Go Ask Aunt Becky – Blog, Blog, GOOOSE

For Father’s Day, instead of thanking all the men in my life which, GAG, we decided a blog carnival over at Band Back Together would be a better idear.

So all day today, you’ll see Father’s Day from some different perspectives: some good, some bad, some truly awful, but all real stories. Just like you like ’em.

If you’ve written about Father’s Day on your own blog, you can link up to The Master Blog Post here (that looks to me to say “Masturbater” but I think I’m exceptionally tired).

Please feel free to celebrate Father’s Day With The Band. I know I’ll be there.

Blog, Blog, GOOOSE!

What…Me Neurotic?

Now, we’ve established that I’m afraid of weird-ass things.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, for one. I’m afraid he’s – or one of his guilt-inducing minions – is going to knife me in my sleep because I didn’t donate ten bucks to him last year. Plus, I’m afraid that he’d judging me for all the shit I Google.

jimmy wales-creepy-stare-wikipedia

I’m afraid of showering while no one is home because, HELLO, have you SEEN a horror movie? That’s how they all begin.

I’m afraid of sitting with my back toward any open door because I’m pretty sure I was a mobster in a past life, and hello, have you seen how they always get the shit blown out of them when they’re sitting with their back away from the door?

I’m also afraid of this guy:

wtf-fb-omg-bbq

Because do you want that guy giving you a thorough rectal exam?

I THINK NOT.

Oddly, it turns out that I am absolutely terrified of commitment. Especially commitment to the government.

See, I’m taking Band Back Together and (spoiler alert!) turning it into a non-profit. And because I am terrified of screwing that up and then owing the IRS sixty-bajillion dollars plus my kidneys (not because I expect to MAKE a single dollar, mind you), I figured I’d call my lawyer.

Yeah, I have a lawyer. It’s not NEARLY as glamorous as it sounds.

So, we get on the phone and I’m all nervously trying to explain what the site is and stuff, and he’s like, “I’m sorry, Becky, but I don’t know much about non-profits. You can PROBABLY do it yourself.”

Which is precisely what the people who help me behind the scenes at Band Back Together said. But I didn’t believe them because do you KNOW how I fuck things up?

Anyway, I went and found the place where I’m supposed to start registering but I got all nervous and started shaking like a Chihuahua. Then I had to close the browser and perform some “deep cleansing breaths” (read: make a margarita).

Do these people not know how STUPID I am? I’ve documented that well, I think. And yet, the Illinois Secretary of State has not BLOCKED me from their website?

That is such an error on their end.

Pranksters, I don’t think I can do it by myself. I can barely go to the grocery store without forgetting why I’m there.

Now I’m waiting for someone to come over and hold my hand and tell me what to fill in for each box and when to click, “submit” and then I will hand them tens of dollars.

Otherwise, I’m going to end up without a set of kidneys and as that Nurse McPervy up there would like to point out, one cannot function without kidneys. Also: he’d like to give you a thorough rectal exam.

You know, when you’re ready.

Your Pregnancy In Tasty Week Form

(no, I am not pregnant. This was something I created for Band Back Together’s Resource Pages. See, Mom! Those nursing textbooks you bought me ARE useful for things other than doorstops!)

Week One HA! Fooled you. It’s your period. The last one you (should) have for forty weeks. Enjoy it.

Week Two: Thank GOD that period bloat is gone.

Week Three: Sperm, meet egg! Hopefully it was preceded by a very nice, extremely expensive candle-lit dinner. If it wasn’t, WELCOME TO THE CLUB.

Week Four: Your baby is now a BLASTOCYST. It sounds like something you’d say when you sneeze, but I assure you this is where the magic happens (also: when you eat Twizzlers. They’re magical). That ball of rapidly dividing cells will implant itself into your warm cozy womb.

Week Five: CONGRATS, MAMA! Yer knocked up! But…your baby looks like a brine shrimp. It’s a very CUTE one, but it’s a brine shrimp. It does have wee arm and leg buds (I don’t think shrimpies have those, but I’m allergic, so you know). Even more exciting, all of it’s organ systems – including the heart and lungs – are beginning to form. You know, so it can scream it’s head off to you when you don’t buy it Justin Beaver tickets.

Week Six: You’re probably feeling like dogshit. It’s okay, have a saltine and some nice Gatorade. Y’know, stuff you can puke up more easily. If you’re like me, you probably look six months pregnant already, even though your blastocyst is the a little bigger than a poppyseed.

Week Seven: Your baby is getting it’s kidneys ready to properly whiz all over your face, your carpet, your couch, it’s bed, and anywhere else it can possibly pee. Babies are good that way. It’s approximately the size of a blueberry, which should make you a) starving or b) vomit to read. Sorry about the fruit thing.

Week Eight: Well, okay, good, your baby looks like a baby and less like a shrimp. PHEW. It’s got fingers and toes (they are webbed, but you know, think of it like a duck and NOT like a Carny.) Even better? IT’S TAIL IS ALMOST GONE. Yep. I said tail. I meant it, too. Plus, it’s brain is forming. So it can outwit you. Trust me, it will.

Week Nine: Your less shrimpy baby’s weight can now be measured in ounces. Like vodka. Even better? NO TAIL. Although, I might like a prehensile tail sometime.

Week Ten: Those creepy arm buds are limbs that can move now, which means that your baby could very well be flicking you off RIGHT NOW. You should put the naughty baby in Time Out and give Aunt Becky his toys.

Week Eleven: Did you know I had to look up how to spell “eleven?” Because I did. Your baby and his developing brain is much smarter than me, even if his muscles are gearing up to kick your ass from the inside.

Week Twelve: Okay, so your baby has a big head. Like HUGE. A melon of a head. Well, in proportion to the rest of it. Your bobble-headed baby is getting nails, too, which is fancy. If you’re lucky, you should be able to hear the galloping heartbeat via Fetal Doppler, too. Always exciting.

Week Thirteen: Did you know that fingerprints are thought to be created by fetal movement in the womb? I thought that was kinda neat. Anyway. Your baby’s three inch long body is catching up to it’s gigantor head.

Week Fourteen: Welcome to the second trimester. If you call it “the golden trimester” in my presence, I will cut you. So, your baby can now do all of these fancy things with it’s face, like grimace, suck it’s thumb, squint and frown. That’s all gearing up for the terrible two’s and the teenage years. Enjoy the expressions when you can’t see them in front of you telling you how LAME you are.

Week Fifteen: Your baby weighs as much as a shot of vodka. Or the ones Aunt Becky pours, which are two and a half ounces. Plus, it’s starting to look like a REAL BABY and not a freaky shrimp creature.

Week Sixteen: Your baby’s head is still ginormous. Luckily, it’s getting hair on that beast, so if it should decide to comb it’s hair in the womb, it so could. Your baby is also getting big enough to dance the night away, probably on the bladder, thereby interrupting your sleep in a series of nights that, trust me, you’ll be up with the baby. (you should put your baby in Time Out for that)

Week Seventeen: I’d tell you your baby was the size of a turnip but I have no clue what a turnip looks like so it’s useless. Your baby is getting sweat glands this week which means LOTS of stinky socks in your future.

Week Eighteen: Hopefully by now you’ve gotten to feel your baby tap-tappity-tap-tap you. Because he’s dancing up a freaking storm in there. And those small movements (called quickening) are what makes pregnancy worth it. No, seriously. SHUT UP, I’M ALLOWED TO HAVE FEELINGS.

Week Nineteen: Your baby can hear you sing. So knock off the crappy Britney impersonations (that was my note to self).

Week Twenty: So your baby is learning to breathe. Talk about awesome. No seriously, those lungs are important and it should practice breathing so it can scare the shit out of you with shrieks someday soon. I told you the good stuff first. Now? I need to warn you. Your baby is also covered with cheesy vernix caeseosa. And hair. Everywhere. See? I told you it was scary.

Week Twenty-One: You’ve probably figured out if your gestating a boy or girl. So get ready to pick out paint colors for the nursery and then make someone else paint it. Milk that pregnancy for all it’s worth, girl.

Week Twenty-Two: Your baby weighs almost a pound and is getting fatter by the minute. Don’t think you need to put him on Baby Atkins yet. Baby fat = good.

Week Twenty-Three: From the outside, your baby looks like the alien in Alien, what with the squirming and twisting and trying to exit through your belly button. Stupid baby; we all know that the belly button is NOT the place a baby comes from. It’s your vagina.

Week Twenty-Four: Now your baby can hear. So you can TOTALLY put it in time-out for making you retain so much freaking WATER.

Week Twenty-Five: If you have an ultrasound now, you can probably see some of baby’s hair swirling around. Unless you have a cue-ball baby. Then, not so much.

Week Twenty-Six: If you’re having a boy crotch parasite, his testicles are descending to the scrotum. Just what you wanted to think about.

Week Twenty-Seven: You’ll know if baby gets the hiccups now because your belly will jump around all freaky-style. Luckily, baby isn’t big enough to HURT YOU yet when it does that.

Week Twenty-Eight: Your baby weighs over two pounds, but still, it’s pretty skinny. On the upside, it’s less wrinkled and red than it’s been before. Even cooler, it can open it’s lash-rimmed eyes. Bummer it can’t tell you what it sees because I bet it’s rad. Also: 96% of babies born at 28 weeks gestation survive. Win!

Week Twenty-Nine: You should probably sign up for those Lamaze classes so you can answer me a question that has haunted me for years: why do the ladies in the birthing videos deliver naked?

Week Thirty: Now, baby is getting ready to be expelled from your body. It’s assumed the “head down” position, if it’s a good baby, and it’s getting fatter! See, unlike adult fat, baby fat is full of the awesome, for their health AND adorability. Also: your baby is aware of the sounds outside of the womb. Maybe it’s time to turn down the porn.

Week Thirty-One: Your mean baby is probably keeping you up all night kicking your spleen. I’ll lie and say “it gets better once they’re born,” but it’s not true. I mean, it IS true. You’ll have the miracle baby that sleeps through the night from birth. (P.S. ground that baby now and give me his presents)

Week Thirty-Two: Your baby is less wrinkled now, which is good. Who wants to give birth to a baby that looks like a old man wearing a onsie?

Week Thirty-Three: Baby is now pretty tightly fit in your uterus, which means you’ll feel it a hell of a lot more when baby kicks the shit out of your bladder. It’s okay if you pee a little when you sneeze. We all do. Well, except for me. Because I am a miracle.

Week Thirty-Four: You’re probably wearing underwear that could double as the mast from a sailboat. But damn, that shit is COMFORTABLE.

Week Thirty-Five: Even if your hospital bag is packed, color coded, and organized alphabetically, I promise you that you’ll forget the one thing you really need and make someone else go buy it for you. Or, you’ll never use the suitcase of stuff you brought because you’re bleeding everywhere and just want more of those damn ice packs for your crotch. Perhaps it’s just me.

Week Thirty-Six: All that hair that I talked about before that made your baby look like Sasquatch? Well, thankfully, it’s disappearing now. Because a baby with a hairy back is creepy. Your baby’s body is getting nice and fat, which is good, because it helps it regulate body temperature once it’s outside of the womb. Speaking of that, hope you have your nursery ready, because D-Day is almost here.

Week Thirty-Seven: Welcome to full-term. Your baby is cooked. NOW you can start obsessing over the signs of labor and assume you’re in labor every time you have heartburn (right, like you haven’t been doing that since Week Eight.) Trust me when I say this: labor feels like labor, not heartburn.

Week Thirty-Eight: Baby’s getting fatter, but every minute seems like an hour and every hour seems like an eternity as you wait to pop out your baby. Disconnect yourself from social media lest you go on a mad Twitter rampage about how unhappy you are. There ARE people without legs, after all.

Week Thirty-Nine: Sorry you’re still pregnant. I’m sure you’re miserable, especially since people stare at you with mouths agape when you go out in public. Apparently, the general public has never seen a pregnant woman before. You should kick them if they stare. I’ll get your bail money.

Week Forty: That cheesy vernix caeseosa is almost gone now, which is good, because it makes your baby look like a statue. Your baby is also fat, pink and happy. Well, okay, I lied. Most babies are decidedly UN-happy. But hey, you didn’t hear it from me. It’s time to push a baby out of your vagina (or have it removed from above) and wear those awesomely gigantic mesh panties they give you at the hospital. Screw Victoria’s Secret; THOSE is where the party is.

Week Forty-One: Are you STILL fucking pregnant? That’s bullshit. Get some really obnoxious music (think C and C Music Factory) and play it to your belly, all Branch Davidians-Style. You should probably take your phone off the hook so you don’t get a zillion “are you STILL pregnant?” questions. Because trust me. If you’re still pregnant, you don’t need to make nifty smalltalk.

Week Forty-Two: Okay, I feel sorry enough for you by now to actually help this along myself. Threaten baby with A Visit From Crazy Aunt Becky.

Time To Find My Overachievin’ Pants

On Friday, I was sitting around, wearing ass-grooves into my chair while chatting on IM with Jana and Crystal, when it dawned on me: we needed a theme for May’s World Tour. And not one of us had any good idears as to what it should be.

I went off to vacuum, which is what I do when I’m Deeply Thinking (okay, sometimes I eat tater tots)(potatoey goodness seems to make my mind all free and shit.) It dawned on me, mid-vacuum-session that this month, it was time to confront our fears.

Shit, I thought. Now it’s time for me to figure out what I am afraid of.

Blech.

Sure, I’m afraid of earwigs, the color orange and the Facts of Life Theme Song, but really, without some extensive CBT therapy, I’m not sure I could fix any of those. At least, not in a month.

However, I do have something I am terrified of. Something I didn’t admit to myself. Something I had to both confront and let go.

(no not Little Debbie Treats, you assholes)

For the rest… BB2G World Tour: May Edition

Purple For The People

I’m was all lamenting that I hadn’t bought MYSELF a gift for Alex’s birthday because, well, I’m the one who expelled him out of my uterus. But then the heavens opened up and shone down upon me.

I got an email from my friend who makes my profanity-laden shirts.

My new shirts were READY. I nearly peed myself.

Behold the newest in my line of shirts:

purple-should-be-a-flavor-shirts

It is so full of win that I can hardly stand it.

I also make other profane shirts. They’re available in “fashion fit” (order a size up) for The Ladies and Unisex for The Mens.

Shut Your Whore Mouth shirt, now available in purple, pink AND black:

shut-your-whore-mouth-shirt

A Not Your Bitch shirt:

not-your-bitch-shirt

A With The Band Shirt (now available in sizes up to 2X):

with-the-band-shirt

A Cancer Is Bullshit shirt:

cancer-is-bullshit-shirts

I Kicked Cancer’s Ass shirt:

i-kicked-cancers-ass-shirt

I may be weeping with The Awesome right now.

To celebrate my overemotional status, I’m going to do a giveaway of one of these fine shirts. Why? Because obviously. Also: I love you guys to pieces.

Let’s give this two weeks to play out. Tax Day, April 15, a winner shall be announced.

How do you win one?

First, tell me which shirt you’d want and why.

For extra! entries! you can do the following (please leave me an extra comment for each entry):

Write a POST about the contest (two entries!)

Be my BFF on The Facebook.

Follow Mommy Wants Vodka on The Twitter.

Follow Band Back Together on The Twitter.

Tweet about the contest.

Add Mommy Wants Vodka to your blogroll.

Add Band Back Together to your blogroll.

YAY for new shirts!

Wednesday’s Child is Full of Grace

There are a few occasions when I take time from my very busy schedule of creating pictures of my fake dead cat, Mr. Sprinkles, doing wacky things to respond to emails. Because, really, is there anything better than this?

Mommy Needs Vodka

That Mr. Sprinkles! He’s a WILY guy!

But on very, VERY rare occasion, I get an email that makes me stop and go, “You know what? Maybe I should stop working on pictures of myself with my fake dead cat Mr. Sprinkles and do something better with my time,” (the feeling never does last)

A year ago today, I got one of those emails.

My now-friend Nikki sent me an email about her 20-week old fetus, who had just been diagnosed prenatally with an encephalocele. Somehow, she’d managed to look past the grisly stories out there about other children with encephaloceles (the fatality rate for encephaloceles is exceptionally high) and had found her way to my mediocre blog.

More specifically, she’d found Amelia’s Grace, the stories about my daughter who, too, had been born with an encephalocele.

Amelia was born with the kind of encephalocele associated with the least favorable outcomes. A posterior encephalocele filled with brain matter. I’d had a standard vaginal delivery. There was no NICU team waiting for her. In fact, no one was waiting for her but a nurse, the doctor and a tech.

In short, everything about the situation surrounding Amelia’s story was bad.

When I wrote Amelia’s Grace, the story of my daughter, I’d never really thought that someone else might find my drivel while searching for something to cling to. Some hope in an otherwise grim situation. Because the statistics, those cold hard numbers about encephaloceles; those are grim:

An encephalocele reduces the likelihood of a live birth to 21%.

Only half of those 21% survive.

75% of those survivors have varying degrees of mental retardation, the severity of defects higher for those who have the brain herniation on the back of the skull.

She, however, she is not grim. She laughs in the face of statistics. She will tell that encephalocele to shut it’s whore mouth.

Amelia will also give her voice to those who have none.

Nikki has been a good friend of mine for a year now and she’s helped me as much as I’ve helped her. Proof that sometimes people come into your life at exactly the right time. I owe her a debt that I don’t think she understands.

Now, I will simply direct you to Lily’s Story, which I have strong-armed Nikki into writing for Band Back Together.

Today is the day that it turned upside down for Nikki and my sweet girl, Lily Grace.

What a difference one year makes.

What Was Lost Is Found

Normally The Daver says stuff like, “Why is the cat in the microwave?” and “You can’t make dinner by staring at the cans of food, you know that, right?” so when, in a rousing discussion about turning Band Back Together into a non-profit, he said, “I can’t believe that all of the stuff that’s happened in the past couple years has been a coincidence. You’ve really channeled all of that into something good.” I was stunned.

It was singularly the kindest thing he’s said to me. It was the kindest thing that anyone has ever said to me.

I’ve done a lot of thinking, which, for someone like me who normally thinks things like, “I wonder if I can print out a life size cutout of Billy Mays for my wall on my home printer.” (it is the size of a shoebox, I should add) I’ve been thinking about the past. It’s not surprising, considering that Amelia’s birthday is coming up in a few days, that I would be more contemplative than normal.

That stupid baby shampoo commercial says that “having a baby changes everything,” and I always answer the television (because it can totally hear me) “yeah, no shit, Sherlock,” because it does. Of course it does. Of course, the baby shampoo commercial is also trying to make you feel like having a baby makes the world a more brightly-colored, soft-focused place where mothers stand at the sink, lovingly smiling at their cooing – but never colicky! – baby, bathing in that lovely lavender shampoo.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you snicker.

Okay, maybe that’s just me snickering snidely.

The person I was before I popped Amelia out was not the person I am today. I am not the person I was before I delivered Ben or Alex either, of course, but the person I was before I delivered Amelia was the one most radically altered. Even more so, I think now, than the single twenty-year old who popped that bobble-headed black-haired baby out.

Part of who we are is who we think we are. Part of who we are is reflected in the way other people see us. Part of us is who we actually are. And part of who we are is who we want to be.

It has taken me thirty years on this planet to finally be able to say that I am. I am. I finally am. I am – more or less – exactly as I should be.

I had to lose it all to finally become who I am. I had to lose my marbles to find myself.

I am now found in no small part thanks to you, Pranksters. For that, I owe you a debt of gratitude I’ll never be able to repay.

I guess that baby shampoo was right. Having a baby changes everything. But it’s probably not the way they meant it.

Mommy Needs Vodka Blog

(the blobber, Aunt Becky, as she was, February 3, 2009)

Aunt Becky Now

(the blobber, Aunt Becky, as herself, today, January 19, 2011)

The End of a John C. Mayer Era

John C. Mayer, you are providing the Internet with more happiness than I’d ever thought possible from someone who emotes to his guitar and writes songs about wonderlands and bodies and previously made Aunt Becky want to vomit. I hope that you know, John C. Mayer, that in the minds of 95% of people I know, John C. Mayer, you and I will be forever linked. That, John C. Mayer, is your legacy. Apparently, it is mine, too.

I only wish, John C. Mayer, that I had chosen a better, more douchy target to use for Pulling a John C. Mayer, like Dave Matthews, whom I still hate with the fire of a thousand flaming STD’s. Because the more I think about you, John C. Mayer, the more I really do like you.

So, Pranksters, we’re still going strong with the John C. Mayering of the Internet. How could we not? (I’m still adding posts to the original John C. Mayer call for posts page, so please, leave comments, links and track-backs if you have not).

—————-

I’ve gotten a couple of nervous comments about the new site, Band Back Together, and I wanted to make sure that you knew, Pranksters, that you are personally invited by me, Your Aunt Becky, to write there. A lot of the submissions that we’ve received thus far have been of stories that are very tragic and heartbreaking and I’m proud to have them over there as I think that the site is going to do so much good.

But.

I want you to know that even if your problems, your stories, don’t feel like they stack-up, and you don’t feel like they are as important as the ones you have read, you are wrong. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong you are.

Because you never know who is on the other end of that Google box, searching desperately for someone to connect with, someone who may have exactly the same problem that you face, and whether or not it’s “stacking up” against someone else, that’s not going to matter at all to the person on the other end.

And frankly, it doesn’t matter to anyone else either. This isn’t a Pain Olympics. There’s no judgment of who is more worthy of our sympathy and support. There’s no prize for Saddest Story.

We want your stories. We want you.

We’re none of us alone, remember. That includes you, not just the person who is deeper in the shit than you may be. Please, stop worrying about whether or not you deserve to be on the site because if you feel like you want to be there, you already belong there.

There’s light in every word, every single word you write, and somewhere, someone is reading what you say. You never know who is connecting with you and who you are helping when you open that blank document and start typing out your story. If one person – one single person – reads one post on the entire site and decides to get help, feels less alone, or makes a positive step, you know what?

We’ve done something good.

And there’s no way of measuring which post that is. It may be the one floating around your head. The one you’re afraid to write because you don’t think it’s enough. It is enough, Prankster.

So GO. And Write Hard, my Pranksters. Believe me, we want your stories. All of them. Old stuff, new stuff, any stuff you want to give us. We want you.

And while you’re there, please, pass on the word about the site.

———————–

Friday, I sold my car.

Not my Honda Odyssey or my CR-V, but my Acura.

I’d been meaning to sell it for years. It’s been sitting in the garage, unused, since Alex was born. It was impractical for driving my two crotch parasites around. Shoving three of them in there was laughable.

But this was more than a car for me.

I am a wanderer. This car was my lifeline.

Nights when I couldn’t sleep, it was me and my red car, nothing but endless black sky above and the road slipping by under my wheels, the hum of the engine keeping me company as I shifted seamlessly from second to third, third to fourth and finally fourth to fifth gear. The car and I were one.

The discs in my CD changer would flip quietly to the next as they each finished their set and we’d drive on into the night, wandering. Just me on my red horse. The nights were silent then, peaceful, the green glow of the dashboard my only company as the wheels turned on and on, the road whispering, beckoning, just a little further, kid, what’s down here, let’s take this right, you haven’t been here before.

I had a baby. Another. Yet another. The nights were complicated, full of colicky babies and ghosts. My car cried from the garage, come on kid, let’s go out, let’s take the night back, reclaim it for our own, let’s wander, just you and me, for old time’s sake. I’m gassed up and ready for you, kid, and you need me. I know it.

And I did. I still do.

That life, I miss that life more than anything. The wanderer is in my bones. Staying home, being Mommy, that’s something I do, but it’s not what my soul cries for at night, when the hours yawn on, the numbers on the clock seem to stand still and the road beckons me like a siren.

The van is a van. The CR-V is a truck. They won’t know me. They can’t wander. They don’t hug the road like a tight red dress, screaming with pleasure as I power-shift from second to fourth. They’ll never beg me hey kid, take the long way or go down that road down that way just to see what’s down there.

Eventually, I’ll get another car and I’ll start wandering again. I can’t deny myself forever; it’s in my blood.

The red car went to someone who will love it and for that I am happy. But my heart, my heart is sad.

It still longs to wander.

————

I finally got the links to my Ford Story: What Women Want interview, and it’s up over here, at We Know Awesome, if you want to take a listen. If I sound douchy, blame John C. Mayer and the tornado.

Band Back Together

I bought the domain months ago, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I mean, I knew I wanted to turn it into a GROUP blog because, well, like I need another fucking place to spew my drivel on the Internet, right? But I felt like, as with Mushroom Printing, the blog needed some sort of focus. Because just being all, “uh, here’s a blog for…uh…us,” seemed like it was a little broad, and every time I mentioned it to other people, they looked at me like I was pretty stupid.

Which is pretty much par for the course, but you know.

So, then I’m like, SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTING! That’s an idea!

But then I realized that it was too focused.

So I was all, SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTING + PTSD! That’s even better!

But that sounded too much like peas and carrots.

Then, I made it as broad as I could, without being all, “IT’S A BLOG, YO. FOR US!

I said, “It’s a group blog, yo, for us, AND I WILL MODERATE AND EDIT COMMENTS.”

Actually, it’s a place for anyone, and I do mean anyone, because you Pranksters know it’s never exclusionary like that, to share our stories. It’s maybe a little vague sounding, I know, but the premise of the site is that it’s a place where we can strap on our hot pants, spray the Aqua Net, roll around in some glitter and Get The Band Back Together.

It’s a safe place, you see, where we can share our struggles and triumphs, our joys and our sorrows, and help each other through. It’s what we do best, Pranksters, and I know that through our collective experiences, we can help the people who otherwise may not have anyone else.

The site is a work in progress, so I’ll appreciate anything you have to say about it.

Genuinely, I want to know what it still needs.

What you need to know is this: anyone can contribute, of course you can fucking swear, and you can add old posts all you’d like. Just please edit them so that we know who you’re talking about because it’s not the same audience.

The blog is run on WordPress, much like Mushroom Printing, so simply register, WordPress will send you a password, and from there you can post until your fingers are worn to wee nubs. The process is explained in more nauseating detail over there, because, well, OBVIOUSLY I had to show you how to do it.

The site is called, of course, Band Back Together, and there’s a corresponding Twitter account and even a fancy pants Facebook fan page!

So together with my home-slice Heather Spohr, from The Spohrs Are Multiplying, I’d like you to help me crack open a bottle of 1995 Krug “Clos Ambonnay” Brut Champagne, the most expensive champagne Google I could find on the hull of our new blog, Band Back Together.

If you get sea-sick, please, puke on Heather, not me.

So let’s shimmy into our leather pants, do our best Whitesnake impression, and get on the tour bus, Pranksters. Will you help us Band Back Together?

Also: I dedicated the site to someone who I’ve been trying to write about for years.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have a blog (that I tend to forget about pretty frequently…  but I’m trying to change).  I think my problem is the whole commenting-conversation thing.  How should I reply to comments?  Email?  The same thread?  On the person’s own blog on a totally unrelated post?

I don’t really think most people (or maybe I’m just a jerk) go back over and over to check further comments on a post they commented on so my response would basically be lost forever.  But on the other hand I don’t want people to feel obligated to talk to me if I email them in response.  I just want to be able to be “Hey you, you’re recognized.  Thanks.  You deserve a cookie.”

How can I do that without being too pushy/annoying?

Good question, oh Prankster, my Prankster (mostly because it’s a question I can answer without having to work my pea-sized brain too hard)! I’ll be very anxious to hear what my other Pranksters say about this, as well.

So when I first started blogging, I was all, Imma respond to comments in my comments! And it worked out well, because the people who read my blog were the people who’d followed me here from Mushroom Printing, where we always had a dialogue back and forth. It was fancy, until I got readers who weren’t the same as people who’d been to my wedding and had likely seen me streak naked around my house while drunk.

Then I realized that it was probably a massive waste of time to respond to comments in my comments because who the hell wants to come back and sit on a blog and hope and pray that the blog owner is responding? Answer: like 2 people.

So I stopped.

THEN, I felt like a douche, because I was all, I READ MY COMMENTS AND DRAW PUFFY HEARTS ON THEM PLEASE KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU COMMENTERS!

So I tried emailing people with the email addresses you left. But since you didn’t always know MY email address, I got a lot of, “and who the fuck are you?” emails.

Then I cried. I wore sadpants for a long, long time.

THEN! I found out about this awesome new plug-in called WP-Threaded Comments! And I installed it! THEN I WORE HAPPY PANTS!

Because I could respond to comments! And if you leave an email address like, ‘gofuckyourselfauntbecky@gmail.com’ and I respond with, “Oh, I love you, wise commenter, can we make babies?” I don’t know when the email bounces!

The end!

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have to be friends with women I wouldn’t normally be friends with- their husbands are my husbands’ buds, and we all get together every weekend.  I’ve tried making my own friends, but it’s hard when you don’t really have a hobby and suffer with a mood disorder.  I’ve also tried being genuine friends with these women, and it’s not terrible, just not *me.*

So, I’m looking to go on this Aunt Becky’s Family Reunion Cruise, and I don’t want to let them know about it.  Nothing personal, I just don’t want to be on a boat with them.  We tried an “all girls” vacay and it failed miserably and ended in drama.  I’d rather go on my own and make my own friends, anyway.

Does this make me a bad person?  And how do I explain that I’m going on a cruise (without the Hub nonetheless) and didn’t mention it to nor invite them?

So, Pranksters, this is a good time to remind you that WE’RE GOING ON A MOTHERTRUCKING BOAT. It’s Aunt Becky’s FAMILY REUNION and you’re freaking INVITED so get your ass on a boat with us! The details are here! It’s cheap! And you’re COMING!

When you’re with us, you’re fucking FAMILY, so you’d best act like you LIKE IT. Get your ass on that boat! It doesn’t matter what kind of bits are between your legs. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.

Except, of course, the bitches that this Prankster is talking about. THEY are not invited because they sound like royal assholes.

So, Prankster, back to you, now that I’ve put away my megaphone. Of course you are not a bad person. I once made the mistake of going on vacation with two other girls and it was a fucking nightmare. I’ll have to recount the story sometime. *shudders*

Here’s what you do, if you have to mention it: tell you’re friend you’re going with some people from the INTERNET. Say it like they do on To Catch a Predator. Like we’re going to be plying you with Zima (gags) and condoms and slipping you roofies, rather than pranking and merrymaking on the high-motherfucking-seas.

Tell them it’s some sort of timeshare thing (scares everyone) and that you’ve been conned into selling Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or one of those 4-day long candle party things. Or maybe you’re selling a kidney. Or an arm. Or drug trafficking! Illegal arms deals!

Or you could tell them that you’re going with some bloggers.

Which is the fucking scariest suggestion of all.

*shudders*

Pranksters? Suggestions?

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have been a quiet follower of yours for quite some time. I think I’ve been drawn to following because of what you’ve gone through with your little girl. Now, I won’t pretend for one second that I have a clue what you’ve gone through, because really, I don’t. My son Athan, had heart surgery when he was 5 days old, was released from the hospital at 10 days old and has been doing quite well ever since.

When I first started following you, I thought, “Wow, I can empathize with her,” if only on the tiniest of levels. The thing is, in few short months, we are expecting a little girl we’ve named Jillian. I know your little Amelia had a neural tube defect when she was born, that required her to be in the hospital for far too long after she was born. My little one is facing a very severe congenital heart defect that will require several surgeries and far too much time in the hospital also. We have a 3 1/2 year old son, Oliver and 2 year old Athan and I have no clue how we’re going to manage all the time in the hospital, the stress, the decisions, etc.

My question is this: How the hell did you do it? How the hell do you still do it? How did you/do you maintain a “normal” life, if that’s even possible? I have started a blog- (There was a URL here, but it’s not functioning anymore), so that I can release some stress, while letting friends and family know what’s going on.

Some days I don’t feel like talking to anyone, and I know I don’t owe anyone anything, but I still feel like I should at least let keep them in the loop. In comparison to you, I am shit on your shoes when it comes to blogging, but I’d really appreciate if others could at least take a look and say a quick, simple prayer for her. Can you please make a quick note one day for people to take a look? I’m not expecting followers, but would appreciate any little prayers we can get.

Thank you,
Sincerely,
Hurting Mama (aka, Nikki Janik)

Oh Prankster, there are tears pouring down my cheeks right now, and I’ve got to be freaking out my neighbors with my ugly cry and you know what? FUCK ‘EM! Of course we’ll pray for you and your little Jillian! I wish your blog link worked so we could visit you properly.

I hope you’re reading this and know that we’re all sending you and baby Jillian all the love and light and prayers that we have.

The only way I know to get through hell is to keep going. You’ll make it through, even though you won’t know how. I don’t have your email address or any way to contact you except through my posts, but if you need a shoulder, I’m here, okay? I’ll be keeping you and Jillian in my prayers. Much, much love to you both.

I’m sure all my Pranksters will be, too. They’re full of the awesome, my Pranksters.

—————-

This seems like a good place for me to tell you that I have a spot for you, Hurting Mama, in case you did shut down your blog. It’s a place for all of us, actually. I’m quietly announcing it today, and I’ll loudly announce it tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and I’ll beg you, all of you, Pranksters, to help me announce it.

It’s called Band Back Together, and it’s a group blog for stories like yours, Hurting Mama. It’s a place to go to share our stories, old and new, and you’re all welcome to use it.

I’m a little shy about it, because I’ve worked really hard on it, but I hope you dig it. It’s not quite done yet, but do let me know what it still needs.

And please, Pranksters, fill in where I left off in the comments. And be sure to love on Hurting Mama. She could use it.