Remember the days of VCRs and those big bulky tapes that you’d have to physically rent and return to the video store? Can anyone else remember a time when they rented porn with their college boyfriend, watched it at your parent’s house and then totally forgot to eject the tape and return it before any evidence of the title or fines hit their account? No. Oh, I guess that way just us. Who would have thought my mom would approach me and her future son-in-law would to tell us that Blockbuster wanted payment for the no-show return of “Cockbuster.” Congrats! This is the guy I’m going to marry!
Adam and I took advantage of his work travels when I met him at a hotel in DC hotel on a rainy Friday afternoon. With both of us already having seen the city, the crappy weather, and not having the kids with us, we decided to stay in for the night to raid the minibar, get room service and watch a little porn. We were married just long enough that that order of events was acceptable – get drunk and full first. After eating steaks and sweets and drinking a full bottle of red wine while wearing the hotel provided robes, we flipped through the X-rated movie menu. Remember this is a time that was years before iPhone and iPads, where dirty movies – and a ton of other stuff - are now more privately available any time of day. On our mission circa 2001, we made our selection and we both got ready to get it goin’ on. Before the non-plot could thicken and before anyone even got naked on screen, the movie cut off. We found the remote to put it back on again. Same thing happened. Being a $20 movie, we debated only for a moment about calling the front desk to get someone from IT to help us. Believing that they never put the movie titles on the bill – isn’t that what they tell you! - we figured we wouldn’t have to say what movie we were watching when the screen went black. But they did know. There was an evident awkward pause from my end of the phone, when I heard the woman at the front desk say that she wanted to confirm it was “Robin Head” that was giving us trouble. OMG. This whole situation was trouble! She said she’d send someone up to check my box. God – this was just getting more worse and awkward with the unintended sexual puns and random people coming into our room to make sure we had access to dirty movies. When the IT guy finally got to our room, I was surprised when Adam ran into the bathroom like a girl with the fluffy cotton robe flying behind him. What the hell?! He is just leaving me standing here to look like a lady of the night? The IT guy knowingly smiled at me when I opened the door. I tied my robe a little tighter just for effect; it kind of felt like this could be the start to our very own porno with a threesome storyline. But nothing sexual here. The IT guy and I talked about the city while he fixed the problem and Adam remained in the bathroom (eyeroll!). When the guy finally left, Adam emerged and undeterred we ordered the movie again. Yes!! It was playing through the cut-off point from before. It was only after mutual goals were achieved that Adam unabashedly brought up that we waited almost 40-minutes to fix the problem for just 5-minutes of video that brought about the reward. Good thing it’s a 24-hour movie rental…maybe we’ll see 7-minutes next time.
Nothing is sacred when you have children. Not even the bedside table and that one drawer that everyone knows usually holds private things. Clearly not respecting that fact, I found Vanessa rummaging around in my personal drawer looking for a pen. OF COURSE instead she whipped out my vibrator - I was only mildly stunned by this because truthfully, I haven’t used it in quite some time and kind of forgot it was there (well, now at least something good comes out of this! Happy Day to me!) Thank God it is a mini, bullet-like thing and so when she asked me what it was, it was easy for someone uneducated in sex toys, to believe that it was lipstick in a purple case. When she went to turn up the base to see what color lipstick it was, it turned on. She asked why it was buzzing. Damn her! I stumbled a little and told her it was also lip plumper and the vibrations would tickle your lips and make them bigger. This was going down a sick path of lies and producing really terrible mental images. I grabbed the hot little device and told Vanessa to head into the kitchen and we’d go find that pen she was looking for. As I walked out of the room I opened up Adam’s underwear drawer and threw it in there - I was certain that the girls would never have a reason to rummage through his boxers. And well maybe his find would be my lucky gain….well now, Happy Tomorrow to me too!
Each day I have to pick my kids up from aftercare at their school. This after-school assistance is basically a program that the town offers for working parents so that we can get our kids up until 6pm instead of the school-day dismissal at 3:00. The parking lot for this pick-up is really quite narrow. True to form, I am also often late which leaves the parking spot choices pretty slim pickings. The other night, I didn’t even bother trying to find something and instead, I parked in a non-spot and got myself in a jam. As the girls and I were trying to leave, I had to keep maneuvering the car back and forth to try and shimmy out of the spot. It reminded me of that scene in Austin Powers where he is stuck in a hall on a that little cart. Back and forth, back and forth. At one point, I guess I got a little impatient or heavy with my foot and I stepped on the gas and my car smashed into the school wall. The kids and I all jerked forward. In unison -I yelped, Ella yelled “Mooooom!” and Vanessa gasped. We then all started laughing. I am such a bad driver that I hit things all the time – but the school?! Really?! I got out of the car to look at the potential damage to the building. The tannish brick wall had a huge black streak on it but nothing else. My car, ironically had no marks. I am so not sure how that was possible, the impact sounded like my bumper would be crunched! Another mom standing near the scene, grabbed her son close to her upon hearing the loud smash (she was a little over-dramatic if you ask me - but who am I to judge. I just crashed into my kid's school). As we pulled away I asked the girls not to say anything to Adam – especially since my car had no evidence of the incident. Flash-forward two days and Adam picks up the kids. At dinner that same night, he mentions that he knows I hit the school and tells me that the kids showed him “mommy’s mark” on the wall. I look at the kids like “what the hell?!” But, whatever. I always said if I go somewhere, I want to leave my mark. Not really what I meant, but I guess I can consider it done at the local elementary school.
Sometimes I go shopping. OK, I go shopping a lot. Too much, if you ask Adam. And even if you don’t ask, he’ll gladly tell you that I am “bankrupting” our family. Seeing that he obviously will never understand my actual need to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, bags – anything that isn't nailed down in one of my favorite stores - I realized I needed a strategy to deal with his complaining and my charging.
So of course I go right to my girlfriends and ask them what tactics they use. And I am not surprised that I am not alone in this situation and they all have creative ways to trick their husbands into thinking that a shopping spree didn't just take place. Some of my faves….
•Use a red pen and draw a line through whatever price is on the tag and then lower it. Even if you leave the tag on, you can say you bought it for a bargain- then hold up the tag with the red discounted slash and say “see!!!”
•Put the purchased items into grocery store bags as if you just went to the food store and then carry them into the house. You should have a few decoy apples or something to make it look legit. What is supposed to be bread in your bag is really a new blouse! Yay for him not caring about what food you buy!
•Say that you bought something for yourself to make yourself feel better so that you were in a good mood for your family because it’s “that time”. Cry and ramble on about a million other things if that further impresses your PMS craziness and you know it sends him running away from you. Discussion, over.
•Order things to your office or a friend’s house. If you are only using your purse or computer bag to smuggle in the goods, and depending on the size of the order, you may have to make a few trips over a few days to bring your new things into their new home.
•If you must use a credit or debt card while at the store, at least pay half of the total in cash so it doesn't seem so bad, if and when he sees the bill. Be sure to throw away the receipt! Cash and charges are each transaction line items and will add up to the actual sale total. (Why are the stores not helping us here?! Tsk!)
•Cry and say that you need new things to make him look good! It’s not easy being a woman….and eye candy too! Geesh!
•Have a secret area in the garage, foyer, bedroom or wherever you first enter your home so that you can stuff the bags in that hidden area and go and retrieve them while he is busy or sleeping.
•Buy a sexy pair of underwear with your total purchase. Lead his mind in another direction. But – be aware – you will need to seal the deal. Don’t leave him hanging…get it done so you can get to hanging up your stuff!
•When he asks if what you are wearing is new – just say “I’ve had this for years!” Have a function or something in mind where you might have worn the item and say it with conviction. Make him feel bad that he didn’t remember how good you looked when you wore it the first time. SMH.
•Tell him a friend gave it to you because she didn’t like it any more, grew out of it - anything that comes to mind depending on what he knows about your friend and what he believes would be the case.
•Buy a little something for him too so you don’t seem so selfish. Present it to him before you start putting away your new pretty things.
•Tell him your mom or dad bought it for you. If you are a total wise-ass and want to have some fun or just to demonstrate that you two could have bigger problems - tell him that your boyfriend did.
The other night at bedtime, I was reading a story to Vanessa. I was partly falling asleep myself and anxious to go into my own bed. I read a little faster to finish up the story. Vanessa asked me why I was rushing. I told her that I had forgotten to take my medicine. With a worried look on her face, she promptly asked me if I was sick. Her concern made me feel bad and quite honestly, I didn’t want to lie. So I told her “No honey, Mommy isn't sick, just crazy” and I chuckled. She replied “Ohhhhh, you need your ‘chill pills’”. Well, isn't she just a clever little thing? If I wasn’t surprised, I’d be worried. I have never called them that before. Now, who would say a thing like that? Hmmm…I can just hear Adam mumbling under his breath if he is mad at me “your mother really needs to take her chill pills…” and he thinks the kids don’t hear it. At least, on the necessary occasion, I’ll just come out and say “your father is being such an asshole.” Sorry, but I did say I didn’t like to lie to them, right? Well, I guess if the conversation with him gets hot, I always know I can tell him I gotta go pop my ‘chill pill’.
When Ella was in first grade, every Monday she had to write in a journal about what she had done that weekend. Every other month, the teacher would then send home the journal for the parents to read. The Monday after Super Bowl in the year that the NY Giants won, my jaw dropped a little while reading her story about Adam having a party to watch the Big Game. She had started off with all the regular details – friends and family were over, everyone was wearing red, blue and white, there was a ton of food and a cake shaped like a football. It all painted a picture of a nice and vanilla Super Bowl party. The closing to her story made me cringe as I imagined what the teacher might be thinking when Ella shared the detail that when “Dad’s team won, he sprayed ‘bear’ all over the house.” Yes, this was true. Adam had acted like our home was a locker room and he was literally on the team when he shook up a bottle of beer in each hand and sprayed it around while screaming with joy over the win. I was just praying that with her spelling error mistaking bear for beer, the teacher might go so far as to think he was spraying “cheer” around the room or “bear” hugs – or something that didn’t make us seem like a bunch of drunk, nut jobs with sports fever. As I signed the bottom page of her story to show that I had read the journal entry, I thought that I probably couldn’t even imagine the things that the teacher got to read – Ella’s journal alone could give her a weekend recap full of crazy. It might have been like “Quick Strips” through the eyes of a child. Eeek! That’s scary stuff. If she starts drawing naked people with weird hands and feet on her stories, I will have to step in and start doing some damage control…..
During the holiday break, with the kids up our asses constantly, Adam and I needed a little adult time and went out to a restaurant in town for a date night. Seeing as we both can drink without issue, we thought to go to a BYOB right around the corner to keep the bill down and be frugal for like, a second. We brought what we call a “double bottle” of red – which means it isn't one of those skinny little things but a bottle that would pour anywhere from 8 to 10 glasses. When we walked into the local Italian place, it was fairly slow and they sat us in the back near another couple from town who were also having dinner. Between the four of us, we were kid-less and they too had a nice bottle of wine – but theirs was a much smaller bottle. Some might even say, a "normal" size for two people. We traded hellos and went about our separate romantic evenings. They got up to leave and said goodbye to us. Adam looked over my shoulder and then looked at me and said “Ha – look at that, they didn’t even finish that little bottle of wine.” I looked over at it, then at Adam and with a gleam in my eye, I said “should we take it and finish it?” I felt like a jerk asking but I loved that Adam was apparently a jerk as well because he said "hell, yea we should take it. And we aren't leaving until we finish both – theirs and ours!” I looked around to make sure the coast was clear of waitstaff and reached over to quickly grab the bottle; Adam texted the babysitter to say we’d be a little later than planned. And look! All the money we saved racking up the drinks at dinner, we could now give to the sitter to stay longer. Everyone wins! Pass the vino - either bottle will do!
Something I worry about:
Getting in a car accident, going to the hospital via ambulance and winding up there in a comatose state. With a tampon in. And no one checks. And, if it's winter, under my tall boots, I have on mismatched socks. Now I am known as the patient with the fashion faux-paux.
Something I fear:
Same situation but now I am in a coma for weeks. No one grooms me. My bush looks like Bob Marley's afro and I have random chest, neck and chin hairs that sprout up miraculously. And they are black. Over time, this could get horrible and now I am the hairy female patient. Ack! Why won’t anyone help me out here?!
I seriously wonder about these things. I have already admitted that I am the worst driver. What if I really do get in an accident and wind up in a coma!? I might have Adam sign a contract to promise to check my vag for the cotton mouse and always visit me with a razor. I can't be all vegetating looking like a Sasquatch with a rip cord. Yikes!
Ella wanted to go on a school trip with her class that was offered as a special, Saturday event. Parents had to give permission and pay an extra price since it was above and beyond other planned field trips. She asked for some of her “college fund”. Since she doesn't have chores to earn any money (that is just so us), I asked her what she meant by "college fund". She said the money she got as gifts since she was born for holidays, birthdays and special party things. I looked at her, put a hand on her shoulder and said “oh Honey, Dad and I spent that money already.” Naturally, she started freaking out. “On what!?” she rightfully asked. “On our awesome camera! Remembering all the fun we have as a family could be seen as just as valuable as an education! Besides, you can get a loan for school and school related things. And, we really needed the camera before our upcoming Bermuda trip.” She looked at me like she hated me. I tried to lessen the blow and softly said “You can't put a price on memories.” She walked out of the room.
I shrugged and started taking selfies with our camera that one could say, Ella bought us. Whatever! She’ll come around eventually. Our kids want for nothing and this camera was kick ass.
Collection of comic strips that illustrate the madness of my life - career, marriage, motherhood...me!
Click on any of the categories above or the "previous" link at the end of the page to see some moments that have stripped me of my sanity.