Thursday, December 20, 2012

Middle-Aged Retail Employees LOVE It When You Talk To Them About Your Vagina

Sometimes, when you haven't been laid in a while (or when you are only having sex because omg fine, just shut the fuck up about it already), you let some of your grooming habits slide. Eventually though, you get to a point where you realize that your pubes are like 6 inches long and maybe you should do something about that. I had that realization a few weeks ago.

Usually I just shave the lady parts, but I decided I wanted to buy a trimmer. I work in NYC and there are at least 6 drugstores in a 4 block radius, so I expected to find exactly what I wanted rather easily. That was not the case. Apparently, the ladies of this great city prefer their pubic hair trimmers to be fancy, expensive, and much larger than is absolutely necessary (insert dick joke here).

This was clearly not something I needed immediately, so I didn't think much of it. I figured I'd find what I wanted in Jersey one day. Then yesterday I was taking a walk on my lunch break and went outside of my usual 5 block perimeter and came across a CVS I hadn't checked out before. I figured I would see if they had what I wanted.

To my surprise, they did have it. And at just $12, I knew I had finally filled my bush-removing needs. I went to grab it off the hook and realized that I couldn't get it off. The hook had a lock on the end of it.  Have you seen this? I mean, at Walmart in the electronics department, sure. I can understand why they might lock up expensive electronics items. But in CVS? For a $12 pube trimmer? Really?

At that moment, I had to make a choice. I could be embarrassed and refuse to ask for help and walk out. Or I could put on my big girl panties and ask someone to unlock it for me. Because it WAS a CVS, I told myself I would make one loop around the store. In the unlikely event that I found someone who actually worked there, I would ask for help. Right as I completed my loop, as I made my way back to the aisle I started in, an employee appeared before me. In fact, he was in the aisle unlocking a mustache trimmer for some other customer.

I marched up to this middle-aged man and told him I needed him to get something for me. He cheerfully asked "ok, what did you need?". I gestured toward the end of the aisle with the lady products and he followed me there. "This one", I told him. "And thanks for locking up the pube trimmers so I had to ask for help".

He laughed, so I probably only made him a little uncomfortable. On the upside, my pubes aren't 6 inches long anymore.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What the Fuck is Wrong With People?

As I'm sure you have heard, there was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut today. Since it just happened a few hours ago, I don't have a lot of the details. Even if I did, I certainly wouldn't want to rehash them here. The truth of the matter is, I want nothing more than to stick my fingers in my ears and repeat "LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" any time someone at work (or on my Facebook feed) brings it up.

I'm not trying to minimize the tragedy. I'm not saying I don't care. It's just that this is the sort of thing I can't even being to think about without completely breaking down. My stomach ties itself in knots just reading the headlines for these kinds of stories, let alone the gory details.

The thing is, I lost a child. Obviously I did not lose a Kindergartener who had been the biggest part of my life for years. My loss was much earlier than that, so I won't claim to know how the parents of those children must feel. The thought of their babies, terrified and crying for them in a place they are supposed to be safe... it makes me shake in horror. It makes me want to puke. I can't even imagine how it must make their parents feel, knowing their children lost their lives in such a gruesome, violent manner.

My point is just that things like this hit me differently than they do a lot of other mothers, I think. My Facebook feed is filled with friends, family, and aquaintances talking about how they can't wait to get home and hug their kids. How terrifying it is to think that, even in elementary school, you can't ever be sure that they are safe. The difference for me is that is how I feel all the time.

I feel like it would be absolutely disrespectful to compare my stillborn baby to the children who were tragically gunned down this morning, so I want to be careful to say that I'm really not trying to do that. My point is more the reaction from other parents.

When I lost Nicholas, every drop of "that could never happen to me" left my body. I don't ever doubt how quickly and unexpectedly a tragedy could cross my path. Or Caitlyn's. For the most part, absent of a current, relatable tragedy such as the one that happened today, I think most people fall on the other side of the fence. Most people want to believe statistics. They want to believe that if there is a 98% chance something will never happen, that of course they wouldn't be part of the 2% with the terrible luck.

During my pregnancy with Caitlyn, I had an overlap with both of my sister's pregnancies as well. April was near the end of her pregnancy when I got pregnant, and Samantha had just found out she was a few weeks before I did. My loss was certainly on everyone's mind, because it was just 6 months prior. In fact, April was already a few months pregnant when I lost Nicholas. They never talked to me about their fears for their own children, but my mom told me not too long ago that they were both terrified. "That will never happen to me" just hit a little too close to home.

I wonder though, if now, years after the fact, they still have the same fears I do. I mean, every parent worries for the safety of their child, but i think I do to an excessive degree. I never feel 100% sure that I'll see Caitlyn again. Every time I strap her into her carseat, I kiss her goodbye. Just in case we are in a terrible car accident and she doesn't make it, I want her to know she is loved. Even when she is being difficult and crying and fighting me while I try to strap her in, I give her a kiss and tell her I love her. About half the time in the mornings, I wake up and think to myself "she's sleeping too soundly. Did she suffocate in her sleep?". On the rare occasions when I make plans without her, I always find myself fearing that something will happen to her before I return, and I'll have squandered my last precious hours that could have been spent with her doing selfish, unimportant shit.

Sometimes I have to tell myself that I'm being obsessive, or that she will almost definitely be fine. I have to remind myself that my sanity and my ability to be a good mother to her depends on occasionally giving myself a break. But I never, ever tell myself that something could never happen. Unfortunately, the older she gets, the more there are outside influences in play. I'm surprisingly not a crazy overprotective mom, but I mostly attribute that to the fact that my own mom never stopped me from doing things I wanted to do and always trusted and encouraged me. I know when it comes to decision-making, she will be trusted and trustworthy. It's all the stuff outside of both of our control that utterly terrifies me.

Ironically, Caitlyn had her first taste of preschool today. Our babysitter's son celebrated his 4th birthday today and his preschool allowed Caitlyn to stick around and join in the festivities. It was very nice of them, and I got a bunch of very cute, very big girl schmoozing with the other big kids pictures sent to my phone. It made me a little excited to see her so very ready for the next step that will eventually come, but also a little sad to see her embracing such a big step without me. And then all hell broke loose and I had to breathe and type and try not to cry at my computer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hop on Pop

Caitlyn has a bit of a reputation for having the attention span of a marble (or maybe I just have the patience of a bad mom?). She also has a tendency to tune me out. Or it's probably more accurate to say she actively ignores me. I can say her name 15 times and get no response, but if I say the word "cookie" she's suddenly completely aware that she is being spoken to.

It made it hard to teach her things, but I was never particularly concerned. I spent a little time obsessing about it a few months before she turned one, but that was mostly because my niece, who is the same age, was so far advanced and so focused on absorbing absolutely everything around her, that it made me a little paranoid that Caitlyn was behind. She wasn't. Mostly I like to remind myself that every kid is different, and that my kid excels at physical things more so than a lot of kids her age because that is the kind of shit she wants to do, and when she wants to do something, she is absolutely capable of it.

Anyway, now that she has mastered the skills that are really important to her- you know, things like hanging on monkey bars and climbing rock walls at the playground and jumping off the coffee table and doing the Fresh Beat Band dances- she is much more inclined to sit still and pay attention when I'm trying to teach her something. Not that I need to teach her much. My babysitter is like the asshole-toddler whisperer and is fantastic at engaging her in ways I would never even think of. Still, I like to occasionally, you know, teach her shit.

Caitlyn has never had the patience for books. Where as my niece and nephew could quietly sit while being read to (even if not for a whole book- at least a few pages!) at a year or 18 months, Caitlyn decided at an early age that the purpose of books was to cut her teeth on the bindings. And you sort of expect that at a certain age. You expect that, at a year or so old, they may find a book on the floor or in their toy box and their immediate response is to put it in their mouth. I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about every binding of every book she owns (and our babysitter owns!) being ripped out with her teeth. I'm talking about finding her chewing on cardboard at least once a day. I'm talking about hiding books from her because I knew she would only destroy them.

Finally, though, Caitlyn is interested in the story. She will bring me a book and ask me to read it to her. Whenever I tried to read a book to her in the past, it was met with screeching, squirming and ripping. It's so nice to be able to tell her the story inside the book. I love reading Dr. Seuss to her. I love that she follows along and throws out lines from the book when I prompt her. I love that, when I turn a page, she inevitably turns it back so she can enjoy her favorites parts of the story just a little longer.

Caitlyn's go-to bedtime story right now is Hop on Pop. Reading it with her is awesome and hilarious, because she ad-libs throughout the book. There's an orange dog that is on a lot of pages. He isn't necessarily part of the story on that page, but he's there. Absolutely every time she sees him, she points to him and says "ornage puppy" (and no, that wasn't a typo. She calls it ornage). It doesn't matter what else is happening on that page, she loves that damn ornage puppy. When we get to the page where Mr. Brown and Mr. Black are having a snack, she tells me they are eating sandwiches and drinking milk. She counts the apples and bananas. When we get to the actual "hop on pop" page, she notes that "Daddy is mad", because the pop looks pretty pissed at those two kids jumping on him (I'd venture a guess here and say they fucked his back up. I'm fairly sure of this because my own dad blames me for his back problems. From that time I jumped on his back. When I was 5).

My favorite part though, is the "father, mother, sister, brother" page. That is on the left page. On the right page shows another boy, a baby, with the words "that one is my other brother". For some reason, Caitlyn hates the other brother. She covers him up with her hand and tells me "I don't like another brother" and "no baby!". He's on the following page too, and she covers him then too. I asked her why she doesn't like the baby and she simply tells me "I like THIS one" and points to the other little boy. It's so arbitrary and hilarious. It makes me giggle every night. It also makes me feel a little less guilty about this whole I probably won't be able to give her a sibling thing.

Just in general, I'm finding Caitlyn is more structured and receptive to discipline, too. I think a big part of it is that we are falling into our own routines and not having anyone (coughherdumbdadcough) throw a monkey wrench into it by wanting to do things another way.

Also, seriously, she is fucking hilarious. Her comic timing is genius. Last night, she asked me to put something on TV for her. When I didn't immediately respond, she looked at me, completely straight-faced and said "come on, son". I was sure I misheard her, so I asked her what she had said and she said it again. She also cheerily told me that she had poop in her 'gina last night.

This kid. She is too much.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


In case you guys didn't hear, it was all windy and shit this week in Jersey. And by windy, obviously I mean OMGOMGWEAREALLGONNADIIIIIIIE.

Generally speaking, I'm the person who just assumes the weather reports are an exaggeration and rolls my eyes at the people buying 20 gallons of water at the grocery store. Or, more accurately, the people I assume are at the grocery store buying 20 gallons of water because I'm definitely not at the grocery store buying anything. Do you know how crowded the grocery store is before a big storm?

Anyway. Maybe it was the fact that I have another human being to think about besides myself. Or maybe it has to do with being really and truly on my own and not having Rodolfo to depend on to think of the shit I might forget about. In any case, I decided Friday night that I should probably have some sort of non-perishable food in my house besides fun-sized 3 Musketeers and M&Ms and I went grocery shopping.

It would seem that everyone else in the tri-state area had this thought at least a few days before I did. I ended up coming home with some cookies, pre-cooked rice cups, one gallon of water, capri suns and a 12 pack of Pepsi (you know, essentials). I can't even say I worried too much about it. I was honestly more concerned about making my way to the craft store so I could finish up Caitlyn's Halloween costume.

Saturday afternoon, I did make it to AC Moore and picked up some blue duct tape and hot pink felt, like any good mom preparing for a disaster. After I got the IMPORTANT stuff, I strolled over to the candle aisle, you know, just in case, and picked up a few candles too.

As an aside right here, I think it's important to reiterate that I'm recently separated, with a halved income but just as many bills as before. Rodolfo, who makes more money than me, decided that he couldn't afford our 1-bedroom apartment when I moved out and found some random woman who was looking for a roommate, and moved in with her. He won't tell me what he's paying in rent, but I'd venture a guess at about half what I'm paying for my apartment. None of this is particularly relevant right here, but it makes this next part REALLY fucking obnoxious:

Anyway. Saturday afternoon before my trip to the craft store, Rodolfo picked up Caitlyn. He had decided to rent a hotel room, simply for the novelty of using their pool, and took Caitlyn there. Several hours later, I met him there when he wouldn't stop texting me about how cranky she was being (me: it's been 4 hours, have you fed her? him: uh, no.). I got her to eat a little bit and then she told me she had to go to pee. Except instead of pee, she had explosive diarrhea.

We (and when I say "we", I mean myself and my awesome babysitter) have been working on potty training Caitlyn. She has been doing pretty well, and she's been mostly in underwear (with just a few accidents) for the last 2 weeks or so. With explosive diarrhea added to the mix, though, I felt like I should go to the store to pick up some diapers (we won't even get into the discussion I had with Rodolfo after that, when he told me he was keeping an entire box of diapers at his house "just in case") and pedialyte. Luckily, the store had been somewhat restocked, so I was also able to get bread, chips, crackers and a few other non-perishable snacky foods too.

I spent Sunday toiling away on a Halloween costume that wouldn't even be worn (at least not on actual Halloween) and feeling pretty sure that I wouldn't have work the next day. On Monday, the storm came through. I had power most of the day, but by late afternoon, I had a few instances of losing my power, either partially or for just a few minutes at a time. Then, around 6pm, all the power went out for good.

Caitlyn had been handling the power outage remarkably well. She was fascinated by the candles I'd lit- she bounced back and forth, room to room, first repeating my warning that candles are "VERY DANGEROUS!" and then declaring how much she loved candles as she stopped at each one- "another candle in the bathroom! Another candle in the living room! ANOTHER CANDLE IN THE KITCHEN!".

Then, she very suddenly stopped running. She stood at the coffee table in our living room and declared "I pooped, mommy" and started sobbing. It wasn't just that she pooped her pants. It was that she had one of those exploding, watery poops again. And in case you don't already know this, having your mom clean diarrhea out of the folds of your lady business by candlelight is possible the most horrific, embarrassing, traumatic experience a child can ever have.

After several smelly, screeching minutes, I felt I had made my absolute best effort in cleaning her up. I no longer had hot water, so I couldn't even throw her in the bathtub. I just had to resign myself to the fact there might be some poop in her vagina. I decided that a little poop in her vagina was better than the possibility of her describing this scene to her therapist 20 years down the road if I kept trying to pry her legs apart to clean her up. Her underwear went straight to the garbage and within 5 minutes, she went back to running around declaring her love for candles. And, as luck would have it, the shit monster did not return.

After a VERY long, boring night, we packed up in the morning and headed off to Grandma's house, where there was power, hot food, and a super fun playmate for Caitlyn. I managed to convince Rodolfo to stop in and feed/walk my dog (he did so begrudgingly, and felt the need to prove that fact by sending me a picture of the dog's shit), so I was able to stay until Wednesday afternoon. It was a relief. A big part of the decision to pick up and head off to Grandma's was the fact that I had not only no signal on my cell phone, but no service on my house phone either. The stress of the "what-if" was too much with a sicky little toddler, and so we took off for the day. Caitlyn played with her cousin all day, and my mom made us a yummy dinner. It was a huge help.

Yesterday we went home, and I was really hoping I would have my power back. I did not. I totally had a bunch of dog shit on my floor though (also fun to clean up by candlelight, in case you were wondering). I fed my pets and walked my dog and cleaned up the filth and grabbed some pillows so we could crash at April's house for the night. She was the only person in the area who had any power, and she and my brother-in-law were nice enough to open their home to everyone they knew in need of a place to stay (this included myself and Caitlyn, her best friend, bestie's boyfriend and her 4 year old daughter, as well as my 13 year old nephew- with my sister, her husband and their son, that was 5 adults, 3 toddlers and 1 teenaged boy all crammed into their 2 bedroom apartment.).

Today I had to drag my ass to work, but shortly after I arrived, I got word that my power was back on. We were lucky, I know we were. There were people who lost their homes and cars and loved ones. And then there were thousands more who simply survived without power or hot food or showers. Some of them even had toddlers, I bet. As much as it was scary, and a true inconvenience, I have family and friends that I know I can always count on . Even the ones who drive me fucking insane sometimes.

On days when I'm feeling stressed or annoyed or sorry for my shitty situation, I'll think of those who were on their own. I'll try to remember that, while my situation is admittedly stressful and difficult at times, I do truly have a great support system, and unfortuantely, that isn't something everyone can say for themselves.

Anyway. I hope everyone is doing well and that no one else had a literal shit storm like I did.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dora and Diego are Pathological Liars. There, I Said It

Here is the problem. I usually blog at work, and work has been extremely busy. Even if you don't figure for the fact that my office moved last week and I've spent the last 6 work days inhaling paint fumes and cancer dust (because no one seemed to think finishing construction prior to our move was important), I've taken on a bunch of new responsibilities too. Responsibilities I'm currently ignoring so I can blog.

The thing is, I would theoretically blog from home. I've even tried it a few times. The way it usually plays out is that I get an idea, sit down at my computer and try to focus just enough so that it's mildly coherent. And then Caitlyn decides she wants to sit on my lap. I can handle that one of two ways: I can ignore her. This always ends with her pawing at me and whining and making me feel like an asshole because GOD, she just wants to sit on her mommy's lap, you fucking monster. And so I always arrive at option two within about 30 seconds, and I put her on my lap. She will then bang on the keyboard, insist we watch Youtube videos of Elmo or decide "I needa PAINT" (because my dad showed her how to use a paint document. And also because she never wants anything anymore. She always "needa".) and screech color choices at me until her masterpiece is complete.

Basically what I'm saying is that unless you want all my blog posts to be paint documents, I can't blog from home (what about when her dad takes her, you might ask next. Yeah. I wonder about that too. I'll let you know when it happens!).

Today I realized that it's been over a month since I posted anything, and yet, I still don't have more than 15 minutes to bang out a real post. It's annoying, actually, because I really do have a backlog of posts in my head. Anyway, consider this a fake post. Leave me lots of comments so I know you haven't all abandoned me.

The other night, a few of my Facebook friends and I decided to call out children's programming for all the lies they are telling our kids. We established the following creepy, weird or just plain outlandish lies our kids may believe based on what Dora and company are telling them (these aren't all me, so thanks to my lovely, funny friends, AKD, Mandy and Jessica):

  • It isn't weird at all when inanimate objects talk
  • 25 year old adults should still be attending school
  • A co-ed group of 25 year old adults can share an apartment and no one is ever going to fuck anyone else (or get drunk)
  • Baby jaguars make GREAT pets and definitely will not maul you at all
  • Salt and pepper shakers are French, and produce cinnamon offspring
  • There's nothing wrong with letting a 6 year old girl wander around completely unsupervised. Even when she's too dumb to get anywhere without a map
  • 6 year olds can read maps
  • All Latino parents don't pay any attention to their children and let them wander through alligator swamps and creepy forests with only a monkey for supervision
  • Chinese children are raised by their grandparents, presumably because their parents are in a factory making Nikes 18 hours a day
  • Little snotty bitch pigs are apparently endearing (there may have also been suggestions about making Olivia in bacon)
  • All animals speak English and Spanish, regardless of what country or even CONTINENT they are on.
  • "Gazelles are afraid of lions!" (No, gazelles don't want to get their throats ripped out. They  have absolutely no worries that the lion might jump out and say BOO)
  • Medieval knights are selfish and whiny until their pet dragons remind them not to steal things
  • Dino Dan "isn't" a paranoid schizophrenic
  • Captain Hook is a little selfish about treasure, but if you ask nicely, he will totally share it with you. And he gets super butt-hurt if you don't invite him to your parties and shit
  • If you are being mugged, saying the mugger's name 3 times and telling him no will make him snap his fingers and run away
  • David Arquette makes a great parrot, and his career is doing JUST FINE
  • If you put the absolute minimum amount of effort into finding something that has been deliberately taken/hidden from you, it will magically appear in the most obvious place ever
  • Orange backpacks can bend physics and become anything you need them to be
  • And purple backpacks contain anything you could ever need
  • Your friends will just laugh at your whimsy if you have the most retarded ideas on the planet, EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • You need a song for EVERYTHING
  • People won't send you to a special school if you are mildly retarded and constantly step in buckets
  • It's not even a little weird to wear the exact same clothes EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Or to dress your blue dog in pajamas, and to keep the same pedophilic haircut for 6 years
  • Lance Bass didn't try hard enough to go into space. Pocoyo does that shit all the fucking time and he doesn't have astronaut training OR several million dollars
  • Your friends won't make fun of you for trying and failing miserably
  • Phineas and Ferb are independently wealthy children, or else their parents conveniently ignore the massive credit card debt they accumulate each day
  • "Come inside, it's fun inside" doesn't sound sexual at all, Mickey Mouse
  • Neither does "A bunch of bones inside me" (which I was pretty convinced was "I want your bones inside me" until my sister informed me otherwise... either way, really)
  • Wonder Pets shouldn't die in a fire (really, we couldn't even say anything about how awful they are besides "should die in a fire", which, apparently children don't agree with).
  • Uniqua is a name
  • Uniqua and Tyrone would run with the same... let's say "group of friends" as Pablo
  • You can only stalk someone and get away with it if you're voiced by Ashley Tisdale
  • It is both completely normal to have a platypus as a pet and to lose him all the time
  • Three kids on an island can play with child molester-esque men and there are no authority figures except a parrot
  • Toot and Puddle is somehow not scat porn
  • Your toys live inside your boombox, and come alive when you sprinkle magic on them (that's called an acid trip, DJ Lance)
  • Orange spandex onesies are appropriate attire
  • Trains with shifty, haunted painting eyes aren't creepy at all
  • You should totally trust and be friends with people who look like giant butt plugs and dildos
  • You can buy a new car for the bargain price of FREE, as long as you are willing to sing a song while you assemble it (and you can get 50 people to help as long as you give them a ride to the smoothie stand, which is exactly 50 feet away)
  • All the pizza and smoothies are free, and somehow they are both thriving businesses (not to mention the fact that the pizza place is run by someone dumber than Twist)
  • Siblings mostly get along except for minor annoyances
  • Monsters are adorable, fuzzy creatures
  • If someone is bullying you and you tell them they've hurt your feelings, they will be instantly remorseful and apologize
  • You should reiterate absolutely every single thing you say at least 3 times (Seriously, kid. I'm not you. I don't have the attention span of a marble. I got it the FIRST time)
  • Everyone will want to hug and be best buds after every disagreement. No hard feelings EVER
  • Mommies and Daddies are always of the same race and the opposite sex. And happily married, of course
So, what did we miss? What lies are your kids learning?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Asshole, Dick, Fuck. In That Order.

Sometimes I get a little off-track with this blog. Half my posts of late have just been rants and ramblings that have absolutely nothing to do with parenting, and it seems like it's been a while since I actually wrote a post about the shit my kid is doing now. And there is so much shit she is doing now, I can hardly keep up. In fact, I wrote out a checklist of shit-she-is-doing points to hit in this post, so I don't forget anything.

Overall, I'd say the biggest change I've seen in Caitlyn over the past few months (besides, you know, the fact that she never shuts up, ever ever) is how she wants to do everything I do. I mean, obviously this isn't brand new or anything... pretty much everything babies and toddlers do is mocking on some level. The difference now is that she's not just mirroring me when I prompt her to anymore. She's started doing these things of her own accord.

The mirroring thing had hit a high point a few months ago, when she would try to do things like shave her legs in the shower when I did. That kind of mirroring is fucking adorable (you know, except for the part where she thinks she can play with my razor). Recently though, her attempts at being just like mommy have been slightly less adorable. For example, while we were on vacation, I was vacation-eating and it gave me the shits because my body had gotten used to me being pretty healthy of late. One afternoon I spent a solid 30 minutes in the bathroom with diarrhea (I know how you love these kinds of stories- you're welcome!). And in those 30 minutes, Caitlyn walked into the bathroom, oh, I don't know, let's go with 700 times. Shortly after the entire contents of my digestive tract had been forcibly removed, Caitlyn decided she wanted to use the potty.

This has actually also been a big milestone for us of late. It's certainly not consistent yet, but she pees on the potty at least once a day now. Which isn't my point at all. My point is that when Caitlyn says she needs to go potty, I immediately and enthusiastically encourage her. So was the case on the day I got the shits.

She finds it pretty novel, using the big girl toilet, so I never quite know what to expect when she says she has to go. Sometimes she pees almost immediately. Sometimes she insists on getting on and off the toilet 10 times. Sometimes she sits there for 2 seconds, declares she's "all done", then flushes the toilet 4 times. Sometimes she mostly just unravels the toilet paper. Her newest thing is the take the toilet cleaner brush out of the holder and dunk it into the toilet the moment she gets up. On that day though, her mission was clear. She was going to make fun of me. She climbed up onto the toilet (because GOD FORBID I help her up) and immediately scrunched up her face and made some fake straining noises. She then hopped right back down and said "mommy's turn!". Uncool, kid.

Since we are on the subject, though, I should say that during our vacation, and in the week since we've come home, there has been a great increase in using the potty. Two nights ago, Caitlyn peed on the potty 3 separate times. Then she pooped on there too. I've never been so excited about another person's bowel movements in my life. I'm hoping we can move on to underwear in a couple more months.

There is another area where Caitlyn is starting to hit her stride though, no longer just taking cues from mommy, but really owning it as her own. Cursing.

As you may remember, Caitlyn's first bad word was asshole. She was mistakenly under the impression that this was the dog's name, though, so I couldn't really hold it against her. After that she started saying dick. I will take 100% responsibility on that one, because it's not just that I said it to her once and she repeated it, it's the fact that after she repeated it I started laughing hysterically. And really, who wouldn't? When you are mad at your tiny 18 month old for some random act of attitude and she responds by beaming her best smile at you and confidentally, comically declaring "DICK!", well, just, how DON'T you laugh at that? You can't. It's physically impossible. I mean, you know, until the 30th time or so. Now I can actually hold a straight face long enough to tell her it isn't a nice word and that she shouldn't say it. And mostly she doesn't anymore, save for a rare occasion when she knows she's in a lot of trouble and she thinks her comic relief will save her from time outs (or beatings. I mean, probably beatings. I try to use a 70/30 beating to time out ratio).

The problem now, though, is that she isn't just using these words because she knows they will make me laugh. She's using them in context. Actually, "them" is inaccurate. "It" is more appropriate. Because there is only one bad word she regularly uses now. She doesn't use it in anger. This is not a tantrum kind of thing. She's absolutely not trying to get a reaction out of me.

The first time she said it, I hardly noticed. I sort of just glanced at Rodolfo, eyebrows raised, as if to say "did you hear that too?". He wasn't sure either, so we assumed it was some sort of toddler jibberish word that just sounded like the word we, as adults, would automatically hear. After that I started to notice a pattern though. She would always say it after some mild inconvenience. She would drop something on the floor or the dog would steal her last goldfish cracker, something like that. Nothing she would actually be that upset about. And it was always muttered under her breath. Not because she thought she might get in trouble, but because when I say it in the context she was using for it, I'd mutter it under MY breath. Then, at some point (that point being when she started lovingly embracing Swiper the Fox's catchphrase "oh, man!"), she started adding "man!" to the mix.

It went something like this: mild inconvenience, then exasperated sigh, followed by "man... fuck".

We are going to have to get that shit cleared up before she goes to Kindergarten.

I think I'll split this into two posts. More Caitlyn updates tomorrow-ish.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tales from Vacation- Shit My Dad Fucked Up

I think I've made it pretty clear that my dad is essentially useless. There is a time, though, when his lack of a permanent address works in my favor and he can make himself useful. And by "useful" I mean he goes from full-on parasite mode to some sort of half-assed symbiotic relationship with the people he leaches goods, services, and nights on their couch from.

What I'm saying is that I asked my dad to take care of my pets while I was on vacation.

I should have known better. Do you remember that one time I went on vacation, and when I came home he informed me that he was kicked out by the relative he was staying with at the time and he had all his shit at my house and expected me to let him live there for a while? Yeah. I definitely should have known better.

Anyway. So my dad's current ... let's call it vocation ... is driving a taxi in tourist trap/Jersey Shore locale, Seaside Heights. He works overnights because that is when all the drunks want to be carted around, obviously. I didn't anticipate this being an issue. He told me he would come over in the morning and walk my dog and feed both of my pets when he got out of work. His taxi job is a solid hour and 15 minutes from where I live, but he always makes a show of how much he loves driving, so again, I figured it would be fine.

Cut to a couple of days into vacation. I had called him once or twice to check in, and he told me everything was fine. On this day though, he called me. We had the following conversation (and yes, in case you were wondering, pretty much everything I said, I was shouting at him, hence the all caps):

Dad: Hi Jaclyn. You really need to let your friend know not to lock your cat in the bedroom.

Me: What are you talking about?

Dad: Well, whoever else is coming here must have locked her in the bedroom and she pissed all over your bed (PISSED ALL OVER YOUR BED???????????????? FUCKING REALLY DUDE. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU BRING UP CASUALLY AND WITHOUT A DROP OF GUILT).


Dad: Well I guess whoever was in here locked her in there.


Dad: Oh, really? I figured you had Nadine or someone else coming too.

Me: NO!

Dad: Oh. Well, someone else was definitely in the house, Jaclyn. It wasn't me. The bedroom door was open when I left. Someone must have broken in. Did you leave your windows unlocked?


Dad: I don't know. It had to be someone else though. Maybe it was the landlord. Maybe Joey was barking and he came in to check on him.


Dad: Well, Joey got out of the kitchen- he was walking around the house when I got there. Maybe he pushed the door closed. You know how he does that sometimes (bold-faced lie. I can't tell you of a single time when my dog pushed a fucking door closed. NOT A SINGLE TIME).


Dad: Oh don't worry, it's fine. I cleaned it, and I'm going to wash your sheets and your mattress cover.

Me: Cleaned it with what (this was a legitimate concern, because his idea of "washing" anything means soaking it in bleach. Even his feet. I wish I were kidding)???

Dad: Oh, I took some rubbing alcohol and wiped it on the stain.


Dad: Well, I figured you didn't want me to use bleach.


Dad: It's fine!

I got off the phone with him and ranted to everyone for 10 minutes about what an incompetent douche bag he is. Everyone agreed, naturally. After that, I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy the rest of vacation, but in the back of my head, I was constantly wondering what the hell I would be going home to. This was especially true a couple of days later, when April called him to ask about HER cat and HER house (because he agreed to catsit for her as well) and he informed her, completely ignoring her questions about her own home/pet, that my house was "a disaster" and that my dog had gotten out again and broken something. I was not exactly looking forward to going home after that:

The first thing I noticed when I walked in my door was actually the LACK of mess. My dad is a known slob and he doesn't usually have the courtesy, even in someone else's home, to not throw his clothes and garbage everywhere, so the fact that things looked relatively uncluttered surprised me. He must have realized how pissed I was about the mattress. Ah, the mattress. I needed to assess the damage and decide if I was sleeping on the couch tonight and how much I could afford to spend on a new one.

Again, I was shocked. "Pissed all over your mattress" is pretty definitive, I would say, to indicate that something has been ruined beyond repair, but surprisingly my mattress looked (and smelled!) fine. There was a small yellowish stain that smelled a little like the rubbing alcohol he used to clean it, but it looked like the mattress pad kept the pee from soaking through to the actual mattress surface. So far, so good.

The relief I felt knowing I wouldn't have to throw my mattress away disintegrated immediately when I walked into my kitchen and realized that, just 3 weeks after moving in, I could say for sure that I wouldn't be getting my security deposit back when I move out:

Me: Dad, what are those dark spots on the floor?

Dad: Oh, that's where Joey peed.

Me: I thought you said he didn't pee in the house. And why does it look like it seeped completely under the (very expensive looking) tiles? How long did you leave it there before you cleaned it up?

Dad: Oh, that was my fault. He peed on the floor twice, but those were the days I didn't get back here for like 20 hours or something like that.


Dad: Well I ran late at work.

Me: 20 consecutive hours late? Why didn't you tell me if you thought you couldn't do it every day?

Dad: I'm not saying I couldn't do it- I didn't mind- I just couldn't get here for a while!

Me: I could have sent someone else to at least take him out that day! That pee is under the tile and I'll never get it out. I'm going to lose my security!

Dad: Oh, come on. Your landlord isn't going to notice that!

Me: I noticed it the SECOND I walked in here!

Dad: I wouldn't worry about.

Me: Of course you wouldn't.

At this point, I asked about his "disaster" comment and he told me that the dog had knocked over Caitlyn's toy shopping cart and that the removable front piece came off. He realized after telling April that my shit was broken that it was actually completely fixable. It's sort of ironic. The two things he focused on- the mattress and a broken fucking shopping cart toy- were the very least of my worries.

Most of the destruction he caused was dog-related, but not in the way you might think. It wasn't the dog destroying things so much as it was him not paying a single second's worth of attention to the detailed instructions I gave him before leaving. For example:

  • Joey had not been groomed in a while. He smelled pretty funky and his hair was too long with a few small knots that needed to be cut out. What can I say? I've been busy. Before I left, my dad insisted he was going to give Joey a bath. I told him that I appreciated that, but because Joey had some spots on him that were matted, I'd prefer he didn't. You see, I explained, when those spots get wet, then dry again, they tighten up and cause him pain, like his hair is being pulled, so I'd prefer to wait until I was able to give him a haircut before giving him a bath. "I'll give him a haircut!", my father insisted. Since I groom Joey at home, I directed him to the grooming kit I own and told him that he was more than welcome to give him a haircut if he had the time, knowing full well that he would absolutely not bother and hopefully just leave my poor dog alone. Of course, when I got home, he had given Joey a bath and no haircut. Which led to the next 5 problems on this list:
  • Since I just moved, I had emailed my landlord a few days before vacation to let him know about a couple of small issues I was having, one of which was that my bathtub was clogged up, and also to let him know that my father would be at my house while I was away (it's a condo complex, and I don't know how nosy the neighbors are yet, so I wanted to let him know just in case anyone asked him who the old, homeless-looking dude was). He couldn't send someone to fix my tub until Sunday, the day after I left for vacation, which was fine, because my dad would be there to let them in. I spoke to my dad on Sunday evening, and he confirmed that all was well and that my bathtub was unclogged. Then he promptly gave my ungroomed, hairy dog a bath in there. He didn't even bother to wipe the dog hair out of the tub, despite claiming that he cleaned everything with bleach the day I got home (he made a point of telling me this because he wanted to prove that all my complaints about the overwhelming bleach smell I hate are exaggerated and that I wouldn't have even noticed if he hadn't pointed it out). My tub is now clogged again.
  • I purchased a cute frog-shaped bath mat for my new house. It was only a few days old when I left. When I came home it was filthy and caked with soap and dog hair to the point of nearly gluing one of the frog's eyes shut.
  • One of the first things I did after being home for a little while was get in the shower (to use my freshly reclogged bathtub!) and clear the road skank off of me. While in there, I noticed that half my bottle of body wash was gone. This was a brand new bottle. I believe I bought it on the same trip to Walmart as the bath mat. Anyone who uses body wash knows that a bottle usually lasts a couple of months, so I had to ask why so much was gone. Well, isn't it obvious? He used it to wash the dog (which also explains what was caked onto my bath mat)! Why would he use so much, you might wonder? Well, he was leaning over the bathtub and he couldn't really reach, so he just poured it onto him! Which leads us to...
  • When I finally did get around to giving Joey a haircut last night, I found that, while the fur I was cutting off was certainly soft from the half gallon of body wash used to clean it, the stuff closer to his skin was matted to hell and covered in dandruff. Or maybe it was just dried up body wash. I also found a couple of scabs where he had clearly chewed his skin raw, probably because he had a reaction to the body wash, or, at best the fact that the body wash was not properly rinsed off of him. Oh, and the fur around his nails was pink, also seemingly blood-stained from him chewing them raw with itch. I also feel it's important to mention that I had not ONE but TWO full bottles of dog shampoo in my bathroom. One was in the medicine cabinet and the other was under the sink. But, I mean, who would look in literally the only two places I could store something in my bathroom for dog shampoo when there was a full bottle of body wash at his disposal! Vanilla and honey scented bloody paws are awesome!
  • Another fun note from Joey's grooming last night- his dick was caked in piss. This has literally never happened before. I mean, I've certainly seem the remnants of drippage and the ends of his fur in that area, but I can't imagine a reason that the entire area was caked in a sticky, piss film. I have to assume leftover, unrinsed body wash was to blame because there is literally no other explanation. My POOR DOG!
And lastly, just to prove how deliberately he does things for spite:
  • After the cat piss incident, he promised to wash my sheets and mattress cover. Which he did, but cat piss is a hard stench to get rid of, so my first thought was to smell the sheets, which he had left at the foot of my bed. "Don't worry", he assured me, "I put like 5 times more detergent than I was supposed to. The smell is gone". He was mostly right. The piss smell was gone. I can't say the same for the chemically Gain smell that I'm pretty sure I'll never get out (I really don't like chemically smells. I get unscented things whenever I can). And that is when I thought about it. I don't own scented detergent. Which wouldn't be that big a deal except for all the warnings and signs posted in the laundry room about the fact that the washers are high efficiency washers and using detergent that isn't labelled as such, along with using too much of any detergent, can break them. There are literally at least half a dozen signs specifying what kinds of detergent are safe to use, and noting that you shouldn't use more than 1/4 cup of even those high-efficiency detergents. So. Instead of using a reasonable amount of the HE detergent that I had, and maybe running it through the washer twice, he went out of his way to buy a scented detergent that wasn't safe for the machines in my laundry room and use it at 5 times the normal amount needed for a regular washing machine. He saw and ignored the signs, despite the fact that he must have realized that I would be responsible if he broke one of these expensive machines. Of course I asked him why he wouldn't just use the detergent I had, and again, he didn't see it (just like the dog shampoo). He saw the signs, he said, he just didn't bother to read them. Why would he? It's not like he's responsible for anything.

So. If you are thinking I should be more grateful, no matter how much of a bumbling idiot he is, that he was trying to help, maybe you need to read through this again. In fact, check here and here and here and here and here again too. I think I've learning my lesson this time. Nadine, you are officially on notice for dog sitting next time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tales From Vacation- Snack Attack (Which is Admittedly Weird, Especially Since There Was an Alligator)

Yesterday afternoon I got home after a week in Florida with my family. We had a great time and it was mostly drama-free, with a few noted exceptions. The first was car trouble. My youngest sister blew two tires on the highway on the way down, then inexplicably had a dead battery (not left-the-lights-on dead. Dead-dead. Needed a new battery dead) a couple of days later. She ended up shelling out nearly $400 in car repairs. Then Rodolfo's water pump died on his car when we were on our way back, an hour from home. That was also $400. So much for saving money by driving. The second mini-drama was related to my apparently calling my 2 year old niece morbidly obese or something and/or telling a grown man to stop calling a 13 year old boy a douche bag. Those blew over pretty quickly though.

The other little drama was snack-related. I'm sorry, did that last sentence sound as ridiculous to you as it did in my head? SNACK-RELATED DRAMA, you guys. Seriously. Let me take it from the beginning:

As I said, we were driving down. Myself, Caitlyn and Rodolfo in his car (yes, we are still separated, in case you were wondering), my mom, step-dad and oldest nephew in her car, our middle sister, her husband and their son in his car and my youngest sister, her boyfriend and their daughter in his car. 4 cars and 3 toddlers. So I decided to make little snack packs for all the kids. I bought ziploc bags and separated portions of goldfish, crackers, and veggie chips for each kid, then threw in a few packs of gummy snacks and juice boxes for everyone. I even made up a ziploc bag for each of them filled with some crayons and folded up paper so they would all have one more thing to keep them occupied for the long trip.

I'd thought of everything. The drinks were boxed, so no one needed to try to pour juice into a sippy cup in a moving car. The snacks were the least messy I could think of. I even provided activities! I was feeling very smug about the whole thing when I texted my mom and sisters to let them know that I'd provided snacks for all the kids, so they needn't worry about it. Obviously they were all grateful. Who wouldn't be?

The ensuing drama had nothing to do with the car snacks, honestly. Everyone loved my awesome car snacks. I only brought it up so you all know how incredibly efficient I am. Okay. Not really (maybe a little though). My point is that I had provided snacks, and I made everyone aware of that fact beforehand (a full 24 hours in advance, even, which is like an eternity in my procrastinatey family). That being said, when you have a toddler, you tend to plan for every scenario. I fully expected that my sisters would also bring snacks along, because what if my nephew decided he hated everything I brought? What if my niece... I don't know, fed all her snacks to an alligator or something (we actually had an alligator in our backyard and an old man standing at the edge of the swamp/lake just begging to be eaten)?

Anyway. We arrived Monday night and went grocery shopping for the week. It was just us girls at the store, and we decided to give Sammi a break, since she had all the car trouble, and split the bill between myself, my mom and my other sister, April (yeah. I'm just gonna use her name now. NO1CURR). So we went about finding what we thought we would need for the week.

Everyone had certain special things they wanted. I picked up some Kashi cereal bars I like, frozen smoothie mix for Rodolfo, and pickles for my burgers. Sammi wanted Fruit Loops and Ramen noodles. My mom... I don't even know, but I'm sure she picked up one certain thing that wouldn't have necessarily been on anyone else's list. Then there was April. Here is the list of things April needed specifically for herself and her family (I should emphasize that she did share if anyone wanted anything. It's not that she was being selfish in that way. She was just being selfish in the way that she made the rest of us split the cost of her excess):

Double-Stuff Oreos
Family Sized bag of M&Ms
Cinnamon Chex ("I need variety, Jaclyn", she responded pissily when I asked if we really needed 3 different kinds of cereal- "besides, I don't eat Fruit Loops")
Apples and Grapes
2 boxes of frozen mini-pancakes (because despite the fact that we bought pancake mix, she insisted that her son would only eat the frozen mini ones)
Lysol Wipes (she insisted these were "for the house", even though everyone else thought paper towels were perfectly fine)

My mom and Sammi and I were annoyed, especially since Sammi, despite already being out $280 in car repairs at this point, had to practically be bound and gagged before she would let us pay for her fucking Fruit Loops and Ramen noodles. But it was April's vacation too. We all sort of rolled our eyes and moved on.

This is the point where you understand why I mentioned the car snacks I brought. Because when we got back and unpacked our groceries, everyone also started unpacking their personal stuff too. This is when we saw the stash of snacks that April had brought from home (please note that I don't mean she brought a few of anything. These were all regular sizes boxes of shit):

EL Fudge cookies
Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies
Teddy Grahams- vanilla
Teddy Grahams- chocolate
Wheat Thins
Assorted bag of Starbursts and Skittles (you know, those giant bags you buy to distribute for Halloween)

A full day passed before April became displeased with the "variety" of snacks available to her. I woke up Wednesday morning to see her returning from Target, where she bought:

Target bakery sugar cookies
Target bakery chocolate chip cookies
2 boxes of chocolate chip granola bars
2 family sized boxes of Pop-Tarts
Milano cookies
A giant bag of popcorn
A box of microwave popcorn
5 candy bars (these, she informed everyone, were just for her though- no sharing!)
a cheesecake
3 bags of assorted varieties of potato chips (family sized, of course)

If we had planned to stay for a month, this would still be an absolutely ridiculous amount of snacks. And we did actually buy food too! And soda. Seemingly gallons of it disappeared while we were there. I won't say I didn't eat any snacks or drink any soda. I certainly did, but if I'd had my way, I wouldn't have had all this shit sitting there for me to eat in the first place!

I guess my point is that I hope my sister doesn't get diabetes? Also, my mom reads this blog, so she can confirm that this is absolutely not an exaggeration. I actually wrote down the list of snacks because it was so ridiculous to me that I knew it would be a blog post on the very first night.

Anyway. There's lots of other stuff. I promise some pictures of me swimming with a dolphin and also another post about all the ways in which my dad fails at life (he watched my dog while I was away. Stop thinking "well, that was nice of him"- you haven't heard the story yet).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shit My Dad Says- About Moving

I moved to a new apartment yesterday. I could write this post in the way you might expect. I could say I'm tired and that moving is bullshit and that I'm lucky to have friends and family that I can count on. But really, anyone who has ever moved anytime ever already knows that it's the worst thing ever (especially when you inflict it on people you love). In fact, I think that whole Guantanimo prison torture thing would have been a lot worse if they had made the prisoners help random, disorganized strangers move out of their second floor apartments as opposed to waterboarding them.

Anyway. I'm going to give you something a lot more entertaining than me just bitching about my sore muscles and vagina that decided to start bleeding at 1:30 in the morning the night before the move, when all my period-catching products were boxed the fuck up and my husband had already moved out and there was absolutely no way I was waking up my 2 year old to make a run to Walmart. I'm going to give you a new story about my dad:

When we last left my dad, he was an asshole, a deadbeat, and a hypochondriac, but I wonder if I've mentioned that he is also utterly insane and without a single drop of common sense. The thing is, I know plenty of people who lack common sense: they say dumb shit without really thinking it through and then feel embarrassed when you point out their huge faults in logic. Honestly, everyone has those moments. Sometimes you will think of something that sounds like the most amazing idea ever in your own head, and then instantly feel like a short-busser the moment someone calls you out on your dumbassery.

The problem with my dad is that logic doesn't exist in his world. All his ideas are the very best ideas and when you point out all the reasons you aren't going to do whatever ridiculous thing he's trying to convince you to do, he desperately clings to the ways you could make it work, patching up the holes with half-assed "solutions" that are just as illogical as the original idea.

I moved yesterday, a Wednesday. On Monday, my dad came over because he wanted to "help pack". This is the point where you wonder if I'm a complete dumbass who left myself only 2 nights after work to pack up my entire life. I absolutely had packing left to do, and was packing up right until very late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (I was getting ready to go to sleep when Shark Week hit, actually), but by the time he showed up on Monday, around 85% of my stuff was already boxed up and stacked in my living room.

You know in cartoons when someone gets a good idea and a light bulb pops up over their head? It's always like that with my dad. I can see the nonsensical thoughts forming in his brain when he has an idea he thinks is brilliant. Except I always imagine a middle finger instead of a light bulb. Because fuck you, logic. Such was the case on Monday evening. He had been in my house for less than 10 minutes when I saw him looking around at my boxes, metaphorical finger forming over his head. Then he said it:

Dad: You know Jaclyn, if I were you, I wouldn't use these cardboard boxes to pack all your stuff.

Me: ... What do you mean? What else would I use?

Dad: Well, if I can make a suggestion... (Because he thinks the fact that he moves constantly makes him some sort of expert, despite the fact that he never moves anywhere permanently, so his worldy possessions always fit into a- his car or b- a storage unit that he won't pay the monthly rent on and will eventually lose. So basically he's always starting out with nothing to even move).

Me: Well dad, as you can see most of my stuff is already packed.

Dad: I'm just saying, if it were me, let me tell you what I would do.

Me: Oh boy.

Dad: No seriously. Think about it. You are just going to throw all these boxes away anyway. If you bought a bunch of storage trunks you could keep them and use them forever.

Me: I have at least 30 boxes here. I would need at least as many trunks. What the hell would I do with 30 storage trunks? Also, I'm not buying 30 trunks.

Dad: Okay but you can use them for other things besides storage. You could use them as furniture!

Me: ...

Dad: I'm serious!

Me: (at this point I've assumed he means I could use one as a toy chest and maybe a ghetto coffee table, because what the fuck else are you going to do with a fucking TRUNK? Well, friends, LOTS of things, as it turns out). Well... I could use one or two for a toy box but what the fuck would I do with the rest? Also? I'm NOT buying a bunch of storage trunks and even if this made any sense, I ALREADY PACKED 85% OF MY BELONGINGS!

Dad: Well think about this! You could stack a bunch of them and put cushions on them. YOU COULD MAKE A COUCH out of them!

Me: I HAVE A COUCH. Also? Constructing homemade furniture out of extra storage trunks is fucking retarded.

Dad: I think it's a good idea.

Me: Even if it was a good idea, you seem to be suggesting that I should not only throw out my current couch so I can... I don't know, hot glue a bunch of trunks together and put cushions on them, but that I should unpack everything I have already packed so that I can put it into trunks instead.

Dad: I'm just saying. That's what I would do.

Me: Of course it is.

These are the kinds of ideas he has all the time. Naturally, my mom and Nadine had a field day with this one in particular. Nadine suggested saving the boxes so he could make himself a house. My mom thought the cardboard would be great for dressers.

Seriously, you guys? I'm going to be so sad when I can't assemble a new couch out of my moving boxes. So. Sad.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catholic Guilt Only Works If You Are Catholic

Every time I'm about to post something that I think will be offensive to a lot of people, I like to preface it with a warning. It would seem, though, that those are always the posts my readers like best. Also, I suppose "a lot of people" is relative. Even if 50% of my readers were incredibly offended and started some shit in the comments, that would only be like 6 people, and that's closer to a bar brawl than the sort of viral, internet,  hate-filled shitstorm I keep imagining. Anyway. This is one such occasion. Consider yourself warned.

In my last post, I told you guys that I'm moving. Without my husband. The thing of it is, we have actually been separated for almost 3 months now, but as I also mentioned, he had refused to move out, so I went out and found a place on my own.

You would think after being separated for months, with him asking for a reconciliation more than once and me refusing each time during that period, that Rodolfo would not have been shocked when I told him I'd found a new place to live. But of course, he was shocked. It was a little over a week ago that I told him I'd be moving at the end of the month, which gave him a solid 2 and a half weeks until I left. It isn't a ton of time, I realize, but again, I'd like to reiterate how he should have not only been expecting this, but also preparing for it.

Rodolfo's immediate reaction was to tell me how much I'd screwed him over, and to heap on serving after serving of guilt about the financial and logistical ruin our break-up would cause him. He decided in less than 5 minutes that he would also need to move, because, despite making more money than I do, somehow he simply can't afford a 1 bedroom apartment. He informed our landlord the very next day that we would be leaving on August 1st.

Yesterday afternoon, Rodolfo called me to let me know that he had spoken to our landlord, who informed him that we would be losing 1 month of our 1 and a half months security deposit, because we did not give "enough" notice before our move. Now, I could absolutely go off on a tangent here about the fact that we signed a one year lease that did not have an automatic renewal clause 3 years ago and were never asked to sign a new one after it expired, which would make our current situation month-to-month. I could point out that even if we were basing it off the old lease, there is not a single word in that lease that specifies what our landlord considers "enough" notice. I could rant about the fact that he just arbitrarily decided to keep our security for reasons he made up right there on the spot. But you know, that isn't what this post is even about. I simply brought it up because I think I know the real reason he decided to keep our security, and it's definitely not about notice:

So. Last night comes and I'm making dinner. Actually, I had just finished making dinner. The dog was in his cage and our food was on our plates (our = mine and Caitlyn's. Rodolfo was at work), sitting on my kitchen counter. I had just set out to wrangle Caitlyn into her high chair so we could eat, when I heard a knock at my door. I ignored it. A minute later there was a second knock and I knew she wouldn't go away until I talked to her.

It was our downstairs neighbor. I should mention that our landlord is her son. She and her husband live in the apartment downstairs and their son owns the house. I opened the door and she asked if she could come in. I told her that I had been packing and my house was a ridiculous mess. "Don't worry", she told me. "I'm not here to look at your apartment, I want to talk to you". Ugh. Backed into a corner, I let her in. I should also point out that while I was distracted talking to her at the door, Caitlyn had let the dog out of his cage and so I spent the entirety of the ensuing conversation swatting him away from our dinner. I think it's important for you to have that as a part of this visual as a whole. This woman saw that our dinner was sitting on the kitchen counter, uneaten, and did not even offer to come back at another time. Nope. Saving a person is something you need to do right away, I guess.

Apparently, Rodolfo had mentioned to her that the reason we were moving is because I had decided to leave him. And when I say she was there trying to "save" me, let me assure you that I do not mean she came there with the intent of helping me get out of my marriage. There were no questions about my safety or finances or emotional well being. No. She had a different agenda. She was there to intervene on behalf of Jesus.

Her first words after she walked through my door, were to tell me how upset she was. "Feel my heart- it's racing", she insisted. At first, I thought she was upset because we had been friendly tenants, on good terms with them, and they always took the time to play with Caitlyn and Joey when they saw them. I thought, when she told me she was upset, that she was expressing some sort of sadness because we would be leaving.

Her next words, though, cleared that misunderstanding right up. "You know, 2 of my sons are divorced and it really hurts me. What religion are you- Catholic or Protestant?". Oh. None of the above, thank you very much, but I did make the unfortunate distinction that "well, my father is Catholic, but I'm not religious". "Well," she said, "if your father is Catholic, he's really going to suffer if you get divorced".

She then proceeded to ask me if Rodolfo and I had sought out the counsel of a priest to help deal with our marital issues, and when I made it clear that that would never happen, she suggested a non-religious counselor. I thanked her for her suggestions and even gave her a little hope so that maybe she would leave me the fuck alone "well, we aren't technically getting divorced yet. We are simply spending some time apart to see what our next step is". That was a mistake. She latched on to her mission to get me to stay with my husband, despite never having asked a single question about WHY I left (maybe he was beating me, lady. What if that were the case? Oh, that's right, Jesus still wouldn't approve of a divorce).

Once she thought there was a chance, she spent the next 5 minutes or so telling me how bad it will be for Caitlyn when Rodolfo and I split up. "Children who live with both parents are much better off- it's bad for them when the parents aren't together. Those children aren't as well-adjusted". That right there? The fact that I responded with a polite "well, my mother was a single mother, so I don't agree with that"- that might have actually proven to me the existence of a god. Because maintaining my decorum in that moment and NOT telling her to go fuck herself? That was patently miraculous.

After that she spent a few more minutes Catholic-guilting me. She explained to me how much easier it would be to fix this problem if I were religious, because "then you could just pray and God would help you". She told me that, when her son split with his wife, he wanted to go to counseling but she said no. Then, when she decided she wanted to go, he had already found another woman. Another woman who interacts with his children, even! Tragic, really. I mean, what kind of family values are those?

After each argument she made, she would stop talking for a moment and look at me expectantly, as if she was waiting for the moment when I would realize she was right and thank her for saving my soul from eternal damnation. About 10 minutes in, after repeatedly making it clear that she did not approve of my choice, no matter the reason or my own personal belief structure, she realized that, alas, she would not be able to get me into heaven, and finally left, obviously dejected.

I'm going to try to not turn these last few paragraphs into religion-specific hate. That being said, this is why I hate organized religion (Yup. Contradictory like a motherfucker). I managed to maintain my composure because she's a nice woman and I know she meant well, but in my head, I spend the entire time screaming "who the FUCK do you think you are?" at her.

Okay. And really, WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS???? She's not my fucking grandmother or my best friend or a trusted confidante. She didn't give a flying fuck about my reasons for leaving or my well-being. All she cared about was her own personal belief system, and cramming it down my throat as hard and guilt-riddled as possible.

And then it occurred to me. Is this why I'm getting screwed out of my security deposit? If my husband and I had found a house like we had originally planned, would it have been all sunshine and puppies and rainbows and prompt return of my fucking money then? I sort of think maybe it would have been.

I really wish I hadn't taken the high road during that conversation and instead shown her the exact same level of respect she showed me. You know, none. Nadine seems to think I should have told her I was a bisexual Muslim and I was leaving Rodolfo for another woman that I had been cheating on him with for the entirety of our marriage. God, that would have been so fantastic.

In a completely unrelated note, why did I spend half my train ride today thinking about "The Human Centipede", a movie which I have never seen and never ever ever want to see? I'm going to put it right out there and say I blame Jesus.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time to Go

It's been a stressful couple of weeks. As you may remember, a couple of months ago, I decided to leave my husband. Since that point, we've had at least 4 or 5 conversations on the matter, most of which revolve around the fact that he would like to make it clear to me that I do not have the right to make this decision. He's called me selfish. He's begged forgiveness. He told me that he had no intentions of leaving the apartment we shared.

I gave it some time. I made it clear that I was not going to change my mind. When he insisted that he wanted to work it out, I pointed out to him that this was happening on my terms and if he really wanted to prove to me that he has changed, that he would need to stop fighting the inevitable. Still, he resisted. What he never seemed to grasp is the fact that the more he resisted, the more convinced he became that he could simply impose his will on me, the more he pushed me to get my ass in gear and leave.

Last week, I found a new apartment. On August 1, I will move on, really, truly and finally. I will be on my own for the first time in my life. And it feels great.

I'm really looking forward to not having to compromise on absolutely everything. I get it. Marriage is about compromise. Anyone who doesn't understand that should never get married. Generally, I'm pretty easy to get along with in that way. I have no problem compromising. With Rodolfo though, every decision down to the tiniest detail, was a power struggle. I could never simply decide anything, whether it was what time I should come home from a friend's house or the color I wanted to paint a wall. Everything was measured for my response. It seemed the more trivial it was, the more he insisted that I consider his "feelings" on the subject. And I mean, really, why does a grown man need to have "feelings" about his 30 year old wife coming home from a party past 11pm?

I spent the weekend bouncing around garage sales with Nadine, making simple decor decisions about my new home without having to consider the fact that Rodolfo doesn't like... let's go with anything. Or at least anything I might like. We found some really cool stuff. And can I say, on that note, why haven't I been doing this garage sale thing forever? I got a brand new box of glasses for $1. My budget will be better for garage sales.

The next 2 weeks are going to be jam-packed. I wasn't necessarily expecting to find a new apartment until September 1, but when you find the right place, you jump on it. I'll be sorting and packing and dealing with the sad reality that I'll need to get rid of most of Caitlyn's baby stuff, because I probably won't actually get around to giving her a sibling, as much as I would like to.

If you don't hear from me for a while, just know I'm super busy being awesome. It's not you guys, it's me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


There's so much going on right now. Where to start? I should probably start with the important stuff, but fuck that. Let's start with some fun shit:

Caitlyn is a bad ass. This is a known fact. Still, sometimes she surprises me with the level of badassery she exhibits. Saturday was one such day.

Rodolfo and I, in the spirit of keeping Caitlyn's life as normal as possible, have been continuing to do family outings with her. Saturday we took her to The Land of Make Believe. It was supposed to be 100 degrees out and LOMB has a water park and a regular park. Also, it's not at the fucking Jersey Shore, which means we wouldn't have to spend 4 hours sitting in traffic on the way there.

We started at the water park, and I've got to say, it was perfect for young kids. In general, it seemed like the entire park was created by someone with a gaggle of toddlers. The park was on the small side, in a good way. There was no dragging of a toddler half a mile to the next thing. There was no burning of toddler feet as we walked from the lockers where we left out flip-flops to the water. You know why? Because the water's edge was roughly 8 steps away from the lockers.

It was fantastic. There was a huge pool area that was, at its deepest, only 18 inches, so Caitlyn could walk around in it without ever being deeper than waist high. There was a pirate ship with slides coming out of every side, and a half dozen other slides spread around the kiddie pool. And at the bottom of those slides? Fucking PADDED landing platforms. Because, awesome, that's why. Then there was a bridge to cross to get to the side for bigger kids, that had a lazy river and what was essentially a huge jungle gym with water squirting out of it from every angle. We spent the majority of the day hopping back and forth between the two sections of the water park area, but eventually we moved on to the dry park.

The dry park had about a dozen or so rides, a little farm and a train ride around the park. The park is clearly meant for smaller kids, so the rides were carnival-type rides. They were smaller, so they could also be closer together, which made it easy to hop from ride to ride without anyone getting tired or cranky. And because a lot of people were still at the water park, we never waited more than 2 minutes to get on a ride. Caitlyn, naturally, wanted to ride all the rides.

We started at the carousel. She enjoyed that, as she always does. Then we went to a mini-version of the swinging pirate ship ride. You know the one I'm talking about? Anyway, this was a smaller version and the ship swung around in a circle instead of just going back and forth. I was not anticipating this ride to be scary or fast at all. That's the thing about rides though- they always feel much faster than they look! Caitlyn was sandwiched between us, but not even remotely held in by the bar across our lap- the one that was a solid 8 inches above her lap. A few seconds into this ride and I began to panic. This was not what I expected and Caitlyn was going to freak out. She was absolutely going to cry. Except she didn't. She smiled and laughed and LOVED it.

After that we jumped on a bunch of other rides. Spinning dinosaurs, flying hot-air balloons, and a tilt-a-whirl. There was even a canoe ride that she would need to ride alone. I was tentative. I wondered if she would try to stand up mid-ride and fall out. I explained to her, sort of hoping she would decide to skip it, that mommy and daddy could not ride with her. There would be no skipping of rides that day. Caitlyn went it alone. She did fantastically well and my fear of an emergency stop while she tumbled out did not even come close to happening.

Then we saw the roller coaster. Surely she was too small for it. Roller coasters ALWAYS feel faster than they look. Still, she ran into the line and we waited our turn. With every other ride, there was a minimum height for kids to ride alone, but this was the first we came across where there was an actual minimum for kids to ride at all. It was 33 inches. I quietly hoped that she was too small. A roller coaster? Really kid? This was going to end in tears, I was sure of it.

Apparently Caitlyn has had a growth spurt since her 2 year check-up. She cleared that 33 inch mark by at least an inch or two. I sat on the inside seat, since that was the side that curved in when the roller coaster went around the first sharp turn, and prepared to spend half the ride convincing my toddler that I wouldn't let her fall out. I was fully prepared for sobbing and terror. Really. Especially around that first turn. The ride started.

Caitlyn did not respond to that first turn with the fear I'd anticipated. She responded with squeals of joy. She loved it. In fact, she loved it so much that when she filed out in front of me after the ride was over, she tried to get back in to the car directly behind ours. There was a man waiting in line with his kids, his mouth agape as she tried to get back on the ride. Apparently, he couldn't believe how much my tiny little toddler obviously enjoyed herself. I don't blame him. What two year old likes fucking roller coasters?

We rode one more ride after the roller coaster, one that was right next to it, and when we finished, Caitlyn ran back over and got right back in line for the roller coaster again. Yes. She made us ride it twice.

In summation, jeez my kid is a fucking bad ass.

Also? A bad ass who has peed on the potty 3 times this week. It makes sense, I guess. Who wears a diaper on a roller coaster anyway?

This is getting a bit long, so I'll save the marital drama for another day. You're welcome.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gymmy Buffet

I've been trying to lose weight. I believe I've mentioned it before. I've gone back and forth with it, losing and regaining the same 10lbs or so for years, but when I realized that I was just weeks away from my 30th birthday, it occurred to me that I couldn't keep fucking around like that.

I gave myself an extremely short-term goal- I wanted to lose 8 pounds in the 3 weeks I had until I turned 30, so I've been going to the gym a lot. Mostly it's been fine, but I almost stabbed some bitches the other day. Let me set the scene for you:

I showed up on my lunch break, like usual. This means I only had 20 or so minutes to work out. Twenty minutes, when you are working with what I've got, really isn't much time to make an impact. It's certainly not enough time to deal with the level of bullshit I dealt with that day.

I was feeling pretty tired, because I had my shot the night before and it's been wiping me out. Still, I felt the need to do at least a little cardio, so I jumped on a treadmill and figured I could spend 10 minutes there and 10 minutes using a few of the weight machines.

While I walked on the treadmill, I noticed a couple of things. First, there was a small group of girls wandering around with one of the trainers. They giggled and chatted and had him take pictures of them while the stood on the windowsill near the treadmills in yoga poses. It was strange, but they were young and bimbo-y enough that I didn't think much of it. I also noticed that all the girls were wearing nametags, but I didn't care enough to actually look and see where they were from. I assumed it was some sort of women's college or something doing a pathetic excuse for a field trip.

The next thing I noticed was much weirder. The layout of my gym... it isn't exactly cramped, but it's certainly not a large space either. Half the space is the mirrored, lady-gym exercise class area and the other half is evenly split between cardio equipment and weight machines.

There was a class going on and I glanced toward the back of the class while I walked. Sometimes I do this. Sometimes I want to see how the other people like me, the ones who hide in the back of the class, are doing. Back when I was young, I was somehow more insecure but simultaneously more game to try out a class. Now? Not so much. I've tried two classes. One was a toning class that I really enjoyed but never went back to because I don't usually have anyone to watch Caitlyn during that time. The other one was a cardio class. I made it less than 10 minutes into that one and gave up (though this was about a week before I went into the hospital in January, so maybe it wasn't just that I couldn't handle it).

And everyone keeps saying to try Zumba. How Zumba is SO. MUCH. FUN. Lady Gym likes to play infomercials for Zumba during the Zumba classes. When I first signed up, I really wanted to check it out. My white girl, rhythm-deficient insecurities, however, would not allow me do it alone. So I recruited Nadine to go to Zumba class with me. Well, true to form, I was running late and showed up 10 minutes into the class. Nadine spotted me from across the room and immediately stopped Zumba-ing and walked over to me. "I'm done, Jaclyn. I look like the Pillsbury Doughboy doing Zumba". And that was all I needed to hear. No one wanted to see TWO Pillsbury Doughboys embarrassing themselves like that. Zumba was now dead to me.

I'm off track here. Way off track. My point certainly isn't about the Pillsbury Doughboy, though, now that I think of it, this segue is kind of genius (thank you, Nadine). Because at the back of the class area, where there was a class going on at that very moment, were two tables full of catering trays.

Yes. You read that right. At my gym. Where I go to lose weight. Was a fucking BUFFET LINE.

I'm insecure. I have very little willpower. Did there really need to be a buffet at the gym? It was worse, probably, for the girls like me at the back of the class, struggling to keep up while the smell of food wafted up their noses. I don't know. Maybe I was just overreacting because I've been sticking to a fairly strict diet and feeling a little sensitive? Actually, no. No fucking buffet at the gym. That should be a fucking rule. If they want to put up signs about the fact that they will ABSOLUTELY NOT make an exception for you if you forget your card, then I think they should have a no fucking buffet rule.

Anyway. My ten treadmill minutes were up. The treadmills face the window, so I didn't notice the chaos that had filtered in behind me. I stepped off and turned to face 40 nametag clad women just milling around, using the weight machines, the elliptical, the spot on the floor directly in front of the locker room, as their hang out space.

I found a machine that wasn't being used as a chair and sat down. As I worked out, I started feeling really fucking annoyed. Who were these bitches? Didn't anyone teach them any manners? Also, did they know what a bunch of assholes they all looked like, clad in yoga pants and tank tops, lazing around like they were at their high school gym, sitting in the bleachers hoping not to get a 0 for the day because, hey, at least they changed? I was not there because I had to be, and they were fucking up my shit.

Hostility breeds curiosity sometimes for me. The question of "who are these bitches" was getting to me. I imagined then that this MUST be some sort of bullshit college trip, because grown women don't act like they are still in high school.

That's when I noticed it. The nametags. They all had the name of my gym on them. And the name of the person. And their titles. "Manager", "Trainer", etc. These were EMPLOYEES of the gym, sent from other locations, apparently to have some sort of meeting and a fucking buffet lunch.

Dear Lady Gym,
    You are one gentle misstep away from dead-to-me status. Do not pull some shit like that again.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I DID reach my goal. I'm down 10 pounds in 4 weeks. I mostly attribute it to there not being buffets most days at the gym.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Adventures in Shitting


I live in Northern New Jersey. It is not even remotely an exaggeration to say that I live within 10 miles of at least 4 different malls (and if we were to add another 10 miles, I could probably double the number of malls). I'm not a big fan of malls, generally, but sometimes I have to drag myself to one of them.

Any time I have to make a trip to the mall, I weigh the pros and cons and decide which one will get me in and out the fastest. When you spent 4 years of your life working in a mall, let me assure you that you don't spend a single second longer than absolutely necessary inside one of those motherfuckers. Let me break down the choices:

1. The Closest Mall: Also the rich people mall with the good movie theater that I will only go to on Sundays (when the rest of the mall is closed) because otherwise it takes half an hour to find parking. I generally avoid this mall like the plague, because I can't stand the traffic and the rich-bitch stores.

2. The Second Closest Mall: AKA the mall in the same town as the first mall, like 3 miles down the highway. A nicer mall, with less traffic, easier parking and significantly less hoodrats bussed in from the nearby ghettos. A fat girl store, which is convenient and Old Navy and Children's Place, so I can get inexpensive clothes for Caitlyn, that I will be less annoyed about when she stains them after wearing something for less than 5 minutes. Also, a little carousel that never has a line. This is my mall of preference.

3. The Third Mall in the Same Town: I'm not even kidding: This is an outlet mall with a Target attached. I only ever go here if I need something from Target, but I make an effort to steer clear of it because I don't need fucking discounted, outlet store Nikes, so it's basically a waste of my time.

4. The Mall Where I Used to Work: It's the ghetto mall of the 4, but I know the good spots to park and where all the stores are, so I never have to look for anything. There is also a Dairy (Diarrhea? What?) Queen and the place where I get my hair cut. Pretty much I go here to get my hair cut and never ever set foot in the store where I used to work, lest I have to waste 20 minutes talking to my ex-coworkers and pretending like I care about their lives.

So. I needed to go to the mall last week (At first I wrote "weekend" and then I realized that no, you literally could not pay me to go there on a Saturday). We ended up at mall #1. The snooty douche, traffic clusterfuck mall. I can't remember exactly why I chose that mall on that day, but it was, in fact, a weekday, so it was slightly less enraging than usual.

We did our shopping. I found a really cute dress to wear out for my birthday celebration this weekend. After that, we stopped by the food court and grabbed some dinner. Then I realized that Caitlyn needed a diaper change.

If there is one thing I will absolutely give this mall all the props for, it is that is has the nicest family bathroom I've ever seen. Actually, let me clarify. It's not just a bathroom. It's a family "lounge". There are curtained off areas for breastfeeding, a tv playing cartoons and toys and sinks and counter space galore. It's truly fancy. Adjacent to the family lounge is the actual family bathroom. And even that is cool. There's a regular sized toilet and a toddler sized one. They've truly thought of everything.

Anyway, Caitlyn needed a new diaper. And mommy had to take a shit. Off to the family bathroom we went! The changing tables are in the lounge area, so I decided to go to the actual bathroom first and take care of my needs first, for once. I locked the door behind me and sat down.

After a moment of trying to prematurely flush my toilet, Caitlyn noticed the little kid toilet. She's a pro at taking off her diaper anyway, so obviously she wasn't going to wait for me to be done to try this thing out. So she took off her shorts. And her diaper.

I'm wondering at this point, if I've mentioned Caitlyn's tendency to want to be completely naked while she lounges (please note that I did not say "uses") on her potty? The fact that we were in a public restroom did nothing to stop her determination to get naked for potty time. Once that diaper was off, she pulled off her shirt, then sat down on the floor next to me to pull of her shoes and socks. I mean, who PEES ON THE POTTY while wearing shoes and socks? Me, actually. I pointed this out to her while she stripped down, trying to reason with my 2 year old, who was now sitting bare-assed on the floor of a public fucking restroom. Did I mention that I was taking a shit? Yeah. There was nothing more I could do.

Just then, the door of the bathroom burst open. There I was, sitting on the toilet taking a shit, my naked kid sitting on the floor next to me, presumably contracting Public Restroom Floor Syphilis, in the fancy mall with the snooty people and the broken fucking locks. It was a middle-aged man and his probably 8ish-year-old son. Of course. Neither of them felt the need to close the door after realizing I was in there, in case you were wondering. Nothing makes a trip to the mall complete quite like having to lean over mid-dump to reclose the door of a room that smells like your ass in front of a couple of strangers who have absolutely no courtesy whatsoever.

Anyway. Caitlyn decided after that to spend 5 or so seconds sitting on the kid toilet, very blatantly NOT actually going to the bathroom, before she milled around naked while I finished my shit, and one other person (who DID close the door behind her, at least) walked in on us.

At that point, I wanted nothing more than to get some clothes on my kid and high-tail it the hell out of there. So I grabbed her, COMPLETELY NAKED, and walked into the lounge area with the necessary counter space to get her off the damn floor, trying to explain to the other families, including the second person who walked in on us, that I was not, in fact, a total weirdo who lets her kid wander around mall bathrooms naked.

I think we need to stick to the ghetto mall, where the bathrooms are just bathrooms, and no one is hanging around directly outside the door to witness your naked toddler/taking a shit shame.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Vagina Shriveled Up and Died Yesterday. You Know, Probably.

You know that saying about things "getting better with age"? You know, like wine and cheese and Angus fucking beef? In case you are in your early 20s and you actually believe that shit, let me assure you that it is a lie.

I turned 30 yesterday. Remember when birthdays were something you looked forward to? Your special day. Let's break down birthdays, shall we?

Ages 1-4:  You had very little say in these birthdays, and you probably don't even remember them, but let me assure you that they were awesome. Your parents went overboard. There were maybe a dozen people you actually gave a shit about, and the novelty of your birthday had not yet worn off for them, so they always showed up. With awesome presents (because, really, what ISN'T awesome when you are 3? Nothing. There is nothing you wouldn't play with. Your guests could show up with 2 pens in a cardboard box and you would have thought that was the greatest gift ever and spent hours playing with your 2 pens). And there were balloons. And cake. Yeah. These birthdays were pretty fucking sweet.

Ages 5-9: At this point, you probably had a favorite something. TV show, cartoon character, whatever. And so your parents would buy paper plates and cups featuring your favorite thing and bags of shitty little plastic toys because it is easy as fuck to make a 7 year old happy. You would have a little party in your house or backyard and everyone would sing Happy Birthday. Then you would eat your body weight in cake and ice cream and drink a gallon of soda. Because you were the birthday girl and no one was going to tell you that you couldn't. And that was just the weekend celebration. A few days before or a few days after, your mom would bring cupcakes and Capri Sun to your school so EVERYONE would know it was your birthday. Cupcakes and Capri Sun are the shit.

Ages 10-13: You probably didn't get cupcakes and Capri Sun days at school anymore, but you still got a party of your choosing. Instead of cake and balloons with family and friends, you invited a few of your school friends over for a "cool" party. It was probably a slumber party. And even though you had that one friend with the overbearing mom who wouldn't let her sleep over your house even though you knew her for half her life, it was still fun. You would play games and dance and do each other's makeup. Slumber parties were awesome.

Ages 14-17: You officially thought you were "too cool/old" for birthday parties. You insisted that no one throw a party for you, even though you secretly hoped they would. And really, you knew they would never actually not throw a party for you. Even if it was just your immediate family with cake and presents, they still made a big enough deal to make you feel special. Even the "too cool" years were fun!

Age 18: You could now buy porn and cigarettes. Which is okay, I guess, but you probably waxed aloud at least once about the fact that your friends should have taken you on a road trip to Canada where you could now legally drink. Since no one was actually going to take you to Canada, you instead took your first trip to the "porn store", where they surprisingly never asked for your ID even after you and your friends spent way too much time giggling. This is also the day that you learned that fisting is actually a thing that people want to happen to them. Enough people that the porn store has a giant fist dildo that must have been in great enough demand that they actually carry such a thing. Fisting. Your 18th birthday is primarily about Canada and fisting.

Ages 19-20: You wish you were 21 already. Maybe you go to an 18-and-over club because you are not yet old enough to realize how utterly awful they are. 18-and-over clubs are like the fisting of your 19th and 20th birthdays. If you learned your lesson at 19, maybe you got your friend's boyfriend with the beard to make a run to the shady liquor store that everyone (except the cops, apparently) knew would sell to you even if you were underage for your 20th birthday. Ill-gotten booze makes your 20th birthday a triumph. A drunken, maybe-someone-will-puke-in-your-house TRIUMPH.

Age 21: YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRINK NOW. GO TO A BAR. Oh, by the way, bars are expensive. And more than likely, only about half your friends are actually old enough to go with you. The other half are too broke to go. Remember how your 20th birthday was a triumph? Try to recreate that with a house party. Except now YOU can make the liquor run. 21st birthday? SUCCESS. Maybe not what you expected, but a success none the less.

Age 22-24: Keep trying to plan that bar birthday you were hoping for when you turned 21. All your friends are old enough now, but they are all still too broke to pay $8 a pop for drinks. House party? HOUSE PARTY. Several drinks in, every year, without fail, you will realize you do not have any more fun birthdays on the horizon. You are slowly coasting towards 30, aka, the end of your youth. You will cry about this at least one of these years. The other 2 will be awesome.

Age 25: You realize you are now closer to 30 than 20. Fuck. Your friends could probably afford to go out drinking now, but you don't even want to. You remember the 18-and-over club from your 19th birthday and how shitty it was and how much younger everyone was then. You definitely will not be going to a club. Maybe a bar? I don't know... doesn't it seem like clubs are something young people do and bars are something old people do? I guess you are old now. You will probably end up at Applebees with your best friend, drinking watered down sugary drinks and eating half-priced appetizers. This is the absolute LAST year that this is acceptable.

Ages 26-29: You no longer want to celebrate your birthday at all. You still want presents though. You realize that your mom is the only person who has even thought to give you a present in the last 8 years or so, because everyone else was just pooling their money for alcohol. Now you would like some presents, thank you very much. But maybe give them to me some other day? For some other occasion? You know what? Just forget the presents. No need to mark how close I'm getting to 30.

Age 30: Plan something fun/awesome. You have money to do things now and everyone you know insists on commemorating the slaughter of your youth. Eagerly anticipate fun/awesome, right up until a week or so before your birthday. The thoughts of fun/awesome are then clouded over by the thoughts of what am I doing with my life/IS THAT A FUCKING WRINKLE???? Cry daily. Make major life changes/have third-life crisis (yes. Third. I refuse to call it a mid-life crisis. Fuck that. Mid NOTHING).

I can't say my actual birthday was terribly shitty. I mean, I had to work. Because that's another thing about those 18-25 birthdays (especially summer birthdays like mine): You and your friends will ditch work to do fun shit. But I'm fucking 30 now, and so are most of my friends. Bitch got bills to pay and a kid to diaper. No one was ditching work to dick around all afternoon. But after work, Rodolfo took me to dinner and got me a cake (yeah... it IS kinda weird to have a birthday dinner with my estranged husband. I know.). He also got me a really nice present (because only being nice to your wife after she decides to leave you is not weird at all, apparently). And I guess I only cried a little bit. Next weekend, Nadine is taking me out drinking. To a bar. Like proper adults/old people. Because sometimes you have to push your birthday weekend back a bit because of conflicting plans. That is just what grown-ups do.

Anyway. So here I am. 30. Ick. But I survived it.