Survival Shit

One Of Those “J” Months (Plus A Big Announcement!)

Go ahead and swallow whatever you have in your mouth before reading this (yes, especially that) or risk spewing your keyboard/phone with harmful liquids.  You’ve been warned.

I’m adding a monthly (or more often) segment to my blog.  It’s an advice column.

See?  Aren’t you glad you spit that (fill in the blank) out?  Why are you even reading my blog with that in your mouth, anyway?  You know what?  Never mind.

You may think I’ll suck at giving advice.  That’s your prerogative and you may be right.

I mean, I’ve gotten the months of June and July mixed up for the last few weeks.  I went in search of tickets for the new Amy Schumer movie, “Trainwreck”, and became extremely frustrated that I couldn’t find any local theaters that were showing it a few weeks ago.  I complained to my good friend Fantasia, who is also looking forward to the movie.  Fantasia just looked at me like women normally look at men and said “Yeah, but that doesn’t come out till JULY.  Right?”

I told E back in June that the Sloss Music Festival was a dick because they only gave people 24 hour notice of the schedule and put one day tickets on sale.  He then told a music junkie dude at work this information.  Music Junkie Dude looked at E like women normally look at men.  The festival wasn’t in June.  It’s in July.

I wanted to take Gracie to the Alabama Theatre to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail but I thought it was in July.  Guess what?  Yeah, y’all are quick.  Monty Python looked at me like women normally look at men.  The movie was in fucking JUNE and we missed it.

Damn you, months that start with the letter J!  You bitches are making me look bad.  Fine, you’re making me look even worse.  Stop parsing my words, J months.

Admittedly, I may be losing it.  I just followed a taco yesterday on Twitter.  Granted, it’s a really cool taco and is my favorite food mascot at the Birmingham Baron’s baseball games but still.  Let the words sink in:  I followed a taco yesterday on Twitter.

One final piece of evidence that I’m not completely reliable is that I’m writing this in a sweatshirt that has “SUNDAY FUNDAY” in huge lettering on the front.  It is obviously not Sunday Funday but I apparently have no fucks to give.  Maybe that’s why I’m such a good listener and adviser.  Dare I say, life coach.

I was drunk with E on vacation last month (I wish I had $1 for every single time I have used those words) and we were having a deep life discussion that always seems like a good idea to have when you’re good and drunk and sitting by the pool at a hotel in the wee morning hours.

E had been with me all week so he actually got to witness two separate instances of friends coming to me for advice via my Facebook private messages.  I’ve told E that I seem to be a safe beacon for advice to a lot of my friends but I don’t think he really believed me.  He does now.

One message was about the tragic, sudden loss of life and having a few questions for God.  The other was marital issues.  One male, one female.  And that was just over the course of a few days.

I told E that night by the hotel pool that I’d been thinking about what I want to do now that our kids are growing up.  They don’t need me as much as they used to.  My days as a stay at home Mom are coming to an end.  Before we started our family, I had been working on a teaching degree.  Now that I’m older and have discovered that I don’t even like most kids, I keep thinking about some kind of career in counseling.  That was a joke about not liking most kids.  Mostly.

Last week, I was chatting via Facebook Messenger with my good friend Lulu (not her real name, obviously).  She’s been traveling this summer and keeps me abreast of her journeys.  It’s been hilarious and eventful.  She’s back home now but has an upcoming trip that has her worried. She asked me for advice and then, not knowing of the deep life discussion I had with E, told me I should start an advice column.

God works in mysterious ways.  Or maybe Jack Daniels does.  Maybe they work together.  Who knows?  But here we are.  I’m starting an advice column to test the waters of real life counseling.  At least, as real life as a “humor” blog can get, and I use the term “humor” lightly.  Hell, I’ll also use the term “blog” lightly.  Satisfied?

So, give me your questions.  Don’t be shy.  You would not believe what has ended up in my Facebook Messenger inbox, my phone text messages, emails, phone calls, carrier pigeons, messages in a bottle, etc.  You will not faze me.  I promise.  Don’t send me questions about mad love with the neighbor’s donkey or anything like that.  Send me real questions.  If your real question really is about mad love with the neighbor’s donkey, please unfollow this blog and unfriend me on Facebook.  Because holy shit.

Topics I’ve been asked for advice on include but are not limited to:

  • Marital issues, asked by both chicks and dudes.  No, neither were hitting on me.
  • Sex tips, asked only by chicks.  No, they weren’t hitting on me.  Dudes can ask for the blog.  I’m fine with that.
  • Your husband has left you, you’re drunk at 2 a.m.  You just want someone to answer the question of why he left you, come up with a few one liners for the “other woman” for when you eventually see her fat ass at your kid’s Parent/Teacher Night, totally validate you and make you feel like a million bucks because you once again fit into the jeans you wore in high school not due to rigorous exercise and diet but due to severe depression and a diet of only clear liquor because clear liquor has “no carbs” and fuck him anyway?  Message me instead of calling or texting that bastard.
  • Book suggestions.  Mainly “romance” books that are really porn, though.
  • Straight up porn suggestions.
  • Questions about God, life, and death, sometimes all that combined.
  • Still living in your hometown and mostly pretty happy about it but you completely lose your shit one night and need to vent about the local hillbillies and ask for advice without having to move the next day?  I’m the go to on that one, apparently.  You’d be surprised how often this happens.
  • Concert advice because I know more about music than anyone you know and your Little Johnny wants to see a band named Twisted Painful Prolonged Death live at the local community college but you don’t know who the hell they are, you’ve never heard them on your Top 40 radio station and you’re worried they’ll convert Little Johnny to Satanism – or worse – to Episcopalian.  Yep, I’m the go to on that one also.  And that was a joke, Episcopalians.
  • Hair advice because I’ve dyed my hair magenta/red for the last 3-4 years so I must know how well green will look and work on yours?  No.  I don’t.
  • Advice on how to handle panic attacks?  I’m on meds for that so I seem like the logical person to ask but that’s still kind of like asking an alcoholic how to stay out of the bar.  But I’ll try.
  • Your bestie is being a total cunt but you don’t want to confront her on it yet, you just want to hash it over with a somewhat unbiased friend who isn’t a total cunt and won’t run to the other cunt to tell all?  That’s me.
  • Any question you would like answered, to the best of my ability, maybe with a little humor, then sealed in a human vault?  Because I am very trustworthy.  I have been asked all the above questions and more.  The identity of those people will never be revealed.  I’m grateful for the fact that they obviously trust me enough to come to me with their dilemmas.

If you send me advice using your real name, you can give me an alias to use here on the blog.  Pick a good one.  Pick the name you’d use if you ever fulfilled your lifelong dream of becoming a super classy stripper.  I’m not sure they exist but let’s just pretend.  One of my good friends picked Fantasia as her alias.  Now that’s a super classy stripper name!

I look forward to your questions.  I’ll probably answer them at least once a month, more often depending on how pressing your advice situation may be.  I’m nothing if not timely.  Okay, fine, I’ll try to be timely-er on this.  This is serious shit.

I hope y’all are having a great week.  I have to go change shirts now and check on what the taco is doing over on Twitter.

Yell Loudly And Wear A Size 11 Running Shoe

Almost exactly a year ago, I blogged about two vile spider attacks in one day.  Their families must be planning revenge for the first anniversary of their deaths because I caught a fairly large arachnid spy repelling from my bathroom ceiling this afternoon.

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll call the spider “It”, inspiration coming from the Stephen King book of the same name. Book spoiler:  The big, scary, monster in the book was named “It” and could manifest itself in various forms, including a huge ass demonic spider.

There I was, cleaning my vanity when I saw It doing a free fall repel right beside me.  It landed on the floor between my vanity and toilet, right near the entrance of a Wal-Mart bag of purchases I had not unpacked and put away yet.

I tried to step on It but I missed.  It was fast.  Super fast.  I looked all around the bag but didn’t see movement so I assumed It had crawled into the bag to camouflage itself amongst my sundries like the little bitch It was.

I unceremoniously dumped the contents of my newly purchased girl shit onto the floor and performed a scan of the fallout perimeter.   Nothing.  No movement.  It was hunkering down, trying to wait me out.

I surveyed the bathroom landscape carefully, every inch, while in karate stance, looking for the slightest movement.  I spoke soothingly to It while plotting its death, much like Bill Murray’s character Carl Spackler did to the gopher in Caddyshack.

To It’s credit, the beady eyed terrorist (I’m not positive about the beady eyes, I mean, I didn’t see them or anything, I’m just stereotyping here) held steady, refusing to run for fear of revealing its location.

Remembering Carl Spackler’s words, I started to think like It.  Be It.  If I was a beady eyed (again, stereotyping here) little 8 legged bastard, I’d hide under the biggest item in the room that was closest to me.

My attention turned toward the Wal-Mart bag, lying deflated and sad on the floor, much like my hopes of ever fitting into a pair of size 6 jeans.  I then pulled my admittedly rusty Die Spider Die Dance out of my arsenal, concentrating all my efforts on the unfortunate bag, yelling “Oh NO, you don’t, fucker!” while looking like I was playing the video game Dance Dance Revolution in the midst of a seizure.

Amazingly, my Die Spider Die Dance failed me once again.  This was the result.

I don't even need a bathroom.  Burn the fucker to the ground.

I don’t even need a bathroom. Burn the fucker to the ground.

Delaying my victory yell until I got visual confirmation on the kill, I slowly turned the bag over, examining it thoroughly.  No sight of It.  That sneaky motherfucker had evaded death one more time.  But not for long.

I carelessly started turning over all the sundries, tossing them one by one, yelling “Where the hell are you?” and “Come out, you little shit!”  I turned over every last thing in the bathroom that had been in the bag until I ran out of shit to go through.  I stood there in a breathless, confused frenzy and it was then that I spied the bag full of maxi pads that had been by the bag, right beside my vanity.

My killer instincts took over and I quickly turned the bag of pads over, going for a surprise attack.  It paused in fear for a split second and then made a run for it.  Again, It was so fast.  So, so fast.  I yelled “There you are, you bastard!” and stomped the size 11 Adidas running shoe I was wearing directly over It.

It should have been a clean kill but It escaped through one of my shoe treads and made a break for the air conditioning vent.  It was at that exact moment I lost all the shit I had left and yelled “Come here, you wiry little motherfucker!” hysterically.  I landed the death blow this time.  I looked like I was doing Chubby Checker’s The Twist but hey, a win’s a win.  I ground It’s flimsy carcass into my tile floor and also almost exploded the nearby bag of pads in my fit.

On the other side of the closed door, I heard Landon clear his throat, knock, and then ask with soft concern, “Umm, Mom…  Are you okay?”

As I examined the bottom of my freakishly huge running shoe, I was rewarded with visual confirmation of the kill.  Only then did I nonchalantly say, “Uh, yeah.  I’m good.”, like nothing had happened.

I’m still continually inspecting every ceiling in my home tonight.  I look like fucking Stevie Wonder but without the smile and no singing but I’ll go to bed tonight (after I inspect my bed covers a dozen times) knowing I won this battle.

Walk softly and carry a big stick, my ass.  Yell profanities and wear size 11 running shoes.

Spin Cycle

Sometimes E and I can’t believe we lived through our children’s baby and toddler years.  We see younger yet much more frazzled adults than we are everywhere and we pity those poor, sleep deprived bastards.  Without fail, we look at each other with looks of mixed sympathy, relief that we are no longer being bossed around by a 28 pound tiny human, and unadulterated panic at the thought that we could, technically, still be able to produce one of those needy, demanding 28 pound tiny humans.  I won’t lie.  I’ve thought about manually ripping out my own uterus numerous times, mostly in Wal-Mart.

I know, I know.  Your little angel is the light of your life.  You pity me and my boring, sleep filled existence.  Alone time to poop and shower?  Overrated.  You like the company anyway.  Sex with your significant other more than once a year?  Way overrated and that’s what got you into this, damn it.  Meal times where no one shits themselves or pukes (under normal circumstances)?  Where’s the excitement in that?  8 continuous hours of sleep?  That’s for pussies plus you’ll sleep when you’re dead.  We smug little shits sitting at the next table, eating a quiet meal with our teens and actually having a real conversation with them, are who you really pity.  I understand.  Been there, done that twice.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are my greatest blessings.  We had fertility issues with both of them, life threatening medical issues after birth with both of them.  I did things I know I couldn’t do today, all in the name of having my own child.  I overcame extreme panic and claustrophobia to ride, unmedicated and strapped down, in a medivac helicopter to Dallas, Texas, to give birth to Gracie.  I’ve been told by a Doctor that Gracie probably wouldn’t live through the weekend and I somehow managed to not crawl into a corner and die myself.  I’ve watched Landon get other people’s blood pumped into him dozens, if not a hundred, times.  I changed his colostomy bags and E gave him his twice a week shots until he was almost 1 year old.  During all that, there was nowhere, NOWHERE, we wanted to be more, except for maybe trade places with the parents who took their children’s health for granted.

Some of you may be struggling today.  Maybe you’re buying dry shampoo by the case because you don’t have 90 seconds to take the world’s fastest shower.  Maybe you’re in a hospital room, answering the exact same questions for the 100th time for medical students who don’t look old enough to be your kid’s babysitter.  Maybe you’re about to lose your shit if you have to yell with your toddler one more fucking time because that little clepto Swiper is sneaking up on Dora’s ass once again.  When the hell will that bitch learn?

I’m here to tell you to keep your shit together.  Keep it together, sister, for all this will pass, and when it does, being a parent is glorious.  Yes, glorious!  You will one day be able to take hot showers for as long as your hot water heater can last.  You may even be able to simultaneously have sex AND a hot shower because you will enjoy sex again.  It’s not a myth!  Your husband may even have to invoke the 72 Hour Rule.  The 72 Hour Rule was created by E about 8 years ago and is the mandatory fluid recovery period required after 4 days of being at my sexual disposal so that he could possibly live to see the next week.

But none of that tops what I have experienced this week.  Brace yourselves.  Are you sitting down?  Sit down.  You can put lanolin on your nipples later.  Hell, do it and keep reading this.  It won’t be the first time a reader has rubbed their nipples while reading one of my blog posts but the restraining order and my therapist say it’s still too soon to talk about that.

But I digress, yet again.

We’re going to Universal Orlando next week on vacation.  Gracie came to me last week, panicked over the fact that she has not been saving her money to spend in the gift shops at the parks.  She asked if there were additional chores she could take on so she could earn more money than usual.  It was then that I had the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.  I taught her how to do laundry.  Go ahead and hate, hater.  I’ll gladly take it.

I’ve been working out at night then I come home and take a shower.  A few nights ago, I almost sobbed with joy when I reached in the towel basket after an exceptionally long, hot shower (I know, now I’m just bragging) and saw clean towels not washed, dried, and folded by my own hands.  When I picked said towel up and it was STILL WARM, I did sob.  Like a marathon runner finally reaching the finish line.  True, this finish line took me 13 years to cross but it was worth every damned second of it when I was enfolded and caressed by clean, warm cotton.

Gracie and I have negotiated a rate of $3 per dried, folded load she brings upstairs from the basement.  I should be arrested for violating child labor laws, I’m so grossly underpaying her for this service, in my newly formed opinion.  But don’t tell her that.

I hope this post has encouraged you to keep your shit together today.  Don’t let that little fucker Swiper get the best of you because in 13 years you will be checking Google like I did this morning to see if he’s still even on television doing hood rat shit and paying your little angel an inordinately low amount of money to do your chores.  You’re welcome.

To ensure that I’m universally hated by unshowered Moms currently drinking cold coffee and rubbing lanolin on their nipples while reading this, I’m also paying Gracie 50 cents for each cup of coffee she reheats for me.  Between the reheated coffee and laundry, she just informed me that I owe her $37.

Best $37 I have ever spent.  Without a doubt.

If You Want To Live, Come With Me, Part One*

I hate staying alone.  Not completely alone but like when my husband travels and the responsibility of keeping our children alive rests solely on my panic prone, chicken shit shoulders.

I’m kind of known for turning ordinary household items into deadly weapons.  I may be too panicky to load a gun when my hands are shaking and I’m about to piss myself but I can pick up a can of spray paint and kick a mother fucker’s ass.

Long ago, in my 20’s, I was at home when I normally would not have been, packing for a flight to San Francisco later that day.  I was coming up the stairs from the basement and noticed our dog was barking loudly and more aggressively than usual in the backyard.  I then saw a man outside the back door, attempting to get inside my house. He didn’t see me because he was turned away from me, trying to deal with around 25 pounds of incredibly angry Cocker Spaniel.

I ran back down to the basement and grabbed the most potentially harmful item in my line of sight, a can of gold glitter spray paint.  My husband loves to point out that any number of his tools, which were also in the basement, would have made more efficient weapons.  I still disagree with this poorly thought out opinion.  My reasoning behind the spray paint was that I could spray the intruder in the eyes, blinding the asshole.  If he still managed to get away from me, I could identify him later in the police lineup because he’d be the only one who glittered more than an amusement park fairy.

Spray paint in hand, I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, up to the second floor to get our handgun.  He must have seen me fly up the stairs because by the time I had called 911, he was gone.  I maintain that he saw the gold glitter spray paint can in my hand and decided he didn’t want to tangle with that hood rat shit.

I now realize that my quick thinking and MacGyver-like self defense skills are completely due to a horrific experience I managed to live though when I was a mere preteen girl.  When I was around 12 years old, my parents decided I was old enough to stay home alone for short periods of time but this is how I recall it:  My parents abandoned me in a dangerous metropolis with a modern day population of around 6400 citizens.  My 12 year old mind had worked out that at least half of those had to be hardened criminals, just waiting for a 12 year old freckled, gangly girl to be alone.

As fate would have it, one day I was home alone and I swore I heard someone enter through the front door. Panicking, I picked up (are you sensing a theme here?) the two objects closest to me at the time.  My Mother would find them in the living room, ready to go in case of a brawl, when she returned home.  My weapons of choice were a 12 inch ruler and a safety razor.

My parents still laugh at me to this day over that particular defensive combination.  They continue to ask me if my intent was to measure the intruder’s beard and then shave him or shave him first and measure later.  All I know is that a ruler, a safety razor and an incredibly clumsy, hyperventilating 12 year old version of myself would have fucked his shit up.  All he would have seen is freckles, brown feathered hair, shiny lips that smelled like Lip Smacker’s Dr. Pepper lip balm and big ass feet (my feet are huge but more on that in the future) coming right at him with a ruler and a safety razor.  He wouldn’t be able to grow out a proper beard to this day.  Poor bastard.

Another shining example of my home protection skills occurred several years ago in Texas.  My husband was commuting to his new job in Alabama on Mondays and then returning home on Fridays for the weekend.  The kids and I stayed behind to sell the house and finish the school year.

One night, I was doing laundry and heard what I can only describe as a bone chilling clawing noise coming from the downstairs guest bathtub, which was right next to the laundry room.  I tried not to panic.  I turned off the washer and dryer and stood as quietly as I could, barely breathing, listening.  The clawing continued.  It would stop for a minute or so but then would start again. I slowly approached the bathroom door and found that the shower curtain was completely closed.

I had watched enough horror movies to know that if I opened that shower curtain, all my children would find upon waking the next morning would be my bloody carcass and maybe one of my intact big ass feet.  So, what to do?  I ran upstairs to get the handgun and then I started calling the people on my Emergency List.

The Emergency List consisted of dear friends who knew my part time/temporary single Mom status and had valiantly volunteered to come to my rescue if needed.  Now, to be fair, I think these friends thought I’d maybe call them up some afternoon, asking for help with a light bulb.  As it were, it was 1:00 a.m. and there was probably, most likely, no…. most definitely a young but very deadly Chupacabra waiting in the bathtub to eat me alive.


I started at the top of the Emergency List.  Three friends down and not one answered the call.  Fine.  Fuck them anyway.  Number four on my list was a good friend’s husband and he was a fireman.  Perfect!  He had most certainly seen this shit before and would be skilled at wrestling a Chupacabra!

My friend, Julie, picked up right away with concern in her voice.  I told her what was going down and she didn’t even ask me if I had been drinking.  I could hear her earnestly waking up her husband, David.  She then told me he was on his way over.  I hurried upstairs to get dressed (more on that another time) and then waited at the door for David the Chupacabra Slayer.

David is an excellent story teller and I love to hear him tell this story but here is my take on The Night We Almost Died in my Guest Bath.

David says all he saw when he got out of his truck was me, standing in the open doorway, scared to death, holding a handgun and a very large butcher knife.  I don’t remember at what point I thought I needed the butcher knife for backup and I don’t even recall going to the kitchen to add it to my deadly arsenal.  It must have been my superb survival skills and adrenaline kicking in yet again.

David was holding a pretty large handled fishing net.  I congratulated myself silently.  Hell yeah, I had called the right man for the job. He would trap the monster and then I would shoot and simultaneously stab it while it was lashing about in the net.  I was kind of getting excited at this point.  I was working in conjunction with a fireman who had seen it all.  The demon currently clawing up my bathtub would not see another sunrise.  Hell no.

I fully explained the dire situation to David in my foyer and to his credit he also did not ask if I’d been drinking.  I think that counts for some solid character there.  On the other hand, he could have been scared shitless because he was talking to a crazy lady who was holding a handgun and a large butcher knife, standing only a foot away from him.  I guess we’ll never know.

David walked to the bathroom door and I followed closely behind with my weapons because I was certain he’d need my assistance.  He was about to enter the bathroom when he suddenly and a bit nervously turned around to face me.  He hadn’t even opened the shower curtain yet and now his back was TO the shower curtain.  Rookie mistake!  He could have been eaten alive in that one second alone.  I thought it was very poor judgement on his part and certainly diminished our chances of survival.

The sentence he next uttered completely shocked me and confirmed my new horrifying suspicion that he never actually had any Chupacabra Slayer training at the Fire Academy.  He said “Hey, Steph, I’d feel a whole lot better if you’d put that gun and butcher knife down”.

What the hell?  He’s dead, I thought.  He just secured his own bloody, painful death in my guest bath.  He was surely going to die without my backup.  All he had was that stupid net.  The net could restrain the Chupacabra but only temporarily, in my expert opinion.  The shooting and stabbing could commence much more quickly if I already had the weapons in my hands.  All David had to do was hold the net while actively avoiding the flying bullets and the rhythmic slashing of the enormous knife blade.  This was a simply brilliant, fool proof plan on my part.

In the end, David was unwilling to be a team player so I put the weapons down on the floor and braced myself for what was surely going to be exactly like that elevator scene in The Shining with the fountains of blood.  He moved slowly to the tub and threw back the shower curtain.


Nothing.  No Chupacabra.  No spawn of satan.  Not even a little Texas lizard.  Nothing.

I still maintain to this day that something was in that bathtub.  I heard the clawed bastard, scratching away at my porcelain. Repeatedly. I think that it somehow sensed MY predatory nature and deadly self defense abilities while it was laying in wait and got the fuck out of there when I was upstairs getting dressed.  I mean, who wants to tangle with a ruler, a safety razor, gold glitter spray paint, a handgun and a huge butcher knife?  Nothing and nobody.

After our move to Alabama was complete, my friend Sylvia, who lived in the same gated community as I had, informed me that the issue of big ass rats (my term, not theirs) had been discussed at a HOA meeting.  Apparently, some homeowners who had property on the creek had been seeing lots of big ass rats.  My former house may have been one of them, I’m not completely sure.  Regardless, I call bull shit on the rats.  Big ass rats are just way too easy and convenient of an explanation when a baby Chupacabre makes so much more sense!

If there are enough requests, I may do an instructional video series on how to protect yourself and your family with readily available, common household items.  I just need a volunteer to play the intruder.  Anybody?

*This is a two part series.  Stay tuned for my latest home self defense strategies, employed in a dire emergency within the last month.