Tag Archives: humour

The Remedial Patriot Strikes Again

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My husband sat, watching a show on the military channel.  This was his life before we met.  Mine was more hippie-esque. No guns.  Just brownies.  He was really into this veteran show and being the asshole that I sometimes am, I asked my husband, “Aw, honey, are you tearing up?”  I mean, the “Aw” was dripping with sarcasm.  Why would I do that?  Because I’m a closet bitch.  And he never cries at the abused animal commercials that make me choke up.  As the question came out, I wanted to retract it or twist it into, “Aw, honey, are you hungry?”  or something equally non-provoking.  But I didn’t. It came out before I turned on my filter.  He said, “Seriously?” and walked out of the house.

Well, I never said that my mouth works as well as my hands.

After letting him rake the leaves for a while, as if he were raking my face, I went outside and apologized.  Sincerely.  Not sarcastically.  It wasn’t enough.  I could tell by the way he continued his vigorous leaf destruction.

Did I mention the fact that the following day was Veteran’s?

Yup.

He is a veteran. My intention was simply to mock him and be silly because he mocks me when I tear up during commercials.  How was I to know that my “never-been-to-war-but-really-enjoys-laughing” self was jabbing into a veteran wound?  He went to work on Veteran’s Day, something I notice most vets do.  It’s only teachers, students and postal workers who actually get the day off.  I decided that I would be a good citizen for once and hang a U.S. flag in honor of our veterans.  I don’t usually display my American pride because of my past of growing up in another country.  Sometimes it feels forced and awkward, but this time I decided to get over myself and thank the people who have fought for our freedom.  I knew there was a flag around my house somewhere.

Where was it?  I know it was here.  My mom sent it to me years ago… I think she ordered it from L.L. Bean.  Oh.  There it is. Poking out from that shelf up there.

Red, white and blue.

So nicely folded.  L.L. Bean must really be into presentation.  Wow.  And it’s huge.  I unfolded it, marveling at its size.  I hung it from our bedroom windows.

Sigh.  There I was.  The patriotic wife of a veteran.  I was kind of proud of myself.  This stuff does not come naturally to me. Maybe I’d whip up a casserole and clean the house.

Ahahahahahahaha…….

My husband was touched.  He came home and told me that it meant a lot to him and he couldn’t believe that I had done that.  I glowed in my new patriotic role.  I felt warm like apple pie.

And then he paused.  It was one of those “pregnant pauses” that you read about.  Big.  With a creature inside.  Ready to be birthed.

“Um.”

“You do know why it’s so large, don’t you?”

I defensively responded, “Well yes.  Of course I do.”  Thinking that it’s so large because it’s a flag, an L.L. Bean flag.  They do good work.  It’s supposed to make an impression, right?

I looked at him.  He smiled in a patronizing way, his eyes looking at me with simultaneous amusement and pity.  It was a smile that said, “was this woman raised in a barn?”

Remedial Me.

“The flag is so big because it was on a coffin.  This was my uncle’s flag.”

Yes.  I had just dishonored a flag.  A flag that was never to be unfolded.  I shook that puppy out and hung it from my window.  Gad.  I hope a bird didn’t poop on it.

Classy.

Maybe being patriotic is not my cup of tea.  Still, I think those veterans rock for putting their lives on the line, and my veteran rocks the most.  I’m glad that even if I am a remedial patriot and perhaps a remedial wife he enjoys my brownies. Sure, they don’t have anything but sugar in them, but they make us happy.

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Personally, I love pigs.

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My first experience with a cop in the United States was in high school.  Just like most of you out there, I had grown up hearing, “Ahg, don’t they have something better to do than to give me a ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit?”  My mom claimed tears as the number one defense mechanism required to escape tickets as a woman.  This from someone who claimed to be a feminist.  “Or lie, tell them you’re on your way to a funeral.”  All sound advice for a child.  Remember, this was before Cops became a huge hit on television, and spawned numerous other hits like “Cops in Snow, Cops in Heat, When Good Cops Attack.”  Cops was our first reality show.  I remember actually seeing someone I knew on Cops, once. The most surprising part of it was that he was not a criminal, he was a cop!

So there I was, in rural New Jersey, with a boy, in a car.   Totally innocent situation, right?  It was probably about one a.m.  We actually were just sitting there talking.  Of course, that was not the case ten minutes before.  But, the cop didn’t know that.  There was a “rat-a-tat-tat” on my window.  After realizing that Jason was not out there with a chainsaw, waiting to hack me to bits, I rolled down the window.

“Well, what do we have here?” said the female cop.

If I hadn’t been so drunk I probably would have been terribly nervous.

“We’re just talking.”  I said, profoundly.

“Well, I need to see some ID. And a driver’s license, sir.”

He actually had a driver’s license.  All I had was my ID card that I used in Saudi Arabia, to get me in and out of the gym and pool area.  I handed it over.

“Well, little lady.  Saudi Arabia?  Huh. You expect me to believe that you are from Saudi Arabia?”

“I am.  I am here for boarding school.”

Hmmm.  The wheels were turning.  My arrogant self could hear them.  We did have a rather annoying school full of kids from all over the world, so she believed me.  Instead of recalling my training from ten years prior, I failed to tear up and reverted to my natural defense mechanism…

sarcasm.

“Okay darling, well, I think we should give your parents a call and see how they feel about you being parked in a car, during the middle of the night, with Bob here (yep.  Changing his name… because I can do that!).”

“Fine.  I’m sure they couldn’t care less.  Here’s their number (I pompously included the country code).  You’ll have to call them in about eight hours though, because it’s tomorrow there.  They are already at work.” (and, yea, there weren’t cell phones back then – imagine a time without cell phones or the show Cops. Weird.)

Can’t you just see the total lack of respect?  My shoulders were moving like I was a Jerry Springer guest; I was feeling PRETTY impressive.  My truth was even more confusing than a lie!  I loved it!

“Um.  Okay.  Maybe I will call them.  Anyway, it looks like nothing is going on here.  Get her home, Bob.”

See, I fared rather well.  But why did I feel so agitated and defensive?  I’m sure that female cop was just looking out for me, making sure I wasn’t being raped in the woods, or kidnapped by some pedophile.  I mean, it was New Jersey.  Strange shit went down in those thar’ woods.  Not quite Deliverance shit, but still some kinda shit.  I mean, Friday the 13th was filmed there for a reason.

Why do we teach our kids to disrespect the police?  Start listening to yourself.  You’ll say stuff like, “Damn cop. Why on earth would they pull me over when there are banks being robbed?” and then five minutes later you’ll say to your kid, “See the police man (or WOman)?  If you are ever in trouble, call them.  If Mommy falls down and doesn’t get up, you want them to come.  If someone almost runs you over on the way home from school, call the police.  If you are lost and scared, find the police.”

Do you see the hypocrisy?  We tell them WE are above the rules of other people.  That WE can speed through a school zone because WE are a parent with a child at that school and WE don’t want to be late.  Of course, WE would never run down a child crossing the road there, because WE are perfect.  How are our children supposed to understand that cops are there to help?  Or to realize their intention is to keep kids safe from some creep in the woods.  (sorry Bob, you weren’t actually a creep.  creepy scenario.  maybe you were a creep.  eeeeek!!!)

No.  All cops are not good.  You’ll see stuff on the news EVERY single night about how crooked they are.  But, just like teachers (see how easily the name Mary Kay Laterno comes to mind?), do you ever hear about how amazing they are?  Do you ever think that every single day, while that one cop is screwing off and giving them a bad rep, there are hundreds and thousands, extracting children from burning cars, breaking up violent domestic spats, being shot at for simply doing their jobs, and saving kids – kids like yours.  When my neighbor’s baby stopped breathing, she came straight to my husband.  He held that little guy, checked for breathing, did CPR, all while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off – corralling my daughter and my dogs while calling, wait for it… 911.  My husband just kept working.  He didn’t even look flustered.  They are trained for this.  They don’t judge the situation first, they save lives first.  Unfortunately, this baby had not been breathing for too long.  My husband kept working until the “on duty” first responders came.  A woman scooped the baby out of my husband’s strong arms and into the ambulance.  The mother spun in circles, wondering why they weren’t in more of hurry.  You know why our neighbor brought her baby here? Because she knew that my husband is a hero.

He saves lives.  At least he tries.  Which is more than most people do.

He also gives people tickets when they speed through a school zone.

He was in “cop-mode.”  I was in  “loony-chicken-protective-mother-keep-dogs-out-from-under-foot-mode,” which was quickly followed by “smudge-my-house-like-a-crazy-hippie-mode.”  FYI: if you have an emergency, do NOT call me.

Stop being so self-absorbed, people!  Look at what you do all day.  Do you risk your life by sitting in your cubicle?  Are you so important that running over a 7-year-old to get to work on time seems rational?  Would you call the cops if you were in trouble?

Take a minute, next time you’re pulled over for some slight infraction of the law.  yea.  Go ahead.  Turn on that brain.  It still works, even though you’ve been killing it with Kardashians.  Why did they pull you over?  Did you do something illegal?  Accept it.  You made a mistake.  Everyone does.  Who cares?  But this man, or this woman, who is doing this job because they care about helping people (because, trust me, it’s not about the money) is trying to keep people safe.  They are not after you.  That’s like being homophobic and thinking that Elton John wants to bone down on you because he’s gay and you’re a man.  They are not targeting you because you are driving a Mercedes.  They are targeting you because you are driving a Mercedes really fast (probably stalking Elton John) and they’d rather give you a ticket than pull yet another body from an accident.

Get over yourself for a second and be a good person.  Try it.  Thank them.

Thank the police, and set a good example for your kids.  They may need a cop one day.  Are they going to call one if you keep bitching about that ticket?

Cooked Weenies, Anyone?

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Father’s Day.  A time to celebrate dads.  And cook weenies.  I think that’s kind of a funny correlation.  Hot dogs and dads.  What is the reason for grilling meat on Dad’s day?  Is it a reminder of just how hard he works, that he might as well cook something up that distinctly resembles a penis?  Is it a symbol of his devotion to this whole family thing?  Maybe a representation of how he feels (like a cooked weenie?).  Maybe we should switch it up a bit, and Mom’s should grill weenies on Mother’s Day.  Totally makes more sense to me.  Dad’s can go to brunch and visit the spa for that much needed facial.

For Mother’s Day this year, I promptly forgot that I have a mother, and I focused on the fact that I am a mother.  Selfish?  Sure.  But sometimes selfish is yummie.  It was sunny.  That made me happy.  That’s all I needed.  Until my husband had to come home sick from work, then I also needed beer (which I’m sure my thoughtful daughter would have bought for me if she was 15 years older).  Like the good mom I am, I drug her underaged butt into the liquor store with me where we skipped around, finishing our ice cream, buying Mom a six pack.  We returned home to paint bird houses in the sun while my husband nursed a fever and watched the millionth episode of cops.  For lunch I ate chocolate chip cookies. For a snack I had ice cream.  For dinner I had my beer and Sun Chips. See?  I should have grilled the weenies.   At least they have protein.

Back to the next rapidly approaching Hallmark holiday.  I do appreciate my husband (although, I must admit I appreciate him more when he’s not watching Cops), and I want him to feel the love.   About six years ago I planned the pen-ultimate Father’s Day barbecue combined with an admittedly sacrilegious event for my daughter, who was 8 months old:

Our daughter’s BEER-TISM.

We had a hot tub in those days, before my mommy-stincts started giving me recurring nightmares of accidental child drownings.  We don’t have a hot tub anymore as a means of increasing my sleep potential.  We turned the heater off and had ourselves a grand old beer-tism.   I thought it would be amusing and sweet to honor my sister and her husband as the “god parents.”  We went overboard, with guests and friends eating and drinking, kids frolicking in the hot tub.  Dogs stealing burgers and vegetarian inspired fake-meat-products.  Dads enjoying their relaxing day in the sun, cooking their weenies (I can’t help it).

My brother-in-law held my baby girl and we anointed her with beer.  Oh yes, we really did.  We didn’t submerge her in the hot tub, but we did dip her toesies in.  It was official.  She had people who loved her, and knew how to enjoy the occasional brewski.  All would be well in the world.

It was my favorite Father’s Day ever, mainly because it was the first one with my daughter, and the first one with my husband in such an important role (Weenie Cooker).  We enjoyed ourselves, fully, except that my sister seemed a bit quieter than usual and her family left our house fairly early.  I thought that was a bit odd for the guests of honor.  I don’t even think she enjoyed a beer (if you knew my sister, you would understand this as a sign of imminent DOOM).  As the smell of various meat and veggie-meat imitations dissipated, I pondered my sister’s odd mood.  For about two weeks.  Until I ran into her mother-in-law.

Following the appropriate small talk about the weather, and the this and the that she asked me a question that confused me a bit.

“Aren’t you proud of your sister?” she asked, innocently enough.

“Um, in general, yes I am proud of her.  She’s great.” (I’m thinking, ‘Yep, she can fart with the best of them.  You KNOW I’m proud!’)

“I just think it’s such a huge undertaking to get baptized as an adult.”

“Ummmmm.  What?  Did you say baptized?  My sister?”  At this point, I am experiencing a severe, premature hot flash.  The sweat is dribbling into my eye a little.  It stings.  I blink and try to look normal, and not like I’m having some sort of Turrets-like facial spasm.

“Oh.  Oh my.  She didn’t tell you?  Oh no.  I’m sorry.  I thought you knew.”

“No, no.  It’s okay.  Really.  She must not have wanted me to know.  When did she do it?”  I asked, crossing my arms, hoping my armpit sweat stains weren’t becoming too obvious, smiling, trying to blind her with the reflection off of my teeth so she couldn’t see my eye twitching from the sweat dribbling into it.

“Well, on Father’s Day, dear?  Isn’t that funny?  It was the only day that the minister could do it.”

Oh.

“Tee hee.  Yes.  Very funny.”

And the non-beer drinking sister behavior was explained.  I managed to not only offend her religion, which was totally nice of me, but I even mocked the experience that she had that very day!  I felt like a big, awkward, insensitive ogre.  Here I was trying to honor her, in my own weird way, and instead I made a joke out of her decision.

So, while it was my most memorable Father’s Day, and I really did enjoy myself in the moment, it was not my best sister-ly behavior of all time.

Since then I have been making it up to her with special hand-crafted beer farts and noon-er phone calls about my Rob Lowe dream.  Soon I will wear her down and she will wish that I still had that hot tub.

We would throw in some scented bubbles.  Cook the weenies.

And then, I could beer-tise her, too.

Poop-hole, Pee-hole, and a Third One, Too?

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My captor handed me a blue cardboard box and told me to read the directions.  I wanted to vomit, not read.  I sat on the cold toilet lid.  I read the fold out directions by the glow of the cheap flourescent light.  I held them upside down. What was this a drawing of?  It was like a Rorschach ink blot test.  I see an elephant, with an inside-out trunk.  Wait.  This is supposed to be my body?  Is this supposed to go in your butt? In your pee hole?  Oh. Wait just a minute.  I have how many holes down there?  That can’t be right.  It was like an entire sex-ed class, completed in 20 minutes, by myself, in my bathroom.  There I sat.  Sweating. Locked in.

Scared.

Disgusted.

Confused.

Maybe more information would have helped?  Like a chat with my mom?

I’m not sure what happened to my parents.  In the seventies they were crunchy, growing their own veggies in Oregon, probably growing other things, too.  They talked to us about our parts.  They showed us pictures even.  And then, I guess they figured we had it because I don’t recall any refresher courses between the ages of 5 and 13.  And, damn, if I couldn’t remember what I’d learned.  Guess I should have listened, instead of playing with my stupid Barbie, the one whose hair we had cut off to make our own Ken doll.  Gender modification at it’s finest. Anyway.  They were plastic and didn’t have to worry about this stuff.

So there I sat.  I drummed up the nerve to give it a go.  It took at least 5 tries.  And then, I think it was only about 1/4 of the way in.  I hobbled around for the rest of the day, doing all I could to avoid eye contact with my dad (I had overheard my mom telling him, “She got her period!” – giggle giggle giggle).  It shouldn’t have alarmed me after the bra purchasing experience I had survived the summer before.   It was like some big practical joke, and I didn’t think it was very funny at all. My sister wasn’t even around to help, she had abandoned me for Catholic boarding school.  Besides, she was cool and probably only had her period at night or something.  That’s how cool she was.

I’d never felt so alone and uncomfortable (mainly because I didn’t have it in right).

I had heard about this evil period thing before.  Girls in junior high told stories of some nameless pathetic creature who had come before us, wearing white pants, and discovering that “Aunt Flow” doesn’t give a crap if you have to stand up in front of the class… she’s coming to town anyway!   I heard about methods, like if you sat up really really straight, it wouldn’t come out.  I had the greatest posture ever in 6th and 7th grade.  I heard that you could get out of gym, weekly, if you made the poor middle-aged gym teacher aware of your “condition.”  I couldn’t imagine telling a soul.  I was going to pretend that I was the first girl on earth never to get her period – not because there was something wrong with me, but because I was amazing.  I could control such weakness with my mind.

FYI: I went into childbirth with much the same ignorance.  But, at least by then I had learned about that other hole.

I had a great friend who I would visit with in the states, every summer.  We would watch MTV and talk about boys, tell ghost stories, and snuggle with her dog.  And then one summer all of that changed.  She brought this book in for us to read. I was so excited, we had flashlights and comforters and I was expecting a great Edgar Allen Poe type of scare fest.  Bring it!  And then she started talking about “Menstruating” and “Puberty.”

A big piece of my heart died right there, on her living room floor, twitching and gasping in the glow of our flashlights.

“I can’t wait!  I am so excited to get my period,”  said my friend, who I was starting to think was actually one of those aliens from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

What.  the.  hell?

“Really?  It sounds gross and awful,”  said ME, in my infinite wisdom.

“No, no.  It’s so cool.  Once we get it we will be WOMEN!  We will have boobs and boyfriends (I guess those two – or three – things were connected somehow) and it will be amazing.  We’ll fall in love and get married…. SIGH!”

“Um.  Do you have any other books?”

“C’mon!  Let’s look up questions we have.  It will be fun!”

Suddenly, that summer, I realized that we were really different people.  We were both blonde.  That was where the similarities stopped.  In their tracks.  She was boy crazy, for REAL boys!  I was only crazy for the ones in movies.   She was starting to look more like Julia Roberts, and I was starting to look more like a dork.  She was looking forward to this woman thing, and I was totally denying that it would ever happen.  Some people always want to grow up, and sure I had my moments where I fantasized about being Simon LeBon’s wife (or even mistress), but I really had no desire to go through puberty.  I was terrified.  I thought I’d just pass on the boob option, too.  Those seemed like a lot of work.  I was my father’s daughter.  I was going to be tom-boy forever!

Well, guess what.  No one asked me!  I begrudgingly became a “woman,” that day, sweating in my air conditioned bathroom, working harder than I needed to – and I wasn’t happy about it.  I wanted to stay  a kid for a while longer.  I think that’s where I could have used more than a pamphlet.  I would have loved for someone to tell me that even though I was growing up, I could still be a kid.  Just because there was a hole that I hadn’t been aware of before, didn’t mean that I had to suddenly act all grown up and stop reading Trixie Belden, suddenly switching to Glamour questionnaires and worrying about getting married.

I could still be a kid, even now that I knew where the tampon was supposed to go.

Stock My beer Fridge! The Grandkids Are Coming!

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I know.  It’s been a really long while for me… I love to write, but all of my efforts have been going into 10 page papers on The Psychology of Personality.  I have a lot to do in the next four weeks.  EEEK!  So, I figured I’d write another blog.  Good use of my time!

I want to tell you that graduate school is mighty expensive.  I could buy a house (granted, a small house.  in Nebraska.  with redneck neighbors.) with the loans I am getting for the honor of studying myself silly (and I can’t wait, because I’m dorky like that).  I have been researching grants and scholarships and black market organ sales, but it looks like my most reliable source of tuition payment will be the fed.  And I will pay them back because no one likes to bail out a mom.  A bank?  A car company?  Well, sure!  A mom?  Nah.  Still, all that matters is that I get to go.

My mom had a suggestion for me to drum up some tuition money.  She said, “Why don’t you sleep with your brother-in-law, he can afford it.”

Um.  What?

I think that A) my husband may not appreciate that, B) my sister may not appreciate that, and C) EW!  (no offense to my bro-in-law; he’s great, but I couldn’t do that with anyone for money.  for beer?  okay, not even for beer)

Who does that?  I mean, obviously Charlie Sheen’s goddesses would, but me?  I taught an Ethics class last year, and from what I learned in teaching that, it somehow seems wrong.

My mother-in-law (who is very concerned that my selfish desires to attend school will stress my husband out too much) said that she has a friend enrolling in the same program that I will be attending (art therapy, not goddess school).   I asked what her name was.  “Well, I really shouldn’t tell you.”

Ooooohhhhkkkkaaayyyyyy.

“Why not?” I inquired.

“Because we both feel that if the universe wants you to meet, you will.”

Blergh.  That was the sound of me I gagging on my own vomit.

“Well, how old is she (we’re thinking she must be older than I am, and I was the oldest one at the group interview)?” my husband dared to ask.

“I just don’t think I should share that with you.”

Um, what the fuck?  Is she in the witness protection program?  Is she a famous supermodel?  Is she the man who you are having an affair with, disguised as a woman?  Why is this such a big deal?

I can not answer these questions, but I want the world to see the role models I have in my family for aging as a woman.  I need some sane women.  I need some rational women.  My daughter needs a gramma who actually shows up when she says she will and when she does randomly appear, does not get in her face and ask her a billion questions.

Just play with the kid.  Put away the damn bowls and get silly.

When and if I get to be a gramma someday, I vow to do a few things:

I will love my grandchildren with the unconditional capacity of a puppy (but hopefully not pee on them when they come to the door).

I will tell them how proud they make me and remind them of their awesomeness.

I will bake them sugary, fattening treats, with flaxseed and cauliflower hidden inside.  And make them spinach smoothies.

I will watch all the teen drama movies with them, because I secretly LOVE them.

I will have sleepovers.

I will make s’mores.

I will show up.

I will gladly return them when I am exhausted, because I’ll be old and in need of a good nap.

When they’re older, I will have a beer fridge (and if they’re good, I’ll share).

It’ll be fun to be a good role model.  I just wish there were more of them in my family.  I have found them elsewhere though, and those women keep me hopeful that life does not become some wallow-ing self-absorbed pity-party that no one wants to attend.  Thank you, my funny, awesome, witty, smart, beautiful role models.  Even if you aren’t in my gene pool, I love that you are in my life.