I’ve been alternately slammed with work, then so bored that I have to stop myself from wasting the entire supply cabinet’s staple stock by shooting them randomly at people as they walk past my door. Professionalism is not as entertaining, you know.
I received my lovely income tax return and wept over the most beautiful bank balance I’ve had since, well, last tax season. Then I wept again because every single dime of it went to catch up on bills. But the joke is on me, because I’m still not caught up. Mainly because there’s always something unexpected happening. Like two flat tires, an alignment, and another bridesmaid dress.
That’s right. I’m officially on my way to becoming Katherine Heigl’s character in the rom com 27 Dresses.
The only difference is there’s no leading man to watch me try on my collection of pastel colored finery or make out with me in a car. Not that I’d want to make out with anyone in my car. The inside should be featured on a poster for Ebola awareness or a support group for hoarders. Then there’s always the “who gets to sit in the kid's car seat” awkwardness. You know what I’m talking about? The one that’s not sitting in the car seat always feels like a pedophile and the one that is sitting in it can’t spread their legs comfortably. Unless you have one of those fancy ones with the arm rests that lift up. And a cup holder for your beer.
And did I mention that this bridesmaid dress I have to purchase it the exact same dress I wore in last September’s wedding? Did I? Oh, well it is. Only it’s a different color. Instead of candy pink, it’s called watermelon, and would you believe they can’t (read: won’t) dye the motherfucker?
I met the girls at the shop on a Saturday morning a few months ago. It just happened to coincide with one of my rare nights out at the bars and I showed up wearing brown yoga capri pants, a yellow tank top with a pink one over the top, flip flops, a blue knitted headband (yes, yours Erin), and white disco style sunglasses covering truly heinous leftover makeup. I was, to put it mildly, extremely hung over and extremely cranky.
I was half an hour late and one of the attendants immediately shoved a dress in my hands and sent me to a changing room. It wasn’t until I’d slipped it on that I realized it was from the exact same collection as the previous wedding. At first I was miffed, but then I thought, “Hey! I can get the dress Whitney wore. It still has pockets for my cigarettes and I don’t have to worry about tan lines again. Stupid strapless...”
(The collection I’m referring to is of the mix and match variety. All the bridesmaids wear a different style dress, just in the same color.)
I stepped out of the dressing room in a bright orange number (the try on dresses aren’t necessarily in the color you will be ordering), still wearing my blue headband and white shades. Thankfully everyone found it hilarious. I was afraid the bride would blame me for ruining her fitting by crawling out of a liquor bottle.
“I don’t like this one”, I said.
“Neither do I”, said the bride. “Here, look at the book and pick a style you like and they’ll see if it comes in the color I picked.”
Shoulder to shoulder with an attendant, I leaned over a catalog and leafed through the pages. “What about that one?” I pointed out the dress Whitney had.
“That one doesn’t come in watermelon.”
“One of the other girls already picked it.”
I glared at the attendant and the bride, sensing trouble, intervened.
“I loved you in the strapless. Let’s do that one.”
“But I didn’t really want...”
The attendant already had the dress in her hands and she thrust it into my arms. “Go put it on and let’s see, hmm?”
“I already know what it looks like”, I grumbled.
“Humor me”, the bride replied.
I sighed, went back into the changing room, pulled on the dress, and stomped back out. All the girls did that collective murmuring in the affirmative and it was settled: I would wear the blushing twin of the dress I’d worn in September. “...without the headband, please”, the attendant added.
I stomped on her toes on the way out.
In another conspiracy to bankrupt me before thirty, the kid is turning five next week.
Some of you non-parents may not be aware of this, but you can’t half-ass a five year old girl’s birthday party. You might get away with just family, cake, and ice cream for the first two or three years, but after that they expect you to buy stock in Never Never Land, shoot glittery fireworks out of your ass, and invite every snot nosed brat they ever laid eyes on.
Every commercial that comes on the television advertising a toy is followed with: “Maaaaama! Can you get me that? For my birthday, mom? Seriously, I need it.” Every window display that has anything remotely colorful: “Maaaaama! I want that for my birthday! It’s in two weeks, right? Didn’t you say it was in two weeks?”
It’s crunch time and she’s not taking any shit or accepting anymore noncommittal “mmm hmm’s” or “We’ll see’s”.
I was in the shower the other day, blissfully shampooing my hair, when the door flew open. “Mom!”
“WHAT”, I screamed in panic and covered my bizness. (It's a reflex. Flashback from being startled in the shower and maiming myself, you know.)
The shower curtain whipped open and she shoved a glossy toy ad from the newspaper toward my face. “Can you get me this for my birthday!?”
“But can you get me this?”
I jerked the shower curtain back into place. “Boundaries, kid! We’ve talked about them.”
“But can y...”
“If you don’t get out of here right this minute there will be no presents and no party! Out, out, out!”
She then burst into tears and ran from the room.
The kid is one of the best actresses I’ve seen. Watching her in action, I’m often torn between admiration, frustration, and amusement. Usually I settle on amusement...and sometimes I taunt her a little. She particularly hates it when I chant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,”...then once I’ve gotten her really mad switch to, “I see your hiney, so bright and shiny. You better hide it, before I bite it.” (I’m southern. Hide and bite rhyme, ok.) But I digress. Birthdays...
I haven’t picked up a single present or made a single plan yet. Sure, we’ve kicked around a few ideas: bouncy house, dress up party, Tinkerbell theme. But I just can’t seem to make a decision. All of them are going to cost me lots of money and cause some type of emotional and/or physical damage.
The bouncy house was my first pick because once it got dark and all the children were gone and mine was in bed, my cousin and I could get drunk, bounce around, and laugh our asses off. But after thinking about it more carefully (popping, vomiting, etc), it didn’t seem like such a great idea.
I hate character paraphernalia, so Tinkerbell wasn’t at the top of my list to begin with. That leaves...the dress up party, which would be very loud and messy. Someone, who might be dead before this is over with, even suggested we make it a slumber dress up party. Oh, dear gawd in heaven.
Do you know what would happen? Somebody’s kid would freak out and decide at 2 o’clock in the morning that it wants it's mother. It's mother who isn’t home because it’s her first free night out in 6 months and she’s too busy line dancing and snorting coke off the brim of a cowboy hat to the tune of ‘Redneck Woman’ to answer my phone calls. And then do you know what happens? It’ll ask to sleep with me since it can’t go home and I’ll be completely creeped out when it gets all cuddly and grabby. Then I’ll have to get up and make them all breakfast, but someone will be lactose intolerant and vomit all over the rug...right next to the purple eye shadow they ground into it the night before. And, at some point during all that, I’ll likely teach them a few words their parents will later say launched their cutting careers. “This way for attention, dear.”
Sigh. I’ll keep you posted on what we decide.
Either way I’ll likely need a second job. Anybody know a nice pimp?