Guest Post: Tales of an Unemployed Male Web Designer

If you have an awesomely hilarious and/or ridiculous guest post you’d like to post, email me! becky.harks@gmail.com and we’ll get ‘er done.

Unemployment can cause crazy things to happen in a person’s life. Sometimes, you get lazy and sleep all day and do nothing. At all. You’re just so down about life kicking you in the ball (I only have one) that you don’t really even wanna try looking for another job. You just wanna a suckle of the government tit and hope for the best.

Sometimes people end up having crazy relationships with their pets. I’ve found myself in this predicament. Every. single. day. I talk to my dog. All day long. Not like you’d normally talk to a pet, like “good boy” or “sit, doggie, sit,” or even “no! don’t shit on the couch!”

No.

I have long conversations with my dog about applying for jobs. I mean, he’s one of my best friends so he knows me well, right? So we have long and meaningful conversations about life. He and I have started discussing how he’s going to react when my wife and I adopt a child. He’s okay with the idea, as he was himself was adopted. He’s just worried that when the baby arrives, he’s going to be put on the back burner; he doesn’t think he’ll be relevant anymore. I assure him that everything will be fine but he says he’s going to wait and see what happens when the baby actually arrives.

NORMAL STUFF, right?

I’ve started to watch or rewatch TV shows. But, as I started watching some of these shows I noticed that I didn’t want to be reminded of being unemployed and I didn’t want my entertainment to be kind of a downer. So I suggested to my wife that we watch her favorite show. The one show that I always said that I wouldn’t watch again… EVER.

FRIENDS.

What man would say “I want to watch FRIENDS” without a gun pointed at his head? Well, I remember watching it back when it was on TV with my mom and thought it was funny. It still has to be somewhat funny right?

It is. I’m shamed to admit that I’m highly enjoying watching this show. I kinda feel I need my man-card revoked. My wife and I have plowed through two seasons already and are not showing any signs of slowing. Yes, it’s a sitcom. There is a laugh track and the jokes are predictable but right now? That’s what I need. I need something I know is going to be good during this time of uncertainty. I don’t wanna spend two weeks watching Battlestar Galactica and have every single muscle in my body tensed up when Starbuck shows back up on the show. Spoiler, I guess, but if you haven’t watched it, I’m well outside the statute of limitations on spoilers for shows that have ended. So suck it.

All I want after a hard day of sending off resumes, going to interviews, and laying around the house trying not to be lazy is a good solid hour and a half of funny friends having crazy, predictable, funny stuff happen to them. Hence, Friends.

Also, this blog was going to focus more on conversations with my dog, but through our conversations, I found out that he can kind of be a dick. I didn’t want to give him a bad reputation.

————————

ED NOTE: JASON, I NEED YOUR BIO! Until then,

Jason is an unemployed web developer who likes to ride unicorns and shit gold in his spare time. He likes to have deep and meaningful conversations with condiments and always enjoys wrestling in a vat of baked beans. You cannot find him here or here. No seriously, he’s not here at all.
 

Apparently, I Did Not Put The Lotion In The Basket

When my daughter was a toddler, she and I had a lot of problems with her frequent over-usage of soap and lotion. Well, her fascination with all things cleansing and moisturizing has reached an entire new level. A level so embarrassing that I might be shunned by the entire Mommy Community after I tell its tale, but tell it I shall, because I have no shame.

This one might take the cake though.

The other day, as I was getting ready for work, my daughter came into the bathroom rubbing her hands in her usual mirthful way. Yep, lotion again. As my temperature began to rise, I asked her where she had obtained said lotion. She replied, “By the bed.” Funny, I thought. I don’t remember having any lotion by the bed. Then it hit me.

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

You guessed it…

My daughter had coated her hands in lube. Hi, My name is Julie (Hi, Julie) and I may have accidentally committed a sex crime against a two-year-old.

Now, before you get your spanx all in a bunch and think my husband and I are some kind of sex perverts, hear me out. The “lotion” (I am going to keep referring to it as “lotion” because the word “lube” really freaks me out) she had found was actually a bottle of Pre-seed fertility lubricant, not a 20-gallon bottle of Astroglide. This particular “lotion” was used to help conceive both of the kids, not for hot, stinky monkey love. Regardless, I was mortified.

I immediately took her to the sink to wash the “lotion” off her hands, though there was no amount of soap that was going to wash off the crimson flush that had taken over my cheeks. After I cleaned her up (a remarkably speedy process, given the presence of the “lotion”), I sent her on her way to play. No “No more soap or lotion” talks, no scolding, no nothing.

Just a hope and a prayer to the big man above that she would not tell her friends at school about the incident and that the sex crimes enforcement agency wouldn’t be visiting me at work that afternoon.

Julie is the wrangler of a little girl who wears glasses and a fuzzy pink eye patch and a little boy who does neither. She also writes nonsense at I Like Beer and Babies. She is OK at Facebook and sucks at Twitter.

It Puts The Guest Post On The Internet Or It Gets The Hose Again: Gym Class Zeros

Of all the new year cliches, none seem to be more true that the people who fill gyms, yoga classes and fitness centers on January 1st. I’m what you could call “a gym class regular”, not a hero, not a meathead, not even an enthusiast, but a dude who noticed his fitness joint when it opened, got on the ground level membership pricing, and goes enough to justify the amount that comes out of my checking account each month. I’m familiar with the treadmill, the yoga mats that I do push ups and sit ups on, and the bench press area. I know how to sweat and maintain my mediocre build of 43-year-old Campbell Soup Can. I put the stock in stocky.

It’s been three and a half years since I joined my gym and I like it. There are meatheads with gallon jugs of distilled water and a duffel bags full of stuff that I assume are Barry Bonds approved “supplements”, but I haven’t done any journalism to confirm. There are a lot of people who look like me, middle-aged, graying in the usual areas and proud of their one-hour sweat three or four times a week. I’ve even traded hellos, how ’bout them local sports teams conversations and dude, can I spot you on the bench moments with a few others.

When I walked into my local ligament pull this morning, January 1, 2014, I expected swarms of newbies. I mean I read Facebook, the Twitter, and Instagram. Everyone I kinda sorta know is going to change for the good and make 2014 their bitch.

The parking lot was full. I smiled, pulled into one of only two spaces available, scooped up my workout gear and went inside. You could smell the temporary enthusiasm. It was combination of the Target makeup counter and human mothballs from the last time people hit the mills and weights. The girl behind the counter checked me in. She’s my oldest daughter’s age, 18, and sarcasm is her co-pilot.

“Welcome to Jungle, for now.”

I laughed at her line and dodged two women dressed in clothes that cost more than my entire wardrobe then bumped into six different dudes trying to find a locker in the men’s area.

“Hey man, thought you’d skip this week, glad you didn’t. More tales to tell this way, huh?”

The gravely voice belonged to Pete. Pete looks like George Peppard when Peppard played Hannibal Smith on The A-Team. I’ve always assumed Pete loves it when a plan comes together. One day I’ll smoke a victory cigar after we take out some rouge military guys. I didn’t respond, because once you talk to Pete, you’re in for a ride that doesn’t let up for a while. I smacked his arm with my right hand and laughed then found my favorite locker, number 23.

The floor of the fitness center looked like those news clips you see of the Wall Street Stock Exchange. People were everywhere, like ants all up in a picnic. My gaze caught one treadmill open so I made a line for it. It was in front of a TV playing Fox News Channel. This was going to be a painful 25 minute rat race. I noticed the guest on Fox & Friends was an astrologer. I was amused. Someone forgot to tell their producers and hosts that their network didn’t believe in science, fake or otherwise. But the sixty-year-old woman huffing next to me on her treadmill seem totally engaged. I tweeted my thoughts instead of saying them out loud.

After my run, I noticed my usual workout wasn’t possible. Everyone was on everything I needed so I started people watching. I saw the trainer guy crash and burn flirting with two girls who were working out in full make-up and earrings. I noticed a female muscle head throw a minor temper tantrum when one of the newbies left weights on a bar. Every few minutes a regular would notice me, nod their head and mouth “this sucks” or “six weeks” or “kill me” and I’d laugh. I wondered how many would stick it out and become average, run of mill, regulars like me. I saw two guys with major potential for mediocrity. They were polite, about to pass out and apologetic for getting in the way. They were even cuter than the ones who’d be gone in six weeks.

The music being played signified the new school attendee. Top 40 ruled. Strong women with children mouthed the words to “damn, she’s a sexy chick” and “I’m sexy and I know it”. While out of shape dudes couldn’t help themselves to classic Lady GaGa or Pitbull.

By the time the bench press machine was open and I could do my four sets, One Republic’s Counting Stars played. That line, “everything that kills me, makes me feel alive” said it all. That was why I was here on January 1, 2014, trying to feel alive at 43-years-old. After I finished making my chest and elbows feel like they were about to explode, I started counting stars, those people who wouldn’t be around in a month. I hold out some hope my cynicism is dead wrong. But for now, I say 4 out of 45 will be there trying to make themselves look good for their significant other son Valentine’s Day.

Lance Burson is writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters. He’s the published author of two books available on amazon for kindle and in paperback from Lulu.com – The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body.
His favorite exercise is full body massage followed by whiskey.

It Puts The Guest Post On The Internet: Parenting Styles

...by my bitch Kathryn

parenting map by region
I’d probably change a few of these. IF I KNEW HOW.

————-

I’m off at a field trip today (no seriously, I do that shit sometimes. I know, what the nuts?). I should say this instead: I’m PROBABLY, if no one dies of bubonic plague or some shit, off to play with farm animals with my middle son. At least, that’s what I’m doing if I can figure out when and where this thing is going on. I think that parenting map needs to say something on the Chicago area that says something like, “Probably on a Field Trip or Dying of the Lurgy,” because hey, that’s what I do.

And as a thank you for putting up with my ass, Pranksters, but I’ve got a stellar giveaway going on tomorrow. Why? WHY NOT?

Also – who wants to meet me in VEGAS, baby? Because OMG I need a vacation – from LIFE.



We SO need to do this – Prankster vacation FOR THE WIN! (it kinda killed me not

P.S. How are YOU doing, Pranksters? Got anything hilarious going on?

P.P.S. I wrote about shit not to spend your cash on. Should probably include something about NOT going to Vegas when you’re SUPPOSEDLY moving out, but you know what? It’s Vegas. VEGAS BABY!

P.P.P.S. This should also go to show you the NEED for me to learn to be frugal. *hangs head*

How Do You Feel About Princess Diana Jokes?

Before I launch into my fabulous guest post from my BFF Adam, I’m here and here.

Enjoy, Pranksters!

Avitable here – you may remember me from Becky’s birthday post and the most epic motherfucking soul portrait EVER. The reason for my post today is that I just wrote a book called Interviews with Dead Celebrities which compiles a series of, well, interviews with, umm, dead celebrities, that I’ve written about on my site over the last few years. Then I added a bunch of new material to it, put it together and published it on Amazon.com.

This post is an exclusive look at one of the newly written interviews, previously unpublished online anywhere, and here to make love to your eyeballs. Please to be enjoying my interview with the deceased Diana, Princess of Wales:

Diana, Princess of Wales, interviewed after her death by Adam Avitable

Name: Diana, Princess of Wales

Born: July 1 1961

Died: August 31, 1997

Profession(s): Princess and member of the British Royal Family

Best known for: Princess Diana, known for her charitable endeavors, was also most famous for divorcing Prince Charles and later dying in a car crash in Paris with her companion Dodi Fayed, inspiring Elton John to write that song about her.

Fun fake fact: Her shit actually did not stink.

***

Avitable: Princess Diana, I apprec-
Diana: Knock it off. I know what you’re going to do, and I’m going to beat you to the punch.

Avitable: You know what I’m going to do?
Diana: Yes, and before you can start doing tasteless morbid jokes about me, I’m going to do them first.

Avitable: I don’t even know what you’re talking about!
Diana: Sure you do. Here we go.

What does world hunger and a Mercedes have in common?

Avitable: Diana can’t stop either.
Diana: There we go. What’s the difference between me and a blade of grass?

Avitable: About six feet.
Diana: Ha! What does Dodi stand for?

Avitable: Died On Direct Impact.
Diana: So hacky. What’s the difference between me and Casper the Ghost?

Avitable: Casper can go through walls.
Diana: Terrible! How am I like a cell phone?

Avitable: You both die in tunnels.
Diana: Okay, that one was slightly amusing. Why did I cross the road?

Avitable: Because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
Diana: Groan. When is a princess not a princess?

Avitable: When she turns into a pole.
Diana: Meh. What’s the one word I could have said that would have saved my life?

Avitable: “Taxi!”
Diana: Haha! Okay, that one was good. I think I got that out of my system.

Avitable: I’m glad – that was fun, but I was going to use this time to talk about your charity work and all of the good things you did during your life?
Diana: Oh, well we can do that, then!

Avitable: Too late! Now I just want to tell Princess Diana jokes! What’s the difference between jelly and jam?
Diana: I don’t know.

Avitable: You can’t jelly a Mercedes into a pillar at 65 miles an hour.
Diana: Did you just write that yourself?

Avitable: Yup.
Diana: It’s probably the second worst thing ever written in my honor.

Avitable: What’s the first?
Diana: That dreadful song written by the queen.

Avitable: The Queen of England wrote a song?
Diana: No. I’m talking about Elton John.

Avitable: Ba-dum-chihhh
Diana (bows): Thank you and good night.


If you enjoyed that interview, you can pick up Interviews with Dead Celebrities, currently available for the Kindle (or you can read it with the free Kindle app for your phone, iPad, or computer), and soon to be available in print.

If you didn’t enjoy it, you should buy a copy so you can make fun of it and deride it mercilessly. Either or . . .

Interviews with Dead Celebrities, a book by Adam Heath Avitable

It Puts The Guest Post On The Internet Or It Gets The Hose Again: Hurt And Injured

There is a difference between hurt and injured. I learned this playing Babe Ruth league baseball.

Playing right field one game, a teammate in center dove for a fly ball, missed it completely and landed flat on the plush grass. The miscue turned a one run lead into a one run deficit. My teammate stayed flat on the grass while myself, the team manager and few other fielders gathered around to check on his injury. The left fielder came over just to ask him why the fuck he dove for the ball but that kid was always kind of an asshole.

“Are you hurt or are you injured?” coach asked, not even bending down to actually check on his fallen player.

None of us had any idea what the hell he meant. The asshole in left field walked away because he didn’t care about the question or the pending answer.

“Injured. I think.” he responded, holding his crotch with his glove and his stomach with the other hand. “What’s the difference?”

Coach explained that injured meant an actual physical injury that would require medical attention. Hurt meant he was emotionally injured – embarrassed and eager to hide from the fact he might have just cost his team the game.

Turns out the kid was just hurt. He was eventually injured after the game, when the asshole left fielder punched him in the chest for costing us a win.

I hadn’t thought about the hurt or injured thing until recently, thanks to my 2-year-old kid. One always seems to follow the other – hurt and then injured.

Here’s how to goes down – he wants to do something that the Permanent Roommate (my name for my wife) and I don’t want him to do like climb the steps without one of us helping, scream his little balls off in the middle of Target or stick Matchbox cars up the cat’s ass. We tell him “no” and immediately his feelings are hurt because we’ve yelled at him. In reaction, he finds a nice open spot on the floor, the wall or any other unforgiving surface and smashes his head against it. Hard. Harder with each thrust. He goes from hurt, to injured, in a matter of seconds.

I’m not sure how to really deal with either hurt or injured in these situations. I’ve got to tell him to stop doing bad things so that’s not going to stop but I’ve got to keep him from injuring himself because he might do real damage or turn into a violent adult. At the very least he could become that asshole left fielder and no one wants that to happen.

Here is what I’ve tried so far:

– putting my hand in front of his forehead to keep it from hitting anything hard, which just angers him more

– picking him up off the ground, and away from all hard surfaces, which just leads to a couple head butts to my nose

– yelling even more for him to stop it, which never, ever helps any situation

– clapping in rhythm to head slams (I ran out of ideas)

None of it worked. It wasn’t until last week that I finally found a working solution.

It went down like this — the kid did something where I had to reprimand him. I don’t quite remember but I’ll assume it was the Matchbox thing because he is obsessed with the cat’s anus. Right after I sternly told him to knock it off, he dropped to his knees and bounced his head off the wood floor. I dropped to the floor next him and did the exact same thing. He went for a second shot but I got my head down before him and bounced my dome off the hard planks one more time. He stared at me.

“What daddy doing?”

“Daddy’s mad too. Isn’t this what we do when we’re mad?”

He looked at me like I was half a moron, got up off the floor and went back to playing with his cars.

I stood up and rubbed my head.

“Are you hurt or injured?” the Roommate asked.

“Neither,” I responded. “Just stupid.”

Chris Illuminati runs the parenting blog Message With a Bottle. thinks he is a writer. When he isn’t being a jerk on post-it notes he writes on this website. He’s also on Twitter.

Who’s The Asshole Now?

Howdy, Pranksters. Today, I’m doing something I haven’t done in far too long: I have a guest poster.

Pranksters, meet my VP from Band Back Together and one of my very bestest friends, Jana, from Jana’s Thinking Place.

When Becky asked me to write a guest post for her site, I’ll admit, even after working with her on Band Back Together for over a year now, I got a wee bit nervous. I mean, I have to be funny and all, and quite frankly I’ve been having a bad week and don’t feel very funny. My antics over on my own site are typically laser-kitty-free and without lots of glitter and shit, but I do have a trick up my sleeve.

Have you met my kid Henry? He’s awesome. He’s almost 7 and thinks he’s 17. He loves iCarly and Seinfeld along with the normal little boy favorites like Star Wars and Phineas and Ferb.

He also ahem likes to cuss. I may or may not be to blame for this. I try to be good, I really do, but I kinda have a potty mouth. The occasional shit, damn or hell flies on a semi-daily basis while I try to contain my f-bombs to when little ears are asleep.

Anyway, we watch The Middle together. He thinks it’s hilarious and we do, too. This and iCarly are the only shows we all three agree on. The other night we were watching The Middle and the following conversation transpired:

Henry: Oh, I love this show. He’s my favorite character.

Me: Who is?

Henry: Asshole

Me: {head explodes}

Jason: {balding head explodes} Who? Who do you mean? ASSHOLE?

Henry: {pointing to the TV at the older brother}

Jason: OH, you mean Axl?

Henry: {the biggest, most disgusted sigh EVER} oh, shit, I thought his name was Asshole.

So for the next thirty minutes, every time Axl was on the TV, the word Asshole was muttered laughingly by my kid.

I’ve gotta say though, he’s got the whole cussing thing down pat. He knows when and how to use cuss words properly. He can throw around dammit and shit as well as the next potty mouth soccer mom’s kid. But we are fortunate that he DOES have a filter and knows when he can and can’t use the words.

School: No

Shower: Yes

Church: No

Bedroom alone: Yes

Well, now that I say that, I’ve probably jinxed it. He’ll come home from school tomorrow with a note saying he called some kid an asshole.

Who’ll be the asshole then?

(yup, probably me)

It Puts The Guest Post Up Or It Gets The Hose Again – Holiday Rules Edition + Taco Bell

I have a guest post up for you today because I’m still reeling from how in love with all of you I am. You were all so sweet to me yesterday with my post about Amelia’s birthday. Thank you. I needed that. I really did mean it when I said if you were local, I’d be honored to have you (I’m in St. Charles, which is a suburb of Chicago).

Oh, yeah. I rewrote the ending last night if you’re not seeing where I invited you. I’m still inviting you. I’m also asking you this: how long does one have to plan a party if she still would like guests to show up? Like, when should I aim for, knowing her birthday is the 28th of January? Also: do people send paper invites any longer?

Wanted to tell you that have all of the emails you’ve ever sent me about Amelia in a folder that I’m saving to show her some day. I’ll have to print out all of the lovely comments, too, because Pranksters, she deserves to know how amazing her Internet Aunts and Uncles are.

ONWARD.

Taco Bell is totally copying me:

Taco Bell is Totally Copying Me

Whatever, Taco Bell. We got the Band Back Together .

I may or may not be in love with Claire. Okay, I so am. She’s hilarious and she’s awesome and she’s witty and if you cut her, I think she bleeds platinum. Total win.

I’m thrilled to have her guest post on my blog today because she’s freaking hilarious. Also, I’m guessing that my blog will probably turn to platinum now that I’ve published her Holiday Rules.

You can follow Claire on her Twitter here and her blog, Claire DeLuncay, here.

THE RULES (Holiday 2010 Edition)

OK, so here’s the thing:

Every year, I try to be a little less curmudgeonly. This vow is usually sworn at Christmastime, when, despite all the relentless marketing propaganda and crass consumerist bullshit, the idea of a being so desperate to save a bunch of idiots from themselves that he sent his only kid to be their punching bag somehow continues to resonate inside my tiny charcoal heart. That said, events of the past year (as well as my the fact that I was graciously invited by Aunt Becky to be a guest poster) have driven me to create one of my occasional “Rules” posts. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I have, as befits an underemployed and struggling author with little to no influence outside a smallish circle of very tolerant and compassionate weirdos, decreed at various times rules designed to minimize my irritation while, y’know, fixing the world ‘n’ stuff. This is one of those times. In keeping with the spirit of the season, I present “The Twelve Rules of Christmas.”

HENCEFORTH:

01) When on line in front of me at a fast food establishment (drive through or inside), acting as though you have never, ever, EVER been to any sort of restaurant or engaged in any type of human interaction is now illegal. Pulling up to the drive through in the howling snow and starting a conversation with “Now, let’s see, what do y’all have here?” as though you are in the exotic climes of some distant Caribbean isle, perusing a menu in the charming local dialect, instead of looking at pictures of tacos so dated that one features a young Celia Cruz, is EXTREMELY illegal.

02) The ban on all Snuggies™, Slankets™, and their sloth-breeding kin continues. Anyone attempting to gift me with such an item shall be summarily sentenced to wear ONLY a Snuggie throughout the course of an Ohio winter, said Snuggie having been hand-crafted out of skunk fur and the tub leavings of Robin Williams.

03) All wrapping paper, even the extra-fancy kind, shall now be sold in standardized rolls, and available in quantities of subtler delineation, eliminating the need for one (ok, me) to choose between “enough to wrap the entire city of Toronto” or “enough to wrap several molecules of Buckminsterfullerite.” In addition, attempts to engage other shoppers in a little wrapping paper swordplay shall be met with enthusiastic glee, rather than nervous calls to security. Bunch of damned party poopers.

04) Given the current economic climate, I have reversed my earlier decree and hereby declare fruitcake to be not only legal, but welcome. However, said fruitcake is not to be consumed (unless one has a death wish or the sort of appetite that permits the consumption of, say, an old boot), but rather stockpiled and used as building materials for low-income housing. Much like their less-durable cousins of mud and adobe, these noble fruitcake bricks will provide solid, enduring shelter from the elements while warding away pests (except for, again, the sort of person who thinks it’s okay to eat fruitcake, and they probably have pica. NOT THAT I DON’T APPRECIATE THE FRUITCAKE EVERY YEAR, AUNT CATHY!).

05) And speaking of aunts, it is hereby declared that all children shall be made to understand that the same “weird” aunt who gives you crazy things like “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Iliad” or My First Particle Accelerator™ as gifts when you are a child, rather than Captain Crappy’s Junketron Blaster of Commercial Flackery™ or Barbie’s Magical Dream House of Rigidly Unforgiving Gender Stereotypes™, will become YOUR FAVORITE AUNT when you are older, because as it turns out, genetic drift means you’re probably more like her than your parents, and therefore will be able to find solace and camaraderie in your shared cranky intellectualism. I think we’ve all seen “Daria,” people.

06) In this season of peace and love, freaking out over, or trying to make political hay out of, the following words is now extremely illegal: “Merry Christmas;” “Happy Holidays;” “Christmakwaanzukkah;” “Io Saturnalia.” (That last one may be solely for our time-traveling friends of the Seventeenth Legion of the Roman Imperium. Sorry about the wormhole, boys, I’m trying to fix it as fast as I can! In the meantime, please feel free to invade Gaul. They’re used to it.)

07) All persons applying to shovel walks and driveways shall henceforth be cherry-cheeked, wool-ensconced cherubs with earflap hats and a gleam in their eye, rather than grown dudes with a three-day stubble and the personal hygiene of a particularly indiscriminate hyena. Persons matching the latter description shall be summarily bathed, shaved, and set to work building fruitcake houses for the poor. Persons matching the former description shall be rewarded with hot cocoa and a shiny silver dollar (“silver dollar,” in this context, should be read as “Twenty bucks? To shovel my walkway? You extortionist bastard!”).

08) All drivers will practice their winter driving all year long by coating their tires in butter every three weeks and turning up the A/C full blast. This will prevent both the seasonal amnesia of winter (“What? It’s cold and snowy in November? AGAIN?”) and the driving behavior it engenders (“Bob, look out! There’s mysterious frozen water falling from the Heavens! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”). This rule also applies to shopping patterns, so that otherwise normal people will not, upon hearing that snow flurries are in the forecast, rush to their local market and buy up all the milk, soup and shovels as though they only just now remembered they’d been asked to go on a ski trip with the Donners.

09) Those fake fireplaces that do so well on the iPad and the YouTube and whatnot will now produce actual, extremely merry, crackling heat. I don’t want to hear excuses, Science – you can grow an ear on the back of a fucking mouse, you can make BlazingLogs.com fill my living room with cheery warmth.

10) Persons participating in “Secret Santa” who fill out their info card with terms like “cool stuff,” “whatever,” or “Anything Disney! (followed by seventeen exclamation points and a crudely-rendered Mickey Mouse head)” will receive coal. And by “coal,” I of course mean “NOTHING.” Any person drawing such a card from the communal pool with be given the option of either drawing another name or slashing the owner’s tires.

11) All children’s Christmas programs will now have A) a maximum length of one hour; B) attractive cigarette/snack girls dressed as “Sexy Mrs. Claus;” and C) an open bar. I’m looking at you, Saint Michael’s Academy for Wayward Youth.

12) For a variety of reasons, this time of year is decidedly unmerry for a lot of people; the mentally ill, the homeless, the forgotten, the embittered (which, now that I think about it, describes a fair number of family Christmases. But I digress.). Therefore, all persons on this dinky blue rock are hereby required to pause at some point, seek out someone less fortunate (trust me, even if your name is Bob and you’re working as a buoy, there’s someone out there less fortunate than you, bub) and just take that moment to acknowledge their existence and value as a human being. I don’t care if it’s a hot bowl of soup, a hug and a smile, or some sort of weird, borderline-illegal act in the back of Fast Louie’s Massage Parlor. The point is that you do it. Because Christmas comes only once a year (insert your own “Fast Louie’s Massage Parlor” joke here), but being a decent human being is a full time gig.

OK, that’s it for now, I suppose. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwaanza, Joyous Solstice, Gleeful Non-Denominational Mandatory Holiday Gathering, et hoc genus omne. Now let’s get out there and build some motherfucking fruitcake houses. FOR THE CHILDREN.

Mommy Daze

Because now that I am officially a fugitive-at-large scheduled for surgery that I wasn’t quite expecting to happen so, well, SUDDENLY, I am now carefully spraying down every surface of my house with bleach. And Lysol. And then more bleach. Why? Because GERMS EXIST WHERE CROTCH PARASITES LIVE.

Also, one of the major risks for a surgery like mine is infection, so there you have it. I am trying to minimize my risks WHILE staying sane. Also Also: if anyone knows anyone local who can paint some walls, like, in the next three days, CALL ME.

Because obviously.

(and yes, I was serious about the come sit on my couch, yo, offer)

I invited my home slice Mompetition to guest post for me. So I could go buy more bleach. And maybe stare adoringly at my John C. Mayer pictures. A lot.

But I’m over at Mushroom Printing and I’ll prolly be over at Band Back Together because I am obsessive. They’re group blogs, yo, so you can post there too. FANCY.

——————–

Aunt Becky asked me to do a guest post. Besides a moment filled with excitement and glee, I felt an overwhelming sense of, well shit, what do I write about?  Typically, I like to write about amusing topics.  Perhaps one of my tales from days cooped up in a laboratory, pounding out the cure for cancer.  Or I could tell you the tale of worms who frolicked in my toilet.  That’s right, worms.  Someone (not a member of my family), had gone poopoo in a guest toilet we never used, and failed to flush.  A week went by and I noticed a horrid smell.  I opened the lid and to my horror I found black water and worms swan diving into the sewage.  Yes.  It happened.

But instead, words that Aunt Becky told me (ok, not me specifically, so I guess I should use the word “US”) resound in my ears.  It is important to be honest with your audience.  People yearn for truth and hence, will be drawn into the prose.  Let’s talk about feminism aka, wearing your vagina on the outside, as well as the inside.

Growing up I was constantly told I could be anything:  a veterinarian, an artist, a brain surgeon, anything my little pig-tailed heart desired.  I did my time in high school and then went to college.  I majored in genetics.  It seemed that was not enough, I felt the canines of Virginia Woolf, piercing through my brain.

Next, I continued on to graduate school and completed my studies in cancer biology earning a PhD.  During this time I struggled with infertility and triumphantly gave birth to boy/girl twins after my graduation.  At the same hospital, I had found a fantastic job that I loved.  I utilized my writing talents, people incorporating skills and even had a boss that understood my quirky sense of humor.  Then, I gave birth to my babies and 12 weeks after their birth returned to work.  I smiled each day and enjoyed the coffee break complete with alone time at my desk.  But inside, I was dying.

No one told me it was OK to “just be a mother”.  Staying at home with your children was something our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did.  Stanton and Anthony didn’t work their bustles off so that I would merely sit at home and be a wife and mother.  Oh no no.  I owed it to our sub species to work work work and be proud of my success.  I would stare at my business card mounted on my desk and daydream about what my babies were doing at daycare.  Were they sticking to their routine?  Did the ladies there remember to not do tummy time with my daughter?  Is my son smiling at that other woman who is holding him close.

I worked and worked, some days I would only see them for 30 minutes total.  I was not happy.  Then, it happened.  I got the best news I ever. We had to move.  My husband’s job relocated us halfway across the country to the sweltering craplands of Miami.  I was in heaven.  Now, I had an excuse to quit my job and not return to work.  “OH! getting a job in Miami?  We may only be there for a few years, it’s not worth it for me to try and find a job.”

We moved.  I stayed home.  I was happy.  Sure there were a few days (weeks!) that sucked here and there.  Nap refusals, food thrown in my face, children rolling around on the floor trying to bite one another, all that good infant-toddler transition stuff, but it was the happiest I had ever been.

Then, we had to move back.  We all came back to Texas and suddenly it wasn’t an anomaly that I was unemployed.  Back in our home state, back with connections, back where people spoke English, I had no excuse not to go find a job.  I chose not to and decided to be, a STAY AT HOME MOM (dun dun duuunnn).

I hate it when strangers ask what I do.  I still feel the need to justify or say things like “well just until they start school”.  Don’t worry, I will work again, please don’t think less of me.  I also hate forms.  “Employer?”  “Work Phone?”  My answers are always bitchy or full of sub-text.  I wonder if anyone catches it.

I find it interesting that as little girls, we are given baby dolls to play with.  Yet, when I was growing up I was never told it was “OK” to be a mommy.  Playing mommy was for fun, but you better finish college.  Where was all my inner struggle coming from?  GUILT.  Guilt that I was letting all the women who had come before me down.  I had the brains and drive to be a successful working woman, I owed it to them to climb that ladder.  And then, one day, it hit me.  Feminism is not about being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or being the chief of medicine, it was about having a CHOICE.  I can be a woman in a suit or a woman in a rocking chair.   It’s OK to be a stay at home mom to support my husband in his career and be with my children 24 hours a day.  If that is what I chose to do, so be it.

Many don’t get it.  A woman I once worked has called it a “shame”, and “such a waste of talent”.  Others comment on why I bothered to get my doctorate if I’m JUST going to be a mom.  My friends without children constantly ask me when I’m “going back to work”.  Every time someone says that it makes me want to hurt them, possibly slowly and painfully with voodoo needles.  But instead, I normally follow it up with the passive-aggressive “what do you mean?”  Whether they meant it or not, I thank my fore-mothers for standing up for my rights to be employed by my husband and children.

My only hope, for anyone out there who struggles with the insecurities of this job, is that you are comforted in knowing you are ALLOWED to be whatever you want to be, even if it is a bugger rag for your babies.

Life With Autism

Thank the sweet Lord and Butter that I finally found someone to fill in for me so that I can listen to John C. Mayer all day long return to my magic closet of diamonds and free whore pants. Or really just catch up on everything that I’ve allowed to slip since I’ve been living at the doctor’s office all week.

Also: Band Back Together is making me pee myself with it’s awesomeness.

If I owe you something, I’m sorry. I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

If you behave like I owe you something: I’m not your bitch.

So thanks, Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy. Now I can spend my day doodling Aunt Becky hearts John C. Mayer in big puffy pink hearts. Er…blinging out my toilet.

—————–

It should be clear, up front, that I don’t speak for the autism community as a whole.  I only know our experience, and I only speak for myself.  My son is verbal, so he speaks for himself.  However, most of what he has to say revolves around Lego Star Wars, so if you want to know more about that, we’re all set.

I recently had a conversation with my four children about what they want to be when they grow up.  The Peanut Butter Kid, who is six, announced that when she grows up, she wants to be a female boxer, or a doctor, or possibly both.  That’s an excellent career choice because if you keep beating people up, you never run out of patients to treat.  It’s genius, really.  Cookie, one of my nine-year-old twins, wants to be a mom, and a teacher, and volunteer at an animal shelter if she has time.  Little Dude wants to be a firefighter.  I love that he is just like every other four-year-old boy sometimes.  But then he started explaining, in great detail, what he loves about fire trucks, and how the ladders work, and then I remembered all the ways he is not like other four-year-old boys.

When the Pork Lo Maniac (my other nine-year-old) grows up, she plans to be a famous scientist who wears a squeaky motorcycle jacket and owns many pets.  She doesn’t want to ride a motorcycle, she just likes the jackets.  And she thinks that jackets that make squeaky sounds are the coolest fashion items ever.  She thinks she may invent a motorcycle with some safety improvements, like seatbelts and walls.  I asked if that was actually a car, but she said it will be much cooler than a car. Obviously. I think what she really wants is to be driven around in a Popemobile with throngs of adoring fans thanking her for her scientific achievements with offerings of pork lo mein.

I’ve been hanging out a lot with the Peanut Butter Kid, who’s on homebound schooling with some tummy troubles.  The other day, she commented that if the Pork Lo Maniac grows up to be a scientist, she can invent a cure for Asperger Syndrome.  It was a beautiful thought.  She cares about her brother, and sees that he struggles with many things.  Also, she whole-heartedly believes that her older sister can do anything.

I told her that I wasn’t sure if I would “cure” Little Dude, even if I could.  Sure, some things would be easier for him (and, let’s face it, for me), but then he probably wouldn’t be so freaking awesome at Lego Star Wars.  And maybe he wouldn’t be doing multiplication at age four. Maybe when Little Dude is grown up, his Lego Star Wars and math abilities will converge into engineering skills that will make a difference in the world.  I wouldn’t take away his Asperger if it meant taking away all great things about him, too.

“We love him the way he is,” I said.  This has become my mantra.  I say it to his teachers, I say it to his sisters, I say it to strangers.  “We don’t want to change who he is, we just want to help him not be quite so stressed out by the world around him.”

It’s true.  Our daughters all have varying degrees of anxiety, and we don’t want to change who they are, either.  They are also empathetic and sensitive and kind.  We just need them to be able to get through the day.  So we work on coping strategies.

The PBK’s thought weighed on my mind for days afterward, though.  Little Dude’s Asperger isn’t as severe as that of many Aspies.  His struggles are also much less than those of people with more severe or more classical forms of autism.  Little Dude has always been verbal.  It’s just different.  So I think it’s probably easier for me to say I wouldn’t cure him if I could.

I see Facebook status posts sometimes that say things along the lines of “people with autism aren’t looking for a cure, they’re looking for acceptance.”  I get that.  All people deserve to feel accepted for who they are.  However, I have a feeling that there’s probably scores of parents with young children on the spectrum — nonverbal kids that seem closed off from the world — who are thinking I would cure it if I could.

I find it a little disturbing that there’s all this pressure to welcome autism with open arms.  Of course you love your child.  Of course you wouldn’t trade him in for anything.  But I think it needs to be okay to admit that you wish your child didn’t have to struggle.  I think it needs to be okay for people with autism spectrum disorders to say, “I’m totally cool with who I am, but sometimes it sucks monkey balls to have to work this hard all. the. time. to deal with neurotypical world.”

Example: Little Dude has a motor planning deficit.  He needs to be taught things explicitly that seem to be intuitive to other kids.  When his preschool teacher says to line up to go to the library, he lines up.  And then stands there because he doesn’t know that the next thing to do is walk forward.  When the kid behind him yells “Go!” and gives him a shove, it hurts him deeply.  And it stabs me in the heart.  And makes me want to punch the other kid in the throat, which is totally inappropriate, I know.

If I were June Cleaver, I would be more chipper about our whole situation, I’m sure.  I’d be all, “Gee, Ward, don’t you think you were a little hard on the Beav tonight?  You know, he’s been in ABA Therapy all day.  And we’re still working on getting his medication right.”

And then I would smile and fetch Ward a martini.  And then I would go in the kitchen and knock back a Valium with a gin chaser.  Or maybe that’s Mad Men I’m thinking of.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I would cure it if I could.  I can’t.

For now, I know that Little Dude is at his happiest when I am at my most accepting.  I do accept him, with open arms and all my heart.  There are things about his Asperger that are both awesome and hilarious.  Like when he observes that an old guy at Target looks just like Emperor Palpatine.

But I wish some things weren’t so hard.