Happy Endings Apparently ARE Extra

I gave E a couple’s massage package for Valentine’s Day.  We finally managed to make the appointment this past weekend, due to E’s travel schedule and limited weekend appointments at this particular salon.

Now, our self pampering experience is limited to a hot stone massage and facial (oh, shut up) combo we enjoyed during a Spring Break cruise a few months ago.  Although the experience was absolutely divine, it was hella expensive – around $360 with tip.  I’m a cheap bitch so I’ll just massage whatever I can reach on myself for free.  Sometimes it’s even enjoyable.  I also have about six different facial masks under my vanity.  I can slather that shit on my face every night if I so wish and it’s pretty inexpensive, depending on which mask I choose.  I may be popping my nerve pills like Tic Tacs due to stress and tension and my skin may be a bit oily but I have $360 more in the bank, baby.

The package I purchased at this local salon was for a deep tissue massage, which instantly had E second guessing my decision every time we’d talk about the appointment.  He was really hung up on the words “deep” and “tissue”.  I’d tell him to man up and quit being a pussy.  How rough could a massage be?  Geesh.  Then he’d tell me about an “unexpected business trip” once again that would derail our appointment.

Deep Tissue Massage Day finally arrived.  As we were getting ready, E asked me if a “happy ending” was included or if we had to pay extra.  I told him that at our age, just getting home safely after the massage so we could take a nap was a happy ending.

We arrived at the salon and met the owners, a lovely couple.  We were told to get undressed and get under the sheets on the table.  Mrs. Masseuse pointed out her table and I scrambled up onto it.  My deep tissue was not going to be massaged by foreign man hands.  E reluctantly and with many sighs climbed onto Mr. Masseuse’s table, yammering unhappily about not looking forward to his virgin deep tissue being handled by a man.  Mr. and Mrs. Masseuse apparently stood outside and limbered up their fingers, mainlined steroids and shotgunned Red Bull because when they entered the room, it was fucking ON.

The stereo was turned on and the room filled with music about being one with the Earth.  I shit you not.  Before I could acclimate my resistant brain to the hippie music, hands were laid on me and not in the Pentecostal way.  There was no warm-up, no foreplay, and certainly not any comforting, hot, smooth stones in sight, much less being laid gently on my back.  My deep tissue was being violated in ways it had never known until then.  It was intense but I did my best to relax and just enjoy it as much as possible, telling myself that my deep tissue probably deserved it and needed to be roughed up a bit.

The first clue I had that E was not himself was when he didn’t talk.  I had to answer all the questions about our kids, our vacations, our summer plans, etc.  Most of you probably know that I’m the mouth in this marriage but E can carry a conversation without me and he loves to talk to new people.  I pretty much replied to everything asked and talked about for the entire hour.

The next clue I had that E was resisting the deep tissue tough love was when he asked Mr. Masseuse with a pained wince, “What is that?”  Mr. Masseuse said, “That’s your Mouse Knot.”  We learned that a Mouse Knot is found in almost everyone who works at a desk and on a computer on a daily basis.  Apparently, E has the largest Mouse Knot in the world because Mr. Masseuse spent a lot of time working that little fucker out.  E replied that he’d never felt it before and didn’t even know it was there.  That was a mistake.  Mr. Masseuse pressed E’s Mouse Knot even harder to make his point and said “Feel it now”?  E whimpered replied that he indeed did feel it then.

The final clue that E and his deep tissue had reached critical mass was his uncontrollable, audible gasps and I don’t mean gasping in an “I’m really enjoying this shit” kind of way.  I kept my eyes tightly closed because I didn’t want to see the death ray glare I was sure E was aiming at me.  Later, I realized there would have been no death ray glare because E’s deep tissue had said “Fuck it, I quit this bitch” so he couldn’t move his neck anyway.

Our hour was up and Mr. and Mrs. Masseuse left the room so we could get dressed.  I stayed on the table, feeling like a wet noodle.  I turned my head (I, unlike E, still had that function) to see if E was basking in the relaxation as I was.  He had managed to turn over onto his side to give me a delayed death ray glare plus the middle finger.  All I got for the next couple minutes as he coerced his body into getting vertical all at the same time was the middle finger.

When E finally spoke to me and put down his middle finger, he asked “Can you pull up the navigation on your phone?”  When I asked why, he said, “To find a spleen store because I no longer fucking have one!”  I started laughing so hard, I had to sit down on the bench where our clothes were folded and waiting for our newly beaten-into-shape deep tissue.  As E shuffled slowly by me in his underwear to go into the bathroom he said “I’ll be in there pissing blood.”

As soon as we were safely in our SUV, I handed E some Motrin.  He shuddered and said “Do you know how it feels to have two hairy man arms running up and down your back?  I do now.”  I suggested that we console E’s deep tissue and homophobia with some gourmet cookies from a place I’d heard was awesome.  We then headed home and slept for two hours.  I only got the middle finger maybe another dozen times for the rest of the day.

I woke up late the next morning with sore upper shoulders but that was it.  E had to leave the house at around 4 a.m. to travel to Seattle on a business trip with extremely angry deep tissue that was no longer speaking to him.  Although I can’t see him giving me the middle finger over the phone, I know it’s there.  I can sense it.  I think the few days apart will do me and his middle finger good.

In the meantime, our anniversary is next month.  I think the suggested gift for 24th wedding anniversaries is a deep tissue massage.  I mean, surely he’ll be pissing normal urine again by August.  And besides, who needs a spleen anyway?

In Defense Of The South

My resident state for the last several years is the butt of many jokes (made by myself, even) but I’ve seen personally that it’s a proud Southern state full of good people.  Of all colors.  Frankly, I’m sick of all the piling on the South that’s been going on this past week by people who feel it’s their duty to publicly stereotype and cluck their tongues at a whole section of the country they know little to nothing about and some haven’t even stepped foot in because it’s flyover country they’ve only seen from their first class airline seats.  Make fun of us all you want, write your fiery blog posts with the big words we Southerners can’t possibly understand, call our chunk of the country out on social media so you look enlightened and intelligent to your friends and associates.  The South has seen far worse. Hell, it’s brought far worse upon itself.

I’ve been to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and been moved to tears.  I’ve seen the 16th Street Baptist Church, where those 4 little girls were killed.  Go ahead, look it up.  Because some of the same ones yelling the loudest over the South’s mistakes (and they were awful and numerous mistakes), don’t even know why the 16th Street Baptist Church is significant.  So go ahead and Google that before you continue your stereotyping of the good Southern people who don’t deserve it.  I’ll wait.  It’s right across the street from the Civil Rights Museum for a reason, just a hint.

I was at the Civil Rights Museum as a chaperone with Gracie’s school field trip.  Even before you entered the museum, the atmosphere was reverential.  The only other place I’ve toured that was as reverential as the Civil Rights Museum was the Alamo (I’m a native Texan and we take the Alamo seriously, y’all).  The children even felt the gravity of the place.  That was the easiest time I’ve ever had chaperoning a school field trip.  They got it.  Those kids with the deep Southern accents that I couldn’t even understand when I first moved here, the deep accents I thought had to be put on, they GOT it.

Near the end of the tour, I was approached by an older man, a security guard there.  He was of color and he had the kindest eyes.  He quietly asked me what I thought of the museum and without even thinking, I said, “It’s beautiful and awful at the same time.  I loved being here today but I hate the reasons it has to be here”  He gave me a soft, understanding smile.  I bet my answer didn’t surprise him.  I bet he’s heard it hundreds of times.  I saw that sentiment in every person’s eyes I saw there that day.

The thing is, Birmingham isn’t exactly a “destination” city to most of the country.  Don’t hate me for saying that, Birmingham, but it’s the truth.  Most people choose to go to New York or California or Florida, the Grand Canyon, and all those other great locales.  Birmingham is a great city with a lot to offer, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never seen anyone on Facebook or Twitter post a picture of downtown Birmingham cleverly shot with their fruity and tropical alcoholic drink just in frame with the caption “Vacation started?  Check.”  Doesn’t happen.  Corona will never come here to film a commercial.  We don’t drink Corona here anyway because the local brews are so much better.  Screw you, Corona.

So, if Birmingham isn’t exactly a destination city (or at least not a huge destination city as much of an injustice as that is), who actually DOES go to the Civil Rights Museum?  Who makes the Civil Rights Museum repeatedly appear at the top of every single search engine result for recommended places to visit in Alabama?  Sure, there are people who visit the museum from every part of the nation and even the world but here’s my theory regarding the majority of visitors.

It’s all the local schools.  Those local schools contain our future leaders and they are being taught at a very young age to respect Alabama history, the good and the bad.  Especially the bad.  And to learn from it so it will never be repeated again.

It’s people who live in Alabama or in the surrounding states, who just happen to be passing through Birmingham and say “Hey, let’s go check out the Civil Rights Museum while we’re passing by downtown Birmingham”, and then are moved more than they ever thought they could be.  Those surrounding states?  All of them belong to the collective, stereotyped, and recently very much maligned deep South.  Alabama is the heart of the deep South.  Look at the map, for crying out loud.  Except for Florida.  I don’t really consider them deep South but that’s just my personal opinion.  Nothing wrong with being Florida.  I love Florida.

Is there still racism in the South?  Yes.  Yes to infinity.  There is racism everywhere, against every color.  You can’t escape it no matter what we take away from people.  Evil will find a way to perpetuate evil, with or without a flag.  Long before there were guns, Cain killed Abel.

Should the Confederate flag be taken down?  In all government agencies, my opinion is most emphatically yes.  Should Bubba (see, I can Southern stereotype with the best of them) have the right to free speech that includes owning and displaying a flag that conjures up awful imagery, imagery that is our history brought down upon us by very bad people who died long before we were born?  My head struggles with our freedom to practice – guess what – free speech.

Bubba’s a dip shit who is relegated to the kid’s table every holiday but if we take away his freedom of speech, who and what is next?  That nice gay couple down the street and their gay pride flag bumper sticker?  Your right to say that you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead at Easter by putting a flag with a crown of thorns on it in your well tended flower bed?  Where do we draw the line and still be consistent?  Admittedly, I’m still struggling with these questions.  That’s okay.  That shouldn’t make me a racist or lead to the (wrong) conclusion that I’m pro Confederate flag.  I’m neither of those things.

There aren’t many other states as aware of civil rights and the need for them than Alabama.  Birmingham and Alabama as a whole is the scene of the crime, y’all.  The past reverberates here daily it’s so tangible and so very real.  Give me one Southern racist and I’ll give you thousands of Southerners who would rewrite history if they only could.  Give me one disciple of hate and I’ll give you thousands of disciples of love for their fellow men and women of any color.

I saw on the local news that a neighboring town here was littered with KKK flyers over the weekend.  It was a mostly black neighborhood.  The news reporter interviewed the sweet lady who found a flyer in her yard on her way to church.  Being the media, no matter how small, the reporter asked the woman what she would say to the people (and I use that term loosely) who left that kind of hate material in her yard.  Instead of spewing even more hate, this remarkable lady didn’t take the bait.  She instantly and lovingly said “I’m gonna pray for them.”  I wanted to stand up in my living room and cheer.

Whenever we traveled in the past, people always asked us where we were from.  My family always said “Alabama”.  Up until about a year ago, I would quickly add, “We live in Alabama but we’re FROM Texas.”  I stopped saying that when I realized that my heart is in Alabama.  My heart is in Texas sometimes, how can it not be?  But Alabama is the home my kids have known the longest.  Alabama is the scene of the great majority of their childhood memories so far and will be for hopefully years to come since we made the deliberate choice to stay here and not to move again unless forced to.  My son requests that I play “Sweet Home Alabama” every time we cross the state line on our way home from Texas.  This is our home now not by chance but by choice.

Pray for the South.  Pray for the victims of hate, wherever they are.  Pray for Bubba, bless his heart.  But stop the collective hating and pigeon holing of the South when you’ve never bothered to witness our hospitality, drink our sweet tea, enjoy our BBQ, or had to make life changing decisions as a new resident about who you’re gonna root for in the Iron Bowl game for fear of the entire state ostracizing you for your complete and total lack of commitment and therefore character.  Whew, deep breath!  Really, they don’t care (well, they do) which way you go but you have to make a choice – Alabama or Auburn.

The South is made of far greater things than a flag, good things that can never be taken away from us.  The South is made of bad things that the great majority of us wish we could reverse but have no control over because, you know, it’s a bitch that we still don’t have time travel machines.  I wish you knew this.  I wish you knew that words mean nothing, except for this week, especially if you’re Southern.  I wish you knew the vast majority of Southern hearts and the good they hold for their brothers and sisters, no matter what color.  I wish you knew me better so I wouldn’t have to say the only words mandated and necessary to prove I’m a “good person” this week but I will.

Take the motherfucker down.

Father’s Day

I hope all of you had a wonderful Father’s Day, either celebrating your Dads, as being the Dad celebrated, or both.  Because I’d hate to speak for E (my sarcasm button doesn’t deactivate just because it’s Father’s Day, y’all), I just asked him if he had a good Father’s Day and he said yes.  Success!

I talked with my Dad on the phone earlier today.  I look forward to seeing him next month when the kids and I go to Texas for our annual summer visit.  In the meantime, he has a gift card to buy several new movies and I’ll take him to dinner when I’m there, hopefully.  He will undergo a test tomorrow to determine if his feeding tube can be removed.  The last several months have been really hard on him and my Mom also.  Please keep them in your prayers.

It seems that every year when I scroll through my Facebook feed on Father’s Day, I see more and more posts from friends who have lost their Dads and so wish he was still here to hug, talk to, and celebrate.  It’s heartbreaking and especially hits close to home this year as E lost his Dad this past December.

I was looking up a YouTube video for my weekly addition to the music blog I write for and a Butch Walker video showed up in my feed.  Butch is one of my favorite singers and songwriters.  He lost his Dad not quite two years ago and has been struggling with it since and it comes through in his songwriting.  The songs about his Dad are very good but I can’t listen to them more than once.  Maybe because it’s hard subject material and I can’t understand it.  I don’t want to face that hard subject material yet.  But some of you have been forced to face that very thing in the last few years.

Butch asked his fans to send him pictures of their precious Dads who have passed.  He put together this video set to his song “Father’s Day”.  I hope those of you who have lost your Dads get some comfort from it.  You’re not alone.  I hope those of us who still have our Dads with us are reminded that this time is precious and cannot be regained.

If you’d like to read my blog from last Father’s Day, you can find it here.  Here are a few pictures of my Dad and also E’s Dad.  Love to all of you today.

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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.

Simple Man

I’ve had a few shots of whiskey to be able to write this.  But it’s time to write this.  It feels right, tonight.

I met my good friend Nan when we served on our kid’s school PTA together.  She was President and I was Vice President.  We had been spending a lot of time together, gearing up for the school year, redecorating the teacher’s lounge, going to lunch quite a bit.  We had taken the entire committee to Austin for the annual weekend long conference where bonds were forged and weaknesses like being scared shitless of bats and our true tolerances for alcohol were exposed.

The school year got rolling and I was working in the copy room one morning when the school Principal found me and told me simply “Go find Nan, I think she’s going to need you.”

I’d skipped my workout that morning, and my usual morning phone call with Nan, because I just felt strongly that I needed to be at the school.  It was one of those things that can’t be explained.  This was big because I had only lost about 12 pounds at that point in my weight loss “journey” and my gym time was steadfastly adhered to.

So I found Nan at her home, where she’d just been informed by the military that her husband had died when his Chinook helicopter went down in Iraq.

We all hear of fallen heroes.  We see them on television.  We see the families, who have to carry on without them.  We pray for them.  But it’s something else entirely to see it first hand, up close.  I witnessed her first tears as a widow, I hugged her and told her “You are loved” because I didn’t know what else to say and that was the truth, the simplest and most honest of truths, anyway.  You can’t really go back to being casual friends after that nor would I ever want to.  She’s my lifelong friend now, whether she likes it or not.

So when she told me she was dating someone a few years later, I was so happy for her.  As long as she was happy, I was happy.  I joked around at length with her and Freddie on Facebook and I liked him.  He was funny and smart and had wicked taste in music.  I was a Freddie fan, right from the get go.  Nan would let Freddie read some of our private messages, our little gaggle of girlfriends, and he loved our craziness.

I was at lunch with E very soon after that and Nan texted me “You’ve got a fan”.  I always love to hear that!  Who doesn’t love to hear that?  She asked me if it’d be okay if he sent me a friend request and I emphatically replied “Yes!”

Over the next 4 years, Fred Man (as I came to call him) and I shared a love of music, specifically Pantera, Slayer, and Van Halen.  He wasn’t an Alabama football fan but because I was, I’d occasionally get supportive text messages from him on game days.  This was our last one about football:

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Fred Man never got wordy, unless we were talking about music or Texas Rangers baseball, that would get him going.  I’ve never met a bigger Rangers fan than Freddie was.  Freddie and I could also trash the Dallas Cowboys for hours.  The mere mention of Jerry Jones would send us into full-on rant mode.

I escaped a party one night to find him on the back patio, smoking alone.  We drank some beer, I smoked a couple with him, and he told me of all the epic concerts he’d attended.  None of this reunion shit that goes on nowadays, either.  He saw the metal bands back in the day, when they were huge.  He saw some shit, y’all.  Good shit.

Fred Man was opinionated.  He never backed away from what he thought was right and was never scared of going at it with anyone.  If he believed it, he’d back it up every single time with good old common sense, never wavering.  He called out the bullshitters and had no patience for their enablers.  You got Freddie exactly as he was, no fronts, no airs put on for others, no fucks to give when common sense was being tread on, politically or otherwise.

As much as Fred Man loved to read our private messages, you wouldn’t find him in the middle of us girls when we hung out at Nan and Fred’s house.  He’d gladly watch baseball by himself or entertain Landon.

Freddie loved Batman and Landon would ply him with questions about Batman and all super heroes.  Freddie had the biggest heart and would talk with Landon about anything Landon wanted to talk about.  I’d tell Landon to give Freddie some space and not talk so much and Freddie would just tell me to go back to my hen party and that it didn’t concern me anyway, that he and Landon had things under control.  I can always judge a person’s heart by how good they are, how patient they are, with special needs kids.  Landon loved talking to Freddie.  I didn’t need anything else to confirm my affection for Freddie but if I had, that would’ve sealed it.

Fred Man would send me random texts out of the blue, always hilarious.  He totally got my sense of humor.  Most of the time, it was just a picture or funny meme.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

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As you have probably guessed, Freddie died on February 15th.  He fought kidney cancer for a long, hard couple years and still went down fighting.  I was blessed to see him less than two weeks before he died and I’ll always be grateful for that.  We talked, joked, and laughed for about an hour before I could tell he was exhausted.  I gave him about three vacation’s worth of magnets.  He collected magnets and kept them all on display behind his incredibly cool bar at home.  Gracie and Landon looked forward to picking out a magnet for “Mr. Freddie” everywhere we went on vacation.

I’ll tell this story just because I know Freddie would get a huge kick out of it.  We were on a cruise over Spring Break a few months ago.  While we were eating, I caught myself saying “I guess we don’t need to buy Fred Man a magnet…” I trailed off because I realized we wouldn’t be buying Fred Man a magnet ever again.  Just when I thought I might cry, Landon (remember he’s autistic and has a very straight forward way of thinking so literally imagine Forrest Gump saying this) sighed heavily and said very matter of factly,  “Nope.  Because Mr. Freddie is dead.”  After a few seconds, E, Gracie, and I busted out laughing and agreed that Freddie was looking down and laughing, too.

Here is Freddie’s obituary, which tells you much more about what kind of person he was than I ever could.

Fred Man’s memorial service was full of good music and laughter.  Of course, there were tears but I left thinking that Freddie would have loved it.  I’m sure he loved it.  His best friends and his brother told stories about him and there was so much laughter.  It was a true celebration of life.  There were more rock tee shirts there than I’ve ever seen at any other funeral.  Freddie would have had something to say about every single one of them.  I wore my Pantera tee shirt because Freddie was such a huge fan of them.  Pantera is from Arlington, Texas, just like Freddie was.  Freddie was a huge fan of Dime Bag Darrell.

One of the songs played during the memorial service was “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Freddie was simple but so much more than that at the same time.  What you saw was what you got.  No faking, just truth and simplicity in the best form possible.

This is how I’ll remember Fred Man, just hanging out with a beer in his hand, always rocking.

fred

Forever rock on, brother.  You are loved and you are missed.

Help Me Obi-ONE Kenobi!

My kids can’t wait for the Star Wars sequel that comes out in December.  Landon is watching all the movies, Gracie is acquiring every Star Wars tee shirt I’ll let her buy, and I’m attempting to explain to them how big of a deal Star Wars was when I was a kid.  I don’t think they’ll ever truly get how huge it was, still is.  Maybe at the premiere, and we will go to the midnight showing, they will finally see how much it means to so many people.

E just got home from a business trip and is working from home for the rest of the afternoon.  Landon is here in the living room with me watching The Attack Of The Clones.  I don’t really like the prequels.  Anakin is a little bitch, in my opinion, and really gets on my nerves.

Anyway, this just actually happened and I thought you good people should know.

Movie (Padmé to Anakin):  I brought you some food.  Are you hungry?

Me (silently mouthing to E behind Landon’s back):  FOR PUSSY!

Movie (Anakin to Padmé):  I don’t even know what he said.  He was whining like a bitch again over not saving his Mom.

Me to Landon:  Does Anakin whine through all the prequels?  

Landon:  No.  He stops at the end of the last one.

Me:  Only because he turned to the dark side.  I like him better evil.  He didn’t whine so much. 

Landon:  I wish Obi-1 would have turned evil and not Anakin.

Me:  It’s Obi-WAN.  Not the number 1. 

E (laughing):  It’s Obi-ONE.

Me:  No, it’s Obi-WAN.

E (still laughing disturbingly loudly):  What, is he Mexican?  “Si, may the force be weeth you” (said in a really pretty good Mexican accent, I must admit)

Me:  No, not like J-U-A-N.  Like W-A-N.  More like Chinese.  And you just sounded like Cheech and Chong, by the way.

Landon (now laughing):  Dad’s right and so am I.

I sat in stunned silence, pondering how I could have been wrong all these years.  So wrong.  Over Star Wars, one of the most watched movie series of my entire childhood and teenage years.  What kind of person am I?!

Me (aloud):  I’ve been wrong all these years?

Silence.

Me:  I’m Googling it!

E and I type furiously at the same time.

Me:  I’M RIGHT!  IT’S OBI-WAN!  W-A-N, SUCKER!

E (almost the exact same time I say the above):  It IS Obi-WAN.  You’re right!

Obi-WAN, fuckers.  It’s Obi-WAN.  If any of you need a knowledgeable friend to go to the Star Wars sequel with you in December, I’m the one to call.  Leave E’s and Landon’s asses at home.

There were so many titles for this blog I wanted to use.  Here were the options.

This Will Be A Day Long Remembered

Now I Am The Master

The Force is NOT With You

The Force Is Weak In This One

Into The Garbage Chute, Fly Boy!

He Is NOT The Brains, Sweetheart

Aren’t You A Little Stupid For A Stormtrooper?

Let The Wookie Win

“Let The Wookie Win” was my favorite just because that’s one of my favorite scenes but it didn’t fit here. E and Landon still have six more months to come up with something so I can use that title.  Don’t give up hope.

Before you give me a hard time for boasting, E still reminds me to this day of stupid things I said two whole decades ago.  And if he had been right about this one, I would have been hearing about it on my deathbed.  I’ve offered E the chance to write a rebuttal with all the stupid shit I’ve said over the years.  Stay tuned to see if he’ll do it.  Maybe Obi-ONE can help him.

Chevelle Concert Review By Gracie

I took Gracie to see Chevelle at Iron City Birmingham on May 4th, 2015.  I’ve been to Iron City many times but this was Gracie’s first time.  She loves Chevelle, which isn’t a surprise since I love them and I have excellent taste in music.  E was out of town on a business trip so just we girls went.  I’ll let Gracie review the concert in her own words and then I’ll add my 2 cents.

“The Chevelle concert was my first floor concert and I am grateful that I was able to see them.  This was also the first time I’ve been to Iron City.  

First off, the opening band, The Marmozets, were great.  The songs were good and I enjoyed them.  They were interactive with the crowd and had fun with it.  We ended up buying their CD.

Finally, Chevelle was ready and began with a great opening. Chevelle was certainly my favorite.  The whole band had fun with everyone, telling favorite memories, and pointing out the great people who helped with the concert.  They invited everyone to sing our lungs out and clearly everyone had a great time.  Pete (the lead singer) played new and old (songs), which kept us on our toes.  What would they sing next?!  They sang some of their best songs, my favorites, too!  I hated to see them leave.

Although we didn’t stay for the whole act of The Used, we heard one song.  I have only heard a few songs by The Used and I’m now finding new ones I like every day.

So in conclusion, I liked this concert and I’ll never forget it!”

It was a sold out show, which means that Iron City had about 1300 people inside it that night.  I was nervous about having Gracie on the floor with me but she did great.  She does have a “personal space” thing, though.  She didn’t like touching anyone besides me but I finally got it through to her that it just happens when you’re on the floor of a sold out concert.

Chevelle is a great live band.  I mean, anyone can sound good with mixing and all that shit they do in the studio, but I think a true sign of talent is when you sound just as good live.  I didn’t think Pete Loeffler could pull off the same vocals live as I hear repeatedly on any given album of theirs but he did.  He nailed the controlled, brooding rage that builds and explodes in the end to full-on rage, every single time.  Pete and Dean Bernadini’s guitar playing were exactly like the album recordings.  The sound I fell in love with listening to all their albums is exactly what I heard that night.  It’s rare that that happens nowadays.  I love them even more now.

Onto the girlier shit of my review, I get really pissed off when a band doesn’t even talk to the crowd or acknowledge where they are.  I’ve vowed never to see Seether live again for this very reason.  Pete knew where the hell he was that night, called us by name (Birmingham), talked to us throughout the set and seemed legitimately happy to be there.  That means a lot to me, as a fan and a concert goer who paid money to see them live.  I would most definitely pay to see them again the future.

Gracie and I were on the floor, to the right side of the stage.  Both of us have a pretty big crush on Pete so when Chevelle came on stage, we were highly disappointed that Pete was on the LEFT side of the stage.  No offense, Dean.  Please forgive us.  So, if you’re a huge Pete fan, go to the left side of the stage when you see them.  Not stage left, the left to you when you’re looking at the stage, just to be clear.

We did not stay for The Used because it was past 11:00 when they came onstage and it was a school night.  I know, I’m such a downer.  I would have really liked to stay for The Used encore, which was a trilogy of Rage Against The Machine songs but it would have been well after midnight before it was over.

Gracie and I each bought a Chevelle tee and the Marmozets CD.  The Marmozets, by the way, were pretty delightful.  The lead singer is just a doll and she was so thankful to the warm crowd for their “friendliness”.  Their songs were good, the lead singer could really belt out a good screamy hard rocking song and the crowd really enjoyed them.  You can tell when a crowd just wants the opening act to get the hell off the stage but we were pretty into The Marmozets.  They’re worth checking out if they come to your town.

Here are some great pictures from the night, taken by a local photographer.

Here are a couple pictures from my phone.  This is all I have since I accidentally deleted all of them.  Yes, I’m that stupid, apparently.

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Here is a video of the live performance of “Take Out The Gunman” from Chevelle’s latest album “La Gárgola”.  It’s my favorite song off the album.  This is the best video from that night that I could find but hopefully this will give you an idea of their live performance.

And here is the actual official video for “The Red”.  Fifteen years ago, this would’ve been the song you raised your lighter to when you saw them live.  Now everyone just sings really loudly and badly and raises their cell phones in the air to take shitty videos.  That’s why I didn’t post a video from the actual concert.  They all sucked.  It’s an anthem for anyone with rage issues.  Don’t we all have them from time to time?  This is also a great workout song, by the way.

I hope you all enjoyed my daughter’s first rock concert review.  She is 13 years old, so I’m pretty picky about what she can see with me right now, but I anticipate lots of concerts together in the future.

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.

Tits And Bits

I have an ongoing list on my phone.  Whenever I have an idea for my blog (I DO have an idea occasionally, you bastards) I add it to the list.  After more than a year of writing this blog, I have a lot of ideas and reminders on this list.  Most are just one liners or something the kids or E said that was funny to me.  These things may or may not be enough material for a full blog post but they’re still worth sharing, in my opinion.  Your mileage may vary.  Tits and Bits will be the somewhat regular place I will dump share these things.

You might be asking “Steph, I see no tits nor bits here.  What’s up with that?”  Well, pervert, it’s just a Steph-ism born out of desperation.  My daughter takes the world’s longest showers.  Trust me on this.  I’m convinced she is solving the world’s hunger issues under a hot stream of water every single day.  I gave birth to a future Nobel Peace Prize winner here, y’all.  But one day sometime last year, we were in a super big hurry so to get my frantic message across to her, I yelled “We gotta go!  Tits and bits, just wash the tits and bits and call it good!”

So, no.  There will be no actual pictures of tits and bits but you could always hope I slip up and add one on accident, right?  Or not.  You didn’t have to yell “NO!” like that.  Hurtful.

Without further bullshitting, I hope you enjoy (fine, live through) the first ever Tits and Bits.  We’ll do this old school bullet style for all those OCD people out there.  You know who you are.

  • Landon was recapping my driving adventures one day on the phone with his grandparents.  He summed it up by saying “Mom scared the living daily crap out of me!”  That’s the only reason I became a mother – to scare the living daily crap out of my kids.  Job well done, self.
  • My good friend Fantasia is in the middle of construction on her new house.  I was in Texas a few months ago and we   were driving by the house to see the progress.  Fantasia was surprised to see the frame up and excitedly exclaimed “I have wood!”  Please leave your one liner responses in the comments.
  • E (returning home from a business trip):  “Why is there a bullet on my bedside table?”  Me:  “Do you really want to know?”  E (sighing):  “No.”
  • Gracie and I were watching an elaborate “Will you go to prom with me?” video last month.  I told her how ridiculous I thought it was that a simple prom invite is staged like a marriage proposal these days.  She asked how things were done in my day. “I was lucky to get a note written in red crayon with a check box for Yes or No,” I replied.  She said, “No, not in grade school.  How did you get asked out for your Senior prom?”  I said, “That WAS for my Senior prom!”
  • I was paying for parking at the airport exit and the attendant complimented my eyeshadow.  I told her, “It’s Stila Kitten.”  She looked at me like I was a nut job (shut up) and said, “STEAL A KITTEN?”  After I stopped laughing, I explained, “No, it’s the cult classic BY Stila in the color Kitten.”  I’d love to see her march into Ulta and ask to see the Steal A Kitten eyeshadow, though.
  • It is officially summer for my household!  I play this song for Gracie at the end of every school year. Loudly.  It’s sweet traditions like this, y’all, that they’ll remember.

  • And finally:

monday

I hope you enjoyed the very first edition of Tits and Bits.  It is 12:56 p.m. here and I’m going back for my second cup of coffee.  Don’t look at me that way.  It’s the first day of summer vacation, y’all!

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you missed my post from last week, go read it here.  I’ll wait.

Needless to say, I did not get Wolverine or any of my alternates as a Mother’s Day gift.  If I made good on my threats kept my promises, I’d currently have a potted plant, two handmade Mother’s Day cards, a box of Gigi’s cupcakes, a Sephora gift card and a pair of Anastasia tweezers up my twat.  To be fair to myself, I was considering shoving all that up my twat but the tweezers called my bluff.  I’m pretty sure E marched into Sephora and said “My wife has threatened to shove any Mother’s Day gifts that aren’t Hugh Jackman up her twat.  What item in the store would inflict the most pain being shoved up a twat?”.  Well played, E.  Well played.

It’s a good thing Wolverine or Star-Lord didn’t show up, anyway.  A migraine knocked me out of commission all afternoon and our dinner plans were derailed.  We’ll make them up next weekend.  What does matter is that I have two kids I have helped raise to the ages of 17 and 13 who love me, faults and all.

A long time ago, I told E not to buy me any more store bought cards.  They’re a waste of money for me.  You pay around $5 for a cheesy card with someone else’s words and feelings on it.  I told him I’d prefer a handwritten note instead.  It could be as short or as long as he wanted to make it.  I didn’t care, as long as it came from him.  He’s done that ever since and I’ve somehow managed to get the kids to do it also.  Landon made his at school and Gracie worked like the little Martha Stewart she is on hers last week here at home.  As usual, it’s the words, beautiful words, that touch me the most.  Not the gift card or the ridiculously expensive tweezers (which I really did need and has a story which I will post next week) but words.

Here’s what Landon had to say about me:

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I give him crap every time he asks me how old I am.  I’ll usually give him various answers but never my true age.  So, he said he wrote that I was 100 years old because he didn’t know.  I told him my true age so now he knows I’m 32.

Fine, I told him I’m 45.  Y’all are breaking my heart here.

Landon was correct that I love Harry Potter and eating Mexican food.  If you know me well, you got a laugh out of cooking being my super power.  I do cook.  I don’t enjoy cooking.  I do it to survive and to nourish my family but it’s not my “thing”.  But there are a few dishes that I make that Landon is just crazy about.  He loves my chicken and dumplings, crock pot chicken enchiladas, combo burritos, and homemade dressing.  If that counts as a super power, I’ll take it.  I noticed he wrote “pretty” twice.  I also really liked “brave, smart, silly, and sweet”.  I try to be those things and I’m glad he can see them in me.

I have a feeling that Gracie has my gift for words because inside her card were the most beautiful words a Mom could ever want to read on Mother’s Day.

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“To the best Mom,

Every day, there’s always a problem in our lives and you take care of those problems.  We always come to you for your help and advice.  You make us feel at home even when we are not.  You make rough times the best and the worst days some of the best days.  Your love and words will always be the best medicine for a heartache.  Thanks Mom!

Love, Gracie Girl.”

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If you’d like to read my blog post from last Mother’s Day you can find it here.  I hope all you Moms out there had a beautiful day.  Happy Mother’s Day, my friend!