Tag Archives: family

When the apocalypse gets here, I’m screwed

About three years ago Oprah did a show where she had some guy on that had some title that made him sound really smart and important and government connected who said that one of these days, probably very soon, we’d have a pandemic like the bubonic plague and when we did, the whole world would pretty much shut down and there would be no running water or gas or electricity or anything else. No businesses would be open, and the ATMs wouldn’t work but money would be pretty worthless anyway, transportation wouldn’t be available and you would be pretty much on your own to defend your house and family from death by hunger, disease, looters, riots or gangs.

Great. I struggle daily just to cook up some frozen chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese every night to feed my family and now I’m finding out I have to plan for my family to eat and survive for at least two weeks with lawlessness, no running water, heat, or Tivo? He predicted no mail either, so it isn’t even like I’ll have my US Weekly or O Magazine to fall back on for emergency emotional support.

This was a lot to take in, so I paused Tivo and then begrudgingly put down my chocolate covered pretzels and Fruit2O and drove myself to Costco. I had never been there before but it seemed like a good place to go for buying life’s essentials in bulk.  My plan was to buy us enough stuff to live on so I wouldn’t have to be one of the inevitable grocery store looters.  Although I’d like the record to reflect that if I did have to loot a grocery store, I would concentrate in Aisle 12 and make sure I cleaned them out of Twizzlers and Take 5 bars, which would be enough sustenance to get me through just about anything.

So I get to Costco all fired up about the end of the world and how I needed to get important stuff for survival and — is that a plasma HD TV? Holy shit that is huge and it looks like I’m right there! Ping Pong tables? OMG – I love ping pong! Check out that leather recliner!! I felt compelled to sit in it and rock for a few minutes. Just to lower my heart rate. I mean, Costco held treasures I had only dreamed about. Who knew you could get new tires or new glasses, or even granite countertops there?  I went in there expecting to see a grocery store and I found a delightful land of electronics and books and random shit that all seemed cheap enough to be within reach. How could you say no to Costco?

But wait. Dammit! I’m here on a mission to save my family from certain death when the worst happens. We need water. And a first aid kit! And….and….Fuck? What do you need in an emergency? I get there and realize that I have no idea what I’m supposed to be buying to keep us alive. I mean, none. But I have found some great flannel sheets, really cheap diapers and ten pounds of frozen crab rangoon.  Need. to. focus. Must…shop….for Armageddon.

It is important to say now that I’m almost physically incapable of a coherent thought in most large retail stores.  Which is why I try to avoid them like Brazilian bikini waxes. Too much visual or audio stimuli makes my brain overheat and short circuit very quickly.  I no longer leave my house after November 1 because I’m sure all that Christmas music and shit all over the place  is a monster that wants to feast on my brain. So I shop on the Internet for everything*, including groceries. (*except Banana Republic, because Leonardo knows my soul and just puts me in the dressing room and brings me stuff, so I my mind doesn’t go into overdrive and somehow bend time).

But I digress.  So it took me two hours in Costco to complete my pre-apocalypse shopping spree to secure my family’s safety and survival, should all hell break loose and society become like it was depicted in “The Road” , where people were eating each other and such (which, by the way, if you read this book and you don’t think it was a masterpiece, I pity you). Given my handicap of shopping at large retail outlets, I did the best one could reasonably expect. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t leave with a migraine. It wasn’t Christmas season. It was kind of spectacular.

It was all so much to take in at the time and I was so giddy with pride in the fact that I had found out firsthand what the inside of Costco looked like and I was a full-fledged member and I got all the stuff we needed to survive and it was all less expensive than the grocery store. I called BD from the car and told him to prepare himself, because I had a lot of stuff and we’d have to store it and we were going to live well when the pandemic struck.  So I pull in the garage and pop the trunk because I couldn’t wait to show off all that I had accomplished.  I anticipated BD’s reaction to be one of awe mixed with gratitude, mixed with deep passion for me because of the bold initiative and genius I had shown.  He surveyed the contents of the trunk, and looked up at me in utter confusion.

BD: “Seriously?”

Love: “Um. Yeah. See the water?!”

BD: “I see an air hockey table.”

Love: “Oh. Well, that isn’t part of the stuff for the apocalypse. That was just on sale.”

BD: “?”

Love: “Maybe you didn’t see the first aid kit?”

BD: “Yeah, I think all of the wine bottles must be covering it.”

Together, we went through the items I felt we would need to survive as a family of three (at the time) and the dog.

  • Two palettes of bottled water
  • A large assortment of gummy fruit snacks
  • A big bear full of animal cookies
  • 7 bags of penne noodles
  • A 10-pack of Hanes crew socks, size 9-12
  • 3 large cans of spaghetti sauce
  • An air hockey table
  • A box of Huggies
  • A family first aid kit
  • 3 pounds of fresh strawberries
  • Eli’s cheesecake sampler, party size
  • A gallon of shampoo
  • Four bottles of wine
  • An 8 pack of Progresso chicken noodle soup
  • Some super-cute Carters footsie pajamas for my toddler

Yeah, I guess I was a little underwhelmed too. At the store it seemed like I had everything necessary plus a few fun extras.  I looked at my husband, worried.

Love: “We’re fucked, aren’t we?”

BD: “Uh huh.”

My husband is a problem solver. Me, not so much. But my husband doesn’t like to problem solve in advance of a problem. So I’m sure he would spring into action with ingenious plans to fight off disease and hunger and angry mobs and looters once they were all at our doorstep, but until then, I think his focus is on mowing the lawn every week. But I asked him for his help anyway, hoping that he would see this as the serious situation it is, and start our family survival plan.

Love: “Do you think we need a gun? We might need it to protect ourselves.”

BD: “Maybe.”

Love: “What about cash? Should we have a stash in the house somewhere, in case the ATMs don’t work?!”

BD: “Probably.”

Love: (brightening) “With guns and cash in our house, we’d totally be like the Sopranos.”

BD: “Not really.”

Love: (worried again) “But neither of us knows how to shoot a gun. And I don’t want a gun because they’re scary and our kids will probably wind up shooting us when they’re teenagers.  And I don’t know where a good place to hide cash is. I’ve seen shows on Discovery where the ex-cons find all your money in like 5 seconds. It would take me forever to think of where to hide the money. Where would we hide it?!”

BD: “I don’t know.”

Love: “Well, we need a plan!”

BD: “Huh?”

Love: “For the love of GOD, what are we going to dooooooo?!!”

BD: “?”

Love: “To SURVIVE? You know what would be easier? To just forget I ever saw that show.”

BD: “Maybe.”

Love: “Okay. I have a headache. Why don’t we just work on it slowly. Like maybe we should buy a safe first, so we have somewhere to put the money and the guns.”

BD: “We’re not getting guns.”

Love: “Good plan. What about money?”

BD: “How much money were you thinking?”

Love: “Like $200? Or $2,000? I guess it depends on how much do you think it would cost to pay people not to kill us?”

BD: “More than $200. Maybe like $5,000.”

Love: “That’s a lot of money to hide. And it wouldn’t be earning interest. It just doesn’t seem fiscally responsible. I don’t know…”

BD: “Um…the football game is about to start, so….”

Love: “Yeah, okay. Right. Why don’t we discuss this later?”

BD: “Yeah, definitely.”

And, three years later, we have weathered an economic meltdown and a global pandemic and once our power went out for 45 minutes and we still don’t have guns or cash in our house and we’re still alive and US Weekly is still being delivered.  But every three months I have a panic attack about how we just have some 3-year old penne noodles and Progresso soup in the cellar to keep us alive. And BD started drinking our water supply because he said its past the expiration date and he isn’t letting it go to waste.  So we don’t even have that.

I guess I just want everybody to know when the world meltdown occurs, we’re fucked.  When they find and/or eat our dead bodies, we didn’t die because I totally didn’t see it was coming or because I didn’t think about planning for it, because I did!  I donate 3 hours of time each month to panicking thinking about planning for it and that should count for something.  What is really most important is just that everyone knows that I was right about it coming and that you don’t use this information to break in my house first because you know I don’t have a gun, or food or money, or this month’s “O”. And we won’t taste good. I promise.

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

Once upon a time, in a land very, very close by, my best friend got married. My very best friend in the world. And she asked me to be her matron of honor and I was totally….honored. And it was wonderful and blissful – after all, she was MY maid of honor at my wedding and we were the closest of friends. So close, people thought we were lesbians until I got married.  We talked about her hopes and dreams and all that other fluffy stuff. I even went through a wedding magazine with her without throwing up.  Then we went to a bridal store and picked out her gown, and flowers and everything was turning out so nicely.

Then one day not soon after, I peed on a stick and found out I was pregnant with my first child. Ah! What a blessing! What wonderful news to share with my best friend! And the due date was a month before her wedding!! I wouldn’t even have to have a big pregnancy bridesmaid dress!  I couldn’t wait to tell her the news. A baby!! Not really a planned baby – but a wanted baby!! She seemed so happy for me. She talked excitedly about putting together a baby shower (she loves to plan stuff).  Could life get any sweeter than this?

No. It couldn’t. She invited me over for dinner a week later so that we could talk about her wedding and my baby. Excellent!! We could celebrate some more! As we dined on take out and she made sure I didn’t even sneak a sip of wine, she told me that her fiance was uncomfortable having me in the wedding. SCREECH. The needle on the record just scratched. WHAT?

Yes, although it was true that we’d been inseparable since our first week of college and we didn’t do anything without each other for many years, her fiance didn’t feel my presence in the wedding was appropriate any more.  Apparently, he thought that perhaps I got pregnant just to take the attention away from her, where it should be, and a good friend would not have gotten knocked up the same year her best friend planned to get married.  Plus, she explained, it was probably bad for my health and she thought I probably wouldn’t want to come after giving birth and she was really doing me a favor. By kicking me out of her wedding.  My best friend. BUT…this isn’t all bad…she had thought of a role called a “bride’s assistant” that she thought I might be perfect for. Meanwhile, her sister had been promoted to matron of honor and she was sure I would understand.

Wait. Hold up. What is a bride’s assistant you ask? Apparently it is a job you get when you get kicked out of your best friend’s wedding for having a baby. She gently assuaged me by promising that I could still do a toast and even buy a bridesmaid dress if I wanted. To look like I was in the wedding. I wondered where this Bridezilla was hiding my best friend? I wanted her back. I needed her back. I was having a fucking baby! She was getting married! We were going to do this together like we’d done everything else, of course. Right? RIGHT?!  Best friends forever!!  I told her I would be there if I had to have my baby during the ceremony. I promised I could live up to all of my duties. I would never let her down – and I meant it.  I mean, didn’t it say something about my loyalty that I was begging to be in a wedding? This is coming from a girl who doesn’t like weddings, or dresses, or flowers or showers or any of that. And I’m begging to dress up in a color that makes my skin look like vomit a month after I give birth to my first child?

It wasn’t enough.  On that day that I got fired from her wedding, our best friendship (and my heart) broke in two, and nothing has ever been the same since. I guess you might say we patched things up – we managed civil, distant and awkward conversations. I had to regretfully inform her that while it was a very tempting offer, I could not take the “bride’s assistant” job and dress up like the bridesmaids so I could pretend to be in the wedding.  I would just go as a guest. As fate would have it, she decided to promote me to bridesmaid after her fiance’s sister, another bridesmaid, got knocked up too. So after I got kicked out of the wedding, I got to get back in because someone else got preggers.  I never heard whether her husband thought his sister had also plotted to have a child just to ruin their wedding, but apparently he became more comfortable with my participation in it. I know in my heart this wasn’t his call. It was hers and she felt betrayed and it was convenient to blame it on him. During the next 9 months, she planned her wedding and I planned for my baby and we grew apart with an ocean of resentment between us.

In all that time, she never asked about my pregnancy or my baby, as if neither existed. I asked about the wedding, but it was hard to care about what the answer was. My best friend had died months ago.

Three weeks before her wedding, I gave birth to my son and nearly died in during the “routine” c-section.  My parents called her.  She came to the hospital. She didn’t really want to have much to do with the baby, but she was a little weirded out that I almost bled to death, so she came. And that counted for something, but I think she was probably thinking right then she had totally made the right decision, because there was no way I’d be at her wedding now.

Three weeks later, I left my newborn and my husband and flew to her wedding drugged with pain pills and crying the whole way. I dutifully strapped myself into a girdle, put on a very ill fitting bridesmaid dress, popped my pills every two hours and did what I was told to do.  I was still really swollen everywhere from the blood transfusions and anemic. I was likely the most misshapen bridesmaid of all time, but I did it for her. To honor what we had before this. This was her day and it was beautiful and she was lovely. But she had underestimated me. I was there. Not at home with my new little baby. At my best friend’s wedding. The one she originally kicked me out of.

At the reception, she asked me about when I wanted to give the toast.  Toast? What toast? Doesn’t the matron of honor do that? We hadn’t ever said a word about that since the day she dismissed me from the matron of honor job. I told her I forgot all about that. I wanted to forget any of it ever happened, but alas…I honestly had no idea she was expecting a toast from me – the person who knew her better than anybody at that wedding save her new husband — and who got kicked out of her wedding for having a baby. I hadn’t prepared anything. I declined to do a toast. She was shocked. I was relieved. The toast I would have given her the day she asked me to be her matron of honor was so much different then any toast I could give her now.  Did she not understand that?

Since then, we’ve both had two kids and live in the same city and have careers — we still have a lot in common. But we’re just barely friends. She still invites me to her parties and I accept once a year.  My other friends tell me I should “divorce” her. But I can’t. And I won’t. To honor what we once had. Which was a friendship. True friendship. Like Oprah and Gayle. Like Liz Lemon and Jack Doneghy. Like Jon and Kate, before the eight.

And even though its been a long road, I’m sure we’ll all live happily ever after…

If you were to tell me that I’m a mother of two, I wouldn’t believe you

I wouldn’t. And yet, the facts show that I am indeed a mother of two. I even have a muffin top that I swear at every day to remind me of this fact, and yet…

Moms are supposed to be responsible, mature and organized.  I am none of these.

Moms are supposed to know how to cook, make scrapbook thingies and keep their kids’ faces clean. Umm…no on all three counts at my house.

Moms don’t let their kids watch too much TV, listen to inappropriate music or play outside by themselves. My kids have seen every episode of Scooby-Doo ever created, can sing every word to both Kanye’s and The Killers latest albums and I’ve had my 2 year old returned to me no less than three times by a mother who does supervise her children.  (I should note that I wouldn’t have let the two year old out by himself on purpose, but he escapes a lot while I’m checking Facebook or watching Oprah. It’s a conundrum.)

Moms with careers are always talking about feeling guilty that their kids are at daycare. I rejoice because I know I am doing them a favor by working. Their daycare is 100% more safe, fun and educational than their time at home with me.

Moms aren’t supposed to bring their kids to McDonalds more than 4 times a year. They are supposed to feed them homemade, organic foods and shop for earth conscious toys.  The bulk of my children’s toys came out of Happy Meals, which I purchase an average of twice a week for them. I am madly in love with the McDonalds #2 meal and whatever addictive drug they put in the Diet Coke, so I feel a compulsion to go there whenever I’m feeling elated or anxious or happy or sad or lazy. Which covers most days. So the fact we only go twice a week kind of makes me a martyr for my children’s health.

Moms know which way they are supposed to go in the school parking lot and whether their kids are legally required to get vision tests before kindergarten and they dress their kids cutely and/or appropriately for school.  Can I just tell you – my five year old picks out his own clothes, which I buy in bulk from eBay because stores confuse me, so nothing generally matches and there are always a few things in there that I wouldn’t have paid for any day of the week, like the oversized dork dark purple T-shirt with this sci-fi D&D dragon on it in neon colors. Its something Napoleon Dynamite would have salivated over, and would get my son justifiably jacked by a posse of 8 year olds for wearing if he were eight, but at five he adores it and insists on wearing it with red and black wind pants. Which don’t match. At all.

I try not to photograph my children when they look like this to save them a little money in future therapy sessions and so I can look back when I’m old and make up stories about what a good mother I was, but I’m sure the other mothers at school are thinking “WTH is the matter with that kid’s mother?” (not WTF, because I’m convinced I’m the only mother whose thought bubbles must always include an F-bomb).  I know I would be thinking that about me if I were them.  But as you know, I’m a lover, not a fighter.  So as long as he has clothes on of any kind and we’re out the door on time to give me the extra 20 minutes I require to navigate the school’s fucking traffic pattern and catch my train, I’m not going to complain.

Moms are also supposed to edit their thoughts around their children. If a four year old asks, “Mom, what is a terrorist?” because he is listening a little too closely to NPR, a good mom says “Oh, honey. Don’t worry about that. Lets go to the farmers market and get some delicious organic beets!”  I go into a 20 minute lecture about who terrorists are, which depending on your religion and politics, could be just about anybody and cite examples from September 11, which of course, he wasn’t even alive for.  I’m sure my 5 year old knows more about war, prisons, and the criminal justice system than any kid his age. If he asks an intelligent question, I give him a totally age inappropriate, (hopefully) intelligent answer, like we’re in a masters political science program together. The other day while he and the neighbor kids were playing cops and robbers, I hear my son protest as he’s being brought to the jail in the backyard:  “COPS don’t decide if robbers go to jail! The JUDGE decides that! And probably the robber’s lawyer will say hes not guilty so it could take forever to figure out if he is going to jail!  I can get out on bail you know!” That almost got him beaten up, but it made my day. Someone in my house listens to me.

I’m just nothing like a person who fits my description of an appropriate mom.  I’m not like my mom and I get the feeling I’m very little like the other moms I regularly crash into every morning in the school parking lot.  Even blogging moms – they have mouths as dirty as mine – but I get lost in all the talk over prescription drug abuse. I have no idea what Xanax or Vicodin or Percocet are — but I hear about them all the time.  From what I gather, they must be sweet. But I’m a weird mom, so I don’t even have an prescription drug addiction worth noting.

So I come up short a lot. And I find myself gasping sometimes when I tell myself, “Love, these kids have only one mother. And that is you. That’s pretty wack.” To which I answer, “I know, RIGHT?” to which I then reply, “Poor kids”.  And then I say a prayer for them and start writing a new blog to try and forget the sorrow I feel for them that they didn’t get one of the totally normal moms.

On the other hand, the kids do have a few things going for them because of the mom they have:

1) If there is ever a b-boy competition in kindergarten, all of the hours my son spends watching ABDC on TiVo and having me rate his performance (pa-fo-mince) with spot-on impressions of Mario Lopez, Lil’ Mama, Shane Sparks and J.C. Chasez, will pay off and he will totally win. (“YO! That was so DOPE! Can I get a slow mo on dat?!”)

2) When the plague comes around again, my kids will survive — and thrive– because there isn’t a germ they haven’t picked up in daycare, or school,  or from a 4 day old discarded half-eaten cheeseburger that they finished off after finding it on the ground in the park.  Seriously, bubonic plague — bring it on.

3) I posted an excruciatingly long video on YouTube for my family blog of my toddler son “playing” the guitar and singing his own made up songs which inexplicably has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and which advertisers now want to pay us for.  So I know how to pimp out my kids so that they can go to college.

4) Each of my sons will be happily married. I find it hard to believe that they could marry anybody who, when compared to their mom,  will not blow them away with her mad skills in any culinary, cleaning, or child care domain. I think I’ve set the bar low enough that if she knows how to make any meal from ingredients that do not come directly from a box, they’ll commit the rest of their lives to worship her.  And the best marriages are those wherein the men are easily satisfied and worship their wives.

5) They’ll never doubt how much they are loved.  One thing I do excel at is telling them how much I adore them, how incredibly special they are and showering them with hugs and kisses.  I do that well. Because I can’t help it. And because they’re awesome  — even if they are single-handedly responsible for this goddamn muffin top.