Cane YOU

Growing up, we always had a spot for canes – or “walking sticks” as my father referred to them as – by the front door. While I’m certain that other people had cane holders like we did, I recall being baffled that my friends all thought it was weird.

As I recall, these canes were highly ornate and boasted these beautiful gold filigree handles. I couldn’t understand how exactly my father used them on his nightly walks without screwing up the gold (gold is a naturally soft metal) but they always managed to stay intact.

fancy gold walking stick

Sort of like this – only prettier.

This assortment of walking sticks helped tremendously when we played dress-up: pretend you’re a 1920s gangster and the cane was used as a Tommy gun.* Or a pretentious poet who used o!, and, despite being very thoroughly American, added a “U’ into words like color in an non-ironic way. Or you used it as a “shovel” while “mining for gold.”

When I got older and popped out a few crotch parasites, House, MD made canes and Vicodin cool. This helps tremendously, well, NOW.

After the hospital, I went to a old people home to receive twice-daily IV antibiotics and physical therapy. When I was relearning to walk, I realized that my right leg was shorter than my left, because I was, well, WOBBLY.

(And not just because I was drunk.)

My PT confirmed that my right leg is about an inch shorter than my left. My orthopedic further confirmed: when I rebroke my femur in December, the breaks in my femur, hip, and usage of additional bits (that allowed me to begin the slow process of becoming totally bionic) worked in tandem to shave an inch off my right hip.

Here’s the downside: my right leg doesn’t yet know it’s now closer to 5 foot 4 inches than 5 foot 5. I’ve set that motherfucker up for a total self-esteem crisis. It’s going to want to go out and pick up bikers in bars and wear too much liquid black eyeliner, and I’m going be the one that has to say “motherfucker, NO. Just no.”

Alas, I digress.

Some of the time, when my leg isn’t being stiff or hurty, my right leg is fine and (no matter what the stripper tells  you) there is absolutely NO sex in the champagne room. I walk mostly normally** – for a 35 year old using a fucking walker, but there are times, mostly when I am half-asleep, post-frat party, or after a particularly strenuous PT session, that I wobble.

Which is why it’s likely that I will graduate from my super sassy walker to cane. Unfortunately, my father will not allow me to use one of his walking sticks (I think it’s because of the frat parties). However, fortunately, there appear to be any number of truly awesome and beyond bizarre canes available:

There’s this one:

glitter skull cane

Which nattily matches the stick shift knob in my car.

Or this one:

crystal cane

Which nattily matches my life.

So I started thinking about how awesome it would be to stop hiding my flask it my purse, and wound up here:

American flag cane

(pointless aside, the website I found ONLY stocked patriotic flask canes)

Or this, if’n I decide to spell colour incorrectly and become a beat poet as well as a drunk:

Canadian Flask Cane

But, that’s where things take a decided turn for the truly weird and fucked up:

Dog cane

Now, I heart me some dogs. Fucking love them. Can’t wait to HAVE one of my own.

That said, why the fuck would I want a porn-lighting cane that actually LOOKS like a dog? I can’t picture any situation in which this could be used comfortably OR fashionably. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Now this one wouldn’t be a bad cane to own.

Coffin cane

 

It’s from an antique cane website, looks amazingly similar to a cane my father owns, and it’s tasteful (if boring).

HOWEVER.

If you squint at it long enough, it becomes clear that the last word on the cane is “coffin.” The first word appears to be a name. Which, after you Google “weird ass canes,” for long, you realize it may actually be a cane that just might store a part of a dead person.

Then we have this, which is not only offensive, but frightening:

Weird black cane

And this, which is just fucked the fuck up:

Weird lady cane

I mean, I GET that it’s supposed to be a Victorian woman cane, but seriously, that cane would keep me up all night, every night, in mortal fear that it would come to life and eat my face off. That bitch would TOTALLY boil a bunny.

I could totally kick those damn kids off my lawn with this:

gun walking stick

Or this:

sword cane

And now we are at the ridiculously tasteful canes section.

If you’re reading this at work, you may want to skip the last two and go directly down to my challenge below.

vagina speculum cane

Who DOESN’T want to be able to perform a vaginal exam every time they go, well, ANYWHERE.

As an aside, this item is being sold by *blink blink* Sears, which, for the low low low price of $17.42.

And then, then we have this is this horrifying monstrosity which is INCREDIBLY NSFW (I never EVER warn against this unless I fucking mean it), unless you work at THOSE kind of jobs. If you think that makes it challenge-worthy, well, you’re my kind of person.

If’n you need clarification, just look.

(but know that you CANNOT unsee it)

Vagina cane

 

I have no real words, except for this: I call The Butthole a “chocolate starfish” for a reason.

*St. Charles, due to its inability to properly allow anyone in or out, was, for that reason,  home to many a Mafia princess, so we ALL knew the gangster stories from birth. They nearly sent us home with an “I (heart) Uncle Capone” when my mother was discharged.

“**As if ANYTHING a 35-year old who writes a blog on The Internets called “Mommy Wants Vodka,” can be considered “normal.”

———-

I’m throwing down the gauntlet, Pranksters: these are the most outrageous canes I could find after a morning of  fat-fingering Google on Friday.

You?

You can do better. Leave a comment with the most outrageous canes your fast googling fingers can find. Find me a good (bad) one? I’ll absolutely add it/them to the post.

Or, in the event that you’re so inclined, leave me a can I SHOULD own after I’ve graduated from my walker.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Prolly best to listen to while reading this post. Honestly, if you CAN listen to it, you should. It’s an excellent song:

Nothing could’ve prepared me.

They could’ve told me that I’d been depressed and I still wouldn’t have expected that walking into my apartment, I’d see just how depressed I’d been. I confirmed my fears with Ben, who explained that my house had ALWAYS looked like this.

It was an epic fucking disaster – and not just because I’d been in and out of there for the past 5 months. Certainly, the hairballs and fur on the rug were from the cats who’d been, I can only imagine, expressing their displeasure at my absence. Or perhaps it was just 5 months of cat hair untouched by a vacuum.

Either way, I wanted to scream.

They tell you to make sure you’re wearing clean underwear every day in the off-chance you get struck by a bus and require an extended recovery far from home. You don’t want the doctors to see your stanky underwear now, do you?

(the toe-tapping guilt trip is, as always. implied)

But they DON’T tell you that you should prepare your home the same way. And I think they should.

It’s the same feeling – magnified about 3,927,383 times. If you get hit by a bus unless you’re on Grey’s Anatomy or happen to be a place where a bazillion doctors operate, the paramedics are the ones who’ll be seeing your stanky underoos. And if you’re in particularly bad shape, you’ll have those puppies torn off you like BAM.

But your home? The place you live? The direct reflection of you? That’s a little different and a HELL of a lot more telling of a lot of things. Including ones mental state. Which is what I learned when I came home.

No doubt that my life had been in shambles more times than not after I moved out of Dave’s house, but I hadn’t realized just how bad things had gotten. And how horrifically depressed I’d been. I could only see that once I came home, well, happy.

Life notwithstanding, I’ve got a lot to be UNhappy about:

I lost my dream job after my second fall – they just couldn’t give me any more time off. Despite being massively hurt, I understand completely. That means, though, that I have to find a new jobity-job by the end of April – which is always a tremendous stress. I’m living on such a fixed budget, I can’t even pay my bills, which are, naturally, mostly medical now. Bills are, by nature, a big stress to me, and not because of the money. Even when I have money, the act of paying bills freaks me the fuck out. I’d moved away from St. Charles for a while and have to move back to be closer to my family, so if this – God forbid – happens again, I have local help. St. Charles happens to be wicked expensive, so I need to find a decent job. More stress.

Once again, I have to start over from scratch. While before this would have led me down a sinkhole self-loathing, I’m absolutely fine.

Inexplicably, I have the coma to thank for it.

When the doctors told my parents I was a goner (which may or may not be my memory filling in the gaps – I was lucid during the coma, just in another reality. I spent most of that time trying like hell to get back to this life), they were visited by a psychiatrist who suggested, as a last-ditch effort, ECT.

Because they had nothing left to lose, they agreed to ECT. Shock therapy. Y’know, the highly controversial medical procedure used to treat major depressive episodes and treatment-resistant depression?

Before you skip to the comments to tell me why this was a Colossally Bad Idea (capital letters, of course, implied),  let me make this clear – I am NOT getting into a debate about the relative merits and pitfalls of of ECT. It was absolutely the BEST thing that’s happened to me.

Why? I can hear you screaming into your computer from here. Why o! why are we not going to have this debate?

Because it fucking woke me the fuck up. I snapped out of that fucking coma like WOAH.

And because I was told it was a miracle that I woke up, I have a new lease on life. I’m happy. For the first time in a long fucking time, I’m truly happy. No longer dark and twisty.

But don’t worry, Pranksters, I promise I’m not going to turn into a person who has inspirational quotes at the bottom of my emails. My handwriting may have changed completely since I woke up, but my blog will not suddenly become one of those “look at my perfect life” blogs. Those still make me want to fling poo.

My house is SLOWLY getting back into shape. (Because my second break and subsequent repair were far more invasive, my ability to bend down and pick heavy things up has been compromised). I updated my resume and started the job search yesterday. Things are progressing – albeit more slowly than I’d like – and I’m taking it one day at a time.

And for the first time, well, ever, I’m trusting that things will work out the way they work out and that’s that. I’m no longer fighting The Universe about things I cannot control.

It’s just time to let go.

———

So, now I’ve caught you (sorta) up to date on what’s been going on with me, what about YOU, Pranksters? I’ve been gone a good long while and I assume your life has drastically changed as well. Pull up a chair, grab a Vicodin-chip cookie, and tell Your Aunt Becky all about what’s been going on with you!

Twi Hard

Yesterday at 1:14

Me: “You know what I don’t get? TWILIGHT.”

Lauren: “Oh Em Eff Ge I LOVE those books.”

Me: “How can you read them? Stephanie Meyer can’t write herself out of a paper bag?”

Lauren: “I may have also seen every movie opening night.”

Me: …sputters… (eye twitches)

Lauren: “Haha.”

Me: (googles “how to understand Twilight if you haven’t read it,” then thoughtfully erases it from the search box in case someone wandered by and accidentally saw that I’d googled anything about Twilight. Filled search box with “why is orange a color and a flavor?”)

Me: “Okay, I found something that sorta explains it to me.”

Me: (reads)

Lauren: “Is it helping?”

Me: “Not really – why does Bella love that one dude that has a shirt on?”

Lauren: “Because she’s marked for love with *swoons* Edward.”

Me: (goggles at her) “Wait, so in this land everyone has a “soulmate?”

Lauren: “Well, vampires do.”

Me: “I feel myself getting dumber.”

————-

Today 9:34

Me: “So I’ve thought about this whole “Twilight” thing and I realized that I’ve changed my mind.”

Lauren, “Yeah?”

Me: “I figure anything that gets those cretins we call “tweens” reading and away from Justin Bieber… well, that’s a good thing. And really, there’s no reason to hate the series – I don’t want to be one of those pretentious asshats who’s all ‘lookit me, I HATE something that’s MAINSTREAM.'”

Lauren: “Absolutely.”

Lauren: “I’ll bring you in one of the books.”

Me: (googles “Twilight quotes” and comes across a gem about Bella, the angrily constipated protagonist, who is now bleeding from the eyes.)

Me: “So wait – Bella is now bleeding from the eyeballs?”

Lauren: “Yeah, she must be a vampire now.”

Me: (goggles)

Lauren: “Vampires bleed from the eyeballs.”

Me: “You know you’re not making this decision any easier on me.”

Things Unsaid Today

“I was so happy to see your Mom at Alex’s concert the other day. Saw she’s using a cane now, so’s mine. She’s been falling a lot – I’ve had to go over and help her off the floor more times than I care to count. She needs a second total knee replacement now; she told me that your mom does, too. Sucks watching our parents get older, doesn’t it? Fuck, it sucks getting older – period.”

“You’ve been on your own Medical Mystery Tour – forgot to tell you: I finally had that MRI. I guess I got tired of people making the whole, “a migraine for a month is called a ‘brain tumor'” joke and figured that if I was actually dying, I should probably be aware – I’d have to plan my own funeral, after all. The test wasn’t too bad, but it was the first time I’d had to sign one of those “emergency contact” forms. I no longer had anyone to list and it felt weird. I’d actually started to fill out your information when it dawned on me – you’re no longer my person. You lose people in small ways for a long time, I guess.”

“Got the results back the other day – “bright spots and structural changes consistent with chronic migraines.” Beats the balls a brain tumor – guess Mimi and I have more in common than erms, well, everything. She’d probably agree that the only time you want to hear the term “bright spot” is when you’re talking about diamonds, not your brain – she’s my daughter, after all. The neuro seems unperturbed by this – the bright spots, not the diamonds; never talked to him about those – so I guess it’s just one of those things that happens. Still kinda scary. I try not to think on it.”

“Hope work is going great for you; I know how you love your job. My job’s going well – just got a promotion. So weird to think that all of those years ago when you told me I should “start a blog,” it would change my life. Not only did I start spewing verbal diarrhea across the Internet on Mommy Wants Vodka, I founded Band Back Together; landed a job as a writer in downtown Chicago. Thanks for the suggestion – never really did think it’d go anywhere. It’s funny – I regularly take the very same train you’d tried to unsuccessfully catch all those years. Reminds me of college: I still bitch about the “lifers” and commuters on the train – they’re still the same pricks I remember. Never did love the bustle of the city like you did, but it fills my days, and that’s what matters.”

“Glad to see you’re still using the “Good Dog” bowls I bought for the cats years ago, remember how I’d laughed at my cleverness? Miss those days. Happens, I s’pose. That reminds me, the wisteria needs a good pruning. Sorry to see that the trellis I’d put up didn’t withstand the harsh winters a bit better. It was a good experiment. Saw that you’ve got an old wasp nest on the porch, right by the nickel address sign I’d proudly picked out – the kids are so scared of bees, you may want to take care of that before it’s a problem. I can do it if you want – wait, that’d be weird. Forget I offered. The flower beds I’d planted in the front are overgrown with weeds – I’ll teach the kids how to take care of them. Bet they love the magnolia I’d planted to replace those overgrown horrifying bushes I ripped out when I realized they made us look like those creepy people who probably made lamps out of the boobs of dead hookers. Always wanted a magnolia bush. Never did get to see it bloom.”

“Feels so weird to be in an apartment after living in a home for so long. Forgotten how transient apartment living makes life feel. Always did like the idea of putting down roots somewhere – I know it wasn’t your style, but it was – still is – mine. I’ll plant another magnolia, more roses, have another orchid collection. Someday.”

“Did I tell you? I’m Marching for Babies again this year! Still looking for more people to join our team – so far it’s a couple of my work buddies. Remember the last time we did it? Mimi was barely walking, Alex was too young to go, and Ben, well, it was a long hike for him. Just a few of us walked right along the river. I remember happily pointing out my (old) apartment complex to you. Sure never thought I’d move back there. Man, that feels a lifetime ago. This year, I’m walking along the Lakefront downtown – both Alex and Mimi want to walk, but I’m torn. One hand says, Mimi is one of the reasons I walk for babies, the other reminds me that, 3 miles is particularly long for a five-year old, even if she is a miracle. Hm. Yeah. Maybe I’ll get a stroller.”

“Saw the new car in the driveway, glad you got that CR-V off your hands. I know it was a good idea to get it at the time, but it turned out to be an albatross of a thing. Alex told me that your parents got it for you – that’s really nice of them. I’m sure the new car is more gas efficient – total plus. You must be so happy about that.”

But I don’t say any of these things.

I can’t.

My mouth’ll form the words, but the words won’t come out.

What tumbles out is, “See you later,” as I bundle the kids out the door I once tripped through spilling my diet Coke down the hallway as laughter rang freely. I hear you say, “Yeah, whatever. She’s here. She’s just taking them for a couple hours.” Tears I can’t explain sting my eyes as I walk out the door of the house I once called home.

Panic! At the Pool!

Part I

After wandering through the endless labyrinth of badly-carpeted halls while lugging the absolute most amount of crap I’ve ever packed for a trip, finally, we reached our room. The kids, by this time, were weeping from hunger, and I’d begun to shake although I couldn’t say for certain if it was low blood sugar, horror at the prices of a cup of entirely mediocre coffee, or as an aftereffect of the cacophony of the lobby. Eyes set forward on an unfixed mark way down at the end of the hallway, I set my mouth into a thin line and said to no one in particular, “We’d better get there fucking soon.”

The kids nodded tearfully.

Standing in front of our room, dutifully, I whipped out the packet the guy at the front desk had slithered to me as he mumbled this or that. For all I know, I’d just agreed to let him harvest my kidneys in exchange for my keys – it was too loud and I’d left all the fucks to give in my other pants. Into the tiny folder I went, fingers scouring for that telltale plastic edge to simultaneously give me a paper(plastic?)cut and let me know that I’d gotten the implement that’d allow me to laze about in my underwear for the next two days.

Nothing.

Nada.

Confused, I put down the 37 stuffed animals and “special” blankets my children insisted were too heavy to carry, and searched with my eyeballs this time. Again. Nothing. A couple’ve plastic wrist bands for the kids but nothing that would allow me access to my room.

Well, fuck.

Briefly, I considered sitting down on my luggage and having a good old fashioned cry, but realized that it’d have just given me a worse headache than the hibiscus carpet and fuck-you-in-the-eyeballs paint on each wall already had.

Then, I looked down at the gigantic, orange band that looked as though it’d been thoughtfully regifted by the local penitentiary. I remember the dude at the front desk mumbling something at me about those particular bands, but unless he’d looked at me directly in the face, two inches from touching eyeballs and screamed, there was no way I was hearing dick. Hell, I already had ringing in my ears from merely hanging out in the lobby.
Stupidly, I did something that was probably going to cost me a good mocking for the rest of the vacation: I held my wrist up to the door like some wanna-be psychic. I whispered, “enter sesame,” although I didn’t even begin to understand why.

Click-whirr-click

Green light.

The door opened.

I’d like to say that balloons and streamers, possibly a hot guy in a cake popping out from somewhere, as calliope music filled the hall, but that’d be a lying lie. With absolutely zero pomp OR circumstance, we entered our room. My first thought was “wow, Panama Jack ejaculated everywhere,” followed quickly by, “there’s no door to the bathroom.” I shrugged at the last bit and vowed NEVER to carry a blacklight with me – if Panama Jack boofed anywhere, I’d rather be none the wiser then huddled in a plastic hefty bag.

The third thought that tumbled out was, “it smells like poo in here,” which I immediately wrote off as being par for the course – this was a kid’s resort, kids poo, kids often poo in the wrong places, and like second-hand smoke, it was probably just one of the delightful treats of staying at a kid-friendly hotel.

My father came into our room, gruffly told us to put on pants (which, had he looked, he’d have noticed were squarely on our bodies) so that we could go out to dinner. At that moment, I nearly hugged him. Dinner was everything you’d expect in a cheesy faux-tropical hell – bland, expensive, but with kicky (read: corny) names. Not one of us complained – we were so hungry that the Aye-Aye-Matey Burger tasted cardboard; delicious cardboard.

By that time, my mother and my eldest had arrived and quickly we switched to our swimsuits and headed downstairs for a late-night swim. And, it turns out, we were about to be schooled in the Ways of a Tacky Waterpark. The instructions, posted absolutely nowhere, included:

  • Letting your kid unattended in the pool area is a great idea, especially so you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage
  • Unattended children will attack your attended children with the ferocity of a thousand angry suns and you can’t do much about it unless you want to brawl
  • Pooing is okay in the pool so long as no one claims it
  • You should take every item you own and drape them over all of the chairs surrounding the pool, in the event that your fifty-sixth cousin from Brazil comes in to the States unannounced, somehow locates you at the water park, and would like to sit down

Feverishly, I wished that I drank alcohol for the 37th time in an hour and a half as I sat in the pool area, bombarded by inhuman noises that seemed to rattle the inside of my skull. I tried tuning them out. No luck. I tried listening over the din to Jimmy Buffet, wishing I could shove that cheeseburger down his smug motherfucking throat. Didn’t help. People-watching only reminded me that I needed to shave.

One by one, I pulled Alex and Amelia out of the pool, thanking the powers that be for dominant genes and together, we shivered back into the room.

“It smells like poo in here,” I remarked to absolutely no one – which is precisely who responded to my statement – as we readied ourselves for bed. One by one, we began to drift off into sleep, the delicate scent of an oddly-fresh pile dook playfully tantalizing our nostrils. I dreamed that night about a poo-flavored air freshener and woke early to cheerful pounding at the door. Blearily, I answered the door, knowing full well my nipples were on display through my sleep shirt – I was, once again, fresh out of fucks to give.

My dad, looking as though he’d just smoked a gallon of meth and was examining the wall to see the individual paint molecules moving about, greeted me: “GOOD MORNING, REBECCA,” he boomed. “READY TO GO SWIMMING AGAIN?”

No. The answer was no. I wanted coffee, a nap, and possibly a chocolate-chip muffin. I did not want to go swimming. Not even for a second.

But the kids were clamoring around my feet, all doe-eyed and sweetly inquiring if I’d please, oh very please, ma’am take them to the pool. I wondered for half a second how my kids had learned the phrase “ma’am” and then decided I didn’t much give a shit. Drinking hotel coffee swill, I grasped the hand of each of The Littles and off we trotted to the pool.

Nearly bowled over by the stench of chlorine, the kids made a beeline for pool and I looked around for a place to plop my ass. No way in fuck I was going to showcase my dimply white ass in the pool to a bunch of strangers which; now that I think on it, would be better than showing it off to my friends.

ANYWAY.

Chairs mysteriously taken by “beach” towels that appeared to have no owner, we took turns hovering over a rock, my parents and I, until my mother finally said “Fuck THIS” and plopped her ass onto a towel-covered chair. Hobbled, my bruised ass followed suit. Which is when the glares began. The front row of chairs circled the pool, making it an ideal place to watch your kids, if, in fact, that was your goal. It did not appear to be the goal of anyone in the front row, as they stumbled around, clearly intoxicated. As someone who refers lovingly to her children as “crotch parasites,” I am by no means a helicopter parent, but I do want to know where the shit my kids are if they’re in a gigantic pool (Read: DANGER) so this apathy toward children baffled me.

As no one appeared to be drowning, I sat back to live and let live. Which was, apparently, not shared by the guest’s whose chair I “stole.” A pack of people stood up from the front row, glaring at me, shouting to one another, while staring at me as though my skull make a nice trophy hanging on the wall of a rec room.

I stared back, undeterred.

They made their move.

I stood my ground.

Sorry, Pranksters, but Part III will air soon. I’m still getting used to writing all day, every day.
Gotta get my groove back on.

Mother Thinks The Birds Are After Her

Despite my almost encyclopedic knowledge of Britney Spears* it comes as a shock to tell you, Pranksters, that my brain banks hold no information about birds. I take that back. This is what I know about birds:

They make noise.

Sometimes other animals eat them.

Orange cupcakes are the world’s most perfect food.

It is there that my knowledge of birds begins and ends.

So it came as a shock to me that one of my neighbors at the FBI Surveillance Van came up to me as I was devising a proper scheme to break the lock on the canoes sitting by the garbage cans and ascertaining how, exactly one might rob a liquor store and/or pawn shop while on a canoe.

Her: “The birds are attacking.”

Me: “AAAAH! Plausible deniability! I’ve! I didn’t rob anything yet! I PLEAD THE FIFTH!”

Her: (goggles at the crazy lady and takes several steps back)

Me: “uh, Ha-ha-ha. I meant, WHAT about birds?”

Her: “They’re attacking. I got hit yesterday.”

Me: (goggles, mouth open and catching river bugs)

Me: “But… but… birds are so cute and fluffy and now I want an Orange Cuppy-Cake.”

Her: “Every year, the complex sends out a warning when the birds begin to attack.”

Me: (stunned into blessed silence for once in my life)

Her: “Yeah. Sometimes a hat works. I used an umbrella last year.”

Me: (still sitting there with my mouth open)

Me: “….wow.”

Her: “So be careful! And get a hat!”

Me: “Thanks for the warning!”

She walked away, eying the trees suspiciously.

I dismissed her as being “crazy,” (which, as someone who’d been plotting to rob a liquor store using a canoe, is not exactly appropriate) and went about my day.

The following afternoon, I stepped outside, my mind full of such things as “I wonder if Bill Gates knows my orthodontist” and “do bands really set out to become “light rock” or is that just one of those unfortunate labels that gets stuck on bands who happen to use a rocking sax?” when, from out of nowhere, there was a loud buzzing noise and suddenly, my hair, which had been happily attached to my head, was now being pulled. Hard.

Whipping around, I noticed that there was a bird there, his mouth shaped into a sadistic smile. I whipped him the middle finger before yelping like a little bitch, figuring that flipping a bird the bird would have some sort of effect.

It did not.

Before the week was out, I’d been dive-bombed more times than my fingers could count and I’d begun to develop a nice bald spot where my formerly hair had once been. I looked like the before picture in one of those baldness infomercials.

Even worse than female baldness was the fact that I’d turned into this raving lunatic every time I ventured outside. Scanning the sky for Attack Birds I tripped on my own feet so many times that my knees turned black and blue and my palms had crisscrossed scars. Furtively, I’d scan the sky, flipping off rogue birds intent upon attacking my new bald spot when I realized that my neighbors were probably craning their necks to examine me for the marks left by the straight jacket.

I had to develop a new strategy.

I considered umbrellas, but decided that walking around with an umbrella during a perfect summer day would only further my neighbors conviction that I belonged not in the FBI Surveillance Van, but in  yee old Funny Farm.

I was left with one option. One kicky option.

Hats.

Kicky motherfucking hats.

And you know what, Pranksters? It WORKED. So what if I look like a tool in cat-hair encrusted sweatpants, a ripped tank top and a fedora? So what if I wore a poker visor out in public?

AT LEAST I WASN’T GETTING BALDER.

Soon, Pranksters, I’ll be the AFTER picture in that infomercial.

It’s only a shame Billy Fucking Mays won’t be there to jubilantly hawk my new hair.

*my parents are SO proud.

TICKle Me Alex

“We live in the park!” is the brightly canned response I give my kids whenever they’re stuck staring at a mountain of gleaming green goose poo or shrieking about spiders daring to breathe in their direction (side note: do spiders practice aerobic respiration? I DO NOT KNOW).

I’m not exactly lying to them, unless you add in the two parking lots because I’m pretty sure parks don’t have parking lots, despite the interchangeable names; I’m just sort of… bending things. I mean, yes, the reason I flipped out during FLOODGATE 2013 was partially due to my proximity to the river (8-9 feet) and the proximity to the park behind The FBI Surveillance Van… *ahem* the FLOODED park mere feet from Your Aunt Becky’s front door.

*in high-pitched, I-just-got-kicked-in-the-balls-voice* But who’s counting? (answer: me)

While my idea of “roughing it” involves having to walk more than three feet to an ice machine and staying at a hotel that does NOT have twenty-four hour room service in which I can order my waffles and coffee brewed from beans the magical unicorns fart out (see also: hotel coffee = expensive), I don’t actually mind living in a park. Beats the SHIT out of saying, “I live in a van down by the river” along with something about “government cheese*” which would be a great name for a rock band, if’n you think about it.

Completely pointless sidebar: do you, o! wise Pranksters, think that any band starts out with the objective of being dumped into the “light rock” category to be played by orthodontists everywhere? THESE are the things that keep me up all night long *guitar solo*.

Alas, I digress.

While you won’t find me within ten miles of a campground for fear that a motley band of rogue campers will attack me and take me hostage AT aforementioned campground until I finally crack and tattoo I HEART CAMPING on my ass, I do enjoy nature. So long as it isn’t in my living room.

When I first moved into the FBI Surveillance Van, my upstairs neighbor warned me about the spiders that dare to weave webs SOMEHOW BREATHING in our vestibule and how he’d occasionally pull down the webs in such a tone that I knew the appropriate response was to shriek and possibly throw something out of panic. I didn’t. He was visibly disappointed.

What I didn’t bother explaining that, as a former waitress who once worked summers at an outdoor fancy gazebo, slinging Honey Brown and wearing dryer sheets to protect my allergic ass from bees, we were daily assigned tasks to complete before our shift. Several hours we spent at a whopping two bucks an hour getting our gazebo ready for business. One of these tasks was a duty we called “cobwebbing.”

The server stuck cobwebbing would bemoan her fate to the rest of us who were MORE than happy to be brewing iced tea and wiping down tables in preparation for the inevitable onslaught of people who wanted to get drunk and feed the carp bread for amusement.

Cobwebbing became a thing the night that my former friend Mikey decided to tell a woman who’d noted that there was an unsightly stain on her cheeseburger that it was “spider poo.” Whether or not spiders shit, I don’t know. The spiders could’ve been spitting on us, crying spider tears for their slain kin, or, as Mikey so tactfully pointed out, flinging poo on us. We can’t be sure.  All I know is that from then on, one of us had to grab an ancient broom with a handle so frayed it would leave us blistered and splintered, and begin to sweep the cobwebs from the top of the gazebo.

Not a terrible job.

That is, if you don’t know what happens when you remove a spider’s home.

(for the uninformed: they get pissed and fall all over you and crawl up your shit)

I quickly got over any fear of bugs after slinging beers and burgers for several summers there (mostly)(okay, earwigs are still fucking minions of Satan). This also would be why I didn’t give my cobwebbing neighbor a medal or something.

The only bug that has remained both mysterious and full of the awful was The Tick.

Not only is that motherfucker creepy looking, it also carries Lyme Disease which is one of those things you do NOT want to have. While the name is fairly innocuous – cute, even – the effects are not. I’ve known people who’ve died from Lyme Disease and that does NOT even include my fake dead cat Mr. Sprinkles. Earwigs, sure they’re creepy, and spider bites can get kinda gnarly, but The Fucking Tick of Doom? You do not want to piss off The Fucking Tick of Doom.

Early Sunday morning, my kids were climbing all over me, trying to get me to wrap them in bubble wrap and let them roll around in it, and because I am both lame and boring, I explained that we simply did not have ENOUGH bubble wrap to attempt such tomfoolery.

“Mooooom,” Alex said, exasperated by my acute onset boriningness, “Can’t you go to the store and pick some up?” While this was a good idea and a sure-fire way to have some fun, it was a quarter past Let Mommy Sleep Until The Sun Rises and I was in no mood to track down an industrial amount of bubble wrap.

“I need my coffee, Al.”

Mimi poked her head up and calmly informed me, “I drank all your coffee, Mama.”

I groaned. “Was it good, at least?” She nodded her head vehemently reminding me, once again, that one cannot drink coffee through osmosis.

I turned to Alex, sitting to my right attempting to hack my i(can’t)Phone when I saw it.

No, not the ear boogers I’m normally on the hunt to remove.

It was a fucking tick.

In my kid’s ear.

There was a fucking tick in my kid’s ear.

The one child who will kick the ass of anyone who dares speak ill of his Mama is terrified of bugs. And no, it can’t be some weird childhood fear: we’re talking Phobia Country.

I used my superior memory of completely pointless acronyms to access the one that serves me best: IPDE (Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute)(TEN AND TWO, GODDAMMIT, REBECCA! AND WHERE ARE YOUR FUCKING PANTS?) and not the one that has never served me well, ever: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

I had to get the fucker out of his ear before he saw what, in fact, had been crawling around his poor ear canal and before the fucker decided to make Tick Babies in his ear or some shit. I did the only thing I COULD do in such a situation: I pinned him down, teased him about an ear boogie and pulled the still-squirming The Fucking Tick out of his ear canal while I dry-heaved into his hair. I levitated to the bathroom to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom, trying to recall what one must use to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom without alerting children that there was an actual problem.

Bleach! I can use BLEACH! That shit is AWESOME! I patted myself on the back for thinking so quickly on such little coffee. But try as I might, no amount of bleach killed The Fucking Tick of Doom and I didn’t want The Fucking Tick of Doom to make Fucking Tick of Doom Babies in my drain, so I dusted off the neurons that held the information I so needed.

Oil.

I can use oil to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom.

I scampered into the kitchen, pleased to note that my children had not, in fact, noticed anything awry and were intently working on hacking into my electronics, and grabbed a Ziplock baggie. Back to the bathroom I dashed, bag in hand, ready to execute The Tick of Doom for DARING to crawl NEAR my child.

I picked up the still-squirming Tick of Fucking Doom, holding back the urge to heave, and dumped his bleach-covered ass into that baggie. Then, I grabbed some of that oil you’re supposed to put in your hair to make it shiny but usually makes it end up looking like you shellacked your head and squired that fucker down. Then, I closed the baggie, making sure The Fucking Tick of Doom was submerged in the oil.

It worked.

I had successfully slayed my first Fucking Tick of Doom.

*Not entirely sure if this is actual cheese or a pasteurized processed food-like product or something that Dick Cheney invented when he was hungry one day.

Providence, Part Deux*

I don’t get the impression, Pranksters, that a lot of us hold much stock in the idea of Providence (always with a capitol “P”) because, well, we’re a little bit jaded. It’s hard to see a world in which so many bad things happen to good people and say “everything happens for a reason.”

I don’t buy that statement.

What I do believe, as cynical as I can be, is that sometimes, sometimes, we’re given a nudge from the very most unexpected of places.

Providence, I suppose.

————–

Earlier in the day, I’d been chatting with Crys, who is not only my pseudo-shrink (read: I don’t pay her to listen to my babbling), but my friend, about jobs.

Crys: “I need to call this lady back about an interview.”

Me: “Oh yeah? What for? Toxic waste handling?”

Crys: “Hahahaha. No.”

Me: “What about being Billy Mays replacement? Or being the MOVIE PHONE guy?”

Crys: “Hahahaha. No.”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m out of ideas then.”

Crys: “I don’t even have the energy to call them back. I mean, I’m not sure I’m up to interviewing right now.”

Me: “*nods* Yeah, I get that. I’m burnt out on applying for jobs. I can’t even fathom trying to interview somewhere without shitting myself.”

Me: “Which I do every single time I get a text message. I also drop a remote, which is neither here nor there.”

Crys: “You’re so weird.”

Me: “I’ll take that as a compliment!”

After several hours of watching dancing cactus videos, my cell rang. A number I didn’t recognize, which is generally code for someone looking for my “expert” opinion on salt or attempting to guilt me into donating to the “People Affected By Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA Commercial,” so I tend not to answer.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I answered.

It was a friend of mine – we’d worked together as servers when Ben was a baby, sneaking off and chugging beers in the coolers during our breaks, causing mischief and mayhem wherever we went. Ah, the days of wine and roses.

*looks mistily off into the distance*

ANYWAY.

Her: “Hey, you still looking for work? The (insert rural hospital here) is hiring.”

Me: “Yes.”

Her: “Okay, here’s my boss.”

Me: “?…?”

*cue annoying hold music*

Boss: “When can you come in to interview?”

Me: “I can make time any day that works for you.”

Boss: “Tomorrow, 10AM, okay?”

Me: *does happy dance*

See, Pranksters, I’ve been working on finding gainful employment since July, when The “D” Word was made official. I’ve written resumes, studied how best to create one. I’ve had friends read them and editors examine them. I’ve applied to places until my fingers were cut to the bone. And? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Zippity-motherfucking-doo-dah.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Pranksters – I love blogging like I love diet Coke, but I want to be able to come here, stare at a blank WordPress box and fill it with words. With stories. With tales this side of normal.

What I don’t (and have never) wanted to have to do was to resort to blogging as a means to pay the bills. While I’m entirely aware that Dooce can and does, we all know I’m no Dooce.

When I’m staring at a blank WordPress box, trying to come up with an extraordinarily dull tale in order to “put something; anything up here,” a fat wad of nothing fills my brain. When I tell that motherfucking organ to get all creative, it tells me to shut the fuck up. Trying to force creativity is akin to putting flippers on a monkey – it can be done, but why should it?

So that call? That, right there, was Providence. With a Capitol P.

I’ve been blogging, you see Pranksters, since Jesus rode me to class on his handlebars and gave me noogies on the playground behind the slides, and I’ve watched the evolution of blogging as a way to tell our tales into a way to “get famous” and “make monies,” by allowing advertisers to pay us pennies to promote their product.

There’s not a damn thing wrong with that, I should add, it’s just not why I started to write.

It’s also not why I continue to write. My space is my own and I want it to remain that way – I don’t want to be a corporate shill for a shitty product and I don’t want to be a “brand.” I’m me. I’m really Aunt (Motherfucking) Becky, and I’m really real. End of fucking story.

By taking a job at a hospital in the real world, where people are judged by their merit, not by number of “fans” or “comments,” I’ve inadvertently liberated myself from the business end of blogging. An unexpected side effect, I suppose.

I couldn’t be happier to be back.

And without you, Pranksters, I’m not sure I’d be standing today. I hope you know just how much you mean to me. You’re my family and without you, I’m not sure I’d have survived the Dark Time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

Damn allergies.

*two

————-

What’s been going on since I’ve been away, Pranksters? How are you?

2012: A Space Oddity

Once a year, every year since dinosaurs typed out blog posts with their wee flailing dinosaur hands on their gigantic Stone Age laptops, I do a Meme. Generally speaking, I do not like Memes. I do not think that my Pranksters give a fucking shit how I best like my coffee or what is in my purse right now.

HOWEVER.

I am compulsive. And since I do this every year, I do this EVERY YEAR.

(As proof that I do not actually have a life, I offer this: 2010 here2009 here, 2008 here, 2007 here, 2006 here. I have 2005 somewhere in an email list, which is where I’d gotten this stupid meme in the first place)

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

I started over again. Oh, wait. I said “again.” Hrms. *thinks* I bought a headboard for my bed, which is actually the first headboard I didn’t receive as a hand-me-down.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m not much of a “resolutions” person, so no, not really. Last year I (jokingly) vowed for total world domination. This year? I hope to read more and stress less. I hope to find stability and look for wonder in the smallest of places.

Okay, that was deep. SOMEONE GIMMIE A FART JOKE.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

If my timeline is to be believed, I’m pretty sure The Twitter was pregnant. All of it.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My good friend and coworker on The Band Back Together Project passed away on Christmas Eve. Misty, we’re already missing you.

5. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A bejeweled princess telephone.

6. What countries did you visit?

My head is a scary enough place to exist.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

July was the month of change.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I can effectively figure out how to work the television.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’ll allow the Internet to pick that one apart. Let’s just say, “a lot of things,” and leave it at that, Meme.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had the flu. It was pretty awesome if you’re into the whole “sweating balls while you sleep.”

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A new microwave. It sounds like a jet plane taking off.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Since I can’t name one person without naming everyone, I’ll go with my daughter, who began to sing a song called “Stubborn Asshole,” a phrase she did NOT pick up from me, which means that she’s going to become a magnificent swearer.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I always hate this question – it’s so 7th grade. If I wanted to write a slam book, I would. Thankfully, I do not.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Moving-related expenses – turns out, moving is kinda a bitch.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Learning to use the television. ALSO: Band Back Together Project is NOW a federally-recognized non-profit (501 (c) 3). That’s pretty rad.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

With Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?  Some days are better than others. Some minutes are better than others.

ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.

iii. richer or poorer? Erms. Can I answer that? I don’t feel it’s appropriate.

Okay, Meme, let me take a stab at that:

i) more or less like Justin Beaver – less, obvs. Don’t have the kicky hairs.

ii) more or less likely to decide inanimate objects looked like boobs – more. Bring on the boobs.

iii) more or less likely to watch Glee – More – I can accept how bizarre the show has become.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Pranking The Internet.

Also:

Taking over the world.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sweating from my eyeballs.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With my family, Dave and the kids. I even got a pashmina afghan, although it was not, in fact, nautical themed, which was probably wise, considering that we were not on a boat.

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

I’ll make up my own question:

Why are you so annoying, Aunt Becky?

Baby, I was born this way.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Nopers.

23. How many one-night stands?

Every year, I feel like less of a floozy when I have to admit that I had none.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Reruns of NBC’s Life. Fucking shame that show got canceled.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope.

26. What was the best book you read?

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance.

And, of course:

Drinking Diaries

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

“Chocolate Rain.”

28. What did you want and get?

Coffee. I learned to make coffee.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I’m not a movie person in the same way I’m not a sandwich person – but I did see the last of the Batman Trilogy, and while I have no earthly clue as to what it was about, there were some rad action scenes.

That sucked. I’m going to make up a new question:

Where are your pants?

Like I fucking know. Ask Siri. They’re probably on their way to Vegas with my sanity.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 32 and had a nervous breakdown. It was not, perhaps, my best birthday ever. I think next year, I’ll aim for a December birthday and ignore the month of July entirely – it’s a bullshit month.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A more comfy pillow. Hey, it’s the small shit in life, Pranksters.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

“It’s totally okay to wear pajamas out of the house.”

34. What kept you sane?

Um, I write a blog on The Internet where I call myself “Aunt Becky.” I haven’t been “sane” in years.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

The ShamWow guy.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The great “Get up” or “get down” debate.

37. Who did you miss?

My sanity? Oh, you said “who.” Hrms. My pants? Wait. No. Um.

OH LOOK A BLUE CAR!

38. Who was the best new person you met?

You. You, mah Pranksters. Always you guys.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:

Snorting Smarties does not, in fact, make you smarter.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

“There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

—————-

The rest of the meme says I should tag some people but, eh, I don’t tagging people. It makes me twitchy. Mostly because I’ll forget someone and then, then I’ll feel sad in the pants.

INSTEAD.

I’m tagging each of you. If I can do one Meme a year, SO CAN YOU, Pranksters. DO IT. It’s full of the awesome.

Happy Happy New Year, Pranksters.

I added a linky for you guys to add your posts, if you do this one! Why? Because obviously we want to hear about YOUR year, too.

Parent of the Year Strikes Again!

Scene: My Living Room, Saturday Afternoon

Me: (mumbles to self while setting up Christmas tree)

Alex: (perplexed) “Hey… Mama?”

Me: (pulling head from underneath spiky needles of doom, expecting the question to have something to do with pizza): “Yes, J?”

Alex: “So, I was thinking a lot about this.”

Me: (resting on my haunches and giving him my undivided attention, expecting a cunning con to splat from his adorable mouth) “Okay.”

Alex: “I don’t know if I’m right.”

Me: (now thoroughly entertained by his The Thinker pose) “Well, why don’t you ask? I’ll see if I know the answer.”

Alex: (is silent for a few moments)

Me: (silently awaiting his question and hoping it has nothing to do with building bombs or roller coasters in our bedroom)

Alex: “A fart is really like a burp coming out of your butt…. right?”

Me: (gapes for a second) “Um… I’d never really thought of it that way, but yes, J, you’re right. A fart IS a burp coming out of your butt.”

Alex: “Okay, that’s what I thought.”

Me: (stifling laughter at how seriously he’s taking this) “Really glad I could help you with this one.”

Alex: “And… can we order pizza?”

Me: “Nice try, kidlet.

 ————–

Yesterday, I wrote this for Band Back Together, the community weblog I run with a group of volunteers. It’s there that we share stories – YOUR stories – (and pair them with over 600 resources) with the rest of the world so that we can grow, learn, and thrive through our trials and tribulations. You never know who will be touched by the words you write, so I’m seriously asking you to share your stories. Can be old stories or new. Sad stories or happy.

Everyone has a story – it’s time to tell yours.

And? If you’re interested, we’re doing tons of excitable things behind the scenes – we have an auction going on AND a calendar this year. If you’d like to join our volunteer pool, we’d be honored to have you. Email volunteer@bandbacktogether.com and we’ll get this party started!