Thursday, December 30, 2010

My biggest pet peeve

I’ve got a million pet peeves, just like most people. Every day is full of little irritations.

I can’t stand it when someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste or doesn’t flush the toilet. I loathe backseat drivers, slow drivers, and pedestrians. (Yes, pedestrians.) I hate poor grammar and people that read something aloud, even though I’ve already read it or am in the process of reading it. I don’t like it when people tap things, click things, or make any sort of continuous pointless noise. But my biggest pet peeve, the one thing that puts me so on edge my head starts to hurt and I begin to lose touch with reality – is whining.

Before I go any further let me clear a few things up. Yes, I am aware that I have whined before and will do so again. Yes, I am aware that makes me a hypocrite. Show me a person that isn’t, in some way, a hypocrite and I’ll show you my breasts. Both of them. (The few of you that may or may not have already seen them, or only one of them, keep quiet.)

Also – there is a difference between whining and crying, whining and venting, and whining and confiding. I think I’m relatively good at making those distinctions.

My sister is a crier. I am, predominately, a venter. And my child is a whiner.

I realize that all children whine from time to time, but I can confidently report that the kid does it in excess. It she had cheese to go with her whine, she could end world hunger. If it was an Olympic sport, she would win the gold, break the legs of the silver and bronze winners, and take their medals too. It’s gotten so bad that she only has one tone of voice and that’s the up-and-down-up-and-down cadence of The Whiner.

“MaMA! I WAnt some snACks!”

“MaMA! I WAnt to WAtch SPONGEbob!”

She doesn’t even realize that she’s doing it, so it’s a constant thing. And it’s entirely my mother’s fault (but that’s a different story).

If I’ve had a rough day and the first thing I hear when I walk in the door is “MaMA, MiMI woN’T LET me PLay WIth MY dSSSSSS!”...I start by chewing my lower lip. Then I suggest that there must be a good reason why Mimi won’t let her play with it, and more whining automatically ensues.

“Stop whining”, I’ll say. Sometimes this is followed by a threat, sometimes a bribe, and sometimes I just point to the closet door.

But it never fails – she always counters with: “I’M noT WHinING!”

Really? You could have fooled me, Taylor Swift Jr.

So the kid lit the fire on the whining pet peeve and has been vigorously fanning it ever since. Consequently, this hasn’t boded well for other people. They may not typically be whiners, but if they do it around me, even once, there is a strong possibility that I’m going to A) make fun of them, B) kill them with my death ray laser glare/derogatory remarks, C) begin singing “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”, or D) turn around and walk off, muttering expressions of violence.

For instance – my cousin has a tendency to whine about her boyfriend. And though her boyfriend is indeed one of the most irritating and needy individuals I’ve ever met...I still can’t excuse the whining.

“He is constantly calling me and texting me and if I don’t text him back immediately, he starts freaking out. Ugh. I’m so tired of it. I can’t stand it. It’s driving me crazy. And he like, never wants to do anything with my friends and...” Blah, blah, blah, blahbity fucking blah.

To which I reply with something like: “He probably wouldn’t have to harass you by phone if you weren’t off slobbing on someone else’s knob all the time. Oh! SICK BURN! ...also true.”

Then I would most likely mime the aforementioned action by pressing my tongue into my cheek repeatedly in time with hand motions directed toward my open mouth. After which, she’d probably reference the one time I was ass raped. It’s our own brand of vicious cycle.

Anyway...whining. So it bothers me. And do you know when it’s particularly irritating? When men do it.

Yeah, I said it.

There’s the ever popular I want sex whine. “C’mon know you want to. C’monnnn!”

Listen, jackass. I told you I’m riding the cotton pony and it isn’t going to happen. Period. Times two. (But if I happen to cave just a little bit and end up giving you a blowjob, but stopping ¾ of the way through because goddamn it my jaw hurts, and you decide you want to go all high school and titty fuck me well...just know you’re going to be paying for it later.)

Real men don’t whine. They break headboards with their bare hands and shave their balls with straight razors. Or something like that.

Recently I was introduced to a new form of whining. We’ll call it the “I don’t actually know you, but...” whine. It’s really popular on the online dating scene.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve come across several of these guys. I’ll start talking to them, emailing them or messaging them. Everything will be copasetic; we’ll be getting to know each other...then BLAM! The whining starts.

“If you don’t want to talk to me just say so.”

“I’ve had my heart broken too many times.”

“It’s been an hour...why aren’t you responding?”

“Merry Christmas! I hope you remember that it’s about the birth of Jesus!” - Ok that one wasn’t whining, but I had to share it anyway. This getting his own post. It’s going to be a doozy.

“Fine. I see how it is. Just delete my number.”

“No...don’t. Tell me what’s wrong?!”

Honestly, I don’t understand how or why I end up talking to these guys. The first and second time it happened I just stopped responding to their messages. After the third time, I lost it.

“Not only are you a big fat whiner, but you’re also a psycho.”

And he said, “You’re a bitch”.

And I said, “I’m betting you have mother issues so I’m going to forgive you for that one. But you’re still a whiner.”

And he said, “Fuck you, cunt.”

And that’s when a vessel popped in my forehead and I said, “I usually don’t mind that word. In fact, I use it quite often. But the blatant hostility in your response makes that too far, motherfucker. Too far.”

And he said, “C.U.N.T.”

And I said, “You know what, I apologize. You’re right. I’ve been terrible to you. Can we start over?”

And he said, “Really??”

And I said, “HAHA! Pussy!”

Then I congratulated myself by blocking his number, taking a Xanax, and sketching out a design for a new t-shirt:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Always a bridesmaid (and they don't get ANY attention)

Last Wednesday night I stopped at Papa’s house on the way home. It’s something I do at least two or three times a week, just to say hey and see what’s happening. Usually it’s nothing much – just Papa sitting in his recliner watching TV, his Filipino girlfriend Tess flitting back and forth between the kitchen and the bedroom doing god knows what, my teenage cousin Dave sulking and texting on the couch, and Tess’s mom staring at a wall next to the ever present slow cooker of plain white rice. The dogs wander around in their winter sweaters, occasionally barking at each other and jumping from couch to couch.

Everything seemed to be in order. I kicked off my shoes and climbed up in the corner of the couch closest to Pop’s chair, tucking my legs under me. I’ve never been able to just sit on those couches. They’re enormous and squishy and if I sit correctly, my feet won’t touch the floor. They’re a bit like bouncy houses – you have to fight your way in and out of them.

We talked about holiday dinner plans and we talked about his health. We talked about football and we talked about the dogs. He told me he bought the kid a Barbie Jeep for Christmas, as well as one for my cousin’s little girl and bikes for the boys. And like so many Christmases before, I thought, “Honestly, who needs Santa Claus when you have a Papa?”

After twenty minutes of the usual conversation, it tapered off. I stared at the TV, not really watching, just relaxing. Tess sat at the dining room table behind us doing paperwork and the dogs finally settled down. That’s when he decided to spring it on me.

“Oh”, he said lazily turning his head toward me. “Tess and me are gettin’ married.”

The pause was only about two or three seconds, while my mouth hung slightly open and I glanced from one to the other. She looked back at me from the table; glasses slipping down her nose and pen poised over paper, clearly waiting for my reaction. He was less concerned, as always. Papa has always done exactly as he wished and people can either fall in line, or move out the way. He was already looking back at the TV, big spotted hands resting on his belly and large, bare feet lifted comically in the air.

“Wow! Congratulations!” I wasn’t happy or unhappy, just surprised. I didn’t think they’d ever get married, though she’s been around for about eight years now. A lot of drama surrounded their early relationship (drama that would take a very long to time to explain properly) and at times most of us wondered just what she was doing there. Was she employee, girlfriend, companion, or...something else? It seems we finally got a definitive answer.

“Thank you”, Papa said.

I glanced back at Tess and asked, “Are you excited?”

“Not really”, she replied in her choppy accent. “We together living already. No change.”

“Papa”, she called, “you excited?”

“Yeah, darlin’”, he said while winking at me, “I’m thrilled.”

She snickered and went back to her paperwork. He mentioned that it was going to be held there at his house in mid March and I sighed. I’d been planning a trip that I was very excited about...set for mid March. But missing Papa’s wedding would, in his eyes, be akin to spitting at them. Plans would have to be shifted.


Christmas morning started slowly with coffee cups, robes, and the distribution of presents. Then, as usual, it picked up speed – paper flew, unproductive skating around in socks and underwear ensued, and my godmother’s family came over to quickly exchange presents before we left en masse for The Grandmother’s.

Sheryl (that’s my godmom...but not my favorite one) walked in decked out in her red robe and Santa hat, coffee cup clutched in both hands, followed by her son Tony and daughter Sam.

We all met each other when Leigha and I started taking dance lessons – I was about nine and Lee was two. Sam and Lee were instant friends and quickly became inseparable, which in turn made our mothers inseparable. They became best friends and we’ve been so close to their family ever since, that the title of godmom was just given to Sheryl, to make explaining our closeness to outsiders a bit easier. (It’s also, I believe, a southern thing – calling people family when they really aren’t.) Two years ago, when she split up with her husband, Sheryl and Sam moved into the house next door. Ray was her roommate for a few months before he moved in with us, then she met her boyfriend Brad and he moved in with her.

Tony, at 27, is two years older than me and we’ve the past that always make being around each other awkward. Or rather, I feel awkward because he clearly never got over me. And he feels a bit like unfinished business that I don’t particularly want to finish, yet somehow (only when he isn’t around and I temporarily forget how annoying he is) feel compelled to finish. He’s very smart, a bit nerdy, and cute...but he irritates the piss out of me. He’s one of those people that don’t listen when you speak; he just waits for his turn. And with an ego as large as mine, I need someone that’s more interested in what I have to say.

I was dashing past them, trying to get things together, when Sheryl stuck out her hand. I should have expected it, but I was as surprised by the ring on her finger as I was by Papa’s announcement a few days prior.

I hugged her and said the appropriate things, glancing over her shoulder as I did and catching sight of mom. She raised an eyebrow and I raised both of mine back, because I’ve never been able to just do the one without squinting comically. And though, due to my lack of facial dexterity, our expressions weren’t exactly alike, they certainly conveyed the same message. “Hmm...I wonder if he would have proposed so soon if Ray hadn’t just given mom a ring...”

Perhaps it was an uncharitable thought, but there’d been enough competition between Sheryl and mom in the past to warrant it. And of course we’d never say it public.

She said they hadn’t set a date yet and that was the end of that conversation. We exchanged presents, oohed and aahhed over them, and they left. And in the rush to get our things together and make it to The Grandmother’s on time for lunch, I promptly forgot all about Sheryl’s diamond.


I returned to work yesterday feeling rather grateful. There are women out there that would love to quit their jobs and be stay at home moms, but I’m not one of them. Quit my job...yes. Twenty four seven After four days of opening presents, cleaning up, putting together puzzles, playing in the snow, coloring, and going to the movies – I was officially done. And I was proud of what I’d accomplished. I managed to be a fun, minimally irritated mom that didn’t once pick up a book and say, “Get outta here kid, ya bother me”.

I worked straight through the morning, quickly catching up with my inbox. By lunch time I had to slow down to make sure I had enough to last me through Thursday. So it was a little after that, when I was dicking around on Twitter and doing a lot of nothing, that my office phone rang, showing Papa’s office number.


“Hey”, he shouted in my ear, the unmistakable echo of speakerphone making him even louder.

“Hey Pop. What’s up?”

“Tess has something to ask you!”

I could hear the murmur of several voices in the background and a few stray giggles.

“You want be my bridesmaid?”


“You want...”, she began, before being interrupted by Pop. “Do you want to be a bridesmaid in the wedding”, he shouted.

I paused, the loud static of the speakerphone echoing in my ear. “Um...sure. Thanks.”

A whole room full of people immediately burst out laughing.

“Ok”, he yelled, “talk to you later!”


I placed the phone back in the cradle and stared at the computer screen, my eyes glazing over. Then I began laughing in a very disturbing manner as my brain kicked into attack mode. It all hit me at once...

Ok. So I’m a bridesmaid again. How many is that now? Four? Five? Wait...I’m supposed to be in mom’s wedding in October, and now Papa’s in March? Wow. Sheryl is engaged...please no. I was just in a wedding three months ago. People are just picking me as a joke now. This is getting embarrassing. I’m THAT girl. And I can’t even use the excuse that I don’t care about getting married because that’s not necessarily true anymore. Did I really just think that out loud? It’s only because I’m selfish and want presents and a trip....probably. Oh.My.God. I’m going to be an old maid with a closet full of pastel dresses! This is not happening. Not only in MOM’S wedding...but my GRANDFATHER’S. I am so fucking sad right now. Couldn’t say no to Papa...unheard of. I think there’s a Xanax in my purse...

PING. My phone lit up with a text message from my friend and neighbor, Claire.

“OMG! Tess just called and asked me to be a freaking bridesmaid in their wedding!!”

“Me too”, I sent back. Wow, I thought, she’s not only asking the veterans, but also the neighbors.

PING. My phone lit up again, but not with Claire’s reply. It was from Marie, my cousin’s wife.

“Did you get asked to be a bridesmaid too?”

Sigh. Now she’s asking out-of-state relatives. “Yes.”

“lol. Did you say yes?”

“What the fuck was I supposed to say?!”

“I know, me too.”

“I just might off myself”, I said.

“You can do the remake of 27 Dresses!”

“I know. I hate you.”

“I’m just picturing 80s puff and lots of taffeta.”

“I’m praying that whatever she’s black.”

“Me tooooo”, Marie replied.

“Help”, I sent to a guy friend a little while later. “Read my Twitter feed and report back.” I’d posted all of my bridesmaid/marital woes.

“I’m not sure I get the full tweet feed on the phone app. What’s going on?”

I broke it down for him again, in layman’s terms.

“I’m gonna need you to propose now”, I said.

A minute ticked by, then PING.



It’s official. I am a loser.

My geriatric family members have no trouble finding people that want to marry them. Rather than making a mock proposal or reminding me that marriage is for dummies in order to make me feel marginally better, my friends give me “awwwws” and two page texts of laughter.

Actually, that’s fine! I don’t need a partner. Just because everyone else is pairing off doesn’t mean I should feel pressured to follow suit. And that’s where all these weird feelings and panicky bridesmaid thoughts are coming from – peer pressure. By putting me in their weddings, these people are pressuring me to want my own. They aren’t my feelings – they’re projections! Uh huh.

Whew. I’m glad I’ve got that sorted out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family tradition

Every year without fail, starting the weekend after Thanksgiving, I get really excited about Christmas. With a family as large as mine, all four weeks leading up to the big day are packed with traditions that simply cannot be skipped, and in the beginning, I wouldn’t even dream of trying. I look forward to decorating and baking, shopping and parties. But inevitably, being a person that possesses very little patience and more than my fair share of egotism, the initial excitement begins to wane.

It all starts with the decorating of the house and the tree. The night before we put everything up, mom begins pouting in earnest. “I’ll have no part of it! It’s all a bunch of mess and I’d rather leave it all out in the building”, she says in a huff. Every year she refuses to participate and while we spend our morning hauling in tubs of ornaments, she stalks from the kitchen to her bedroom and back, complaining loudly about the clutter and butting into branch placement arguments.

The only part of the tree decorating tradition that she enjoys is the music. We crank up Barry Manilow’s Christmas album and sing like a chorus line of trannys drunk on eggnog. Our favorite is Baby it’s Cold Outside, but the CD must play in its entirety at least twice before we can switch to anything else. However, this year was only Ray’s second Christmas with us and he isn’t yet used to protocol. After only four or five Barry songs, he pitched an almighty fit to watch some football or basketball game. Of course he got his way, but by the time the game was over he’d heard enough bitching to last a life time and promptly disappeared into the woods to go hunting. He has yet to learn that fighting is an important part of the process.

Another issue that’s cropped up with our tree tradition is that I’ve become a bit anal about the theme. We have a plethora of ornaments in all shapes, sizes, and colors but in recent years, we’ve kept it color coded. Blue and silver has been the theme of choice for the past three years and, try as I might, I simply cannot have a mishmash of random ornaments. I like it uniform and clean; they have to match. My sister, Leigha, is on board, but the kid is not.

Most people would argue that Christmas trees are meant to be decorated by children and I, almost completely, agree. That’s why we bought Hannah her very own miniature tree for her bedroom, to massacre to her heart’s content. We still let her help decorate the big tree, but only with preapproved, matching ornaments. And when she starts whining that I’m not putting the hooks on fast enough or when she hangs everything together in one huge clump, I can feel my eye start to twitch. As a result, the excitement I felt when unloading the boxes hours before is almost completely gone and in its place is a special brand of irritation, reserved just for the holidays. The funny thing is, once everything is up, she could set off a bomb in the middle of it and I wouldn’t care. It’s the process that matters.

We have a wrapping tradition too. It’s quite simple: I like doing it and no one else does. So everyone piles their presents in the living room and I sit in my pajamas, with a cup of sweet tea (or liquor if it’s readily available) and a movie on the TV. And I trash the place. Scraps of paper, price tags and boxes fly everywhere. And at first I enjoy it, I really do. I love wrapping presents and stacking them under the tree. But no matter what, at least ½ to ¾ of the way through, I get angry that no one will help me and I mutter to myself about how I do everything and the rest of them are lazy bums! But, on the rare occasion that they decide to join in and help, I cringe while they wrap because they do such a piss poor job.

Last year we added the Elf tradition, but like most things that haven’t been in effect forever, it’s almost fallen by the wayside. We bought this book called “Elf on a Shelf” that comes with a tiny replica of the main character. Hannah named her elf Shefford and it’s his job to report back to Santa each night, telling him whether she’s been good or bad. Every morning when she wakes up he’s in a different spot, but she isn’t allowed to touch him or he loses his magic.

Last year, saying “Shefford is going to tell Santa” went a long way in helping with the whining and tantrums. This year...zilch. She’s reached an age where she’s realized that she can pretty much get away with murder and still receive a significant amount of loot on Christmas day. Not only that, but everyone keeps forgetting to move the damn elf before she wakes up. As a result, I doubt Shefford will be making an appearance next year – he and his cheeky painted grin will retire to the North Pole where they belong.

Then of course there’s the shopping. I generally go once with my mother and once with Leigha, but the three of us cannot go together. It causes massive arguments over which toy gun is the best for which germ breeder and whether we really need more wrapping paper. Seriously, we’re those people – standing in the middle of an aisle in the toy store, Leigha and I hissing curse words at each other and attempting to maim one another across the cart with whatever is handy while mom flaps her hands and squeals “Oh! Oh!”, “That’s enough!”, and “That’s it! We’re leaving!”

My sister and mother are both indecisive when it comes to shopping. They will wander through a store for hours, picking up and putting down dozens of things, making virtually no progress at all. Then suddenly they’ll look at the clock and realize they’ve been ensconced in retail hell for far too long and they’re going to be late getting home. That’s when they return with bags full of presents that don’t make a lot of sense, but that cost much more than they intended to spend. And half of them will be for Leigha.

“You know she doesn’t shop well”, mom says to me in accusation. As if it’s my fault she decided to take the teenager that’s more concerned with picking up her latest pair of hooker heels than what is on the list.

It’s a different story with mom and me. I prod her up and down each aisle with military precision – reading names off the list and barking orders. “Get that. No, no! Put that down! What are you doing?! Let’s go, go, go!” I’m a very detail oriented shopper. If I don’t have a list and a clear idea of what I’m getting, I don’t want to go.

But it’s not all business. We laugh a lot too – making fun of the other shoppers and each other. We’ll usually break for lunch or dinner, spreading receipts out on the table and pouring over the list before diving right back into the mayhem. It truly is one of my favorite parts of the holidays – spending that time with her, knowing that, at least for this, she’d prefer to be with me over my sister.

We bake rice krispy treats and cookies, cakes and pies. We make The Dip and little hors d'oeuvres called Christmas stars. We take Hannah to see Santa Claus and provide snacks for her school and daycare celebrations. There are programs to attend, cards to write, and parties for work, friends, and family. December is mapped out from beginning to end, and it can grow tiresome. And still, it seems we add more and more traditions every year. This one is no different.

Ray, my soon to be stepfather, apparently has a family every bit as large as ours. Mom, Leigha, and Hannah have been to their gatherings before, but for one reason or another, I never have. Since they got engaged, attendance to his family’s Christmas became mandatory. “It would be tacky to meet them at the wedding when you’ve had plenty of opportunity to do it beforehand”, mom said. And so on Saturday night, we went.

Ray had been in a fishing tournament all day and would be late, so it was with much bickering and shoving that we made our way to the party without him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. These people knew my daughter, but not me. Would they think I was an asshole for never coming around? And more to the point – what terrible stories had my mother told them about me? Spreading my business, with a special twist, is a habit of hers.

Arms laden with presents and food, we walked single file through the door. They were gathered in a detached garage turned rec room. There was a full kitchen set up on one side and an old wood burning stove on the other. The center was filled with long picnic tables and a few round tables covered in Christmas table cloths and decorative centerpieces. Hanging about a foot from the ceiling, one going around the entirety of the room and a smaller one at the center, were handmade train tracks complete with antique steam engines. They looked straight out of a scene from a Christmas movie. Every inch of wall space was covered – old license plates, pictures, football paraphernalia and, oddest of all, an entire wall dedicated to unopened packets of tools.

There were people everywhere. Toddlers ran through the legs of chatting adults and sullen teenagers sulked in the corner. Younger men hunched over the cooking area (it was a fish fry) and older men sat close to the stove. The women arranged side dishes and flitted back and forth, greeting new arrivals and shoving children gently away from the hot food. It reminded me of a tamer evening at my Papa’s and I immediately felt more at ease.

After shedding our coats and settling on a bench, they started to come over one by one. The men shook my hand and smiled warmly. The women went a bit further – embracing me, kissing and patting my cheek, saying how lovely it was to finally meet me. I’ve never been much of a toucher, but their attention didn’t bother me at all.

We socialized for awhile before Ray arrived, opening the door with a crash and a blast of cold air, euphoric from winning his tournament. He was immediately set upon by everyone, especially the women, and I thought to myself that it explained a lot about his personality. His mother died when he was young and he’s very close to her twin sister, who was there front and center. He seems to be something of a family pet.

Eating next to his cousins, laughing and joking over dinner, I felt like I’d always been there. I hoped that Ray felt the same with our extended family and I made a note to ask him sometime.

There were forty people there, not including small children, and after dinner we were lectured on the rules of gift giving. The game was Chinese Christmas. Each person brought a $15 - $20 gift and put it in a stack. Then we all drew a number to dictate when we could choose a present. Rather than go the normal route and start with number one the organizer, Ray’s uncle, decided to start with number 40 and go to number 20. Then switch to number one and go to 19. And with Chinese Christmas, you always want to have the number that goes last, because you can choose any present you want. The announcement of the new rules was followed by an immediate groan from the recipient of number 40, causing everyone to laugh.

When the game began, our little group huddled up and speculated about which presents we should choose from the stack and which we would steal, given the opportunity. (You can either open a present from the stack, or steal a present someone else has already opened.) As it progressed, I learned a little more about the people around me...and the reason behind the strange wall of unopened tools.

A woman unwrapped a small power drill and waved it in the air over her head for everyone to see. A roar of laughter went up around the room. My family looked around in confusion while fingers were pointed and chatter broke out. Ray’s cousin filled us in. “See that wall over there full of unopened tools?”

We nodded. “Yes...”

“Every year, when we play this game, Uncle Joe steals until he gets a set of tools and then tacks it on the wall. It drives everyone crazy, so they all try stealing them back from him. See that display of knives over there? He does it with those too.”

Another cousin interjected. “And look”, he said pointing over my head to a high shelf, “do you remember that glass? We threw that in the trash ages ago! He must have gotten it out again!”

Everyone laughed. And when, a short while later, someone opened a gift containing pocket knives and Uncle Joe’s eyes lit up, we laughed along with them.

The game continued on – with more friendly ribbing, desserts and drinks and stories. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a family Christmas. And technically, it wasn’t even my family. But they treated us like we were from the moment we walked in the door.

Later, as we pulled on jackets and gathered our things to go, the handshaking and hugs began again.

“Come back soon, you’re family now.”

“It was so wonderful to finally meet you.”

“We’re so glad Ray has ya’ll.”

His mom’s twin, my immediate favorite, hugged me goodbye. There was just something about her face – I couldn’t look at her without smiling. “I’ve given something to Ray for you girls”, she said as we walked out the door. “Merry Christmas! Thank you!” And we were gone.

Ray handed me an envelope with my name on the front as I was climbing into my car. I drove off into the dark, leaving the others with him, and I replayed the night’s events in my head – laughing at the image of a disgruntled Uncle Joe after he’d managed to steal the knife set, then lost it to the very next person. I hadn’t expected it to go that well and I certainly hadn’t expected to have such a good time.

Still lost in thought, I pressed a knee against my steering wheel and reached for the envelope. I broke the seal and pulled out a small white card that said “Merry Christmas” in silver script across the front. As I opened it, a stack of bills fell out onto my lap. I smiled, stuffing the money and the card into my purse.

Oh yes, I thought, that aunt is definitely my favorite. And this, the whole night, is definitely a tradition I won’t grow tired of anytime soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You are NOT the father!

I’ve been dicking around for at least a week now – starting posts, then scrapping them and getting caught up in reading other people’s blogs. Or maybe I’ve been reading more of my own blog than I have anyone else’s. Is that not the height of vanity?

It really wasn’t meant to be that way. It actually started because I wanted to jog my creativity, maybe pull some new ideas from the dregs of old posts. But it ended up with me sucking down diet Pepsi and tweeting about “Extreme Masturbation” in between rereading posts from a year ago and wondering what happened to that girl. She wasn’t having sex very much, but she was funny. And she certainly didn’t have writer’s block.

I know the part of the above paragraph you’re most interested in is “Extreme Masturbation” and honestly, I have no clue where that idea came from. But suddenly I got a mental picture of the sport they call “Extreme Ironing” and I thought, “How fucking badass would it be if they made a reality show about people that masturbated under extreme circumstances? Like parachuting, bungee jumping, rock climbing, scuba diving, race car driving, or getting arrested.” Just imagine – if a dude can keep it up (and finish!) through conditions like those...then he’s bound to be worth a ride. Or a laugh.

Then, of course, I thought it was most likely a moot point. The Japanese probably came up with that idea ages ago.

Anyway, since I can’t come seem to complete a nice, streamlined post, I figured I’d just give you a few updates on the dating front:

I’m no longer seeing Sam because he is a self absorbed bore that wouldn’t stop trying to put it in my butt. Seriously. I’m done. The man is completely incapable of compromise in the bedroom. I asked him to pull my hair once and he acted as if he were completely offended. After things were done and we were just lying there I said, “What is your problem with hair pulling or slapping? Why are you so against it?”

“It’s really just not my thing”, he said. “Plus, when someone asks me to do just seems really stupid and awkward to me.”

“Well I wouldn’t have to ask you to do it if you would’ve just tried it, at least once. Besides, you certainly had no qualms about “asking” to put it in my ass. And pardon me, but that’s really not my thing and I find that stupid and awkward.”

Then he posted a series of rude, racist, and misogynistic “notes” on Facebook. And that, friends, was the cherry on top of the end of my first, ill fated, online dating relationship. But you know what? You live, you learn, and you start sleeping with someone that has your blog address and knows exactly what you like sexually...and has no problem giving it to you.

I mentioned this very briefly several posts ago (only one line, in fact), but yes, it’s true. There’s a man I know in real life that actually has this blog address. It was a bit of an accident, really.

See, he was really the match of a friend of mine that’s been doing online dating too. But after meeting, they decided to just be friends. One night she and I planned to meet for drinks and she invited him along.

We all hung out – eating dinner, drinking, and playing pool. And my friend, not thinking anything of it, mentioned my writing. At first I was a bit surprised. I’m not used to talking about my blog in public. But in the end I decided that it didn’t really make a difference whether he knew about it or not, since he wasn’t a romantic prospect.

But after a night of incessant drinking, laughing, and sharing every embarrassing sex story ever to grace this blog – I somehow ended up in his bed. And there wasn’t much sleeping involved.

Then, obviously, I was faced with a dilemma I’ve never had before. I always write about my encounters, but under a comfortable layer of anonymity. The thought of having the subject of a post analyzing every word I wrote about him was a bit daunting.

I thought, “Well, of course that means I just won’t be able to write about him.” But recently he informed me that he has in fact read my blog, and he has no problem being the topic of discussion. Something about not wanting to hinder my creativity...

My first reaction to that was, “Sweet! A free pass!” But after thinking about it a little more, and actually attempting to write an entire post about him and him alone, I was stuck. I just couldn’t get past the fact that he may not agree with my assessment. And while I’m still unable to go into the amount of detail I normally would, I can tell you this:

The sex was fantastic. All of it. And he’s rather insatiable. I don’t have much to compare it to, but I suppose I’ve been mistaken in the assumption that older men have lower libidos. He’s 43 to my 25 and I’m not sure what he’s like the next day, but after I leave his place I’m exhausted for the next 24 hours.

However, I can’t really give him complete marks because he was practically given a roadmap. He knew just about everything I liked and disliked from our hours of talking shit at the bar. As a matter of fact, I actually told him the face slapping story. And he, unexpectedly, gave it a go...even though we both dissolved into laughter immediately afterward.

We went out to dinner a few weeks ago and I watched the SEC championship game at his house. He makes me laugh when we hang out and it’s actually kind of nice not to worry about what he thinks of me...because he already knows all of the bad stuff. I can just be myself.

I’m under no illusions that he’s a one woman man and I couldn’t say how long, tryst, of ours will last, but right now I’m just enjoying it. (Except maybe that one time when he kissed me, then said in a rather terrible Darth Vader voice: “Ally, I am your father!” Umm...well, you could be.)

Tomorrow night we’re supposed to go out for drinks and, I think, play a few games of pool. Maybe it’s like drinking beer – the more you drink, the easier it goes down. Maybe the more time I spend with him, the easier he’ll be to write about.

Or, maybe I should just ask him to stop by and give his side of the story – “What it’s really like to sleep with the woman who writes about her sexual conquests, yet never gives them a chance for rebuttal.”

Perish the thought.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Letters to Santa

I don’t remember a lot about the days leading up to Christmas when I was younger, though I have a general idea of what transpired. I spent the entire month of December anticipating – not really doing anything. There was just waiting and more waiting punctuated with Frosty cartoons and a trip to see Santa at the mall. And though I’ve seen pictures, I can’t recall one solid memory of ever sitting on some fat man’s lap. Unless you count my Papa, of course.

But I remember being full of excitement on Christmas Eve – tossing in my bed for what felt like forever and finally drifting off, only to wake a few hours later with the house still muffled by darkness. I’d force myself to lie there for another hour, knowing mom wouldn’t let me drag my little sister out of bed quite yet. Sometimes I’d creep to the living room and squint through my nerdy, round framed glasses at the piles of presents – trying to decipher what they were by the gloomy silhouettes. Santa didn’t leave wrapped presents at our house; he arranged them artfully around our stockings, like a shop window display.

I’d eventually succumb to temptation, still always before the sun made an appearance, and tiptoe to my sister’s room. I’d prod her awake and make her go ahead of me into our parent’s room to soften the early wake up call. Once Lee had done her thing, mom would get up and start the coffee while I danced anxiously from foot to foot.

Dad was always the last to wander out, stretching and grinning in his old blue robe, knowing we had to wait on him to get started. It was the only day of the year that he was always home and sober, no matter what. He loved Christmas and was always so excited to give us our gifts and watch us get excited in turn. I remember wishing it could be Christmas every day – not for the presents, but to keep him that way, smiling and pleasant.

While our parents sat on the loveseat in their robes, sipping steaming coffee and looking very pleased with themselves, we would exclaim over our piles from Santa Claus. Upending our stockings, we’d eye each other’s lot suspiciously, making sure one wasn’t better that the other. Then dad would dig under the tree and hand out the family presents. Paper would fly and squealing echoed off the walls.

When there was nothing left but the presents to take to The Grandmother’s later that day and a sea of brightly colored paper up to our ears, dad would get a trash bag and gather up the debris. And while mom got in the shower and did last minute food preparations, he would put batteries in our new toys. He would sit cross legged on the floor in his pajama bottoms, robe and coffee cup discarded, and the three of us would play. We would wait until the last possible minute to get dressed and pile in the car.

Now I’m a (and I use this term loosely) grown up and, though all our traditions are essentially the same, the players have switched roles. My part is no longer that of the excited, vision impaired child. I’m now the “arranger”. I’m the groggy adult pulled from her warm bed, forced to ooh and ahh over the presents the fat man gets credit for. The person that cleans the mess rather than makes it, and pays out her ass rather than sits on it.

I envy my five year old this holiday season. All she has to do is sit on the couch, stuff her face with cookies, and irritate me with the incessant ping, ping, ping of her Nintendo DS games. She has no monetary worries, no gift giving stresses, and no desire to best anyone in the cake baking arena. She won’t be bothered with crazed shoppers and her Christmas party will be full of laughter, not the ubiquitous sound of ass kissing.

The major difference between my new role and my old one is not that I buy more than I receive (though that is so pitifully true). It isn’t that I get drunk on wine rather than lie in bed counting the hours till someone comes along breaking and entering, or that I stay up chatting about blowjobs rather than reciting The Night Before Christmas. The major difference, people, is that the mysteries of the holiday have now been revealed. The veil has lifted and as a result, some of the magic has been lost.

Ahem. (Shield your child's eyes. I know you let them read this blog.)

There is no Santa Claus. I repeat: There is NO Santa Claus! Presents are not free and they are not made by elves. There are things called credit cards and one nasty event called Black Friday that was created by Satan and Martha Stewart’s minions. Adults do not get piles of presents, they get bills.

It’s not that I’m a complete scrooge or anything like that. Truthfully, even though it usually hurts me in the end, now I love to give presents a bit more than I like receiving them. (I said a bit more.)

I like watching the kid’s little face light up when she sees her gifts. I like buying things for people that I know they’re going to love, and basking in the warm glow of feeling superior. “They like my present better than yours! Ha, in your face!” I’m absurdly pleased when someone raves about something I got them. Receiving is kick ass, but I’ll agree that giving is more...fulfilling.

It’s rather like my views on oral sex – “Oh, that’s nice...” as opposed to “I noh ou ike it, eeeahh!” How many compliments do you get upon receiving something? None. People don’t just go around saying, “Damn, you’re good at taking that gift!” Or, “Thank you so much for letting me give this to you.” No. The receiver is the one that gives the compliments and gushes with gratitude, and honestly, I’m not always good at handing out thank yous. But I definitely excel at swallowing them.

Anyway, I know people that tell their kids right off the bat that Santa doesn’t exist. My cousin and her husband did that with their three boys, and that was their prerogative. But if one of those little fuckers ruins my kid’s magic prematurely – I will light their bible thumping asses on fire. I may not like giving up the credit for the best presents to the fat guy, but I get to experience a little bit of my old excitement through her and it is kind of nice. It helps to take my mind off the grown up responsibilities – if only for a little while.

As a matter of fact, we’ve been working on her letter to Santa Claus and it’s almost ready to go out. Still being the sweet, blissfully ignorant child that she is, the kid encouraged me to write a letter to him too. “He’ll bring you something too, Mama. You’ve been good!” And you know what? I decided I would do it. Did you know there are places you can mail them to and receive an actual reply?

Dear Santa Claus,

Even though I know you aren’t real, my daughter insisted we both write to you. And since I’ve recently drained the last of my wine bottle and taken a Xanax, I suddenly feel as though anything is possible. You could be out there, hammering away in your workshop with a passel of little people, just waiting to hear from me.

I feel I’ve been rather good this year too. I’ve barely slept with anyone at all, comparatively speaking, and definitely with no one underage. I know you’re remembering the Halloween party, but let me just assure you, I would never have acted on those thoughts. Wait...are you even a mind reader? That’s not important! What is important is that I’m morphing into a sporadically responsible adult, and as an almost always irresponsible child that received presents no matter how many times I was suspended from the school bus, I feel it’s only fair that you cough up the goods now too.

So, without further ado, here, sir, are my requirements:

I would like a pony. That’s a vibrator, not an actual pony. And it must be pink.

I would like a gift certificate to the plastic surgeon. What I want it for is none of your nevermind.

Free health insurance, a new car (and while you’re at it, please pay off my old one first), a book deal, and a foreign boyfriend with a huge penis.

And just to show you that I’m not all that picky, if you’re unable to acquire a foreigner with a huge penis, I’ll settle for a mute, or extremely quiet, American with a huge penis. The rest, though, is non-negotiable. Oh, and while I’m feeling generous...why not throw in a little world peace?

In return, I’ll try to leave out some milk and cookies for you. I can’t promise anything, mind. I never know when I’ll get the munchies or a sudden craving for White Russians.

You need not send a reply just in case you aren’t real. I don’t want to be disappointed before I’m disappointed, you see.

Merry Christmas!

I think that should suffice. I wonder if one of these Santa services would actually reply to that.

Well. There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thanksgiving - Part two

The atmosphere at The Grandmother’s is vastly different from Papa’s. It’s like leaving a school assembly that only had one or two mouthy students, then walking into a circus tent chock full of clowns. Paper plates replace china, swear words multiply like Mormons, and there are running, screaming germ breeders everywhere.

The two families couldn’t be more different – a fact thrown into glaring affect as soon as I arrived at Papa’s. Stepping out of my car, I waved at a group of laughing cousins seated at a patio table. The tallest one waved back and came toward me, grinning and blowing smoke out his nose.

“Hey Al”, Tim said, wrapping me in a bear hug. He carried the crock-pot full of dip toward the house and I followed with the bastard ass Italian crème cake. I was already planning to force every single one of them to taste it, whether they wanted to or not.

“Hey whore”, shouted Tim’s wife Ellie as I passed the smoking section. “Menstrual chunk”, I deadpanned back, wrestling with my purse and the cake holder. The others laughed.

Pushing open the heavy, sectioned glass door I walked into a wall of barking dogs. There are seven – Gucci, Sonny, Dixie, Mimi, Gracie, Scooby, and Bud. For as long as I can remember Papa has been surrounded by dogs. They climb on top of him while he lounges in the recliner, sit in the front seat and get their own ice cream at the Sonic drive through, go on boat rides and trips to the city. They’re his babies. And just like any other member of our neurotic family, we’ve learned to accept them and deal with the ruckus they cause...if a little grudgingly.

And, just like every other time I’ve walked in that door, the chocolate brown cocker spaniel, Bud, charged me like a bull and nipped the backs of my calves. He’s so fat that he looks like a barrel, giving the impression that if you tipped him over he’d just roll away. Unfortunately, it’s just an impression. I’ve tried rolling him, shoving him, running from him, shouting at him...everything. I finally developed a routine that semi-works: I hang my purse low and angle it between the two of us as I walk in, screaming at him, “SHUT THE FUCK UP BUD, I FUCKING HATE YOU, YOU BASTARD!” (or something close), giving Tess (Papa’s girlfriend) time to whack him away with the newspaper. It’s the best I’ve been able to come up with. Once I’ve been in the house for a few minutes, though, he’s fine.

“Hey Pop,” I shouted at a corner table. “Hey darlin’”, he boomed back, getting up and following me to the kitchen. My Papa is a big, big man with wispy grayish brown hair, a jowly face creased with laugh lines, and simply enormous earlobes. With blue eyes full of mischief and a contagious laugh, he’s always reminded me a bit of Santa Claus without the beard. His plodding walk – feet turned slightly out, head held at a high angle and arms crossed behind his back – never fails to make my smile.

Reaching my side he rocked back and forth on his heels, arms still behind his back, and looked into the crock-pot. “Mm, The Dip! You’re early! I’m proud!” Nearly everything he says has an exclamation mark on the end and there’s no doubt about where I got my powers of vocal projection. I stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek, then left him and a few others digging around for tortilla chips.

As I was rounding a corner of the island, waving and saying hello to various aunts, uncles, and neighbors, I was slammed into from behind. “OOF! Gggrrroff!” My cousin Christine had, as usual, launched herself at my back and hung there – arms tight around my neck, sending me staggering about the kitchen, trying to shake her off. She knows I hate it and she does it, I’ve gathered, to draw attention to our physical differences. She’s a rail (though she certainly feels heavy clinging to my back) and I have not, nor will I ever be, that tiny. She’s always been the pretty, petite one; I’ve always been the smart, curvy one. I often speak to her using words I know she doesn’t understand – she’s got her bullets, I have mine.

“You love me”, she screeched in my ear. I finally managed to shrug her off and with a long suffering sigh, answered, “Yes, unfortunately I do.”

After making sure the kid was safely ripping the children’s play area to shreds with the others, I made my way back out to the patio. My cousin Dooby and his wife Marie had driven down from Virginia for the weekend and I was excited to see them. “I missed my lesbian life partner”, Marie said as we hugged. We laughed, then relayed the story behind her greeting to the rest of the group. We’d both gotten wildly trashed at the Halloween party and there was a lot of lap dancing and suggestive picture taking.

For an hour we all sat, taking it in turns to make the others laugh with one story or another. When it wasn’t my turn, I found myself observing more than listening. I’d heard most of it before anyway.

Tim leaned against the brick wall, towering over everyone even while slumped. At 22, one of the youngest in our group, he managed to beat us all in The Game of Life. Recently married to a single mom with a five year old son, he’d secured a great job and bought his first house - a long way from the child of a mother in and out of rehab and the teenager caught cashing stolen checks. He’d met Ellie and her son and quickly became a family man.
Dooby paced restlessly, playing with his cell phone, while Marie sat with her legs crossed, calmly puffing on a cigarette. They’d been together for a very long time and had finally taken the plunge into marriage just a year ago. They argue often, but not in a way that causes concern. Somehow their personalities complement each other – Marie almost always appears bored and unconcerned with everything (except when she’s drinking) and Dooby gives passionate speeches about whatever strikes his fancy.

Having nursed him through his younger brother’s death and an addiction to pills, and staying with him after more than one affair early in their relationship, I’ve come to think of Marie as a bit of a hero. In the beginning I thought her foolish, but somehow she managed to pull Dooby back from the brink of destruction and piece him back together. Every now and then he’d glance up from his phone and look at her, the adoration on his face clear as day.

Soon after Christine and I had horrified the other men with a frank discussion about sex toys, it was time to go inside for dinner.

The huge kitchen quickly clogged up with traffic while everyone attempted to fix their plates. Being a veteran of the bob and weave technique, I was soon settled at the dining room table and tucking in to a plate across from Pop. “Mm, this looks good”, he shouted. I nodded, turning my lips up in a grin, mouth stuffed full of macaroni. He always says that, no matter what kind of food is in front of him.

By the time we’d made it to dessert and I’d forced them all to have a slice of my cake, (“Mmm! That’s good”, Pop said immediately.) we were in the midst of a discussion on what college my sister was going to attend.

“Where have you applied”, my Uncle asked her. He’s one of those bible thumping sorts now, but I remember when he was a drunk, getting into fist fights with my dad on the front lawn. I often find myself missing the drunk, as I’m much better at handling them than I am the “shove the bible down your throat” religious fanatics.

“I think I’m going to go to a small college close to home for a year, to get used to things. Then I’ll transfer to Charleston”, she replied.

“Charleston has one of the highest STD ratings of any college”, mom chimed in.

Puffing up, deep frown pulling his mustache down in a highly comical way, my Uncle glared at Leigha. “You know how to fight that, don’t you?!”

Leigha looked around the table, searching for help. So I gave it to her.

“Yeah”, I said, pumping my fist in the air, “wrap it uuuuuup!”

“NO”, he shouted. “Abstinence...”

“does not make the heart grow fonder”, I finished.

While he harrumphed and sputtered, everyone else laughed. Except for Papa, who ignored the whole exchange, rolling his dessert around in his mouth like a cow and staring past our heads at a western on the big screen.

Packed full of food and moaning miserably, the sexes separated. Tess and the older women attacked the kitchen, fixing up leftover plates for people to take home and washing dishes. The older men crashed in the living room and watched sports through slowly closing eyelids, while the younger ones congregated outside on the patio. Us younger women moved to the table in the sunroom and discussed mom and Ray’s coming nuptials and the possibility of another Charleston bachelorette weekend.

Then Papa summoned me from across the house, bellowing my name and sending the dogs into a barking fit. Lounging in his recliner, he informed me that I was in charge of the name drawing for Christmas again this year. “You got it, Pop”, I said happily. Nothing like being able to ensure your name goes to the person with the biggest spending problem.

I wrote down all the names, tore them into little strips of paper, folded them and dumped them in a Solo cup. Then, armed with a notepad and pen, I danced around the house and had everyone draw. I shoved Christine and Dave away from my notepad and ignored whispered pleas for cheating. There would be no cheating for anyone but me!

As I passed through the living room for the second time, finally finished with the list and very pleased with myself for getting a good name, Papa said, “And she didn’t even hear me!”

“What”, I said, turning in confusion. “What happened?”

“I paid you a compliment and you didn’t even hear me!”

“What did you say”, I asked.

“Nope...I’m not going to repeat myself”, he said, pouting.

I turned to my sister, determined to get an answer. Papa so very rarely compliments anyone on anything other than how well they cook. And when it comes to me, his loving insults are par for the course. “What’s that ugly green blob on your foot”, he asks me at least once a week, referring to my four leaf clover tattoo. Or, “Woo-wee! Where’d you get that new dress, Jackass?! Columbia Tent and Awning?”

“What did he say”, I asked her.

She smiled. “I can’t believe you didn’t hear him! He said he was proud of you, that you’ve been doing so good lately.”

“Well. I’ve been doing well”, I corrected automatically. “Well”, she repeated, rolling her eyes.

“Aww, Pop”, I said, grinning at him.

“Better keep it up”, he replied gruffly.

Feeling happy and tired, I checked on the kid then rejoined my cousins. Slowly everyone started to drift off – hauling hyper children out to their cars, toting high stacked plates, and distributing hugs. As I said goodbye to everyone, I realized that there’d been no fights at all. No arguments, no crying...not even any drinking. I wondered how much of that had to do with the absence of my father and how much of it had to do with how “well” I, the main instigator, was doing.

After making plans for Marie and Christine to pick me up, I kissed Papa goodbye and took the kid home to settle her for the night. We were going to make a beer and cigarette run into town, then meet Dooby and Dave on the dock.

It’s tradition. No matter how cold it is, the younger group always congregates on the dock or on the porch and drinks. We tell more stories, sing old songs (like a degenerate family Von Trapp), and watch the stars through puffs of smoke.

Out of all the traditions, it’s the one I look forward to the most. Not because we drink and talk about disgusting things, but because, unlike the family dinner, it’s not a requirement. No one says we have to spend that extra time together, but we always want to.

Marie, Christine and I spent the trip into town and back listening to old school rap music and dancing. Every now and then a deer would pop out of the tree lined darkness and we’d break, squealing and cursing, before going back to our dancing.

Back at Papa’s we walked, giggling through the yard and out to the dock. Huddling in deck chairs and clutching cold beers, we rolled our eyes when Dooby pointed out a streak across the night sky and started lecturing us on atoms or something. We mimicked him and argued that it was just a mark from a plane, sending him further and further into professor mode.

“How do you know all this stuff”, I asked him with exaggerated interest. “Did you study it, read it in a book somewhere?”

“I read books”, he said. “I know all kinds of things about science. I’ve...” He droned on and on, knowing I was poking fun, but too interested in hearing himself speak to let it deter him. Marie looked at me as if to say, “See? See what I have to deal with every day?”

Two hours crept by before we finally called it a night, hugged, and headed in opposite directions – Dooby, Marie, and Dave crept back into Papa’s, Christine drove back to the city, and I trudged up the steep hill back to my dark house.

I eased through the door, relishing the sudden heat on my frozen face and fingers, and went through my night time routine quickly. “One more month”, I thought as I finally crawled between the sheets, exhausted, “one more month and we’ll do it all over again.” The cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, working, parenting, and socializing...all repeated for both sides of the family.

I knew I should be thankful that the day went pretty smoothly, getting progressivly better and ending without any of the usual family drama. But all I could think before drifting off to sleep was, “I wasted all that money on Xanax and not one person got drunk and threw a punch. I hope Christmas kicks it up a notch.”

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Monday morning started just like any other. I was honing the fine art of procrastination - swilling coffee, possibly picking my nose, and flipping through my blog reader. Being back at work after the long holiday weekend put me rather far behind and, though I was itching to put off the reading and post something of my own, I knew I’d end up deleting half without a glance if I waited too long. I get overwhelmed and distracted quite easily, you see.

My boss, having missed me terribly, wouldn’t stop coming by my office door and making random remarks. “Did you watch the football game Saturday night”, she asked.

“I got home in time to see the second half. I went to see Harry Potter.”

She raised her eyebrows in surprise. “You missed the first half of the Carolina vs. Clemson see Harry Potter?”

“Yep. STUPIFY”, I shouted, pointing my letter opener at her.

As usual she laughed a little too obnoxiously. Then, blowing a trumpet blast of a fart, turned around and ran back to her office, red faced and giggling – leaving me with the stench of my own joke. It was quite rancid.

That woman has taught me many things about becoming older and shared lots of valuable life lessons, but none more helpful than: “When you get as old as I am, you just can’t hold it in anymore. My pucker reflex is plum puckered out.” It is, apparently, the only acceptable excuse a Southern woman can use to justify public flatulence. That or “my husband did it”. And try as I might, I simply can't justify getting married in order to let one rip whenever I choose.

I had a can of Dust Free Multi-Purpose cleaner (its compressed air that you spay to clean your keyboard and the like, in case you weren’t aware) so I sent a few blasts into the air around my head to clear the fog a bit, then got back to my blog reading. But as soon as I started, my phone vibrated with a new email. It was a comment notification.

The comment said a few things, lovely things, but the part that caught my eye was “I found you via blogs of note”.

My very first thought was, “Psssh, no way.” My second thought was, “They probably meant ‘through one of the blogs of note’ since so many of my friends have won it. I’ll bet they came over from Philip, Baglady, or Mr. London Street.”

Still, I couldn’t stop myself from clicking the mouse (which, in this case, I am not using as a euphemism for masturbation) until I reached my dashboard and the Blogs of Note tab. And there it URL. I was completely bowled over. My normally dull Monday suddenly resembled a Friday. A Friday when I get off work early, have money in the bank, have a babysitter, and a date for marathon sex.

So now it’s Wednesday and here we are. I’m still insanely excited.

Welcome to all of you new folks and thank you for all the wonderful comments. I’ll be responding to them soon and checking out your blogs in return. If you haven’t yet had the chance to flick through my archives or check out more than the first one or two posts, here’s what you can expect to find (and read more of in the future):

I swear a lot and I occasionally write about sex in a graphic manner – not Harlequin throbbing-manhood- and-heaving-bosoms sort of graphic. It’s a bit more real than that. Like the time some guy insisted I call him “The Shump Daddy”  and produced more sweat than an entire football team or, when I realized that I’d have to make an appointment to spend time with my own vagina.

I write a lot about my family (the main characters being my mother, my mother’s fiancé Ray, my teenage sister Leigha, The Grandmother, and my five year old daughter Hannah). Those posts are occasionally sentimental, but more often than not, full of exasperation. I also have a very large extended family and they make plenty of appearances.

And, just over the past few months, I started writing about my foray into the world of online dating. It’s definitely been an interesting experience...sometimes disturbing, occasionally satisfying.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy what you’ve read so far and that you’ll stick around for more.

Next up on the agenda is “Thanksgiving – Part two”, and possibly a rant about a man that is obsessed with himself and taking the dirt road.