Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Explanations for My Absence that are Way More Interesting than the Truth

1. I single-handedly solved the world energy crisis.  You just didn't hear about it because of all the Bristol-Palin Dancing with the Stars drama.

2. I was hunting wolves with my Uncle Rico in Alaska.  (GOSH.)

3. I was adapting Swan Lake into an urban rock musical (Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren have signed on, and Queen Latifah's a maybe).

4. I stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

5. I underwent plastic surgery to give myself a second nose.

6. I underwent more plastic surgery to remove the second nose. 

7. I was appointed to the Obama administration.  Then I quit, and then was re-hired.  Twice.

8. I made the world's largest rubber-band ball, only to drop it into the Monongahela River.

9. I invented a new formula for glue, which I sold to the Post-It company.  I'm now richer than your entire street.

(not really. :-(  )

10. I was learning Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish.  At the same time.  (Seriously.  Try me.  Ask me a question in the comments, and I will answer it in Mandarabanish.)


Anyway, I was actually not doing any of those things (except the Mandarabanish).  I was just being really busy and stressed out.  If I go for a bit without posting in the next month, it's because I've got some family things going on, and I may not be able to post. 

But I will whenever I can!  I've still got the very best of my wedding mishaps, injury stories, and other schadenfreude-laced humor that I can't wait to share with you, internet friends!  So please stick with me, and I'll get back to regular posts as soon as possible.  Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Haikus about Homeownership

Sometimes, the knowledge that the Husband and I own a house fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I sit down by my fireplace with a glass of red wine and a book, and think to myself, "You're on your way to being a bona fide grown-up!  Just look at your conservatively-decorated living room!"

Other times, I just want to put on my ranty-panties and chuck power tools at the walls.  These times include:

- When something breaks, clogs, or otherwise malfunctions

- When something costs more than I thought it would

- When something spills on the carpet

- When paint leaks under the painters tape and I have to touch up the ceiling

- When the painters tape pulls off the dried paint that I just applied and I have to start over

- When we write another check to our dreadful "home improvement 'specialist'"

- When I look at our master bedroom, still awaiting paint, cleaning, and furnishing

- When I realize that it's Sunday at 11:30pm; and that rather than completely finishing ALL THE HOME STUFF that weekend, all I've accomplished in the past two days is eating, sleeping, petting the dog, and watching football.  And occasionally blogging.

Anyway, my home-rage boiled over a little while ago, so I decided that a haiku catharsis would be less destructive than setting fire to the bathroom.  Here we go!

Also, Pre.S.: If you post your own homeowner haikus in the comments section, there is a marvelous, marginally mystical DUCT TAPE prize that awaits the best one!

To Our Bathroom "Contractor" (June)
Sounds reasonable...
When can you get started, and
When will it be done?

Swirled Plaster Walls
When was this ever,
EVER a good idea?
Godspeed, young sander.

To Our "Contractor" (July)
"It costs what it costs!":
NOT acceptable, you twat!
Your estimate's crap!

Blue Painters Tape
You're made for painters
So why do you let paint through?!
Now my ceiling's green.

To Our "Contractor" (August)
You said we'd have it by now.
Really?  Where is it?!

Phillips Head Screwdriver
Why can I find you
Only when I need flat-head?
Where are you hiding?

To Our "Contractor" (September)
Apparently, you
can't do math or plan ahead.
How is this your JOB?

Antique Doorknobs (which are loose and wobbly)
Old, lovely, but weak --
You're like Cloris Leachman on
Dancing with the Stars.

To Our "Contractor" (October)
WHAT's not included?
Oh, but we "could pay extra?"
Leave your key.  We're done.

Clogged Garbage Disposal
I have asked nicely.
I've tried to clean you out.  Now

Clogged Toilet
Wondered why Husband
Was so eager to walk dog.
Now it all makes sense.

Clogged Vaccuum Cleaner
Thought that bagless meant
You would not cause me this pain.
But you suck.  Really.

Clogged *Fill-in-the-Blank*
Had no idea
That once you buy a new home
All that can, will clog.

You know what? I feel a little better now!  In a weird way, grumbling about things that are clogged managed to clear my head a bit. 

Maybe this weekend I will seriously get some stuff done on the house.  Or maybe I'll just watch the Ohio State game while I crochet Christmas decorations and eat pizza rolls.  Either way, as long as NOTHING ELSE CLOGS, I think I'll be okay.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wedding Mishap Countdown!!! #7: A Trio of Mothers Who Know How to Party

One of the greatest things about weddings is how multi-generational they are.  For instance, you get to see your mother/your future spouse's mother/your friends' mothers in scenarios and states of being that you never thought possible. 

Ready for this?  Okay, here's mother-partying-like-a-rockstar story number one!

(I'm feeling a reality-TV logo vibe tonight)

For the wedding of our college friends Annie and Scott, the Husband and I had the honors of serving as Best Man and Bridesmaid, respectively.  We arrived in Scott's hometown the day before the wedding, ready to bring the party.  Little did we know that it had already been brought.

The rehearsal went well, and it was followed by a delicious, fantastic dinner, during which we got to know the other members of the wedding party better.  Afterwards was when things got hot and fancy.

The groomsmen and bridesmaids had every intention of holding separate bachelor/bachelorette festivities.  The Maid of Honor and I ran out to Wal-Mart to stock up on Buttershots and Sour Apple Pucker, while the Husband spearheaded the purchase of a large quantity of beer.  However, our wedding party was made up largely of a group of mutual friends, so it didn't take long for us to combine our alcohol stores parties.  After a foray to Bennigan's for deep-fried deliciousness and some preliminary drinks, we returned to the hotel.

"Which room should we hang out in?"  We wondered.  Our decision was quickly made, as the Mother-of-the Bride and family invited us into their swanky suite.

I know what you might be thinking.  "Srsly?  Hanging with the bride's parents?  The night before the wedding?  That's 'square' squared!"

(h/o, just blew my mind a little with the thought of "square" squared.  Whew.  okay.)

Here's the thing.  Annie's family is from Wisconsin, where alcohol is as much a part of the culture as it is a method for surviving the winter.  Her parents currently live in Alaska, where there is little else to do besides spy on the Russians go fishing star in Sarah Palin's Alaska count write-in ballots imbibe.

So commenced the libations.  We played games, sang songs, and took shots.  By "we" I mean the bride and groom, the bride's and groom's friends, and the bride's extended family.  This began around 11pm.

By about 2am, only the stoic remained: Annie, Scott, Annie's parents, a few out-of-town friends, the Husband, and me.  The Sour Apple and Buttershots were gone.  The beer was mostly gone.  Bottles of vodka and rum -- scant to gone.  Annie's parents' mini-fridge full of beer... pretty much empty.  My head was rather spinny, but mostly I was just inordinately sleepy.  As my eyes started to flutter closed for the umpteenth time, yet another shot glass was pushed into my hand.

"What is this?" I murmured.

"Tequila!"  Annie's mom said brightly.

I pulled my heavy eyelids open.  I had watched this woman consume enough alcohol to put a freshman boys' dormitory to shame.  How could she possibly still be conscious, let alone... perky?

"I think I'm done," I croaked.  With a weak smile, I set down the shot glass and tottered across the hall to my room.  The Husband shortly thereafter followed suit.

The next thing I knew, it was the morning of the wedding.  I rolled out of bed feeling like I hadn't slept at all, and I staggered into the bathroom, realizing as I painfully blinked that I had slept with my contacts in.

Somehow, I managed to shower, get dressed, and brew a cup of coffee.  The Maid of Honor picked me up for our hair appointment, after which I bumped into the Mother of the Bride in the hotel lobby.

"How're you doing?"  She greeted me.  To look at her, you would have thought she had gotten ten hours of beauty sleep and been awakened by chirping birds and Disney mice.  I, on the other hand, looked like a dehydrated cave-troll with puffy eyes and immaculately-coiffed hair.

"Fine, thanks," I managed to say.  She smiled a wise smile and patted my shoulder.

"Better wake up," she said, "because the real party starts tonight!"


Aaaaand here's mother-partying-like-a-rockstar story number two!

A mere week after the festivities of Annie and Scott's nuptuals, our friends Jillian and Rob held their wedding in the panhandle of Florida (it was a busy wedding summer).  The nice thing about this wedding in particular was that the bride and groom were high school friends of the Husband, and his whole family was invited: mother, father, and sister.  And me.

The wedding was a perfect fit for the happy couple.  The beautiful old church was stuffed to the gills with well-wishers, and the altar was crowded with blushing bridesmaids and genteel groomsmen.  Then the party really started.  The reception was held in a local hotel, with a fantastic set-up for buffets, chatting tables, and plenty of dancing. 

Here was the thing about the dancing, though.  I really, really like to dance, even though I vaguely resemble a flying spaghetti monster when I attempt anything more complex than the Cha-Cha Slide.  The Husband does not like to dance.  He takes after his father in that regard.  However, his mother DOES like to dance, and the Husband had promised her (grudgingly, good-naturedly) that he would dance with her at this reception.

Well, a couple of hours went by with minimal dancing on his part.  The Sister-in-Law and I tore it UP on the dance floor (at least, we did the way I remember it), with the occasional guest appearance of the Mother-in-Law.  As the night went on, though, the Husband's mother grew concerned that no more sweet, sentimental, mother-son-dance-ready songs would be played.  Finally, the waiting got to be too much.

Mother-in-Law: All right, son.  Next slow song is MINE!
Husband: (sighs, secretly not really minding that much) ...Fine.

Well, the next slow song came on.  The Mother-in-Law triumphantly took her son's hand and led him to the dance floor for a Hallmark-memory-in-the-making.  And it really was.  There's just something about a guy leading his mom on the dance floor that is very sweet and human.  And so glad was the Mother-in-Law to be dancing with her handsome, tuxedoed son, that she didn't even take notice of the song that was playing.


The song happened to be the Marvin Gaye classic, "Let's Get It On."

The Husband's high school guy friends latched onto this sentimental/awkward scene (awkwamental?) and responded as any good high school friends would -- with whooping laughs. 

Then, however, the fellas stepped up to the plate like manly, grown-up champs.  They lined up, and started cutting in on the Husband and "Mama G." 

By the final round of "Nothin' wrong with love/if you want to love me/just let yourself go, oh baby," the Husband's mother had danced with no less than a half-dozen of the Husband's best friends, who had spent much of their adolescence playing Halo in her family room.  And there was something very sweet and human about it all.


All right.... (rubs hands together) Here comes mother-partying-like-a-rockstar story number three!

(I didn't even have to doctor this logo!  However, I'm a little depressed that this show actually exists...)

This past wedding season, the Husband and I got to attend another wedding in the Florida panhandle.  We had the privilege of celebrating another duo of his high school friends, Rick and Sammie, tying the knot in a festive fashion.  By this time (two years after our own wedding), I had managed to rid the Husband of some of his anti-dance tendencies.

Like so many of the weddings we have happily attended, this one was gorgeous, full of celebration, and unique to the bride and groom themselves.  Additionally, this wedding had one of the most relaxed and welcoming atmospheres of any we had attended.  Perhaps that (along with the open bar) was what emboldened the Husband to do what he did.

The thing you must understand about Rick's mother is that she is incredibly attractive.  Also, to look at her, you would be shocked to learn that she has a marriageable-age son.  As the Husband told me at some point, Rick took a fair amount of teasing for this over the years.  Also, across the decade of their friendship, many teenage nights playing Halo were spent at Rick's house.  Just as close as my Mother-in-Law, the beloved "Mama G," is to this group of friends, is Rick's mom.  So.

Upon a slight lull on the dance floor, the DJ announced that he was taking requests... and I should cop to a smidgen of complicitness at this point.  I joked to the Husband, "You should ask him to play Stacy's Mom!" 

(For those of you not familiar with the one-hit wonder known as Fountains of Wayne: they wrote a ditty focused on a pubescent narrator spending time with one young Stacy, largely because he fancied her shockingly gorgeous mother.  It was one of the biggest hits of 2003.) 

Anyway, the Husband (flush with good cheer, good food, and Dewars & 7), took me seriously.  He swaggered right up to the DJ and requested "Stacy's Mom."  Then he upped the ante.

When the song began to play, the Husband located the Mother of the Groom, stunning in a sheath dress.  He offered her his arm and led her onto the dance floor. 

At that point, Rick mouthed to the Husband, "I HATE YOU." 

And once again, the high school fellas stepped up to the plate like manly, grown-up champs (or regressed, giddy adolescents).  They lined up, and started cutting in.  Rick's mom was an awesome sport about it all.  And by the last chorus, the groom had come around; he finished the song with his mother, to cheers and applause.

It might not have worked on a Hallmark card... but in an awkwa-mental way, it was still pretty sweet.

NEXT TIME: I will be treating you to some comical Bridesmaid Drama from my very own wedding!  In the meantime.... any mother-related wedding stories you'd care to share?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How My Sisters and I Overshadow Each Other with Medical Emergencies, Part 1

The night before my ninth birthday, I had a piano recital.  I was to play the "Marche Militaire," and I was a little nervous.  I got home from school feeling kind of wiped out, like I had been hit by a very small bus, and my throat was sore and tingly.

"I don't think I can play tonight," I told my mom weakly.
"You'll be just fine," she replied with a smile.  "You've practiced so hard!" 

My mother thought I was merely trying to get out of the recital.  In actuality, though, I really wanted to play.  It was just that I was beginning to feel more and more like my joints were filled with sand and my throat with fire.  However, I apparently seemed close enough to normal that I was deemed fit to perform.

I went up to the piano and managed to play my little piece (right hand AND left hand!) without throwing up or passing out.  My mother told me later that she had been very worried about either of those alternate possibilities, since my face had gone roughly the color of cottage cheese while I was playing.  I don't remember much about that night at all, except that I really, REALLY wanted to go to school the next day.  There was nothing better than going to school on your birthday, because you got to bring a treat and wear a birthday hat and have the other kids sing to you.

My mother tenderly tucked me into bed, assuring me that I would feel better after a good night's sleep, especially because it would be my birthday when I woke up!


She was wrong.

I felt like I might shiver to death.  Or burst into flames.  Or both.  Or that my throat intended to turn itself inside out at any moment and swallow the rest of my being.  In any case, I was in no shape to be the queen of my classroom that day; I was running a temperature of 104F.  I wobbled to the couch and lay on my stomach, feeling the room spin in ways that I would not feel again until well after I turned 21.

One doctor's visit, one throat culture, and fifty-four minutes in the slowest pharmacy on earth later, I was again tucked tenderly into bed, this time with a dose of antibiotics to treat the strep throat that I had managed to contract in time to celebrate the start of my ninth year on Earth.  But the fun wasn't over.

Our family doctor had gone back and forth on whether I should have my tonsils removed.  I was the sickliest kid in my family, and my tonsils had always been rather menacing to my throat.

The Birthday Strep was my second case of strep in one winter, which indicated definitively (more or less) that I needed to have those suckers removed.  The surgery was set for the day after Easter.  My bag was packed, countless reassuring conversations were held, and prayers were said.  Surgery is scary at any point in your life, but it's really scary when you're nine.  On the plus side, though, I was a little excited by the prospect of not catching strep throat every winter, as well as the opportunity to consume as many grape Popsicles as I wanted.  Not to mention that having surgery earns you some serious street cred in a third-grade classroom.  It would almost make up for missing my birthday.  Almost.

In all respects, though, the surgery was a success.

I woke up from the anesthetic in my hospital room, where my mom sat watching me.  As bad as my throat felt, I was happy to know that my little rabble-rousers were sitting in a biohazard bin somewhere, never to be heard from again.  It was also kind of nice, in a way, to be the "tough" kid among my siblings for once -- the convalescent who had bravely gone under the knife and emerged victorious.  I lay there, basking in the attention of my mother and the nurses, and awaiting my first of what would surely be dozens of purple popsicles.

Then the phone in my hospital room rang.

Apparently, while I was busy having my evolutionarily unnecessary organs sliced and diced, my younger sister Jenna had trotted out to play with our neighbor Timmy.  They had gone down to the creek behind our houses to skip stones together.  While they were doing this, Jenna had managed to step directly in front of Timmy while he threw a sharp rock towards the water.  Therefore, she was downstairs in the Children's Hospital emergency room, awaiting the receipt of stitches behind her ear.

A nurse brought me a purple popsicle and some children's Tylenol tablets (also purple), and she assured my mother that she would stay with me for a little while if Mom wanted to go see Jenna and our dad.  After making sure that I had taken the Tylenol and was semi-contentedly licking the popsicle, Mom headed out the door and down the hall. 

I hoped my sister was okay, but I couldn't help but be miffed.  That day was MY hospital day.  Couldn't she have.injured herself on any other day?  The nerve.

COMING UP NEXT: How my OTHER sister upstaged my appendectomy!  Totally serious.

P.S. I greeted my mother's return to my room by projectile-vomiting into a bucket.  Being full of popsicle and Tylenol, it was purple.  Just in case you were wondering.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Wedding Mishap Countdown!!! #8: Inebriated Guests Gone Wild (but not TOO wild... this is a family blog.)

Just about everyone has fun at weddings, especially those who look are 21 or older and can indulge in the occasional adult beverage.  If we're being completely honest here, everyone feels a little more comfortable on the dance floor after a generous glass of wine or a fancy cocktail (or four Miller Lights).  You feel more at ease, like you really CAN manage the Electric Slide without tripping over your own heels and cracking your skull on the parquetry.  You lighten up a little and stop worrying whether anyone notices those four pounds you gained since the last time you wore that dress.  Or, if you're a guy, you might be emboldened to approach that leggy strumpet across the room and buy her a drink.  Well, fetch her a drink.  Open bars make that first conversation so much easier.

However, this is only true up to a point.  There is, as I'm sure many of you are aware, that critical threshold of adult beverage consumption, after which things start to get a little dicey.  It looks a bit like THIS:

With that in mind, I present for your approval,

Number Eight: Inebriated Guests Gone Wild!

CASE STUDY A: The Lecherous Wedding Crasher

A little over a month ago, we went to the wedding of two friends who held a beautiful reception in a great big party space right on the beach in Florida.  We literally could walk out the door, cross the street, and sneak through a hotel pool area to stick our toes in the Gulf of Mexico.  It was awesome.  The reception was a seriously great party with an open bar.  After sticking to wine for most of the night, I sidled over to the corner bar where cocktails were being mixed.  I approached the alleged bartender, who was a rather shiftless and probably intoxicated twenty-something, and ordered my preferred beverage:

I wish the drink had a less suggestive name, because this was the response I got:

It was severely creeptastic.  The inebriated bartender slung his sweaty arm around my shoulders, gave me "the eye", and slurred something that I'm sure he thought was a brilliant come-on line, like, "Hey.  I'm Shane.  You wanna see the real P.C. Beach?"

"N-nn-no, thanks," I stammered, attempting to extricate his arm from my uncomfortably-exposed shoulder, "m-my husband's from around here."

Rather than take the hint, Bar Creeper seemed somehow more turned on by this.  I shrugged my shoulders.  "Hey!  You're wiggly!"  He laughed. 

I briefly considered kicking him in the shin, but I didn't get the chance, because at that moment, the real bartender came back from the bathroom.  I had been wedding crashed.

"Shane, come on, man."  My rescuer said.  "Stop touching all the ladies."  He apologized for his drunk wedding-crasher friend, fixed my drink, and sent me on my way. 

(Shane will make an appearance in a future installment of "Wedding Mishaps," F.Y.I.)


At a wedding we went to this summer, the reception was held in a big, handsome resort set in the woods, among rolling hills and tons of nature.  One of the benefits of having the reception in a place that doubled as a hotel was that no one had to worry about driving home.  This of course kept the open bars hopping nonstop.  At one point in the evening, the Husband and I got a little overheated from all the dancing, so we stepped outside to get some fresh air. 

We leaned against one of the enormous old trees near the side door.  Other couples and small groups were scattered around the courtyard, enjoying the cool evening breeze.  I sighed happily as I thought of our friends who had just been married, and of how fantastic and happy they looked.  The Husband put his arm around me, and for a pleasant, quiet moment we just enjoyed being together on a summer night.

Suddenly, one of the doors opened, and a friend of the bride and groom (let's call her "Sophie") emerged with her purse in her hand.  We didn't know Sophie too well, but what we DID know about her was that she could really toss 'em back.  Sophie stumbled along in her spike heels, which sank into the grass as she staggered towards us.  Well, not towards us specifically -- just towards the tree.

I moved out of the way just in time, for Sophie didn't seem to notice our existence at that minute.  She walked right up to the tree and promptly vomited.  Copiously.  So much for our romantic moment.  She stood there for a moment, heaving, still oblivious to our presence.  We hesitantly approached her.

Me: Um.  Sophie?  Are you all right?
Sophie: Yeaahhm fine, thaks.
Husband: Are you sure?  Can we get you anything?
Sophie: Nooaahm good.

We couldn't look away, so transfixed were we by her stoicism, as Sophie retrieved a tissue from her purse, wiped her lips, popped an Altoid, and stumbled back towards the doors.  We watched her enter through the glass door, after which Sophie the Champ made a beeline.  For the bar.  THAT is what I call cirrhosis focus.

CASE STUDY C: B.F.F. of the M.O.B.

The Husband and I attended a wedding this past June that was simply wonderful - everything a big family wedding should be, from the huge, beautiful buffet to the elaborate head table set up on a stage behind the dance floor.  The enormous room was packed with well-wishers, and it seemed that everyone from the groom's great-aunt to the bride's boss was present. 

We had attended the rehearsal dinner the night before, so we had met several of the family members and friends on both sides of the aisle.  This made it easier for us to mingle during the reception.  Well, easier for me, but harder for the Husband.

GUY #2:  Hey there, Dave!  Some dinner last night, huh?
HUSBAND: Yeah!.... Buddy, it sure was!

Anyway, one of the people that I had had the opportunity to meet in advance was Pam, the best friend of the mother of the bride.  Pam seemed to be a mild-mannered, conservative, cheerful, middle-aged lady.  Here's Pam around 5:30pm:

...And here's Pam around 9:45:

At some point in the evening, Pam had reached sufficient levels of intoxication to determine that the dance floor was just too pedestrian.  Therefore, she opted to hop right up on the elaborate head table and wobble across it with dance moves that would make Elaine Benes look fit for Dancing with the Stars.

Your turn!!  Please share your tales of inebriated hilarity and/or woe.  I await them eagerly!! 

Also, please stay tuned for the next Wedding Mishaps installment:

Mothers Who Know How to Party! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

POLL WINNER: Grammar Assassin Ninja

Well, I've been running around like a crazy person this week, trying to get the house ready for a shingdig this weekend.  That's my roundabout way of apologizing for not utterly blowing your minds before now.

In other words, here are some photos of my Halloween costume. 

The Grammar Assassin Ninja shows no mercy.

The Grammar Assassin Ninja considered telling you to "Wax on, wax off"; however, doing so would invoke both dangling prepositions and a run-on sentence.  She will instead implore you with the imperative, "Exercise your muscles in a repetitive fashion, in order to ready yourself for the Cobra Kai fighters."

The Grammar Assassin Ninja says, "Bring it."  She is aware that "it" is ambiguous. 

The Grammar Assassin Ninja knows what you're thinking.  Yes, she can levitate objects with her mind.  "Elements of Style" indeed.

In case you were wondering, I'm working on the next installment of Wedding Mishaps (Inebriated Guests), so that should be up this weekend.  If you have any suggestions for the Grammar Assassin Ninja, please let me know!  I would be delighted to re-garb, grab my Strunk & White, and get some more super-sweet photos.

Happy (Belated) Halloween, everyone!