Part of a Day in the Life

I see it’s 11 a.m. and I’m at work reflecting back on what I’ve done today. You know, reviewing my to do list, checking off my accomplishments…yeah, that’s what I’m doing. Here’s what I’ve done so far today:
Emptied half the dishwasher
The bottom half. I was running late out of the shower and only had time to do the plates and silverware.
Checked my horoscope, reviewed “The Daily Chanel,” and got an ear worm
Every day I commute with the same people, and we collaborate on the New York Times crossword puzzle. The people who create the New York Times crossword puzzle are sadistic bastards--every day there’s at least one clue that references a song, which inevitably gets stuck in my head. Today’s offering is “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 (you’re welcome).
The horoscopes give the day a number that indicates how challenging it will be. I presume this is to give me a head’s up in case the odds are high that I might need a bail bondsman or a lawyer. Or both. We mostly just read the numbers, because like all horoscopes, the actual predictions are pretty vague and interchangeable. Today is a 9 for me, which means “easy,” which makes me wonder why I’m wasting a 9 at the office.
It appears Chanel has bought the upper left corner of page A2 of the New York Times for 344 consecutive weeks or something. Every day it is, of course, an item that is both practical and economical. A shearling clutch. A platinum and ruby wristwatch. Calfskin and patent leather sneaker boots (seriously—the bottom part is a sneaker, but they come to mid-calf and have laces all the way up). Often the price is printed, and naturally nothing is ever under a thousand dollars. Sometimes the price isn’t printed, which translates to, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” We check the Daily Chanel regularly. I’m always looking for good gift ideas, after all.
Dealt with a dozen volunteer-related issues
I’m in charge of coordinating the after school programs at my kids’ school, and they start this week, so I’ve been dealing with little Tommy wants this but it’s full so can he have something else. Plus we had a bunch of late registrations I had to record.
Had an email debate with a friend about the virtues of Cool Whip versus Redi Whip
Seriously? Cool Whip is chemical sludge and leaves a slick in my mouth. It’s Redi Whip all the way for me.
Read a couple of blog posts, posted on Facebook, commented on Facebook posts and a couple of blog posts
Including the link to one of them here, because Leslie Marinelli of In the Powder Room is SO right on about the internet mommy trolls.
And let’s include this one, because the Oxford comma is correct, useful, and necessary. Lola Lolita of Sammiches & Psych meds will educate you, should you currently be in the Wrong Thinkers camp.
Read the “Quotes” from the movie “Pretty in Pink” on IMDB
Actually not my favorite John Hughes movie (that would have to be either “Sixteen Candles” or “The Breakfast Club”) because while I love Andrew McCarthy, I, along with the rest of Generation X, felt like Andi should have ended up with Duckie. I read the reason John Hughes even made “Some Kind of Wonderful” is because he wanted Andi to end up with Duckie too, but the studio forced him to change the ending so she ended up with Blane. "Some Kind of Wonderful" ended the way he wanted "Pretty in Pink" to end. There, don’t say you never learned anything from me.
Went to the drug store, ostensibly for itch cream, but really for Halloween candy
I still have the remnants of this rash, but I was also out of miniature candy bars so I had to go get some. I hate Halloween. I have zero self-control and I love candy. Basically Halloween sucks for me. So I came back with itch cream, miniature Take Five bars, and miniature Heath bars. AND DON’T YOU JUDGE ME. (Also, may I ask just what is wrong with our society that miniature Heath bars are only available at Halloween? That’s effed up, y’all).
I also bought a small bag of Sour Cream & Onion potato chips. Because nutrition.
Cursed GEICO for sending new insurance cards every other week
Why do they DO this? It’s not like our coverage changes. It’s not like our policy number changes. And yet, every other month or so, there’s another envelope from Geico with new cards for us to distribute amongst ourselves. Naturally I never actually have one of those little buggers when I need it, which I did today. So I cursed at them. Not in any way they’ll ever know about—just under my breath while sitting at my desk, but it was cathartic for me. And it’s all about me, after all.
Found out my favorite soup is on the soup menu at my usual lunch spot.
And that was pretty much the highlight of my goddamned day so far.
What you’ll notice is conspicuously absent from this list is any form of actual work. Yeah. Don’t tell my boss, OK? I’m off to get my soup now.

The Lingerie Alternative

I try not to complain too much here. Actually, you know what, fuck that. This blog is a vehicle for my complaints and if you’ve read more than one post you already know that. So let’s just smack down that hypocritical pseudo-apologetic horseshit right now and get on with the story.
As you may have guessed, our topic today is me whining about something, but in my defense, I have a really good excuse. You see, I have a rash. An itchy itchy itchy itchy itchy fucking rash that fucking itches. I could write the word itchy and the word fuck 1500 times, and it still wouldn’t be enough to convey how fucking itchy I am. From my neck to my knees (but interestingly, not beyond) I am made of itch.
I know what caused this. I switched shampoo and conditioner (as I am wont to do), and the conditioner caused this rash. The pattern of itchy on me is in agreement with the path the conditioner would follow as I rinsed it out of my hair. I’ve stopped using the stuff, but the damage is done. I went to the doctor and he gave me a course of steroids, which I know have helped because my face looks better (so this post isn’t all whining, just 99.999%), but I’m still fucking itchy. Not as bad as I was, but fucking itchy.
Interestingly I had something similar to this almost exactly ten years ago. It might have been a month or two earlier than this, but it was right around this time. I was between five and seven months pregnant with my oldest, and I had stretch marks from Hell. In addition to having a stomach the size of a watermelon, it actually looked like one, only instead of being green and yellow, the striations were varying degrees of flesh tone. I was a sexy bitch, y’all.
My doctors recommended I try anything I could think of to moisturize my skin. I used everything short of soaking in pure lard to do this. One of the things that occurred to me was that old tip from the 80s where you stepped out of the shower and before toweling off, used some form of oil on your skin to bind with the water and, in theory, trap moisture in your skin. Neutrogena introduced all sorts of nice smelling “shower oils” back in the day, but I remembered what Seventeen magazine said—plain old baby oil would do the same thing, and it was much cheaper.
I dispatched my husband to the store for baby oil, and told him to step on it.
I used it, it didn’t work particularly well. A week later I was covered from my neck to my ankles with the most horrible, beastly, itchy rash I’d ever had (until two weeks ago). I was miserable. I itched because of my stretch marks, and because of this rash. I finally went to my OB, sat on the exam table and cried because it itched so badly. She was baffled as to what could have caused it, and concluded it was something I ate. She gave me a course of steroids and sent me on my way.
The steroids were starting to help, and the rash was clearing. One evening when my husband was out, I decided to shower. I stepped out and thought I’d do that baby oil thing again, because it might help?
The second the baby oil (which, I will say, was some random off brand and not Johnson & Johnson) hit my skin, it started to burn. All of a sudden, I got it—this shit was what caused my horrible rash! I jumped back into the shower and began grabbing every soap, every detergent, every product containing a surfactant within arm’s reach to get that shit off of me. The rash didn’t return, the steroid helped and we were back to what passes for normal in our lives.
This current rash has not been as cooperative in its reaction to the steroid. While I’m much better, I’m still maddeningly itchy at times. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being two weeks ago when I was seriously contemplating removing the skin from my body with a vegetable peeler to get some relief, I’m at about a three. I still itch, and I’m still aware of my skin in a way I shouldn’t be.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and this rash caused me to make a discovery that I think will serve me in the future. A trick, if you will, that will make my life easier, rash or no rash.
I was committed to a Boy Scout parents meeting the other night, but I had already changed my clothes and removed my bra for the evening. With the fierce itch on my back, combined with the somewhat humid weather we’ve been having (which makes my back sweat, which makes it fucking itch) there was no way I was going to bra up again before morning. (And seriously, why can’t bra manufacturers get on board with the people who make t-shirts and underpants and stop putting itchy fucking tags in bras and just print the information inside them? Really, it's not that hard.)
As I looked in the mirror, I realized that I had the “smuggling raisins” look, as we called it in college. You know, when it’s chilly out, or when there’s friction between your nipples and your shirt? You feel me. Anyway, I realized that in spite of the fact I was wearing a sweatshirt, the fact that I wasn’t wearing a bra was still apparent, and I wasn’t quite comfortable with it at this particular meeting. My husband usually handles Boy Scouts—these were parents I didn’t know very well. They may soon find out I’m a shameless foul mouthed boozy hussy, but I feel like it should take more than 18 seconds for them to draw that conclusion.
I reached into a drawer in my vanity and took two of those small round bandaids that are good for exactly no wound ever but that parents always have around because they're the perfect size for injury-obsessed four year olds to apply all over their bodies to their fictitious cuts, stuck them over my nipples, and went on my way.
Yes, I discovered what you could call white trash pasties. Yes, they worked perfectly. You’re welcome.


picture credit

No Punch Backs

About three years ago when we were driving someplace my oldest, who was then about 8, reached over, punched my upper arm, and said, “Red one, no punch backs.”

I had completely forgotten about the game called either Slug Bug or Punch Buggy, depending on where you grew up. I guess it’s sort of like soda/pop/coke. Anyway, I played this a little bit as a child, although as an only child I didn’t really have anyone to play with and my parents weren’t much for the game. Plus we actually drove a Bug for the first sixteen years of my life, so there would have been a lot of punching if we’d been really active participants. If you’re not familiar with the rules, the first person to see a VW Bug announces “[Color of car] one, no punch backs,” and punches the people in his or her immediate vicinity in the arm. There are some variations, depending on who introduced you to this game. Some people say it’s not really a slug bug unless it’s an old one, not the new ones that have been produced in the last decade or so. In our family we have no such restrictions. Bugs are bugs and we punch. Because we’re all intellectual and shit.

This should be a fairly straight forward game. I see it, I gently punch you in the arm while announcing the color and that there are “no punch backs.” You are then forbidden to punch me until the next time a slug bug comes into sight, and you see it first. Well, that’s what should happen, of course, but in the hands of my children, this game takes on a number of additional rules and nuances that of course are all in the favor of the individual creating the rule.

The first is the color quibble. If one of them says “Grey one, no punch backs” when the vehicle sighted is a sort of graphite, another one will announce, “SILVER one, no punch backs” and punch everyone again. Whereupon the child who announced the grey one throws back their head and howls in outrage, “You can’t punch me again. I already punched you on that one!  Groups of people who have been denied basic civil rights by the governments of overbearing dictators react with less venom than my kids if they feel they’re being punched unjustly.

Of course, they’re all playing, unless they’re not the first one to see the car. Then a sibling will announce, “Green one, no punch backs.” Immediately, sometimes in mid-punch, at least one of them will announce, “NOT PLAYING.” And if the puncher has the temerity to punch anyway, they will announce in a loud, angry voice, “I said ‘NOT PLAYING.’ Are you totally stupid?” And indeed they are not playing, until they sight the next one and have the punching advantage, in which case you better believe they’re fucking playing, bruh.


The most controversial punching is that which is done on a few outlier “types” of Bugs. Every now and then, just because they haven’t been involved in a verbal altercation with one of their siblings within the previous four minutes, one kid will announce something like, “Invisible one, no punch backs,” or “Imaginary one, no punch backs,” and distribute slugs all around. Naturally this is intolerable, and at least one of them becomes vehemently angry and lashes out with something like, “You can’t punch on invisible ones!” What they overlook is that fact that clearly, they just did get punched on an invisible one, and there’s not really any way to undo it or “take it back.” As you may imagine, this in no way deters them from defending their position on “invisible” or “imaginary” slug bugs, and their sibling’s unforgiveable transgression in punching them.

Clearly this game leads to lots of squabbles that help to pass the time on long, boring trips between the Safeway and our house, seven minutes away. And they’re squabbles that are both interesting and amusing to listen to, because they’re logical, rational, and the subject is one of global relevance and utmost importance, of course. Often I see a VW Bug and think, “Please don’t let them notice it please don’t let them notice it please don’t let them notice it.” About once every 324 times, my prayers are answered. It always kind of surprises me how popular VW Bugs are where we live.

They’ve tried to “punch” on other things, like cars that sort of look like Bugs but aren’t—Fiats and a few Toyotas have a similar profile, or occasionally they’ll pick something like Minis. I have to draw the line there. Bugs are bad enough, but if they were punching (and arguing, and “not playing,” and inventing mythical ones, and arguing—did I mention arguing?) for multiple types of vehicles, I would lose my shit in the car faster than I already do. As it is I spend half the time I’m driving as a feral hell beast, shrieking at them to stop arguing about the stupid cars and pipe down so I don’t run us off the road, so I don’t really need anything else that will set me off, thanks.

The Name Game

This morning I saw a moth hanging out above the mirror as I was putting on my makeup. I scowled at it and said, “I don’t want to catch you near my wool sweaters, Bernice.” Then I shook my head because realized I’d just addressed an insect by name, and given it an instruction I evidently expected it to follow.
I’d think I was insane (or possibly just stupid), but I have a friend I know for a fact does something similar. She names the squirrels that come up on her back deck. To be fair, she only names the ones she can recognize as “repeat visitors.” They come up to try to eat from the bird feeder, and she scolds them through the glass by name. You know, to deter them. Because, yeah, that makes it much more rational. About as rational as addressing a moth.
Another friend has confessed she regularly scolds things—animate and inanimate—that surprise her. Her husband is constantly asking her who she’s talking to when she’s startled by a fly and exclaims, “Henrietta! You scared the shit out of me!”  She used to be kind of shy about this fact, but the embarrassment of admitting she was scared by a fly, or possibly an end table, has apparently faded over the years, because she now freely admits to everyone that she does this.
Because you don’t think the circles I travel in are strange enough yet, I will also tell you that have at least two friends who have named their various cars. A college friend had “Beeper” in our Freshman year, and graduated to “Puff” (an Escort wagon—get it, “Puff the Magic…” yeah, I know).  Then there’s Lydia, who has had both “Norman” (the Neon) and “Tim” (the Toyota) in the time I’ve known her.
Lydia has also been known to name extremely random things, like her purse or her toaster. The only thing that bothers me about this habit of Lydia’s is she expects me to know who “Oscar,” “Petunia,” and “Maurice” are (her gym bag, vacuum cleaner, and cell phone, respectively). It’s hard to follow a conversation when she says things like, “I totally forgot Oscar today, and he had my work badge in him, so I couldn’t get into the office.” How the fuck am I supposed to make sense of that? It’s gotten so bad in the past I’ve had to ask for a scorecard, because of course she replaces something, and it doesn’t get the same name as the old one. When you replace Sylvester the hair dryer, you can’t call the new hair dryer Sylvester. Apparently.
I would think all of this was odd, and that my friends were all certifiable, except there is a memory I have from about age ten that has stayed with me. This memory makes me think the naming of things is a hereditary trait, something that one simply can't help doing.
Probably in the fall of the year, we had a very large spider in our dining room, way up by the crown molding. I suspect it was fall because that’s when these critters normally invaded our house. We once had a cricket who got in and ostensibly chirped for three months before we realized, in fact, the cricket had died after a week in our house, and the chirping was the warning noise of a low battery in a smoke detector that picked up right on cue and made us think we had an immortal cricket in our basement. We commented several times that it was an extremely hardy cricket. However, as usual, I digress.
Anyway, this spider hung out by the crown molding for about a week. He ranged around the room, checking out the corner by the plastic ivy plant hanging from the ceiling (providing that detail leaves no doubt that this was in the 70s), then the corner above the sideboard, taking in the sights. As spiders do. My dad started calling him “Abe.”
“There’s Abe—over by the picture.”
“Oh look, Abe’s on the other side of the room this morning.”
One day, Abe was gone.  My dad, of course, commented on the fact that he was missing.
You’d think that would be an end to it, but you don’t know my family. I swear to god, for years—years—well into my twenties, occasionally, not often, but perhaps every five or seven years, when a silence would fall over us at the dinner table, or when we were mindlessly watching a TV commercial, and my dad would say:
“I wonder what ever happened to old Abe?”
The thing is, when he said that I’d think, “Yeah, what did?"
Heredity. It's a sketchy game.
photo credit

Blog Tale: A Strage Coincidence

I have to share with you guys something super weird that happened on these here Innernets a couple of weeks ago. I think this falls under the “It’s a small world” heading in my personal filing system. It involves me and a couple of other bloggers, a chance post about “five things about me” on a blog, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and high school. Sound sufficiently random? It is. Ready? Here we go.

Michelle over at “Rubber Shoes in Hell” wrote a post based on a Facebook meme in which she was participating. It was to tell five random things about yourself, and then tag some other people do to do the same. Michelle doesn’t like to put people on the spot like that, so she tagged Elvis, Gandhi, and Winston Churchill, but in what would turn out to be an interesting stroke of luck, she also used it as material for her blog.

I read Michelle’s blog (and if you don’t, why not? Get over there! She’s awesome!) as does Cassandra over at The Next Delusion (again, not reading her? And her cool blog-partner Momus? You need to! A team written blog? How great is that?). Cassandra commented on Michelle’s post—her thing was that she’d met Ric Ocasek. Twice.

In my comments, I mentioned that I went to elementary school with JW Marriot’s granddaughters, and that I was at Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s high school graduation. I went to a school that started in third grade, and went up through high school. The graduation was held during the day on one of the last school days of the year, so everyone attended the graduation ceremony. I just happened to be in fifth grade the year Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a senior (and I have the yearbook that has her senior picture in it, along with about a million other pictures of her—she was in all the plays, and was, I believe, extremely popular with her classmates).

I went back to the comment thread a little while later because Michelle always has something to say when you comment (I love that and try to do it myself—it’s always nice when there’s a bit of a dialog). I found Michelle’s comment, but also one from Cassandra: “Oh my God! You went to my high school! I went to High School with the Marriott girls and Julia Louis Dreyfus SPOKE at my graduation. This is a small freaking world.”

What the what?!? So we emailed on the side, and it turns out that, indeed, Cassandra went to this school, but our tenures never overlapped. I attended from fourth through sixth grades, then went on to a different school that was closer to my house, and had a very different atmosphere. Cassandra started in ninth grade, and did all four years of high school there.

The school Cassandra and I attended was an all-girls school that was founded in the early part of the 20th century for the academic and spiritual education of girls (it’s not parochial, they just stress an education of the mind, soul and spirit). We wore uniforms, although when you got to middle and upper school, you could be “out of uniform” on Fridays. There were guidelines though—no shoes without heel straps, and restrictions regarding other items of clothing. For me, going to this school was kind of like going to school at a country club (I mean that in a good way). There’s an indoor pool (although it was built after I left), a weight room, a theater, and the whole thing is surrounded on three sides by rolling hills and fields, and has a wooded plot on the fourth. It’s a bit of pastoral tranquility that’s just off a busy road in a populous suburb of a major city.

When I transferred, I switched to a school that was inside the city limits. It was housed in a building that had at one point been a girl’s school, but had most recently been owned by a nearby law school. It was started in about 1968, so it was quite a bit “younger” than Cassandra’s and my mutual school.  It was co-ed, started in seventh grade and went through high school, and there were no uniforms. We called our teachers by their first names. The kids who were seniors when I was in seventh grade told stories about when they first started, and how they sometimes sat on the floor of the classroom because there weren’t always enough desks (they had remedied this by the time I got there). There were no school buses; I took the city bus from my house. We had the option to leave the school building during lunch to go to nearby stores (there was a Giant that had a salad bar, and some places that sold sandwiches) instead of eating a hot lunch in the school cafeteria (because there was no school cafeteria). In short, it was as different from my previous school as it could have been.

Understand I’m not intending to say one or the other was a better school. They’re both good schools with excellent reputations. I’m just pointing out how very different they were.

So Cassandra and I emailed, and as one does, we tossed around some names. She picked girls she knew had been there in fourth and fifth grade, and indeed, I did recognize everyone’s name. We talked about where some of the girls were now, and some who’d left whose whereabouts were unknown to us (one girl had left just before senior year to attend boarding school).

So to summarize, Michelle wrote a post that Cassandra and I both read and commented on, and in the process discovered we’d both gone to the same school (albeit and different times) and even knew some of the same people. But we figured it out in the comments section of a blog run by someone neither of us has ever met. We just both happened to stumble on her blog at one time or another. How weird is that?

Of course, now you've got that song in your head. Sorry.

A little while ago I was searching through some old pictures to find one to use on Facebook for Throwback Thursday. The box was a random collection of my family pictures from a generation or two ago, plus some from my childhood, and a handful of pictures of my own kids. I pulled out a small picture, taken in about 1980 with one of those Kodak cameras with the drop in film cartridge and the four sided flash that went off and then left what looked like a mixture of ash and whipped cream inside the flash cube.  It was a picture of my birthday party from the fourth grade. I looked at the girls in the picture, and named them to myself: my neighbor Laura, Tamara, Jessica, Melissa, and…whoa. There was Josie Levine! That was one of the girls Cassandra had said she was friendly with in high school, and here she was in a picture of my fourth grade birthday party.

It’s not a particularly original thought, but it really is a very strange, very small world.

The Trouble with Windows

We’ve been having some problems with car windows lately. Our cars aren’t brand new so it’s not really surprising that they’re starting to have problems, but it’s still annoying. I guess I should be grateful it’s windows and not things like transmissions or timing belts or something else that would cost a mortgage payment to get fixed. The weird thing is our problems really do seem to be isolated to windows.

The first window problem started about two years ago, when the driver’s side window on my husband’s car got sluggish in its transit up and down. It would judder and stall when it was half way open. You could make it go up an inch or so, and that would sort of give it a little burst of energy when you tried to send it back down that would allow it to make it all the way. It was a pain in the ass, but at least we could still go through the drive through in it. Which of course is very important to us, with our healthy lifestyles, and strict adherence to government dietary guidelines and so forth.

Then things went from bad to worse. The motor died completely. I think. Or maybe something broke? I don’t know, what the fuck do I look like, Mr. Goodwrench? The bottom line was the goddamned thing wouldn’t go up or down. So my husband replaced the motor or something. Whatever he did, it kinda worked, and then it completely stopped working. If you even tried to roll the window down, the glass would list forward, and it looked kind of like what happened in “Titanic” when the ship upended and went under for the last time. Only without the icebergs and lifeboats in the foreground, and sobbing, despondent teenage girls all around you.

My husband was able to get the window back the way it was supposed to be, but he gave me a stern instruction not to open the window. It was to remain closed. Period. That was maybe six months ago.

Fast forward to last weekend, when he took the minivan/ghetto wagon (getting to that), and I took his car to a couple of appointments I had on Saturday morning. The last one wound up right around noon, and I was feeling right peckish, so I stopped for a light snack (small fries and a small Diet Coke) at the drive through. Of course I rolled down the window to place my order. I know he’d told me not to do it, but that was six months ago. I can barely remember if I actually washed my hair this morning, and he expects me to remember not to roll down a window I was told not to roll down six months ago in a car I rarely drive? Seriously? WhatEVER.

So I ended up conducting this transaction around a triangle of window that looked like the dorsal fin of a Dale Chihuly-inspired shark sticking up in the middle of the window space. The guys at the drive through didn’t even give me a second glance. I guess when it comes to automotive weirdness, they’ve seen just about everything. When I got home I got a lecture, of course, which I responded to with a mature, understanding, and carefully considered, “Fuck off.”

To end your suspense, he was able to fix it, and he yanked the fuse that allows that window to operate, so I couldn’t make the same mistake again. That’s fine, but let me just tell you that while this was sort of my fault, the other window issue is 100% his fault. Here’s what happened.

Once again it’s been maybe as much as a year or so since it happened, but the hydraulic lift on the tailgate of our minivan gave out. Instead of, you know, replacing the fucking hydraulics, he decides the way to deal with this problem was to use a telescoping metal pole to hold the tailgate up when we were getting stuff in or out. I spent a lot of time worrying about what would happen when the pole slipped and the tailgate came crashing down on someone’s head, probably mine. As with almost everything in life, the things we worry about are not the things that actually end up going wrong.

He’d taken the kids on a Scout trip-overnight camping trip-white water rafting trip up in the mountains. He was in a parking lot somewhere, getting something out of the back of the van, and was in a hurry. As usual, the tailgate was propped up with the pole. Moving quickly, he didn’t think about the pole, and went to slam the back. Under his force, the pole shifted sideways, and shot up through the glass in the back window, completely destroying it.

When they returned the next day, there was an enormous sheet of plastic taped over the back window of the van. Combined with a scraped bumper (also courtesy of him) and a dinged tailgate (admittedly, courtesy of me), my minivan had been transformed into the ultimate ghetto wagon. It looked like complete shit. It continued to look that way until fairly recently, when he finally had the glass replaced.

We won’t have this problem again with the pole because about two weeks ago he ordered a new hydraulic kit from Amazon. It came, and he took it outside to install it. Fifteen minutes later he came back inside and said, “Well that wasn’t hard at all. If I’d realized it was that easy, I’d have done it a long time ago.”

Say what now? You mean to tell me I’m driving around in a car that looks like what Fred Sanford would have driven if he’d been a soccer mom instead of a junk dealer, and you could have saved us all kinds of trouble and money with fifteen fucking minutes and a screwdriver? Fuck you, motherfucker.

The funny thing is there was something about having that translucent plastic instead of clear glass as a back window that was sort of liberating. To get out of our neighborhood, you turn onto an actual highway (not a 60 mph interstate, but a state highway nonetheless). The speed limit is 50, and people are often going faster. Turning out into a gap in the traffic, sometimes I know people are going too fast and will have to slow down to accommodate my acceleration up to 50, and are probably thinking, “Thanks a lot, bitch,” or something similar. But even when I thought they might be glaring at me and judging me, I couldn’t see them glaring at me because of the plastic. I would think, “If I can’t see you, you can’t judge me.”

However, that doesn’t mean I liked having my car look like some kind of bad stereotype joke. Fortunately he got the glass replaced, and now it looks generally respectable again (well, except for all that duct tape residue around the back window, but nothing’s perfect, I guess). The side window in his car still doesn’t work, but I just have to remember to take the right car when I’m planning to hit the drive through.
Now I'd just call it "ghetto adjacent."

How I Met Your Father

Remember your first date with your current spouse? I do. Well, you probably do too. But this is my blog, so you’re hearing about mine. But you can tell me about yours in the comments, if you want. I’d love to hear about it. But first, you get to hear about mine.

My husband and I met in college. We were both what they call “nontraditional age students” (read: we both dicked around and took fucking forever to get through college). We were taking a Dickens class together. My husband still mocks me for not having read “A Tale of Two Cities,” because I didn’t, but I will say that “Bleak House” is one of my favorite books to this day. He asked me out three times, I refused all three times (sometimes one hits a blog post topic dry spell—saving that story for just such a time). A few months later I was dating the biggest asshole ever to walk the Earth (let’s swap stories sometime—even if you do turn out to have dated a bigger one, it’ll make for good laughs over margaritas). A very old and dear friend listened to my tales of his treatment of me (which I didn’t think was that bad, but she did, and she was right) and said, “Ugh. Don’t you know any nice guys?” I thought for a minute. For some reason, my now-husband came to mind.
“One. I know one nice guy.”
So I did.
I called him and suggested we go out. Mr. Cool said, “Let me call you Friday afternoon at work, and we can make a plan for Saturday. Would that work?” Sure, I said.
Friday afternoon came and went. It was really more like Friday evening. At 4:54 p.m. my desk phone rang. It was Mr. Cool, calling to make plans.
I forget the really detailed details, but we agreed that I would come to his house, and we would figure out where to go for dinner. There was something about his not wanting me to do a ton of research on restaurants we might go to in order to maintain a certain air of spontaneity. It’s probably worth noting that my job was Research Assistant for the ad sales department of a national newspaper, so research was kind of what I did. Also, this was the early 90s when restaurants were like theater and plays thirty years previously, and you went to the big names so you could say in casual conversation, “Oh sure, I’ve been there.” But I cooperated, and met him at his house as planned.
We decided to go to restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Jaleo, owned by Jose Andres. It has now expanded to something like six locations but this was the original location 20 years ago. I remember we had shrimp with garlic and tomatoes, an apple and Manchego salad (which I make to this day, and will give you the recipe for, if you want it—it involves cutting a lot of things into matchstick size pieces and dressing it with olive oil and sherry vinegar, but it’s very good), plus a number of other things, and a bottle of wine. We ate, we drank, we dug each other. He excused himself to go to the restroom, and leaned over and kissed me for the first time as he stood up. After dinner we went for a walk on the National Mall in the dark, with all the monuments theatrically lit. It was all nauseatingly romantic. As I left his house that night (no, we did not. I’m not that kind of girl. We waited a least a month, as I recall), I knew this was the man I would marry.
This is the scene of the crime
We started dating. Everything was great, no hiccups. We got married, fa la la.
However, starting the week after our first date, and for the next 20 years (and counting) people have gotten a very interesting impression of where we went on our first date any time either of us has told this story. Jaleo bills itself as a tapas bar (as indeed it is). You order lots of small plates and share them, and if you like something a lot, you order more of it. Since many people have never heard of Jaleo, we just say, "We went to a tapas bar."
Humor me here. Go find someone near you and say to them casually, in your normal voice without any enunciation, “Let’s go to a tapas bar.”
What was their reaction? Furrowed brow? Suspicious side eye? Appalled recoil? Jumped at the offer? Reported you to HR?
That’s because you said, “Let’s go to a TAH-PAHS bar,” but what they heard was, “Let’s go to a TOP-LESS bar.” Feel free to tell them they have a dirty mind, if you want to make them feel sheepish about the whole thing, but know that it’s what absolutely anyone you say that to will hear (unless they're from Spain, or possibly married to someone who is).
He told me at some point after we’d been dating for awhile that a few days after our first date, he’d been talking to some friends, who had known we were going out, and who’d asked how said date went. When he told them he’d taken me to a tapas bar, they said, “Whoa—does she have any single friends? What girl lets you take them to a topless bar?”
Ha fucking ha. Eyeroll.
For the last twenty years people have thought that our first date was at a topless bar. I have since learned to tell this story by saying, “We went to a tapas bar. Not a TOP-LESS bar. A TAH-PAS bar—a restaurant where they serve Spanish small plates that you share.” I mean after all, like I said, I am NOT that kind of girl. But I still get a funny look for a few seconds before I can get to the explanation part of my sentence.
P.S. Mr. Cool told me long after the fact that he actually got caught up in work and totally forgot he was supposed to call that Friday afternoon. He was racing home from work, praying that I’d still be at my desk when he got home just before 5 so I could take the call. So much for Mr. Cool.

Working at the Mall

My third job out of college was for a major long distance carrier. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of “long distance,” back in the Dark Ages, if you wanted to call a person who lived far away from you, you had to use a “long distance carrier” to place the call. This was a company you chose based on how recently they had sent you a check to bribe you to switch to their service. The “big three” were Sprint, MCI and AT&T. The truth is that initially they all just bought capacity from AT&T, which owned the fiber optic network long distance calls were carried on, before eventually laying their own cable, but never mind that. In any event, I worked for one of these three (not really important which one).


Let's face it--they were pretty much interchangeable

I worked there for almost exactly one year before getting laid off, much to my delirious joy. The woman I worked for was a control freak and a helicopter boss. In that one year I had met six people that I’d gotten to know well enough to converse with, and they were the people in my department, the girl who sat across from me, and the girl who sat next to me. There are two reasons for this. First is that my helicopter boss handled all the communication with our internal customers. I remember sitting in one meeting to hear about a project we were going to be working on. One. And my boss did all the talking. All other projects I worked on came through her, and my output was returned to the customer through the same channel. The second reason is the people themselves. People at this company were just unfriendly. I would cross paths with them in the kitchen, and they would studiously avoid eye contact, and respond with only the most cursory of nods to any words of greeting extended to them. It was weird.

Our offices were in a high rise building that was connected to a mall. My cube looked out on the top deck of the parking garage. To get to the parking garage, I had to walk through the food court of the mall. It was actually a fairly convenient location—the lunch options were diverse, since we had access to the food court, and more than once I got up from my desk and ran down to pick up a birthday card or present on a short break.

Since I was there for almost exactly 365 days, I was able to observe two phenomenon that have stayed with me to this day.  The first is Christmas at the mall.

Many are the outraged tirades I’ve seen on Facebook about “starting Christmas too early.” Nordstrom famously—and, in my opinion, smugly—puts up signs after Halloween every year declaring that you won’t find any Christmas decorations in their stores until the day after Thanksgiving. La di fucking da. Isn’t the absence of those decorations enough to make it clear that they’re not rushing Christmas? But no, they have to put up signs patting themselves on the back for making sure Thanksgiving doesn’t get stomped on by Christmas being rolled out too early. Like Thanksgiving has feelings and gives a shit.

Since I was at this company in the early 90s, and stores hadn’t quite gotten to the point that they were putting out Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, Christmas sort of crept in to the mall next to my office. The first thing we noticed was that the muzak had some Christmas songs in the mix when we walked through the food court. Then we’d see the big decorations that the mall owned and put out every year. Santa’s chair was set up, and a sign told us when we’d be able to come see Santa in a few weeks. The stores started to decorate. By Thanksgiving, the mall was in full on Yuletide mode.

But the most prominent memory for me is the parking deck. Remember it was the view from my cube. I started this job in August or September (I forget the exact date), and for the first couple of months of my employment, I could look out on the deck and there might be three or four cars up there. Some days it was completely empty and remained that way.

But starting in late November, an interesting thing happened. More and more cars started parking up there. This mall isn’t far from the Pentagon and the offices that surround it, so lots of people would come over to the mall on their lunch hour to do their holiday shopping. By mid-December, looking down on the deck around lunchtime, it was almost half full. Then the amount of time during which the upper deck was somewhat full began to lengthen—there would be a good number of cars there from 10 or 10:30 until about 3 p.m., with almost all the spaces being taken during lunch. The week before Christmas, from about 9:30 a.m. until the time I left the office, the top deck was almost completely solid with cars. (We had reserved parking in another part of the garage, so I didn’t have to fight people for spaces, fortunately.) What I find interesting about this is that if the top deck was solid with cars, it meant that the four levels beneath it were too. That’s a lot of people, when you think about it.

Then the holidays passed, and winter changed to spring, and another interesting thing happened.

Washington, D.C. is a popular spring break destination. Schools from all over the country send groups of kids to D.C. to take in the history, tour the museums, and learn about our country’s early years. They also, apparently, make sure they get a chance to check out important landmarks like Banana Republic and The Gap, presumably so they can see how the D.C. locations of those stores differ from the ones they have in Raleigh or Cleveland or Omaha. (Spoiler: they don’t.)

Look it's Short Hills Mall! Or is it King of Prussia? Or possibly the Mall of America. Because THEY ALL LOOK THE FUCKING SAME.
Busloads of kids would be dropped off at the mall, where they would swarm through it, eating Auntie Annie’s pretzels and drinking Slushees and checking out chain stores that were exactly the same as the ones they had at home. I’ve never understood this. People travel thousands of miles so they can go try on the same tan chinos they could buy at a store ten minutes from their own homes. I could see if they went to Georgetown, or Old Town Alexandria. While those areas do have a few places that are nationally prominent, they have a lot of small boutique type stores with interesting and diverse merchandise. But these kids were salivating to get to Ann Taylor and The Limited so they could look at the same earrings and bangle bracelets that were for sale at every Ann Taylor on planet earth.

So I spent probably six weeks watching these kids exclaim with excitement when they discovered that this mall had all the same stores their mall had. Wasn’t that cool? Ohmuhgod, they totally have Eddie Bauer here too! Squee! Then the spring break season ended, and the crowds reduced back down to more normal levels, or at least were comprised of more adults than teenagers.

About three months after that, the director of my department called me into her office and informed me that they would have to let me go, that the amount of work the department was being asked to do didn’t justify my position, and they were eliminating it. Her manner clearly indicated that she was delivering what she thought would be bad news, and cause me great distress. The truth was I had to restrain myself to keep from kissing her full on the mouth. This was the best news I’d gotten in months. No more would I have to try to pry a pleasantry out of some surly office drone while I was microwaving a Lean Cuisine. Never again would I be given work to do in such a way that it felt more like homework than a professional contribution to an organization. And I can’t say I felt much in the way of regret when the rise of cell phones pretty much drove this particular long distance carrier out of existence. About the only thing I’ve ever missed was getting to see the parking lot at Christmas, and the throngs of kids in the spring. They were the most interesting parts of the whole job.

Changing the Channel

I am not proud to reveal that my children watch a lot of TV during the summer. Oh, I make them turn it off at some point, and we have a mostly TV free day, but early in the morning, and in the evening, it’s a Cartoon Network-Disney XD marathon in my living room. It does, however, give me the chance to compare the TV watching of my childhood with the experience my kids have.

I monitor what my kids watch fairly stringently. I look things up on and have vetoed a couple of shows on the grounds that they’re inappropriate. I feel like a troll policing them so rigorously but there’s so much more television now. We have satellite, and for example you could, if you were so inclined, watch SpongeBob from dawn until dusk. There’s an East coast and a West coast feed of Nickelodeon, which means that SpongeBob starts at 6 a.m. ET, and goes off at 9 a.m. ET. At 9 ET, the West coast feed starts up and runs for three hours. When the West coast morning feed ends, the East coast afternoon feed starts up. Seriously—All. Fucking. Day. I actually put my foot down and flat out banned that irritating little anthropomorphic rectangle of cellulose.
I despise this asshole
I don’t recall my parents ever telling me I couldn’t watch something, or even telling me I had to turn the TV off. I don’t know if my parents really paid any attention to what I watched. But then, a lot of what I watched was what they watched, because there was one of me and two of them, and we only had one TV set. We got a portable in the mid-70s, and I remember watching a few shows in my room, or sitting on a stool in the kitchen. That was when a portable TV was actually portable. Flat screen TVs may give you a better picture (because thank god—I would hate to think my kids were watching “Jessie” in anything less than perfect lifelike resolution and unadulterated crystalline definition) but you can’t take them to your bedroom and sit on the floor playing Legos while you watch the 1976 Winter Olympics.


My kids never miss a show, either, because they can set up anything to record at any time of the day or night. It used to be that if you wanted to watch “Donny & Marie” or “Gimme a Break!” you made sure you were home when the show was on. It sounds sad to say we planned our lives around the TV schedule, but to some extent we did. Somehow it doesn’t seem sad to me, because it meant that those shows were special—we weren’t just staring at whatever happened to be in front of our eyes, which is often what my kids appear to be doing. They don’t really care that much about watching “Austin & Ally” or “The Amazing World of Gumball.” They’re just watching it because it happens to be on. They may have picked it, but it was picked from a list of perhaps five other shows. It’s almost like they pick the thing they don’t want to watch least, if that makes any sense (“I don’t want to watch ‘Kickin’ It,’ I don’t want to watch ‘Lab Rats,’ I don’t want to watch ‘Adventuretime’…guess I’ll watch ‘The Regular Show’ since there’s nothing else on.” If there’s nothing you really want to watch just turn off the fucking TV).

They also never miss any part of a show. Thanks to the pause button, they can stop a show at any point, and start it back up where they left off. Never will they know the stress of trying to hurry up and pee because there’s someone yelling from the room with the TV, “The show’s back! Hurry up!” I’m convinced that the people who scheduled the commercials figured out how long it takes the average person to go to the bathroom, and made it so the commercial break was one 30 second spot short of that window.

With the DVR and fast forward, watching commercials is also a thing of the past. With the possible exception of the Super Bowl, people don’t really seem watch them anymore. When we were kids, commercials even played a role in influencing our vernacular. Who didn’t imitate Clara Peller, saying, “Where’s the beef?” at least once between 1984 and about 1990? Other than shit like Stompeez and Stufeez (and may I say that I don’t know who invented those things, but I hate that person or people with the blinding heat of a thousand fiery suns), a few lame toys, and (oddly) ads for insurance companies, there don't really seem to be that many commercials on the shows my kids watch. Mostly they air promos for upcoming shows on the same network. Or, if it’s Disney XD, a video of the cast members of every single Disney XD show singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” which never fails to embed an earworm in my brain that takes days for me to get rid of. So, you know, thanks for that Disney XD.

They’ll never dig the TV guide out of the Sunday paper to see what’s going to be on this week. The TV guide may, in fact, have been the whole reason you got the newspaper on Sunday. That way you knew what the ABC Afterschool Special would be on Wednesday, and when the football game was on. TV guide had the most comically simplistic crossword puzzles in the history of crossword puzzles with clues like “a four letter word for ‘an accessory to hold up pants.’” My kids have never seen a paper TV guide. They know only the onscreen satellite guide that they can access with our remote.

Or you could look in the paper. Notice all the channel listings fit on a single broadsheet page.

They will also never know the pain of not being able to receive a channel. Where we lived there was a channel 20 (which is, of course, on UHF, which is another concept they’ll never understand—a TV set with two channel dials), the transmitter for which was on the other side of a tall high rise building that just happened to be on the corner of our block. The building blocked our reception of channel 20, which of course was the channel that showed cartoons like “Kimba the White Lion” and “Speed Racer” after school. I didn’t realize until I was an adult and bought a couple of “Speed Racer” DVDs for my kids just how astonishingly lame that show was. The closest my kids will come to this is that our satellite package doesn’t include The Game Show Channel or something (not that they care about The Game Show Channel, but if I told them it existed, and we didn’t get it, they would, in the way of children, be outraged at being denied access to it).

My kids won’t have the option to watch a favorite show on a different channel owned by the same network, but then, they probably won’t have the need, either. Sometimes our local station would be showing something else in place of one of our favorite shows. My mom and I were devoted to “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island” every Saturday night (no, we didn’t get out much). Occasionally our local ABC station would be showing something else—I don’t know, a Jerry Lewis telethon or something. In a pinch, we could watch ABC on the Baltimore channel (which, surprisingly we got, even though we couldn’t get channel 20, which was four miles away as the crow flies off of River Road—go figure). So we could watch, but it was a bit unsatisfying. Sure, we got to see this week’s episode with Guest Stars Barbi Benton and Charo, along with Gopher and Isaac Your Bartender, but it always looked as though there was an unlikely blizzard on the Mexican Riviera because of all the static. Channels don’t preempt regular programing as much as they did back in the day.

Of course, TV is now 24/7 and there are 984 channels. There’s no such thing as “not on the air” which means that the national anthem playing at 2 a.m., or turning on the TV on Sunday morning and seeing a test pattern don’t ever happen. If my kids wanted to get up at 4 a.m. and watch SpongeBob, they could. Which again to me seems to take some of the “specialness” away from TV. My generation was the one for which TV became a given, but for my kids’ generation, it’s the one for which it will become completely taken for granted, just another dementedly jabbering block of plastic that takes up space in our homes.

I guess where I’m going with this is that I think it’s kind of sad that TV has no magic for my kids. They can watch whatever, whenever. As a perfect example, take “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in my house. When I was a kid, once a year Dolley Madison (or possibly Mounds and Almond Joy) would sponsor its airing on CBS, and my dad and I would watch it religiously. We checked the TV guide to find out when it would be showing and when it came on, by god we watched. Now we own it on DVD, and if they were allowed (THEY ARE NOT) my kids could watch it any time during the year, and 450 times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and completely ruin it for themselves by overexposure. This is why I have it hidden where they can’t get at it and only pull it out on Christmas Eve, when we watch it as a family. Once per season, the way God and Charles Schultz intended.

A Parent's Dilemma

What do you do when you really can’t stand one of your kids’ friends? My kids have this friend that all four of them adore. I’m so sick of hearing his name, I can’t even tell you. We were pretty free of him this summer, because he wasn’t at their camps, but now that school is about ready to begin again, they’re starting to invoke his name. Repeatedly. It’s like they say his name over and over, just to remind themselves that he exists. All during the school year they talk about him incessantly. Since one of the four people who reads my blog might be his mother (she isn’t), I’ll just use an initial to identify him.

All day while we were doing back to school shopping and organizing, all I heard were things like:

“I bet Z will be surprised I was able to get all my school stuff into my backpack!” Why does my son think the kid gives a shit that he was able to get two containers of Clorox wipes, a box of tissues, a binder, and three packs of pencils into a backpack? I’m his mother, and I’m not even that interested in the fact that he was able to do that.

“Mommy, is Z in my class?” I have no fucking idea, but I sincerely hope not. They’re hepped up because I was able to find out a few people who were in their classes through Facebook friends, but I am most decidedly not Facebook friends with this kid’s parents. (More on that in a minute.)

“I bet Z will get a blue binder like this one, so I’m going to get this one!” Well, it frankly doesn’t matter what Z does—you should do what you want. Please yourself, not your friend. He doesn’t have to use the binder all year, you do.

The kind of sad thing is it’s not really the kid I dislike. He’s not really a bad kid. I just get tired of hearing his name fourteen thousand times a day. It’s actually his parents that are the real problem. Z, age 9, is their oldest, and they’re on the young side--I’d be surprised if they were 35 yet--and they’re young for being young, if you know what I mean (and if you don’t, what I’m saying is they’re kind of fucking immature). I’m not sure what the dad’s deal is but at some point it was communicated to me, by my kids, that the dad thought my oldest was “a bad influence” on his kid, and that Z “shouldn’t listen” to what my kid said. I believe they were talking about something of tremendous global significance and far reaching consequence, like Pokemon.

Well right there I think this guy’s an asshole, right? Does he remember the kind of smack he talked when he was 10 or 11? Kids that age--especially boys--are always instructing each other on matters of importance (to them) and slinging shit because they really don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. The first rule of tween is, “If you’re not sure, make some shit up that sounds plausible and say it with conviction.” It’s where we get urban legends like the couple out parking and the guy with the claw hand, and the bug infested beehive hairdo. If it weren’t for pre-adolescent kids (and gullible morons, of course), would be out of business.

The other unforgivable sin they’ve committed is that they haven’t RSVP’d to my kid’s birthday parties.

I’ll admit, I’m a real asshole about RSVPs. Even back when they were paper invitations, and we had to pick up the phone and call to respond, I found it unforgiveable when people didn’t. They’re busy, I’m busy, but I took the time out of my schedule to mail them an invitation, now they can take 90 seconds and call me back to tell me if they’re coming. The fastest way to get on my shit list is to not let me know if you’re coming to my functions. You didn’t bring a hostess present? No problem. I don’t get a thank you note after? I could care less. If you told me you enjoyed it as you were leaving, and said thank you, we’re good. But if you couldn’t bother yourself to acknowledge that I extended an invitation, and let me know if you were coming or not, then honestly? Fuck you (not you-reading-this, but you know, the collective non-RSVPers).

And today it’s even less forgivable. Evite means that you open it, you read it, you decide if you can come, and you click a fucking button yes or no. If people can’t even be bothered to do that (and some, it would seem, cannot), then it’s not just fuck you, it’s fuck you with mustard and every time I see you know that I am judging you in the judgiest way.

See those buttons? You click them. Not fucking hard.

Oh calm down, I hear people saying. Aren’t you getting a tad worked up about something that’s really a little thing that you should just let go? You know, don’t sweat the small stuff, right?

Well, on the one hand, yes, but on the other hand, no. I have to buy food and provide beverages. If I don’t know how many people to expect, I have to overbuy on the off chance that the rude non-RSVPers decide to show, and then I may end up throwing out food. Really not something I can afford to do, you know?

But then there’s the specific situation with this kid. My twin boys are 9, and as different as they can possibly be in every way. One of them is outgoing, the class clown, everyone’s best friend. He has a million friends, and everyone who meets him loves him. The other one is shyer, more reserved, has fewer friends, and feels things much more deeply. This is the kid I found at age seven crying in bed with a picture of one of our cats two months after it had been put to sleep. A cat, I should point out, who had lived entirely in our basement for four years previously, and was ten years old when this child was born. In short, a cat with whom he’d had very little interaction over the years, and yet, there he was, sobbing his eyes out because he missed the cat. Sweet Jesus.

For the past two years this kid has invited Z to his birthday parties. He generally has a guest list of about four kids. The first year it was a sleepover, and I sent out the Evite comfortably in advance. No response. Finally I saw the parents at a community event and flat out asked if he’d be attending. Naturally they had no plausible way out of it, so he came. It was fine—like I said, it’s not really the kid that bothers me.

This year it was a party at the rock climbing gym. Again, Evite sent, again no response. This year I put my foot down. If his mother was too self-involved and generally rude to even respond, then frankly she could go fuck herself. Where I come from it’s basic manners to let someone know you’re attending a party. But I’ve covered that rant.

No, what really raises my blood pressure is that this is the sensitive kid. This is the kid who will take it most to heart that his friend, or really, his friend’s fucking mother doesn’t care enough, and doesn’t have sufficient social graces to let us know that they won’t be attending, for whatever reason. Until the day of the party he kept asking me if Z’s mom had replied. Every time I said, “No, sweetheart, I’m sorry, she hasn’t,” I felt like I was killing a little piece of his heart. My son even mentioned it to Z several times in school, and I know Z mentioned it to her, and still this bitch couldn’t get off her rude, lazy ass and say yes or no.

I flat out told my kids that this was the last time this child was invited to any function sponsored by our family. I explained that it wasn’t Z, but his rude fucking mother (I’m summarizing) that I objected to, and that I was done with her bad manners. I explained that if you’re blatantly rude often enough, people stop inviting you to things. Clearly Z and his family don’t care, but I want my children to understand that people will treat them the way they treat others. You’re invited to parties and completely ignore the invitations? Expect them to stop. I guess the next time I see an Evite that says “Z’s Birthday Party!” (Z did invite them to his birthday party earlier this year—I RSVP’d and even clarified how many of my four children she was expecting, because I have manners, bitch; I was hoping that modeling the behavior for her would be a hint. I should have known better), I will delete it without opening it. And you can bet your ass that’s what’s going to happen. Vindictive, and maybe a little juvenile? I won’t argue. But you don’t fuck with my kid. You make him sad, you hurt him, you fucking deal with me, and I’ll play on your childish level if that’s what it takes to get my message across to you.