider Corpse

Plain Hotdog

Terms I’m considering for my future autobiography:

Lady dragging Christmas tree

Abused woman driving bald tires

Apologize to mom

Motivation when broke

Terms that would make a good title for my dog Buffy’s autobiography:

A dog running away from its house

And terms that are just downright Google being an asshole:

Fat woman in jungle

Muumuu Boston

Unwanted facial in public

Honorable mention:

Is there a serial killer in the tri-state area?

How can a woman deal with a border collie knote (?!?) **** in the ass

**** The (?!?) is my addition

So, all in all, I think we can agree I’m on the right career track *****

***** She says sobbing as she mixes a bottle of wine with a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream 

Reason No. 513 why I shouldn’t quit my day job

Hey kids,

Wanna play a fun drinking game? Then listen to my dear friend Dennis interview me on his Blog Talk Radio show and take a shot every time you hear me say “um” or “like.”

I guarantee you’ll be wasted by minute seven.

And if you can’t manage to make it through my Mid-west, Valley Girl way of speaking, you should at least check out his other interviews with other writers and creative types. They’re fun and insightful and not chock full of awkward giggles.

Luckily, I am not a public speaker by trade, so you can check out the much less annoying edited and censored me via my latest post on DigBoston.com (edited by REAL professionals for your reading pleasure).

I’m really starting to hate you, Mark Zuckerberg

Well, it finally came. My 30th birthday was Monday (meaning when people now ask me my age, my go-to response henceforth will be “vintage”…and for them to “stop being so damn nosy”).

It ended up being a really good birthday. Well, except for the morning, which was spent trying to clean up a VERY BAD dog who thought a wonderful gift to his owner would be rolling around in some other dog’s fresh poo (consequently, he is now on canine probation).

But the afternoon was spent with my friend Patrick, where we had a shamelessly nerdy time drinking at coffeehouses, perusing used book stores and discussing “Battlestar Galactica” over beer (or to sum up for fans of “The Office”: Books. Beers. Battlestar Galactica.). And the evening was spent drinking wine with my husband and watching a penis-shrinking chick flick.

And then, as night rolled around, I spent the next three hours on my laptop, frantically trying to respond to the 900 million or so posts I received on Facebook.

See, it used to be that on your birthday, you’d get a couple of cards in the mail, a phone call from your mom and maybe a good friend, and, if you were lucky, perhaps a free shot or two at the bar from some random, who deduced it was your birthday after you climbed on the bar and yelled “It’s my birthday, bitches!!!”

But now, everyone knows it’s your birthday. Facebook announces right there on your profile whose birthday it is that day, basically passive-aggressively telling you “don’t be a schmuck…wish this kid a happy birthday, huh?”

On one hand, this is great. Nothing makes you feel quite as special on your special day as having 1,034 of your closest virtual friends wishing you a happy birthday. This is especially true when you’re spending your birthday in a new city where you’ve only made a handful of real-life friends so far, like me.

But my problem is that I don’t know what is proper Facebook birthday etiquette. Do I have to respond to each post individually? Or can I just make a blanket “thanks, everyone” post? And if so, how many exclamation points after “everyone” do I use?

But if I do that and someone wrote something really funny, like, “in honor of your birthday, I’m going to bong a Natty Light”, is it ok to “Like” that post, or do I have to like all the posts then?

And what about the posts that go beyond the standard “happy birthday” message and include a follow up message? Or even a question, like “Happy birthday! Crows feet really suck, huh?” Is it rude not to write back?

Is a free e-card on the same level as an electronic gift card to Starbucks? And where do someecards fit in? What about the guy who made a hilarious JibJab video featuring me? Do I need to reciprocate? Not to mention, for everyone who wrote on my page, am I expected to write on their page for their birthday? What if I don’t know them? Or did know them at one point but totally forget who they are now? What about the ones that sent me an actual message, instead of a wall post? Does that deserve a response?

I JUST DON’T KNOW. AHHHHH!!!

Where’s Emily Facebook Post when you need her?

Adventures in puppysitting

It is 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. I am sitting at the computer, attempting to type this around my almost 40-pound dog, who is struggling to sit on my not-nearly-big-enough lap. I am still in the sweatpants I slept in, hair in the same messy bun I went to bed in and my face still has the remnants of yesterday’s eyeliner. To my left is an 11-pound puppy who is desperately and energetically trying to also jump on my lap. And to my immediate right is the giant screwdriver I just made with a generous dose of really cheap vodka.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Last week, a friend asked my husband and me if we would watch her dog for a couple of days while she went out of town. Considering my schedule consisted mostly of plans to write this column (but really use the time to Facebook bomb as many people as I could … you’re welcome, Grandma), I said “Eh, why not?”

Now Leelou (full name: Leelou Dallas Multipass Mulligan) is an absolutely adorable puppy of that breed of small dogs that look concerned all the time. She is also besties with my dog Buffy (full name: Buffy Anne Summers Brandon Huddle the First), or at least as close to besties as two creatures – who think sniffing each other’s rears for three hours is an appropriate greeting – can be.

So, naturally, I figured this little adventure in puppysitting would be a breeze.

HA! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! (Snort) Hahahahahahahahahaha!!! (Semi-sob)

Alas, I forgot one crucial thing. Taking care of one dog? Easy-peasy. Taking care of two dogs? A good start if you want to kick-off that descent into madness with a bang.

See, while both Leelou and Buffy are essentially good dogs at heart, it was their combination that was the problem. For instance, if Leelou woke up at 2 a.m., Buffy would wake up at 2:03 a.m. and then both of them would have to spend the next 20 minutes repositioning themselves on the bed (such as whichever one was sleeping directly on my face would move to my feet and vice versa).

If Leelou wanted to play with a toy, Buffy also wanted to play with a toy. In fact, he wanted to play with the exact same one that … SURPRISE! … Leelou had. If Leelou heard someone three houses down sneezing and decided it was a threat to all our well-beings, she would start barking as though the house was on fire. This barking would alert Buffy that he, too, needed to bark, only much louder and at an urgency that is usually reserved for when Vikings are invading your apartment.

If Leelou wanted to play the canine version of Fight Club, Buffy would make sure it got elevated to Thunderdome status. If Leelou had an accident in the house, Buffy felt compelled to … ahem … “clean it up” before I got there with paper towels in hand.

It finally got so bad that I decided to put both of them in their cages so I could have just a few moments of peace. Sadly, even that backfired. Now, I’ve never given birth. But I’m pretty sure the opposite of it is an apt comparison of trying to shove an unwilling dog into its cage. And I’m pretty sure the opposite of giving birth to a full-sized gorilla is an apt comparison of trying to do that twice.

So, by 2:30 on Thursday, I hadn’t had time to shower. I had spent most of the morning trying to prevent Leelou from eating something inedible and the rest of my day trying to prevent Buffy from eating whatever Leelou left behind. There was a never-ending game of “jump on Aprill’s lap and delete whatever she just spent the last 30 minutes typing” (although they did stop occasionally to bark at yet something else that wasn’t actually there) and my house was littered with dog toys of every type imaginable.

It was enough to make even this die-hard dog lover question whether having pets was worth it.

But then, just when I couldn’t take it anymore, both of them finally got tired and laid down. And eventually fell asleep. Cuddled together. Looking so sweet I’m pretty sure I got a cavity just by glancing at them.

And I realized, it was those moments that made all the craziness worth it.

Then again, it could have just been the really cheap vodka kicking in.

I’d like to apologize to my mom for the following…

So, it was Mother’s Day this past weekend. Which means that all of us (minus the majority of reality TV stars, whom I’m praying were the result of some government cloning experiment gone terribly wrong and thus don’t have mothers) spent the day sucking up to our moms and giving her useless gifts like cards covered in three tons of glitter and stuffed bears that sing annoying songs.

But considering everything my mom had to put up with (and all the toxic fumes from the constant hairspray cloud hanging around my teenage head she had to breath in), I’d like to take this holiday a step farther and give my own mother something she really wants:

Validation that she was pretty much always right and overdue apologies for a wide variety of infractions.

And so, Mom, first and foremost I’d like to apologize for my birth. Because I am a mom now. And I now know you weren’t exaggerating when you compared the pain to pulling your lower lip over your entire head.

Then there was the Great Tomato Standoff of 1986. That’s three hours of waiting for me to eat a vegetable you’ll never get back.

Oh, remember when you signed me up for that second year of ballet and it was only after you had paid for the entire year and bought me three new tutus that I announced I no longer wanted to do ballet? That was fun, huh? Oof. Again. So sorry.

Let us also not forget The Great Brownie Lie of 1990, when I blamed the missing brownie piece (of the pan of brownies you SPECIFICALLY told me NOT to eat) on the dog. Oh, and that time when I was 14 and called you a very bad word under my breath (which didn’t stop you from hearing it) on the phone because you wouldn’t let me pierce my eyeball and tattoo my tongue.

Actually, now that I think about it, I apologize in general for 1996.

For every time I made you listen to the New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough” album over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, I am deeply, deeply sorry. For every track meet you had to sit through in the volatile Ohio spring weather, but specifically that time it hailed and you toughed it out only to watch me get seventh place in the 300 hurdles, I apologize even more.

All those times I told my brother he was actually an alien baby from Uranus (heh) that was dropped off on our doorstep and they would be coming back for him any day now, I…well, I’m not exactly sorry for that because I still find it HILARIOUS, but I do own my part for his current crippling phobia of UFO’s.

That time I got busted for drinking a Zima when I was 17? So dumb. And again, so sorry. And yes, you were right. If I was going to get busted for underage drinking, it should have been for a less embarrassing drink.

And lastly, for all those birthdays I got you a “coupon book” (Good for one free hug!) because I was too cheap to buy you an actual gift. Which is why you are getting a semi-fancy retirement home that is only occasionally accused of elderly abuse.

There’s so many more I could add (but let’s leave the majority of my juvenile record out of this now that most of it has been expunged).

I love you, Mom. Thanks for letting me be me (even when being me included talking on the phone with my BFF for, like, three full hours about how amazing Brad Pitt’s hair was “Legends of the Fall”).

 

 

What a difference a decade makes

Ten years ago, I was woken up by my college roommate just in time to see the second plane hit the Twin Towers.

Today, I was woken up by my husband with the phrase “Good morning, babe…oh, and by the way, Osama is dead.”

Both of those moments in my life were completely surreal, one, because they were simply too big to process and two, more importantly, I was trying to process them without coffee in my system.

And, just like I did 10 years ago, I watched as it all unfolded on TV (the only difference being I was also obsessively checking Facebook and Twitter on my phone at the same time…whereas 10 years ago, my cell phone looked like the one Zack Morris had on “Saved by the Bell” and Mark Zuckerberg was too busy picking his nose and giving girls cooties to become a social networking guru).

And just like 10 years ago, my emotions are all over the place…only this time, that horrible ball of dread and terror in the pit of my stomach is only a memory now.

And it will probably end the same way, by drinking on the porch with loved ones as we try to come to terms with what just happened…only this time, there will be less tears, and more smiles.

And that is all I will say about today. Memorializing this historic day is for writers far more talented than I.

And so I will simply post this link to my latest column, a humorous little rant on the mundane topic of losing your wedding ring, which, yes, I realize seems superfluous in light of today’s events. But that was my original intent before I heard the news this morning. And just like how Americans didn’t let that bastard stop us from living our lives 10 years ago, I’m not about to let him do it today.