Jury duty sucks.

Both of my children are finally in school full-time. But before I could get used to my newfound freedom, I had to fulfill my civic duty on a jury. I was originally called to serve in June, but who would have watched the kids? So I had to postpone to the time I had been looking forward to for as many years as I’ve had children.

I reported on Monday morning. I felt like theme dressing that day, so I went with 90’s era, complete with Doc Martens, and a flannel over a baby doll dress. I just knew my outfit would highlight my irresponsibility and complete lack of competency for a jury. If I still don’t know how to dress like an adult, I shouldn’t be asked to do anything that requires sitting still and listening to people talk for hours.

I arrived early because I was afraid of being late. I’m late for almost everything, and I was certain that being late for jury duty would result in humiliation on a grand scale.

After we all reported to the giant jury waiting room, we were provided with coffee and pastries that arrived in individual plastic baggies. I’ve never had an easier time rejecting a pastry. The greasy puddles on the inside of the plastic made it look like the pastries were working out just before they were stuffed in those baggies and they hadn’t had time to dry off their sweat.

Forty of us (myself included) were called to report to a courtroom for the selection process. They only needed 14, so I was sure I would be home in time for The View. Long story short, I somehow got selected to serve on the jury for a child abuse trial. Couldn’t they tell by looking at me that I’m not even responsible enough to run the self-cleaning cycle on my oven with feeling self-congratulatory for two weeks? I shouldn’t be allowed to decide anyone’s fate. Plus, I have little kids. And that information came out during the questioning process. No one wants to hear details about child abuse, but especially a mama with two little ones.

But I begrudgingly accepted my role, mostly because I was interested in how this whole jury duty thing really works. And because hearing a lot of people say they couldn’t serve because they needed to work, etc. made me feel like a jerk for wanting to do the same.

We reported to a tiny room where there was enough room for about 8 people, even though there were 14 of us. There was sharing-size bag of Reese’s Pieces on the desk, along with a tub of Trader Joe’s ginger snaps. FYI: one way to know that your catering sucked is when such meager offerings aren’t gone after 3 days of 14 people sitting at a freaking table. There was also coffee (no milk in sight) and room-temperature water. I did eat quite a few Reese’s Pieces, and I’m pretty sure they will remind me of child abuse now instead igniting fond memories of E.T., so I wish I had left them alone.

The first day it was 28 degrees in the jury room. Days 2 and 3 were closer to 107. I think I preferred the teeth-chattering cold to sweating next to strangers in a room with no open windows. It felt like a psychological trick, like maybe someone was watching us to see how we interacted under extreme temperatures with no hope of escape.

If you are ever called to jury duty, be sure to eat constipating foods. You cannot poop during jury duty. We had to go to the bathroom in groups, lest any one of us accidentally spoke to someone involved in the case. The situation was slightly better during deliberations when we were allowed to use the toilet across the hall from the jury room. But if anyone left the room, the case couldn’t be discussed until that person returned so every absence and reentry was noticed by everyone. That’s not conducive to comfortable pooping.

The trial was extremely emotional and stressful for me, and deliberations were probably a little worse. When it was finally over, I sobbed uncontrollably in front of the other jurors. By then 2 had been cut as alternates, so only eleven strangers witnessed my meltdown. I didn’t want anyone to notice or offer me a hug. A few folks (all men) asked “Are you okay?” It was nice, but then I wondered why no one was trying to hug me even though I didn’t want them to. They didn’t know I didn’t want them to, after all. So I decided they were all assholes. But really they weren’t. Well, that’s not true of everyone in the room. There were a few assholes. But most of them were really nice.

Then my friend Sharon came over with ice cream that night and let me rant about the flawed judicial system, and everything was a little better.

I don’t know if I’ll ever shake it off completely, but it’s over and I did my stupid civic duty. Next time I want better snacks, milk for my coffee, and ice for my water. And maybe a case about a nice little liquor store robbery where no one was harmed.

Prepping for the last year of my 30’s

My 39th birthday is coming very soon, friends. I’m preparing with a simple list of resolutions, and lots of drinking. It’s never to late to better/pickle yourself.

Here is my list of resolutions for my last year as a 30-something:

Stop trying to bait Lindsay Lohan with my blog posts. I need to accept that she probably won’t ever be my friend, no matter how much she needs me.

Stop getting angry when people use too many internet abbreviations.

Give up wine for a while. JK! LOL! ROFLMAO! FML!

Wash my bras more often.

Stop telling people about my hemorrhoid surgery. Apparently that’s not appropriate small talk.

Clean up my language. A woman my age should not be using words/phrases like buttload, crapload, shitload, shit-ton, turd* monkey, turd jerky, turd knocker, fart knocker, toot knocker, douche nozzle, douche monkey, sir toots-a-lot, sir farty car, professor fart face, monkey butt, monkey bottomus, poopie pants, butthead, butthole, butt puppet, butt nugget, turd nugget, turd waffle, or butt waffle. I call myself a writer for shit’s sake. I really need to rethink my vocabulary.

I think it’s obvious that I’m ready to take 39 by the gnards. Bring it!

*For those of you who are aware of my long-standing issue with the word turd not being spelled terd, you’ll be glad to know that I’m working past it.

An American’s Guide to Ebola

Want to avoid that wacky infectious disease that liquefies internal organs? Here are a few tips from SGSC:

1. No making out with strangers. This is especially true if they are bleeding from the eyes. I know True Blood would like us to believe that eye bleeding is something that happens to sad vampires, but you can’t accept that as an excuse. Even if he or she is super hawt, eye bleeding is ALWAYS a bad sign.

2. Don’t live in Atlanta. If you already live there, don’t move because it’s probably too late for you. Don’t visit Atlanta, either. This is probably true all the time, not just when Ebola victims are there.

3. Don’t go to West Africa. Our pansy-ass American immune systems are not built for the scary stuff African jungles produce. Don’t be a hero.

4. Wear a hazmat suit for air travel. They’re roomy, comfy, and tell everyone you’re not messing around with the cooties that get trapped in airtight plane cabins. Don’t worry about the embarrassment of wearing bright yellow thirty years after the 1980’s. You’ll have the last laugh when everyone else from the flight bleeds from the eyes/ears/mouth/nose/butt and you’re left with your organs solid.

5. Avoid contact with primates. Sure, monkeys can be cute. But have you seen Outbreak? Those little jerks are breeding grounds for Ebola. A monkey will give you Ebola and laugh at you while you’re dying. And then eat the food from your pantry. They’re evil creatures who want the humans dead so they can take over.

I hope this helps. Good luck avoiding a miserable death!

Why I don’t mommy blog

Because I’m a writer with a blog and I have a couple of kids, people (women) sometimes ask me why I don’t “mommy blog”. Here’s why: I tend to keep this part of my life for myself (gasp).

Many women will admit (some won’t) that when you become a mother you lose a part of yourself. You also gain a new, different self who’s more sympathetic and nurturing, but you lose the part of you that was just you without anybody else to constantly worry about. It’s a huge freaking adjustment.

Like a lot of Gen Xer’s, I waited until my 30’s to have kids. By then I was firmly rooted in my sense of self. My very free self who liked to stay out too late and take lots of naps. When I had a baby, the options to stay out too late, take lots of naps, and be a selfish asshole were removed. It was time for that to happen anyway. No sweat. But the overhaul of self was unexpected.

I was a person before motherhood. Not a perfect person by any means, but I like to remember those days in little ways. My blog is a “safe place” for me. I say what I want because no one is forced to read it. I don’t write about motherhood here (except this time of course) because I’m a mother ALL THE TIME and here I’m just a struggling writer who spends too much time thinking about that date-rapey episode of Louie and wondering if Lindsay Lohan would like me if we met in real life. Here I don’t have to worry about whether or not my kids are getting enough fruits and veggies (they’re not) or if I’m screwing them up permanently (I am). Here I can just take a deep breath and make fun of Kim Kardashian’s fashion choices.

wine

 

My future as a food jerk

As some of you know, I have migraines like a mofo. Well, I did until I got some handy dandy botox. Botulism for headaches, you ask? Yes, indeed. But I’m here to talk about gluten so stop distracting me.

Before the botox I tried going gluten-free to rid myself of those pesky headaches. The diet changes did help with the headaches, but really I just felt better all-around. I had more energy, fewer headaches, and that weird upper-arm rash I’d had since grade school disappeared.

Then I decided I’d rather have cake than be healthy. That’s not exactly how it went down, but I decided to start eating normally again to see what would happen. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say the extra bathroom time has allowed me to catch up on my reading.

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So getting back on the GF train has been an up and down struggle for a few months now. For some reason, I can’t seem to make the commitment I started out with. I guess because this time I know it’s for real. My weird arm dots are back, I can’t get too far from a toilet, and I’m exhausted most of the time. It’s the freaking gluten, and I have to dump it for the rest of my life.

It’s like breaking up with a best friend. I pride myself in not having any weird food things. With the exception of being particularly picky about my hamburger-to-pickle ratio, I’m super easy to deal with at restaurants. Now I’ll be that “do you have a gluten-free menu” person. I’ve waited on those people and they’re assholes.

So I’m here today to announce my future as a food asshole. I hope you will all accept me anyway, as I’ll be less gassy and more energetic.

xo

Playlist for this miserable freaking winter

This has been the most miserable winter of my entire life so far. To spread a little sunshine, I’ve compiled a small list of songs to help us power through the cold.

Baby It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin, She & Him, buttload of others): nothing will keep you warm like date rape by the fireplace. Come on, stay for one more drink. Because “gosh your lips look delicious.” That’s not creepy at all.

California Dreaming (The Mamas & the Papas): a song about a dude who’s so cold he goes into a church and lies about praying so the Priest won’t kick him out. Who knew John Phillips could be so naughty?

Cold as Ice (Foreigner): because if a girl dumps someone she’s obviously frigid.

Ice, Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice): some douchebag bragging about how cold he is. We’re all cold, idiot.

Long Cold Winter (Cinderella): a bunch of dudes named after a Disney princess singing about being cold because some chick left. Sounds like someone needs to grow a pair.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Southern Girl on the Frozen Tundra

Living in the North has some advantages for a Southern girl. I’m exotic here in a comforting way, like paella. I say “y’all” way more than I ever did back home. The Yankees love that talk. I make sure to keep a hold of my accent, even though I’ve been here close to 7 years now. It’s kind of difficult sometimes, so I call home and talk to one of my family members to get it back.

I fit here in many ways. It’s a blue state, and no one ever asks me if my nose ring pops out when I sneeze. I answered that question on a weekly basis in Arkansas. The answer is “no”, by the way. Okay, maybe it happened once.

Besides living too far away from old friends and family, the brutal winter is the hardest part of living here. I love warm weather. I love wearing tank tops and skirts or sun dresses and flip flops. I love being able to forgo the jacket in favor of sunscreen. The cold here soaks me to my bones. It feels like a nemesis, working to disable me.

We’re having a snow storm today. And we’re set to have record lows in the next two days. School is likely to be cancelled. I’ve been acting like a complete brat. Like this weather is something happening to me. My poor attitude makes me want to do nothing but remain on the couch with the TV remote in hand.

A life-line came through yesterday when a friend had my family over for pizza. The kids were able to play with her kids, running through the basement like it was a playground. I ate too much and stretched out on my friend’s couch instead of my own. We chatted and I remembered that I’m not alone. The weather might keep me from doing some of the things I want to do, but I’m not certainly not the only one.

I’m not likely to ever stop missing the South. Short-lived winter storms and Southern hospitality are things that I took for granted during my formative years. But I honestly like living in Michigan, for six months of the year anyway. The summers here are perfect for playing outside everyday with the kids. I know I’ll eventually have to buy myself a pair of snow pants and go outside in the snow. But today I’ll settle for the knowledge that I’m not alone. Many of us are transplants and even if those of us who aren’t are facing the same snowstorm.

Making eye contact with a naked chick

I walked into the gym dressing room a couple of days ago and there was a young woman standing there, full-on naked, as if to say “so, so, suck your toe, all the way to Mexico.” No towel draping, nothing. That part I’m kind of used to. Things like that happen in gym locker rooms. But the weird part is she stood there staring at me as I walked in, freaking daring me to make eye contact. When I finally did, she said, “hi”, as if I had moseyed into her office to discuss mortgage rates.

I walked past Mistress Buff to get to my locker, which was situated right beside a mirror. Lady Godiva put her shirt on, but remained bottomless, and waited. I’m not kidding. The next woman walked in, and She of the Proud Bush stood there, hands on hips, silently demanding the woman make eye contact, which she did, and then the fig leaf-less Eve said “hi”. It was uncomfortable to watch, and I couldn’t look away. But thanks to the mirror, I didn’t have to stare directly into the snatch.

I’ve been thinking about this for two days now. I’ve worked out many scenarios that would create a motivation to make naked eye contact. I could make sense of it maybe if it was an elderly woman who was declaring with her nudity, “Look at me! I am proud of this body that has lived a rich life.” Or maybe if she was surgically enhanced and wanted to get her money’s worth of admiration. But no, she was young and natural. And for the guys who read my blog (there’s at least one, I think), yes, her body was decent. But nothing that justified demanding attention from every female who walked in the room.

So the point is: I still don’t get it, and now you all know that I go to the gym without me posting it on Facebook.

Shedding

“It’s been that kind of day around here,” she says. “You’re lucky you showed up today.”

“What kind of a day?” I ask, staring at my beat-up Converse and thinking that I should wear a better pair of shoes the next time I show up to life.

“A day of confession. A day of epiphany. A day of relief.” She rubs lipstick on her lips, puckers and smiles broadly for an invisible camera.

“I should have dressed better for this. Worn make-up, brushed my hair.”

“But you did.” She presses a compact into my hand. “Look.”

Pinky-peach powder crumbles over my palm as I open the compact. The woman I see in the mirror is not me, but a woman I used to know. Face painted like a mask, yes. Long hair, freshly highlighted, yes. Wrinkles, no. But not me. She was someone I shed in order to grow.

“But you don’t shed yourself like skin.”

“Did I say that or did you?” I ask, or does she? The words have already evaporated.

“You can have this back.” The compact passes from my hand to hers.

“You’ll want it again soon. And I’ll keep it safe until then.”

Her high heels walk away. Click, clack, click, clack. A private conversation they’re having with the floor. And my beat-up Converse remain silent.

My Friend Berva*

photo from tumbler
photo from tumblr

Catfish the TV show has me watching MTV again for the first time since Headbangers Ball was cancelled. At first, I wondered how these people could be naive enough to believe complete strangers about everything they say. Then I realized I have a friend whom I’m never met, and I adore her. What if she’s not real?

Want to know why I adore her? Berva posted select quotes on FB while watching Showgirls with the commentary:

“Everyone involved in the making of this picture… every single one of them is making the worst possible decision at every possible time. And it’s this incredible density of failure that makes Showgirls sublime.”

“I just don’t remember seeing any strippers on Entertainment Tonight, and nor can I imagine Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul agreeing to do such a show.”

“One of the funniest things I’ve heard at one of these screenings: when she said her name was Nomi, he said, ‘…with a G’?”

“Molly offers to make the dress, but Nomi insists on buying it, even though she hasn’t found a place to live, and we don’t know if she’s paying any rent.”

“It’s bad enough that Nomi kicks everything and starts fires and fights, but look: she LITTERS. What an ASSHOLE.”

“Don’t you hate it when you take your kids to work in your job as a topless dancer, and them someone cusses in front of them?”

Here’s where I joined in: And what little shitty kid cries when they hear a cuss word? I guess I should say “she”, not “they”. That little twit was a girl, right? It’s been years since I saw that movie. I didn’t have kids yet. Before I had kids I thought that was ridiculous, and now that I have kids I think it’s double ridiculous. “Mommy, she said the f word. Boo hoo.” Really? Your mom’s tits are out, dumbass. You have bigger problems.

And then, when Nomi goes to see that dumb rapist singer guy and she takes off her bra and he says something like “nice top” and she says “wait till you see the bottom” like her bush is magic. What does it do? Sing, dance, release doves? And then, guess what? She’s a mixed martial arts expert. That movie is just full of surprises!

To which Berva replied: EXCUSE ME. The quote is “I like you better topless.”/”Wait till you see me bottomless.” And yes, her vajayjay does all those things. It’s in an MGM musical, after all.

And then another time Berva posted this on FB: It was soft-spoken me and two loudmouths, sharing theories as to why weirdos are so often loners as well. One of the loudmouths said they’re too weird to function amongst normal people, and so I said “It’s like that book, IF I’M SO WONDERFUL, WHY AM I STILL SINGLE?”

But because they were loud and I was quiet, all they heard was the second part, and they both looked at me like I farted at a funeral.

And this one:

That awkward moment when you know the names you’ve given to neighbourhood cats aren’t even close to their legal names. Today I learned that my friend Little Stevie actually is called Sinbad. It is the worst thing since I learned that Ricky and Vicky actually were known as Gilbert and Tchaikovsky. I can only pray that I never learn the real name of my friend Reginald. It’ll be Smoky or Shadow or something and our relationship won’t weather the shame.

It’s true that I once had a neighbour who referred to Pan as Fats, but. What’s not adorable about some random palooka walking past your cat’s personal window and rumbling “‘Sup, Fats?” like she maybe bought him a beer one time when he was having a bad day?

This is without even going into her brilliant tweets. Now I’m one of those dumbshits from Catfish who’s all “I don’t care if she’s not who she says she is. I LOVE her.”

Of course, I would be disturbed if she turned out to be just the other side of my split personality.  She’s not, by the way. I know this because she lives in Vancouver and I don’t have enough skymiles to support this theory. I checked.

I still might call Nev and Max. But only because they’re so cute, and they would take me on a free trip to meet Berva.

*Name has been changed because kiss my ass.