Friday, January 29, 2010

I Got Your Good Manners Right Here

We all know that there are rude people in the world. But lately, they seem to be everywhere. Why are good manners and common courtesy so freaking hard for people? I try every day to use my good manners and to instill them in my children. [Editor's Note: Pay no attention to the fact that Lydia totally snarks off once she's in her happy place. Like here. Or at my house. -Kate] And people, I am from New Jersey so that is like hard-squared. But at least I try. And my kids really are polite. Most of the time. I sort of feel like my success as a parent is in part determined by how well behaved and polite my little terror suspects are. Talk about a losing battle.

As I have mentioned in the past, Hawk and Thumbelina were born in Alabama and there is no place on Earth where nonsense and snottiness from children is less tolerated than Alabama. [Kate says no place except maybe Texas] [Editor's Note: But that's only because every third person has a gun - duh. -Kate] So my first few years as a parent were informed by how people in Alabama expected their children to behave - especially in public. Kids down there had better mind their p's and q's and, at least to me, it seems that they do. Perhaps for fear of a whuppin'. Or because parents use some sort of mass-hypnosis technique. Because I have no other plausible explanation for how so many small children could be so quiet during church services every Sunday. It was almost scary.

Thumbelina, a little Southern Belle to her core, prides herself on her good manners. I have been told countless times what a sweet and well-mannered girl she is and when she hears about that, she preens. Well done, Thumbelina. Now, let’s try it at home. At school it's "thank you" and "please" and "may I" and "Ma'am", all with an angelic smile. Meanwhile, at home it's “MMMOOOOOMMM – I’m huuunnnnggryyy. Whaddya mean we don’t have any cheese sticks?! Hawk, you’re being a TURD. HEY! I’m hungry NOW, Mom!”

Oh no you dih-dunt.

But Hawk is worse. If I ask him to put on his coat once, using a nice voice and polite words, I can expect to be completely ignored. By ask #6, I am growling and he will scowl at me and growl back: “Not until you say PLEASE!”

Oh yes you did.

I am failing at raising respectable and respectful small Americans. It's so disappointing. But the above may also illustrate a kind of nature/nurture debate – you see, Thumbelina was born desperately wanting to be good and sweet and princess-y and Hawk was born truly not giving a shmidt. Mini-mini-me is still in development. It could go either way with that one. You know why I love the whole nature/nurture thing? Because then there's a chance that it's NOT MY FAULT. And let's get something straight. Based on the behavior of my children lately, you should take anything I say about parenting with a rather large grain of salt. Like a grain possibly the size of a boulder. Like Boulder, Colorado.

It's not just me, though. Lately, I am seeing a lot of over-entitled children. Ones who seem to think they are owed that juicebox in my hand and there is no need for them to say please in order to get it. I served snack at preschool and asked a three year old: "What do you say?" as I waited and waited and waited for a 'please'. The 'please' never came, just one small, raised eyebrow as if to indicate that I was not providing baby carrots in a timely enough fashion.

Then last week, it occurred to me that it wasn't just the kids. There are tons of really rude and disrespectful parents all over the place. How have I not noticed this before now? Have they always been there? Did a bunch of them just move here and I didn't notice? Or was it the Blur? We may never know.

Would you like an example? I have been to three funerals in the past four weeks. It has been wretched. At the last one, I saw some ladies I know from sports or scouts or something and they were behaving so badly that I was tempted to let my Jersey out. They were chatting, gossiping, giggling and talking about how the deceased should have taken better care of themselves. I had to stop myself from causing a scene. I wanted to grab this one woman's ponytail and use it to ricochet her head into the pew, in the hopes that it would scramble her brains back into alignment. How can you possibly talk trash at a funeral? Who are you?

But what did I do? I did nothing. I didn't even give her the Maude face. And I have been stewing ever since. Maybe I should have used the Carmela face (see below). So I have decided to use this blog as an opportunity to say something now. Here's a quick list of things I could have (should have?) said. Feel free to put them on little cue cards and tuck them in your purse. Handy. OK, here we go:

  • "Can I get you guys some lattees? No? Because in case you bitches didn't notice, we're not at Starbucks. So shut the hell up. Peace be with you."
  • "Hey. You might want to keep your buzzing little voices down because the deceased was my immediete family and my post-partum is flaring up and I'm off my meds and [angrily swat imaginary flies] I. Don't. Like. Buzzing. Noises."
  • "Omigawd you guys - move over, I like, totally brought UsWeekly. What? You don't want to see why Jen is awesome five years after Brad? Seriously? Oh. Because gossiping at a funeral is actually horrific? And you two should be totally ashamed of yourselves? Yeah. Boo-yah."
  • "Excuse me. Maybe you should just text each other a lot during the actual eulogy. Because that would be less rude."
  • "I don't mean to interrupt your conversation, but you seem to have something in your hair. Oh. I see. It's your horns. My bad."
When you take into consideration that I even have thoughts like those listed above, then obviously, I am no better than the women that I am castigating in this blog. I am Jersey. Hear me roar. But I am now faced with a two-front war against bad manners: trying to make sure that my children and I are polite and then figuring out how to deal with the rudeness that I see everywhere. And as with everything else, I am clearly over-matched.

Until someone from Alabama or Texas sends me that mass-hypnosis thingee, I guess this is my only solution. I will continue to fight the good fight at home and in public. I will stay classy, San Diego. But watch out if you cross the courtesy line, heifers, because I am a mommy and I have blog. Oh, and I have my cue cards ready.


Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's One Thing to Take a Nine Iron to Your Husband's Head

Lydia and I have made it clear how we love Elin Nordegren (Woods) and how, even though we aren't violent people, sometimes one has to make one's putting a divot in someone else's head.
And, hey. Effective. Tiger's not playing on some strange fairway anymore, is he?
Add to that, as of this morning, we sorta love Elizabeth Edwards. She kicked the cheating/baby-making/denying/admitting husband of her out of the house...Lydia and I like to think she would have done it sooner, but she had to find him first. Betcha on days like that, she wished she had opted for a little bungalow, huh?
So, score two for kicking the rat bastards out of the house...

[Editorial Note: Here's where you start humming the theme song to "Maude" And, if you don't know it, you just must discover the AWESOMENESS that is Maude, and why I - and now Lydia - love her so. - Kate]

Go here first:

Now that you got your head bouncing. And then there's YaVaughnie:

Yep. It's a billboard. Seems a jilted girlfriend of a - yes - married man decided to get even when he dumped her after 8 years, and spilled the beans on their relationship via REALLY BIG SIGNS.

Including Times Square:

And another one just outside his family's home.

To the tune of $250,000.

But that's no problem because she just sold the twenty MILLION dollar house he bought her.

The next day, he admitted he had an affair with her. FOR EIGHT YEARS. Yeah, one would think that 47-foot high photographs of him sticking his face in her boobs would make it difficult for him to be like, "What? She's just a friend."

Oh, and she posted all eight years of photographs of them on her website.

[Editorial Note: Just a quick aside here. How do these people go on all these beachy/boat-y/ski-y vacations with people who aren't their spouses? Lydia and I can barely have drinks with other moms for one evening without the near constant barrage of e-mails and texts inquiring when we'll be home. Or the milk status. How the hell do they go all the way to Maui?? - Kate]

This guy is apparently a big wig for Oracle. You'd think he would have seen this coming.

After all, it's WAY bigger than a golf club.

Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Remember when people would ask you and your Cap'n or McLovin about the beginning of your time together, when you met, how you knew it was "forever" - gag. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about forever -- Season One notwithstanding -- hmm, this would be one of those places where my sweet old tiny Scottish grandmother would say "yeh needin' to be stoppin' here Lass...thar hole yer diggin' is gettin' a wee big..."


So, one of our awesome people wrote and said, "you and Lydia are sooooo different. [Editor's Note: the Choo v. Clog debate proved that yesterday, didn't it?? - Kate] Can't even imagine how you became friends, much less collaborate on getting your blog done."

It started with Lefty and Thumbelina. They were in the same class together. But aside from the occasional hellos and trading of Mom Duties, we didn't chat. Kate had just had Happy, and was working - like ALL. THE. TIME. And Lydia was toting around Baby Hawk, adjusting to working full time after three and a half years at home and trying to look like she wasn't coming apart at the seams.

One day during Lefty's class, the teacher said to Kate, "Our project today -- wrapping string that had been dipped in a variety of colored GLUE around a balloon, waiting for it to dry, popping the balloon and putting a light in it a la Oriental Lanterns -- was a suggestion of Lydia's, I think."

I was like, "Fantastic. I'm gonna come up with one involving dog poop and peeled grapes for her Mom Day."

[By the way, that project? The string? HUGE disaster. Deformed, limp globular orbs that, once the balloon was popped, sorta morphed into shriveled prune-y "light" that would drip re-melting glue on your head when heated up by a light bulb. Awesome. Is it still in my house? Yep. Because it, like Jefe, are destined to be with me forever. ]

[Editorial Comment: For the record, NOT my project. I do not believe in balloons. I mean that. I do not acknowledge their existence because they serve one purpose and that is to make small children cry. But it's an easy mistake because I do love crafts. A lot. In an unhealthy way. - Lydia]

I thought Lydia was just. so. great. And she thought I was Working Mom Barbie. Complete with requisite collection of shoes, clothing and vapidness. I might also have been sort of a bitch. Lydia reminded me of the time she complimented me on my outfit and something about setting the bar high for the other moms -- which is super flattering and requires an equally magnanimous and suitably appreciative response. Apparently, mine was "Yeah." [It might have been "Hmmm Mmmm." - Lydia]

Nice Kate.

But, to balance the scales, when Lydia broke her ankle while pregnant with Mini Mini Me, and everyone made dinners for her family, the Cap'n took to calling me Enchiladas. Justifiable, since I basically ambushed him outside the preschool with this absurd tray of enchiladas. [PS - Spiral fracture. Surgery. Plate and six screws put in with no anesthesia or pain killers because I was pregnant. Do I have good future guilt leverage or what?? - Lydia]

And blathering about cooking instructions while he's trying to load Hawk and Thumbelina into the car. Oh, and I'm a COMPLETE stranger.

I'm stupid.

I just didn't realize he still calls me Enchiladas. And that Lydia refers to me, to him, as Enchiladas. And he says it like he's Herve Villechaize, even though -- and I'm pretty sure the Cap'n will agree -- he is the whitest white boy since that kid on the Fresh Beat Band. [Because those enchiladas were BAD*ASS. And really, we were practically strangers at the time and she cooked an amazing dinner for my whole family - that lasted a week - out of *niceness*. So I promptly forgot the whole "Hmmm Mmmm" incident and just enjoyed the cheesy, melty deliciousness. Also, I would like to mention that coming out of the mouth of any other man, nicknaming Kate "Enchiladas" would seem sort of salacious and gross, but from the Cap'n - who is Senor Squarepants - it is a clear reference to food. - Lydia] [See? Told ya. Whitest. White Boy. Ever. - Kate]

But, as all great teams discover, all you need is a catalyst. 
Let's call her Dora. Let's call ALL of them Dora.

I'm all for people who say what they think, and mean it, and aren't too timid to say something that everyone else in the room may not agree with. But this preschool that Lydia and I spend way too much time at has some people that really need to shut their traps. I'm eternally tempted to arm myself with bite-sized morsels of food at all times just so I can say something like "Canape?" every time they start to talk, and they'll eat it and have to be quiet for 8 seconds. Then I can escape. I timed myself, using McLovin:

Me: Here, eat this.
McLovin: Why?
Me: Duh. For SCIENCE.
McLovin: *sigh*
[shove crabcake in mouth]
McLovin: mmm ris is reery goo --
Me: SHUT UP! Can't you see I'm doing important research here?
[walk away at accelerated pace]
McLovin: Whr r ooo -
Me: Science, remember? Chew and swallow.
[elapsed time]
McLovin: What the hell Kate? I'm supposed to eat something and you walk away?
Me: [sing-songy] I can't hear you. I can't hear la la...[turns back to McLovin] It TOTALLY works!
McLovin: You need medication.
Me: No way. I'm doing a scientific study here. Look. By the time you were done chewing -- and just a crabcake --I was across the driveway. If I would have given you a caramel or piece of ice, I could have been further.
McLovin: Can I give you a piece of ice?
Me: You're not doing science. But I could totally go for a caramel. Do you have one?
McLovin: I'm walking away from you now.
Me: What?! Without giving me a crabcake? What about a caramel? You suck at science.

So at the beginning of school we're sitting in this big room around a table getting all the school instructions. Some of which are great, like "please don't bring sick children to school." And some of which suck, like "parent helpers don't punish misbehaving children. The teacher will employ redirection tactics." Really? Like into traffic? Five minutes in, I'm Maude-facing all over the place. Then I look over at Lydia.

And she's Maude-facing right back at me.

It was awesome.

The next day, we were in the parking lot outside the preschool for two hours, talking each other thru nervous breakdowns like we're Dr. Phil or something...and plotting the birth of MommyLand.

We would say you're welcome, but we'd totally prefer to say THANK YOU! For reading, for laughing, for keeping us off prescription meds...for coming back.

Lydia, to Kate: What the -- You're getting all misty.

Kate, to Lydia: No I'm not. Shut up.

Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clogs vs. Choos - You be the Judge

I swear Lydia is going to be the end of me. I am ALL about her new 'do, her purchase of yoga pants for the purpose of doing yoga and her Wii Fit activities (myself, I just do the Zen balance game by putting our huge Encyclopedia Britannica on the Wii board and walk away. The Wii always puts up this message: "Your weight has changed significantly since your last use. Would you like to continue?" Oh, even yesser I want to continue. I now weigh 42 pound or whatever that book weighs, and I ROCK that game. Wii compliments me on how still I can sit and how well I meditate, and I'm really over at my desk writing this and eating a donut. And that's how you play Wii.) But then this happened:

Lydia: I wore a skirt today!
[phone rings again]
Lydia: Sorry. I think my phone just died of shock.
Kate: What?! You in a skirt? That's fantastic!
Lydia: Yep! A cute jean skirt from Old Navy (I bought it last week when I was getting new yoga pants for $12!!) -- and Thumbelina was like "Wow Mommy. I looooooove your skirt! I wish I had one just like that but in a much much smaller size." -- and a cute black top, black opaque tights, clogs and I showered and --
Kate: Wait. I'm sorry. What?
Lydia: I showered.
Kate: Gotcha. Right before that part...
Lydia: Clogs? They --
[phone rings again]
Kate: Now you just killed my phone too.
Lydia: Any. Way. So these cute black clo--
Kate: No, sister. Stop there. Don't say that word to me.
Lydia: What? You mean, clog-
[confused silence]
Lydia: But they were cute.
Kate: No. Impossible.
Lydia: No. They're not like frumpy clogs --
Kate: OK, you must stop. Unless you are either Dutch, or performing in some Heritage Day festival with the wooden ones with the pointy tips, I cannot have a discussion with you about clogs. You might as well smoosh your feet into really thick mud and then let it dry and pretend those are shoes
Lydia: Suck it, fancy. These are special clogs. They're --
Kate: By special, do you mean orthopedic?
Lydia: Well, yes. Actually they are orthopedic.
Kate: They may as well be geriatric. They are orthopedic clogs, Lydia. They have to go.
Lydia:'d like them. They're cute. And, HELLO, I wore a skirt.
Kate: OK, you get a pass for this one. ONE. Promise me you won't buy PajamaJeans.
Lydia: No way. They'd go awesome with my CLOGS!
Kate: I have to hang up now. You're hurting me.
Lydia: You know what doesn't hurt? My feet. Cuz I'm wearing clogs.
Kate: Can you stop saying that word?
Lydia: (singing) Cloggitty clog! CLOGTASTIC! Clogriffic! Clooooogggs!
Kate: Seriously? I'm going to write about this and embarrass you.
Lydia: Bring it on, Choo. They're totally going to be on my side.

Kate: OK, we'll let them vote. If you win, I'll sacrifice a pair of shoes. If I win, the clogs go.
Lydia: First of all - which pair of clogs? I have three!
Kate: [sigh] You're not kidding, are you?
Lydia: No! I love them! And I bet I'll win and I'll get to keep my clogs. You know why? One word: PITY.
Kate: Crap. You may be right.

And now, for the Major Motion Picture Event! Grab some popcorn moms...this is epic.

Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zero to Terror Attack in Six Seconds

It's Sunday evening and we have just finished a really nice dinner. Everyone is happy and relaxed. The littles, adorable in their jammies, actually cleared the table without being reminded and were each rewarded with an episode of "Phinneas and Ferb" and a popsicle. Even the baby got a popsicle in her high chair and she was thrilled, as were her throbbing gums.  Frank Capra would have been proud.

Since all seemed well, I handed off all kid tending-duties to the Cap'n and went downstairs to try and get some laundry done. And maybe even change the cat box. I'm down in the basement, enjoying the quiet and imagining a week when I am actually, for once, on top of all my hated housework... when the attack began. The entire duration of the incident lasted about six minutes. Here goes.

First, the phone rings. And rings. And rings some more. [Editorial Note: That would be me. -Kate]

Then I hear the baby start to cry. Perhaps shriek would be a better word.

Then upstairs, I hear my husband bellow: "I am in the POTTY. Do not come at me with THE PHONE. What the?! HELLLO? HELLO? Thumbelina, your mommy is downstairs."

Then I hear scampering feet and realize with dread that they are scampering towards me. I hear other small feet, these ones are not scamper-y but rather make a noise like "slappy - slappy - slappy" which means that Hawk is barefoot and he has followed his sister downstairs.  (Despite the sound of his feet, he is neither a Hobbit nor a sea lion.)

The baby shifts her shrieking into high gear as windows and random glasswear begin to shatter from the force and power of her small lungs.

The kids throw open the laundry room door and announce breathlessly: "MOMMMY!! MOM! MOMMMY! The phone rang!" and then hand it to me. I take it and see one missed call from Kate. I then ask: "Guys, why is the baby screaming?"

They look at each other and begin to argue over who will tell me first. The argument immediately escalates into yelling and before I can cross the room to separate them it has degenerated into a full-on, cartoon-style brawl. It's just a ball of dirt with fists, and feet and x's flying out of it as it rolls across the laundry room. I hear words like: "PORKCHITTER!" and "Worst! Ever! In the EARTH!" coming out of it.

The baby is still screaming upstairs. It's getting louder. The cries and wails are reaching a crescendo, and I am pretty sure the house is about to fall down. Then I hear a toilet flush.

I break up the fight using the old school momming methods I learned back in the day. I grabbed each kid's left ear and pulled them in opposing directions. "NOW. SAY. YOU'RE. SORRY." They glare at each other and spit out apologies.

Upstairs the crying, inexplicably, gets LOUDER. The Cap'n shouts "I got her! I got her!" as if about to catch a fly ball in deep right field.

"What is going on up there?" I ask the children. And I hear this:

Hawk: "Da baby was eating her popsicle and Woody was being so bad and I said "BAD DOG!" and he was begging and--"
Thumbelina: "The baby shared her popsicle with him and I thought that was so gross because--"
Hawk: "And I thought it was hilarious--"
Thumbelina: "Because Woody's breath is the most disgusting smell ever in the earth and it smells like old garbage and--"
Hawk: "The baby would lick the popsicle and then she would let Woody lick it and then she would lick it and then--"
Thumbelina: "And stupid Hawk just laughed, but I tried to tell Daddy but he said no go away I'm on the potty and then the phone rang--"
Hawk: "And then Woody stole the baby's popsicle and he took it to his special place to eat it and the baby got REALLY mad and her face got all red--"
Thumbelina: "and she starting screaming really loud so we came down here to give you the phone."

I stare at them. I remember to close my mouth. They turn around and scamper/slappy down the hall. The crying gets slightly quieter. I return to the laundry and finish moving over the one load I had started. Then I hear noises. Bad noises. Hawk and Thumbelina have apparently rediscovered that they have a playroom in our basement filled with toys. This rediscovery may have been prompted by the four HOURS of cleaning, sorting, and purging I had done the day before. It all looked new and nice and fun. I had a premonition of badness. By the time I has sprinted down the hallway three things were occurring simultaneously:

  1. The kids were both screeching at each other and shredding the playroom into many small, choke-able bits, as if in a meth-fueled frenzy of destruction.
  2. The baby's shrieks became notably more angry and agitated and I heard the Cap'n say:"Good GAWD, Baby, what is the matter with you?! Don't do that to the dog!"
  3. The phone started ringing. It was Kate. Again.
Of course I answered the phone. Before I could I say a word she asks me: "Where the hell are you? Because it sounds either like the monkey house at the zoo or Kabul." I sighed: "I think a little of both. I'll call you right back."

I look at my children who like Thing 1 and Thing 2 are actually swinging at each other with wiffle ball bats and making contact. I used my loudest voice: "WHAT. DO. I. LIKE. TO. DO. BEST?" They stopped swinging and said in unison: "Send kids to bed early." I pointed up the stairs and watched them go, their multi-level, Mumbai-style attack suddenly deflated by the prospect of an early bedtime. No more scamper/slappy. Only sad shuffling.

I walk upstairs behind them and look at my bewildered husband who is holding a baby whose face is a color usually reserved for tomatoes and hot rods. She is covered in more goopy mucous than a Chuck E Cheese ceiling tube. I take her, and the caterwauling subsides to noisy whimpering. Two bedroom doors slam angrily closed, acknowledging defeat.

"Did you send them to bed? (points to the kids' rooms) Have you got this one? (nods at the baby) Thank Gawd. (sighs) Lydia, what the hell just happened? All I did was go the bathroom..." He is pale and seems shaky. The house is eerily quiet. The baby's whimpering subsides into snuffling. My husband and I stare into each other's eyes, reaching the same conclusion as we say in unison:

"I need a drink."

Then the phone rings. AGAIN. I have got to change my number.

[After Action Report:   When the Cap'n and I later compared notes, I learned that the LTS somehow moved upstairs sometime during their 6-minute siege to play a game of baseball in the hallway.  That is, until the Hawk plunked his sister with a fastball.   That might explain the Obi-wan meets Darth Vader style baseball bat battle.  Also, the purloined popsicle was later discovered as an icy, wet, lime green puddle staining the white carpet on my side of the bed.  Bad dog.] 


Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just say No to DFB - Drunk Facebooking

You may or may not be aware that drunk Facebooking (DFB) is a serious problem reaching epidemic proportions. Though we are solidly pro-drinking and pro-social networking, we fear the combination of the two can lead to making an ass of yourself. We here at MommyLand hope this post raises awareness of the problem. The following is my testimonial:

Lydia's Story
My husband (the Cap'n) disapproves of fb and is the last hold-out I know. His reasoning: "Lydia, I am not 16. Nor am I trying to engage in illicit relations with someone who is 16. Therefore, I am not ever going to join Facebook. Ever." My response: "Your mom friended me last night."

But I am now beginning to see his point. Last Friday night, completely out of nowhere, I got hit by a drunk Facebooker. I had one real boyfriend before I met the Cap'n. I have not seen him or had any meaningful contact with him in the last fifteen years (since the Cap'n and I have been together). But we are fb friends. I see some of his updates and we exchange banal birthday greetings. No big deal, I thought.

Then I got the infamous inbox message. I read it and actually slammed my laptop closed. It was gross and inappropriate and made no sense to me at all. I am not easily offended. I actually count offending others among my skills. But this made me mad. So I showed my sister Lucy the message. She has a talent for making off-the-cuff, snarky observations about things that are so undeniably true that you can never really see them any other way again. She read the message, raised one eyebrow and said; "That douche-bag is drunk at a titty bar."

And I knew she was right. He is a d-bag. He had to be drunk. Regarding the titty bar? No idea, but it's all too possible. So I hit delete and I de-friended him and then I told the Cap'n, who was not amused. All of his worst fears about Facebook are now validated.

MommyLand's Guidance on DFB
Back when we were young and single, there was a little something called "drunk dialing". That was the primary means of embarrassing yourself while intoxicated in your apartment late at night. It's now so passe. So 90's. But we would never do that now. It wouldn't even occur to us to pick up the phone. Facebook, not so much.

The thing about DFB is that is both impersonal and written. Your fb friends are only sort of your friends. Many of them may live in Paraguay - we don't know. But you probably don't worry about running into them at the grocery store - so there is decreased accountability for your stupidity. Plus, everyone expects drunk people to say ridiculous crap. And your slurring tips them off. But the written word? It arrives at its intended audience when they are sober and therefore, your inebriation is unexpected, random and even more stupid.

There is also something especially funny and permanent about writing correspondence while drunk. It brings to mind something else from the 90's - Bridget Jones. The following is from Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason. It is a drunken Christmas card (that she did not remember writing) to a man she met one time; her boyfriend's obese business partner, Nigel. Here goes:

My Dear, Dear Nigel,

I know we have only met once at Rebecca's when you pulled her out of the lake. But now it is Christmas, I realize, through being Mark's closest work colleague, you have in a strange way been close to me all year too. I feel very close to you now. You are a wonderful man: fit, attractive, vigorous, brilliantly creative, because being a lawyer is actually a very creative job. I will always think fondly of you, glistening bravely in the sunlight and the water. Merry Christmas to my dear, dear Nigel.

While we can all agree that the above is totally frigging awesome, it is not something we want to find Saturday morning in our "sent" folder.

[Editor's Note: I am so guilty of this. As you may remember, we got snowed in for 627 days last month. I used one of those days to drink a Target box of wine (which are AWESOME by the way! Not how they taste, but they're just so portable) and write ALL the Christmas cards. The one to my divorce attorney and his wife and children went something like this: "Merry Christmas Allens! Look, a handwritten note. Luckily for you, you're in the A's. You think I'll be handwriting every card when I get to the N's? I don't think so...Happy New Year! Love, McLovin, Kate and the Indoor Homeless People (I'll explain that someday haha)" He's totally not going to be my divorce lawyer any more. --Kate]

So let's all work together to prevent DFB. Here's a quiz:

Are You at High Risk for DFB? (a yes/no quiz)
  • In middle school, did you call the little guy you had a crush on like ten times and hang up when he answered?
  • In high school, did you memorize your boyfriend's class schedule and locker location, like, ten seconds after he asked you out?
  • In college, did you come home from the bar to call a bunch of answering machines to ask why they didn't kiss you yet?
  • In your twenties, did you send clever, saucy, flirty emails until you accidentally sent one to the wrong co-worker?
  • In your thirties, after happy hour would you respond to potential matches on eHarmony with: You seem completely perfect/Like a d-bag and We should meet in person in 15 minutes at IHOP/Never because I think you are probably be a serial killer.
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you are at high risk for DFB. Take steps now to prevent future embarrassment. Here are some suggestions:

  • Never leave a message for someone you haven't spoken to in more than three years. They will not be expecting to hear from you now. They will not be expecting you to be drunk. Especially if you choose to instant message, they will assume either that you need to start attending 12 step meetings or that you have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
  • Try to avoid wall posts. I once left a message that read: "Ths AWESOME. Frggin hilaroud. You awesome abd oiehdk". We shall call this rock bottom, as this person now finds it hard to make eye contact with me in church.
  • Buddy up. Get in touch with a friend who doesn't judge (too much) and will think it's funny and may offer you sage advice like: "Why don't you unplug your keyboard until tomorrow morning?"
  • Come to a safe place. The Rants from Mommyland FB page, while not endorsing DFB, is an understanding community of like minded people. Plus, we all enjoy a hearty laugh at the expense of others.
Also, we would like to offer you the following advice if you become the target of DFB. Take the Pledge.

The MommyLand DFB Pledge

I pledge not to take any crap from drunk people on Facebook. If you send me an inappropriate or offensive message I will de-friend you and delete it. If you are dumb enough to do it again, I will post the most offensive part of your message in a direct quote AS MY STATUS and tag you. And your wife. Then all of my friends, and your friends, and your wives's friends will see it. And you will be busted. For being a jackass. Facebook is not an opportunity to swing. If you try it with me I will swing the righteous fury of Bad Mommy right back at ya. The end.

Thank you for participating in our DFB prevention project. Spread the word!

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lydia's Commitment to Vanity - Week 2

This is an overview of week two of my commitment to vanity. Oh, and better health. And by better health, of course, I mean a smaller ass.

So - week one was all about researching and then attaining Big Girl Hair. Check! The top of my head is now fluffy and stylish. And also stripey. And I have made a remarkable discovery in the process. Hair that is professionally striped, oops - I mean, highlighted, looks better and cleaner and almost cute when it's a little dirty and sticking out of the same navy fleece you always wear to take the kids to school. I expect Kate would argue that this is not the point of big girl hair, but I think it's awesome. [Editor's Note: Sigh. - Kate] Also, as predicted by many, my stripes have gotten less... hyper. They've faded. Or maybe blended? They just look nicer this week. I really need to work on my hair vocabulary.

Another little tidbit I learned is that my hair is 10-20% gray. This is according to the woman who colored it. So, this means two things. First, all those people who were like - "I don't see any gray at all, Lydia, what are you talking about?" are actually big, fat liars. If you told me that and you are reading this, I would check your pants to make sure that sure that they are not currently on fire. Second, I found the fact that 10-20% of my hair was gray to be completely frigging horrifying and it was made worse by the fact she said it like: "You are a large, adult, female, human. With 10-20% gray hair." So objective. So matter of fact. With no feeling whatsoever. I am not Emmylou Harris. Or Anderson Cooper. I am not a damn silver fox, Professional Colorist, and you hurt my feelings. Even if you did tell the truth. [Editor's Note: Lyd, take your large BWT, adult force, female outrage and human response and go utilize her skinny ass as a speed bump...right after she's finished striping your hair. Priorities, people. - Kate]

Moving on. The next step in Lydia's Commitment to Vanity is working out. I am going to work out five days a week. There. I said it. I will walk outside with iPod (that is not a mistake - iPod is his name and we have a relationship) whenever the weather allows. Failing that, I will utilize the amazing Wii Fit Plus that the Cap'n got me for my birthday. I love that damn thing. I don't know about your Wii Fit, but mine is not fueled by technology. Mine works by MAGIC. If you had showed me that thing when I was twelve, I would have screamed and flailed around and run away (because you were probably a Terminator or a witch or something).

When I started with this magical machine, I was so in awe of it that I didn't really notice that it had bad manners. First of all, it gives me crap if I take a day (or five) off. And it asks me rude questions like "Do you trip when you walk?".  And the worst is when I step on it so it can calibrate magically align, it makes a noise like this: "uuuugghh". A noise like the overwhelming weight and mass of my body has just forced all the air from its lungs. The lungs it does not have. Unless they are magic lungs but I don't think it even needs magic lungs so really, it's just being rude and a dick for no reason. Like a Frenchman. Maybe they meant to call it "Oui"?

Then it weighs me and gives me a totally offensive and clearly inaccurate BMI. Then it selects for me a series of balance tests. These tests get easier the more you do them but I swear my Wii likes to give me new ones every time in order to mess with me and give me bad grades. I hate getting bad grades. The balance tests were obviously designed for Olympic gymnasts or professional circus performers or something. Of course, Hawk hopped on there and rocked them all out with no problem at all and he couldn't even read the instructions because he is FOUR. But they make no sense to me and I am bad at them. I fully expect tomorrow's new balance test to be a "Wii Fit Field Sobriety Test" and I will have to walk a straight line with a virtual police officer tsk-tsk-ing at me. That I will in variably fail, stone sober at 9:30 in the morning.

Lastly, it takes all the data it has collected (weight, BMI, balance test results) and gives me my Wii Fit age. I am barely 37. According to this machine, for the past two weeks I have been in my mid-fifties. WTF?! But guess what? Today, I took the stupid body test and got my new Wii Fit Age and it was 31. Thirty one, y'all. Can I get a WOOT?! As a good friend pointed out, 31 is the opposite of 13 - which is my Wii Fit Maturity Age. So I'm pretty happy.

I had to take some time off some time off from getting fit, though. I had good reasons. My sister Lucy was visiting for a while. That's always fun but involved. My lovely six year old has begun adopting a persona she imagines is teen-ish. It mostly consists of saying "boo-ya" at inexplicable and inappropriate times, excessive eye rolling, and having, as my Grandmom would say, a "fresh mouth". Hawk has decided that a good way to be sad about Lucy leaving is to pretend he's a baby and do things like bite people and poop in the tub. So, I'm having a great week.
And it gets better. Because the baby has been sick. She is both puny and pitiful and hasn't slept more than 60 consecutive minutes in five days. As you can imagine, I am about to lose my ever loving MIND. So I have spent the better part of the last week in a waking, walking stupor. Working out has not been on the top of my list. I am so drunk with exhaustion that I don't think I'm safe to operate a motor vehicle. I am slurring my words and get distracted by shiny things and loud noises. I am so tired at night, I don't even want to drink wine. Need sleep. Sleep good. Wakey bad.

[Editor's Note: Lydia texted me the other morning. To my home phone. Which, as one may imagine, doesn't really know how to text. So I answer the phone call to hear RobotWoman say something that went like, "can. you. up. date fb been up. w. mini. mini. me since three i. have. no funny. left. *click* press one to hear this message again." I was like, Bring. It. On! Play it again baby, this is the funniest f***ing thing I've heard all day. Lydia, you haven't lost your funny. Now I just laugh at you instead of with's all good.]

In terms of my commitment to vanity, there is one good part of the baby's cold/ear infection/diarrhea/teething episode. All night long, while I am not sleeping, I am doing Gulag Baby Yoga. That has to count for something, right? The kid is in pain and needs snuggling but she's heavy (24 pounds). She insists that I hold her semi-upright, head on my left shoulder, body crooked in my bent left arm, right arm patting her tummy or stroking her head, while rocking with my right foot in the world's most uncomfortable chair. And I need to hold that position for, oh, say 7 hours. Or she will cry and sob her head off and wake up the whole house. That's why it's called Gulag Baby Yoga - I am being forced against my will, by a totalitarian regime (the baby), to contort my body into bizarre postures and then hold them until I am about to scream in pain. That it takes place in my living room and not Siberia, is a small matter.

So bad news: the baby is currently doing to me (stress positions, sleep deprivation, noise trauma) things that our government is *legally unable* to do to Al Quaeda during interrogation. I fully expect to get water-boarded if the antibiotics don't start working soon. But the good news? Lost 6 pounds. Boo-ya.

Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009

Thursday, January 21, 2010

(Completely Imaginary) Celebrity Advice Column #3

Dear Kate & Lydia,

I'm a good guy. Please tell me how to remind America of that.

Regular John

Dear Regular "John",

Forgive us the time delay in getting back to you, John Edwards. We were busy pulling ourselves off the floor and re-setting our jaws.  We might have even liked you at one time.  Before we got to know you.  Now we know soooo much more than we ever wanted to.

Let's get thing one very clear. You, John Edwards, are not a good guy. Screwing some "filmmaker" while your wife is battling terminal cancer, getting said film maker pregnant, denying it, making one of your staffers pretend to be the father, AND bribing both of those people with new houses to keep their yaps shut does not make you a good guy. It makes you John-Edwards-is-a-douche guy.

I suppose we should congratulate you on actually admitting you are the father of that little girl. Did you really think anyone believed you when you denied that you were her dad? What are you? Headless? We knew you were the Breck Girl, but we just didn't realize you were as obtuse as you were vain. It takes a lot of work to be that stupid. Ummm, well done?

And, while we're at it, to whine and moan about the Two Americas and how you "get" what it's like to be poor, you live in a 25 THOUSAND square foot house! You don't even know what it's like to share the same acre with another person, much less a room. Ugh.

We remember when your wife (Elizabeth? remember her???) gave Oprah a tour of your country -- I mean, your house -- even Oprah was like "got enough rooms?" Oprah is the Kate of material excess, and she thinks YOU are ostentatious. And by ostentatious, I mean a douche.

As for Elizabeth (again, she's your wife), we commend HER for the fact that she's staying with you. Our husbands would be the victim of a random handgun incident. We're not sure of why she'd want to see you every day, but maybe Elizabeth is sorta like us, and she knows that every time she accidentally runs into you in your "house" she gets to knee you in the groin. Hell, we'd take one of her chemo treatments if it meant we'd get to take a flatiron to your testicles.

Finally, just in case you fall under the delusion the world may want you to re-emerge, remember that this is our collective recollection of you:

[Editor's Note: I freely admit to being vain and sort of a narcissist. Lydia told me yesterday that she bought her first full-length mirror in 5 years. I have 6 in my house. It's gross. But when I am horrified at someone's vanity, it's BAD. And, for the record, your hair looks no different in the first 10 seconds than it did for the next 6 MINUTES. We had to hunt around to find a shorter version. God, you're a douche. - Kate]

We're pretty absolutely sure we need to see you NEVER again. Please go away. Preferably in your house. That way no one can ever find you. Unless, of course, they're wielding a flatiron.

xo Kate & Lydia

PS: We're totally going to teach Quinn (she would be your daughter, jeez) how to say douche.

Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

An Open Letter to Moms about Goodie Bags

Dear Moms,

I hate kid parties. But what I really hate is goodie bags. I am sure Lydia and I are going to be polar opposites on this. She's super crafty and creative and wields a mean glue gun. I go into the craft store to buy birthday gifts for other kids. And mine walk through the store like it's DisneyLand. [Editorial comment: I actually hate goodie bags, too. Can I please have some more easily breakable, plastic crap from the dollar store? With extra lead paint, if that's possible? And with many tiny choke-able parts?- Lydia]

Your expectation of a goodie bag is the equivalent of a Gift Card as a birthday present. You're giving me or my kid a gift that requires me to add one more thing to my to-do list. "Hey! Happy Birthday! Here, go run an errand." [Editorial comment: And here we differ because I would take a gift card over a Bratz doll any day of the week. - Lydia]

Don't get me wrong. I can do up a birthday. I made a mean Tank Cake last year for Darth Lefty. We routinely do pool parties because 1) their birthdays are all in the summer, 2) it's easy (Take kids. Add water.) and 3) there is nothing that's going to justify me paying money to have to be at Chuck-E-Cheese. I'd no sooner pay money to go to Riker's Island, and they have better food. Not that I've, you know, been - to - Riker's Island. But after as many Law & Order episodes that I've watched, I'm pretty sure I could navigate my way through there blindfolded. Education, people. These things come in handy.

So it is going to come as no great surprise that, when it comes to birthdays, I completely oppose the goodie bag. For the simple reason that, ummm, you got to go to a party, see your friends, play, have cake, and - these days - the party is at some kids-on-crack indoor trampoline/air filled funhouse/videogame/build-your-own-Ferrari/87-dollars-per-kid Insaneapallooza. They expect a gift after all that?

[Editorial comment: It's also an opportunity for Perfect Mommy to prove how awesome she is by making The Best Goodie Bag Ever. A cute little (100% recycled or organic) bag filled with adorable, artistic, hand-made or over-the-top expensive crap designed to make her look good and set the bar so ridiculously high that no one wants to invite her kid to another party for the next five years. - Lydia]

And, the contents? It's totally different if the kids did some sort of craft at the party, or had a pinata and Party Mom put the candy in bags for the kids. But this is crap from the 14-cent store that makes McDonald's toys seem like Faberge Eggs.

An inventory of the last goodie bag that entered my house:

  • Miniature Disney character playing cards printed on tissue paper
  • Candy that my three year old can't have yet or he will choke and die
  • Bubbles
  • Unsharpened pencils
  • Uninflated, oddly flaccid balloons
  • Erasers that look like food but are not food
  • A yo-yo that broke before I got the plastic packaging off it
  • Temporary tattoos of what I think may be gang symbols
Thank you, Party Mom. I found half the contents of your goody bag scattered all over the back seat of my car and the rest I threw out when my kid wasn't looking. Then I pretended it got lost. But the dog got into the trash and I later had to pull a drool covered eraser shaped like a hamburger out of his jowls. Awesome. I should have burned that damn bag and all its contents. Because like I said - goodie bags are evil and I. Hate. Them.

Here's a poem I have composed about goody bags:

I hate you, goodie bags.
You suck worse menstrual cramps.
The End.

So, please. For my sanity. For the sake of the environment, for the sake of saving a few dollars in a time of recession, don't do it. Don't give out goodie bags. And if any little snots (or worse, their mothers) complain that they are not getting one at your party - tell them, oh so sweetly, to go suck an egg.

And on that note, I'm out.

xo, Kate
[I totally concur. XO from me, too. - Lydia]


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top Ten List #2: Kids Swearing

I'm completely to blame. I will confess to having let loose a 25-cent word on far too many occasions. And my kids are like AM radios. I could be saying I had lunch with the Jonas Brothers and the Sith Lords and all they'd tune in for would be when I accidentally swore. I think I've matched the GDP of several small countries with the amount of cash I've dropped in the curse jar. Clearly I don't respond to punitive damages; it's time to go with self-humiliation.

Kate and Lydia's Top Ten Kid Use of Swear Words

10. Happy (age 3), at the church picnic, seeing a man in a Mets cap: "The Mets SUCK."

9. Lefty, overheard on the baby monitor, threatening his sister: "Go tell mom. But you won't. Because you don't have balls. Because you're not a boy."

8. (Overheard at playground while watching first graders run around) "You pushed me off the top of the slide!" "No, I didn't!" "Yes, you did!" "You just fell cause you're stupid." "You're a bitch, Connor and I hate you."

7. Friend's two-year-old daughter. Big chair teeters, then falls and hits the ground right next to her. One second pause. "Oh shit, dat was close."

6. Hawk, at three, angrily trying to curse out his sister: "You... You... you PORKCHITTER!!" [This is a made-up swear word and when he says it, it sounds really bad, because he has to be really angry to play this card - his ace. This is what it sounds like when he says it: POKE-SHITTAH. Isn't it *awesome*?? - Lydia]

5. Lefty, listening in to a conversation between his sister and her friends, who were apparently talking about some other girl: "You can't be a bitch, you have to be someone's bitch. Mom said so." [Editor's Note: I was soooo busted for this one. - Kate]

4. McGee, upon seeing that the dog has destroyed her backpack and eaten her snack: "Rover! Where are you?! I'm just -- gonna -- oh that #%*() dog!" [Editor's Note: I actually had to give props for her proper use of adjectives, and try not to laugh. - Kate]

 3. Thumbelina, at 5, in the backyard: "Could you please quit being a douche and share the swing?"

2. Lydia herself, age 3. Calls her preschool teacher a "F*cker Upper".

1. McGee(age 4), after begging to do the Christmas Eve family prayer: [pause] "Dear God [longer pause] Umm, we're thankful for [very long pause] oh God Dammit, this is hard." Season One actually fell out of his chair. Yeah, Merry Christmas, family. I made this person. Awesome.


Cruising the BWT with Lydia

Intercom: "Welcome to Starbucks - would you like to try a delicious, fresh-baked blueberry muffin?"
Lydia: "Hmmm, maybe. Do you have any of your yummy morning breakfast sandwiches?"
Intercom: "Ummm, yes."
Lydia: "OK, I'll have the ham one on artisan bread, AND I'll also have the sausage one on the English Muffin. And a grande cinnamon dolce latte, and a Venti Quad Shot Vanilla Latte. Oh, and yes, I will take a blueberry muffin. Thank you!

Intercom: "We're all out of blueberry muffins."

Lydia: "Ummm, how many cars got in front of me since you offered me a muffin? Aren't we at a drive thru Starbucks?

Intercom: [silence]

Lydia: "Ok then, we'll take raspberry."

Kate: "What's a venti quad shot?"

Lydia: "It's the big coffee and it has four shots of espresso."

Kate: "Dear God, are you planning on nursing that baby to Mars? Mini-mini-me, are you ok? Do you want Auntie Kate to call the County?"

Lydia: "Mini-mini-me? What the hell are you talking about?"

Kate: "OK. Thumbelina is a mini-me of you. And the baby is a mini-me of Thumbelina. Hence, Mini-mini-me."

Lydia: "Cool. I like that I'm Dr. Evil in this scenario." (raises pinky to her lip and makes a squinky eye face)

Then we get our stuff from the drive-thru. The 19 year old Barrista hits on Kate. She blithly ignores him and the scarfing of breakfast sandwiches commences. Then we drive past the infamous hell-hole known as Chuck E Cheese.

Lydia: "You know, my kids don't even know I'm allowed at Chuck E Cheese. I've been telling them for like three years that that it was only babysitters and grandmas. So they don't even ask."

Kate:"I hate that damn place. We call it Satan's Playground. Especially those disease-ridden hamster trails running around the ceiling."

Lydia: "I KNOW. Everytime we go there for some dumbass birthday party, 3 days later someone is sick."
Kate: "Even if they coated the interior of those things with a thick layer of Purel, like DAILY, kids would still get sick."

Lydia: "You have a better chance of catching a bacterial infection in those Chuck E Cheese tubes, even coated with Purel, than in the rectal cavaity of some random dude. Seriously."

Kate: "You could single handedly eliminate H1N1 in the US by burning every Chuck E Cheese to the ground."

Lydia: "You got that right."

Kate: "What. The. Hell. Are. We. Listening. To?"
Lydia: "Amanda Lepore! Awesome, right!"

Kate: (only hearing oompah, oompah, oompah) "By awesome do you mean scary and off-putting? Because, then... yes."

Lydia: "You're like the Cap'n. Do you know what he says about my beloved Jay-Z? Cats in a trash can. He thinks all rap music sounds like cats in a trash can. How OLD is he??"

Kate: "That makes me laugh. Ohmygawd. What is that smell?"

Lydia: "Diaper?"

Kate: "Nooooo....." (reaches under the seat - pulls out three month old juice box that smells like a combination of vinager and vomit) "I think this is it".
Lydia: "Oh. Sorry about that. The BWT is a little ripe right now. It's overdue for a clean-out."
Kate: "You might want to use a firehose. And an autoclave."
Lydia: "Suck it, Fancy. I like my stupid van. Or maybe I only like it whine you are mean to it. In either case, suck it, s'il vous plait.  See? I used manners.  Besides, it's not really that bad.  Right now I have only three things in the way way back of this van.  (1) rebuilt jogging stroller that I ran over that time (2) umbrella and (3) an imaginary hatchet.  I bet your stupid car has way more stuff in the trunk."
Kate: "OK, Van-Girl, whatever.  It's time to go pick up the kids."
Lydia: "Ooh. What do you think would happen if we didn't?
Kate: "They'd start calling - like incessently. And eventually they'd call Child Services or something."
Lydia: "Child Services. That sounds nice. Is that like free babysitting?"
Kate: (raises one eyebrow and gives Lydia the "Maude" face) "I never thought of it that way.  But maybe.  For you.  Oh. You were kidding.  In any case, it would make us bad mommies."
Lydia: "Yeah, and I already have one of those in the trunk."
Kate: "I say we take it to your BWT." [Lydia glares at Kate.]
Lydia: "I say we don't.  Leave my Tampon alone.  Ugh.  That sounded really bad.  It can't help that it's a big, old, white, messy, wreck-on-wheels any more than I can.  And you love me.  Now apologize. To the van."
Kate: "Sorry, BWT.  I like you.  Sort of.  A little.  Maybe." (thought bubble says: if only to make fun of you)
Lydia: "Yay!"  (sings/taunts) "You like a mini-van!  Fancy likes a mini-van!"
Kate: (sigh) "Next time, we're taking my car."

Popular Posts