Friday, March 22, 2013

Well, la dee da.

My mom wouldn't say "wow" or "Oh my gosh" or anything like that when she was pleasantly surprised when I was a kid. She could cuss like a Russian sailor who ran out of vodka when she was mad (though she doesn't remember that now), but her pleasantly-surprised phrase of choice was, "Well... la... deee... da."

I got one of those moments yesterday when I opened my e-mail, and it made me cry.

The fight with my husband a few weeks ago was the only one we've had since January 5, and things have been steadily improving. He listened to the things I insisted had to change and has been working to change them. He really hasn't helped much more with chores, but it's okay, because he's appreciative of what I do and doesn't focus on what's still to do. It's like a light came on and he understands now how much work there is all the time, and that it can't all possibly get done. He's kinder, he backs me up when I tell the kids to help, and he helps when he can. He's enjoying the kids more & our relationship has improved.

He has also been trying to counsel a young couple at church with two babies who are so in love but can't manage to be able to live under the same roof. At first, it was highly hypocritical, because he was still doing things that he was telling this young man to stop doing. But he'd occasionally ask how a behavior made me feel, because he was trying to get the guy to see what he was doing to his wife. My answers frequently began with, "Well, when you do that, I think/feel...", and he'd be surprised that I thought he did the same things. I'd give examples - gently and nonchalantly so as not to start an argument - then continue whatever I'd been doing, leaving him to ponder his revelation. Lately, though, I've been able to answer with, "Well, when you used to do that, I'd feel... but you haven't been doing that lately, so now I feel...". Apparently, this tact has worked, along with prayer and fasting.

So I wanted to share this blessing I received with you to remind you that prayer and perseverance do pay off, and that I appreciate your prayers for me.

This is yesterday's email from my husband. The subject line simply said, "You".

Talking to [our young friend] last night reminded me of all the stupid, self-centered, damaging things that I have done to you and our marriage. I don't know if I ever really apologized to you or told you how much I appreciate you.
I am sorry for ALL of the muck and junk that I dragged into our lives and made you deal with.  I don't know how you put up with it but I praise God that you did and are still here. I know it wasn't easy sometimes. I'm glad you are still my wife and best friend.
I do appreciate you and all that you do; around the house, taking care of the kids, teaching /training the kids and keeping me involved in everyone's life.
I love looking at you in the morning!
Have a blessed day!
Are you teary? I am. Again.
Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Funny kid & Crazy Mema

Last night while I watched Castle, the characters were discussing a serial killer. And hour and a half past her bedtime, my six year old daughter walked in the den & overheard the Castle case.

"Mommy, I can't sleep. What's a serial killer?"
I answered, "He doesn't like cereal. He smooshes the boxes whenever he finds them. Cheerios, Rice Krispies, all of them."
She looked confused. "So... he doesn't like cereal, so he kills it? Dat's weird."
I win at parenting.


A few minutes ago my phone rang. I knew better than to answer it, because if it's dinnertime, it's my mother-in-law. Every single night. But I answered it.


"When G spends the night, he doesn't ever turn off the DVD player."

"OK." (Does she want him to do other things, not just watch DVDs?)

"He should turn it off because my body hurts."

"Um... okay." (What?)

"He left it on and I don't remember where the power button is and I've hunched over to try to find it so my knees hurt and neck hurts and arms hurt and all over my body hurts."

"Oh. Sorry. I'll tell him to turn it off before he leaves next time."

"Can he or your husband come tell me where it is?"

"They're both at men's Bible Study and won't be back until around 8:30. They can call you then."

"Oh, that'll be too late. E wants to watch a ball game at 8:00."

(E is my brother-in-law who is crazy, too, but mostly just as lazy as a $2 ho who's already got $10 in her bra. He also makes a sadistic game out of seeing how much he can get other people to do for him.)

So I ask, "Why don't you just tell E to find the button? His vision is fine."

"Oh, E doesn't do anything. He expects me to do everything for him all the time. So I guess I'll have to kneel back down and find it myself. You know if I kneel I can't get back up, right? <long sigh>"

"Yep; some days I can't walk, my knees hurt so bad. I guess if E wants to watch the game, he'll have to help find the power button."

"Well, you don't think your husband could leave Bible study early and come do it for me?"

(Church is 20 minutes due north. Her house is 30 minutes due east.)

"No, I don't think so. He's got to come home so G can go to bed on time - it's a school night, and he's got to get up for work at 5am. But I'll tell him to call when he gets home."

She hung up on me.

And she called back while I was typing this, but I didn't answer. I'm making dinner. Really, I am. Shut up. There's an egg boiling for the chef salad.

Knowing E, he was snickering through the whole conversation, knowing that he can manipulate his mother like that. Some days, I'm just proud of myself for not punching him at family events. Those two are the definition of co-dependant & enabler.


I'm going to go laugh at my funny children some more so I don't dwell. I'm so glad I have y'all to vent to.

Have fun, y'all!  :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to tell you're startin' to get old

                                                  YOUNG                             OLD

Hot bath means...              relaxing and shaving                 trying to make
                                         before a night out.                  knees not hurt.

Adding bath salts means... touchably smooth,                  epsom salts for
                                        vanilla-scented skin.                those knees.

Tweezing is for...               perfectly sculpted                  random wiry
                                         eyebrows.                             chin hairs that
                                                                                     grow an inch a night.

Lotion will...                      keep your golden                  make you think you won't
                                         tan from fading.                    wrinkle into a prune.

Soft skin is...                     tight and smooth.                  like an over-ripe peach.

Aphrodisiacs include...     strawberries and                    someone else doing the
                                        chocolate.                           dishes and leaving you
                                                                                   the heck alone.

Date night is...                  dinner with a glass                 Home Depot and
                                      of wine and a movie.               Books-A-Million.

Lotion smells like...          coconuts.                               BenGay.

I'm almost 35... and I seem to already be gettin' old. But it's okay. I'll take it over the insecurity of youth any day.  :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hangin' Tough

Yesterday morning, I introduced my children to the glory that is '80's music. They saw a video of  The Freedom Sound doing a spoof-compilation song of lots of different pop songs that all use the same four chords.

But my short people didn't know any of the songs.

YouTube to the rescue!

First, a-ha!'s "Take On Me."
Then MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."
And then Boy George's "Karma Chamelion."

And so on, until they were so apalled by the comically horrifying fashion designs that they couldn't bear to watch anymore. I swear, they acted like they were being scarred for life.

Maybe they were. Looking at '80's fashion is like looking at a traffic accident. One involving a clown car. You can't look away, you feel confused, you know you shouldn't laugh. But you do.

The kicker was when I said, "That guy's name is Boy George."

To which they replied, "What guy?"

Exactly. "Him. Singing. That's a man."


They walked away, shaking their little heads.

M was not too thrilled when I pointed out that the boys in One Direction dress a lot like the New Kids, with their stupid striped pants. She objected to their hair and earrings, but not their clothes. She just thought it was odd. And she thought Joey was cute & Donnie was scary - just like I did when I was 10.

But what blows my mind is that the retro teens are trying to bring back what was torturous the first go-round. Yesterday afternoon, three teenage girls were walking in the neighborhood, smacking gum and talking so loudly that I could hear them inside my house. Their bangs were so big you ride a surfboard on them. Except for the one with the afro. And big hoop earrings & skinny jeans & big glasses & big baggy shirts? LEG WARMERS for cryin' out loud!!! They looked like Denise & Vanessa Huxtable plus a friend.

Gimme a break!

(Ooh. That was a good '80's show. Useless factoid of the day - Nell Carter was from Birmingham, AL.)

The only thing different was that they had iPods instead of Walkmans. (Or is it Walkmen?)

OH. And GET THIS. New Kids, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men are on tour together. Like, now. For real. What?!  And they're probably better now than they ever were, to be honest. Boyz II Men were always incredible, but I bet the other two bands can actually put out some quality harmonies since they're not trying to do dorky boy band dance moves. And I'm ashamed to admit, I might would be willing to go to one of those concerts. I didn't want to when I was in 6th-8th grades, but maybe now I'd enjoy it.

And Donnie's totally hot now.

So, now, I'm going to go play some Bell Biv Devoe.  That girl is poiiisonnnnnn!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How The Fast Worked Out

At the beginning of January, I told my sister that I was done. Three of our four children were done. And as soon as the fourth child gave up on Dad, we would officially be done.

The next day, our pastor called us to fast. I did. My husband did. And an amazing thing happened. For the entire 21-day fast, we did not fight at all. He was kind. He was caring. He helped with chores. We enjoyed each other's company. The kids got along. It's amazing how the family dynamic shifts when you're not living in fear of receiving a screaming fit of rage. It was wonderful!

But I didn't let myself hope. Because we've had spurts of happiness along the way, and they always passed. They always petered out until he was sure he was a victim again, and everyone was supposed to serve him until he felt better. And if he didn't get his way, then he was entitled to show all of his feelings. "It's unhealthy to bottle up those feelings. I should be able to let it out so we can work through it." And he could never understand that the way he let himself think dictated his feelings, and the way he chose to express those feelings burned everyone around him. So I didn't hope.

His fast was from unhealthy foods that he couldn't seem to stop eating. Mine was from Castle boards, where I got the lion's share of my support/ distraction. He lost weight & felt better, and I had to learn to talk to him again instead of avoiding. (By the way, I gave up unhealthy foods like two years ago, and have lost 15 pounds total. He dropped 10 pounds in 3 weeks. SO not fair.) So he continued the diet (still calling it a fast), in order to maintain the health benefits. The difference, though, is that a fast is denying yourself something that you need in order to rely on God and let him work in you. So continuing to call it a fast did no good when he was no longer seeking God in times of temptation.

So through February, he quit helping. He cheated on his diet, so he didn't feel as good. He got grumpy. He got self-absorbed again. I could see it all dissolving and I cried. I guess I had started to hope, after all. So last Thursday, after he and two kids had stomach virus for three days each, and I felt sick but never actually got worse than a stomach ache for five days (but I didn't take a break) and I had dislocated my knee and couldn't walk for a day, the house had gotten messy. Not terrible, but messy.

He watched TV. I cleaned. He read. I made dinner. He came to me and said, "I'm not trying to upset you, but, you need to know that if I come home from work tomorrow and the house still looks  like this, I'm going to be a bitch all weekend." So I walked up to him and very calmly said, "I need you to listen and really hear me. I have worked my butt off, despite how bad I felt. I am doing the best I can. And you do not get to say one negative word about the house when you have not done a single thing to help in the last two weeks. That is not okay with me."

And he went apeshit.

Our 8 year old daughter was standing between us, because she was helping make dinner.

And he was a screaming, cussing, insulting mess.

Nine years of trying to stay calm and take the higher road has brought us to this point. Being reasonable, respectful, trying to listen to his point of view, hes not worked.
I said, "You will NOT talk to me like that."

He continued his tirade.

I yelled, "You will NOT talk to me like that."

He continued.

I marched up, threw down the bowl I was holding, and screamed, "YOU DO NOT EVER GET TO TALK TO ME LIKE THAT AGAIN. I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DISRESPECT ME LIKE THIS."

Our little girl ran out of the kitchen. And I told him what a self absorbed ass he was and that the kids didn't want to live with him anymore up until he started that fast. I'd been heaping praise on him, especially when he wasn't around to try and make the kids see his improvements so their relationships could heal, but I expected it to all go away, and I was right. He'd quit helping and now he's out of control again, and I would not stand for it anymore. I could not go back to the way things were. He had plenty of criticism and blame and excuses but finally quit yelling after about 15 minutes. We argued for a good 45 minutes. I continued making dinner all the while.

M came back in and hugged me, trying to make me feel better. She hates to see me cry, and she thinks it's her job to cheer me up. That broke my heart more than anything.

I served dinner, but didn't eat. The fight had left me with no appetite, and for some reason that seemed to bother him. "Venting" makes him feel better, but he always forgets that it crushes me.

After dinner, M decided to dance & sing & tell jokes to try and make me smile, so I just hugged her & apologized that she saw that. She said it was okay, that we hadn't fought all year, and he seemed to listen this time.

He sent me a scathing e-mail in the middle of the night for waiting until things "got explosive" to address problems, and that he's trying to do all the changing, but I'm not doing anything.

I ignored the e-mail. We cleaned house the next day, not for him, but because it needed to be done. The kids cooperated more out of fear that another fight would bring divorce. I guess that means their relationship with Dad has healed enough that they no longer wanted him gone.

He got home, and said it looked better (not nearly the overflow of praise I wanted after 5 people cleaning for 10 hours, but at least he said something). He apologized for making me cry and for not helping. He said he doesn't want to be the horrible man I described the night before, and he'd keep working on changing.

I said thank you and offered no apology in return.

And I went back to doing my best, trying my hardest, keeping the house, raising the kids, etc. He settled down. He apologized to M & told her he knows it was wrong to be so mean to me and that he knows he's got lots of changing to do. He hasn't helped with chores, but he hasn't criticized my work, either. He's been nice. He has spent time with the children, he's done the couple of things I specifically asked him to help with. I've given him his "cave time" when he gets home from work. I made sure to explain to the kids that our fight had nothing to do with them and everything to do with kindness and respect, and I let them know that I fought because I wanted things to be fixed instead of giving up.

And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like there might be hope. He finally heard me. After 9 years, I think he finally heard me. Plus, that's one fight in 7 weeks; so much better than our previous track record.

I'm still frustrated, because I don't think it should be this hard. I don't understand why we have to go through all this hurt. My kids don't need it. But I'm hoping that there will be great returns on the effort, and there will be something great later. Maybe we'll be one of those stories where we go tell young people how, if they stick with it, they'll end up with something remarkably beautiful. I hope.

(I'll post something funny in a few days. I'm tired of being a downer.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dating Advice for my Daughters

Just so you know, I am no longer plotting my husband's accidental death. Not that I would have ever plotted that in the first place. Never crossed my mind.

But my children have been discussing of late to whom they shall be wed. Being that the twins are five (for one more week. Le sigh.), and that M is 8, they are far too young to be discussing such matters. Alas, they persist. (No, I haven't been reading sonnets. I don't know why I'm using flowery prose.)

So I started telling them tonight what they should be expecting from the ones who receive their hearts.

To BA, I said, "You are an awesome boy. You make sure you grow into being an awesome man," and, "You're my Super Hero. Do you know what your super power is? The power to make people laugh and smile. That's a very important power!"

To GA, I reminded, "You are beautiful. And you are a princess. You know why?"
She squealed, "Because I'm the daughter of The King!"
"Don't you forget it. That means you have to act as a princess, Daughter of The King, and you should expect to be treated as a princess, too."

To M, after she fussed about boys being stupid (which I simply could not make myself correct), I told her that a lot of them are. She can be friends with plenty of them, but to never date someone who seems just good enough. From there, I kinda rambled, giving what I hoped was sound (but basic) dating advice to counteract the terrible Prince Charming expectation that Disney Princess movies instill. Here's what I told her, plus a few more:

1. It takes a heck of a man to be better than no man. Don't settle for 'good enough.'  (Thanks to blogger "Jen"e Sais Quoi's mom for that one!)

2. When you find someone who is just so awesome that you feel lucky to get to be with him, AND he thinks you're so awesome that he feels lucky to get to be with you, then he's probably a good choice of someone to go out with.

3. You and the guy you go out with are both children of the Most High God. Act like it. And if he doesn't want to act like it, move on; he'll only drag you down.

4. If you like talking and spending time together, but you don't have common interests, move on. If you can't have fun together - biking, hiking, building stuff, whatever you enjoy - then you'll always be missing out. And if you don't even like each other's favorite hobbies, then there's unnecessary conflict already there. Find someone you can play with.

5. There's no place for insults in a caring relationship. Period. Not even sugar-coated ones or ones veiled in a joke.

6. There is no such thing as perfect on this side of Heaven. Don't expect perfection of yourself or of him; and make sure he doesn't expect perfection, either.

7. Relationships that are 50/50 don't work. You both have to give 100%. Do your best. Some days you best will be great. Some days it won't, especially if you're PMSing or pregnant. His best will fluctuate, too. Both of you should have high standards for your own selves, and you will be required to give grace to yourselves and each other.

8. Men need respect. Women need affection. Give your spouse what they need.

9. I'm already praying for y'all's future spouses and marriages. Regularly. Just so you know.

I'm sure I'll add more over the years, but that's the best I've got for them now. I think that if I drum this into their pretty little heads, then they'll be in the kind of marriages that I've been envying for the last 9 years. Because picking a spouse based on attraction and the pitter-patter of your heart is simply a bad plan.

Feel free to share, or comment and add your own.


Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm A Bitch...

...I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint, and I don't know any other words to this song.

Anyway, all of those apply. I've always been a sweet people-pleaser, but this month, I quit.

I quit answering the phone when my MIL calls.

I've quit taking crap from my husband.

I've quit being a peace-maker.

I've quit letting the risk of ticking off someone else keep me from doing what I want.

Last November, I told my husband I was done letting him blame me for everything that was wrong, and I've called him on it every time he did it. But this month, I've called him out on all his other crap.

Now he's miserable, too, and he's insisting something has to be done to fix it. He doesn't want to be a failure and have everyone know he couldn't keep his marriage together.

So, when he tells the kids it's rude to yell at other people from another room instead of going to them, then he yells at me from another room, our hollow walls magically transform into being super-insulated and I simply can't hear him.

When he tells me to go do something instead of asking politely, or when I'm working and he's sitting on his tookas but he wants me to go do something else too, I've said, "I'm in the middle of something, you can handle that."

When he said I shouldn't have a cup of coffee at 7pm so that I can go to bed with him, I said, "I might have to punch you in the face if you try and regulate my coffee intake." He stumbled backward and replied, "Wow! Talk about me over-reacting!" I  smiled and said, "It's been a crappy day. I haven't had any caffeine. I don't like you telling me what to do. And I was joking -  I won't punch you. But I needed to make all those points in a way that you got your attention."  He muttered, "Oh," and left the room.

When he asks why I'm not sharing my opinion about something he thinks should be done, I say, "Because you won't like my thoughts, and I'd rather not get yelled at for having different thoughts than you."
Which of course sets him in a tail-spin death spiral of "I'M NOT GOING TO YELL! WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SAY THAT?"
And I went, "Uh huh. You're kinda failing at the not yelling thing. But if you want to hear my thoughts without having a tantrum, I'll be glad to share."
So then he had to cool off and listen in order to prove that he was right and I was wrong and he could listen without yelling at me. So he actually heard me and conceded that I had some valid points. Bazinga.

And when he got pissed when he found out that I opened a bank account without him on it, I told him the truth. I initially looked into opening it for our scout troop, then ended up merging with another troop without depositing any money. So I left it open in case I sold any art so that I could buy art supplies without going into our family budget. So far, it's still unfunded because all the art I sold has been cash sales. And every dollar is in my purse. But I have an account that he can't get to, and he won't make me close it since he doesn't want to waste money on my "stupid" hobbies when I should be cleaning.

When he finally noticed that the house has been clean for days on end, I said, "Yep, it's amazing what a little help can do." Meaning, of course, the iRobot Roomba that my mom gave me for Christmas. I'm in love with that thing. But I was still too tired for sex... to solve that problem, I would need a lot more help. So he loaded the dishwasher today. Bazinga again.

When my MIL was bitchy at the family Christmas get-together, I went outside and sat by myself in the freezing cold. My brother-in-law came out a few minutes later for the same reason, and asked why I wasn't in there faking it like usual. I said I was tired from staying up painting all these commissioned works, and I was to the point I either had to walk out or kick her in her false teeth. He laughed and said, "I'd pay to see that!"  I asked if he'd be taking pickures, and he went, "Oh, no. I don't want there to be any evidence to find." Nice.

When my other brother-in-law with repulsive manners and an entitlement complex was eating at the table with my kids, I walked up next to him and said, "Okay, children, remember!  Keep your elbows off the table, do NOT stuff too much in your mouth at one time, and absolutely do NOT pick up your meat and bite it off. Use your knife and cut into small pieces. Breaking those rulse is really gross and really rude, and NOBODY wants to see that." The children, by the way, were not breaking the rules to start with... that was how the 55 year old was eating. They laughed, because they saw him straighten up so I wouldn't fuss at him directly.

So this whole 'speaking my mind' thing seems to be working for me. Here's to a new year & hopefully a better one!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I don't know how to do this.

This isn't a funny post; I've just got to get it out.

There's this couple that I know who wanted to get married while still teenagers. She had just graduated from high school, and he just finished his junior year. She had a full scholarship, and he was a lock for one. Everyone told them they were crazy. So they picked baby names, got pregnant, and got married. He got his GED & went to work. She tried to go to college, but that didn't work with a newborn, so she quit school. Then they got pregnant again, when the first was only a few months old. So 18 year old dad joined the reserves. And in basic, he started messing around with porn.

Now, a year later, with a 2 year old & and an almost 1 year old, he's not working, smoking weed, and looking at porn, and his poor sweet wife is ready to give up. My husband's been trying to talk sense into this young man and told the wife she should talk to me, since I had to get through him having a porn addiction when we first got married. She of course doesn't want to talk about it, but she knows she needs to talk it through with someone.

I'm more than willing to counsel her through it. Except I've got a problem. Even though it's been years since my husband looked at porn, he still does plenty of other douchbaggy things. I'm constantly thinking that we'd be better off without him, and am constantly struggling with the desire to just pack up the kids and leave. But then I'd be the one responsible for making the kids have a dad just every other weekend. And I don't want that on me.

They love their dad, even though they don't really like him a lot of the time, either. He's slowly improving, slowly growing, slowly becoming a better man. But it feels like it's too little, too late. I used to be a doormat people-pleaser, but being married to him made me have to learn to stand up for myself and do what I know is best even though it defied him. I'm stronger for it. I'm a better person and better mom for it... because he's a giant dick, and I can work around him.

But that's not what marriage is supposed to be. I worry that we're being a bad example for the kids. I let the kids talk about how they feel when dad loses his shit, how they don't like being yelled at or criticized all the time, and tell them to remember that feeling so they don't do the same to others.

When he was looking at porn, I was in an accountability group with three other women my age also struggling with their marriages, and one who had been married for like 40 years. The mentor said that if wives got their way, no man would ever reach their second anniversary because they'd all die in car crashes at some point in the first two years. They're all idiots who do something incredibly stupid in the first two years. But then they grow up and learn to be a real man. We all nodded, because we'd all prayed for that car crash. Yeah, yeah, I know, that's not very Christian. I think God understands, though. Of the four young wives in that group, I am the only one still married. I want to ask the others if they're happier, but I am afraid of their answers.

So now I've got this beautiful 20 year old mom of two with a husband who claims he's quit looking at porn & quit getting high, but he also doesn't think he's really done anything wrong. He won't apologize. He won't try and understand why she feels like she's been almost-cheated on. And all I can think of to say to her is that she's right to feel hurt, and that she's got to suck it up. They had kids together on purpose. They ditched their scholarships on purpose. They got married on purpose. And sometimes it sucks the big one. It's harder than they could ever have imagined, and then one day, things will be a little easier. But the kids need their dad, and she's got to give them time to heal. Men are idiots, and some take longer to grow up than others do. She needs to give him time to figure this out.

Scripture says "All things work toward good for those who love the Lord," and that seems like such a BS platitude most of the time. I don't see any good in the pain that my husband has put me through or the pain hers is putting her through. But I'm willing to give the time to see what God's going to do. I can see the turtle's pace of growth in my husband. I hope it speeds up. I hope my young friend can give the time, too. Her husband seems like a good guy, and with time he could be a great man.

Counseling her is bringing up a lot of my old pain that I'd buried deep, so I'm kind of struggling right now. I'd appreciate some prayers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Beatitudes for Geeks

A Geeks's Interpretation of Matthew 5:3-12 (aka The Beatitudes or the intro to the Sermon on the Mount)

The Geek Attitudes

“Blessed are the four humans,
    for theirs is the kingdom of Narnia.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for at least they will know they're not Cylons.
Blessed are the geeks,
    for they will inherit middle earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for quidditch,
    for they will fly.
Blessed are the Whovains,
    for they will be decorate everything with a Tardis.
Blessed are those who study the cosmos,
    for they will get all the jokes aimed at Sheldon Cooper.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called on to use The Force.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because they were Browncoats,
    for theirs are the Border Planets (so long as they can steer clear of Reavers).
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because they don't get how cool Comic Cons are. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward once you're their boss, for in the same way they persecuted the geeks who were before you.

(I could have easily done this using ONLY Firefly quotes.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

For that, Starbucks should be expensive!

Starbuck is a character in Moby Dick, aka the Great White Whale. Aside from the fact that Herman Melville's writing sucks harder than a Dyson, I enjoy a good perverted allegory. Maybe he didn't mean for "Moby Dick" and "White Whale" to sound like uncreative names for pornos, but they just do.

Beckett: "They call you The White Whale."
Castle: "Really? Not Moby Dick?"
 So, with that digression of intellect in mind, look closely at the Starbucks logo. I have no idea why she has two tails. It seems like that would make it extremely difficult to swim. But she's got two tails, and she's got them spread wide, pulled up by her head. Look - it's mermaid porn! You can't unsee this now! She's a total ho-bag, spread eagle, waiting for Moby Dick!

(Perhaps I need a nap. Or some coffee.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Worst pick-up attempt ever

So I was 15 years old and walking home from school. Lady Godiva hair down to my butt. J-Lo booty, that is. Five foot nine. Embarassingly tight jeans. Push-up bra. And a big honkin' backpack.

J. A. I. L. B. A. I. T.   Clearly.

And this car pulls up beside me. "Hey baby! What's your name?" I glance up. This guy who looks about forty is in a big redneck truck. Well, he was black, so I guess redneck isn't the right word, but you get the picture. Anyway, he pulls over and asks again. I smile & nod & keep walking.

"You know you're gorgeous?" You know you're old and creepy?  I say, "Thanks," and keep walking. But now he's driving and two miles per hour talking to me through the passenger window, and I have nowhere to go.

"Can I take you out sometime?"

Seriously? I stop.

"Don't you think I'm a little young for you?"

"It's okay. I'm a prison guard. I'm safe."

Does that mean he's got a gun? Is he constantly around vile and violent people? Why would he think a kid would see that as a plus?

I walk faster. He keeps rolling alongside me on the shoulder of the road.

"I see. Sorry. I can't."

"Come on. Can't I at least have you number?"

"Yeah. No. I don't really give that out."

"We can talk. You can get to know me. You'll see. I'm a good guy. I've got a badge and everything.  I've taken girls like you out before."

"Um. Sorry."

"Come on. Just give me your number, and I'll leave you alone."

If he followed me any further, he'd see where I lived. So I smiled, gave him a fake number, and said it was nice to meet him. I figured that he'd be less suspicious and wouldn't keep following if he thought I was looking forward to it. It worked. He turned his truck around and went on his way.

The school was exactly one mile down my street, but from then on, I walked a couple of blocks back into the neighborhood and wove through it with different routes. My parents didn't understand why I didn't want to walk down the main road anymore. People honked and whistled all the time - I claimed to have a fan club. I was, of course, being sarcastic - I didn't think I was all that and a box of chocolates, just that guys were creeps who'd hit on anyone. Which is pretty much true.

It hasn't changed all that much, except now I get qualifiers like last week's, "Dang, you look good for having four kids." You know what? The last half of that sentence didn't have to be said. I know I've got post-pregnancy flab. When someone says something like that, I hear, "Hey, your face is pretty, but your gut looks like you've got a butt in the front, too."

So, thank you, fellas. And congratulations. You still know how to absolutely suck at hitting on chicks.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I love my church people

Yesterday morning I got to church and my first three conversations went like this:

Steph:  Good morning! How are you doing this morning?
Me:      Oh, I'm fine.
Steph:  You are lyin'! And you're a terrible liar.
Me:      Isn't that a good thing?
Steph:   Yep; I guess that's a good thing.  So how are you really doing?
Me:      It's just one of those mornings where kids won't follow directions and my husband thinks that they would if I was just a better mom.
Steph:  (shakes her head) Want me to kick him in the nads for you?

Linda: (Gestures over her face, then points at me) What is this?  You look mad or something.
Me:     Just one of those days.
Linda:  Uh-huh.  Whatever.

Preacher: Good morning! And how are you?
Me:      I'm making it.
Preacher: Well, you know, whenever I think I've had a bad week, I think ,  "Well, at least I'm not Tiffany." I mean , I don't know how you handle it all.

I wasn't sure if I should feel offended or vindicated.


Then, after church, conversations went like this:

Linda: Hun, I'm going to pray for you this week cause I don't like seeing that look on your face.
Me:  Good. Thanks.

Me: My knees hurt.
Steph: Well, tell your husband to take care of things himself.
Me: (Not getting the innuendo) He can't handle being in charge of everything for more than two hours.
Linda: Seriously. If you're taking care of the house & kids, he can take care of himself so your knees don't hurt.
Me: (Still hurting and frustrated and not getting it) Nah. It's just that I don't have cartilage in my knees, so it grinds bone-on-bone.
Linda: (snickers at perceived innuendo from "bone-on-bone")
Steph: Wow. That sucks.
Linda: That's what she said.

Steph: I'm going to show up at your house one day this week with a bottle of wine to make you relax.       Your husband is going to get home and be like, "What's up with you? Why are you in such a good mood?" And you can be like, "Steph crashed my crib and liquored me up and got me to mellow out."
(The preacher's wife gives us a dirty look.)
Steph: So, what's your poison? Pinot?
Me:     Actually, I don't really like wine. But I wouldn't mind the visit.
Steph: So... chocolate? I'm bringing something.
Me:     Ice cream. I love ice cream.
Steph: YUM! Sounds like a plan!

After church, we stayed for a women's potluck lunch and devo, where the message was about how much of a blessing the leader's special needs kid is. I wasn't in the mood to appreciate her sentiment, yet I listened and hope one day I can feel the same way. I know that there are many blessings, and, honestly, it's not the special-needs part of my kid I take issue with. It's the defiant, obstinant, rude attitude; and that the younger kids are acting out like he does because that's the example set for them.

Then the crazy lady showed up and tried to take my pizza: My husband had brought pizza for the lunch, but we'd already started the devo by the time he got there, so everyone went up afterward to get some. Just then, someone who wasn't there for the lunch or devo showed up and wedged herself in the middle of the ladies fixing their plates, picked up a full pizza box and started to walk off.

I was like, "Whatcha doin'?"

And she said, "Oh. Can I have this?"

"I think people are still getting pizza, and several people have already asked if they could take some leftovers."

A man who has been working on some building repairs, volunteering his time, asked politely if he could have some. "Sure, go ahead," I say.

She starts getting antsy because the pizza is running out and she still wants a full box.
So she huffs, "Well, Cris got a whole box." I open my hand and showed her the cash that Cris put in my hand so she could take a full box. "Cris asked if she could buy a box because she has to work today."  I knew that this crazy lady would not be working today.  She just didn't want to cook dinner. 

But it really just rubbed me the wrong way that she walked up and took a box without asking while people were still trying to eat!  Ugh! How selfish is that? She used to be a good friend, but she's so self-absorbed that she takes advantage of people all the time and doesn't even realize that it's wrong.

There was a half a box left, so she asked if she could take it  for lunch - after everyone had gotten what they have wanted. I caved and said yes... and I motioned with my pen that I was stabbing her as she walked away, which made Steph and Linda almost spew Sprite out of their noses laughing. The preacher's wife pretended to not see. Then Crazy's husband walked up, laughing and shaking his head, and gave me a few bucks to cover the price of the half-pizza.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lunching with Crazy

One day, I sat in Burger King with my family and my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. Since the MIL likes to see the kids and buy them stuff, but not actually hear or interact with them, we sat outside of the kids area. The MIL and SIL were in the midst of a minor war and were taunting each other much like the Vizzini/ Man In Black battle of wits in The Princess Bride. However, no one died at the end. (Maybe that would have make this lunch better. Anyone know how to get hold of iocane powder?)

So I decided that 10 screaming children were preferable to the verbal bitch-slaps at the table and took my food into the kids' area to "monitor the children." I got my kids to worry down two or three crown-shaped "chicken" nuggets and a few greasy fries without hurling, and I ate a "hamburger."

This is what nuggets are made of :  nugget paste. Yummy, right?

Then my MIL decided she'd rather bear the kid-noise and talk to me rather than deal with her progeny calling her out on her bullcrap, and joined me at my table.

Her first point of discussion: my teenage step-son stinks. As if I didn't notice. She said she bought him some medicated acne soap that should kill the stinky germs. And she bought him some deodorant.

My response was that we've got plenty of soap and deodorant, but 1), he's autistic, 2) he's 14, 3) he's a boy, and 4) his main personality trait is apathy. To put it bluntly, he stinks because he won't bathe because he doesn't care enough to bother. He turns the hot water on full blast, gets wet before it heats up too much, then stands out of the spray and watches it go down the drain until all the hot water is gone. Then he gets out, doesn't dry off, and sits on his bed, lost in imagination. So (sucks for him) my husband has had to start monitoring his showers again like he's a 5 year old.

And it all went in one ear and out the other. My MIL's rebuttal was that we just weren't giving him the right soap.

We've got deodorant soap.

She argued; I went back to eating french fries.

So, since I didn't engage, she tried a different tack. "Maybe he's playing with his new toy."

"What new toy?"

"I heard a story years ago about a poor farmer whose teenage son needed new clothes and a new toy, but the farmer only had enough money to buy one or the other. So he bought a new pair of overalls and cut a circle out of the front of them, so he could play with his  'toy'  he'd just discovered."

She laughed. I was mortified. As were the other three sets of parents within earshot. She didn't notice, kept laughing, and went towards the door, then loudly said, "YOU KNOW, HIS TOY DOWN THERE," while gesturing at her crotch.

Then she went back to her table. She wasn't laughing because she'd embarrassed me on purpose - she didn't even seem to realize I was embarrassed and disgusted and wanting to barf- she just thought she was so very funny and clever with her story.

My SIL came in, looking interested and amused, and said, "You know, you have a very expressive face. What did she just say to you?"

I told her, and she simply hung her head, then looked at the other parents, and said, "I'm so sorry she had to share her crazy with the rest of you."

The irony is that he hasn't discovered his toy down there yet, even though now he's 15.

But, for real, iocane powder. Send me some.

(Legal disclaimer: I won't actually poison her. She's old. I'll just wait.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm so brave. Lemme tell ya.

Well, I smell like a campfire which is awesome, considering that I’ve been playing with fire and I looooove to play with fire. I have a fire pit in my backyard that I built all by myself, so we had a fire outside with hot chocolate and s’mores. I'm a complete stop pyro. I love fire. I love my fire pit. I have a hammock near it and some nice lounge chairs surrounding it.

I have found that fire is excellent bribery, too. See, pyromania is apparently hereditary, so the shorties will clean up their toys in the yard so that we can have a bonfire. Well… not so much a “bonfire” as a tame little fire in a small brick pit about 3 feet across (sized like the green sand box turtles that preschoolers have, because I can take the lid off the sandbox and put it on the firepit so that it doesn’t get rained in). Of course it's October, which is the driest month of the year in Alabama. We typically only have one day with rain in October; so this afternoon, when my children were supposed to be eating their lunch at the patio table, my daughter decided to get up and go get the hammock and put it in the storage room. I don't know why, other than she was doing whatever she could to not follow directions and eat her lunch. I had gone inside to check on something – I don’t even know what- and came out and saw that she had not eaten but she put away my hammock that I was about to lie in to read Frozen Heat. She had gotten the ropes all tangled up , so I gave her a speech about how to roll it up the right way and that she shouldn't have messed with it because it doesn't ever rain and October. Perhaps I was being a bit whiny and dramatic. Anyway, we cleaned up the yard, played, had dinner, started a fire, burned documents (because it's more fun than shredding them), and roasted marshmallows.

When the flames finally died down, I ushered the children inside, got them in bed, then grabbed my laptop and headed back out to watch the last few embers die down. I love watching embers, blowing on them and watch them sparkle… then I throw random things in it just to watch them flare up,  because I like fire. Have I mentioned that? I like fire. It’s pretty.

And then something started making noise behind me; not my dog and the neighbors moved away so no dogs there, but there was something in the yard moving around and that's always kind of freaky.

Especially  since, earlier,  I had  told my children that there were little monsters making noises in the mulch. They looked at me like I was crazy because it was very clearly something so small as a frog or maybe even a cricket… but this… this was bigger… maybe a possum, maybe a raccoon, but I couldn’t see I froze and listened… And I could hear rustling… and it was getting closer… And I still couldn't see it…. I tried to use the laptop as a big flashlight, but I still didn't see anything back there… It got louder and was getting closer, but every time I stopped to look around, it would be still. It was starting to wig me out a little. It was going to bite me, give me rabies and chomp my skull into little pieces... I was about to come inside and then there was more noise above me, rattling, and something dropping near me -what the hell - then I realized what the new sound was… it was rain. Only a few sprinkles, but it was enough to make me feel like a douche for fussing at M for putting the hammock away when she saw clouds. And then the little bitty bird that was jumping around behind me went up into its tree and I came inside.

Happy fall, y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes God Pisses Me Off.

For real. Maybe it's sacreligious to voice my frustrations. But since I allow my kid to vent when she needs to, just to get it out and move on, and I don't hold it against her; I think God gives us the same grace. Since, you know, grace is His big thing.

So here's the deal.  My stepson is 15 and has Asperger's Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy and Brain damage from his birth experience, as well as either a general F-You attitude or Oppositional Defiance Disorder, the doctors can't decide. He also claims to have voices in his head, but that seems to be yet another one of his many many lies to get attention and pity and a free pass in life. He also steals and pretends to be mentally retarded around people who don't know him so that they'll do everything for him. And he's got tons more bad stuff that I'm not willing to put out there into cyberspace.

I've got a girl that just turned 8 who is sick of her big brother's crap and is acting out and becoming increasingly defiant.

I've got 5 year old twins who adore their older siblings and copy whatever they do. Unless the oldest does something particularly asinine or disgusting, then they tell him he's stupid or gross.

I've got a husband who thinks that if I tried harder, all of this would be better than it is.

I've got a Biblical example of what a good wife is like, described in Proverbs, and she's a bronze-age superwoman.

I've got a culture who says I should be able to be Superwoman and should be nice and skinny, too.

And I've got trouble buying God's promises; ones like "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord." 

When I hear platitudes like, "Well, Joseph was sold into slavery and then went to jail, and that was, like, 40 years of his life before he found out how it would do great things for him, for God, and for his whole family." Or, "Abraham waited decades between God making him a promise for children and actually fulfilling it, because if it had been earlier, it wouldn't have been seen as a miracle, and he was doing it to show his power." Or plain old, "Wait on God's timing, not man's."

Because, those Old Testament fellas lived for hundreds of years, so 20 or 40 years wasn't such a huge chunk of their lives. And God lives in eternity, so it's not like time means something to him.

I'm tired of the stresses of life. I need some deliverance. I need some hope. I can't be Superwoman. I can't do all and be all. And I can't carry all this without breaking soon. If I could just see clearly the good that this is all working toward, just a little enlightenment, then I could breathe deeper and not constantly want to scoop up my three little ones and just run away.

Dangit, Jesus, gimme a little help here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gee, Thanks. That's an "interesting" gift.

So we got a new gift from my mother-in-law. It is a cassette tape, so is not really new. It's was made in 2001, so this was about the time that she got married to her now-deceased husband… so she would have been about 70 and he would've been about 82, I think; and he bought this for them. Now that he's passed away, my mother-in-law has been passing on his stuff that he left behind… most of which, she is passing to us.

It's a cassette tape with a picture of a middle-aged couple on the front (if I could get my scanner to work I would show you the picture). The couple is cuddling in the middle of a tall grassy field. At first glance it looks like maybe a Focus On The Family inspirational tape.


But it's titled Health Secrets for Better Sex, Volume 1: Tapping into Your Sexual Senses, and it was recorded by Roger Libby, PhD, certified sex therapist. He looks like a much older version of the dad on Full House.


So… the description on the back says

How to Experience Sensual Sex

In this special audio cassette presentation you'll hear one of the world's leading authorities on sex describe the results of the all new research into the most fascinating subject known to humankind sexuality. Specifically in this discussion you will learn about:

o   common causes of sexual problems

o   how the senses can be your best sexual asset

o   hotspots for arousal and orgasm

o   food and nutrients that can electrify sex

o   and more!

And more? Can you believe that there is more? Wow! I can't wait to see what volumes two, three, and four are about!!!

I’m just kind of in shock and awe…  that an 82-year-old man & 70-year-old woman would have this tape (it doesn't look well-worn, though, so that's good) because it just kind of skeeves me out to think of Them doing the nasty because that's just, like, nasty!

And then , Oh, my God, how embarrassing, my creepy mother-in-law thinks, Who should I give this tape to? I can't just throw it in the trash. Hey, I've had an idea, Matt and Tiffany have four kids, so you know they must do it all the time… maybe this'll make it even more fun!

Tapping into your Sexual Senses, How to Experience Sensual Sex… I'm just a little bit at a loss for words. I don't know what to say about this. To my husband's credit, he laughed and passed it on to me, and I sat it next to the computer, of course, to share with y'all. But after eight years of marriage, I think we've got it pretty much figured out…  don't really need Bob Saget’s old creepy cousin to improve my nookie.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My latest art

Well, after 9 days straight of staying up until 3am painting, turning in everything I finished, then spending the next 4 days in a foggy haze, I finally feel like I'm human again.

Here's why I abandoned y'all:

Anything that doesn't sell at the show (Oct. 17-20) will go into an etsy shop and will be for sale to the general public. I also do commissioned work, so let me know if you want something specific!
I hope you liked them!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In the meantime...

I haven't been writing because I've been painting. I got a last minute invitation to be in a show, and I have the potential of selling like 15 paintings. The problem is that I got invited with six days to the show's submission deadline, but I only had five paintings done and ready to sell. So, I'm painting like a madwoman, and I will continue to do so for the next three days. Then I'll post pictures. Pictures of the paintings and pictures of our vacation that I blogged about. Maybe I'm delusional, but my pageview count makes me think y'all actually might give a crap. Y'all are awesome.

In the meantime, here's an awesome song - David Garrett, violinist, covering AC/DC's Thunderstruck:

This is my favorite music style for while I paint. Rock on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Scott,

I realized today that my daughter is now the exact age I was when you began molesting me. I thought of it because a friend of mine has a teenage daughter who was almost raped last week - she got away with injuries - and my friend was having trouble deciding what to tell her two younger daughters. I told her that they needed to know, because it could happen to them, too. They're in Jr High and High School, while the oldest is in college. I told her that all of her girls needed to take a self defense class, and offered to give the a-hole's name to my black belt friends from when I took Tae Kwon Do, Juijitsu, and Aikido in college. (Which, I did as soon as I get home, and one of them knows the guy. So, I won't be surprised if he gets punched really hard in the next few days.)

So, this morning, I told my seven-year-old that, when I was her age, an older boy hurt me. I told her I was too embarrassed to tell on you, and I didn't want to upset either one of our moms, so I didn't tell. I pretended like it didn't happen. Then I asked her if she knew what to do if somebody tried to touch her privates. She grinned and said, "Kick him. Kick him really hard."

That's my girl.

I gave her permission to kick him in the balls as hard as she can, and if she couldn't reach his balls, then to kick him in the shins then punch him in the throat. She laughed. Then I told her to come and tell me. She won't get in trouble, and she won't be blamed at all. Tell me, and I'll talk to the boy and his parents. She agreed. Then we painted a picture of a clown fish and went on with our day.

I let go of the pain you caused me a long time ago, but I can't let go of the memories. I even prayed for your salvation once. Just once - I'm not that nice. I tolerated your presence when we had to be in the same place as I grew up, but I'm glad you've disappeared out of my life. I'm pretty sure that's because you know my parents will stab you through the throat if they ever lay eyes on you again, since I finally told them what you did to me. I held that information until I was 25 years old.

But you should know what you did to me. You gave me the ability to distance myself emotionally from harmful situations. You made me not want to ever be touched by a boy again and question my sexuality. You made me notice that a scoop of ice cream looks a lot like balls. You made me not able to really enjoy giving my husband a BJ because I remember being forced to do it to you at eight years old. You made me have a horrendous memory of being 9 years old and watching hard-core porn (once I figured out exactly what I was looking at, I left the room and you laughed at me).  You made me be a kid full of shame, because no matter how much I hated what you did to me, the physical touch still felt good, and I couldn't understand why, so I felt like it was my fault. You made me be a 12 year old with a first boyfriend who didn't understand why I wouldn't kiss him, but I had already been French kissing for four years, and that had finally just ended.

And why did it end? Because I quit acting uncomfortable with it and quit fighting you. I went along, just to get it over with faster. I guess you got bored then, huh? I was almost 12, and you were, what? About 18? 19?

That's how my friend's daughter got away from her date-rapist, too. She realized that fighting was doing no good, and finally gave up. She pretended to like it, and said she had an obligation, but she'd come back and pick up where they left off. He was cocky enough to believe her. Now he's in jail.

And, now I also know that I was right about the pain the knowledge would have caused my mom and yours. I hugged my friend as she tried not to fall apart. She knows where that guy lives. She's forcing herself to not go murder him. And, now that I'm a mom to beautiful little girls,  I don't know that I'd have that restraint. God help the boy who hurt one of my babies, because I sure as Hell won't show him the same grace I showed you.

Here's what else you gave me: strength I wouldn't have otherwise, martial arts training that filled me with confidence, understanding of the struggle victims have with sexuality choices, the ability to forgive (or at least let go of the right to revenge), and the knowledge that everyone's got some secret wound that they're having to overcome. I have empathy, grace, and power. And those traits are stronger because of you.

I won't say thank you, though. I'm sure you'll understand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trip Tales, part 4

Okay so the next day we went to go to Castaway Cay. We got up early, hustled down to breakfast. And my mother-in-law told me that she had set us up an appointment for a pedicure.( I don't like pedicures; I think they’re creepy. I really don't want a stranger rubbing on my feet, and I can paint my own toenails, thank you very much. I also think they are insulting and demoralizing to the person who does them. Like I think they're so far beneath me that it's okay to let them scrub my dirty feet. Now, I know it's their job and that they chose that job, but I still don't want to make someone do something so gross. My feet are clean but they're calloused and we should probably take a belt sander to those bad boys.)

 The afternoon before when she said that she needed to spend some money and suggested going to get a pedi, I said, “No, thank you.” I said we were going to the beach on Castaway Cay the next day and that I was going snorkeling. So… she made the appointment for 3:00 in the afternoon.

My husband said that we would enjoy the morning on the beach, do a little snorkeling, eat lunch, and be back in plenty of time for the appointment. No, no, no, that wasn't okay with me. They had hammocks on the beach and a contained children's area, and I planned to spend the entire morning taking advantage of those. And then I wanted to snorkel after lunch and keep playing on the beach until the boat blew its horn that we had to get back on or get left behind. I wanted my toes in the sand for as many hours as possible, and that would exfoliate my feet plenty.

After we sprayed everyone down with sunscreen, we got off the boat and walked the half-mile to the beaches. The mother-in-law rode the tram, looked around, got back on the tram, and got back on the boat. I don't think she was on the island for more than 15 minutes. Now, with the however many thousand people were on the ship now on the beach, it looked like one of those Discovery Channel videos of when the walruses are crowding over the rocks on the shoreline, only more lily white. We walked through the area where you could buy souvenirs and tried to find somewhere with hammocks close enough to the water to be able to supervise the children as they swim. But once we found a spot, where the hammocks were still a good 100 feet away from the water, we realized that you had to rent the floats, and the rental shack was probably a half-mile down the beach. So we forgot the hammocks and got in the water with the kids. It was fun, fish swam around our legs, and we had a great time.

 We spent more time swimming than we had planned, so I found some towels and headed over to the kids play area. It had splash pad and a real dead whale! Now, one may ask why we're letting our children play on a dead whale, but it had been dead for at least 100 years. Some explorer found the skeletal remains of a huge sperm whale, and when Disney bought the island, they reburied the excavation and made it into an attraction so the children could excavate the bones! It was really cool.

We got lunch, took our time, and I drew all over our picnic table with the water that had dripped off my cup. People stopped and watched; someone even took pictures; but I was just being my regular ADD self. My husband and I walked around a little more and then he said, "It's time to go pick up the kids so you can make it back in time for your appointment!" I told him I didn't want to. I told him I didn't get to snorkel. I told him that I said yesterday I didn't want a pedicure. He said too bad. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to cry. This was the one and only thing I wanted to do the whole trip. He said his mom didn't want to get lost on the ship again and have to have an employee take her back to her room (and that right there was the real reason she included me in the appointment). He said it wouldn't be as awful as I thought. I almost refused. Almost.

But she did pay for this trip. And my husband thinks we should do anything she wants because she pays for stuff (and she's scary). So, basically, we're whores.

So we gathered up the kids, then went back to get their shoes, then went back again to get their hats and sunglasses, then went back to get the shoes that they put down what they were getting their sunglasses, took a few more pictures and got on the tram to go back to the ship.

Capt. Hook and Mr. Smee were outside the ship taking pictures, antagonizing the little boys who were getting pictures made with them by pretending to steal their shoes and throw them in the water. Everyone could tell it was a joke, but my little boy was really worried and didn't understand why Capt. Hook was being such a meanie. He wouldn't even get close to him.

The husband took the kids to the pool while I went to shower and get dressed. That alone made me worry because it was hard enough to keep an eye on all of them when both of us were there. This appointment bothered me to almost an irrational level. I felt completely under the weight of the poverty that most of the cruise line workers come from and the riches that the cruise line customers have. Most Americans consider themselves to be middle class, but our poverty level income is higher than the average income of 90% of the world. As I got ready, I cried like I was being forced into prostitution, I prayed some more, I almost called the spa and canceled, and I finally got myself together and went to the appointment.

Pedicures are supposed to be fun, right? Or, at least relaxing? But, when you're are sitting with someone who bothers you so much, whose voice sounds like an old southern version of Fran Drescher, you're embarrassed by the wealth that is being flaunted, and you don't like people touching you, it makes you even more tense than when you started.

The lady who did my feet was from Jamaica and has three kids. She had to leave those three children behind with family because there was no work on the island. When she said that, that was the only time her big Disney smile cracked. The flash of pain was only there for a second, but it was unmistakable. I told her that my church was heading to Jamaica this summer for a mission trip.

When she asked why I don't take care of my feet I told her I didn't have time. That I worked and taught my kids and volunteered helping others. We didn’t ever do this kind of thing, but my MIL wanted to take us. I think I confused her more than anything. I asked her how long they work on the ship she said they have different contract amounts so they could contract for however long they wanted to work. I asked what their hours were per day. 8 AM to 10 PM, with a short lunch break and a short dinner break. She works 14 hours a day scrubbing people's feet so her children can eat… and I had to gall to think that I work hard.

She did a great job. The lady next to her did a great job on my mother-in-law. And then the desk girl brought the ticket for my mother-in-law to sign to pay for the two pedicures. They were $70 each. She tipped six dollars.


I asked her why, and she said that she accidentally over-tipped the girl yesterday, so under-tipping today would even it out. Six dollars on the $140 ticket. And she thought that was fair. As she started to walk out, I told her I wanted to ask the ladies one more thing. I asked them what the standard tip was and they looked at me like I had just asked him to share national security secrets. I told them that I wasn't going to get offended or anything, I just didn't know what the industry standard was; that I was pretty sure that it was higher than six. One of them nodded, and she said standard was $15-$20. I told them I would make sure they got it before the day was over.

But I also knew that I could not let my mother-in-law know that I was bringing them “extra” tips or she would end up trying to even it out by gypping someone else out of theirs, too.  I went up to the room, got $10 each, and took it back to the girl at the desk. I explained what it was for and that I didn't want it on our room’s record; just to get the money straight to the two ladies that did our feet. So, at least they got a fair amount.

I'm pretty sure that that's not how a day at the beach is supposed to go.

I'm also pretty sure that most people won't understand how I felt and will think I was just being an ungrateful bitch. Oh well.