Category Archives: IMHO

Seriously, I hate you.

I first noticed the bane of my existence, Franny and Milhouse (names invented since I don’t actually know their real names) about a year ago when I moved to the damn suburbs and had to start taking the train into work.  The express train I take is about 35 minutes to downtown.  The first time I saw them, they had walked up to the front of the car near the doors of the train about 15 minutes before we got into the station.  Franny had a worried, sad expression just like Droopy Dog.  Her husband was by her side with a look of concern and deep, deep, deep, deep enduring love on his face as they stood there, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes.  On a train.  At 7:15 in the morning.  And as they stood there staring at each other, at times he would softly kiss her forehead and sometimes they would hug, and then they would always go back to looking into each other’s eyes and always with the same expressions  — she looking forlorn and somewhat constipated and him staring at her like she is an orphan about to die of starvation.  All this, standing there in the middle of the aisle on the damn train in front of about 50 people.

So the first time I see this, I think “God! Was she just diagnosed with terminal cancer or something?”  These two are fucking intense.  I wonder if it bothers them at all to stand in front of all of the sleepy, seated commuters on a train for 15 minutes and make slow, sad love to one another with their eyes? But maybe something absolutely horrible has happened to them and they don’t even care because they are so traumatized.  It’s kind of embarrassing for them, and me, but I’ll let it go.  I hope she gets cured.  I hope they stay together.  They are so obviously in love.

And then the next day came and there they were again doing all the same shit. And then the next day, and the next.  And after a few days of this, I’ve had enough. It was all I could do not to stand up and scream “Get a fucking room you silly stupid ass wipes! What the hell is the matter with you?”

Nobody could convince me that Franny has ever smiled with her eyes in her entire lifetime. Ever. Franny must be the most depressed, victimized, Eeyore-like person in the universe.  She better have a fucking crazy tough life carrying around that constant pained expression and sucking any positive energy out of the entire train car, leaving a vacuum of desolation and depression.  I think that Milhouse is under the impression that only his dutiful hugs and kisses  keep her from committing suicide every morning and I find myself praying that one day he would stop and let her get it over with so I could enjoy one single fucking day on the train.

If I had to spend more than 4 minutes with Franny I would probably eviscerate myself with a fork  just to get out of her path of misery.  There were times when I felt bad for Milhouse because he has to tend to the needs of the most high maintenance, soul sucking individual on the planet. But then it dawned on me that he doesn’t have to. He LOVES this. This drama played out every morning. He is addicted to this woman’s dysfunction.  I mean, he is as jacked as she is if he has the stomach to be replaying this scene over and over every. single. fucking day in front of an entire train car of people who want them both dead. (I haven’t taken a poll, but how could my fellow commuters not be as infuriated by this shit as I am?)

So I switched train cars to get away from them.  Their shenanigans made me feel homicidal thoughts for the first time in my life and I was worried for their safety. I started day dreaming about punching her in face until I couldn’t see it any more and I’ve never had thoughts like that in my life.  I was scared and surprised about my own visceral reaction to these two. I mean, why do I hate them so thoroughly with my whole being? What about them loving each other sick is so abhorrent to me?

Well, I had to make this stop, so I switched train cars to avoid them.  And that worked! For a day.  But on the second day in my new car where I could feel calm, peace and love?  Oh shit. Franny and fucking Milhouse apparently decide to move a car up, like they are stalking me, and once again in front of an entire train and hold each other and kiss each other and look intensely at one another in the eyes.  Sometimes she would whisper something and then his concern would grow and he’d rub her back and brush the hair from her forehead. Or he would cup both of his hands around her little face and whisper something back. I’ve never heard a single word of what these two are saying, but I imagine in a Mystery Science Theater sort of way that she’s like, “My little toe hurts again. I’m not sure if I can make it.” and then he says, “Darling, if I could take your pain away I would. But instead I’ll just treat you like a sick infant, and I’ll be concerned for your life 100% of this train ride. I love you, Schmoopie.”  and then she looks down sadly because Milhouse should have said something else like, “Darling, I will get down on my hands and knees and suck on your little toe if that will make it feel better.” But he didn’t, and so she must mope some more, all alone in this world and so very sad that her husband isn’t taking her pain away.

So now what? I could not shake these two, but I finally felt grateful I had gotten myself knocked up with kid #3 and finally I could go on maternity leave and Franny and Milhouse and all of their infinite problems they are solving with their intense, infinite love on the train each morning would disappear.  After a week or two, their specter no longer haunted me and truthfully, I forgot all about them. I was sort of busy.

Seven weeks later,  I go back to work and I have to drop my baby girl off at daycare and I’m a mess and as I’m walking to the train station, some guy runs past me like he is trying to beat the world record in the 100 meters. And lo and behold – I recognize him. It is fucking Milhouse.  Seriously, God? Today? These two? Fuck me.

So where the hell is Franny? I thought she and Milhouse were Siamese married people.  How does he expect her to survive without having his face within 6 inches of hers?  “Maybe they divorced!? Maybe she is finally dead!” I thought hopefully.  Well, that would not explain why he was running so fast with his messenger bag flopping all over the place.  He must have dropped our Franny off at the station and went to park the car and though the train wouldn’t be arriving for another 12 minutes, he was running like it was leaving the station.

Yup. Franny was standing there waiting for him with an expression on her face as if he accidentally poured cyanide instead salt into the soup and she was really serious today about jumping in front of the train because of his inadequacy. Very disappointed in him. He didn’t run fast enough I guess. Or perhaps he had screwed up everything already that morning, putting her in a fragile state that only staring into his pleading eyes would ever remedy.  UGH. Kill me now.

But then they did something I could not believe!  They separated for a few minutes! Each lined up on the platform so that they were each on one side of the throng of people waiting so they could hedge their bets so when the train pulled in one of them would be close to the door and could snag a seat where they could sit together.  So clever. I think they were probably texting the whole time just to ensure that Franny was okay as she stood waiting for the train 12 feet and 12 bodies away from her husband.

I realized then I had only seen them in that last half of the ride but apparently, they have to sit together on the train (of course) and if they can’t find a suitable seat where they can sit together, she sits down next to a random stranger and he stands there in the aisle, holding her hand, rather than finding another seat himself. I mean AREYOUFUCKINGKIDDINGME?! These two have no shame. That guy has no balls. It makes my stomach turn.

So now you know about Milhouse and Franny. I’m sorry to tell you that there is no happy ending to this story.  They still ride the train with me every morning. I have switched cars to be even farther away from them, so my mornings have been filled with peace, optimism and calm for the most part because they haven’t found me yet.

But, the story has taken a sad twist.  Franny appears to be pregnant.  I pray for that unborn child everyday.  I cannot imagine the hell on earth that awaits that child when she meets her mother.  I don’t think there is any way in hell that this is going to turn out well for that kid, because her mother’s needs are so vast, I’m sure the baby’s need for food and nurturing and love pale in comparison.  And watch out Milhouse! You spend more than 3 minutes with that child and enjoy it, Franny will have your ass on a platter. You will wish you were never born.

But the good news for me is that this baby might just mean that Franny and Milhouse will no longer ride the train together because she will be institutionalized and he’ll have to stay home with the baby and I can finally get on with being my loving, kind self again. I love happy endings.

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Love conquers all – hopefully even in an office

Well, first I would like to congratulate myself on escaping the fires of hell my big huge corporate entity job so that I could take a job with a little, itty-bitty, tiny company that hopefully doesn’t go bankrupt. Today was my last day at the former and Monday is the first day at the latter. And much to my surprise and horror, I’m a little freaked out by the big change and I’ll tell you why:

MY NEW JOB REQUIRES ME TO WORK IN AN….AN…..OFFICE.  WITH PEOPLE.  There. I said it.  I have never done that before except when I used to work as a temp in college, but I always knew I would be free of those whack jobs in a few weeks and I didn’t want to starve so I did it.  Oh, the stories I shall tell you about some of my temp jobs!! Not to worry – definitely on my to do list.  But I digress.

I’ve never actually worked in an office before. I always had jobs where everything is really flexible and I can work from home, or from some temporary cube, or I’m on the road, or with clients and nobody bugs me or cares where I am.  And I like that. Total freedom to wear my pajamas to work most days, or watch Oprah when it originally airs. The little girl in me that used to always inform people that they aren’t the boss of me has grown up and she feels exactly the same way.

But this new job…I mean, they told me it was flexible when I told them that I’m afraid of offices, but I feel like the culture is that they expect you to actually go there. Like, everyday.  So in some ways I’m super-curious because I’m not one to shy away from situations that will give me priceless fodder for my best-selling memoir I haven’t written yet, and I’m totally gearing up for water cooler banter/debates by Tivo-ing American Idol and Project Runway, but on the other hand…I mean, will it be like “The Office”? Will I get a desk next to some clown like Creed, or Angela or Kevin? Please, please, please, dear mother of GOD, put me next to Dwight and Jim Halpert.  Or Oscar.  Or even Toby. Toby’s good.

So this makes me think about which Office character I’m most like. Because I guess my new office mates are also wondering what the new chick is going to be like and whether I’m a loud food chewer, or if I don’t wash my hands after I go to the bathroom, or if I’m on the phone all day trying to order a huge new projector thing for my mega-church,  or if my husband works for Vance Refrigeration. I actually am none of those things.  Well, BD might accuse me of chewing too loud, but I’ve convinced myself that that’s more about his hang ups and less about my chewing volume. I’m not really like anybody on “The Office”, because my Awesomeness is hard to capture in just one character, but if you twist my arm I think…and I’m not proud of this, but I’m probably maybe closest to that goofy new receptionist chick.  She kind of looks normal and nice, but she is definitely a little freaky, and weird and clueless a lot. Which I think pretty much sums me up perfectly.  Except that I would never fall for the Nard-dogg. Just saying.  So I guess I’ll be her if a board game comes out.

But so anyway…how does one conduct oneself in the office? I don’t know why I’m asking the Internet since if you read my blog you clearly aren’t at work — or are you? Do they let you do that?! I’m assuming I can’t really blog at work anymore. Or read your delicious blog.  Or check Facebook at 34 second intervals. Or burp loudly after an especially satisfying gulp of Diet Coke. I suppose pouring myself a tall glass of Shiraz at 4 or doing 3.5 loads of laundry is out of the question.  And random lunches with random people at random times — not so much.  How do people do it? I mean, how much of a waste of time is it to be in an office all day? What if I have nothing to do? I think the cubes are situated in such a way that everybody can pretty much see what you’re doing because there aren’t really high cube walls or much privacy, so I think I have to have Excel open all the time to look like I’m officially working.

Also, I have to start traveling again. They told me I didn’t have to go very often when I told them I don’t like traveling, but I might go so insane in the office that I become a road warrior and turn out like that lady in “Up In The Air” who is inexplicably still hot with the worst 70s hairdo ever AND breaks George Clooney’s heart, which, I mean, come on – I would never do. So I have issues. At least at my totally unsatisfying, frustrating, uninspiring current job I just quit didn’t make me do things like go to an office and have a desk all day. I got to go to Cubs games and out to lunches and lots of 3 o’clock happy hours. But my company was an asshole.  Like, if the company could be a person, it would be the biggest ass you’ve ever met.  Which is weird, because the individuals that work there aren’t assholes, but it’s one of those Gestalt things where the sum was more than the parts and somehow the sum of decent, smart people equaled Really Huge Global Douchebag Corporation.

So why did I take this new gig? Well, probably the same reason I voted for Barack. And, no,  not because Oprah said. I would have voted for any damn Democrat, because I was really voting for not George Bush.  And this new gig is like that – it is not old gig.  Once in a while (every three years to be exact), you have to do something completely different.  And I’ve been at this one 3 years, so I had to go.  Plus at this new place, the people seem cool and the company does appear to be laid back, and they seem to actually get the concept that their employees are human beings with feelings and families, but in a work all the time sort of way, since it is small and everybody needs to pull their weight to make it awesome. Which is fine because I work a lot. I do. I just do it when I feel like it. When the mood strikes. And I’m afraid that at 8:30 in the morning, the mood is not normally striking. No. That is about the time when I go to the gym the 7 times I did in 2009.

Anyway, now I’m rambling. I hope that New Job is 100x sweeter than Old Job. It may turn out to be A Job. But no doubt I’ll have a whole host of new and interesting stories to tell you…I just hope I get a chance to write them down. I may have to change my blog name to “Very Important Site for People Who Are Successful and Productive” so when I’m writing in it and someone comes by my desk they’ll see that in really big letters and be satisfied that I am indeed working very hard and I might just be the best new hire they’ve made since the Kelly Kapoor-ish chick from two months ago.

Wish me luck. And I apologize in advance if the posts are coming a little slower in the next couple of months. Demonstrating my Awesomeness will likely take a lot out of me.  It’s not easy to do The Worm on hardwood floors.

Bitch, Pleeze!

Here is the link an interview that my sister sent today with that bitch person who “lived Oprah” for the year and then wrote a book about it. You need to watch it. It’s like 5 minutes of the worst TV I think I’ve ever seen.

Have you watched it yet? Yeah, now you know why I am understandably incensed about this on multiple levels.

A) That should have been my idea because I live Oprah anyway.

B) How dare she question Oprah’s taste in footwear?

C) If that bitch bought everything Oprah told her to, it would add up to a lot more than $4700.  So she cheated.

D) Oprah made her do good for others, like provide books to female felons and save a cat’s life – what’s not to love? What sort of ingrate bites the hand that feeds the world?

E) Finally, when has Oprah ever ruined any normal person’s marriage or sex life? Well….I take that back. Forget point E.

F) She said people view Oprah like their BFF in a way which suggested that somehow that was crazy.  I didn’t dedicate my life to making Oprah realize I’m her soul mate so this dumb broad could come along and ridicule me.  I swear if I ever see her on the street, I’m going to give her a really mean look. Like, seriously mean. And then I’ll report her whereabouts to Gayle, and you can bet Gayle will give her the beat down she deserves.

That is all I’m going to say about this topic, which has wounded my soul very deeply.  If she can’t see Oprah for the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent spiritual healer and teacher who wears really good shoes most days, then she clearly doesn’t understand her subject matter and should be revealed to the world as the charlatan she is. You know who she reminds me of? Debbie Mathers. Eminem’s mom. When she made up that song about him to get rich just because she was mad that he has spent most of his professional life telling stories about how she was the worst mother of all time. I just don’t like when other people try to get famous off the back of someone with the Awesome in them.

I just hope when Eminem isn’t on the phone getting drug counseling from Elton John, he’ll reach out to Oprah to provide some support.

And I would ask that my loyal readers, though none of you like Oprah, light up your cell phones, wave them slowly in the air and watch Eminem’s “Cleaning out my Closet” video I’ve provided access to here:

Now you have just a little taste of the rage I have and the angry poetry that I’m about to write about this woman and her dumb book and send to Oprah and her producers in a beautiful laminated album. If you have any worthy submissions, I will consider them, but they have to be really good. I mean, really Oprah-worthy.

“That’s it. I’m done!” (Ben Affleck, Boiler Room)

I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad…

My husband just passed me the Kaukauna port wine spreadable cheese and I find myself strangely overcome with lust and desire.  For the cheese.  And as I skimmed a little of it off the top with a fresh Wheat Thin (BAKED! Not fried!) just now and savored its pure awesomeness,  suddenly my head heard the lyrics to  “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music.  And I thought, hell, I haven’t written on my blog recently. I shall post about my favorite things.  Because everybody totally cares about them.

Which naturally led me to think of Oprah, and her favorite things.  Remember when she would do that Oprah’s Favorite Things show where she would just talk about products the whole time while her audience members got all the stuff?  The first couple of years she did that show, it was off the hook.  I would watch and lust after all the stuff she picked out, in awe that the whole audience got to take it all home.  But by year three, that show just pissed me off.  All those screaming, fainting whores audience members got thousands of dollars worth of stuff for being a damn teacher or because someone wrote Oprah a note and said they helped an orphan escape from Russia or they just showed up on the right day. I’d feel like crap, because  the only time I got tickets for Oprah was immediately following 9/11 and hurricane Katrina. I shit you not. Anyway, I just got to the point where I stopped watching that show every year because it would just make me angry that I wasn’t there while all those lucky ass bitches jumped around with their heads turning around 360 degrees and popping off (which mine would have as well, no doubt).

Jealousy is a bitch. Sometimes I would tell myself that she picked out all lame stuff I wouldn’t want or know what to do with anyway – like soaps that are like $13 and refrigerators with built-in TVs that would probably only fit into 5% of the kitchens in this great nation. And I couldn’t help but wonder if a cable or satellite hookup was necessary and who the hell has that stuff in the kitchen? See? So who would want to win that on Oprah’s Favorite Things?  Me. ME, DAMMIT!! That show made me hate myself. Thanks, Oprah.

Then one year Oprah decided instead of giving away an obscene amount of shit to people, she would give everybody $100, and then they’d have to go out and give it to someone else and whoever was the most creative or made the most out of that $100 got to come back at a later show.  Ha ha Bit-chez! That put a smile on my face because I knew as the cameras panned the crowd of pleasantly smiling faces, those women and their mothers were secretly thinking: “God DAMN you, OPRAH! I got a ticket for your Favorite Things show and all I’m taking away is this punk-ass gift card and a mandate to give it to someone else?  I fucking hate you. And your dogs too.”  But I’m sure in the end, giving away that $100 made them feel so good and warm and nice inside that they didn’t hold a grudge. Or tell everyone they knew how they got screwed and wanted to die.  Which would totally have been my — I mean, a healthy reaction. I’m pretty sure.

Anyway, I digress.  It’s just that I can’t think about Oprah’s Favorite Things without wonder, fascination and pure snarkiness.  On to revealing my majestic list of favorite things.  If I had a blog wherein I could name all my favorite things and give them to those of you that regularly comment, this is what you would get:

1) One year’s worth of Kaukauna port wine spreadable cheese and Wheat Thins.

2) A Mac.

3) A subscription to “O” and “Us Weekly” — the only publications with real import these days.

4) Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, a gallon of skim milk and a martini shaker.  Equal parts of these ingredients shaken with ice makes me incredibly happy. I think it would make you happy too.

5) Take 5 bars. A lifetime supply. Proof that God loves us.

6) TiVo. I honestly don’t have the words to explain my love, devotion and adoration for TiVo.

7) Counting Crows “August and Everything After”. Best album ever.

8.) Vaseline Cocoa Butter Deep Conditioning lotion.  I suppose it’s a good moisturizer, but more importantly it somehow captures “new baby smell” like you’re within a few inches of a newborn’s little head at all times. I get high off the fumes on a pretty regular basis.  SO much easier than having to give birth again.

9) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  Funniest book of all time.  All time.

10) Tickets to Oprah’s show.  If you get them, be sure to let me know. We can go together and hope that my attendance doesn’t mark the end of the world. Oh yeah, and did I ever tell you about the time BD turned down a job at Harpo? She brings everybody and their families on these really swank all-expenses paid vacations every year. I would have hunted her down and convinced her by now of our destiny if he’d just taken it. But he didn’t.  And we’re still married. That’s love.

11) Josh Groban’s “Noel”. Shut up. Wipe the smirk off your face, because I’m giving it to you for free, bitch.

12) McDonald’s gift certificates. Enough to buy a Value Meal #2 with Diet Crack Coke and two happy meals with apple dippers twice weekly.

Okay, and go to this post to see the Oprah Favorite Things SNL skit, along with all my favorite YouTube stuff…

So I feel like if you got those 12 things today, you probably wouldn’t have a need for anything else. Ever.  Feel free to print and substitute for your Christmas/ Hanukkah / Kwanzaa/ Festivus list.  One day when I am rich and famous and lunching regularly with Oprah, I will make sure that my commenters do receive all of these things, making your friends seethe with jealousy and rage.

‘Tis the season, after all.

I’m not dead. I’m just bored. And fighting MJ for my son’s soul.

It came to my attention today that there are 3 people in this world who regularly read my blog and those three people are probably worrying themselves sick that I’m dead, or they just can’t find out how to unsubscribe from me on Google Reader. But if it’s the former, you should know I’m not dead.  I’m just kind of tired. Of life AND the Internet. Both are just pretty lame for me right now.

For instance, people stopped using Facebook about three months ago.  The people who used to have updates every day are gone. Or maybe they blocked me.  Or maybe thats just me not knowing how the hell to see statuses since FB just randomly changes stuff around all the time. Where did everybody go? What is the new Facebook so I can sign up quickly and be smug about what a trend-setter I am?

And in the blogging world, it seems like everyone has really slowed down as well. I mean, perhaps everything that can be said, has been said and there isn’t a single new thing to blog about. So if the collective Internet machine is going to take a break, so am I.  I need to be inspired.  By some really great blogging or good stories or Oprah and Ellen on the “O” cover or something. So if you’re reading this and you have a blog – go write something good. Please. The Internet NEEDS YOU right now. So does Love.

My five year old has recently become inspired — by a posthumous Michael Jackson. He begs me to play Smooth Criminal and They Don’t Really Care About Us and Thriller all the time. And that would be fine, except then he insists that I watch him dance.  And that would be fine, except he never stops AND then he wants a critique.  And that isn’t fine, because I have an Internet to surf, albeit a lame one.

Like a good mother, I tell him that he keeps getting better and you know what he tells me? That God whispers in his ear at night about new dance moves that he can “magically” do in the morning. I don’t know how I feel about this. Maybe my kid is schizo. Or maybe even from the grave, Michael Jackson is trying to lure small boys to grab their crotches and do pelvic thrusts so Michael can clap in heaven.  I already have a history of having angels talk to me, so now I’m perturbed that Michael Jackson is my son’s angel and the next thing you know, he is going to want a hyperbaric chamber for Christmas. Or a chimp. Or MacCauley Culkin in sequined pants — none of which is in the budget (although I should check into the  MacCauley thing – at this point in his career he might fit in the budget…).  So needless to say, I have a lot going on these days trying to save my son’s soul from a dead Michael Jackson, but it still isn’t that inspiring and not enough for a whole blog. I guess if it does become enough for an entire post, I’m screwed.
Be well, Internet. I will be back when I find something I’m excited to write about again.

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters, Part I

Indeed.

I studied abroad in Western Australia my junior year of college, mainly because I couldn’t speak any language fluently except English, and for dumb ass American kids who took Spanish in school for 8 years and still don’t speak it fluently, there aren’t a ton of alternatives. My choices were limited to London or Oz, and as I was making my decision, I imagined Australia as this really warm, tropical place with friendly kangaroos jumping around and that sounded more fun than London, which I imagined as a rainy place with an uptight Queen Mother.  Looking back, I scratch my head at my complete ignorance about both places, but you might as well know my train of thought so you can get an idea of where my head was at. (hint: up my ass)

So my program was on the Western side of Australia, which is the un-Sydney, un-Melbourne, un-Great Barrier Reef side. I didn’t realize that when I picked it, but you can see a theme forming which will be present throughout this post.  I didn’t realize a lot of things at 19.  However, I must say that I loved Western Australia, especially the wine country.  I studied near Perth. For a city of its size, there are a lot of nice, fun, law-abiding citizens in Perth.  In fact, there were only two major crimes that took place in Perth while I was there:  the first was committed by an American sailor (go figure) who was in port at Perth and the second occurred was when I, and all of my girlfriends, were sexually assaulted by the dancers at the Gobbles male strip club.

I thought going to a male strip club would be like going to a normal nudie bar, except that I could expect a lot more fat, horny middle-aged women instead of men there. I thought the dancers would just do their little dances on stage and act dirty and take some clothes off slowly and we’d all giggle and laugh until we paid one of them extra to pretend to do stuff to our friend, just to torture her, but no actual touching would be allowed or encouraged. Like most things in the southern hemisphere, it was actually totally the opposite.  At Australian male strip clubs*, or at least this one, the men don’t dance.  They just get you wasted on free cheap champagne and then they force you to do things in, around and directly to their junk that you really have no interest in doing.  And they bring you on stage to do it, just in case someone in the back row can’t see you being molested in your chair or they need a better angle for their camera. There is a lot of body grease involved, and to this day the smell of it makes me wretch. I wasn’t prepared for so much oil and I still think they could have at least handed us ponchos on our way in so our clothes didn’t get ruined, but alas, they gave us free glasses of pink champagne, and let the sexual assault begin. That’s all the time I will dedicate to one of the most traumatizing events in my life, since this story is about almost murder, not pretty much rape.

*(I thought that it was just an Australia thing, but then I read about Aunt Becky’s American experience recently and apparently the vileness of male strip clubs is universal.  You learn something new everyday).

So I find myself on the wrong side of Australia if I want to see anything that people usually go to Australia to see.  So my friends and I plan a two-week excursion to the other side of Oz for our break. First stop is Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.  The travel agents we recruited to help us gave us this little brochure with all of these vacation packages you could sign up for.  Knowing if we didn’t sign up for a package we might just drink the whole time and never leave the hostel, we set out to find an excursion that would appeal to a group of four women and three punks men who wanted an “adventure”.  Somehow it was determined, by one of the males no doubt, that the excursion named “Rainforest Outback Adventure” was a good fit because we could see a large variety of Australian flora and fauna that way.  I wish I had not already finished two Strongbow Whites when the plans were made, because I can guarantee that there wasn’t a single thing that was described in those 3 days that was even remotely something I would sign up for sober.  You see, I like “adventures” that entail being clean and having clean bedding and bathing in clean water with soap and taking long naps and reading several books whilst sipping red wine and eating a nice steak while a chiseled, shirtless man with an Italian and/or South American accent massages me.  THAT, my friends, is an adventure.

Adventures I generally shy away from include dust, large and/or flying insects, poisonous snakes, sweltering heat, body sweat, any sort of hiking/mildly strenuous exercise, drizzly rain, red mud, eating or touching rainforest vegetation, camp food, and large wild animals, unless they are in a secure zoo enclosure or on TV. Apparently, the “Rainforest Outback Adventure” turned out to be the latter kind of adventure, with an added surprise bonus of drunk wild boar hunters. Now when I judge a new “adventure” opportunity, I check for drunk wild boar hunters, and I avoid those. So, I learned something. Indeed, Oprah. It was a “teaching moment”.

Okay, so we go to the place we are to start our adventure and a guy about 30 years old who looks, acts and talks exactly like the caricature of a mix between Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter welcomes us. We call him Dundee for the remainder of the trip.  There are about 9 of us in our group – us and a nice old British couple. Dundee is a man of few words, and he is hard core.  He straps on his machete and hops into the front seat of this Hummer-like/bus thing that we will use to travel the rainforest and outback the next few days.  As we drove away from the busy tourist town of Cairns, a single, slow tear ran down my face in anticipation of what was sure the be the worst three days ever, and they didn’t disappoint.  Little did I know they were almost my last three.

To be continued….** Click here for Part II

**I’m sorry I can’t tell any story without going off on several tangents. Brevity isn’t my strong suit.  I feel the need to tell the WHOLE story, because if I left out the parts about theft, Speedos, very large ants, Aboriginals, rifles, machetes, and of course, your friends and mine, the drunk wild boar hunters, then it just wouldn’t be a Love story. Please be patient with me.

All in favor of five year marriage contracts, say aye.

You may not have heard of this movement before because I have only recently made it up, so before you vote, I’ll explain it.

First, what I mean by marriage: two adults (I honestly don’t care about the gender) consenting to be legally, emotionally, physically, sexually and financially bound together until one of them dies.  If you get married in your twenties and you both live to be 90 — that means you’re looking at 60 – 70 years with the same person.  All of their good qualities, annoying habits, sicknesses, health, meltdowns, crisis, bad days, good days…for 65 fucking years.  I mean, even if someone is THE BOMB, 65 years is a long fucking time.

And then there are the millions of people who get married and decide that it sucks and then they get divorced – but not before they endure complete financial and emotional devastation in the process.  And if they have kids? Yeah. It’s messy. There is just so much pressure and its such a hassle to disentangle yourself from a marriage.

So I have an idea that could solve lots of problems.  Lets make it so that marriage isn’t necessarily forever.  I propose to make marriage a finite period of time.  So when you get engaged, you negotiate for how long you want to be married ahead of time.  Lets say its five years — I recommend this for the first contract.  It’s kind of like being in the army, where you sign up for an amount of time and during that time, the other person has your ass – exclusively and all the stuff that normal marriage is about. Then at the end of the time, you have the option to sign on for some more time, or split up the assets according to the original contract and amicably and legally go your separate ways. This way, if you marry somebody you wind up hating, you know you only have to deal with them for another couple of years and nobody is surprised or angered or shocked or all judgey that you aren’t renewing the contract.  If you made a good decision and your spouse is a keeper then you’re going to do everything in your power to ensure they want to renew the contract, so you’ll be a nicer person.  You won’t have the leeway to think, “So what if I haven’t taken out the garbage in 16 years? This person is stuck with me, so I can be an asshole whenever I feel like it.” You’ll try harder.

Say you’re in a five year contract and you’re coming up for renewal in a year.  Things are pretty good and you like your spouse. Are you going release some huge, putrid fart in the bed when you wake up right next to the other person? No. You’re going to save it because you want your contract renewed.  Are you going spend all the money on bobble-heads or porcelain figurines of turtles or Taco Bell Chalupas (yes, please) or are you going to tone it down? Are you going to make sure your partner is satis.FIED in bed, or be a three minute man? Are you going to think twice before you say something you don’t really mean, and say more of what you do really want, dream, hope, care about? Yeah. Yeah.  People in happy marriage contracts will constantly be working on the relationship and focused on it, knowing it can all be over soon if they don’t and it can keep getting better if they do.  And people who are miserable can see the light at the end of the tunnel, get their stuff together in an organized and professional manner, renew their Match.com subscription and start looking for the next contract. They’re going to be a free agent!! Bring. it. on.

I’m just thinking the finite contract lengths would inspire people to be more civil, more kind, more respectful to one another in marriage.  Sick of your partner or fallen out of love or out of lust? That’s okay. The contract will end. You can bear it until then.  Then you have the option to do what you want to do without being a total asshole within a marriage you aren’t happy with.  And how about when you get old? People change. Maybe the person that rocks your world at 30 makes you want to kill yourself at 60.  Or you have insane sexual chemistry with a person that you’d never want to raise kids with.  No worries!! You can find the right mate for you at every stage of your life, and have the commitment and consistency of a monogamous relationship.  And once people got used to this thing culturally, there wouldn’t be all these bitter divorces. People would understand that relationships between two committed adults are really important for human welfare, but that they don’t have to last forever.  They can end. And amicably. Or they can keep going, but on terms can be forever renegotiated, so everybody is getting what they need.

And for those few people who wind up renewing over and over for years and years, til death do they part, awesome! Romantic! You made it! And it makes it even cooler that all along the way you had the freedom to go and you didn’t. It probably means more than a traditional marriage that stays in tact for 50 years but the people don’t even talk to each other any more.  They were just too lazy or too religious to do anything else.

So now that you understand my idea, it’s genius, right?   The only thing I haven’t really figured out yet is the kids part.  That gets a little tricky.  What to do with kids that get made within the contractual period? Because I think kids are best off with two parents that love them, and each other, to death and that stay together happily until forever.  But as we’ve discussed already – that isn’t easy.  So maybe there is a special class of marriage contracts that specify the couple will want to parent children together and even if the “marriage” ends when the contract is up, there is still the understanding that both will be totally committed (and contractually obligated) to co-parent until the kids reach adulthood.  Kind of like what happens when people get divorced now, except without the expectations that parents stay together forever.

I guess my plan will not win fans with genealogists – it would make family trees a fucking nightmare.  People would end up with 10 or 12 step parents and a million half siblings, but that could be really good times.  It might also make Christmas card lists dicey, and people would have maybe 10 or 12 weddings in their lives, so you’d probably be at somebody’s wedding every Saturday.  On the other hand, maybe there wouldn’t be so much damn pressure on Your Big Day to make it perfect. And you wouldn’t burn bridges and sever ties because someone didn’t want to sit next to the cat at the reception or wear a feathered hat as a bridesmaid. Or if your best friend got preggers while you were planning the wedding, you wouldn’t care because you might have another one in a few years. The world would be full of parties and weddings that weren’t so damn complicated and were just fun! And finite!  Maybe even Stedman and Oprah would have done a 5 year “official” stint together, if they didn’t have to commit to forever. No. Probably her lawyers would spend 5 years just to negotiate the thing.

You may think this isn’t romantic, but methinks it’s actually the most romantic idea of all.  I hope that if I lived in this world of finite marriage contracts, BD and I would be one of the couples to keep signing up for more until we were 70, when we contracted to drive off a cliff together, happily, on a mutually convenient date.  I don’t know about you, but I like it.

Okay, so NOW all in favor, say aye….