Category Archives: My advice to you

Adventures in Babysitting, the Finale

If you are just joining me, start here.  For the other three of you following the story and want to know what happens when Love insists on choosing a daycare run by a woman who shares none of her interests or philosophies in life, here goes:

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a 10 page signed contract, Miss Amalia decides that we are a good enough family to admit into her daycare and even agrees to take our son at 10 weeks, instead of 6 months, with a little extra charge.  I liked Miss Amalia and her sister, who ran the daycare, but Miss Amalia and I had very different M.O.s.  Miss Amalia loved rules. LOVED rules. I, on the other hand, love to ignore rules, especially when they appear to be arbitrary, which many of Miss Amalia’s were. So when I would visit before my son started I would kind of laugh to myself about how amusing it was the way she clung to her random rules. You know, no shoes in the house. No coming more than 15 minutes early or later than she expected you. No calling during nap time. No breaking any of her 600 breast milk handling rules (thank GOD I didn’t have to deal with that). The list went on and on.  And on.  And on.

So my son is born in June and he turns out to be the easiest, most even-tempered and laid back baby ever born.  God only gives you what you can handle, and that is when I realized that God thinks I’m a total loser, because honestly, the kid never cried, he drank his formula without complaint, he had no gas, he slept all the time, he nailed all his weight and height checks at the doctor. He didn’t even cry when he got his immunizations. I had no idea what motherhood was going to be like, but after the first few weeks with my little guy I was wondering what so many new moms were complaining about.  Everyone was always talking about how hard it was and how they never got to sleep or shower or catch their breath.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  Taking care of an infant was so easy.

When I was on maternity leave, I probably read 100 books and even started watching Dr. Phil (a moustached man who is not a police officer, leaving only one other possibility) just to fill the time.  Seriously.  I was tethered to the house because my baby was always sleeping.  There was nothing for me to do except make a few bottles and change a few diapers every few hours.  And Oprah was in re-runs, so I turned to Dr.Phil. I was totally intrigued desperate.  My son would wake up, eat, be cute for 30 minutes, sleep for a couple of hours and then do it all over again. At  7 weeks he slept through the night.

These facts clearly prove that I must have been the best damn mother in the universe. I had the perfect baby, so that must have meant that every decision I had made had been the right one. If I wasn’t doing everything exactly right then how could my baby be so awesome? You’re stumped. I can tell.  All those moms whose kids cried a lot or didn’t sleep or had acid reflux – it was probably because they weren’t doing it right. I started fancying myself as an authority.  I thought maybe I should write a book about being a perfect parent and I would prove to the world that formula fed babies and their working mothers weren’t all that bad. Scratch that. Formula fed babies and their working mothers were superior! I was a perfect parent*, as evidenced by my perfect child.

(*I think I actually may have believed in my post-partum stupor that my parenting had something to do with my son’s temperament, until I was graced with my second son. The one that feels me up in Target. I now have no such illusions.)

Okay, so now that you know that I am a perfect mother and I have a perfect baby who is about to go to a perfect daycare, you might understand my surprise when my baby went to daycare and Miss Amalia reported that he cried all day.  Ummm? My baby? Impossible. My child does not cry.  “No, he does. All day.” deadpanned Miss Amalia.  “Well, I don’t understand. Are you feeding him? Is he dry?  He never cries with us. Never!”  I was wondering whether she was trying to shake me down for more money. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing.  And yet everyday when I came to pick him up (and he seemed to be docile and happy as ever then), she would claim he spent most of the day crying and fussing.

Not to worry, though.  Miss Amalia knew why.  She suspected that perhaps we let him sleep whenever he wanted to. Yes, we did.  She suspected that sometimes he fell asleep in our arms or in a swing but not in a crib. Well, yes. Sometimes.  She suspected we didn’t have him on a strict schedule. No. At two months old we did not.  “Well”, she said, “you’re going to have to get him on my schedule or this isn’t going to work.”  Your schedule? Um? What the hell are we paying you $375 a week for? I’m not giving up all things fun in this world to pay you just so that you get to be the boss of me, thankyouverymuch.

But I didn’t say that. I asked for the schedule.  Here is a great example of BD and I saying “Sure, Miss Amalia. Give us a copy of your schedule and we’ll make sure we keep to it on the weekends.” (wink, wink, roll eyes, giggles).  She gave us the schedule and I’m pretty sure we used it to pick up the dog’s poop on the way home.  Our kid was younger than 3/4 of the food in my pantry. What did he know about schedules? If he needs to sleep, let him. When he wants to eat, we’ll feed him.  We’re his parents for God’s sake. What does this single woman in her thirties without children know about taking care of children? (Actually – not such a good question to ask yourself when you hired her to do just that). Her unyielding anal retentiveness was really cramping my style and pissing me off.

So a month goes by and he has about 4 bad days and 1 good day a week. After his first four weeks there, Miss Amalia tells us that we need to have an “evaluation” meeting at Starbucks.  We thought this was another one of her random administration rule-y things and we begrudgingly went to our meeting, but were eager to hear about our perfect son’s progress.

She got straight to the point. Our son won’t go to sleep unless she is holding his hand. He fusses and cries a lot and she has other kids to watch, so it’s very distracting.  Perhaps it wasn’t a good match.  Perhaps he’d be happy somewhere else. Perhaps we would all be happy somewhere else.  It just wasn’t working out.  Maybe we’d all made a mistake.  Somewhere in the background the sound of a needle scratches a record.  Oh no she did ent. I saw her lips moving, but I couldn’t really make out the words.  We were getting kicked out of day care.  Oh, helllls no!  After my brief blackout as she was kicking our infant out of the only daycare in Chicago I could find for him, the fighting spirit came back into my body and I begged her not to kick us out. We had nowhere to go, and plus, it made no sense that this baby that was so calm and perfect with us could be such a pain in the ass for her.  I mean, if our kid couldn’t meet her standards, then nobody’s could.  We just couldn’t comprehend the situation we were in, but we promised we would do anything, anything to stay in.

She wasn’t a monster. She only made us beg for 15 minutes until said she would give us another four weeks to either clean up our 3 month old’s behavior or find a new daycare.  Aw, fuck.  I mean, was I supposed to take away his car keys? How do you “fix” a 3 month old who is on probation at daycare and yet an easy, laid back angel at home?

Miss Amalia said she’d work with us. She told us she suspected we weren’t following her schedule. She suspected we were still letting him sleep whenever and wherever and often in our arms. We kind of demurred, but it was probably clear to her that we weren’t doing anything she told us to do.  We sheepishly asked for another copy of the schedule.  We thought it was completely absurd voodoo to have to a kid this small on her strict schedule, but we had no choice. We had to feed him, sleep him, play with him, change him and practice sign language with him, all on this schedule she had.  He had to take all naps in his crib, alone and he couldn’t already be asleep when we put him in there.  No more falling asleep on daddy’s chest, or in the swing or a free bottle here or there.  Obviously, there was no way this was going to work, but we had no other choice, so we decided to do it her way. I really wanted to be right that she was wrong – that the schedule was meaningless — because after all, in just three months I was already a perfect mother with all the answers. So we watched the clock and followed her schedule over the weekend, no exceptions.  Except the yoga part. We weren’t sure how a 3 month old gets the most out of his yoga session, so we substituted Baby Mozart.

On Monday she said he had a good day. “You followed the schedule, didn’t you?” Um. (eyes downward) Yes. On Tuesday another good day. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday.  It had to be a coincidence.  Maybe he had a sense that he was on probation and was on his best behavior. But the next weekend we stuck to the schedule again. And suddenly Miss Amalia is reporting that our kid seems to be so happy and she has never seen him so calm.  Really?  Finally the son we’d always known was showing up at daycare. But only after we went against everything we wanted to do and put him on a schedule. On her schedule. I could tell Miss Amalia was gloating. Because she knew she was right and that we were just punk new parents.  She scared us straight, and she knew it.

Miss Amalia – 1, Love Family – 0. Well played, Miss Amalia, well played.

Eventually our son worked his way off the probation list and we stuck with Miss Amalia for a year. It wasn’t without days that I wanted to punch her in the face because she was so sure she knew everything (and unfortunately, most times she was right).  When she decided she was so awesome that daycare was going to cost $400/week even with 7 other kids there, we gave up.  We couldn’t afford it and she told us she was quite sure that other people could.  We had to move somewhere we could find affordable daycare.  We had to change everything.

So thanks to Miss Amalia, we sold our condo at the height of the real estate bubble and bought a single family in a great neighborhood.  I had to look for new daycare and discovered my Mom Crush in the process and another parent at Miss Amalia’s gave us the lead on the new daycare we found that was almost half of what Miss Amalia was demanding. And we’re still with that daycare. She didn’t make us sign a contract, or tell me how to mother, or make me feel guilty I’ve never seen the inside of Whole Foods. I’m pretty sure she has never done yoga and when the kids get dirty, she washes their clothes, instead of sending them home in a plastic bag. And she loves our kids and they love her. And none of it would have been possible without all Miss Amalia’s rules.  And Starbucks.

So thank you, Starbucks and Miss Amalia — for everything.

The search for my tribe

This January I found myself back in the place I have perpetually been throughout my life, which is wandering around aimlessly, wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life and how I got to the place where I am and how that place where I am always feels like a place I’d like to leave – immediately.

You know why I love Oprah? Its not because of her fabulous hair or because everybody is afraid of her or because she gets to hang out with Obama all the time.  It’s because she doesn’t go two weeks on her show without doing a story about somebody who was nobody until they got inspired one day and then changed the world.  I live for those stories. Without believing in those stories I would have no hope that one day my life will abruptly and powerfully change and my angel will come to me and say “Love, lets do this.  3-6-34-51-52 and the Powerball is 22. I’ll let you know what God wants you to do with it, but in the meantime, why don’t you just go ahead and buy a beach house in Zihuatanejo, kay? You can run your new philanthropic foundation from there”. I mean, Oprah has me convinced that one day I’ll be minding my own business and ordering my Value Meal #2 at McDonalds and suddenly the heavens will open up and I’ll just “know” that the cook in the back is a genius orphan who is homeless and just needs a chance and I’ll adopt her and she’ll grow up to be the President and I’ll get to live in the White House and she’ll make me ambassador to Tahiti and life will be totally sweet because of my awesome inspiration to take her home with me on that fateful day I was quenching my insatiable hunger for a Quarter Pounder with cheese.  I could tell you about a million other scenarios I’ve feasted my mind on, but you get the point.  Nobody loves stories more than I do about ordinary people doing extraordinary things that make this world a cooler place to be because if I’m being honest, I really believe that one day I’ll get to be one of them.  When I hear those stories I don’t think, “Oh, thats really neat.” I think, “When is it going to be my turn?”

Which makes me really a different sort of person than the people I find myself surrounded by most of the time. I know this because I’ve taken every damn personality and motivation and self-discovery test this world has to offer in an attempt to find out why it seems like I can’t find anybody like me out there in the world.  And usually my results break the computer or they come back but it says something like, “ERROR- value unknown” or “Only 1% of the population is this type…” and when you read the description of a person that would get this score, it is usually brief because it commands a total loss for words to describe. I think the issue is two-fold: only three people have ever scored this combination and those three people are too strange to really describe. When you look at professions that are good for my personality type, you wind up with stuff like unicycle rider, psychic, manic-depressive and homeless.  What you don’t get is ‘efficient little cog in big corporate machine’, which is what I am, except for the efficient part.

On the other hand, the fact that there are a few people out there – that it is humanly possible to meet someone like me – gives me a lot of comfort.  There are so many days when I look around at the people I work with, or the parents at my kids’ school, or my neighbors, or whatever group and just think, “am I the only one thinking…(x,y,z)?” and I’m pretty sure I am.  And after awhile you start to feel weird and lonely because people look at you really funny when you tell them what you’re thinking. So I’ve learned to self-edit, especially when at work.  It is very unbecoming for a professional salesperson to say she could care less about the money and sometimes she tells her clients not to buy stuff from her, because she knows her competitor has a better widget.  These things are completely foreign concepts in the circles I travel in and they would likely get me fired or at least demoted. Some days I fantasize about getting fired. But then I cry inside knowing that if that happened, the bond between me and my favorite fabulous gay salesman Leonardo at Banana Republic might be broken forever.

So back in January I decided that I either had to go into therapy or get a life coach or I might go insane because I was born to change the world and so far all I’ve done is changed careers four times. And a lot of dirty diapers.

I thought if I went into therapy there was a good chance I might never get out, so I thought it was safest to try a life coach first. So I began the search for a life coach to tell me what I am supposed to do with my life and why I always feel like a fish out of water wherever I go.  You want to have a fun couple of weeks? Interview some life coaches.  Ones you find on the Internet and not through a referral because of course, you don’t associate with anybody who doesn’t double over laughing in amusement by the whole concept.

But it was awesome. Wow. Some life coaches have PhDs, or some sort of relevant training and some life coaches have an extra phone line and illusions of grandeur.  And honestly, a lot of the times you can’t tell which is which by talking to them.  Some are really great and some are train wrecks. But, to their credit, they are amusing train wrecks. Like the guy who I was interviewing that talked to me for a half hour about why he thinks his second wife left him. I had to interrupt him, “Hey, could I offer you some coaching? She just not that into you.”  After that moment of genius, it got me thinking that maybe I should be a life coach. I mean, if all you have to do to be a life coach is give people advice and help them solve their problems, then sign me up.  I clearly don’t have a great grasp of the world, but I know about people. I can read people. And like I said, my personality books tell me I’m well-suited to be a psychic as well. So who wouldn’t want a psychic life coach?  But, I’m an intellectual snob and as such, I can’t get behind waking up one day and calling myself a life coach.   So that is a whole other fun story, but the point is, I actually found a coaching situation in February and signed up for a year and it has, much to my delight and surprise, actually changed my life.

That said, the meaning of life hasn’t presented itself. And I’m still working for The Man. And a few months into it I was still feeling pretty alientated from the world.  My coach recommended that I do stuff that comes naturally to me, take inspired actions and go find my tribe.  She suggested that perhaps people in my tribe don’t hang out at my corporate entity.  Perhaps if I were really living the life I was born to live, it wouldn’t be as a corporate drone at a Fortune 100 company. It would be me, doing something else, surrounded by other people that teach and inspire and make me laugh everyday.

A concept I hadn’t thought of. One I wasn’t sure existed.

So what did I do after my third glass of wine one night? I started this blog.  People in real life laugh at my stories. And it turns out that when I’m at my best, I’m entertaining people with my stories, but they aren’t always of the ilk that are appreciated around the water cooler at work, or at dinner parties with parents from my kid’s school. So I decided to hell with it – what if I just wrote all my stories down and didn’t worry about what my coworkers or family or the world in general thought about it, and then maybe my tribe would find me. Maybe people who “get” me will enjoy what I write, and start reading it and I will have a community of people who I can entertain and who I “get” and who will teach and inspire and motivate me to be great.

And here you are.

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for commenting on it. Thank you for following me. Thank you for writing your own blogs that are real. That teach and inspire and make me snort Diet Coke out my nose laughing and unable to read the screen through eyes full of tears. I think the vast majority of you know exactly what it’s like to need to blog as an outlet and tell your stories and write down your thoughts and be validated by other people. So we’ve found one another. Our tribe.  Lets keep blogging, keep reading about each other, keep commenting and validating one another and maybe we can keep each other from going postal or owning too many cats. Maybe we can be great together.

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters – The Finale.

In this final episode, I eventually get to the part about my almost-murder by the drunk Australian wild boar hunters. Let’s recap:

I am too drunk to know to say “no” to participating in the “Outback Rainforest Adventure” during my visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Part I, then the tour guide rips off his clothes and goes swimming in a rainforest waterfall pool in an Australian flag Speedo and I get all hot and bothered by it in Part II, and that was just the first day of this whole unfortunate trip.

I really want to remember every last activity we did the whole three days because they all sucked in their own way and because I revel in complaining, and it would be fun to tell you all about them in detail. But I only remember the very worst moments.  So I’ll just have to stick to those for the finale of my Outback adventure tale.

Okay, so the second day starts and Dundee herds all of our hungover asses into the Outbackmobile (this is the new name for our vehicle – since I can’t really describe what it was) and he tells us that we’ll be leaving the rainforest and entering the Outback. I was delighted to be leaving the rainforest behind, because I thought my chances of survival were significantly greater the further we got from all of the poisonous small things that wanted to kill me in the rainforest. But I wasn’t sure about the whole Outback thing. The closest I had been to the Outback prior to this was the Steakhouse, which, let me tell you is as beautiful to me as Oprah herself. I mean, you can order thick, fat steaks and pick them up in a drive thru after 20 minutes? Fucking genius.

So I had high hopes for this thing they called the Outback. Perhaps there would be cute kangaroos throwing colorful boomerangs around that happy Aboriginals dot-painted especially for them. Oh, and an old Aboriginal dude playing the didgeridoo while the koalas sat in a tree unobtrusively eating leaves or sleeping. That would captivate me for about 5 minutes, which is a very long time for me, so it looked like a ray of sunshine was in my future.

That is not what the Outback is like.  The Outback is possibly the most boring landscape in the entire universe. I’m a Midwestern girl, so I thought soybean fields were about as boring as a landscape could get, but no. The Australian Outback is the worst. Even the desert beats the Outback, because it’s all mystical and stuff and there are cliffs and canyons for you to fall off of, so it packs in some drama too.

Not the Steakhouse

See what I mean?

So anyway, Dundee drives us into a landscape much like this one above and stopped the Outbackmobile in all of this nonsense and we had to go have a “look-see”. This is what Dundee called it when we were about to get out of the vehicle and wander around aimlessly. I hated look-sees. You would just walk around and get sweaty and look at dirt and a bush here and there and be like “wow. a fucking bush. awesome. where the fuck are the koalas I was led to believe Australia was rife with?” Dundee was animated. To him, this was all fucking awesome. Again, he was so like the Croc Hunter. He was jumping around with his machete bouncing up and down on his hip pointing out these huge ant hills and animatedly explaining how exactly the ants make them. He’d get down on his hands and knees and ogle the ants’ handiwork. I mean these things were about a foot or two off the ground, which is hella bigger than the ones you find on suburban sidewalks so I guess they were impressive compared to that, but they weren’t the fucking pyramids or anything. Dundee seemed to think they were the work of the gods.  Really? I mean, it’s a fucking two foot hill in the middle of nowhere. And plus, there aren’t any ants or termites or whatever crawling all over them, which was good, but creates too little drama to make me care.  I never got the five minutes of captivation I was so looking forward to.

So we had a day long look-see in the Outback and all we saw were these ant hills all over the place. And there was a little rocky hill thing we climbed too. And by “we”, I mean everybody else. It looked pointless to me. And maybe like it would cause me to sweat more than I was comfortable with. So I just sat at the bottom rolling my eyes and being annoying and scanning the horizon for killer koalas or at least some boxing kangaroos. No luck.

Okay, so then it starts getting dark and Dundee brings us back to the Outbackmobile and he declares that this is where we’ll camp tonight! Ummm – surely you jest? There aren’t any tents in the back of the mobile! How are we going to camp? Dundee informs me happily that we’re “sleeping under the stars – didn’t you read it in the brochure, Love?” No I didn’t fucking read it in the brochure.  I think we established if I had, I would be at a club chugging a Strongbow instead of in the middle of BFE with a Speedo-clad, machete-carrying, Steve Irwinesque tour guide.

And, even if I had read the brochure, aren’t there supposed to be tents? No. We were going to sleep in “swags”, which are kind of like sleeping bags, except instead of being soft and snuggly, they are made of heavy duty canvas and they are kind of shaped like coffins and you’re supposed to zip up your damn head inside them. And that is where I am supposed to fucking sleep. I mean, he didn’t even put a tarp down under the swag. It was like, unroll the swag and just put it on any dirty dusty spot and get in. Oh, and by the way, they don’t breathe at all, so get naked or you’ll probably sweat to death. The FUCK? Dundee was all about getting naked. And in places where a multitude of insects could claim any of your orifices as their own swag. Um. No thanks.

So this is where I have a little mental breakdown. There is no toilet. No shower. No bed. No alcohol. No McDonalds. Nobody, for miles, except us and Dundee. And I’m completely freaked out because I am sure that something or someone is going to attack me as I sleep. I mean, everybody knows that dingoes eat babies in Australia. So whats to stop them from trying to eat my arm? And how unnatural is it for people to just sleep outside under the stars? Are you kidding me? That’s the whole reason we fucking evolved – so that we could live in cool urban lofts with central air and skylights so we could see the stars in our temperature controlled, insect and psycho-free abodes. Why do so many people have such a huge problem with the great indoors?!  Who was going to keep me safe?!

Dundee’s machete. Thats who.  At least that was what he was telling me while I was on my knees screaming to God and tearing at my greasy hair. His machete was pretty big. And by now I was convinced he wasn’t going to kill me, though I was sure that he wanted to. Many times. He told me that he had some chocolate if I would just come back to the fire he built so we could have dinner and tell stories. It was blantantly clear I wasn’t the first hysterical woman he had talked off the ledge.  I was hungry. And I needed chocolate. So in tears, I returned to my friends and the British couple and we sat around a fire as Dundee cooked our dinner. I was still ruminating about how maybe I should spend more time sober so I wouldn’t agree to these insane “adventures” ever again, when suddenly from very far away, we saw headlights.  In the middle of the Outback. We were nowhere near a road. I thought that perhaps God had heard my prayer and sent Ed McMahon with an oversized check to deliver me from this hell. I started jumping up and down, elated. I was sure that I was being saved. It was the only logical explanation of what could be happening.

Dundee looked very concerned. That bastard wants to see me suffer, I told myself. He’s pissed Ed McMahon found me all the way out here. The tenacity of the Prize Patrol in this case was impressive. Those guys just wouldn’t be deterred once they found their winner, even though she is sitting in the middle of the fucking Outback. It was really very moving.  But, then again… We were kind of far away from civilization. And I didn’t know if satellite would reliably work that far away from civilization and it wasn’t really prime time in the US yet, so if they did it now most Americans would miss my glorious moment.  Plus, it would be really expensive to bring Ed’s makeup person all the way into the Outback. Maybe it wasn’t Ed.

The headlights were making zig zags all over the place, but seemed generally headed in our direction.  Now is a good time to remind you that at that time, cell phones came packed in briefcases and were used by about .8% of the population. We had no communication channels to civilization, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen without the benefit of 911. Dundee got up and started pacing. He told us to be quiet and not to talk to whoever it was and he then turned on the Outbackmobile and shined the headlights in the direction of the speeding vehicle that was barreling toward us, presumably so they wouldn’t run us over.

We started to panic a little. Our normally jovial Dundee broke out in a sweat. Apparently this part wasn’t in the brochure. Who the hell was in that car, and what the hell were they doing driving around in the Outback at night?  The headlights keep coming closer and we kind of all huddle together having no idea what to expect, but my hopes of it being the Prize Patrol were diminishing every second the lights came closer. No way Ed McMahon would drive that fast and erratically. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving.

Let me say it again. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving. Aw fuck. Lindsay Lohan was only 10 then. So who the hell was this?  The truck was upon us and our campfire within two minutes. Probably less. Dundee continued to pace nervously, and he took his machete off his belt in anticipation.  We did not have to wait long to find out who was driving. Two men, who I can only describe as extremely hillbilly-esque (they had no teeth – I swear to God), half rolled, half fell out of their jeep. But their messy dismount from the jeep did not affect their ability to hold their rifles.  At first they appeared to be very happy drunks.  They were laughing and wheezing and wanted to know who we were and what we were doing.  Dundee said we were having a look-see and camping.  He inquired about what they were doing.  I couldn’t understand a damn word they said, but I found out later they were looking for wild boars. They were wild boar hunters. Wild. Boar. Hunters.

Ummm….whaaat? Nobody said anything about the possibility of wild boar, let alone their hunters. They wanted to know if we had beer.  Believe me, fellas – if there were any beer, you would find it all coursing through my veins. Instead, I had more than my share of adrenaline flowing through them at that point.  Drunk hillbillies with guns scare me.

Two of my friends on the trip were from New York and LA, and they are whispering that we’re all going to die.  They were pretty sure that these guys were going to open fire at any moment.  I found it pretty ironic that the whole time we were in Australia, the Aussies would ask my friend from LA whether it was safe to go out on the streets in LA because of all of the drive by shootings. Hollywood makes LA look like the killing fields.  They thought Chicago was probably safe because the mob only killed everybody back during prohibition. We thought it was hysterical. But now the tables were turned and three chicks from LA, NYC and Chicago respectively were never more frightened than when faced with random drunk wild boar hunters.

You know how they say you get a “fight or flight” reflex in a situation like this? Now I know I’m a flight person. My goal was to get shot dead running away because there was no way in hell I was going to get myself raped by those two mother fuckers and then killed. Nope. I decided that I much preferred to get killed right away. I told my friends I’d take the first bullet. You know, for the team.

A heated argument seemed to erupt between Dundee and the hunters. They wanted to sit with us and be friends, but Dundee told them they weren’t really invited. Their initial joviality faded and then they seemed to be telling Dundee something along the lines of “Well see, we have guns and you only have a machete”. A pretty solid argument for how sloshed they were. But Dundee kept them talking and at a semi-safe distance from us.  Then one of my friends declared “They’ll kill Dundee first. And then they’ll rape us all and kill us. We’re so dead.” We looked at the guys we came with and asked them if they were going to stand for this. Like maybe they should back Dundee up or something. You know, act like men. They said the hell if they were going to get into the fray. Those guys were big, dumb, drunk and armed. I think their plan for escape was to run while we were getting raped. Pussies.

As Dundee and the hunters argued I was able to reframe the whole situation and kept thinking about whether it would be worse to be shot dead by these guys or to sleep under the stars in that coffin/swag thing. I was leaning toward the former (I seriously was) when suddenly the guys got back in their truck and peeled off into the night.  Wait. What? I was still alive and unraped? Whoa. That was heavy. Dundee came back and told us who they were and what they wanted. He wound up having to buy them off with some of our food. Good thing for me that Dundee was such a skilled negotiator, because if they had asked for one of the women,  I would’ve been the first one Dundee gave away.

I asked if maybe it would be best for us to drive to a hotel. Dundee said we’d be fine. Those guys weren’t coming back. Yeah, right. With all these naked coeds in swags? They’re totally coming back to rape us. I lobbied for us to forfeit our adventure and hightail it to Cairns. Dundee wouldn’t hear of it. He was back to his old self. Gleeful in my misery.

Eventually I had to get into the swag. But first I had a few questions for Dundee:

What if it rains? It won’t rain.

It doesn’t rain here? What if a pack of wild boar comes? No worries.

What about all those ants that built those big pyramid things? There won’t be many insects. Just get in. And take your clothes off or you’ll die of heat.

The hell if I was going to get naked. I had never had crabs and hell if I was going to get them from a “night under the stars” in a cheap swag in the Australian Outback.  I zipped myself in and the gross BO smell was overwhelming, and as promised, it was hot as hell, so I opened it just a little for some air. And I fell asleep.

Only to be awakened in the early hours of the next day by a very large drop of water which fell on my forehead. The fuck? And then another one.

“DO. NOT. TELL ME IT IS. RAINING. ON MY HEAD.” I said this as loudly as humanly possible, without having it turn into a shriek.  Oh yes. It was raining. My declaration woke the rest of the group.  I quickly unzipped the swag to sit up and start bitching more, when my eyes focused on two, no three, no FOOURRR!!! ant-like things that were bigger than a baby’s arm crawling on top of my swag. “HO-LY-SHIIIIIT!”

“I hate it here! I hate Australia! I hate you, Dundee! This is ridiculous. Get me the fuck out of here! You said it didn’t rain? What the fuck is it doing right now? We almost get shot last night and now there is some sort of fucking flash flood in the Outback and these fucking ants want to eat me. I HATE YOOOOUUUU! I hate this! ALL of this! I have never been more miserable in my entire life!” (If this story ever gets made into a movie, only Meryl could handle this complex character. Only she has the power to accurately convey the powerful rawness and the depth of my soul at that poignant moment.)

Dundee shrugged and smiled and said that we should fold our swags up and get in the Outbackmobile.  He was going to take us to a horse farm, then an Aboriginal village and then we were going to a pub. And then we were going back to Cairns. You know when you are fighting for your life, like you fall into any icy river, and your body conserves all the blood and gives it to your heart and lungs and brain and you have this intense focus to stay alive? Thankfully that is what happened to me in that very moment! My survival instincts finally kicked in and my brain focused on the word “pub” and I lived. Thank God Almighty. I lived.

It rained all morning.

The horse farm? Smelled like shit. Like I suppose most horse farms do.

The aboriginal village? Um, it was like going to the projects. We got to hang out with people who hate white people for ruining everything for them and then making them paint boomerangs and didgeridoos so that they could get some money from us so they could use the money to go back to being drunk again.  Awesome.

The pub? Glorious. And I kicked Dundee’s ass at darts. It felt good to be back in my element.

And then we got on with the rest of our vacation. And I lived to tell the tale.

SO…now you know what not to do in Australia.

You’re welcome.

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….

Love’s Laws #2 – #21, a.k.a What Oprah knows for sure

I live to talk a lot about Oprah. You know that already if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, or had a conversation with me that lasts over 3.4 minutes.

Hopefully, you have read Love’s Law #1. I have found further recent proof from one of my favorite blogs that I’m not the only one creeped out by mustaches.  Meg from 2birds1blog wrote yesterday:

– Speaking of ridiculous things my sister has said, the other day we were discussing her intense love of mustaches when she mentioned how excited she was because it’s almost, “mustache season.” Apparently, mustache season begins after Labor Day ends, in a sort of reverse White Pants Rule kind of way. Or as Becca puts it, “When the white pants go away, the mustaches come out to play.”

I have never felt so completely molested by a sentence in my entire life.


Wowsers! Her sister is fucked up! But I see that the first thing that entered her mind was molestation.  I’m not the only one.

Anyway, Oprah always asks people what they know for sure. From my last post I learned a few more things for sure:

  1. John Mayer is indeed a douche. But we wouldn’t kick him out of bed.
  2. Michael Jackson is asexual. Except it appears that Nel doesn’t think so and she was x5. However, now I know for sure I don’t want to know what MJ did or didn’t do with small children. Oprah didn’t even weigh in on this in her tribute to Michael Jackson. She is of zero value here.
  3. If you marry a rock star or pro athlete (except Herschel Walker) you’re ridiculous if you think they aren’t going to screw around on you. Read: buy your famous husband condoms so you don’t get any of that nastiness coming home.

But I will admit to the world today that Oprah wrote down in the November 2008 “O” Magazine all the 20 things she knows for sure and I carry it around with me everywhere. (Stop it. At least I’m being honest).

So today I’ve decided to recreate that list as Love’s Law’s #2 – 21, but know that they are straight from Oprah’s mouth because I don’t want her to sue me because I don’t even have a lawyer. On second thought, if she sues me does that mean I get to see her in court? That might be so worth it.

Love’s Laws #2 -21 – What I believe (and you should too) since Oprah knows it for sure:

  1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what.
  2. You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.
  3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power.
  4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
  5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.
  6. What you believe has more power that what you dream or hope or wish for.  You become what you believe.
  7. If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough.
  8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
  9. Failure is the sign post to turn you in another direction.
  10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.
  11. Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.
  12. Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.
  13. Let passion drive your profession.
  14. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Then every paycheck will be a bonus.
  15. Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.
  16. Every day brings a chance to start over.
  17. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth. Women everywhere must declare it so.
  18. Doubt means don’t. Don’t move. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.
  19. When you don’t know what to do, get still.  The answer will come.
  20. “Trouble don’t last always” (A line from a Negro spiritual)

I believe in all of this, except for a caveat on #17.  I think being skid row prostitute is the hardest job in the world.  And after that, being a person who lives with me. And then maybe motherhood.

More Love’s Laws to come, including #22 – People living in Seattle are cool I guess, but unfortunately they are the worst looking population in the continental United States.

My Republican Facebook friends are killing me slowly and painfully, something they learned from Cheney, no doubt

I like to believe I’m open-minded and everybody has valid points and everybody is entitled to their own opinions and whatever, whatever, but I’ve decided that all of my Facebook “friends” who are super conservative staunch Republicans and want me everyone to fucking know it are annoying assholes.  I have seriously considered de-friending all of my bitchy war-mongering, liar-protecting, poor people-hating, dumb ass arch conservative friends because they, and their Facebook statuses, bring me down.  I can’t help but feel intellectually and morally superior to anybody who voted for Bush/Cheney twice and then voted for Sarah fucking Palin and isn’t even embarrassed about it.  Okay, so maybe I’m not very open minded. No. I’m not. And I hope before I defriend them, they defriend me because I feel dirty being linked to them, even if its only electronically, but they delight in torturing me, so I doubt they will take the high ground.

Now, I’ll admit they probably hate me too because I am a Facebook friend who people think is a Democrat and wants everyone to know it, but really I just like to have very dirty dreams about the President. All that hope and change talk gets me all hot and bothered and I just can’t help but lust after him. I so want to be his Monica Lewinsky — well, not the cigar part — but definitely the blue dress part, right after he reads me the Gettysburg address, and as we listen to “Yes We Can” .  I want to have his love child like Rielle had John Edward’s. Except of course, I love him because he isn’t an asshole like Bill Clinton and John Edwards, so the blue dress concept/love child might go right over his head.  Come to think of it, I picked the fucking worst Democrat to fall in lust with. I don’t think our mutual love is ever to be. A lot like my relationship with Oprah. Suffice to say we have a very complicated love triangle on our hands, but I think I’m the only one that is very bothered by it all.

But anyway, about my own political views — I’m not sure if I’m a Democrat and I honestly don’t hate everything Republican. I just think health care should be considered a basic human right in the richest country in the world, and I feel like having a bunch of poor, uneducated people in this country makes us worse off, so I’m all for educating them so they don’t have to be poor,  but that is all really secondary to my very dirty love of Barack Obama. I don’t know if that makes me a Democrat or a bleeding heart liberal or a perv, or just a homewrecker.  Maybe all of those things as well as being extremely annoying to my Republican frenemies.

So I’ll put some dumb innocuous status up like, “I wish Obama would give us a three day weekend every month” and then I get responses from people writing, “He’s already given lots of people 7 day weekends. Those kind of weekends i can do without. 😦 ” It is all I can do not to comment back, “Fuck you, fuck face! And don’t ever sully my Facebook status in this awful way this again!”, because I’m trying to use my words,  but I’d rather use a waterboard, which I know they would approve of  because Cheney told them it was okay, so long as somehow he was making money off it.

At times like these, I envision a world where all of the people who think people without money don’t deserve health care, and poor kids don’t deserve an education, and fear is a good excuse for war, and that free markets can solve every problem, and that women who do not want to have a child should bring them into the world anyway even though they won’t give her a job, a dime, childcare assistance or any help once that happens, and that God only loves Christians and white people, and that they can add their crazy uber conservative rhetoric to my Facebook statuses would all move into Texas together and then secede from the Union and wave their confederate flags around and talk about how great their state is and friend each other on Facebook and defriend me and leave the rest us the fuck alone.  The only problem with that plan unfortunately is that I don’t think they’d all fit in Texas. So I’ll throw in Lousiana too. Sorry Lousianans. And we’d have to split up Facebook too.  I wish them all luck. They aren’t bad people. They just have painfully bad ideas. I think. And I should know, because I have a lot of them myself.  Like the one I just wrote about.

But I will ask a higher power (Oprah herself) to give me the compassion I need for my extremely conservative Republican Facebook friends, but I swear to GOD, if they post any more comments on my statuses that in any way insult the Man I Will Wear A Blue Dress For, I’m going to lose my shit. And lose them too. As Facebook friends, forever.  Then who will they have to torture?

Love’s Law #1 – Men with mustaches in 2009 are either cops or sex offenders, hopefully not both

Indeed, the best way to know whether or not you are in the presence of a sex offender (before he sexually offends you) in 2009 is if you are in the presence of a man sporting a mustache. I’m not talking about beards or goatees or all the other stuff. I’m talking about a mustache only. Its the universal sex offender secret code that says, “See, I have a mustache and I will do very bad things to you if I get the chance. If I’m not currently sexually assaulting you, you can bet I’m thinking about it.” Don’t believe me? Go check out the sex offenders in your area and 90% will have mustaches. The other 10% had to shave them off in prison.

Although that might be a bad example because Love’s Law applies only to men with mustaches.  So the mathematical proof is something like:  If mustache, then sex offender. Not If sex offender, then mustache.  I’m making this clear because I don’t want my readers to be pissed when they find themselves in the clutches of someone sexually assaulting them and he doesn’t have a mustache and now you’re blaming me. Some of them know the universal sign and choose to ignore it just to be tricky, thinking you’ll get Love’s Law all backward and agree to help them get something out of their big, scary van with no windows at night because they don’t have a ‘stache.

Now, there is one caveat to Love’s Law #1 and that is, for whatever very disturbing reason I don’t want to delve into, sometimes cops like to have mustaches too. I don’t know whether they think the mustache looks good on all the sex offenders they pick up or what. But sometimes cops have them too, and hopefully they aren’t sexual predators on the side. So I will give a pass to the cops with mustaches – they may not be sex offenders, but they clearly have no taste, so I would advise them to get rid of it as soon as possible. Its creepy, it does not help them get laid and its a threat to public safety.

Now, this is a pretty universal law, and just prove the point I have added a poll here so that others can vote on the validity of this observation.  If it comes out as I suspect it will, then perhaps I can update Wikipedia and reference this poll. Also, next time Oprah does a show on catching wanted sex offenders, this could serve as a good rule of thumb to catch those bastards.  So please take the poll and let me know….

Some more proof of Love’s Law #1 sent in by a savvy reader.