Friday, August 26, 2016

It's a Good Thing Dudes Don't Wear Shorts or Ride Bicycles

“Why are women supposed to use special soap for their vaginas?” I asked my confused husband when he entered the living room.
“I think I missed something.”

He did. It was the Summer’s Eve commercial that was on right before he entered the room. The lady is seen wearing shorts in the summer and bicycling and apparently that is why she needs special vagina soap. Because I guess dudes don’t do those things?

Because if dudes wore shorts in summer and bicycled they would be sold special soap for their testicles, deodorant ball spray, and cleansing scrotal wipes similar to products that are sold to women. I think that’s why you never see guys in shorts or riding bicycles. Because if they did they would be spending all their money on testicular hygiene products.  Guys would be asking their guy friends out for a beer and would be told, “I can’t, man. I spent all my beer money on deodorant ball spray that smells like a field of summer flowers.” (Because everyone knows that genitals are supposed to smell like a field of summer flowers.)

So it’s a good thing that guys don’t wear shorts in the summer or ride bicycles.

Because if guys wore shorts in the summer or rode bicycles they would be asked questions like “Do you prefer to cleanse your balls during the day or at night?” and then have to choose among a line of time-specific ball cleansing products.  This is good because ladies already know the outright catastrophe that can happen if you choose the wrong product. You could have your genitals smelling like aloe at night when they are obviously supposed to smell like lavender.  That’s a societal faux pas you do not want to make. Every lady has had that moment of horror driving to a party at night and thinking, “Shit! Did I use the aloe daytime vagina wipes instead of the lavender nighttime vagina wipes?”

So it’s a good thing that dudes don’t wear shorts in the summer or ride bicycles.

One time my husband said that he saw a guy in the gym locker room drying his nether regions with a hair dryer and then applying baby powder. I still wonder if this really happened. Because if dudes were actually blow drying their balls, surely someone would have developed a line of ball deodorant powder. Well, I hope this did not really happen. If it did there’s a guy walking around with balls that smell like baby powder when they are obviously supposed to smell like tropical rain and how embarrassing is THAT?

So it’s a good thing that dudes don’t wear shorts in the summer or ride bicycles.

Because if dudes wore shorts in the summer or rode bicycles they would read quotes on websites selling testicular hygiene products that read “couldn’t live with out it!” It’s a little known secret that we ladies keep from the men, but if our lady parts don’t smell like tropical flowers we literally die. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Also, if you wore shorts in the summer or rode bicycles, guys, you would need special pH-formulated ball wash to keep your balls from falling off.

So keep not wearing shorts in the summer or riding bicycles, dudes. It’s saving you from a world of hurt.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let Me Tell You About Gerald

I have a little bit of social anxiety. Nothing so bad that I stay in my house with my cats for whom I make tiny cat clothes, ordering all my necessities online. It’s just that when making small talk with people I don’t know, I spend less time listening and more time worrying than a normal person might that I might yell out something inappropriate like “TITTIES!!!”.

This past week I may have been in the one and only situation where this might have been the appropriate response, that being the day after my grandma died. Hang on! Where did I lose you? Was it where I suggested that yelling “TITTIES!” was a sane response to my grandma dying? I thought that might be the case. Stay with me.

The day after my grandmother died, mom and I went over to her house in her senior living community to clean up. There was regular knocking at the door from concerned neighbors. The sweet Vietnamese lady across the street came by to tell us how much my grandmother meant to her and her husband. She said that she always looking out for her husband who was in therapy because he was “brain dead”.  I think something might have been lost in translation here because I’ve seen her husband and if he is brain dead he is the poster child for living with brain death. Anyway, it was very sweet and she told us about how much she will miss my grandmother.

A little while later there was another knock. This time the Vietnamese lady’s husband. He told us how sweet my grandmother was to him and how he sometimes drove her to the casino. He cried when he told us about how he will miss seeing her smiling face. Then my mom cried and I cried and we hugged and we were just one big mess.

A little while later there is another knock on the door, this time on the garage door. Enter Gerald.

Now let me paint a picture of Gerald. Gerald is 67-years-old. He is thin and has a thick white mustache so long you can’t see his lips. Gerald would drink Monsters and Mountain Dew everyday if it wasn’t for that fact that he has nonfunctioning kidneys and is on dialysis. I can’t be 100% sure that Gerald owns a “Who Farted?” trucker hat, but I would put a lot of money on it.

“I don’t know if I can find my shoes,” are the first words out of his mouth.
“What?” mom and I say together.
“My nice shoes. I’m not sure where I put them.”

I’m starting to wonder if Gerald is aware that my grandmother has died, but as he continues talking it is apparent that he is concerned that he may not have appropriate footwear for her memorial service later that week. Now this is where the conversation took a detour that I can’t explain. We were talking about shoes and before I know it, we were here—

“My girlfriend was over here, she’s 41 and she’s not really my girlfriend, but she was, now she has a boyfriend and she was wearing this thin shirt and her nipples were poking through and I just wanted to flick ‘em.”

He is standing with his fingers pointing out to demonstrate what the flick-able nipples looked like. Cue stunned silence followed by laughter because…what?!

There’s more.

“Yeah, she’s got some big ol’ fake knockers.”

I never know what to say in these situations. Miss Prudie never covered that oh-so-common scenario where you’re talking about your dead grandma and then someone tells you about wanting to fondle fake knockers. But you know who knew just what to say? My mom.

“How did you know they were fake?”

With zero pause Gerald answers, “Because I used to suck on them.”

SEE?! If I would have yelled out “TITTIES!!!” at this point we all would have laughed and Gerald would have high-fived me, amiright?! I think my grandmother would have been proud.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

If You’re Going To Rip Your Toenail Off With Your Teeth, Confidence is Key

Sometimes I look at my daughter and see myself. I look at her sitting on the floor with her friend, showing her her pictures of her family and her vacations and I see myself. I see myself in her red, usually unruly hair and in the freckles across her nose. I wonder what else she will get from me? Will she be shy? Will she be funny? Will she be kind to others? Will be awkward but sweet in her awkwardness?

Then I watch her straight up put her big toe in her mouth and rip off part of her toenail with her teeth and I think…


What. Have I. Done?

Then she just goes on talking like that whole ripping-off-her-toenail-with-her-teeth thing never happened. Just goes on talking about this picture of her and Hudson at Legoland. Her friend never said a word.

This is a kid that will own her weirdness. This is a kid that will rip a toenail off with her teeth, spit it off to the side and say “Yeah, that just happened. What of it?” This is a kid with a level of confidence that I only wish I had.  (Only not for ripping toenails off with my teeth in front of my friends, but useful things. Like maybe not being wracked with guilt over rescheduling a doctor’s appointment and then fear being labeled as “unreliable”.)

Sometimes I look at my daughter and I think, “This kid is gonna be alright.”

Sunday, August 14, 2016

An End of Summer Nightmare--An Original Play Based On a True Story

A kitchen.  An 8-year-old boy, HUDSON, is boiling keychains. Mother is supervising. She hasn’t totally given up, but given up enough that she is telling herself this is the budding of a great scientific achievement. She daydreams of son accepting Nobel Prize. He starts his speech with “It all started when my mother saw me for who I was and allowed me to boil keychains in her good pot…” She hopes this is how it will go and not the alternate story. In this one he is sitting on a couch with his stoner friends. They are covered in Cheeto dust and neck tattoos. They think their neck tattoos are “really deep” and “ironic”, but most people would describe them as “stupid” and “spelled wrong”.  They are one-upping each other in terrible parent stories. “You think that’s bad! My mom let me boil KEYCHAINS and didn’t say shit! How fucked up is that?”

*Writer’s note: I realize this isn’t how plays work. You can’t really convey “worried that son will hang out with Cheeto dust, neck tattoo covered losers” in one look. If anyone could though it would be Helen Mirren. She’s brilliant. Did you see her in ‘Red’? I watched it the night I was going to teach myself French after the kids went to bed. I’m sorry. I’m tired and I’m busy supervising a child who is boiling keychains.

Mother, SABINE, turns her tired eyes on her 5-year-old daughter, KENZIE, and thinks she should probably do something to feel like she is doing something remotely resembling parenting.

SABINE: Get off the iPad and do something else.
KENZIE: Can I do an experiment?

KENZIE starts pulling out bowls, pots, baking soda, spices, etc. Experiments=putting a bunch of shit in a pot, heating it up and seeing what happens. Pretty much what her son is doing, but that’s different. He’s eight. She still has standards. She has not totally given up yet.


SABINE bangs head repeatedly into a wall while looking longingly at a calendar. As curtain closes, KENZIE can be heard yelling from off-stage.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Don't Know Why They Think Grandma's House is Cooler

When I went to pick up the kids from grandma and grandpa’s yesterday, after they spent the night there with their cousins, there was a full out revolt on going home. There were tears. There was gnashing of teeth. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they set my car on fire and adorned themselves in Mad Max type get-ups. Grandma and grandpa’s house is just so much cooler than mine.

I don’t know why though. Oh, I know that with grandma they do fun things like make chocolate chip cookies, play in the leaves, and eat popsicles on the big rock out front, but at our house? At our house we do exciting things like this:

That is our new washing machine. And if there’s anything that kids love in life it is a new front loading, high efficiency washing machine. They requested snacks while they watched it do its magic on a load of darks. Who needs popcorn and a movie when you have goldfish crackers and a new washing machine?

You would think that the novelty would have worn off after a few minutes when they remembered that there was still largely unpopped bubble wrap laying on the living room floor, but this is a top of the line piece of machinery. Electrolux, baby!

They requested sandwiches. Then they took their sandwiches back to the laundry room and sat. They sat for another half an hour. Unlike a movie, there’s no rewind and you do not want to miss out on the spin cycle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sometimes Inappropriate Laughter is the Best Medicine

I first met Eric’s grandmother shortly after we started dating. Eric lived in a little trailer house that sat on her property. It had housed his uncle, his aunt, and now he was living there rent-free while he went to school. It was her way of helping him through college. I moved in a couple of years later.

When I met Vera she was fiercely independent. She mowed her own lawn, hauled firewood, and generally kicked ass at life. I have pictures of her hauling lumber when we were building a doghouse. She would proudly tell you about the time that her and Eric’s grandfather owned rent houses. The tenants would call about problems and then be surprised to see her there to fix them. They always seemed surprised to have a woman show them up at home repair. It would have been plausible to me if she muttered “pussy” over her shoulder as she walked away while grabbing her nonexistent testicles. Ok, she was a devote Catholic so maybe not that plausible, but she was the kind of woman that could have pulled that off if she was ever so inclined.

We tried to do odd jobs and help out to earn our keep so to speak. I remember the time she asked me to help her paint her bedroom. I arrived bright and early at the crack of 10am. When I arrived in the room she was standing paint bucket and brush in hand with two walls already painted a pale shade of pink.

“We need to move that dresser,” she said matter-of-factly.

It was a heavy oak dresser. I knew this was the moment I was going to redeem myself for arriving late. I knew I would move that dresser much like I knew at 5 years old that I could fly if I just concentrated hard enough. And much like my 5-year-old self lying on the couch willing myself to fly like Superman, that dresser didn’t budge.

“I’ll get it,” she said ramming her 82-year-old hip into the end and muscling it away from the wall. Nothing will make you more ready to lay down some serious cash on a late night infomercial Thigh Master like being bested by a geriatric hip.

These days, she is not quite the brick house I knew her to be.  Vera recently suffered a stroke that has left her left side virtually paralyzed. She is now recovering in a skilled nursing facility. She’s had good days and not so good days.

We’ve been visiting her frequently. Last time we sat with her while she ate dinner. We came straight after karate and the kids were still in the gis. The lady that usually sits to Vera’s right is always quiet and never says a word. This evening, she actually nodded off. Kenzie seemed fascinated by her. She leaned over to me, never taking her eyes off of her.

“Momma,” she said in a stage whisper.
“What, Kenzie?”
“Did she died?”

Thank you Kenzie for coming through with a well-timed and wholly inappropriate laugh during this tough time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

S#@t Gets Weird Around Here Sometimes

Sometimes shit gets weird around here. Real weird.

Let me set the scene. Eric is laying in Kenzie’s bed. Hudson is on one side reading out of his Green Lantern book. Kenzie is snuggled up on the other.

Hudson (reading): “Birrrr…birrr….”
Eric: “That’s a D not a B, buddy. Sound it out.”

Kenzie sits up. She stares at Eric’s chest with a quizzical look on her face.

Kenzie: “What are those pink circle things, Daddy?”
Eric: “Those are nipples. Hudson, don’t just guess. Sound out the word.”
Hudson: “Allll….allll…”

Kenzie stares at her own chest. I know exactly what is going to happen before it happens. She pulls up her shirt.

Kenzie: “These are my nipples.”
Eric: “Yes, they are. Alien. The word is alien.”

The nipple conversation in itself is weird. That fact that my husband was able to have the nipple conversation while simultaneously helping Hudson read, and without ever missing a beat, is telling of how often things get weird around here.