Thursday, September 30, 2010

A stitch in time. Well actually in my stomach. Or notsomuch. Anyway.

I have had somewhere around a dozen abdominal surgeries, from the fairly minor laporoscopic to the major hip to hip incision. I have had staples, but it turns out I was allergic to those. Or something. Anyway, I don't get staples anymore. When I have surgery, I always request stitches.

(That makes surgery sound like ordering a steak: "When I order steak, I always get it medium rare")

But its true. I also have lengthy conversations with my anesthesiologist about how easy I am to put to sleep, and how if he gives me too much I will not wake up for several days and then I will have to stay in the hospital longer. This has happened. I went in once for an outpatient laparoscopy, and woke up in the back of an ambulance being transported from the surgical center to the hospital.

Very Upsetting Way To Come Out Of Anesthesia number 4356

And I always get anti-nausea drugs in my IV. Oh yes I do. If they do't give them to me, the nurses in the recovery room make threatening phone calls to the anesthesiologist because I have thrown up all over the place and they are not pleased.

Supposedly, the surgeries are behind me..but they said that 2 surgeries ago, so I'm not feeling real confident about that. Point is, I have had a lot of surgeries, but the last one was several years ago. So this afternoon, when I casually scratched my stomach, the last thing I expected was to pull a stitch.

But I did.

Right there, on the side of my tummy, from god knows which laparoscopy, was a little thread. Just poking out. Like it belonged there. Like I was fucking frankenstein or something.


I was sort of scared to pull on it - I mean, what if my whole stomach came unsewn or something?
But it was itching.

So I pulled it. And I'm not gonna lie, it totally made me gag.
If it was closer to Halloween, I would have totally left it in, and maybe even drawn in some more, and incorporated it into my costume. Or something.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A story with two endings. Peeing next to the valet stand. Or not.

"I have to pee." I told Sami as I staggered towards the lobby of our hotel.
"We're almost there" he reassured me. "We're close."

"Not gonna make it" I said through clenched teeth as I swayed through the parking lot on perilously high stilettos.
"Sure you are" he said confidently.
"Nope, I'm not. I gotta pee Right Now."
"No, no you don't."
"Yes I do. I really, really do."
"There is nowhere to pee out here" he said matter-of-factly.
"Like hell there isn't. I'm gonna hit that palm tree."
"Like hell you are."
"Yes, I will."
"In heels?"
"Better against that tree than in the middle of the lobby. In my heels, not on my heels, that's my motto."
"That doesn't even make any sense."
"I just had 4 shots of Jack Daniels in 15 minutes - this is as good as it's gonna get."
"You can't pee in front of the hotel."
"I can, and I will. And I'm gonna do it in these heels. And I'm gonna do it with dignity and grace" I declared, as I tiptoed across the manicured lawn so the spiked heels didn't get stuck in the turf.
"No, you're not."

And here is the "Choose your own Ending" part of the program. This is blogging two ways - you can choose the ending that you find most acceptable. (Mostly this is for my mother, officers of the law, and people who want to give me the benefit of the doubt. Please note that either ending was highly entertaining for the security people watching the cameras that night.) Since I tell you everything, I thought I would leave just a little veil of mystery for you to peer through. Sexy.

Option A:
He grabbed my elbow, tucked the Jack in the Box bag under his arm, slung my purse over his shoulder, and quick-stepped me to the closest ladies room. And somehow, impossible as I thought it was, I made it across the lobby and into the bathroom. Where I promptly peed on my foot.

Option B:
With a quick glance over my shoulder, I pretended to be chatting with Sami while casually leaning back against a palm tree, gazing up at the moon. I hiked up my skirt and managed, in the most elegant and refined way you can imagine, to pee. About 15 feet from the valet stand. Sami stood there, stunned. And then I simply stood up, dropped my skirt, and sauntered towards the marble lobby, waving a casual greeting to the night desk clerk.
"What the hell was THAT?" Sami hissed under his breath.
"That? That is how it is done."

In the end, it's not whether I actually managed to pee in heels on the front lawn of the resort, but whether I was capable of doing such a thing. Which I am. Allegedly.

Tits McGee goes to dinner

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. Considering the fact that at 12:30 am on Sunday I was ONCE AGAIN driving to the other side of the island after the late shift, I wasn't getting that rested feeling.

I forgot my wig and fishnets.
I forgot my booze.

But I wasn't gonna miss saying goodbye to Killah.

I got there too late to see the (roller) girl jump out of the cake.
I missed the roast.
And the skit.
I missed the topless chicks running around the yard in an innertube.
I miss all the good shit.

But I got a boob hickey from Killah (something to remember her by) and I didn't get pulled over on the drive back home at 2am.

So it wasn't all bad.

And Sunday morning dawned sunny and warm. I needed a bloody mary, and I got one. I needed a pumpkin spice latte, and I got one of those, too.

And then I had a board meeting for the rollergirls. The ones I had just seen a few hours earlier. It was the most hungover board meeting I have ever attended, I think. Except for me, of course - because I was still drunk from breakfast.

I didn't take a lot of notes.

After the board meeting, I had a birthday party to attend. Sunset. I'o restaurant. The perfect ending to a great weekend. I raced home from the meeting, threw dinner together for the kids, grabbed a dress out of my closet, and hightailed it out the door. As we drove out of the neighborhood I felt a breeze. I looked down and my v neck dress was wide open.


Looked at the clock. No time to go home and change. Better stop somewhere and get a pin. Or something. Sami thought I was being ridiculous.
"It looks fine."
"Both of my tits are completely uncovered."
"And it looks fine. You have a black bra on."
"But m-"
"Trust me, you will not be showing more cleavage than the birthday girl."

I sat and pondered that for a minute. Her tits are, arguably, one of the birthday girls best attributes. Showstoppers.
And she accentuates the positive. She keeps those babies on display. If you are gonna hang with Star, you're gonna spend the night waiting to see if her boobs might actually escape their confines. It's always juuuuuuust about to happen. Every time she leans over or coughs or laughs, you wait, in wide-eyed wonder and breathless anticipation.

But she has those suckers so well positioned, so perfectly contained, that I have NEVER seen them actually break free. Not like mine did in that dress. So I went to Walmart and ran to the accessories section, hoping for a brooch or something.


I was clutching my purse to my chest, trying to keep everything shielded from the People of Walmart. I have no idea why I was so concerned - with my bra hanging out like that, I fit right in. Sami was following me around half-heartedly. He just didn't see the point. But I really didn't weant my cleavage to be a featured part of the evening, in Walmart, at the restaurant, or on the highway. So I bought an enormous fabric flower on a hairclip and a box of safety pins. I pinned my dress together and then pinned the flower to the front to hide the safety pins. And then I held my breath and we drove to dinner.

We missed sunset.
I told you I miss all the good stuff.
I did not, however, miss the mojitos.
And the pins held.
And the birthday girl had a totally conservative dress on for the first time, well, ever. I told her about my technical difficulties. She agreed with Sami - what was the big deal? She always has her tits hanging out. "I dressed all conservative tonight" she noted proudly. "SOMEONE should have their boobs hanging out."
"She didn't want to steal your thunder." mused Sami. "It's YOUR night after all." He was disappointed in how this evening was turning out, boob-wise.
"I just wanted to be decent." I protested.
Sami looked at me for a long minute.
"THAT is going to take a lot more than a couple of safety pins."

I have no idea what he means by that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I don't take checks.

Saturday morning the rollergirls had a yardsale.

The rollergirls have the best yard sales ever. Our craigslist ad even says so. We don't fuck around. Our prices are cheap, and we have everything imaginable. You can find a selection of stuff at our yardsale that you only see when you have donations from 20 families, their friends, and their employers. Clothing, from lingerie to wetsuits. Random supplies from home improvements. Baby furniture from the last "9 month injury". And copious amounts of liquor in our innocuous glasses of OJ and mugs of coffee.

I didn't need anything extra in my coffee this Saturday, because I was still drunk from the night before - which had only recently come to an end. It was 6:30am and I was at that point, the line where you sit very still and think: "am I still drunk, or am I gonna start puking now?" And then you either throw up in your lap, or you feel better and you eat a lemon square or a rice krispie treat ("they taste like unicorns!" said the rollergirl who made 'em) and you sit in the sunshine and it's all good. Which I did. By 9am I was feeling alright. A little rough around the edges, but I would say I was functioning at about 75%. Not too shabby. It was, after all, a gorgeous morning, and everyone had been so lovely.

Until the asshole showed up.
You know the one.
The one who comes to a yardsale and wants to take his morning dump in your bathroom and then pay for his stuff with a check.

I have dealt with that guy many times before - every neighborhood has one, and this neighborhood, apparently, is no exception. But I was not in the right frame of mind. I did not have my entrepreneurial, up-and-at-em yard sale spirit. No, on this particular Saturday I was overtired and quickly moving from drunk to hungover. I didn't feel well and I was exhausted and sweaty. And this joker marches up with a piece of computer equipment. He asks one of the girls the price. She tells him. He asks another girl the price. She tells him a different price. And now, suddenly, everything is negotiable - after all, we don't even have set prices ! He puts down his item, says he's going to get his checkbook.

"We don't take checks sir." one of the girls calls after him.
He comes back with his checkbook.
"I'm sorry sir, we only take cash - no checks."
"Yeah, I heard you. But it's a local check."
I think he's kidding. God, I hope he's kidding.
"Sorry, cash only, but I'll hold it while you go get the cash."
"My check is good. I'll give you a check."
He's not kidding.
I look up from my Blackberry.
"No need to give us a check, we'll hold it while you go to the ATM."
"I'm not going to the ATM."
"Um. Okaaaaay......"
"I have to go change a battery. And then I'll come back. Hold it for me. I'll give you a check."
"I don't want your check." This is ridiculous.
"How about a 100 pound note?" He hands me the piece of paper, and I look at it, then back at him incredulously.
"I don't want 100 pounds. I want $10 cash."
"How about 1000 yen?" he offers, pulling that banknote out of his wallet.
"No, sir. I don't need any of that, I will happily hold this for an hour while you do what you have to do, then you can come back an-"
"This is ridiculous" he whined. "I've lived here for 22 years. How long have you lived here? It never used to be like this."

"We'd be happy to hold it sir, I told you we don't need a check to hold it. Just come back in an hour and its all good-"
"Don't say 'we'" he snarled. "These girls don't share your agenda."
"Agenda? There's no agenda, we don't take che-"
"You have an agenda. You must have just moved here. We don't do things like this here."

I waited a beat. I swallowed down all of the thoughts that were ready to come pouring out. I was representing the team. There were children present. I needed to rise above this......this..........this whatever the fuck this was. And everyone at the yardsale was quiet. Watching and listening.

So while I really wanted to say "Listen asshole, this has nothing to do with how long any of us have lived here. I don't care if you were born here. I don't care if you are decended from King Kamehameha. I'm not taking your fucking check. This isn't Macy's I don't have to hold SHIT for you. This is a yardsale. Cash only. Not a new concept. Go get some fucking cash from your "local bank" and bring it back here." I didn't say it.

Instead I said "Sir, this has nothing to do with aloha, this is a yardsale and we only take cash. We are all here volunteering our time. I am not making a dime on this sale. All proceeds are going towards our team. And our team takes cash."

"What team? What team are you raising money for?" he sneered, as if he was about to follow up with a nasty comment about how we would make sure everyone heard about this, and our team would suffer the consequences of my narrow mindedness.

Ah, but he must not know much about rollergirls. They had all had just about enough. He might not have realized it, but he was dangling dangerously close to a situation. Because these women, these rollergirls, they are more than just a team. They are like a family. The crazy redneck kind. And they don't much like having their team maligned. They slowly began to move towards the table where this argument was taking place. He may have sensed, at that moment, that he was in a very precarious position.

"This is for the Maui Rollergirls." someone called out.
"For the roller derby." said another.
"And we all have the same agenda." added the girl at the cashbox.
He looked around, suddenly aware of the many watchful eyes, the women who had stopped digging through the piles of clothes and were standing, staring, waiting.
"Ah." he said.
"That's nice." he said. "That's good. That's real good. So you'll hold this for me?"
"We sure will."
"OK. I'll be back." And he waved his checkbook in the air and sauntered down the driveway.
"What time is it?" Bo asked.
"10:05, this thing disappears. I don't care if I have to buy it myself. We hold it for one hour."
"Absolutely" "Yeah, no kidding."
A lady walked up to me with 2 tshirts in her hand and a twinkle in her eye.
"That'll be 50 cents ma'am." I said.
She grinned. "Will you take a check?"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where were you when the D string broke?

I'll tell you where I was. I was standing on the steps of the bar, begging to be let in.

Friday night I went to great lengths to work my shift AND have a personal life. You would think that by only working 4 nights a week, I would have ooodles of time to whoop it up. But when 3 of those 4 nights are the weekend, well...... let's just say I don't get out much. And if I do, I have to forgo sleeping entirely.


Which is why Friday, I drove from one side of the island to the other. Three times.

We had tickets, you see. Tickets that I had the foresight to buy on presale. I had an elaborate plan which involved a hotel, a babysitter, a once-in-a-lifetime musical event, and my husband. And it almost worked out.

So close.

And yet, so fucking far. And expensive. Christ it was expensive.

It would have been worth it, you know........if it had worked out as I planned.


The plan went something like this:
Work all day, pick up the kids, run to the chiropractor.
Pick up dinner, drive to hotel across the street from the bar that is hosting aforementioned once-in-a-lifetime musical event.
Drop off kids and husband.
Race back to the other side of the island.
Race back again.
Meet husband at bar.
Enjoy once-in-a-lifetime musical event.
Stagger back to hotel.

Here's how it actually turned out:
Work all day.
Pack bags.
Pick up kids, go to chiropractor. Realize I didn't make plan to feed children dinner.
Order food from the restaurant by phone for pick-up.
Run into restaurant, promise them I will be back to work my shift just as soon as I drop off the kids and the husband at the hotel.
Realize the food I ordered is not ready yet.
Go to boutique next door and pick out a gift for co-worker to buy his daughter.
Run back into restaurant, and realize the food is still not ready.
Check the time.
Retract promise to be on time for my shift.
Shove food in a bag.
Run to car - sweaty and disgusting.
Beg husband to stop for coffee.
Husband forgets and drives by coffee shop.
Drive to a different coffee shop.
Race to hotel and drag everyone out the car.
Check in, strip, change, apply lipstick, run back to lobby, race back to restaurant.
Still working.
Can't believe I am still working.
Finally just leave because otherwise I will miss once-in-a-lifetime musical event.
Buy cigarettes because I just can't take it anymore. Vow to quit later.
Quick stop to give smokes and a lei to Killah, who's moving. I'l celebrate with her tomorrow. But not tonight. There's this event, see. A musical event. Once-in-a-lifetime. I have tickets. I bought them presale. FUCK.
Drive at top speed to bar. For the event. Musical. Once-in-a-lifetime. Started 2 1/2 hours ago. FUCK.
Wonder why there are so many parking spaces open.
Run up stairs pulling on my stilettos.
Hold out hand, grasping precious pre-sale ticket.
Get denied entry.
"We're done." the guy said.
Text husband. Who is inside the bar. Enjoying the onc- Oh never mind.

No answer.
Text again.
No answer.
Get waved in to go find him.
Go straight to bar for Mr. Daniels. Skip the Coke. Straight whiskey at this point. Who's got the time to mess with a mixer.
Text husband.
Tell him he will find me at the bar drinking.
I love this song.
Song ends. Husband arrives. I have relaxed enough to accept a mixer with my whiskey.
"Ready to go?" He asks. What? Why? I got in! I'm here. We don't have to go! This is a once-in-a-li-
"d string broke."
"They're done."
The bar is emptying now. The music is over. I am holding a half empty plastic Bud Light cup.
I'm sweaty. And exhausted. And drunk as hell. And angry. I'm a teensy bit angry.
"What do you mean 'No'?"
"I am still drinking."
"Um. Okay."
So we go outside, and sit with some friends, and I order another drink as the crowd thins and the musicians pack up.
"Great show." everyone agrees.
"I got great photos" another tells me.
"You should have gotten here earlier."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sleep is for the weak

It's Friday again.


This weekend is going to be insane, in a good and beautiful way but still..........insane.

And I can't help but feel like I am in way over my head.
Let me paint you a picture.
Here on the island, lots of people have scooters. And this week I have noticed people having an overly-optimistic sense of what their scooters are capable of. Yesterday I saw these two guys on the back of some sort of scooter-type thing. These guys were ENORMOUS. You literally could not see the scooter because it was absolutely and completely covered in big men. It was like one of them had a set of wheels coming out of his ass (a very SMALL set of wheels) and the other guy was just hanging on to him for dear life. I can't actually believe they were staying upright, so taxed was the motor on that thing. They were moving - at the very most - 5 miles an hour. They were leaning forward as if to encourage the scooter to keep going.

I feel like that scooter. Only without the big dudes on top. But still. Daunting.

This weekend I will be on every side of the island, at every elevation, drunk for a good part of it, and working two shifts. (I won't be drunk for those, of course. Silly.) I have a birthday party, a going away party, and a bunch of other partying going on. I have hired two baby sitters and filled both gas tanks. I have recharged my cell phone and packed a toothbrush and clean underwear. I changed the sheets on the bed and did the laundry. I bought another bottle of Advil.

I am ready. You should get ready too - I am going to have a lot to tell you later.
If you don't hear from me by Monday afternoon for GODS SAKE bring more Advil.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Better All The Time

Listen folks....this post makes no sense what so ever. I was going to try to edit it, and clean it up - but it's futile. After a raucous couple of days, my cup it runneth over.

Last night I came home from work, begged off a late night outing of unicorns and rainbows and belly shots, and climbed into bed. As I drifted off to sleep I vowed to myself:

"Tomorrow, I wear the pants."

The pants, which I have been deeply in love with since the first day I saw them, have been made EVEN BETTER. I know, I know. Impossible. They were already The Best Pants Ever.

But then I took them to my tailor, and she chopped about 6 inches off of them and now.........they're perfect. Which is why I put them on the moment I rolled out of bed this morning, and still have them on 14 hours later. And I gotta be honest - I'm not any closer to taking them off then I was when I put them on. You may have to pry them off my cold, dead body. But since I want to be buried in them, I really wouldn't recommend taking them off then either.

Have some respect. I'm dead for God's sake.

In addition to my newly-improved-better-than-perfect pants, I also got a dress altered.

I bought this dress 9 years ago. This dress, like the pants, looks good on everyone. The color is almost universally flattering - a deep cherry red - and it's strapless. I have lent it to at least 3 friends for holiday parties. I myself have already HAD the dress altered once - I had the top taken in between kids. Because my top was, well......smaller.

And last week I had it taken in again. I don't think it's possible to get it any tighter, so next time I'm just going to get breast implants. It would be easier.

In addition to altering the pants and the dress, I also cleared the closets. I recommend doing this twice a year. I pull out all of the things I haven't worn since my last purge, bring it all to the consignment shop, and then I sort through what's left. There's a "maybe" stack, and an "I can't live without you" stack. The maybes get brought to the front of the closet, and if I don't get enough use out of them by the next purge, then Out They Go.

The last purge involved removing every item of clothing that I owned that could not be worn with a bra. The ladies may be small, but they still need support. So any dresses that were cut "down to there" or had no back whatsoever, or perhaps had extra-wide armholes? Gone. I absolutely cannot even entertain the idea of wearing them anymore. I do not want to be the old lady with the tits down to her waist, rocking the stretch halter.

You're welcome.

In the maybe stack this time, I had a pair of black leather boots. Classic. Gorgeous. Bought them on my honeymoon in Las Vegas. So of course I started reminiscing. We just celebrated our 12th anniversary last week, and I am pretty sure that getting 12 years out of a pair of boots is a good value. As much as I love them, I was ready to let them go. My honeymoon was memorable for several reasons, and these boots are the one tangible memory I have, which is why I held on to them as long as I did. If you don't count the tattoo. Which I don't. Because the trampstamp has officially been put in the double secret undercover program with my nipples. Again, you're welcome.

But back to the honeymoon. First of all, we got tattoos the day after we got married. I immediately went to my mother's house and dropped my pants to show her the ink. She gagged and asked me to please cover it up. I tried not to be too offended. Fresh tattoo goo notwithstanding, my mother was VERY DISAPPOINTED IN MY DECISION TO GET A TATTOO. So when faced with the very real (and totally slimy and gross) tribal sun I had permanently applied to my back, she was completely appalled. Good thing I was flying to Vegas the next day !

But about that. Here's a tip. Don't get a tattoo on your lower back and then get on a plane for 6 hours to Vegas. It's a bad idea. You will feel some..............discomfort. You will also not be able to get in the pool in Las Vegas - something I did not know until I was already tattooed and leaving the tattoo shop.

I was also on crutches.

No, my mother didn't break my leg (though I would be willing to bet she would have liked to). I had been on crutches for several months actually, ever since a huge wooden shelf had fallen on my foot at work. I refused to use them during the actual wedding, but by the time we went on our honeymoon I was paying for that choice. My foot was twice it's normal size, and gray. So I had crutches in Vegas and if you take one thing away from this blog, let it be this:

Traveling with crutches means you will never wait in a line..........ever.

Preboarding? Yes.
Handicapped entrance at the buffet? You betcha.
Special seating for shows? Of course, right this way.
The only place I ditched them was at the Rio, because I wanted to go in the sky parade and fling mardi gras beads at the heads of the people gambling below me. Which I did. Probably a bit harder then was strictly necessary, but it was hard to judge and I had to throw it clear of the float, you know.

After that excitement, we went to Ceasars, and I saw these boots in the window.

They called to me, and the first one fit perfectly. But then I had to try to get it on the other foot. The bigger one. The broken one. It took a while, but I managed. And then, mostly because we couldn't get it off again, we bought the boots. Then we went straight back to the hotel, dropped off the packages, and raced off to a buffet. Any buffet. And "raced" is not really the right word, since I was on crutches. Maybe "stumped off" would be better?

ANYWAY my point is, being on crutches in Vegas is awesome if you can get past the armpit blisters and the hands that smell like rubber all the time. Not from anything fun, mind you, just from gimping around in the heat clutching the handles of the crutches as I cut in line, help myself to extra crab legs, and get premium seating.

It was pretty much the best honeymoon ever, obviously.
Don't hate me for seeing the silver lining here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yogurtland - it's not that complicated

On Sunday night we went out to eat at our local dive bar. BECAUSE WHERE ELSE WOULD WE EAT OUR SUNDAY DINNER? I had a Jack and Coke and when Max suggested Yogurtland after dinner - something I usually would say no to because we have ice cream at home - I said "Sounds good."

Besides, I was tired from saying "No" all day long.......and who doesn't like frozen yogurt?

No one, that's who.

So we troop into our local self-serve frozen yogurt place, and go through the line:
Grab a cup
Choose your flavor
Dispense your yogurt
Add toppings
Put ice cream on scale
Give them the money

It's easy. Really. Lucy - who is five and can't even reach the levers of the yogurt machine - knows the routine. She chooses her flavor and then holds her cup up and waits for someone to fill it with yogurt-y goodness. Then she tried to get us to pour 3 pounds of toppings on it.

Nice try Lucy. Ask your father. I'm sure HE won't say no.

So we're all sitting there enjoying our yogurt, and this threesome comes in.

Oh good lord you over there - are you snickering? THAT'S MATURE. I seriously doubt they would be into anything like Well, maybe. ANYWAY they weren't dong THAT in Yogurtland.

In fact, they didn't seem to know WHAT they were doing in Yogurtland.
They walked in, in their sensible shoes and their sensible haircuts and their sensible cardigans and their ergonomic shoulder bags and I immediately thought to myself "Euros".

And apparently, they do not have self-serve yogurt shops in Europe.

These people stood there - for several minutes - looking at the topping bar. Seemingly unaware of the entire wall of yogurt machines about a foot to their left. They looked and pointed and whispered over the various fruits and nuts and cookies and candies, and then looked up. They needed some assistance.

Only, seriously, it is so self-explainatory - and not to mention SELF SERVE - that the cashier was a bit confused about what, exactly, they needed her to tell them.

And then there was the language barrier.

"May we have cup for ice cream?"
"Oh, you want to try it? Sure." And she gave them small paper sample cups, that held about a tablespoon of yogurt.
"May we have more cups?"
"Um, okaaaay." she gave them a  few more cups.
"Beeger cups?"
"Beeger.....OH BIGGER cups! Yes, they are right over there -" she pointed to the end of the bar where neat stacks of cups were lined up for, you know, the taking. Because it's self serve.
"And do we-?" they inquired, making a milking gesture towards the machines, as though the handles were perhaps cow udders.
Now the cashier was in the swing of things. These people didn't want help - they needed HELP.
She showed them how to use the machines, then stepped back.
They each - carefully - filled a small sample cup of yogurt - unwilling to commit until they had tasted this curious WHATEVER IT WAS. We were all staring at them, giggling discreetly, trying not to stare but MY GOD it was like they just landed from another planet, so bewildered were they by the machines and the cups and the flavors and the toppings and the complexity of it all. In fact, they were so blown away by this incredible yogurt experience, they began videotaping each other serving the yogurt, posing next to their chosen flavor, holding the sample cup aloft, smiling for the camera proudly.

"Oh. My. God." muttered Lucy. "What are they doing?"

After all manner of licking and nibbling and slurping their samples - which we all watched with facination - they returned to the machines - WITH THE SAME SAMPLE CUPS - and refilled them.

"You know," I said, after realizing that my mouth was hanging open "I don't think I can actually watch this."
"Mmmm." agreed Sami "Glad we already got OUR frozen yogurt, know what I'm saying?"

After watching the guy slurping away at his sample cup for the second time as he headed back toward a machine for more "sampling" I stood up. "That is just gross."

The cashier was running towards him with a stack full of the sample cups, but the guy demurred. No need to waste perfectly good paper sample cups, he'll just use the same one, thanks.

Now the manager was involved. She stood, behind the register, watching. At first with fascination and then, increasingly, with displeasure. What the HELL were these people doing? Were they gong to just sample their way through the store? We exchanged looks as I left, shaking our heads in disgust over the NERVE of some people. "Can I have the keys?" I asked Sami. He dug them out of the pocket and explained, in an overly-solicitous voice that the manager and cashier both found hysterical "THIS right here - you press THIS BUTTON RIGHT HERE to unlock the doors of the car."

"Which button?" I asked innocently.

"This button. This one RIGHT HERE." he repeated, pointing and showing me how to press the button correctly.

"Okay, I think I've got it now." I replied, and I headed out the door.

Settled in my car, I looked up 5 minutes later to see the threesome huddled around the door, one of them gripping the handle and wildly pulling on it as visible signs of panic set in. MY GOOD GOD (you could see them saying to each other) they were locked in YOGURTLAND. Oh, the indignity of it all. The NERVE of these frozen yogurt people to have complicated machines, and all of those fancy toppings, and trying to make you waste extra cups because these Americans are just so wasteful. And indulgent. And then to keep the doors locked so that you couldn't exit. WHAT IF THERE WAS AN EMERGENCY? They would be trapped in there, and would surely DIE if-

Max couldn't stand it anymore.

He stepped past them, put a hand on the door, and gently pushed it open, then stepped outside to hold the door for them as they tumbled out, relieved to be free of that terrible yogurt place.

As they hurried off, all a-flutter over this crazy experience they had all just shared, my son stood there watching them, shaking his head sadly.

"Sheesh" he said as he got in the car. "We should have taken pictures of THEM."

Monday, September 20, 2010

We are totally the people of Walmart

Yesterday we were the assholes you see in Walmart. When in Rome, right?

It all started innocently enough. We needed trashbags. We only go to Walmart to buy staples, like dried foodstuff, papergoods, shampoo, socks and know, the staples of life. We have no interest in wandering around - we go in with a set list, and get out as quickly as possible.

We walked in the doors together, and decided to walk in a loop around the store hitting each department as needed. First stop, shoes - to look for cleats for Lucy, who is starting soccer on Wednesday. No cleats.

On to sporting goods, then. "They must have soccer stuff there," I tell myself as I wander towards the back of the store, sort of dazed by the flourescent lights and screaming children that surround me and assault my senses. But before we could get to sporting goods, we had to walk by the toy department. "Daddy" Lucy pleaded, "there is something I have to see down there."

Because "daddy" is a total pussy and cannot say no to his little darling when she asks so sweetly, "daddy" headed down the aisle we refer to as "the pink aisle" which is filled with Barbie and My Little Pony and princesses and baby dolls and wands and glitter and costumes and fabulousness. And then, because "daddy" is such a pussy and couldn't say no, I had to agree to walk with Max down the Lego/foam weapon aisle. It was only fair, I decided. Fair to whom is yet to be determined.

After comparing the differerent Nerf options ("this one has a belt full of darts, and it shoots really fast just like a machine gun, but this one shoots further and these darts don't have suction cups at the end - they are JUST LIKE REAL BULLETS" - which, shockingly, is not a selling point for me) and debating the merits of expanding his Lego supply to include the Atlantis collection, we finally made it out of toys and on to sporting goods.  I am on a mission - we still need soccer balls, and shin guards. But apparently not from Walmart. Because they didn't have any. Soccer is not a Walmart-sanctioned sport, apparently.

Fishing and hunting, on the other hand....... It took a few minutes to talk Max out of a flare gun but eventually we moved on to the grocery section for onion soup mix. Sam amused himself showing me things like jars of "nut butter".

"Go get the trash bags, would you?" I ask in my nicest possible voice, which at this point was not very nice. Max was asking for wasabi Mayonnaise. Lucy wanted donuts. I just wanted to get the damn soup mix.

But no. Not at Walmart. No soccer stuff, no onion soup mix.

Walmart, you are starting to really piss me off.

I ditch the carriage and head over to get cough syrup for Lucy. On the way, I grab egg noodles and a bag of Halloween candy. Because Walmart may not have any soccer gear, or onion soup mix, but they have had Halloween candy out since August, those bastards.

OK, cough syrup. I have to choose the right formula. No, not for runny nose and cough. No, not for stuffy nose and cough. No, not an expectorant. No fever. No pain. I need a cough suppressant. I just want her to stop coughing all night long so we can sleep for a few minutes at a stretch. As I am trying to find what I need, a stock-clerk is hovering behind me, reaching over my shoulder to put things on the shelf. But every time she would try to put something inside one of those spring-loaded dispensers (the kind that pushes shelf stock forward every time an item is taken off the shelf) the box or bottle would come shooting back out - and usually hit me in the face. I finally gave her THAT LOOK - the one that said "Lady, if you do not stop fucking around with the merchandise while I am shopping, I am going to shove your head through that blood pressure cuff over there."

She eventually decided to go restock some other product off of her enormous cart of Shit to Put on Shelves. It's not like she ONLY had cough medicine to put away - that woman had a huge trolly full of pharmeceuticals, rubber products, health and beauty aids, and personal care items. She did not need to focus on the 2 feet of shelf where I was actively shopping.

No she did not.


I find the right box, and stand up to look for the rest of the crew. Max is faking passes with a bag of Doritos on the floor art they have laid out between two displays of chips, that looks like a football field. Sam has just arrived from the garbage bag section - emptyhanded. They only have boxes of 12 bags, and the boxes of 12 garbage bags are $10. I am clutching the bottle of cough syrup, Lucy is begging for a new Barbie, Max is still tossing bags of chips around, and there is a huge crowd just STANDING THERE in the middle of the aisle.

I say excuse me about 5 times, but no one is listening to me or maybe they don't speak English which was entirely possible as they seemed to be an extended family of migrant farm workers who were definitely not speaking English to each other. So I wedge myself around them and walk up to Sam, who is eyeing the bag of candy with interest.
"I want some Doritos" Max announces. "No." I say. (See how easy that is, to say no? This is why I am the bad cop and Sam is the pussy.)

We head to our last stop, the jewelry section. Lucy is hanging off my arm, asking for a belly ring to wear as an earring, except that sucker was a 10 guage and I don't even think her earlobe is that big. "No, sweetie" I say (SEE HOW EASY?) and go back to my browsing. Behind me, Sam and Max have begun wrestling. I shout "Knock it off you two" as I slowly spin a rack, looking for a small set of hoops, when suddenly Max shrieks. I look over and he is clutching his face. Sam looks stricken. "What the fuck did you just do?" I hiss as I bend down to examine Max, who is silently sobbing into Sam's chest.
"Uh." Sam says.
"Um." Sam says.
Max is still crying silently, and clutching his face. There isn't any blood, so I leave him be and turn back to Sam, who is now totally on the hook for whatever the fuck just happened, and then pretty much everything else that has been pissing me off in this godforsaken hellhole of a retail establishment.

"What. Did. You. DO."
"I kneed him in the face."
"I kneed him in the face. He kicked my leg really hard and I kneed him in the face."
"Are you fucking kidding me? ARE YOU 12 YEARS OLD?
"I didn't do it on purpose!" Sam protested mildly. "He kicked me hard, and then went to do it again and I raised my leg to block him and-"
"He kicked you in the LEG so you KNEED HIM IN THE FACE? IN WALMART?"
"Well, yes." He has the decency to look a little embarrassed, but he's still smirking.
I am livid. I turn to my injured child with a proposition.
"Max, I tell you what. As soon as you can see straight, I think that you should have a chance to kick your father right in the nuts. I mean, he doesn't need them anymore, and they are lower then his face, so I think that is the best course of action."
Max suddenly stops crying. Sami turns pale.
"Yes," I continue "Right here in the Walmart jewelry department. Perfect spot. Plenty of space right here, and they just finished piercing that poor baby's ears, so I say you just go right ahead and settle this. Hit for a hit."
Sam backs up. Max wipes his face.

My phone rings.
"Hi dear" says my mother, from Rhode Island. "Sorry to bother you with a non-urgent issue, but I need help changing my facebook profile photo."

"Um." I say. I check the clock. It's 10:15pm in Rhode Island on a Sunday night.
"I just can't get it to work, and you did it the last time."
"Um" I say. Sam senses an opportunity, and grabs the kids and heads for the registers.

One hour in Walmart yielded a bottle of cough syrup, 2 bags of egg noodles, a pound of Halloween candy, and - somehow - a pink Etch-a-Sketch that was put on the belt while I coached my mom through her Facebook applications.

People of Walmart indeed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I thought better of it

Last night, at about 2am, I took down the post I wrote yesterday.
Totally censored myownself.

Writing is very therapeutic. And when I posted yesterday? I was in need of some major therapy. The kind where you just lie there and sob into a tissue and the doctor says vague things like "And how did that make you feel?"

Well, let me tell you how reading that post made me feel.

It made me feel like an ass.

Which is good. I was able to see how silly and petty I was feeling (and how silly and petty other people were being) and I was able to read it, shake my head, and dump it into the que. Where it belonged.

No one wants to read a laundry list of someone's woes. Including me.

Plus, my laundry list was very, It wasn't just me being bummed, it was me complaining about others. Which is obnoxious/nasty/hurtful/lame and frankly, sort of exactly what I had been complaining about in the post, ironically. It takes so much more energy to be an asshole, It really does. It drags things out, your assholiness gets re-hashed and debated and discussed and pretty soon everyone knows what an asshole you are.

(You know, it would have been hard to keep that a secret anyway - sometimes you can be such an asshole.)

It's sort of the human condition, to just slip every once in a while. To have something you said be misconstrued. To have something you did (or didn't do) hurt someone's feelings - or worse. To have some interactions with others turn sour.

Really sour.

And everyone had bad days.
Actually, 1995 was not a great year for me. Annus Horribilis, to quote the Queen of England. And she didn't even get divorced that year.
(Plus, she's the fucking Queen. How bad could her shit be?)

Like I said, everyone has bad days. But they don't need to publish the findings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The things I learn from NPR

I was going to think of a cute phrase using "N" "P" and "R" but frankly, I'm not feeling that clever today.

I listen to NPR every day. I know, I still shocks me. I feel like it is a sign of growing old, to listen to the news on the radio each day. My earliest memories of NPR are of driving with my grandmother, blaring a barely intelligible static-rattled station. It might have been GBH out of Boston. It barely came in. I would be tucked away in the backseat of her big old Mercedes, or the third row of the huge Buick station wagon, and Grammie would listen to the news. My grandmothers cars were all filled with hay that had fallen out of the bales that she transported in the backseat (why did no one buy this woman a pickup truck, I ASK YOU), and they always smelled vaguely of rotten milk from some carton coming open on the way home from the store, or being forgotten in the trunk altogether in the flood of children and dogs that poured out of the car every time she slowed to a stop. Or near stop. We certainly didn't require a full stop in order to exit out the open back window.

My grandmother had 7 children, her youngest just a few years older than myself, and by the time the grandkids came along, she was pretty much over kids in general. She spent some time with us, sure......but it was limited. And outside of the usual holiday family gatherings, our time together mainly consisted of her driving us somewhere - a cousins house, the beach, or the family house in New Hampshire for a skiing weekend.

And whenever she drove us somewhere - ANYWHERE - she was listening to NPR. That time that I got the stomach flu on a skiing weekend - the first one she ever took me on without my parents (and last one, by the way) we listened to NPR as I lay in the back seat for the drive back to Connecticut, chilled and miserable. I remember my grandfather, too. Also driving me somewhere late at night, listening to the evening news, then stopping at a restaurant for dinner. I truly have no idea where we were going, and it was possibly the only time I was ever alone with my grandfather. With 7 children and 20-odd grandchildren, time alone with him was unheard of, and this one memory I have of "just us" includes hours of NPR on that station with all of the static - the same one my grandmother listened to.

Last night, as I drove to work in the blissful 10 minutes of quiet that mark the beginning of every shift, I was listening to "All Things Considered". It was just like the old days, except that my reception was chrystal clear. And I was totally engrossed. For instance, did you know that there is a part of your brain that figures out what you don't know? If that part of my brain were better developed, I would have NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT because the stupid shit I do when I should really know better makes up a good part of my writing.

Which is why I continue to listen to NPR - I might not have any common sense, but at least I have the potential to gain some random knowledge that will prove useful someday. Maybe.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rock of ages

These days, we have a little visitor who stays with me during school hours, while her mommy re-enters the work force after an all-to-brief maternity leave. I have determined that if I cannot have more children of my own, I really need to get my hands on some sweet smelling babies from time to time. Caring for babies grounds me, and centers me - and reminds me of just how hard it is to have a new baby. It's hard. The sleep deprivation, the long hours spent soothing and rocking and feeding. But oh, the rewards are many. There is a lot of cooing and gurgling and wiggling - she's just about 2 months old, and with all of the cuddling going on around here I am getting a lot of use out of these:

That first rocker there, with the striped seat? That is the rocker my parents bought before I was born. They bought it in the early 70's, off of the front porch of an old farmhouse in rural Connecticut, probably on some sunny fall afternoon during a long drive along country roads. I have no idea what the seat looked like when they bought it - my mother recovered it in a gorgeous blue velvety corduroy. I still have the corduroy stapled underneath to keep the stuffing in, and the geckos out. This is Hawaii after all.

The second chair is one I bought when we were trying to have a second child. It wasn't going well, and I needed some encouragement. This chair was a talisman. I was going to have a baby, and I was going to rock the baby to sleep in that chair.


This chair is also an antique, brought to Maui by a man who buys and refurbishes antique wood furniture. He had found this at an auction in another old farmhouse on the East Coast. I was driving along a country road one day on my way home, and I saw it in his front yard. Apparently, you have to buy antique rockers form people's front yards. It's just How It's Done. Within 24 hours, this chair was recovered and sitting in the nursery. We brought our daughter home about 7 months later.

While they are very different in appearance, the basic design of these rockers is the same. Solid wood, metal springs in the seat covered with batting. High backed, with wide deep seats. The arms are about the same height - which is to say, perfect. Even a hundred years (or more) after they were built, these chairs are still going strong. The chair my mother gave to me has teeth marks from one of our puppies on the ends of the rockers. On both, the armrests are worn, the stain faded where countless arms have rested, with dirt and dust and sweat and salt from hard work, warm weather, long days and longer nights. These chairs have held tired farmers and weary mothers, newborns and old timers.

These chairs have history.

Strangely enough, when I was pregnant with my son, and I had the gorgeous rocker from my mom, I still went out and bought a glider and ottoman from Babies R Us - hideous, denim cushions and plywood painted white. No history. No detail. Not built to last - built to last a few months. Just like every other damn thing I bought there because it was supposed to be new and better, I was disappointed. Oh, the siren song of consumerism. I have learned through parenthood and through various life experiences that new is not necessarily better. I look at website after website of Cool! New! Stuff! to buy and to have and to want and I almost believe that I need it. But then, the New Englander in me gets a grip. I don't need. And I don't want. Our furniture is almost all old, wood, solid and true. Because it fits, and it lasts, and as I rock slowly on the porch or in my living room, I feel like every mother who has ever sat in that chair before me is with me still, encouraging me, holding me up, soothing my aching heart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taking back the cul de sac

This weekend, I was lying on my sofa, minding my own business.

"Beep Beep"

Huh. People don't honk their horns in Hawaii, never mind in my cul de sac, so I stood up to investigate. The mailtruck was parked in the street in front of my driveway.


Wow. Okay then. I must have gotten a huge package or something equally exciting. OH MY GOD I WON SOMETHING WHERE ARE THE BALLOONS AND THE BIG CHECK? More importantly - IS ED MC MAHON DEAD OR IS HE IN MY DRIVEWAY?

I went skipping down the stairs, and was met with the crankiest face ever.
"Are these your cars?" the mail lady snapped at me.

"Um" I looked where she was pointing. "Nooooo. Our cars are here! In our driveway....."
But my heart sank, because not only was I not going to be getting a bunch of balloons and a big check in the mail.......but my neighbors had parked their car in front of my mailbox. Again.

In fact, they were parked in front of EVERY MAILBOX in the cul de sac. In fact, they were parked in every square inch of the cul de sac - not just along the sides of the road, but also IN THE MIDDLE. There was literally no way to get into (or out of) the cul de sac.

The mail lady was climbing out of her van with her cellphone.
"This is ridiculous." she muttered. "I can't get to anyone's mailbox."
She took a few pictures, then called the postmaster. "You had better get down here." she sighed into the phone "This is ridiculous."

I was relieved, but at the same time completely petrified.

See, we are the new kids on the block. Granted, we've lived here for 5 years, but still.......we're the new guys. And the family that has a dozen cars for one house? They have lived here forever. The community center is named after them. So is a beach. And a bunch of other stuff. And they're local - and we are..........not. Not in the way that matters. There are bumper stickers on cars all over this island that say "Grown here not flown here" and "Aloha also means goodbye" and "Reinstate Hawaiian Nation" - all of which is to say we could live here for 80 years and still be the outsiders. Interlopers.

So if we were to approach our neighbors, well.........we would definitely be on their turf. Apparently, the entire cul de sac is their turf. Or at least, all the parking.

Until the postmaster got called in.

Somehow, federal offense trumps bloodline. As of this morning, the cul de sac is clear and two junkers were towed out at 8am. And the neighbors? Have a whole bunch of cars in their driveway. I guess they kept every car they have ever had since they were born. Here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Not a chance in hell

I have made myself perfectly clear. I don't mind giving people rides when I choose to do so. I do not like being forced or guilted into it. I have no problem with hitchhikers, and I actually pick them up quite frequently. I think it comes from the years I lived in the Caribbean on a small island where hitchhiking was the preferred mode of transportation.

But I have standards. Here, for the uninitiated, the naive, the self-centered, and the oblivious:
Rules for Getting a Ride

Put a shirt on. A clean one. And shoes. Deodorant is almost too much to hope for, so I'll cut you some slack - I know it's hot out there. But I don't pick up half-naked strangers on the side of the road, despite the fact that I have been there. I can sympathize, but you're not getting in my car like that.

I don't want to give your dog a ride. Sorry, man. If I had a pickup, I would be down with it. But I don't. So don't glare at me for passing you and your four legged friend, there. Sure, he's a service animal. Of course he is. He still isn't getting in my car.

I am not picking up all 6 of you. Spread out along the road. Don't all run at my car at once like a pack of wild animals.

If you have a baby, you better have a car seat. Yes, it's a hassle to carry a car seat around, but it is also illegal to have a kid in a car without one. You probably don't know that, since you don't have a car.

Put down the beer. I am not driving around someone who is drunk and may or may not puke in my car. I am definitely not driving someone with an open container. It's illegal. I get it - you don't have a car, how would you know. Well, now you do. No Road Soda. Sorry.

If you have a lot of stuff, you should have arranged for a ride, not counted on the kindness of strangers. I'm not helping you move. If it takes more than one trip to get your shit into my car, I will drive off - with half your shit - and leave you behind.

And lastly - if someone doesn't stop to give you a ride, don't give 'em stink eye. They may be approaching their destination. They may have a carload of their own crap. The backseat may be filled with carseats and the front seat filled with food and other necessities that they can't leave the house without. In fact, that's why I have a fucking car. To get me, and my shit, from Point A to Point B. It's pretty convenient, actually. You should totally give it a try.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunny Sundays - Things I love: Lips like cherries

I don't wear makeup. I just don't. Foundation and powder make me feel all itchy and claustrophobic and made-up and weird. Like I have a mask on.

And eye makeup is always a disastrous undertaking. IF I manage to apply it in a way that does not leave me A. Blinded or B. Looking like Tammy Faye, eventually I will smear it all over my face so that I definitely look like I have been beaten. Or like I just won Miss America. (OK, maybe just that I have been beaten. Let's not get too full of ourselves here. I could never win Miss America because I can't clog for shit. My talent would be "mixing a bloody mary".)

I don't even wear perfume. I use unscented deodorant. The jars of yummy smelling lotions gather dust in my closet.........

But I wear lipstick.

I love lipstick.

I love RED lipstick.

And right here, right now, I am going to tell you about my 2 favorite lipsticks. They are dark red, with a blue undertone - not orange-y, which for me is an absolute requirement. These are true, deep, dark cherry reds. And they look good on almost everyone. I say almost because I am sure there are people out there who might look better in other colors - but everyone who has ever worn red lipstick has looked awesome in these. I lend them to everyone, because everyone asks to borrow my lipstick.

NARS "Fire Down Below"
OK, I have to admit, the name is what caught my eye. Fire down below INDEED. But in addition to The Best Lipstick Name EVER, it is an amazing red.

Prescriptives "Intriguing"
My friend Marnie owned this one, I borrowed it, and then we walked to Macy's in San Francisco and bought at least 2 tubes each. I am glad I bought two, because Lucy got her hands on the first one:

Isn't that a GREAT red? My favorite part of this photo is how perfectly she applied the left side. And then the right went all to shit. Which is exactly how it looks when I try to put on eye liner. This is a family trait.

Speaking of liners, I do wear a lipliner with my red lipstick.
MAC Red Enriched Cremestick Liner

And if I am not wearing red lipstick (because it is not appropriate for every occasion, or so I have been told) I wear a neutral lipliner and fill in my whole lip with it - MAC "Spice" lip pencil is another one of those colors that people are always asking to borrow, and looks great on everyone.

So there you have it - my favorite red lipsticks, the all important lip liner, and my everyday lip pencil.
Rock it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 years ago I went to Walmart

9 years ago, I had a 10 month old.
9 years ago, he was taking his morning nap, and I was booking a hotel room in Times Square for a road trip we were taking to North Carolina.
9 years ago, I closed the window of the travel website, and came back into view.
9 years ago, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks and made my blood run cold.
9 years ago, I started paging my husband.
9 years ago, I walked over to the TV with the phone clamped under one ear, and slowly reached out - as if it would bite me - and turned up the sound.
9 years ago, I watched the second plane hit the second tower, and I heard the fear in the voice of the news anchor.
9 years ago, I started dialing every 212- and 917- phone number in my address book.
9 years ago, I picked up my sleeping baby and held him close, and waited for someone to call me back.
one mississippi. two mississippi. three mississippi.
9 years ago, people started jumping.
9 years ago, a skyscraper - one I had been to the top of, one that relatives had worked in, one that I had shopped in and eaten in and laughed in and applied for jobs in and been alive in, one that a major retail chain had wanted to transfer me to for work.........that skyscraper just........fell..............down.
9 years ago, tears rolled silently down my cheeks and fell on my baby's head and then rolled down his sleeping cheeks and then he was awake and we were both crying.
9 years ago, my husband called me back. And my cousin. And another cousin. And a friend. And an uncle. And soon I was just going from one call waiting to another, never putting the phone down, still holding my baby, every conversation was brief.
"I'm okay. I'll call you later."
"I'm on my way home."
"I talked to her. She's safe."
"I talked to him. He's fine."
9 years ago, I felt relief in the midst of terrible fear.
9 years ago, I ran out of diapers.
9 years ago, I went to Walmart. And I hugged the greeter at the front door.
I had never done that before.
9/11 changed me. It changed how I look at life. It changed how I regard personal safety and fate and tragedy and loss and life and death and my friends and my family.
There are bad people.
There are heros.
Buildings fall down.
Life must go on.

And so........we moved to paradise. Just about 9 years ago.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grabby McGrabber and the hand that grabbed

September is a quiet month in paradise. Business is slower, visitor numbers are lower, and each shift at the restaurant is a crapshoot. Sometimes it's busy, and sometimes........notsomuch. But even on the slowest night, things can happen.

Wednesday night was quiet like that. We didn't have a single customer until 6:45pm.

Not a soul.

No one.

Eventually a few tables filled up. At table One, we had a couple enjoying a few glasses of wine, a quiet dinner, and hushed conversation. Towards the back was a little kid and his mom - he had ridden his little red trike right into the restaurant and parked it next to the table. Soon he was climbing around in the booths, turning off the lights and running in circles. He asked for a glass of water and than marched right behind the bar to get it himself.

One of those kids.

His mom was one of those touchy-feely new-agey mamas, who always speak in a soft sweet voice and keep discipline to a minimum. Each time the kid did something obnoxious (like turn off the lights over the bar, plunging us into darkness) she would say "No no no, we have to leave the lights on." in her sing-song bullshit voice, as though SHE didn't mind if he turned them out, but the pesky people in the restaurant were stifling her little darling's free expression. Between the tricycle and the flashing lights and the kid being underfoot, I was pretty annoyed. The most annoying thing about the entire situation, though, was that they weren't there to eat dinner. They were there talking with some friends who had stopped in (and were ALSO not eating dinner). So this kid, and his useless mother, were just hanging out and slowly but surely pissing me off. As I have previously stated right here on this very blog: my tolerance for obnoxious children in general - and in restaurants in particular - is already pretty low. But if you are not even a paying customer? It's nil.

After about 30 minutes of behavior that one of my kids would have been taken home for exhibiting, my patience was frayed. And then, in one snapped. Her little darling walked up to the customers (the paying customers) enjoying a romantic dinner at table 1, met the gentleman sitting there with a level gaze, reached out......

and snatched the bread off the guy's bread plate and shoved it right in his own little mouth.

I just happened to be standing at that very table at that exact moment, refilling waterglasses.

I almost dropped the pitcher.

I froze, my mouth hanging open, and then my head snapped up and over to my right - searching for the mother. And when we made eye contact, it is a great personal disappointment to me that she didn't burst into flames on the spot from the heat of my glare. I must be losing my touch.

Note to self: work on freezing glare and shooting fire from eyeballs.

Another note: do not use both at once, they cancel each other out.

It took all of my strength to remain professional. Instead of going with my first reaction - which would be to scream "What the fucking FUCK do you think you are doing?" while snatching the kid up and depositing him on the sidewalk outside - I calmly walked around the table, picked up the bread plate and knife, murmered my apologies to (all together now) the paying customer, and marched back to the service bar to get clean ones. Ones that hadn't just been hijacked by a 3 year old of unknown personal hygeine. (But we all know how clean 3 year olds are, don't we? Which is to say: not very. In truth, they are filthy little beasts who don't wipe their behinds correctly, pick their nose indiscriminantly, shove their hands in their pants with regularity, and rarely wash with soap. So make sure you always wash up after interacting with one of these creatures. Dirtier than garden gnomes, they are.)

Sorry. Tangent. Ahem.


As I returned with the uncontaminated plate and knife, the mother was extending their interruption and self-centered rudeness, standing at the table (and I just want to reiterate - the paying customer's table) hugging her precious little angel to reassure him that everything was just fine and no one was upset with him, while "apologizing" in the way that translates to "I am so sorry if he bothered you, he is just such a free spirit and doesn't know any better. Say you're sorry sweetheart."

I think the person who was really sorry in this scenario was the guy who's evening was being so rudely interrupted, and I almost said so - but at this point she had the sense to skedaddle, and I certainly didn't want to delay their departure. So while I really did have to restrain myself, I did not drag them bodily from the table and lock the door behind them.

But I now have a strict "no tricycle" policy. To keep out the riff raff.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


For a while now, I have been seeing "FML" here and there - in emails, texts, and on facebook.

"Hm," I would think. "FML. What does that mean?" It goes without saying that I am not very savvy when it comes to abbreviations and current trends in tweets, texts, and bathroom graffiti.

Considering that it took me about 3 months to work up the courage to ask someone what LOL meant when I first got online 12 years ago, the fact that I found out what FML meant inside of a year is miraculous. And all I can say is: FML where have you been all my life?

If there was EVER an abbreviation I needed on a daily basis, this is it. This is the brass ring.

For the uninitiated: Fuck My Life. (Now you don't have to google it! YOU'RE WELCOME.)

Because my days tend to run into one long mud-smeared blur of children/dog/food/job A/laundry/dishes/more food/job B/emails/facebook/blog/job C/naptime, FML is getting quite a workout.

Let's recap the number of times I was abe to put it to good use in one average day, shall we?

Out of cereal? FML
No clean underwear? FML
Can't find the baggies and the kids entire lunch is packed in plastic wrap? FML
Late for school and the road is closed while they mow the grass on the side of the road? FML
Forgot to put detergent in the dishwasher? FML
Forgot to put bleach in the washing machine? FML
Called in to work on your night off? FML
Credit card declined- the only one you have in your purse when you are standing at Walmart with a cart full of bagged groceries? FML
Drive 30 minutes out into the country and realize the gas light is on? FML
Lie down to take a nap before work and the neighbor decides to mow his lawn/use a power saw/show off his new dirt bike? FML
Send the kids outside to play and one comes back in 2 minutes bleeding? FML
Get to work and realize you do not have a hair elastic OR deodorant? FML

Shall I go on? Are you getting the picture?

So while it may seem trite, or juvenile, or overly simplistic, dammit this works. I can scream "F! M! L!" with all sorts of emotion, right in the checkout line at Walmart, and no one who would be offended has ANY IDEA what I am talking about. And people who do know what it stands for just smile and nod and give me a high five. And then watch the cart for me while I run out to find my checkbook.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In retrospect, maybe the velvet was a little much

I think it is safe to say that I don't do things half-assed. Which is how "I love to rollerskate!" turned into "I'm joining the roller derby!" But with just as much clarity and whole-heartedness, I am not afraid to change directions mid-stream, or own up to a serious mis-calculation. (Which is how this derby girl went from skating to refereeing to, well.......they say they still love me. So that's something. My neck on the other hand.....not so much. Maybe once I can turn my head to the left again I can consider bouting, but until then ful body assaults are pretty much out, unless of course they are involuntary.) (Well, those are out too, with any luck.)

My lastest adventure/dumb idea was to break out a dress I wore to homecoming in 1992, and sashay my ass down to the karaoke bar for the next in the weekly series of karaoke contests. Surely, you remember this little gem from last weeks' contest.

Well, we done classed up the joint this time.
The theme this week was Winter Formal. It may not be winter, but we embraced the formal as you can see. Oh yes we did. I mean, does anything scream formal like thigh-high stockings? I think not.

I made the mistake of trying a different fruity drink - another of the many MANY ill-advised decisions I have made in my life. And here is my final ruling: Fruity drinks suck ass.

No cocktail should have more than 2 or 3 ingredients. Otherwise you are trying too fucking hard. Jack and coke. Shot of tequila. Maybe a margarita if you are in a place that has decent ones. But otherwise, don't do it man. Don't fall for the pretty drink with the cherry on top. You will live to regret it. And you will wish you had just died - it would have been more pleasant than the aftermath of the "Snooki Punch" I took for a trial run last week or the "Shark Infested Waters" I jumped in last night. Trust me on this.


But I did still fit into a dress from 20 years and 2 kids ago. Apparently, my ass is bigger and my tits are smaller and i grew a few inches (!? The hell?) How unfortunate. Mother Nature is a stone cold bitch.

Monday, September 6, 2010

For the love of a roller girl

My husband and I are just back from a romantic overnight stay on a tiny island. We took the ferry over, and rented a 4x4 jeep with every intention of exploring desolate, isolated beaches. We found a few.

But the terrain was so rough, and sadly the litter on the beach was so pervasive, that we gave up after a while - our dreams of romance dashed on the jagged rocks and smashed shipping containers of the remote south shore.

We returned to the hotel and our room, at the front of the lovely old plantation style building, with a high-ceiling and a huge bed. The room opened onto a small front porch, which we shared with the couple from the neighboring room. Norman and Mary were celebrating Norm's birthday.
Norman and Mary seemed to be spending their entire vacation on our shared lanai.
Which means Norman and Mary spent almost the entire time that we were IN our room, sitting outside of it. Like, right outside. And we had the windows open, because it's Hawaii and the air is nice and the weather was perfect. But having the lanai window open meant that Norman and Mary had what could best be described as a front row seat for our romantic getaway. Having the lanai window closed meant that our room was sweltering and that they would probably hear every word we said anyway.


It goes both ways - we were in fact made aware of how little privacy there was, by hearing Norman's every cough, fart and conversation - both with his wife and with his cellphone - on the lanai. The one right outside our room. The one where our window opened out to. That one.


Eventually, Norman and Mary went to dinner. Sadly, we had reservations for the same time - so we all went to dinner, and sat across the dining room from each other - them glaring at us for trying to have some grownup private time in our hotel room, us glaring at them for sitting directly outside that room ensuring that there was absolutely nothing private about the time we spent in our room.

In an effort to really make them uncomfortable, we started talking (quietly, of course) about the sex life of rollergirls. Not any specific rollergirls, know. Girls who skate derby. I don't have any idea how it came up, but we talked about it for the entire dinner. Rollergirls are not any specific "type", but I think it is safe to say that the majority of them are not exactly the traditional, conservative, missionary position on Saturday evening only after the kids are in bed with the doors locked and all the lights off kind of girls. The girls that I have met run the gamut from gay to straight, with a heavy dose of bi and bi-curious. And that was exactly what we were talking about. Just how bi-curious is your average rollergirl?

Pretty curious. Or at least, they talk a good game. I am not. Curious, that is. Thinking that perhaps my husband wanted a little reassurance that he was the only one for me, that I wasn't going to shack up with a team mate or start having extra "team meetings" after practice, I told him flat out "I am not interested in having sex with women."

And I have to tell you: He seemed a little disappointed.

"I have an equation." he explained. "A very scientific equation."
I stared at him, then refilled my wine glass.
"Oh you do, do you?"
"Yes. Perhaps it's more of a theory, actually. Here's my theory: The man? He's a negative. The woman? She's a positive."
"Mmm." I murmured. I drained the wine glass and he refilled it.
"So, one guy, one girl. That's a balanced equation, right? One negative, one positive."
"I guess so...."
"But if you add another guy in there, it's 2 negatives, just one positive. That's no good."
"Is the guy for you, or for me?" I got a little panicky.
"No, no, wouldn't matter. Two guys, is one too many guys - regardless of why he's there."
"But two girls? That's two positives. That makes a positive."
"Ah, I see. A win-win situation."
"YES!" He thundered. "Two girls and one guy is positive for EVERYONE."
Mary looked like she was going to faint. Norm started to cough. He may have choked on his wine, but I was too engrossed in the conversation to give a shit about Norm.
"Well, that is an interesting theory you have there."
"I'm still not into girls like that."
"No problem. I'm just saying, my reaction to finding you in bed with a girl would be way different then my reaction to finding you in bed with a guy."
"What WOULD your reaction be?"
"Well, if you were with a guy, I'd probably kill him."
"Ah." I said agreeably.
"But if you were in bed with a girl-"
"You'd probably ask us to start over from the beginning."
"Probably. And maybe talk a little louder so I didn't miss anything."
At this point, we were in hysterics. The wine bottle was empty.
Mary and Norman decided to leave without finishing their dessert.
"Night night guys!" I said, waggling my fingers at them as they walked by. "See you in the morning!"
They glared at us.
"Well, despite all of the scientific theory proving the benefits of having sex with women - even just from a mathmatical standpoint" I continued "I'm still not interested."
"That's just fine" he reassured me. "I love you anyway."

12 years, and the romance is still alive, people. Isn't that something?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nipples and Roaches and things that go crash

Hello my darlings. Daffodil is a very sleepy monkey, so we shall see if this post makes any sense at all. The last 24 hours have just been stupidly random, to the point where last night I contemplated walking home in the rain - to clear my head and also to avoid the roaches. But that comes later - let's start at the very beginning.

Yesterday was the Big! Rollergirls! Photo! Shoot! I had made a list of my favorite locations for cool "only on Maui" photos. I wasn't sure if this shoot was ever going to take place, due to my complete lack of self-confidence socially, and the complete lack of interest in having me be the photographer for their calendar. Can't say as I blame them, of course - I would send out these meek little emails that translated into: "well, um, I could take the photos, maybe in the next two weeks.......if you wanted"..... (cue the timid-poor-me-eyelash-batting-aw-shucks-kicking-the-dirt wallflower who still and forever lives deep inside.) I wasn't confident, I was all shy and uncertain and when I said it there was one of those "Oh, that is SO SWEET OF YOU!" group responses and then conversation would resume about *WHO* could possible take these pictures and *HOW* they were going to find a photographer willing to work for free and "WHEN* everyone might want to get together to do that. So to have to shoot actually happen at all was sort of empowering in and of itself.

BUT FIRST there was hair and makeup and bottles (and cans) of wine and beer and champagne and food and music and hairspray (A LOT of hairspray). Everyone met at my house, and Lizzie the FABulous worked her magic usually reserved for brides and celebrities and then we changed into our white dresses and piled into two cars.

And went to the gas station.

We rolled up during the height of afternoon traffic, causing our own little traffic jam. Noa had a bottle of wine in one hand and a glass from my house in another. (Ahem. I will be expecting that back.) Erin was having trouble fitting her hair in the backseat so she was sitting in the middle, very still, hoping it didn't get all fucked up on the ceiling upholstery. Shiner was taking photos. Everyone agreed that they were very thirsty.

You just haven't lived until 2 carloads of women (and Noa because, well, we love him and we like to take him with us everywhere. If you do't have a Noa in your life you must find one IMMEDIATELY.) As I was saying, you just haven't lived until you have seen 2 carloads of women in clothes that were supposed to say "angels" but instead vaguely resembled togas with big hair and tons of eye makeup pumping gas and buying tallies of Bud Light at the Minit Stop at 2 in the afternoon. Well, we all had on togas except Bo. Bo decided to go more natural. Bo cut a lace dress into 3 pieces, and then in half, and then just taped leaves on her nipples and called it a day. I love Bo. And to her credit, she wore a tank top to the gas station.

Nipple sighting number one.

After a while, we worked out way back into traffic and headed down the hill to location number one. It was pretty cool.

I set up the tripod, and we tried to use it, but the tripod sucked, and all of the photos were coming out at an angle. I couldn't get it to take a straight photo no matter how many ways I adjusted the legs. Eventually I took the camera off the tripod and handed it to Noa, who became our official photographer. And I will say it again - EVERYONE needs a Noa. He adorable, and he always has wine and he cooks bacon and wears hot pants. However, the issue with crooked photos did not improve. I blame the pants.

Next were heading to the jungle for a series of photos, starting with an old abandoned bus almost completely hidden by vines. But first, we were going to have to change. Which we all decided to do in the middle of the road. Granted, it was a dirt road in the middle of the jungle, but people do live along that road, and they do drive.

All I can say is: Nipple sighting number two. And Poor Noa. And has anyone checked his cellphone for photos?

We went through a series of increasingly bug-infested locations, from the bus to waist-high grasses to a secret pool with a waterfall. The pictures were great, and at the end some of us (cough BO cough) were in the pool and some of us were covered in mud and some of us were ready to go home because enough with the fucking jungle already I need another Bud Light.

And also, nipple sightings. Plural. I lost count.
Poor, poor Noa.

By the end of the day we were covered in bug bites and mud, an hour behind schedule, and starving.

And I had to go to work.

I went in later than usual - we had a private party and I was bartending. It was a nice crowd celebrating a birthday. I think it went very well. The guy who didn't tip us got a drink dumped on him because karma is very pro-gratuity. The birthday boy had a lovely time, right up until the very end when, in a moment of celebration, he dropped a glass on the floor. Just dropped it.


To his credit, he bent down to pick it up (and almost fell head-first into the pile of broken glass - oh hello celebratory head rush) but I shushed him and waved him off. No one should have to clean up on their birthday, and it's not a party until shit gets broke. So I thought it was a sign of a great evening, and a broken glass was a small price to pay. A trip to the ER for stitches would have really taken the rosy glow off of an otherwise lovely memory.

At the end everyone left and we cleaned up and we were ready to go when one of the guests walked back through the door. "Can I have some napkins? A girl fell down and she's bleeding." This sweet girl wearing the loveliest heels had fallen over.


It's no surprise, what girl who wears sexy high heels hasn't missed the curb or gotten their heel stuck and twisted an ankle, right? So I handed him the napkins, and he went outside and I continued cleaning up. Only, I looked out the window, and the girl didn't look so good. "Oh" I thought, "Maybe blood makes her woozy." I went outside with a cold cloth.

She was out like a light. "Let's lie her down?" I suggested. So they eased her down and when she was stretched out on the sidewalk her top slipped to the side and.......

(sigh) Nipple sighting number whatever the fuck I have seen so many nipples at this point it's just ridiculous. She opened her eyes, and was feeling dizzy, but a friend took her home and promised to keep an eye on her. So I went to the parking lot to get in my car and when I opened the door I tried not to scream.

The car was teeming with cockroaches. When the light came on, they all starting scurrying everywhere. And I stood there and just........stared. I was frozen in horror.


I was so tired. It was raining. I just wanted to go home. And while my gut instinct was to run at top speed up the hill and stay far, FAR away from that car and it's *ahem* contents...........But let's be realistic here. I would have made it about a mile, the curled into the fetal position and texted someone for a ride. So I just sucked it up, climbed in, and drove at top speed to my house. Whereupon I got out of the car, squaled, shuddered, jumped up and down, shook my hair out and stripped naked on the porch doing the "icky dance" as Lucy calls it. In the rain. At 2am.

Nipple sighting number 236764.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The irony is not lost on me

I have mentioned here before that my kids go to a great school. A small school. In the jungle.

I'm not kidding.

And one of the things about this school is that - because it is so small - the parents are very involved. Not involved like hassling the teachers and sitting there eating snack every day with their 6 year old because they just can't cut the cord. Involved like teaching fun electives, helping with repairs and maintenance, and cleaning. If we want a clean school house, we gotta clean it. And some parents don't think they need to. Or just don't want to. Or would never DREAM to do somehting so BENEATH them.

Obviously, I don't have those notions about myownself. I hate to clean, and I am awful at cleaning, and I don't clean my own house - but I am also part of a community (and to clarify, this is not a COMMUNE, thanks - it's a community. We may be in the jungle, but we wear pants most of the time and no wife-swapping is involved and we don't have a religious leader/guru/swami and we don't drink KoolAid and clearly I don't know what goes on at communes but I don't need to worry about it because this isn't one). AS I WAS SAYING I am part of a community, and this community includes a bathroom and my kids use it and there is no budget and no staff and so......

So I volunteered to go first. Take one for the team. Clean the bathroom and kitchen, every day, for 2 weeks.

Since I don't clean MY OWN bathroom and kitchen every day, it's interesting that I would take this task on. And trust me, I was not thrilled. But hey. Do what ya gotta do. I'd rather get it over with and be done with it. And if "it" is cleaning a (for all intents and purposes) public bathroom, so be it. Or "it". Whatever. ANYWAY my point is despite my deficiencies in keeping house, I can still clean a damn bathroom, and I did. I cleaned it every day. E V E R Y D A Y. And let me tell you something:

For as many parents that avoided eye contact when they saw me cleaning, and behaved as though I was the hired help, or doing something they would NEVER consider doing - like I was a fucking untouchable or something (because so help me one kid stopped to say hello and her mother literally grabbed her elbow and dragged her along as though I was lying in a gutter mumbling to myself and reaching for her ankle) for just as many parents who acted like total assholes just as many parents said "Thank You". And some of them didn't even say it like they were thanking "the help". They sounded sincere. They sounded like they had done this exact job before, and knew they would be doing it again soon.

And a few of them even commented on how CLEAN it was, with me doing the cleaning. So much CLEANER than it had ever been before.

And I laughed. Oh, I laughed. Oh man. That's some funny shit. My house is so disgusting I am paying to have someone dig me out....and apparently I am the fucking ARCHANGEL ON HIGH (well, yes......I guess I would be) of cleaning.

But alas, today is my last day of cleaning, and then I am moving on to driving carpools and repairing things that are broken and teaching a class and repairing the sofa that got torn and there is just SO MUCH TO DO in a commune - I mean community. If you'll excuse me I had better go find my pants. And my husband.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You can take the girl out of Jersey...........

Okay, that title's not entirely accurate. I have never lived in New Jersey. I have never been to it's shore. In fact, New Jersey is relevant in my life only as a place with hideous never-ending turnpikes, and people who pump your gas for you. I won't even fly out of Newark. New Jersey is someplace I drive through as quickly as possible - with plenty of quarters and $1's to pay all the fucking tolls.

But tonight. Oh, tonight. I am putting on massive amounts of bronzer and lipliner, pink slippers, and some highly inappropriate attire and heading to a local bar to sing karaoke. With a Jersey accent, natch.

It's Karaoke Night - Jersey Shore edition.

I don't know anything about the MTV show, other than what I have seen in People magazine......but it LOOKS atrocious and I just can't wait to be a part of it. I have to  stop typing now because my press-on nails (aqua with black zebra stripes - squeeeee!) are making it really difficult.


......Aaaaaaand we're back. About 2 hours after the above photo was taken (by my husband, who did indeed allow me out of the house like that and NO I have no idea what he was thinking either) I was in a bar, singing "I Can't Stand The Rain" with lots of heartfelt emotion and boundless enthusiasm (and tone deaf as you please) in the karaoke contest, sucking down a glass of Snooki Punch (you don't want to know) and kissing Rollergirls. And then we went next door to a neighboring bar, to say hello to other Rollergirls. And when I announced after a little while that I needed to return to the scene of the karaoke-ing to see if I had won the contest, Killah looked me in the eye and said "No you don't."

"No, I do, I want to see if I w-"
"You didn't."
"But maybe I-"
"Trust me, no."


So I had another drink. And then I did a bit of highly inappropriate dancing to Sir Mix a Lot. And then an encore performance to "Low". Because hello? I had on "boots with the fur". It would have been silly to let that opportunity pass me by.

Pictures do exist, and perhaps even some very unfortunate videos, and of course I will indeed share them with you if legalities permit.