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I’ve been in a sorta downward spiral. I don’t want to get all Debbie Does Downers or anything, but things have been…not easy. But that’s hardly worthy of a blog post, because eh, things always turn themselves around. I was reminded of a lesson I learned many moons ago.

Let’s step into the Wayback Machine, shall we, Pranksters?

*cue a couple of wavy lines*

After I’d popped Ben out of my girl bits (read: had him yanked out with forceps) and gone back to work, I found myself in an odd predicament: I was twenty-one, 60 pounds heavier than I’d started out, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. There’s nothing like going from a nubile young thang to waddling around, wearing granny sweaters and wondering about this whole dating-with-kids shit.

My all-nighters were spent with a single man, a single Chubbers little guy who appeared to be wearing a toupee and I couldn’t fathom that any other 21-year old guys would be all, “YES! I LOVE DATING CHICKS WITH KIDS! IT MEANS THEY PUT OUT!”

My friends were as supportive as they could be, considering they were crawling the bars and having wild, untamed sex, while I tried to understand how a baby could be so…crabby.

One afternoon, my friend Ashley – who’d been as awesome to me as sliced bread – decided that it was high time that we get our shop on. I had the cash. She had the car. It was time to get our SHOP ON.

(insert random pillow fight reference)

Maternity fashion around the time I’d had Ben was one of two things:

A) Circus Tent Chic

2) Circus Tent Chic

(this changed by the time I had Alex and Amelia).

So I hadn’t bought or worn anything that made me feel, well, GOOD, since I realized my maternity underwear could double as the mast of a very large sail boat.

We started with purses. Ashley had a penchant for fancy purses which, through the process of purse osmosis, I inherited. I ended up at the sunglasses counter at Nordstroms, because I needed a new pair, and I wasn’t about to drop major cash on clothes that ran into the double digits. I picked out a pair of Ralph Lauren shades and bought them while Ashley tried on size -2 pants (while she was super-skinny and adorable, she never made me feel like I was Jabba the Hut and/or Pregnasaurus Bex, something I am still grateful for).

“What’d you get?” she asked, carefully hiding the size from the pair of pants she was about to buy.

“These,” I whipped my new shades out of the bag and displayed them proudly.

“Holy shit, dude, those are expensive!” She said, a mixture of both awe and delight. “I’d never considered buying nice sunglasses before!”

I sorta shrugged. It was the first thing I’d done for myself in months and it felt fucking great.

We picked up a few other things here and there – a new bra and some undies, a purse or two, talking shit and being girly. It was the most fun I’d had in years (the years before I’d gotten knockered up with Ben were not particularly…kind to me).

And I’m sitting here today, no longer BFF with Ashley, feeling slightly mopey and a little Debbie Does Downers, sorta sad I’m missing my girls at Type-A this year, and realized something: I needed to lounge against the machine. I needed to do something just for me.

So I did.

Not one, but two pairs of new boots.

Why?

Because I’m worth it, dammit.

And so are you.

Now go do something kind for yourself – JUST FOR YOU – Pranksters. Because you’re worth it, dammit.

On Friday, the bomb fell.

“Hey Becky, did you know (insert name of preschool teacher) is gone all next week?”

Whaaaaaa?

No. No I HADN’T known, although that was likely due to the holes Topamax left in my brain. I’d remembered hearing rumblings of a “summer vacation” but when I realized that it was, in fact, now June (rather than the March I’d been convinced it was), I shit my pants. No, not literally – I have excellent bowel control.

WOAH. That got awkward fast.

Anyway.

Me + 2 squirmy kids + no back-up plan + Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease = copious amounts of vodka and a wagon wheel.

It’s not that I don’t love my children fiercely – I do. I’d do just about anything for those tiny germ-infested crotch parasites. Anything except stay at home day in and day out with them. It’s not that I don’t find them charming, amusing (insert your own positive adjective here), it’s that after three rounds of playing Princess Pinkey Pie, I’m ready for several drinks and some private time in the bathroom.

I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home parent, however, since I work at home, when childcare gets fucked up or someone gets sick, it’s my ass that has to stop what I’m working on and shove my parenting hat back on.

But a whole week? While I’m coughing up what appears to be small tree frogs every other minute? Sleeping 18 hours a day WITHOUT Green Death Nyquil cocktails? Feeling as though I’m wandering around through a sea of orange Jello? I’m probably not up for the whole parenting three kids for eleventy-nine hours a day; even if I can manage to postpone my work*.

I loathe admitting that I cannot do something, but in this case, the Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease has left my brain full of holes one could probably drive a truck through, should they be so inclined. When I told Daver I wasn’t quite up to parenting the crotch parasites, I expected a lot of teeth gnashing, hand-wringing and other such behaviors. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

“I’ll take them up to my parents house!” Dave practically cheered, as I sat back, aghast. His enthusiasm was as though I’d offered him a night of hookers and blow, which, while it can be found in Milwaukee, would probably not sit well with my uber-conservative in-laws (although, to be fair, I do not know this for a fact – they could have a meth lab in their basement for all I know).

This morning, they left for my in-laws. Probably not to manufacture meth, but that’s speculation on my part.

The house, it’s eerily quiet.

I realized, while sitting here drinking my coffee while trying not to choke on my own spittums, that this is the first time I’ve actually been sans children for more than a couple of hours.

I used to laugh at people who got all, “OH MY BAY-BEE IS ALL GROWDS UP!” not in a cruel way, but because my children had temperaments that would make even the most seasoned of parents lose their hairs. If you look up the textbook definition of a “difficult” or “slow-to-warm up” child, you’d see photographs of my children. They’re wonderful people, but they require a metric fuckton of patience. Most kids do.

And I’m not going to lie and say that I’ll be up all night prostrate (not prosTATE) with grief, but you know what? It’s been 3 hours and already I miss those little buggers.

Rather than sit around moping, I’m gonna grab one of Daver’s bizness shirts, some sunglasses and go all air-guitar to some Bob Segar.

Why?

Because I fucking can.

*Real work, not the dancing slug videos.

—————

How’s summer treating YOU, Pranksters?

Now, I don’t know if you knew, but if you want to be a successful blogger, you’re supposed to have an advanced degree in photography. At least, that’s what blogs like the omniscient Dooce and the ever-present, always delightful, Pioneer Woman have taught me. Well, that and I should probably make some shit homemade or roll around in a tub of butter or something, but I stopped listening at “photoblogger.”

I grew up in a photogs household. No, not the kind trying to get beav shots of Brit-Brit as she gets out of the car, but the people who have darkrooms in their basement, the smell of darkroom chemicals wafting from their pores. Every holiday, every given Sunday, any day of the week found my father, brother and grandfather, all with dueling cameras, trying to snap pictures. I don’t know how many holiday dinners went (quite literally) to the dogs as we were forced to pose, then pose again, then repose because “the light’s not right.”

I was primed to grow up with a camera in my hands or convinced that, in my formative years, I was a child star.

You know which happened.

Back in Aught Five, I had The Daver buy me a Christmas present – a DSLR. I figured that it’d be like osmosis – I’d grown up with a lens in my face, there was NO reason I wouldn’t magically understand the 8274-niner dials and begin speaking about “apertures”and “light quality” and “winning at life.” Except that, well, even with Ashton Kutcher (who was not QUITE so douchebaggalicious back then) selling me the thing, I still wasn’t much of a photog.

I mean, I got the idea of what composed a good picture, but did you know, Pranksters, that DSLR’s weigh approximately 250 pounds? With cameras out there the size of a granola bar, who the shit wants to lug THAT around?

(answer: other people who are not me)

But, since I was stewed in the embryonic waters of photogs, I did learn a bit about photography along the way.

Without further ado, here is Aunt Becky’s Guide to Photo-blogging:

First, one must capture their subject. In doing so, it must be referred to “subject” possibly using the term “medium” just because it makes you sound like a fancy person.

While you may note that there is, in fact, a cat in this shot, the shot was not for the cat. Because that is NOT my fake-dead cat, Mr. Sprinkles, but my perfectly alive cat Chloe, who is both stupid and possibly brain damaged.

First things first. Watermarks. That’s YOUR way of saying, “don’t steal my shit, shitheal,” because obviously adding that to a photo means you KNOW what you’re doing. A lot of bloggers employ this technique:

While that’s all well and good (supposing you don’t think people will just cut that bit of useless blather off the oh-so-coveted picture of cat vom, I much prefer THIS approach:

It’s ugly. It obscures the photo. And it says, “DON’T STEAL MY STUFF, SHITBREAD.”

Anyway. Watermark aside the subject of this particular photo would have been unclear, would I not to do this, a technique I like to call the “Captain Obvious Technique:”

I iz a photoblogger

If I hadn’t done the Captain Obvious Technique, you may have erroneously believed that I was talking about my brain-damaged cat Chloe, her water bowl (which says, “Good Dog,” which I find hilarious), or, perhaps, my floor, which is in desperate need of replacement.

But no.

Using the Captain Obvious Technique, I left NO room for error. Not only did I inform you WHAT you were to be looking at, I was sure to POINT to it, so that you weren’t under the impression that the cat puke was anywhere but by the arrow. I find that really helps one appreciate fine art.

But why stop there?

There is so much more to be done.

For example, we could make my brain-dead cat Chloe talk!

Although I assume it’s more like this:

By rearranging thought bubbles, I was able to capture that Chloe might be a super-genius, while the pile of puke is an angsty teenager.

But WHY STOP THERE? There’s so much more to be done. If one wants to be a TRUE photoblogger, one must be willing to make it ARTSY.

We ALL know artsy = soft core porn.

And never, ever be afraid to mix mediums:

You’ll note that in this particular photograph, I decide that the cat barf could use a whimsical touch – like a birthday cap and Tom Cruise shades. I added, because one should never be afraid to mix mediums, a textured background. Why?

WHY HAVE “OR” WHEN YOU CAN HAVE “AND?”

Up next, 821,722, 018  steps to be a better blogger!

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