Friday, December 30, 2011
I don't think you should be so upset about turning forty. After all, some really amazing women are forty. Like me and Maude. And, she has a face and I have hair, so that really is all that needs to be said about that.
You have a husband that loves you and pays for stuff and allows you to be friends with me and walks upright. And three children that I'm still not sure how your vagina made that hair color, because neither you or the Cap'n -- or really, anything that exists in the natural world or outside the Brady Bunch -- would seemingly have that particular DNA strand. But whatever, hooker. And I maybe shouldn't talk about your vajayjay, but I blame you for this, what with all the birthday talk about the pillow story.
So, this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you awesome stuff. Ready? I can't believe you told me your college roommate -- who is FAB by the way! I'm keeping her now, thanks -- was the uber-cook when you guys were in college, because you are the only person who can get me to, you know, eat food. You are the world's best cook, and if she's any better, we might have to kill her, because I don't like to be wrong. Also, I'm not prepared to eat at two people's houses.
I love love love that you drive the mommiest of all mommy cars, and yet blast the most profane rap music out the windows. I think sometimes, if we weren't friends, I'd stalk you. But in the kind, gentle way, not the bunny-and-stoves way. Mostly because I think you actually would shoot me.
You're way more funny than I could ever hope to be, you and when something really awesome happens, you do that double fist thing in the air and I'm pretty sure there's a David Lee Roth high kick coming my way.
I love that, collectively, your friends buy you "shirts for your boobies." Because, after all, they are deserving of special, special gifts all on their own. Between them and your back-pocket-button-repelling-jeans ass, there's a really good chance you can kill people just with your attire. And I mean that in the good way. No the PajamaJean kind of way, which really doesn't kill me, it just sucks away my will to live.
I love that you make that face every time we take a picture that makes it seem like you're all super innocent-y and really interested in something in the corner of your forehead. And that you loved your birthday present more than -- and let me make sure I get this right -- "anything in the world, and that includes my children..."
And, finally, I truly do think that you are magical. You always say that magical things happen to me when I go to Target, but none of that stuff ever happened until you showed up in my life. I think it was you all along. You're the first person I want to talk to, the only person who bursts into laughter when they answer the phone and all you hear is crying-laughing on the other end of the phone, and the reason that, after two years of the most insane writing project of my life, I still want to do it every single day. And, after this year's Christmas project, as much as I think it would be way easier, and less taxing, to actually become a hooker for three weeks, I can't wait to do it again next year.
That's what she said.
Don't fret turning forty, chica. You still totally only look thirty-nine. But really, you need to stop saying "But I really AM only thirty-nine!" That just makes you look...well, older. Fo' shizzle.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
During this whole experiment, every time I sent an email matching hookers up (and I sent about a million of them), I said a prayer. You don't have to believe in God to be one of my b*tches, you know that already. But I believe, so every time I hit send - I prayed for the mom who gave and for her kids and the year to come. And I prayed for the mom who would receive, for her and her babies and for a year that would see her family thriving.
And I know I'm a corny old cry baby and I swear that is the last time I talk about this EVER. But I wanted you to know.
How A Hooker Saved My Son's First Christmas
I posted this to the Rants from Mommyland Facebook wall:
"Today I woke up after three hours of sleep with my newborn to my fiance telling me that the place that was supposed to be hiring him said that there is no work. Next, I received a phone call from DPSS to inform me that my application for food stamps has been denied, and that they don't care if we have more bills than we do money, we have to reapply when my fiance's unemployment runs out at the end of this month. So, I left the house feeling hopeless and in an awful mood to apply for WIC. I came home from my WIC appointment to an envelope on the counter. Inside, was a beautiful card and two giftcards worth $150 from a Hooker. The kicker? I had already received a Walmart gift card last week for $25 from a Hooker. What a marvelous, beautiful, incredible, amazing surprise. There is no return address. Please, if you read this, know how beyond grateful I am to you for your kindness. You don't know what you have done for my family. Thank you!"
Later that day, I received a notification that someone had commented. This is what they wrote:
"I wanted to stay anonymous, but I am in tears reading this. When I initially volunteered to send someone a card, I was excited to do something, but it would be dishonest if I didn't say that part of me was a little nervous at the same time. But I knew I wanted, no, NEEDED to do something for someone else. I needed to be reminded about blind trust. And what a reminder it has been for me. You see, when I was little, my Mom worked for WIC-she helped moms and their children receive services and offered support. My Mom spent her life working in child nutrition, and helping make sure families had not only food, but resources to help them improve their lives, and she taught them how to use those resources because she believed in their ability as Mothers to make a difference in their children's lives. My Mom died 2 years ago at age 59. I miss her everyday. But it was not until I had the opportunity to help someone out that I finally felt like she is with me again. And I KNOW she is smiling down at you and your new baby, believing in you every step of the way. Again, with gratitude I am the one who owes you thanks. And I'm honored to be able to help in some small way. Best wishes to you and your family."
And with that, we'll sign off for today. Mostly because we can't see, because of all the eye watering. xoxo Kate
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
As I sit here, I try to think of the words to express my appreciation for all that has been done in the past week or so for me and my family, not by friends or extended family but by complete strangers. People who didn't know me or my kids. People who had no idea if they were sending these cards out to a person who was truly in need or someone who was deceiving them and taking advantage of their kindness. As I sit here thinking over the past month the tears are flowing down my face, a month ago these would be tears of sadness, that I couldn't provide for my children any Christmas, but today they are tears of pure happiness because a bunch of moms got together and made a difference in a lot of other moms lives.
Wherever it may take you!!!!
I'm sure you've heard this once or twice over the past few weeks, but you ladies rock. First you go and make me laugh on a regular basis (even on days when I think I'm too tired to even smile) and then you go and come up with the most amazing human experiment ever.
I signed up to be a Helping Hooker because I believed in what you were doing. I also had been feeling a bit underwhelmed about the holidays this year. There's just so much to do and it all felt like an obligation, rather than something fun and happy and wonderful. So when I read your post I saw it as a reminder of what this season is all about. I emailed you immediately and got a zing of giddiness when I received my match. I felt like I could make a difference in someone's Christmas, even just a tiny bit.
The moment I dropped that card in the mail was the best moment. I felt like I was sending Good out into the universe. Unfettered, Helping Hooker Good. There's no better holiday joy than that!
I really thought that mailing a gift card was as good as it would get (and, that was pretty darn good). I never expected to hear anything more about the card I mailed and I was okay with that. But, when I got home from work tonight there was a hand-addressed letter in the mail pile from an address I didn't recognize. I was totally curious. Juggling my toddler and our bags, I bent over to pick up the letter. It was from my Hooker match! And the envelope was thick. Before I even opened it I had chills. Slowly, I unfolded the pages and from the top of the first page an adorable young face looked up at me. The letter began, "See that adorable smiling face above? He is going to have a great Christmas now because of you." Cue the tears.
(Actually, I'm still a bit weepy typing this. Thankfully I don't have to see anyone other than family because the weepy look is not my best.)
My match and I have a lot in common: we both have toddlers, we both graduated college, we both work full-time in similar industries. I could be her if things were slightly different; if Hurricane Irene had hit a few miles east, if my husband or I lost our job, if our daughter needed major medical care. I've always been a big believer in offering help when you can, because you never know when you'll be the one needing help. This experiment has hammered that truth home.
Thank you for giving me the chance to make a difference. And thank you for reminding me that there are a lot of good people in the world.
A Helping Hooker in MA
Monday, December 26, 2011
So, we present the Ingrid Warning...because no one -- NO ONE -- cries more beautifully than she does when Humphrey Bogart sends her away. We wish we could cry like that...from now on, we'll classify them as such:
One Ingrid: gives you the warm fuzzies; if you're Lydia, you might shed a pretty tear or two;
Three Ingrids: grab the box, especially if you're wearing mascara;
Four Ingrids: don't bother with the makeup, Lydia is a mess, and Kate is pinching herself to make the funny feeling stop; and...
FIVE Ingrids: embrace the tears, ladies...this is an ugly cry headed your way. Avoid mirrors.
Over the next five days, we'll be bringing you all varieties of Ingrids. Kate, as you know, is the quintessential Queen of the Fives. She's a mean hooker like that. But, these will most definitely hit your happy threes, probably fours. And, if you happen to see your Hookee on this, count on a Level Five Ingrid. So...you might just wanna keep the tissues handy.
We love you all like cake. xoxo Kate and Lydia
Friday, December 23, 2011
[Editor's Note: This was actually her entire holiday shopping. As much as it killed her to do it all at the last minute, she sort of had to because of her swanky new job and also a certain experiment that sort of kept her from doing anything holiday-related in her real life. xo, Lydia]
Fine. If you walk into Target and there's thirty-eleven hundred people there, you quickly race to the kitty litter and toilet paper and ketchup and you get the hell out. However, when there are seven people there, by the time you leave, you can re-stock the shelves, because you've looked at everything. [Editor's Note Back: Duh. You're the hooker. -Kate]
I went right after it opened. By the time I got to the checkout, I was six days closer to Christmas, and the cart had stuff that I'm still not sure why I bought it. And Sharpies. A. LOT. OF. SHARPIES. I'm pretty sure I can recolor, ummm, Earth.
Target Guy: "You get one for spending seventy-five dollars. You're welcome!"
Me: "Uhhh, I just spent $535 dollars."
Me: "You're cute. But I should get, like, twenty-seven of them."
Target Guy: [looks at ceiling - I think he was doing math. Math is hard.]
Me: "If you would have told me, I would have divided up the order into mini-seventy-five dollar purchases."
Target Guy: "But you didn't."
Me: "Because you didn't tell me about the gift cardiness."
Me: [glares at Target Guy] "Can I use my ten dollar gift card."
Target Guy: "YES! The next time you come."
Me: "You're lucky it's Christmas and I'm all benevolent-y and stuff..."
Target Guy: "Benevolent-y. Yes, that's what I was thinking."
And then I sorta liked that he was mouthy, so despite being 26 giftcards short, I gave him
Husband: "Please. Jennifer. Stop. It's not going to work."
Wife: "It will."
Husband: "Honey, I can't -- we can't afford this if..."
Wife: "It'll work. It has to work. Please work...please work."
And she opened her purse and took out an envelope and took out a gift card inside that envelope. And she paused and slid it through that little credit card machine.
And I couldn't move.
And for a moment, there was this -- nothingness. The cash register was quiet. The cashier was quiet. They were quiet. I think by this point I had forgotten to breathe.
And just like that the little receipt spit out like a streamer at a fourth of July parade. And she started crying and her husband wrapped his arm around her. And they started loading their bags in the cart.
Husband: "Show me the card again."
Wife: [handed him the envelope]
Husband: "Who is it?"
Wife: "I don't know.
Husband: "I still don't get it."
Wife: [smiled and shrugged her shoulders]
Husband: [kissed her on the forehead]
And right as they were finishing up and heading out, she looked up and saw me standing there.
"Oh my god. It's Kate."
And then the tears came. In public. I should also maybe point out at the moment that I had on no makeup, hadn't brushed my hair, and was wearing...sneakers. I was as un-Kate as I could be. I'd like to think I'd be unrecognizable. Apparently....no.
Jennifer: "I got Christmas stuff because of you."
Husband: "Who is this?"
Jennifer: "She's the reason we got the giftcard. [to me] I want to hug you, but you don't do that."
Me: "Yeah, no. I think I'll just stand right here, OK?"
Jennifer: "OK." [more tears] "Thank you for doing this."
Me: "No, please. You guys did this."
And I looked down at my cart full of random crap and too many Sharpies and maybe a T-box, and -- from all my mad spy skillzzzz -- knew that hers had socks and cereal and a big box of toilet paper and definitely Legos which made me happy and let's not forget the slippery ball in the hands of that sweet squishy boy and I wished more than anything there was a sweet elderly lady with the obligatory tissue tucked in her sleeve.
And that's when squishy snuggled up to his mama and asked to go to the bathroom...and I smiled and maybe laughed a little, and started to head out the door. And as I got to the car, I wished - more than even the Tissue Lady - that I could have peeked at that card, and seen what one of you had written to Jennifer. I hoped that it said something like "MERRY CHRISTMAS, HOOKER!" and had made her laugh and cry at the same time, and maybe even disbelieve just a little bit that it would actually work. Because who sends a gift card to a total stranger?
Lefty is right about the age when he starts doubting whether Santa exists. Last year, I read him "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" mostly because I'm not ready for my son to give up the beauty that comes from believing in something improbable. This year, I let him read your stories. He might not be sure about Santa, but this he knows:
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
So, thank you MommyLand. Thank you for showing us that love and generosity and devotion exist, even among strangers. Thank you for sharing that beauty and joy that comes when something magical and extraordinary happens.
And, for me especially, thank you for making it happen at Target. Oh how I love that store.
Oh, and I'm really sorry if you tried to buy Sharpies. I am trying to color the Earth, after all...
PS We'll be posting all of your "My Story" stories all next week as Lydia and I and all of MommyLand spend the week with our families. Merry Christmas, hookers.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I’m going to wrap presents today. I’m also going to haul out a brick of cookie dough that’s been taking up space in the freezer since thanksgiving and make delicate confections of wondrous delight. I’m going to find the rest of the playmobile holy family so that the Baby Jesus will no longer be set upon by the three wise pirates. From this day on I am going to be a Christmas beast.
I will do this with confidence (if not any actual skill) because I have recently emerged from the dark side a wretched bout of seventy-two-hour-but-let’s-give-it-another-day-since-I-am-still-a-feverishly-damp-sight-to-see-and-no-one-will-want-me-to-volunteer-at-the-holiday-book-fair-looking-like-this-anyways-flu.
For me, the flu has always been a tidy kind of illness. I never feel the symptoms until I’m suddenly tackled with the three headed hydra of aching body, fever and nausea. It comes as an almost blessed kind of epiphany. One minute you’re in the parking lot of your local big box toy store emporium with a sense of jingle bell purpose in the air, and the next you are realizing the crusty juice box by your foot is emitting by far the most foul stench imaginable and that you need to get rid of that and the contents of your breakfast in short order.
I found my way home after that unfortunate incident by a combination of luck and I-shouldn’t –be-operating-machinery adrenaline. I then looked at the to do list of holiday what-have-you that I had smugly made the night before. Shopping? My burgeoning headache told me that I’d be lucky if I could even point and click online. Decorate? I looked at the storage boxes holding all things seasonal. Maybe the Darling children would like to do it if I unplugged the router and cable box. Making and freezing soup for next week’s potluck? Ha.
I waited for the Darling children to arrive from school. Once all assembled, I made the solemn announcement that their mother was sick. Not under the weather, not cranky, not (ye gods) going to have a baby…I was yucky flu sick and was now going to collapse into bed. Daddy would be home soon to fulfill all their pizza desires.
What followed that night and into the next was a full on series of fever hallucinations the likes that I know could never be replicated by mere pharmaceuticals. I wore a green elf costume and was trying to make homemade Hallmark ornaments for everyone I knew. I was doing this in an effort to quell the wrath of the crazy Target lady who had taken residence in the corner of my un-sorted sock basket. I tried to tell her if she would just be cool and revert back to Maria Bamford, I could make the damn things, but she was having none of it and soon brought her posse of Real Housewives to boss me around. (I tend to keep the TV on when I’m sick- can you tell?)
Every so often a Darling child would tiptoe in my room and ask if I was going to die and, if not, was I going to be able to bring the gingerbread snack for tomorrow and would I have time to hem the rest of the choir gown because the performance was in four days and did I ever get the gold glitter and not the glitter glue because those were two totally different things and did we have any milk because it’s cold enough for hot chocolate and…I ran back to the waiting arms of the Real target Housewives and promised to do better.
And I did. I was so blissed out happy once I could stand up out of bed without swaying or retching, that I knew I was really going to enjoy the holly jolliness of what was left of the next few weeks. I’ve kept the bar so very low during my mommy career, holiday –wise (everything left to last minute, cookies are forgotten, hoards for friends insulted that they never get cards) that I have nowhere to go but up. Even if the next few days allow me to only rise to the mediocre, it will be done sans sickness, and that will make it a very happy holiday for me.
Oh! Just in case anyone was still wondering: my flu, and all of the whining that came with it, was indeed one of those ever so popular ‘first world’ problems that everyone keeps talking about. I had friend and family to pick up slack if needed. Had I been seriously ill, I could have dug out my insurance card and crawled over to my doctor. If the Happy Holiday Hooker drive has taught me anything, it is that all too many families can be thrown into chaos if something as little as flu mucks up the plans for work, childcare, and anything else under the sun. I was blessed with help and support. Now that I am properly seasoned for the holidays, I plan to spread the blessings around. The crazy Target lady of my fever dreams will be proud of me.(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011