Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pleather and Pasties: Rollercon 2011 derby wedding.

When we saw the red sleeve poking out from the rack, the immediate response - the only acceptable response - was: "Perfect."

It was 9-something in the morning, and I had only slept for a few hours - but there was some serious business to attend to. I was getting married that night, and I didn't have a thing to wear.

Thank god for Savers.

After an evening spent in the back of a Hummer limousine, being refused entry to a strip club because we didn't have any pants on, and then flooding the bathroom of my hotel room, I was a little worse for the wear. Care Bear had blown into town the night before in daddy's Caddy, and was willing to drive me around because she is pretty fucking amazing - so with a pit stop at Starbucks and a few trips to the potty, we were on a mission. First stop: Walmart. I wore a leopard print strapless dress for the occasion, keeping with my "no pants in Vegas" rule that I had been strictly enforcing. And also because I had not packed any appropriate clothing whatsoever for a trip to "civilization" aka "not rollercon".

Walmart didn't have a damn thing that we needed, so we went next door to Savers and got ourselves some lace curtains, a pink apron with a heart on the front that said "Jesus Bakes" or something like that with a quote from the bible, and the piece de resistance: A red pleather motorcycle jacket that fit like it was made for me, if I were to have a pleather jacket custom made. Which I would not. But I digress. I had hit wedding gold, for the very reasonable price of $7.99.

Our next stop was the American Apparel outlet. After wandering the aisles, I was getting a little anxious. I had felt sure I would find some sort of amazing bodysuit that was going to pull my whole look together, and yet, somehow, the leotard of my dreams was nowhere to be found. I took a closer look, and found something that I still cannot quite get my head around. I found a glittery gold skirt that American Apparel was calling a strapless dress (which is a perfect example of why I love that place so damn much) and a matching zip-front bodysuit.

Oh, it brought a tear to my eye.

We returned to the hotel triumphant, and I presented my fellow bride with her "dress". When she pointed out that while American Apparel might think it was a dress, she did not necessarily agree, I suggested that she wear it as a skirt, and just put on some pasties. Problem solved.

I withheld the jacket, as I wanted to keep some element of surprise for the actual wedding night, and then she rushed off to class and I went back to my room to take off the animal print and slip into something smaller. A few hours later found Carrie and I in my bathroom, which had mostly recovered from being completely submerged the night before. The damp carpet smelled like feet but it was clean, so rather than get hair all over it (YOU'RE WELCOME HOUSEKEEPING) I sat on the edge of the tub and Carrie climbed in behind me and proceeded to cut off approximately 75% of my hair. Since my hair was pretty short to begin with, and after a few minutes of watching massive amounts of hair fall to the floor, I mentioned that while I had given her carte blanche with the haircut, I would prefer to avoid a bald spot.

She wasn't amused.

15 minutes later I had a new amazing haircut, and another bathroom disaster on my hands.

Carrie had to leave, which broke my heart because I had really wanted her at my wedding - so we went downstairs and she drove off into the desert and I went in to watch my future derby wife skate. When she came off the track, we had a quick conversation about the evening's nuptials, wherein we discovered that neither of us had thought to buy rings. No matter, there was a convenience store in the lobby, surely they would have something......this IS Vegas after all.

An hour later I discovered that even in Vegas, next door to a wedding chapel, convenience stores do not carry rings. Which is, in my mind, a huge oversight on their part. They did, however, have dangly dice earrings and vodka, and I am nothing if not flexible.

My bride, meanwhile, had snuck off and bought some really spectacular wedding rings, so all of my worry was for naught - we had both earrings AND rings and all was right with the world. I hopped in the shower, and she went off to her room to get her pasties on and whatever else brides do. I wouldn't know, because I spent half an hour trying to secure my bodysuit with double sided tape which I am pretty sure is not what brides usually spend their time doing. In my excitement at finding such great outfits I had neglected to try anything on and, sadly, my bodysuit gave me both cameltoe AND wedgie which was remarkably uncomfortable to say the least.

I can say with certainty that getting ready to get derby married took much longer than the amount of time I took getting ready for my wedding to my husband. Choosing the perfect amount of unzipped for maximum cleavage, deciding whether I should wear fishnets or leggings with hearts on them, and securing that curtain to my head was a lengthy process. My counterpart was busy with adhesives and a sharpie, so she had her own set of issues to work out. All of which meant that we missed the first wedding ceremony of the evening. Thank goodness, they had more ceremonies scheduled later on - with all of the trouble we had gone to getting ready to get hitched, I was getting married that night - even if I had to drag the minister out of the pool party that was raging outside to do it.

Finally we were both ready, I in my red pleather and she in her red pasties, both in fishnets. Our officiant was an eight months pregnant derby girl in an Elvis suit, and as we repeated the vows and stuck rings on fingers and smiled for the cameras, I looked around the room and thought to myself -

"I must never let my children see these photos".

You, on the other hand, will get a peek. Like my facebook and/or follow me on twitter - in the coming days I will review the documentation of our big event with my brand spanking new derby wife (Though I must confess, there is no spanking involved. Yet.) and with her permission I will post a few choice photos of the evening. In the meantime, you can read a version of our vows here.

I don't know if getting married will change things between us, but in the meantime I'm going to get us registered at Macy's TOOT SWEET and then sit back and wait for the wedding gifts to start arriving. I could really use some new towels.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wild Turkey: good - wild turkeys: bad.

Here in Connecticut, they have a lot of animals running about. Usually the biggest problem is keeping your pet from getting skunked, and figuring out how to secure the garbage cans in such a way that the raccoons cannot get at the trash contained within. Many an hour has been spent building wooden hutches for the cans, or setting up elaborate bungee cord/rope/rock contraptions to keep the lids on and the animals out of the trash - but no matter which strategy you choose, even the most highly engineered deterrents don't work. My latest attempt involved a bungee cord and a beach chair, tied to the top of a trash can who's lid had been inverted. It was so complicated that I had trouble opening it to put the trash inside each night. And those little bastards still got into the bag of chicken wings all the way at the bottom of the barrel. Assholes.

But this summer, it has been.......more than that. I don't know why, I don't know if animals are being so squeezed out of their natural habitats and are migrating to my family's neighborhood or what - but my first hint that something was amiss came the afternoon that I drove up to the house, and a coyote or some other coyote-like animal was standing in my driveway.

Glaring at me.

It's very unsettling to have an animal that most closely resembles a small gray dog stand facing your approaching car, and looking like he was going to go all honey badger on the front grill. I call him a coyote, but he could have been a rabid dingo for all I know - if it's not a mongoose I am completely uable to identify any animal without the aide of a zookeeper, a tour guide or some excellent signage that includes photos. But I know this: there is absolutely NO WAY IN HELL that I am going to have a dingo taking my babies, so I did what any mother would do. I backed the car up, put it back in drive, and gunned it. The beast had enough commoon sense to recognize another member of the honey badger family, and he moved slightly to the left to let me by. Then he started to trot down the driveway, following us towards the house. Oh, hell no. I slammed on the brakes, revved the engine, and threw it into reverse. The tires caught the gravel and spun as they gained traction and speed, and we careened backwards. I stared him down out of the rear window as we approached much more quickly than anyone had anticipated. But I was not going to slow down - I had to make a point.

I think he actually shit himself as he ran off into the bushes.

But still, he's out there somewhere, along with another unlikely predator - wild turkeys.

I had heard talk about wild turkeys in the yard, and we were keeping an eye out. But almost a week had passed, and we hadn't heard so much as a "gobble". We may have been listening for the wrong thing, however. In real life, turkeys don't really gobble. I was lying in bed one night, sound asleep, and suddenly right outside my window there arose a commotion the likes of which I had never heard before.


I sat straight up and reached for the light. Fumbling in the dark, the noise was getting - if possible - louder.


I gave up on trying to turn on the lamp, and just stuck my head straight out the window to see what the hell was going on out there.I blinked and rubbed my eyes and squinted. There was something in the yard. Actually, several somethings. Actually, quite a few somethings. But what the fuck were they?


Three of the whatever-the-hell-they-weres were larger than my 6 year old. And then there were a bunch of smaller animals, sort of similarly shaped, but what the heck were they? And then, I realized.

Wild fucking turkeys.

Sweet Jesus. The biggest one was the size of a trash barrel, and the whole pack (flock?) was jabbering away about.....something. So I grabbed a flashlight I found next to the lamp, and shined it directly on them. They scattered and headed for the driveway, complaining the whole way. Eventually, the noise faded, and I fell back asleep. A few hours later, something happened that was SO FUCKED UP that I still haven't been able to sleep through the night without a handful of Tylenol PMs.

There was a breeze from the window carrying the salty ocean air into my room, and I had dozed off clutching my flashlight. Suddenly, I was woken up by a combination of things that came together in one perfect moment of terror. All at once, there was this horrible noise and a huge weight on my head and a terrific crash.


I screamed and threw myself out of bed and across the room, grabbing at whatever was on my head with the intention of throwing it as fast and as far as I could. But it was already gone. The noise continued unabated. I was absolutely hysterical, in a dark room, with no idea what was going on.


"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!" It took me a minute to realize that I was the one shouting. I yanked open the bedroom door and threw on the hallway light. Two eyes glowed at me from the windowsill.

My aunt's cat was trying to throw herself through the screen, to get to the wild turkeys that were once again gathered outside my bedroom window. I stood very still for a moment and did a little self-assessment. No blood, no injuries, nothing in my room but the cat. The lamp from the bedside table was overturned, but it wasn't broken. And most importantly, I hadn't pissed my pants.

I spent the rest of the night locked in the bathroom with the light on, reading old issues of Real Simple and trying to get the adrenaline out of my system.

The next morning dawned and I was a total mess. By about 4pm, I realized that we needed coffee if I was going to make it to dinnertime without passing out face first in the living room during the evening news. We got in the car and headed down to the Big Y. As we pulled in, the kids were pressed against the window, watching soe excitement in the parking lot. Two men with nets and boxes were standing in the parking lot, watching something. A woman was taking pictures with her phone. As we got closser, I realized the object they were fixed on was a snake.

Fuck. That. Shit.

This may come as a shock to you, but I am not Steve Irwin. I am not interested in having any up-close encounters with wildlife unless they are behind a lot of glass, or perhaps locked in a cage or contained by a tall fence. Or stuffed. I can handle them stuffed. But since arriving I have had my fill of nature. I have faced coyotes glaring at me in my own driveway, deer eating the garden, raccoons eating, well, everything, skunks and wild turkeys and rabbits in the yard....but I will not have snakes in the parking lot I WILL NOT HAVE IT.

And so we returned home empty-handed. I watch them oh-so-carefully when they are playing outdoors. And then when they come in, oh baby. The hunt for ticks alone can ruin a perfectly good dinner. This place is hell for my anxiety, but frankly, I think my OCD is giving me an edge. I mean, sure I'm in a fucking blind panic every minute of the day....but I am also taking action, combing through hair, shaking out clothes, inspecting them head to toe before AND after the shower. My poor 10 year old son would really appreciate it if I would lighten up, and stop making him check his balls for insects. But I think he should just be grateful I let him do it himself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My magical muffin

We've been roadtripping this past week, and I have to say that it has gone much more smoothly than last year's debacle.

Part of the difference has been that I am not driving with two small children and my grandmother. Part of the improved experience is that the bumper did not fall off the car at any time during the trip. But mostly, it's because we fired Glenda and her replacement, Sully. This came about when I switched cellphone plans this spring, and after much wringing of hands and surfing of web, I chose a plan that includes a navigation system. One that actually, you know, navigates. While Glenda's british lilt was lovely and Sully's mangled Bawstin accent was amusing, neither of them had any sense of direction whatsoever - crucially important in a GPS system, it turns out. So now I use my cellphone. The voice is boring, but the service is great - very accurate and easy to use.

It's been lovely.


Every so often I lose my signal, and sometimes this happens at the most inconvenient time. You would expect that the signal might fade in, say, a tunnel. But shortly after we got on the highway, it unexpectedly lost its signal. I had checked the directions, told Sami which exit to take, and put the phone down. I opened a box of muffins, and put them on my lap, forgetting that my phone was there. Suddenly, the gps announced "Signal has been lost".

"Whoops, sorry. My muffin must have blocked the signal." I said without thinking.

Sami choked on his iced coffee.

"My muffin is very distracting" I continued, raising one eyebrow and catching his eye. He smirked.

I moved the box. "Hard to get a signal down there" I continued, as I reached between my legs to find the phone.

"I get my signals loud and clear down there" Sami managed to get out in a strangled voice.

"Yeah, well, you're not a GPS. You know where to go. You don't need directions."

"Well, sometimes I get off too soon."

I glared at him and turned my attention to the road, and my muffin. NOT THAT MUFFIN.

I was quickly distracted. Just in front of us, a car was playing Tangled on their overhead tv screen - which was jumbo sized. Since Sami is a terrible tail-gater, I was able to watch quite a bit of it. So that was nice. I do like that movie.

And then he said "I need $2 for the toll."

Ah, the toll.

For the next two hours, we dutifully waited in various lines to pay for the right to drive on the highway - "legalized extortion" Sami calls it. He also refers to it as "highway robbery" - especially when we get closer to New York City, and the tolls skyrocket. We were $26 dollars in the hole by the time we got to the George Washington Bridge. I had one $10 bill left in my wallet. I pulled it out nervously - the last toll had been over $9 - and we had just paid that 5 minutes ago. As we approached the booth, we could make out the sign:

"TOLL: $8"

"WHAT!?" Sami was coming unglued. He rolled down the window and stuck out the last of our cash. But before the toll collector could take it, Sami leaned out the window.


She looked unfazed. Somehow, I have a feeling she has heard this before.

"Yessir. Eight dollars."

He shook his head and snatched the change when she held it out. "Gee, thanks" he said through gritted teeth as he pulled away. I prepared myself for a long and heated rant about the origin of tolls, and how they should be illegal now that the roads have been built and paid for, and how his tax dollars are being wasted ad nauseum. Luckily, his focus quickly shifted to the utter free-for-all that begins just past any toll booth. Drivers from all 8 toll lanes were gunning it for a spot in one of the three highway lanes few hundred yards ahead. It was bedlam. Cars were crossing 3, 4, even 7 lanes of traffic, jockeying for position. One woman came flying past us on the left and nearly clipped the front of the car as she merged in front of us. "Holy FUCK!" Sami shouted as he slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid her. I was clutching the door handle and trying to keep my mouth shut so he could concentrate. "Did you see that shit?!" he was rolling up the window and simultaneously waving his hand in the air, gesturing towards her car. "Her side mirror is still folded in - she doesn't even have her side mirror open."

I was sympathetic. "Honey, do you really think she was going to use that mirror anyway? She probably hasn't even noticed it's folded in. If she had, she would have fixed it before getting on the interstate. And she would have seen us in her reariew mirror, anyway - if she had been looking. Which clearly, she wasn't."

"That's true" he muttered. "I guess mirrors aren't necessary if you don't appear to use any mirrors at all."

"I'm hungry" Lucy said from the backseat. It was a sore subject. The kids had refused all offers to stop for food earlier - and now we had passed all the good rest stops - My favorites were in Maryland, where both the Maryland House and the Chesapeake House have Popeyes, Burger King, Cinnabon AND Starbucks, and huge family bathrooms. It's like mecca for chrissakes. You can smell the Cinnabon from the highway. But once you get towards the top of the New Jersey turnpike, they rest stop food options turn to Sbarros and Arby's, with a Nathan's Hotdogs thrown in for good measure, and frankly I'd rather go hungry and pee on the side of the road than eat that shit.

So I handed her a muffin. NOT THAT KIND OF MUFFIN.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

sexy ankles keep a marriage strong

"Can you see my ankles in these pants?"

"Dude, I can see your shins in those pants."


"No bueno, man. Gotta get new pants. Hate to say it but wowzers, they got those wrong."

It was late at night, in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere, on the 4th of July weekend. The kids were passed out on one bed, and I was sitting on the edge of another craning my neck to check out Sam's tuxedo. We had a wedding the next day, and he had just gotten off a plane.

And the tux didn't fit.

I lay back on the bed and absentmindedly scratched the rash on my forehead that had popped up with perfect timing that morning. Either I had touched something I was allergic to, or it was a reaction to the antibiotics I had been taking. I didn't really care why I had the rash, I just needed it to go away - it was really itchy and super unattractive and covered not just my forehead, but also half my face, and my neck. And it was creeping onto my chest. I was starting to wonder if it had been brought on by stress.

None of the tuxes had been right. Either they hadn't fit, or the tie had been the wrong color, or the shirt had been pleated instead of flat front. Some guys had cufflinks, some didn't. And when I had picked up Sam's tux myself, earlier that day, I had been aware of the issues, and made sure I had the right sizes and colors and styles. Except. The pants were too short.

I wasn't surprised, but it still sucked six ways til Sunday. Because what this meant was that tomorrow morning, after 3 weeks of not seeing each other, we were going to spend another day apart. He was going to leave and spend the morning getting new tux pants, and the afternoon as an usher, while I spent another day wrangling two kids and trying not to lose my cool. Only this time it was going to involve dress clothes and an orthadox church.

But what can you do? It's a wedding, it's family, and he did look pretty hot from the knees up so in my mind it was worth it. I would gladly give up 3 hours in the morning, for 12 hours of my husband in a tuxedo later. And we didn't have to return it until the next morning.

Bonus. Let's get our James Bond on - no pants required.

The thing that was really bugging me about all of this was the moments leading up to that slo-mo Hallmark moment when he ran up to my car at the airport, dropped his bags on the curb, and swung me around like a soldier home on leave greeting his best girl. Even the cop gave us a minute before blowing his whistle and reminding us it was an active loading zone we were making out in.

It would have been so much better had I not been sweaty and my arms shaking uncontrollably.

I had just completed the pre-wedding triathalon: tux, shoes, airport - and I was totally drained by the time I found my husband standing on the sidewalk in the crowd of arrivals.

It started innocently enough. I was going to leave the kids at the beach with their cousins, drive to Boston, pick up a tuxedo, get Sam, and drive back to the beach. But of course there were complications. The first one being that I had absolutely no idea where the tuxedo shop was. Turns out, it was in the middle of a pedestrian mall - with no parking or driving allowed. So I ditched the car in Chinatown and went racing through the narrow streets, some smelling not-so-faintly of piss, some so foreboding that I turned around and ran back in the opposite direction looking for an alternate route. I got to the tux shop an hour before closing - and 15 minutes before Sam was due to land. After checking the bag carefully, I remembered a key element:

"Oh yeah, we need the shoes."
"You didn't order shoes."
"Sure I did! I put his shoe size on the little card thing-y."
"No, no shoes."
"Well, okay, whatever, I need shoes. Can you just add them to the tab?"
"Um......can I pay seperately?"
"We don't have any shoes." The man was saying this like there was something wrong with me. I looked around wildly. I was in a place with the words "Men's" and "Warehouse" in the name. There were displays of shoes. I was renting a tux. I needed shoes.
"I don't understand. The wedding is tomorrow. You rent clothes for weddings. I NEED SHOES FOR THE WEDDING." I checked my watch. The plane was landing in 5 minutes. I was in the center of Boston, 10 minutes from my car, arguing about renting patent leather shoes? I mean, let's be real. NO ONE wants to rent those damn shoes. They must have garbage bags full of them in the back. RIGHT?

Apparently, not. Not right at all. No shoes.

"I can sell you some shoes." the man said helpfully. I glared at him. I didn't want to buy ugly shoes. I wanted to borrow them for 36 hours. I grabbed the tuxedo and ran out the door. 2 minutes til touchdown. I needed shoes. I stood in the middle of the street and got my bearings. Macy's. I was going to Macy's. THEY would have shoes.

The salesman took one look at me and dropped the stack of shoeboxes he was taking to the back. "How can I help?" I stood there clutching the garment bag to my chest, and gave a silent prayer of thanks. "I need a pair of black, super comfortable shoes for a man morally opposed to wearing shoes in a size 13 that can be worn with or without dress socks and that are not hideously ugly or $100. Do you have anything like that?"

He did. While he was ringing me up, my phone dinged. "SAM AIRPORT 7:21" flashed on my screen, reminding me I was supposed to be at the airport. I would have called and left him a voicemail, but that leads me to my next problem.

Sam had put his cellphone thought the washing machine the day before. He was unreachable.
He had been calling me from payphones as he made his way across the US, checking in at airports during his layovers, letting me know his progress. Hopefuly he would call soon. In the meantime, I raced out of Macy's with my purse on one elbow, the shopping bag o'shoes dangling from the other wrist, and holding the garment bag over my head as I weaved through the crowds. I rounded the corner and headed down the cobblestoned street, cutting through a parking lot and dodging traffic.

I made it back to the car, threw the stuff in the back, climbed in the drivers seat, and gingerly maneuvered my way out of the parkiing space and onto the narrow street. I got to the stop sign at the end of the block and realized I had absolutely no idea where I was going. My phone rang as I tried to type LOGAN AIRPORT into the gps. "Hi honey, I'm here." I looked up and saw a cop watching me and dropped the phone into my lap. "HONEY I CAN'T TALK I'M DRIVING I'LL BE THERE SOON GOTTA GO COP"

"I can't hear you sweetie" his voice drifted through the line. I hit end and swerved into traffic. He'd figure it out.

And so did I. I found the airport, I found my husband, and now all we needed to do was find some tux pants that had an inseam longer than 26 inches. No problem, we just had to go to Men's Warehouse and get a new pair. It's a warehouse.....there must be tons of pants there.