The Beginning in the End

Hold your nose, ’cause here goes the cold water

When I started blogging in the Dark Ages of the Blog, most of the blogs I came across were on LiveJournal, which is sorta like the Facebook of today. People posted pictures of their food, vaguely-directed passive aggressive insults to (presumably) other LiveJournal users, and various GIFs. There was very little of the actual person represented, which I found somewhat tedious: tell me your juicy stories, tell me what you’re really going through – I didn’t want the made-for-television version of, well, you and your life. I wanted the unsanitized truth, not perfect pictures of perfect families living perfect lives with expertly executed decor in their perfect house. If I needed to feel badly about my highly imperfect self, I’d have picked up a magazine.

Sometime while I was sleeping or eating cheeseburgers or both, it all changed. Blogs (or the blogs I stumbled across) became substantive. I learned – really learned – about the lives of these people. I mean, their lives stripped away from the pretense of achieving perfection. When I’d find a particularly awesome blog, I’d start at the very beginning and work my way to the present – creepers or not, I felt like I’d gotten a window into someone else’s life, internet voyeurism at it’s finest. Good or bad, I felt like I knew these people and was easily entangled with their daily lives.

Until, they’d just… stop.

I’d seen it all, from how they like their morning eggs, to how much they loathe their in-laws, to their biggest insecurities, and then …. radio silence. I wanted to know more, and if I couldn’t have that, whelp, I wanted to hear the end. A neat summary of why they’d stopped blogging. I mean, yeah, sure, they’d make the occasional return to blogging Christmas-card style: bullet points, updates, and follow-ups, but you could tell that their heart was simply no longer in it.

When I took to Mommy Wants Vodka, I couldn’t imagine the idea of an “end.” People’d ask me, “why do you blog?” and my answer was usually something along the lines of “I can’t NOT.” My compulsive nature took over and writing was simply something that I just did.

When my life took a swift veer into the shitty, I, too, slowly stopped. It didn’t fulfill me. It made me anxious. It made me unhappy. It scared me. Between my divorce and my rampant drug use, I simply had nothing more to say. My words were gone, my life was in shambles, and every time I bounced to the bottom, there was an even worse, more gruesome bottom for me to hit.

And my blog succumbed to the fate that so many others had before me. It was over. Done. Fin. (insert some other foreign words for “piece of shit”)

It’s bothered me ever since.

There’s some quote or something literary that goes something like “if you hate where you ended, keep going.” Actually, I think it’s more like, “if you don’t like the ending, then it’s not the end” which sounds a bit clunky to me, if I’m being honest.

Which is why I’m back. To put something to bed that should’ve been done a long time ago. I need to give this battered old bag ‘o’ bones a proper send-off. Can’t say when or where it’ll end, because I’m not done yet.

I’m only getting started.

 

——–

 

That early, early morning, the July sun filtered languidly through the windows in the basement of the church, where we sat waiting for (what I called) “Marriage Class.” I looked at Dave, half rolled my eyes and he smiled at me. Not a child of the church myself, churches made me anxious – I always felt that in church, God, or the priest, or the hobo outside would scowl down at me for not being “chosen,” or “Godly,” or “good enough” to walk those hallowed halls. It’s kinda like that when you grow up having been baptized in a stream while Joan Baez sang tinnily from the boombox: you’re always outside looking into The Church. You can’t sing along at funerals, your idea of prayers at dinner include the always-catchy “Good food, good meat, good God let’s eat,” and you NEVER quite get when precisely you’re to bow your head or say an “Amen.” When we’d decided to get married in a church, this Marriage Class was part of the requirement, and there we sat, itchy and feeling decidedly UN-holy, waiting for the end of the class the moment we sat down.

If I am being completely honest, despite my discomfort with Church Things, the class was a good idea. It wasn’t all “RESPECT THY HUSBAND AND THE TINY BABY JESUS;” it was more about learning navigating life with another person, which, as you all know, is harder than nailing Jello to the wall, but we were bored. We’d already done the co-habitation, the kid-rearin’, and the Life Plan (tho my goal is “don’t die,” so perhaps I am not the best person to make any sort of plan with) and we’d both become well-versed on the way that nothing quite goes as planned. Three painful, boring, dusty hours later, we were handed a test. I squeed with joy – fresh out of nursing school and my NCLEX victory – I love tests. Pink-puffy hearts. I love tests so fucking much that our marriage would’ve likely had a quite different turnout if everything was multiple choice.

Alas.

This was a personality test, so while there were technically no wrong answers, I deeply understood that some choices were simply better than others. I gave a “I’m gonna win this shit SO HARD” sneer to Dave, who laughed, before saying, “I’m gonna kick your ass SO HARD.” He choked on his now-cold coffee, snorting it up his nose. “We’ll see,” he bantered back.

When I graded my test (SO easy! Stupid Meyers-Briggs! SAD!) I was left with a bunch of letters. Four of them: ENFP. I was singularly unimpressed. Dave got some other ones, I can’t recall which, and we compared notes, which seemed as good as any a way to pass the time when everyone else was still taking the test. We did a minor victory dance, gloated at what was certain to be the best test compatibility in the history of EVER and waited to hear the interpretation of the (teacher? pastor? priest?). After what felt like an hour and a half (it was 12 minutes), he made his way to us, and I preened as he read over our tests, his forehead creased and flickered very briefly. I looked to Dave for reassurance but he hadn’t noticed. What did that flicker mean? Were we extra awesome? Were we a terrible match?

The (teacher? pastor? priest?) tried to assure us that we’d be okay … probably. He explained in elusive terms like “connection” and “mutual interests” that confused me more than reassured me. He mentioned “opposites” and “attracting” but warned us that things could be tough for us, which I quickly compensated to mean “we’d overcome ALL THE THINGS.”

I mean, what couple goes into a marriage expecting it to blow up? No one truly wants to believe in divorce.

But, like all things nasty in life: child loss, miscarriage, mental illness, abuse, rape, chronic illness, and cancer (to name a quite narrow few), you don’t believe it’s going to happen to you, because you can’t believe it could. Like you’ll live forever without the nastier bits and complications because you’re special, well, you’re going to have a long fall from that high horse.

I can assure you that I did.

And it took me a hell of a long time to truly get back up.

Life marches ever forward.

In most endings, there is also a beginning.

This is mine.

Pink. With A Side of Pink.

When my crotch parasites came home to discover that my house, had, indeed been turned upside down and two formerly ugly rooms now had lickable colored walls (hey, purple’s a fucking flavor, dammit), they were impressed. I could tell that they had no idea what “painting the walls” meant, because they assumed that somehow The Guy on My Couch and I had painted pictures to put on the walls as well. And if they had any idea what sort of artistic aptitude I have, they’d have known better.

I have to admit, however, that I did appreciate being taken as someone artistic for a moment – even if it was by a four-year old.

Well, the rooms were a gigantic success. Not only am I no longer Furious George when I stare at my walls, slack-jawed and thinking, but they’re actually pleasant to be in.

Of course, there was an unexpected side effect. The moment my children realized that The Guy On My Couch and I hadn’t actually painted pictures, but changed the color of the walls entirely, they began to clamor for us to change their bedrooms, too.

Their bedrooms – two of the rooms that had BEEN previously painted by Your Aunt Becky. Of course. Two of the four rooms I’ve painted, and they wanted to repaint them.

I managed to stall the boys who are in a fierce deadlock between Purple and Green, but my daughter, o! my daughter, she chimed in, asking me to paint her room her favorite color. My heart, of course, grew three sizes and melted into an ooey gooey pile of mush on the floor right at my feet.

Why?

That tiny voice said, “Mama, I want a PINK room.”

Oh, my heart. My heart forever walking around outside my body.

Pink has been my favorite color well into my late twenties (I’ve now decided on a more grown-up “blue” as a favorite color, but only barely). As a tot, I loved pink – which horrified my hippie mother, who would’ve preferred that I like a nice brown burlap. I’d have shot someone dead for a pink bedroom (presuming, of course, I had access to a gun, which, hippies don’t like).

Under normal circumstances, I’d have fallen over myself to make this happen. But the room she lives in now? It WAS painted pink. A pink I couldn’t stomach. That room remained shut until I got pregnant with Alex, at which time Daver painted it a nice soft yellow.

My daughter is a rational creature, though, so I knew I could appeal to her logical brain.

“Okay, Mimi,” I said, hoping she’d forget it all. “Would you like me to paint your room instead of buying you a birthday present?”

“YES!” she screamed happily. “I want a PINK ROOM.”

For days, she told everyone we saw – including strangers wandering the aisles at Target looking for baking powder as well as the cashiers at Target – that she was getting a pink room.

So there you have it. For her third birthday, my daughter is getting a pink bedroom. Bubble gum pink if she has her way, which she will. You’re only three once, after all.

I will SO miss that yellow.

She’ll Cut A Bitch For Some Hello Kitty

Thank you to everyone who voted for me yesterday. I feel like a douchebag asking – trust me – but this would be so awesome for Band Back Together.

————

My children follow me around everywhere I go. I think they’re trying to ascertain what it is I’m going to do next, or at least, that’s what I tell myself when all three of them are crammed into my tiny bathroom, clamoring like a basket of wriggling puppies to sit on my lap as I pee. Or maybe they’re just trying to annoy me. Because really, who wants to yell, “ALEX GET YER ELBY-BONE OUTTA YER SISTER’S FACE” while peeing?

Not me.

My daughter is especially keen on following me around, yelling at me to do her bidding, because she’s two and that’s what two-year old’s do.

A couple of weeks ago, I’d wandered upstairs to look for a hot dog or get dressed or see if Rod Stewart was in my bedroom yet and, like a sassy puppy, my daughter followed me upstairs. Perhaps she, too, was wondering if Rod, The Bod, was in my bedroom.

I began to do whatever it was I was doing while Amelia spotted – in the corner – a bag. Not just any bag, mind you, a HELLO KITTY BAG. It had various office supplies in it, as I’m SLOWLY moving my office out of the dining room and upstairs (for better privacy to watch my cat videos) and I’d grabbed some things and hastily shoved them in what had been a birthday bag for me.

Mili, seeing the bag, immediately went nuts. Anything Hello Kitty is, by default, now hers, so before I could stop her, she dumped the contents of the bag out onto the floor, proclaiming, “DIS IS MILI’S HELLO KITTY BAG.”

Fair enough, kiddo. Fair enough.

While I had my back turned, the kid began to rifle through my jewelry box – a mixture of costume and fine jewelery – and delicately, she sifted through it. I remember that being one of my favorite things as a child – my mother’s jewelry box, not stealing my own crap – so I let her go through it, figuring she’d claim some of the more garish pieces as her own.

Nope.

Oh no.

No, my daughter carefully picked out the most expensive bits of jewelry and slowly placed each piece in the Hello Kitty bag. “Mimi’s necklace.” “Mimi’s ring.” “Mimi’s bracelet.”

When she’d thoroughly magpied my collection, she looked at me, smiled impishly, pulled the Hello Kitty bag up onto her shoulder like a purse, and walked happily out of my room and down the stairs. With my diamond collection.

She’s so her mother’s daughter.

Underneath It All

Last summer sometime, I was doing my best Tom Cruise “Risky Business” impression in front of the mirror. I was probably singing some Neil Diamond (badly), warbling like someone was kicking a bag of kittens, as I prepared to go about my day. I’d just showered, you see, and nothing gets me in the mood to live life like singing some “Cracklin’ Rose.”

I’d gotten about halfway through the second verse when I finally looked back at my mirrored reflection, holding a hairbrush like it was a microphone, hair wet, butt-ass naked. My second story window was open, normally no big deal, since it overlooks my roof and not much else, (I’ve probably traumatized my share of squirrels)(so what?) but on this particular morning, I saw something horrible. Something I’d not seen before my shower. Something, had I not been screaming Neil Diamond songs, I would have noticed:

My neighbors were getting a roof installed.

I had an audience. An audience of men watched me perform Neil Diamond’s greatest hits, butt-ass naked.

Good times never seemed so good.

I did the only thing I could think to do: I waved. Then I slapped some clothes on and went downstairs. Whoops! My bad!

Later on, hoping they’d gone on break, I sneaked out of my front door on my way to do whatever it was that I was doing that day. Nope. Of course not. I smiled, red-faced as they chatted about me; at least they’d called me the “hot chick” with the “nice rack.” Clearly, they didn’t know that I spoke Spanish. I resisted telling them they had “small balls,” just because it seemed mean. Especially since they thought I had nice boobs.

I hadn’t given the incident much thought beyond, “close the fucking blinds when you’re naked, moron,” because really, what’s there to say?

Last week, in the middle of The Migraine, I’d had a contractor come out to the house to talk color choices for the new siding we’re getting installed. I’ll pause here so you can laugh at the notion of a colorblind chick with a migraine picking out colors for a house.

….

….

….

Done?

Okay.

Ass.

So, you’re probably wondering what the hell I was doing picking out anything that’s colored and going to be seen by the world and that’s totally fair because I’d wondered that myself. Or I did for about five minutes.

See, now, let’s suppose I invite you over for a delicious BBQ. I give you my address. You plug it into your GPS. But, if you’re like most of the world, you probably want a description of some landmark or something that’ll tell you that you’re at The House Formerly Known As The Sausage Factory, and my house is one of three different models in the neighborhood. Got to love the 70’s for it’s unoriginality. And shrubbery. What the hell was up with all of those BUSHES they planted?

Anyway.

What I would have said is this, “It’s the ugly yellow Colonial-ish one.”

And it is.

You couldn’t miss it if you tried, and believe me, I’ve tried. It is the only house in the neighborhood that has this particularly hideous color and if a shade of yellow can be offensive, this color is. Brown would be better than this color, and I hate brown like I hate digital alarm clocks.

I can honestly say that there was nothing in the contractor’s color book that was as bad as the color my house currently is. (although, there was a green shingle option, which I have spent a great amount of time thinking about)(a green roof?)(seriously?)(this is what keeps me up at night, Pranksters)

So I picked out an inoffensive greyish color and a black roof and white gutters because while I love garish colors, I’m not sure that my house should qualify as a “painted lady.”

The work should begin when it’s no longer Ass Cold, which means anywhere from tomorrow to July. Chicago weather is a fickle bitch.

It hadn’t dawned on me until today that it was possible to get the same contractors who had seen me traipsing around the bathroom like a fool last summer.

Guess I’m going to spend the rest of the day wig shopping.

When You Were Two

Dear Amelia,

When you were two, you were a tiny Muppet of a girl, all curls and whirls and bounce and fire.

Pink Birthday Balloons

When you were two, you danced when you were happy; clapping your hands and snorting and giggling.

Amelia Mommy Wants Vodka

When you were two, you could also kick the ass of anyone who needed it with your fists of fury. Your fury is legendary.

Fists of Birthday Fury

When you were two, Hello Kitty was your best friend. You called it “Hi Kitty.”

Hello Kitty Stuffed Animal

When you were two, your laughter sounded like the tinkling of a thousand bells.

Mommy Wants Vodka

When you were two, your mother tried to make you a heart cuppity-cake. It looked like testicles.

Cake Wrecks Aunt Becky

When you were two, your mother bought herself a present to celebrate your birth.

When you were two, your house was filled with balloons and laughter and love and light.

Mommy Wants Vodka

And for a moment, on the day that you were two, my heart took flight.

Happy Birthday, My Princess of the Bells, Amelia Grace.

Life, Unexpected

Dear Amelia,

One of the only things my mother – your grandmother – said to me that ever made any sense was this: “wow, you sure do have to learn everything the hard way, Rebecca.” I don’t think she was being unkind, considering I’d just dumped my cheating boyfriend, scrapped my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, and pushed a squalling infant – your biggest brother – out of my vagina. I was twenty years old. That was before I then dropped my nursing career for an illustrious “career” as a blobber and popped out two more crotch parasites, so yeah, it’s safe to say that your grandmother was right on the money there.

And, I fear, it’s probably genetic.

Because the moment that doctor informed me that there was something wrong with your head, it reminded me of this: life is unexpected.

Had the pill not failed me, I never would have gotten knocked up with your biggest brother, which means I would be Dr. Aunt Becky (that’s Mommy to you) by now. In that one tiny moment, my life was forever altered.

That’s the way life works. It’s in those unexpected moments that we discover who we really are; who we are really supposed to be. Maybe it’s not what we planned or what we thought we’d be doing, but it’s beautiful and it’s ours. I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Go ahead, find out for yourself. You already have.

Amelia's Dragons

At a couple of days gestation, thanks to some wonky issues that no one understands entirely (folic acid deficiency plays a part), your neural tube didn’t properly fuse and that big skull of yours didn’t quite get put together the way a skull should. Then, your beautiful brain started to grow outside your skull cavity, necessitating some pretty heavy neurosurgery when you were a wee babe. That moment, at a couple of days gestation, forever altered everything.

Thanks to that one unexpected moment, a whole host of things happened. A cascade effect. The best of which is this: you now have a cadre of Auntie and Uncle Pranksters who will kick the ass of anyone who needs it for you (never, ever underestimate the power and love of The Pranksters). You’ve also helped put a face to your disorder, encephalocele, and you gave me the idea for Band Back Together.

Aunt Becky's Daughter

Pretty good work for a two-year old.

I’m so proud of you, Amelia (or, as you like to call yourself “Nie-Nie”). Having a daughter was one of those lofty goals, like “having a discernible waistline” that I thought I could never achieve, and here you are. Even as I delivered you, I expected the doctor to tell me that you had a penis. I just couldn’t imagine I’d be so lucky as to have a daughter.

And yet here you are. My Miracle Mimi, the girl with the curls like a halo, she is here. Kicking ass, taking names, and probably going to murder me in my sleep over a pair of high heels.

I can hardly wait to see what you’ll do next. Unless it’s murder me. Which I really wish you wouldn’t do.

Aunt Becky

Happy Birthday, Sweet, Slightly Scary, Always Wonderfully Awesomely Ass-Kicking Baby Nie-Nie.

It’s you + me against the world, kiddo. So watch the fuck out, world.

Love Always,

Mommy

And She Was A Wrathful God

One of the things I looked forward to most about having a daughter was knowing that for at least a couple of months, I’d be able to dress her up in frilly little dresses. After two boys, I’d been eying all things pink hungrily for so long that I was in ecstasy when I was finally able to cross into the pink.

Fortunately, my daughter seems to love dresses. She also has her own tastes, something that I can completely approve of. I was the same way as a child. My mother tried to shove me in her Polyanna dresses and denim overalls and I rebelled. Occasionally, she won, but more often than not, she didn’t.

(she won with the stupid fucking bangs. Those bangs haunt me)

My daughter a Mini-Hulk. If she doesn’t get her way, she will lay down on the ground and kick and scream for hours until we can distract her. It’s unbelievable. If I wasn’t suffering from permanent hearing loss from her shrieking, I’d probably find it hilarious.

Normally when it comes to clothes, we don’t do battle. Not yet, at least. I’m aware that these battles are coming, but for now, we have an easy peace.

When the Pottery Barn Kids catalog came in the mail, my son Alex immediately zoomed in on his Halloween costume: “Spike, the *ahem* MANLY beautiful butterfly.”

The pictures are going to go up under a SPOTLIGHT in my hallway. NO ONE is going to miss this. Including all of his future dates. Payback for being the most unpleasant baby ever.

Ben, the 9-year old, is going to be a pirate. *snooze*

That leaves my darling HULK SMASH daughter to costume. Initially, I was thrilled to buy her a costume. I’ve always delighted in dressing my children absurdly for Halloween.

I give you this as evidence:

My son, the Halloweenier.

I’ve been excitedly pouring over Halloween costumes for Amelia. Would she be a peacock? A mermaid? A ballerina?

I didn’t want to purchase something without some inkling of her approval, knowing her propensity to destroy entire villages with her HULK SMASH anger, so one by one I’d hold up the costumes only to be rejected time and time again.

Clearly, my toddler didn’t understand the concept of Halloween. And I couldn’t explain it to her.

Why, you say, Aunt Becky, why don’t you just leave her be and let her wear normal clothes trick-or-treating? Well Prankster, I’d respond gravely, I’m terrified that the moment she sees her brothers in costume, she’s going to go apeshit. And when Amelia goes apeshit, the world cowers in terror.

So, when I was picking up some disposable Old Navy clothes, I threw a princess costume into my shopping cart. It was cheap and worst case scenario, I figured that she could use it to play dress-up with if she chose another Halloween costume.

Excited to show her the costume, I carefully unwrapped it and made a big deal out of presenting it to her, figuring a little pomp and circumstance could only help my cause.

I handed it to her and I swear to you Pranksters, I have never seen my daughter, the one who loves dresses and tutus, more disgusted by something in her life. She ripped the costume from my hands, threw it on the ground in horror and if she hadn’t been wearing a diaper, I swear she would have taken a piss on it. I picked it up before she could tear it apart with her teeth.

I was shocked. Also: horrified. I would probably have cut someone for that costume as a child.

I guess she won’t be wrestling me for the title “Princess Sparkle, Sparkle” any time soon. Somewhere, my mother is chortling, thrilled that I have a clone.

Also: I am so screwed.

The Clone Wars

Get your prank on, Pranksters. Time to Pull a The David Cook for charity. AND the chance to win free ice cream for a year from Cold Stone, yo (you can raffle that prize off if you win it).

——————

The weather in Chicago goes from ass-hot to ass-cold overnight which always leaves me frantically unprepared. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people* that stocks up on clothes for their crotch parasites for next year, and I’ve tried that a couple of times, only to put them “somewhere safe” (like the bathtub or the oven) and forget about them entirely. When I unearth these fossils, the clothes turn to dust in my hands.

Instead, I have to risk hypothermia by rushing out to the store in flippity-flops and a tank top, shivering and chattery, to grab fall-ish clothes. What, me prepared? NEVER.

(shut UP)

Last weekend, I made the same frantic chattery Target run, nearly losing some fingers (from hypothermia) in the process. My shopping list looked sort of like this:

  • Uncrustables**
  • Edamame
  • Diet Coke
  • Uncrustables
  • Motherfucking Fall Clothes, moron.
  • Uncrustables
  • Diet Coke

I am not very inventive in my eating patterns, you see.

I’d also brought my daughter with me to pick out some “motherfucking fall clothes,” and I assumed that like her brothers before her, she’d simply sit in the cart and squawk indignantly at me while I dared stop moving for mere seconds at a time.

I sorely underestimated the flesh of my flesh. The blood of my blood. The clone of myself.

Where I’ve always just haphazardly picked out boy clothes for my sons, hoping like hell that I don’t pick them out lame shit, my daughter has an OPINION. Oh yes, at 19 months, she sat in the cart and like a wee dictator, and while her vocabulary leaves much to be desired, she made her likes and dislikes well known. By shrieking. And grabbing. And throwing things she hated onto the floor.

Her mother’s daughter. I beamed so proudly, even as I bore the Wrath of Amelia, which is kinda like the Wrath of Khan, only different because I don’t know who the fuck Khan is.

My daughter:

Sparkle, Sparkle Princess

Myself:

Aunt Becky, Whiny Pants

Okay, so I was more dramatical than my daughter appears ON CAMERA. She knows how to turn it off when it counts. Smart, smart girl.

Also: I’m fucked.

*I’ve also wanted to be a blond. Tried that once. Black hair + an angry gay hairstylist = fire-plug orange hair.

**I am not paid to endorse this most delicious food of the gods. Because if I were, I wouldn’t be able to say things like, “for something that sounds like an STD, it’s motherfucking DELICIOUS.”

Rejected From The Society of Future Homemakers

When I entered the second grade, my mother dutifully signed me up for Brownies, which is sort of the baby version of The Girl Scouts (I THINK). I’d guess that I battled her for the honor because it seems like something she’d have been aghast by and something I would have found to be Full of The Awesome. Mostly because she hated it.

I proudly ran home from school after getting my poo-brown uniform and put it on. Back then, I was a sucker for anything that looked official.

Twirling in my mirror, even at 7, I knew it looked bad. The color was just…off.

But I looked official, and that’s what mattered to me. I strutted proudly around the house for awhile, alternating between marching and skipping, while my mother rolled her eyes at me. A couple of days later, she announced that I had to go to my first meeting.

Bwaaa?

Excuse me? I didn’t sign up for anything that required WORK. My mother laughed, the tables finally turned on me.

Dejected and annoyed by my lack of foresight, I trekked to the meeting and joined a bunch of ridiculously enthusiastic girls and their equally enthusiastic mothers who sat around in a semi-circle (women sitting in circles is something I would later be very, very afraid of).

They excitedly discussed how we could earn PATCHES!!! for our SASHES!!!! by doing THINGS!!!!

My own eyes began to roll back in my head as the meeting wore on and on. “Sisterhood” was discussed, as were things like overnight field trips and selling cookies. I was beginning to feel like the whole uniform thing really wasn’t worth the bullshit.

I never had any intention of selling anything and the very idea of sisterhood made me queasy and weak-kneed. I was pretty sure that I had to vomit and quickly.

At the next meeting, which my mother dragged me to, even after I faked the stomach flu and a fever of 109 degrees, it was time to make a “kneeling pad.” We had to sandwich two large pieces of vinyl between a piece of Styrofoam and stitch it up with green yarn. I wanted to actively kill myself, but I had no implements of destruction nearby. I considered trying to beat myself over the head with the Styrofoam, but I only managed to make it look like it was snowing.

On my head.

What the fuck was I going to do with a KNEEPAD besides try and smother my older brother with it?

My mother snickered when she saw me trudging back to the car with my creation.

“What the hell IS that?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. “We’re supposed to KNEEL on it or something.”

I’m pretty sure you could hear her laugh for miles.

My abysmal failure at selling any cookies when it came time to “FUNDRAISE!!!! GIRLS!!!” and my inability to earn a single patch, finally convinced her to allow me to quit. She’d never insisted I stick with anything I didn’t really like, and I’m sure she was tired of me bringing home my pathetic attempts at craft projects.

I mean, who could blame her? One of the cats started using the “kneeling pad” as a “peeing pad” and ruined one of the carpets and my older brother had actually broken a tooth on one of my attempts at making a ceramic cup. It was time to admit that I was never, ever going to cut it as a housewife.

Ha. If those scary Brownie People could only see me now…hey…wait a minute.

Shit. Is it too late to become a heiress?