Tag Archives: funny

How to play with your kids in the snow

There are some people in this world who will tell you that there is no “right” way to play with your children in the snow. These people are wrong. And probably serve their children fruit as “dessert.” 

There is a right way. Oh sure, a few details might vary and there is some accounting for individual family quirks, but on the whole, no matter how good of a parent you are, snow days follow an almost scientific formula. At least according to the data I have collected over the last seven years. 

First, any proper snow day begins by the children waking up at dawn, looking outside their window and then immediately running into your room, where they jump on your face and loudly ask if they can go play in the snow. They will then repeat this question every five minutes and whine “but you PROMISED!” over and over and over again until you finally roar “FINE!” at the top of your lungs and they scamper away squealing with delight like the relentless, adorable gaslighters they are. 

Then begins the thankless task of gathering all the outerwear, which were scattered to the distant four corners of your house the last time your children played in the snow. In between muttering obscenities about missing gloves and yelling about how in the world can all the snow boots only consist of the left snow boot, you remind everyone to go potty. Because once all these layers are on you are NOT taking them all off again. 

The next half hour is a blur of stuffing tiny humans into snowpants and socks and sweaters and hoodies and hats and one glove while still looking for the other stupid glove and sunglasses for the kid who can’t go anywhere without sunglasses and scarves and ya’ll peed, right, because I’m not taking all this off again and ah-HA! there is that other stupid glove and what do you mean you lost the first glove, it was literally on your hand, and coats with stuck zippers and I told you the other snowboots were probably by the door and push harder, when did your feet grow, why are you growing all the time, and HEY, I found the glove, it was in mommy and daddy’s room, I told you stay out of our room.

Finally everyone is ready. 

Everyone has to pee. 

Repeat. Repeat it ALL. 

Now if you have a big backyard and can simply open the door and release these loud toddling bundles into the wintry wild, stop reading here. Go contentedly sigh and enjoy a glass of wine in your dumb peaceful house or something.

For those of you who are like me and have small children in a city and thus need to “go somewhere” such as a park to play in the snow, the worst is yet to come. 

Once you finally “get somewhere” (which, regardless of how you get there, will include many complaints and gritted teeth threats) there will be approximately ten minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. This is the brief moment in time where you remember why you decided to have children in the first place and why you love them and your family and your life and how did you possibly get so lucky as to be able to share a life with these people? 

Then, just like the cheap plastic sled they sit upon, it all swiftly goes downhill. 

Soon, someone will run over someone else with their sled because the kid on the sled didn’t listen and the kid climbing back up the hill didn’t listen. Everyone is crying. 

They need a distraction. LET’S BUILD A SNOWMAN! Is there any activity that is more wholesome? Nope. At least for the next three minutes, after which you realize that you are the only one actually building the snowman and you can no longer feel your fingers. 

Luckily, someone will always, inevitably, suggest a snowball fight. What could go wrong? 

No aiming for the face, you yell over and over again. Surprisingly the kids abide. Eventually, however, you will hit one of the children in the face. By “accident” of course and not some subconscious urge. They will cry. You will feel awful (mostly). You will offer cookies and hot chocolate as consolation when you go back home. They will accept and immediately pop up like nothing happened. 

You stay until both feet are completely numb and you’re pretty sure you’ve already lost three fingers to frostbite. When you finally can’t take it anymore, you give a five minute warning. May as well have been announcing you murdered Memaw AND Grandma AND Daniel Tiger. The wailing. The keening. The dramatic protestations that if you really loved them you would let them play for just a little longer. 

Through sheer force of will (and some light dragging), you eventually wrangle them home and inside. Everyone violently disrobes, snow and ice and boots and gloves and hats flying, everything wet and gross and dirty. You are too tired to gather them all up even though you know you will later regret this. 

It’s over. You survived. 

Only a thousand more days until spring. 

Dino Nuggets with Sprinkles

It was still dark when I opened my eyes. Which was unsurprising. It’s always dark whenever I open my eyes these days. Now is the winter of our discontent and raging insomnia, as the old saying goes.

Or something like that. 

But this dark was a different kind of dark. This wasn’t my usual infernal and endless 2 a.m. dark. I didn’t recognize this dark. This dark had a bit of, was that, no…a hint of dimness? I started to turn over in bed to look at the clock, ruthlessly crushing the hope that was struggling to rise in my chest on my way. 

6:07 

In the A.M. 

No. Impossible. 

I had slept through the night?

I looked at the clock again. 

I had slept through the night. 

I slowly sat up, careful not to disturb my husband lest his symphony of snores prematurely end before the big fart finale. I shuffled to the kitchen in my slippers. I started making the coffee, almost as though in a daze.

What is this odd feeling? 

Is this…not tired?

Is this what feeling well-rested is like?

Like waking up not wanting to punch the world in the face?

As the last of my peaceful drowsiness wore off, I realized that was indeed what I was feeling. I smiled. This is what it must feel like to be a Disney princess. Those birds singing outside? That chubby squirrel eating a stolen bagel outside my window? Any moment now they would beg to come inside so they could help me get dressed. 

Soon thereafter my kids woke up, rubbing their eyes and scratching at their bedhead. 

“Good morning, my babies!” I cheerfully bellowed.

The kids froze, confused. Who was this creature smiling an authentic smile in front of them? And what happened to the swamp witch they called Mom? 

Then, to really terrify them, I made an actual breakfast. Using the actual stove. And pots! And pans!

When the kids threw dual tantrums over being told to brush their teeth (a daily morning ritual) I did NOT scream back this time. I just gave them space to have those Big Feelings. Like one of those parents who actually read a parenting book. 

My husband made three dad jokes that morning. I laughed at all three. And pinched his butt when he walked by me to get more coffee. 

Later, we went to the library to pick up a stack of books. 

“Can we stop at a playground on the way home?” the kids asked, already bracing themselves for the obvious “no” headed their way because one, it was 28 degrees outside and two, I wasn’t wearing my out-in-public “good” sweatpants.

“Sure!” I exclaimed.

“Really!?” they exclaimed right back. 

“Really!”

We got home. I made hot cocoa. And popcorn. And let them have cookies because life is meant to be lived! 

“You’re the best mom ever!” my son yelled as he threw his arms around my waist.

“I know, right!” I happily hollered back. “Now, what do y’all want for dinner?”

“Dino nuggets?”

“Absolutely!”

“Can I have sprinkles on mine?” asked my daughter, allowing a bit of hope to slip into her voice.

“You bet your sweet redheaded tuchus you can!”

She jumped up and hugged me too. 

Oh, the person I could be if I got a good night’s sleep every night, I thought to myself as I did ALL THE VOICES during bedtime storytime. If I didn’t have to ration my energy throughout the day. If I could regulate my emotions (or even just one emotion occasionally). If my brain worked as designed instead of being held together by metaphorical duct tape and Elmer’s glue.  

Maybe it won’t always be this bad, I tell myself as I get ready for bed. These are extraordinary times, and not in the good way. But maybe it’s getting better. Maybe I can be my old self soon. 

Maybe sleep will stay this time.

Maybe every day can be like today.

I close my eyes. 

And welcome the dark. 

A Collection of Modern Responses

“So, how are you holding up?” 

I’m OK.

I’m fine. 

I’m alright. 

A bit tired. 

You know. 

I mean, it could be worse. 

I have it better than a lot of people right now. 

Well, I just got done Googling “can you die from insomnia?” so, you know. 

*primal scream*

We’re ordering pizza for the fourth night in a row. 

I just don’t understand. Any of this. 

Wishing I could afford therapy. 

I miss nouns. 

Can a person’s soul be exhausted? 

I had whiskey for dinner. 

I feel so helpless. 

What even is reality? 

I’ve got all these projects I’m working on so, you know, staying busy. 

I just want to go somewhere. Do something. 

Everything is so surreal. I can’t even go on social media anymore. 

I miss people. I miss my family. 

Just, I mean, what the $#@%?

I’m fine. Really. 

So help me I will murder the next person who suggests the solution to everything is more kindness in the world. 

I had wine for breakfast so…pretty good right now.

I can’t concentrate on anything. 

*manical laughter*

I hate humans. 

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic for once. 

I doomscrolled all night, how are you? 

*primal scream*

I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Wait, what was the question? 

I honestly don’t know. I haven’t stopped drinking eggnog with a 40 percent ABV since the day after Thanksgiving. 

I can’t stop crying. 

$#%&^*%!!!!!

*sobbing*

As well as can be expected considering it’s just endless darkness and everything is bleak and I’m stuck inside forever with only my family and panic and dread as constant companions in this nightmare dystopia we are living in but hey, I’m just going to keep making this popcorn for my children’s dinner while crying a bit and using every ounce of willpower I have to stuff these feelings way, way down into the cellular soil of the body where tumors start. 

You know, I’ve decided I’m going to make the best of this. 

Not well. 

When does it get better?

Survival mode. Just endless survival mode. 

I’m horrified. But no longer surprised. 

I got so angry I threw my phone at the TV. 

There just aren’t words anymore.

I’m numb. Completely numb. 

It has to get better soon. 

Will it ever get better?

I am dead inside. 

A Cozy Covid Christmas

Coming soon to a streaming service near you, a magical new holiday movie!

“A Cozy Covid Christmas.” 

Starring Sage Periwinkle as Holly Merriweather and Chadwick Strongjaw as Logan Bennett. Featuring Judy Greer as The Quirky Best Friend, Tom Skerritt as Someone’s Dad, and Candace Cameron Bure as the Evil High-Powered Boss.

Meet Holly. A busy and adorably neurotic interior designer living in an undefined big city. When she’s not busy walking determinedly across a crowded crosswalk, she’s busy talking on the phone while signing various documents people hold out for her, followed by busily sipping wine at a hip bar with her best friend. 

Judy Greer: “How did your date go last night?”

Holly: “Terrible. I shouldn’t have even gone. I’m so busy with my career as a successful bakery chef.” 

Judy Greer (whispering): “Interior designer.”

Holly: “Oh. Right. Anyway, I don’t have time for romance. All I care about is this upcoming Very Important Business Deal.”

Judy Greer: “Holly, you need to live a little! Let’s have more wine. Where’s that hot waiter?”

But while Holly may not think she has time for romance, 2020 has different plans. Especially once she runs into Logan Bennett, the charming but damaged hometown bachelor who dresses like a fancy lumberjack and who happens to have a positive test result. 

For reasons that are flimsy and never fully explained, these two strangers must quarantine together over the holidays in a quaint Vermont inn surrounded by picturesque snowy mountains. 

Logan: “Look, let’s just make the best of this. How about we order some food. What do you like? Sushi? Thai?”

Holly: “I guess I could go for a cheeseburger and a beer.”

Logan: “Wow.”

Holly: “What?”

Logan: “Nothing. It’s just…you’re not like other girls, are you?”

The only thing they have in common is their endearing stubbornness and apparent access to unlimited top quality hair products. But when a frozen pipe explodes, forcing them to work together until they end up soaked and laughing on the kitchen floor, they find both of their hearts starting to thaw. 

Judy Greer (via Zoom): “Listen, sweetie, if you don’t go after that hunk of a man, I will.” (sips from giant wine glass)

Holly: “How can I? My career comes first. It always has. Besides, Karen needs those proofs by Christmas Eve…”

Judy Greer: “Oh, it’s a pandemic, Holly! Take a day off, for Pete’s sake! Find you some love in the time of corona.”

Both: (laugh impeccably white toothy laughs while sipping more wine)

But it’s only when a blizzard sweeps through, knocking out the power and forcing these two star-crossed and asymptomatic would-be lovers to huddle together under a blanket surrounded by candlelight, that they truly learn no mandate can force two hearts to socially distance.

Luke…Liam?…Logan!: “It’s just, my parents divorced on Christmas Eve when I was 13 and my fiance left me at the altar at our Christmas themed wedding three years ago and I never got over my childhood dog dying on New Year’s Eve and since then it’s been hard for me to get close to anyone, especially during the holidays.” 

Holly (gently grabbing his hands): “Logan, you may not be an essential worker, but you’re essential to me.” 

Then a bunch of other melodramatic stuff happens after the quarantine ends and they have to return to the real world, all of which is sloppily tied up in the sappy ending on Christmas morning. 

Holly: “Do you think you could ever love me, even though I betrayed you to get the scoop I needed for my Big Magazine Article?”

Logan: “I thought you were an interior designer.” 

Holly: “Oh. Right. Well, do you think you could ever love me even though I’m a mess but always somehow impeccably dressed?”

Logan: “Only if you can forgive me for that sleazy, sexist bet I made with my super rich best friend when I first met you but then changed my mind about once I got to know you.”

(passionate kiss set to rising music and an absurd amount of falling snow)

This holiday season, get ready for “A Cozy Covid Christmas.” Coming to a streaming service near you. 

Probably. 

How to Have a Proper Family Movie Night

Excitedly announce you are having A Family Movie Night! 

Wait for the cheers and applause that never come.  

Watch as everyone immediately starts to argue about what to watch. 

Browse Netflix. 

Calmly make a suggestion. 

Get greeted by groans and dramatic tears. 

Gently remind everyone this is supposed to be fun. 

Browse Disney+. 

Argue some more. 

Break up fist fight. 

Argue some more. 

Take weapon away from preschooler. 

Let out primal maternal scream. 

Make executive decision to watch a movie everyone has seen 576 times already.

Bring out snacks during opening credits. 

Listen to complaints that it’s the wrong brand of root beer, no one likes popcorn anymore and can we order a pizza?

It’s all we have, when did that happen, no.

Listen to more groans and dramatic, loud protestations. 

Get angry.

Start yelling back. 

Now everyone is yelling. 

Dog is barking. 

Everyone is yelling at dog to stop barking. 

Order stupid, dumb pizza.

Pause within first five minutes for Potty Break No. 1.

Answer first question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Politely ask kid who keeps repeating every line to stop repeating every line. 

Start absentmindedly discussing the grocery list with partner. 

Get shushed by kids. 

Exchange look with partner and secretly do lewd gesture behind the children’s back. 

Answer 12th question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 3. 

Shoot down request for more candy. 

And more root beer. 

And the popcorn no one likes anymore but is somehow all gone. 

Remind kid who keeps repeating lines to stop, please. 

Tell shusher kid to stop shushing repeater kid.

Break up “I can’t hear, shut up” wrestling match on floor. 

Answer 33rd question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 7. 

Throw a pillow at the kid who won’t stop repeating every line and scream “knock it off!”

Pause movie so you can have family discussion on why that wasn’t actually child abuse. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 12. 

Sigh in relief that it’s finally over and you can stop stress eating pizza. 

Watch end credits until the very, very end to prevent preschooler meltdown. 

Practically hurl kids into their beds. 

Begin the unnecessarily violent movie the adults have been wanting to watch forever. 

Sigh contentedly. 

Immediately pause and escort an escaped child back to their bed. 

Resume movie. 

Jointly fall asleep 12 minutes in. 

Wake up on couch unable to turn neck for the next three days.

Forget whole horrifying ordeal by day four because you do not brain good anymore ever since the children systematically killed off all decent remaining brain cells. 

Repeat next week. 

Stickin’ it to the man (and everything else)

Hey, here’s something you might not know. According to historians it was the ancient Egyptians who invented stickers. Archaeologists have actually found remains of sticky paper plastered on Egyptian market walls that were used to display the price and description of goods.

Here’s another fun tidbit. Modern stickers got their start from a man going by the very fancy moniker of Sir Rowland Hill. He invented an adhesive paper in 1839, which eventually led to the first postage stamps. 

Oh, and, amusing little fact, another man with an excessively fancy name, R. Stanton Avery, is credited with inventing the first self adhesive label in 1935, leading the way for the sticker as we know it today.  

All of which is a very long way to say I don’t know why all these people listed above hate me and want to ruin my life. All I know is that they have been very successful in their endeavor. Because stickers are indeed destroying my life. And my home. And my wardrobe. And whatever little bit of my sanity that is still sticking around. (HA! GET IT! “STICKING”! HA! HA!). 

OK, fine. Maybe you’re right. Maybe all these people had no idea the destruction and havoc their invention would wreak on my small little world. But even so, just because you can invent something, doesn’t mean you should. So screw you, anonymous, innovative Egyptian merchant! I hope you drowned in quicksand or however ancient Egyptians typically died back then. 

They’re just everywhere. Stickers on the walls, the floors, on every stuffie, on at least half the books. Oh, and on me. All over me. My arms, my legs, my clothes, my shoes. One minute there is a child sweetly asking to sit on my lap and the next I am covered in stickers from head to toe. With everything else, they have the fine motor skills of a drunk baby panda, but give these kids a sheet of stickers and they suddenly have the dexterity and rapidity of a seasoned neurosurgeon. They could cover the entire world in stickers in roughly 45 minutes. 

I don’t even know where these stickers are coming from. How are my kids keeping their supply line going in the middle of a pandemic? They’re not even in school. We’ve been doing remote learning since September and the city has been on some level of lockdown since March. Is there a neighborhood black market for stickers that I am unaware of? Did they finally figure out my Amazon password? 

WHO KEEPS GIVING MY CHILDREN STICKERS?

That last question isn’t rhetorical. I want names. Addresses. Lists of weaknesses and biggest fears. I will have my revenge. 

You know, back in my day, we had respect for the sticker game. We played with them the way God intended, by moving them from the sticker sheet immediately to our sticker album. And there they would stay for all eternity. There was none of this free range sticker nonsense the youth believe in today, just putting stickers wherever they feel like whenever they feel like. 

And I hear you. I do. It could be worse, you’re saying. It could be the dreaded (*whispers*) glitter. But nope, I disagree. I would actually prefer glitter. Because while glitter never, ever goes away, the worse that will happen if it gets all over me is that I will look like either a stripper or a fairy and honestly, I’m fine with both. 

But stickers? I get covered in those bad boys and 1. when I rip them off it also rips off my body hair and 2. they always end up still stuck on my clothes after I put them in the wash, leaving their weird residue all over everything. And this may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not the type of mother who is going to Google “how to get sticker residue off of clothes” and then actually try to get the sticker residue off of the clothes. I am the kind of mother who gets angry and curses and then just walks around in clothes with permanent sticker residue on them because I am tired and lazy. 

I don’t really have an ending for this rant. Other than I WILL FIND YOU NEIGHBORHOOD BLACK MARKET STICKER DEALER. You can run and you can hide, but I will FIND YOU. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a butterknife and try to scrape the stickers off our hardwood floors and the ceilings because the little one has discovered she can climb all the way up to the top of the unsecured bookcase now. 

Where’s My Coffee? A Remote Schooling Pop Quiz

Q: If I wake up at 7 a.m. and remote schooling starts at 8:30 a.m. for my first grader and 8:45 a.m. for my preschooler, at what time will I take my first sip of coffee? Please show your work.

A: 9:07 a.m. Because the children got up at 6:59 a.m. and began immediately fighting and demanding things and the dog pooped all over the only carpeted area in the house and everyone wanted something different for breakfast. Carry the one nerve I had left over.  

Q: If I am helping one child with a math assignment in the dining room and then the other one yells for my help during her small group live instruction in the bedroom, where will I eventually find my coffee after a frantic search?

A: On top of the bookshelf in the hallway.

Extra credit question: Will it still be hot?

A: Nope. 

Q: What is my favorite brand of coffee to make at home?

a. Starbucks

b. Dunkin

c. That fancy one I can’t pronounce 

d. Any that finally finds its way into my hands. 

Q: Where do I most often find my coffee?

A: In the microwave. Where I warmed it up 40 minutes ago.

True or False: Whoever finishes the pot of coffee has to make a new pot.

True. RYAN. 

Q: If my preschooler is having a meltdown because she can’t cut out her shapes perfectly and my first grader is going on another angry rant about how he hates school and he knows everything already so why does he even have to get on Zoom, will I slip out to the front porch or the back porch to enjoy five minutes of peace with my cup of coffee?

A: Trick question. They discovered that’s where I hide last week. The answer is now the basement. 

Q: During the afternoon, if I scour the entire house for 20 minutes for my coffee but still cannot find it, where is my coffee?

a. The coffee never existed in the first place because I am going insane. 

b. An interdimensional portal that opened up because it’s 2020.

c. Does it even matter? It’s just easier to get a new cup and find the old one six months later when it has grown fur and possibly consciousness. 

d. In the bathroom where I optimistically brought it an hour ago in the vain hope of finding two minutes to brush my teeth.

True or False: Some people don’t drink coffee. 

False. Probably. Who are these people? And what mystical elixir do they drink to prevent familial homicides? 

Q: If it’s a half day Wednesday and both kids have different schedules and extra long Zoom sessions, what will you find in my coffee mug?

A: Correct. The answer is indeed whiskey.

Q: What is an appropriate amount of coffee to drink in the year of our Lord 2020?

A: ALL OF IT. 

Essay Question: How is coffee made?

Little caffeine fairies collect the magic beans in the enchanted forest and give them to dragons, who roast them. They are then collected by really hip dressed baristas and distributed to the masses, who mix it with hot water to make that bewitching hot bean potion that keeps the world running with its life-giving and slightly addictive properties. 

Kitchen confidential

Due to my position as a feral housewife who writes about her family, I am often asked by people what advice I’d give to someone who was unsure about having children.  

OK, technically no one asks me that question but it seemed like a good opener and I have been itching to use the phrase “feral housewife” ever since I encountered it on a random Internet meme. But if someone DID ask me this question, my answer would be this: 

Are you ready to make three meals a day, every day, for probably the rest of your life, only to have each of those meals verbally eviscerated by tiny personal versions of Gordon Ramsay? No? Then get you a dog and prepare to live a happy, peaceful life. 

If yes, my sincerest apologies in advance. I recommend stocking up on boxed wine and designating a drawer in your fridge as your “stress cheese” drawer now before you even get started. 

See, no one warned me and my husband that children expect to eat all the time. Nor that they also hate any and all food. Oh sure, our friends and family might have mentioned their children were “picky” eaters but we, in our sweet, innocent naivety, didn’t realize “picky” is code for “eats three things but not really even those things.” For example, my children only eat chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and fish sticks (but not THAT kind of fish sticks, the other kind). Oh wait, sorry, they also say they like pizza. Except they don’t really like pizza. My first grader only eats the crusts and my preschooler makes me scrape off all the toppings and sauce so she can eat the dough underneath. Because they are monsters. 

Adding insult to injury were all the parenting books we read (ok, the one parenting book we kind of skimmed) that insisted family mealtimes are of the utmost importance for a child’s development without ever once mentioning that the majority of those family mealtimes would be spent arguing over how the pasta smells gross and the meatloaf looks like dog poop. 

Then there’s all those pesky doctors insisting on the importance of children eating a varied diet full of different vitamins and nutrients in order to be healthy. LIES. All of it. My children are somehow still thriving and with a seemingly endless supply of energy despite not knowing the difference between a tomato and a watermelon. 

They don’t even have scurvy and I’m pretty sure they should have scurvy by now. My daughter licked an apple six months ago and it’s the only vitamin C she’s had since. I’m not saying science is wrong. I’m a big believer in science. I’m just saying that while man cannot live on bread alone, little boys apparently can because science simply cannot compete with the stubbornness of children. 

I used to enjoy cooking, you know? I found it calming and at the same time creative. I found a quiet joy in chopping and a contentment in coming up with new menu ideas. A chef transforming ingredients into life sustaining works of art for the people she loved.

But now? I am merely a sweaty, red-faced short order cook, taking the same orders in a gruff manner day after day and barking out names of dishes for my husband to whisk away to our unhappy regulars.

It’s exhausting. 

Perhaps that’s why it all came to a head a few nights ago. Maybe that’s why after enduring meal after meal greeted with that same look of disgust and disappointment on their faces, I lost it. Or possibly those selfish little picky weasels had it coming. 

Whatever it was, I snapped. Over an hour making dinner from scratch, all of which was greeted with groans and anger. ANGER. They didn’t just not like my food, they were angry I would even present it to them. 

So I did the scariest thing a mom on the edge could do. I swallowed my own rage and looked coolly at them. Then, in my calmest voice, I said…

“Fine.”

And their dinner went into the trash can. 

Dramatic, sure. But not if you view it in context. That context being my first instinct was to throw open the window and hurl the plates even more dramatically through it. 

Oh, you should have heard it. The howling, the wailing. How could I do that?! What will we eat now!? We were going to eat it, we swear! Can you make us something else?

To which I answered, easy, nothing, don’t care, nope. 

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that this little episode will change much of anything. But when it comes down to it, that’s not the point. The point is it felt really, really good and I’m smiling even now as I type this and remember the look of horror on their little faces. 

And now I can go back into the kitchen with a bit more serenity, a bit more of the old me who loved cooking. Because should they keep complaining, I still have my “dramatically throws food out the window” bit. Then, after that the roof. Eventually I could hire a crane and drop the plates from there. 

The possibilities are endless, really. 

Blame it on the alcohol

Guys, I did something stupid. Something really stupid. 

I got drunk last night and paid off a student loan. 

I’m not even sure what came over me. It was so reckless, so impulsive. I mean, what was I thinking? We are in the midst of a pandemic. Democracy is crumbling. Corruption is rampant. All our institutions are teetering on the edge. We are staring down the possible beginning of the end. 

And what do I do when facing the apocalypse? Drunkenly make a mature, responsible decision for the future and start paying off debt like there’s actually going to be a tomorrow. 

I admit I’ve always been a bit self-destructive but this is a new low, even for me. I’ve gone so far around the bend of self-destruction that I am now self-helping myself into a better credit score during ARMAGEDDON. Which really shows you the depth of self-loathing I must harbor. What idiot finally decides to get their shit together but only once it probably doesn’t matter? 

I’ll give you a clue. She’s super hungover right now. 

Maybe I should have seen it coming. I have been drinking more lately, the stress of *gestures widely to everything* getting to me. But I thought I had it under control. I never thought it’d come to this. That I would actually use our hard earned money for something that didn’t provide instant gratification. 

Yet the details keep coming back in bits and pieces this wretched morning. It was my second, no, my third drink of the night. OK, yes, we all know it was my fourth, shut up. My husband was giving the kids a bath. I was alone with my laptop. It started so innocently. I just went in to pay off my monthly statement. Something I’ve been doing since I graduated in 2004. Maybe on a different night, maybe on a sober night, things would have been different. But on this particular evening, when my eyes passed casually over the remaining balance, unseemly thoughts started forming. 

“Gee, that number actually looks manageable.”

“Golly, like I could just pay it all off.”

“Right now.”

*hiccup*

“God, how I hate paying this bill every month.”

*burp*

“What if I just…”

And then I just. This is what you get when you abandon bottled wine and start buying boxed wine because it’s less judgmental.

It’s 2020, goddammit. The world is literally on fire. I should be spending any and all income on overpriced Renaissance Festival dresses I only get to wear once a year. I should be tracking down how to buy my own llama. If there was ever a time to justify the purchase of a pimped out RV I absolutely cannot afford, THIS IS IT. Seriously, nothing is guaranteed anymore. LET THE BACCHANAL BEGIN! 

But oh no. Not me. 

Sigh. 

I really expected more of myself. 

Actually, no I didn’t. Because honestly, what else can you expect from a woman who started running after the birth of her second child, not to get in shape, but to punish her body and mind for convincing her that having two kids would be easy. 

LIARS. 

But all this does lead to the more distressing issue of this is what I do when I’m drunk now. That’s how I celebrate my lowered inhibitions now that I am on the cusp of 40. By NOT buying overpriced candles I can’t afford in bulk after chugging craft beer with an irresponsible alcohol content followed by purchasing $60 worth of food from the local pizza place, which I eat until I want to die.

Who am I? What kind of grown-up monster have I become? 

I haven’t even told my husband yet. I’m still too ashamed. Is this the same woman he fell in love with? The same one he married? The carefree girl who would get drunk in bars and then blow the rent money on giant stacks of books and boots with varying amounts of fur? Followed by ordering $60 worth of food from the local pizza place, which she ate until she wanted to die? 

I mean, what’s next? Texting people back in a reasonable amount of time? Starting a college fund for at least one of the children, whoever ends up being my favorite? Finally tracking down my social security card which has been lost inside this house for almost a decade? 

It’s enough to make a gal want a drink. 

But at least this time I can take comfort in knowing that no matter how drunk I get, I won’t be able to pay off my second federal student loan on a whim since it has a much, much higher balance because college is ridiculously unaffordable.

Cheers. 

Ode to the Mystery Bruise

Oh, Mystery Bruise

There you are, yet again

And there have you always been 

For at least as long as I can remember

Which, granted, isn’t that long

Ever since my memory was obliterated by the incessant demands

Of tiny, adorable humans 

They who sprung loudly from my loins

Ginger haired and exhausting

My mind now filled to capacity 

Each and every day

With tasks both mundane and material 

That are involved when raising juveniles not quite yet delinquent

Big. Purple. With a hint of bluish tint

Ringed by an unholy yellow 

You loudly announce your presence, oh, Mystery Bruise

With every disrobement 

With every bathroom trip

There was a time when my thigh was flawless

(Stubble notwithstanding)

Oh, twas a sight, ye youthful femur o’ mine

Alas, now the top of that ham 

Is the heart and hearth of your home

Oh, Mystery Bruise 

Whenceforth you came? Why do you stay?

I have heard tale of your existence in others

On the side of the hip

Or the shinny shin shin

Enfolding the feminine forces in this world

Who already fight all kinds of unseen battles 

Every day, and every sleepless night, and every in-between

Yet your mystery grows, Mystery Bruise

Your origin a puzzle wrapped in an enigma

Smothered in a conundrum and sprinkled with mild violence  

Did it happen when a toddler used my body as a trampoline?

Or when a preschooler made of all points

Used me as their amusement park?

Are you the result of that stupid end table

I keep running into?

Or perhaps from that time I bumped into the steps while running to stop the children from hitting each other

With actual weapons? 

Is it all the bile rising up to the surface from all the curse words I swallowed?

Or from all the screams I buried down deep

Each and every time they howled how they hated me

Because the grilled cheese had the wrong cheese?

(As if any cheese any time any place could ever be wrong)

Is it the homeless ink from every lost chapter I never wrote

Because as soon as they see the laptop they lay across me like pampered cats?

Or mayhap you are just a reminder that I am human, Mystery Bruise

And not just a mother

That I am not merely put on this Earth for their every whim and desire

The point is, oh, most mystifying of contusions

You’ve always been there for me

Rarely changing

Just staring up at me every time I shower 

A constant and only slightly concerning presence in a chaos-filled world 

A reminder of some permanence in an ever shifting reality

Or maybe you are simply a visible representation

Of the bruises concealed in my heart

Your mottled surface itself an ode to the mysteries of the soul

An ever-present monument of why we love and fight so hard  

No matter the reason, nor the cause

I want to thank you, oh Mystery Bruise

For always being there

Which I believe I already mentioned

But you’ll have to forgive me, for it has been a rough week

Of Remote Schooling

Of Life

Of 2020

And of simply being stretched too thin

Which is why I am hiding in the bathtub with my computer

A little (lot) drunk and singing your praises

Because you are here and yet need nothing from me

Oh, Mystery Bruise, your silence speaks volumes