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Valentine’s Day, Dave and Tracey Style

  • February 18, 2009

For the first Valentine’s Day Dave and I celebrated as a couple, Dave sent flowers to me at work. When the receptionist called to tell me she had a delivery for me I was thrilled because Dave and I had only been dating a few months and I wasn’t sure if he was going to send me anything at work.

I acted a bit smug when I got the call because one of my work friends had started dating her boyfriend around the same time and we had been locked in an unspoken competition all morning to see who was going to get flowers first.

Possibly my return to my desk would have been a bit more triumphant had Dave sent a dozen long stemmed red roses and not six carnations that had a scary red Valentine’s troll doll with Don King hair sticking out of them.

I deserve an Oscar for the performance I gave that day, both in the office and at home. I was madly in love with Dave so even though I hate carnations, I acted like I loved them (I threw the troll doll in the back of my closet and piled a bunch of crap on top of it).

Over the years, as Dave’s Valentine’s Day budget grew, he did start sending the long stemmed red roses until I finally told him not to spend so much money on flowers that were just going to die anyway.

This year Dave gave me a card with a dog on the front. I was confused because I thought maybe it was from Chloe but when I asked him he said “No, it’s from me. I bought it almost a month ago! But I didn’t get you any candy because I didn’t think you’d eat it.”

He’s right about that. This is the second food-centric holiday I’ve missed out on since I’ve been on Weight Watchers but I don’t really mind skipping chocolate as long as there’s wine.

We couldn’t get a sitter for Valentine’s Day so I made dinner and a heart-shaped cake for everyone. I was really tired because Matthew and Lauren had gotten up at 6:30 AM to see what we’d given them for Valentine’s Day. They were so jacked up on sugar by 7:00 they were bouncing off the walls and wouldn’t eat a normal breakfast.

I told Dave I might have to go to bed right after we got the kids down for the night but he suggested I pour a glass of wine instead. He seemed worried that our Valentine’s Day celebration might entail him drinking and watching Saturday Night Live by himself.

The first glass went down so well I immediately poured another. I was still drinking Sauvignon Blanc from the night before because I’ve recently come to the conclusion that red wine gives me a bad headache (I tell myself the headache is from the tannins and not over consumption).

Dave was on his second glass too and I noticed he was doing something on the computer. I had left my Facebook page open and he was going around writing “burp” and “dude” on some of my friend’s walls. He was also friending people without asking me first. He wanted to know if instead of poking people he could “bitch-slap” them. I made him get off Facebook and told him if he wants to mess around he needs to set up his own profile.

We spent the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace drinking wine and listening to music. Tom and Amy started texting us and we sent some messages back and forth. Tom texted that they found another fly in their house. I texted that I’d used so many WW points I couldn’t eat again until Tuesday.

Eventually we stopped drinking and went to bed. We both had a bit of a headache on Sunday.

Maybe next year we’ll try harder to get a babysitter. Even though we stayed home this year and didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in the most sophisticated manner, at least we celebrated together. I’d rather have Dave than carnations or roses or scary troll dolls anyway.

100 more things

  • February 15, 2009

Keri in MA recently tagged me in her note 25 random things on Facebook. I enjoyed coming up with my own 25 things so much I thought I’d write a new list and try to come up with 100 more things.

Here they are:

100. Trish is five minutes older than me.
99. My parents went to the doctor when my mom was seven and a half months pregnant and they found out there were going to be two babies instead of one. My mom went into labor later that night and they didn’t have a name or a crib for me. I guess they thought Tracey sounded good with Trish.
98. We are fraternal twins meaning there were two separate eggs.
97. We look nothing alike but people still ask us if we’re identical twins.
96. I am a little bit taller.
95. Trish and I both have brown eyes.
94. I was born breech.
93. I have a really cool younger brother named George but I’ve been forbidden to blog about him. I probably will anyway. I still call him Georgie even though he’s thirty-nine years old.
92. I abhor jazz music.
91. Not crazy about R&B either.
90. Dave is always trying to convince me to like both.
89. I hate riding my bicycle.
88. And not because my helmet is super queer which is why Dave thinks I don’t like to go on bike rides.
87. I would never attend a spinning class at the YMCA either.
86. I have no desire to ever participate in RAGBRAI which is when thousands of bicycle riding enthusiasts pedal their way across Iowa.
85. But I’ll show up when RAGBRAI swings through Des Moines and drink beer with all the bicyclists. To show my support and stuff.
84. I just think biking is boring.
83. Dave’s always trying to convince me it’s not.
82. To me it is (shrug).
81. I make Dave’s lunch for him every day.
80. I make him a PB&J sandwich and throw in a carton of AE yogurt.
79. We only eat natural peanut butter. You have to keep it in the fridge and when you first open it, the oil and the peanut butter have to be mixed up.
78. I pack either strawberry banana or cherry vanilla yogurt.
77. I started packing his lunch because he works out on his lunch hour and he doesn’t always have time to go get something to eat afterward.
76. Dave appreciates that I pack his lunch and never takes it for granted.
75. Dave is way nicer than me.
74. “Hey, is that your real hair color?”
73. That was the pick up line Dave used on me the night we met.
72. I was a redhead at the time.
71. We met at a party being thrown by a guy I was pseudo-dating.
70. Pseudo because he usually just tried to booty call me. Or convince me to go home from the bar with him.
69. Luckily I would usually sleep through the booty call and not listen to his message on my answering machine until the next morning.
68. Which translated into me accidentally playing hard to get.
67. Which is why pseudo-date guy actually called me during daylight hours and invited me to come to his party.
66. And then IGNORED me the whole night.
65. Except for making a rude remark about my blazer (it was brand new, I bought it at The Limited, and it was THE blazer to own).
64. But then Dave uttered his magic pick up line and I fell in love.
63. That party was sixteen and a half years ago.
62. Dave is my best friend.
61. Dave and I are not car people.
60. We’ve only had one income for almost ten years so we had to choose between a nice house or nice cars.
59. Our cars aren’t nice.
58. I drive a 1999 Ford Explorer. It’s white and it does have all the bells and whistles like keyless entry and butt warmers.
57. I bought it from my dad when it was three years old.
56. It was in pristine condition because my dad is very clean.
55. I am super clean too yet the kids and I have managed to turn the Explorer (which we call “the exploder” for no apparent reason) into a giant garbage can on wheels.
54. Dave cleans out the interior every six weeks or so.
53. He’s usually muttering something under his breath about how filthy it was.
52. Dave drives a 1995 Honda Accord that we also bought from my dad and Debby. It was only two years old when we got it.
51. I’ve only had one new car in my life. In 1990, I bought a red Acura Integra.
50. I drove it for the next twelve years.
49. I was pregnant with Lauren when we sold the Acura and bought dad’s Explorer.
48. I loved my Acura.
47. It was a five speed.
46. I miss having a clutch.
45. I’m a pretty good driver. I haven’t had a speeding ticket in fifteen years and I had never had an “at fault“ accident until last winter.
44. I slid into a parked car at cost cutters when I took Matthew to get a haircut.
43. It cost $500 and we paid out of our pocket because it wasn’t worth submitting to our insurance company.
42. I love to read.
41. I just finished reading all eight Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery books by Charlaine Harris.
40. Currently I’m reading two David Sedaris books simultaneously.
39. I’m really into reading memoirs right now.
38. Dave and I still read to the kids every night at bedtime.
37. We started reading at bedtime when the kids were infants
36. Dave and I have read the first four Harry Potter books aloud to Matthew at bedtime.
35. I had already read all seven Harry Potter books.
34. So I’m getting really tired of Harry Potter.
33. Both kids are pretty good readers.
32. Dave and I drink more since having kids then we ever did before.
31. But I hardly ever drink Sunday-Thursday. I’ve never been a big “school night” drinker.
30. I’d rather consume seven drinks in a weekend rather than have one drink every night for a week.
29. There’s a name for people like me.
28. Binge drinker.
27. During the week I like to work out, get up early, and get things accomplished so I can have fun on the weekends.
26. With wine.
25. Or cosmos.
24. Or sometimes beer if it’s hot out.
23. I also really like iced tea.
22. Not sweet tea!
21. I like diet coke.
20. I hate pepsi products.
19. I only drink soy milk.
18. I hate spiders.
17. I hate snakes.
18. I don’t mind mice.
16. I don’t love mice but I can’t remember the last time I saw one anyway.
15. I’ve seen some scary spiders in my yard.
14. We had a fox in our yard two years ago.
13. Say it with me: Urban sprawl.
12. Matthew walked right by it on his way to the swing set.
11. He didn’t know what it was.
10. It ran away.
9. I don’t throw stale bread off the deck anymore.
8. Although I wish the fox would come back and eat Sandy the yeti.
7. But I’m afraid the fox will eat Chloe someday.
6. We have an invisible fence which will only keep out invisible foxes.
5. We are planning on putting up a volleyball net in our back yard this summer.
4. I am also going to teach the kids how to play croquet.
3. I used to love playing croquet in my yard with Trish and Georgie when we were little.
2. Except one time a bird pooped on my head when I was playing croquet.
1. One time a bird pooped on Amy’s head when she was at a cemetery.
*Amy wins.

Psst, Cupid

  • February 13, 2009

Dear dude with the arrows,

I need a favor. My sister Trish had a date last Friday with a guy named Ian. She met him on match.com and discovered he was just as attractive in person as his profile picture promised. He was also really nice and he and Trish had a lot in common.

They went out for dinner and then to a bar. Ian asked Trish if she wanted to do a shot and she said “sure!”

Trish does not do shots.

Trish certainly does not do tequila shots.

Yet somehow Trish had five tequila shots on her first date with Ian.

How she managed not to turn into a big vomit volcano is beyond me.

When they got back to her place, Trish changed into her bathrobe and did a lot of dancing and singing in the kitchen. Ian tucked her into bed, alone, at 3:30 AM. Trish didn’t remember much of it. She texted Ian the next morning to apologize and he filled in the gaps.

He must be quite a gentleman considering Trish slipped herself a tequila roofie.

And yes, I gave Trish a good “talking to” about how dangerous it is to drink a crapload of liquor and then invite a guy she just met back to her house.

Trish hasn’t heard from Ian since, except for a couple texts. She knows she might not have made the best first impression and she’s worried it might have cost her a second date with a great guy. I’m still secretly hoping Ian will ask Trish to be his valentine and that’s why I need your help cupid.

Could you please shoot Ian with a big-ass arrow? I know you’re wicked busy but I’d sure appreciate it if you could help me and Trish out.

Lots of love,

Tracey

P.S. I know you’re not santa but could you also drop off a box of chocolates at my house? A very small box will be fine, as I will mostly be celebrating Valentine’s Day with sauvignon blanc and my extra weight watchers points will only go so far. Please make sure there are no chocolates with pink, white, or maple centers because if I bite into one of those I’m just going to spit it back into the box and Dave gets all bent of out shape when I do that. Thanks in advance!

The Marble Jar Method, Is It Working?

  • February 13, 2009

Recently I wrote about a positive behavior reinforcement method I implemented to help me manipulate my devil’s spawn offspring into listening to me and doing what I wanted. I am pleased to announce that the marble jar method, when executed properly, will absolutely allow you to modify and/or eliminate the undesirable behavior of anyone participating. However, the plan is only as effective as the individual administering it and that’s where we had some problems.

When I first set out the marble jars, not only did Matthew and Lauren keep acting like hooligans, they weren‘t even trying to earn marbles. I couldn’t figure it out. Why weren’t they participating? Weren’t they excited about getting cool stuff? It finally occurred to me a day later that for a positive behavior reinforcement method to work there needs to be some positive reinforcement.

The next morning I gave Lauren a marble for being so cheerful when she came down to breakfast. I gave Matthew a marble for answering me quickly when I asked him what he wanted to eat. I gave both of them marbles for brushing their teeth, putting on their boots, and walking to the bus stop.

They were thrilled. “You mean this is all we have to do to earn marbles?” they asked.

“Yep”, I said. “Just keep doing what I ask and you’ll have a jar full of marbles by Sunday.”

The more positive behavior I reinforced, the more positive behavior they exhibited. The backpacks were hung up, the boots were put away, and all the dirty clothes were placed in the laundry basket. Matthew and Lauren said please and thank you to each other. Whenever Chloe rang the bell to let us know she needed to go out, Lauren ran to the front door to open it, screaming, “I get a marble, I get a marble!”

By the end of the week, Lauren earned enough marbles for a new DS game and Matthew earned enough marbles for duct tape, glue, paint, and other building supplies for a project he’s working on in the spare bedroom.

Clearly, I am some kind of rock star mother. If my eggs weren’t so old and Dave hadn’t had a vasectomy, I might consider having another baby since parenting is so easy for me. I thought about writing an article detailing how effortless it is to raise polite and obedient children and sending it to Parenting magazine so other moms and dads could learn from my example.

After about a week, when Matthew finally realized that letting Chloe out was a really easy way to earn marbles, he raced to the front door when he heard the bell ring. So did Lauren and since they both refused to yield to their sibling, they collided, got pissed, and had a knock down drag out fight about who was going to open the door. I sent them to their rooms, took a marble out of their jars, and let Chloe out myself.

A few days later, I asked Matthew what he wanted for breakfast. He thought answering me was optional. I asked him again and when he started demanding things for breakfast that we didn’t even have in the house, I got a little peeved. I gave him a couple choices and he decided to get lippy with me. I warned him that I was going to take a marble out of his jar if he did not answer me immediately. He said he didn’t care. I removed ALL the marbles in his jar and asked him if he cared now. He responded by sticking his tongue out at me, making a face, and opening and closing his hands up by his mouth to mimic my talking.

I snapped. I yelled so loud people in the next county probably heard me. I slapped my hand down on the island so everyone would be crystal clear on who was in charge.

I’m going through the “terrible forty-twos” and I’m not always able to control the temper tantrums that accompany this adult developmental stage.

I grabbed a slip of paper, wrote “negative 45 marbles” on it, and shoved it into Matthew’s jar. I put myself in a time out and barely got Matthew and Lauren to the bus stop in time.

It took me twenty-four hours to cool off enough to remove the slip of paper from Matthew’s marble jar and start him over at zero.

I’m not giving up on the marble jar method. I believe it works if administered properly. I will come up with an action plan for how to deal with occasional behavior deviations and I realize that throwing a parental hissy fit is not very effective in terms of positive reinforcement.

Matthew hopes to earn enough marbles next week to earn Mario Kart for the Wii. Lauren is thinking about another game for her DS.

And I’m going to try harder to be a rock star mom.

Farewell Top Nails

  • February 11, 2009

I decided to break up with my Top Nails boyfriend today. I needed to have my pink and white artificial solar nails filled again and I could not bear the thought of sitting across from him for an hour while he touched me with his clammy hands and tried to speak to me in Mandarin. I’m sure the tibia crushing sadist would have been there too, lurking by the pedicure chairs waiting to pounce on unsuspecting women with pain thresholds not nearly high enough to offset the misery she would likely inflict upon them.

I went to Elegant Nails instead. Unlike Top Nails, Elegant Nails did not have a single dude in the whole place. I’ve been to Elegant Nails before, with Trish and Wendy, and I’ve always had a good experience. It’s a little farther from my house, and busier than Top Nails, but it’s totally worth waiting a little while if you have to (there’s a reason they have a large clientele). I am sometimes the only customer at Top Nails.

The female nail technician who assisted me spoke excellent English and we were able to communicate with ease. Conversely, my Top Nails boyfriend likes to ask me questions and since I can’t understand him, I usually answer one of three ways: “uh-huh”, “yes”, or with an awkward giggle even though he probably just asked me my bra size and whether or not I like to watch pornos (36 C and occasionally).

The girl at Elegant Nails completed the nail fill in a speedy thirty-five minutes instead of the fifty minutes it takes my Top Nails boyfriend, thus proving that women are faster and more efficient than men at pretty much everything.

At Top Nails, I am forced to watch One Life to Live. At Elegant Nails, I was able to watch Ozzy Osbourne’s True Hollywood Story on E! This delighted me as I am a fan of Ozzy’s and used to love watching The Osbournes on MTV. I also live in a suburb of Des Moines and everyone knows Des Moines is where Ozzy bit the head off a bat in 1982 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Any mention of Des Moines that does not result in my city being ridiculed is good publicity in my book so I think I should support Ozzy whenever possible, even if it’s just by playing Crazy Train on my ipod or watching him on television.

She even trimmed my cuticles at Elegant Nails. I noticed she pulled the clippers out of a drawer and not, say, an autoclave, which probably means that sterilization guidelines weren’t totally adhered to but I don’t even care. I know it’s just a matter of time before I catch Ebola from one of these places so what the hell.

Overall, I had a very satisfactory customer experience. Elegant Nails will definitely be getting my business from now on.

Sorry Top Nails boyfriend. I’m just not that into you.

Sometimes You Have to Take a Detour

  • February 10, 2009

In the spring of 1988, I dropped out of the University of Iowa and moved home to Des Moines to take a job at my dad’s motorcycle dealership selling extended warranties and insurance.

In addition to providing me with an all expenses paid, albeit temporarily incomplete, college education, and now a job, my dad also drove to Coralville, moved everything out of my apartment into a big truck, and drove it home. He had also moved Trish in and out of various apartments and I rode shotgun with him once. The two of us transported everything Trish owned to California, unpacked it, and headed back east stopping only in Vegas because my dad wanted to show me the lights and buy me a shrimp cocktail.

After my dad moved my things back into my high school bedroom, I began my new job at the motorcycle dealership. I was unapologetically boy crazy so working in an environment that was, by its very design meant to appeal primarily to the opposite sex seemed like a smart move in my opinion.

Since I lived at home, every penny I earned was spent at the mall. In my twenty-one year old world the only worries I had were whether Target would continue to sell the hairspray I’d discovered (Stiff Stuff, perfect for my late eighties mile – high hair) and if my brown leather skirt was in fact too short to allow me to sit on a bar stool without flashing everyone my hooha.

I wasn’t responsible for paying any property taxes and I’m not sure I could have explained their function in relation to the free roof over my head. I’m certain I was not registered to vote and wouldn’t have been able to name a single branch of the United States Government.

I spent the time I was not working baking myself brown in a tanning bed and smoking Benson and Hedges Deluxe Ultra Light 100’s.

One afternoon when I was working at the dealership the sales manager sold several Honda scooters to three customers, two men and one woman, who came in together. They paid just under ten-thousand dollars in wilted twenty-dollar bills. I spent a half hour sitting on the floor counting and re-counting the bills which were wrinkly and smelled like dirt and sweat. I also completed all the sale paperwork. I remember the woman had the longest fake fingernails I’d ever seen and they were painted red. Her name was Mary and I wanted to ask her how she buttoned her shirt with nails that long but I didn’t.

A couple years later I took the skills my dad had taught me and, with his blessing, started working at a car dealership.

One day a man in a dark suit came in and asked the receptionist to page me to the sales floor.

When I arrived he handed me a subpoena to appear in federal court in the case of the state versus “the three scooter-buying drug dealers.” Even though I hadn’t actually been the one to sell the scooters, my name was on all the paperwork which is how I ended up in federal court as a witness for the prosecution.

I didn’t think they meant court like placing my hand on a bible and swearing to “tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God.” But that’s exactly what it means when you are subpoenaed to federal court.

If I had been paying the slightest bit of attention to anything I would have presented myself better and not shown up in a short blue miniskirt, white tights, and navy blue pumps. The minor witness for the prosecution looked like a hooker.

I was called to the stand, which was located directly in front of the defendants, in this case unrepentant drug dealers who were allowed to glare at and terrify the twenty-three year old hooker/witness that had been forced to testify against them.

I swore to tell the truth and I did. The prosecuting attorney wanted me to state that it was unusual for the defendants to have paid in cash. I told him farmers did it all the time when they came in to buy ATV’s. He wanted me to agree that paying just under ten-thousand dollars in cash, thus exempting us from having to fill out a special form, was suspect. I simply stated that that was what the total ended up being for the three scooters.

My time on the stand was done after that. I’m not sure what they thought an inconsequential witness like me could add to the case. I had listened to enough testimony before I was finally called to the stand to realize that whatever I said would have no influence on the outcome of the trial.

I never feared retribution of any kind. This was due in part to my immature and undeveloped cognitive thought processes and the fact that the drug dealers were going to prison for a while. After my day in court I simply returned to my simple life of hair spray, limited responsibility, and boys.

Eventually I started having a recurring dream that I was still attending the University of Iowa but I’m late for all of my final exams and I haven’t completed any of the semester’s assignments for a single class. I’m so far behind there’s no way I will ever catch up.

It’s that feeling that sent me back to school in the fall of 1992, shortly before I met Dave. I went to night school at Grandview College and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.

Sometimes I still have that dream and I regret dropping out of college more than anything I‘ve ever done in my life. I wish my dad had thrown a fit instead of a lifeline.

But when I hear about a marriage breaking up or an irresponsible mid-life crisis being attributed to oats that weren’t sown I sometimes feel a little better.

These boots are made for walkin’

  • February 6, 2009

Here is your mission should you choose to accept it:

You have 24 hours to find a pair of size six snow boots for a nine and a half year old boy.

Good luck. You are going to need it.

Probably you should just blow off this mission and go to a bar. It’s impossible.

Had I known I would need to buy Matthew new boots I could have started looking for them months ago when they were still available. I didn’t discover the need for new boots until four days ago when I picked up a pair of wet socks by the front door.

“Matthew why are your socks all wet?” I asked.

“Because my boots have holes in the bottom.”

“Both of them?”

“Yeah.”

“Why didn’t you say anything to me?”

“I don’t know.”

How odd because Matthew usually tells me every single thing that’s bothering him in regards to his personal comfort. Anything being wet usually sends him over the edge. He can’t stand tags of any kind and will complain if his clothes don’t feel right. Actually, he’ll start jumping around and screaming until I get the scissors and cut out the tag. Lauren doesn’t care if her underwear is on backward and could probably wear a shirt made entirely OUT of tags. She’s easygoing that way.

I know teenaged boys are not the most communicative specimens on the planet but Matthew is only nine and a half and I thought he’d be at least thirteen before we reached the communication breakdown years.

Since I love to shop, I thought replacing the boots would not be a problem. I’d simply go to Target and buy another pair. I’d probably get a huge discount on them and pay next to nothing. I’d buy them one size bigger and he could wear them again next winter.

I was clearly deluded and I have no grasp of how the retail inventory system works. Only Punxsutawney Phil and I are admitting its still winter. Target thinks its sandal and swimsuit season. Where does all the winter stuff go? Is there a giant secret winter warehouse somewhere that they store it in or does it all get shipped to Australia?

Next, I frantically searched the Internet and Land’s End is on my shit list. Their website is nothing but a big bait and switch. It appears that they have the boots but when I get ready to place them in my shopping cart, the only color they actually have is magenta and the only size available is four. Ditto LL Bean.com, zappos.com, and any other web site that claims to still have boots in stock.

I got out the phone book and started calling all the local shoe stores. The high school employees laughed at me.

I asked my neighbor Lisa for help. She didn’t know where I could get boots but she told me the next day at the bus stop that she’d had a dream that there were boys snow boots in Oelwein, IA.

Trish had a roommate in college named Janis whose boyfriend lived in Oelwein. Janis somehow convinced Trish and me to go home with her one weekend to stay at her much older, farmer boyfriend’s house for some sort of party.

I was so traumatized by the 48 hours I spent in Oelwein that I’m never going back, not even if the town’s welcome wagon lady hands me a cosmopolitan and a Dooney and Bourke handbag upon my arrival. Not even if every boys size six snow boot in the world is being stored there in a giant warehouse. Not even if you can grab as many pairs as you want. For free.

And if you’re reading this blog post and you live in Oelwein, I’m sorry (but get the fuck out right now before the pod people convince you to stay there for the rest of your life).

I couldn’t find boots anywhere. I admitted defeat and the thought of Matthew having to go to school with cardboard and duct tape holding his boots together was more than I could endure. I considered home schooling him for the next six weeks.

And then, I remembered something. I ran to the front closet and dug out my navy blue Sporto winter boots. They weren’t magenta. They were warm and the soles were perfectly intact. Matthew’s feet are only a little smaller than mine so they’d probably fit OK.

“Matthew, come here. Look what I found in the closet.”

He tried them on. “I don’t like them mom. I love them!”

“Do they fit?”

“Yeah!”

Matthew needed new boots and mama worked it out. Sure, I sent my son to school in his mother’s boots. Sure, some dick headed older kid could pull the old “your mama wears Sporto boots” and it would be true. And I have no idea the psychological damage I might have done by sending him to school in said boots. Someday Matthew might by lying on a shrink’s couch saying, “my mom made me wear her boots, man. She totally tricked me and I wore those boots for two years because I didn’t know it was weird.”



I don’t care. His socks are dry and his feet are warm and that’s all I care about.

Mission impossible, my ass.

The Real Housewives

  • February 5, 2009

I know I said I was not going to watch those attention whores out in Orange County anymore but I lied. Maybe I need some kind of twelve-step program or support group to wean myself off this producer manipulated and highly edited reality piece of crap. Every time I watch it, I feel myself getting dumber and yet I can’t stop.

When I saw that the little red light for the DVR was on and I figured out what it was recording I was all “hey Dave, Real Housewives is on. Wanna watch?”

And since Dave secretly likes watching the Real Housewives and probably wanted me to stop talking so he could have some peace and quiet he said “sure.”

This week’s episode of the Real Housewives had so many things I can make fun of I don’t even know where to start.

The show began with Tamra and her mom going out for dinner for the first time since her mom’s face-lift. She obviously went the whole extreme makeover route because her trailer park hairstyle had been replaced by a tasteful shorter ‘do and her makeup looked nice. I thought she looked great and the plastic surgeon did a good job.

Tamra asked her mom what she wanted to drink and her mom replied that her new look needed a new drink. Otherwise, she’d just have a beer. Tamra replied, “We took the beer out of you, remember?”

How fun! Tamra and Simon are both working on their own little Eliza Doolittle projects. Tamra’s husband Simon is going to class Tamra up (he started by making her go to etiquette class a few episodes ago because she doesn’t know how to hold her fork) and Tamra is going to class her mom up with a new face, hair, and alcoholic beverage. I can’t wait to see how they both turn out.

Tamra decided that her mom needed to start online dating so she signed her up. She suggested her mom’s user name could be ‘mom of the hottest housewife in Orange County’. OK, whatever Tamra. I hate to break it to you but Gretchen is way hotter than you are.

Tamra was helping her mom build a profile and when she got to the part where you have to choose your turn ons, something rang a distinct bell.

Tamra mentioned erotica, skinny-dipping, flirting, and candlelight. Hey! Those are Trish’s ideal match turn ons (except erotica, she FINALLY took that off after I threatened to do it myself). Tamra’s mom didn’t want erotica either but she was fine with the other three.

And by the way, last season Tamra went to her own plastic surgeon to get the size of her breasts reduced but I think that was a big fat lie because they are still huge, obnoxious, and distracting.

Tamra is not a big girl but her boobs make her look top heavy and cheap. I know I’ve mentioned getting my own boob job someday but just to clarify, it’s not because I want them to be bigger. I just want them returned to their original pre-pregnancy location.

The housewives took a girl’s only road trip to Vegas. The producers at Bravo aren’t dummies and they know a good opportunity to exploit drunken housewives when they see one.

They played blackjack and several housewives had a little trouble with math. Lynne didn’t even realize that getting twenty-one was a good thing. She also didn’t know if her home had air conditioning.

I can understand not knowing your cholesterol level or maybe your current homeowner’s insurance deductible. Maybe you aren’t sure if your car has four or six or eight cylinders. But not knowing whether you have air conditioning at home means that you are completely and certifiably stupid.

I had a mental image of Lynne coming home from a workout or playing tennis. As she opens the door she crosses her fingers and thinks to herself “I wonder if the MAGIC that controls the internal temperature of my home has cooled it down while I was gone. I’m awfully sweaty and the icy MAGIC feels so good when it’s hot outside.”

The other housewives (none of them members of Mensa) were totally giving Lynne a hard time about how stupid she is. And Lynne IS so stupid that she couldn’t even comprehend that they were making fun of her. I think she might have taken a few bong hits up in her room because she seemed even spacier than normal. She did finally say there was a big machine in the house and sometimes she heard it turn on so maybe that was the air conditioner.

The housewives went out for dinner and drinks and Vicki got really territorial about dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives. Everyone but Gretchen already knew that was Vicki’s signature drink, DUH! But when Gretchen exclaimed that it was HER favorite drink and she had no idea Vicki liked them too Vicki got all pissed off and Gretchen was accused of being a copycat. Vicki, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery so cool your jets.

I don’t know why a grown woman would care if someone ordered the same drink. Besides, she’s going to drink too many dirty martinis and fall down later anyway. On last week’s episode (yes, I watched that one too) Vicki accepted an award in front of a big group of people and when she turned to walk away she missed a step and fell flat on her ass.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I think people falling down is hilarious and I laugh so hard I pee whenever anyone (including myself) wipes out. Tom thinks it’s funny too, which is why I’m saving a place for him next to me in hell.

When they were hanging out at the pool, Gretchen told everyone she’d rather be absolutely ridiculous rather than absolutely boring. She said that was actually her motto. I think she made her point spectacularly and Vicki finally had to tell her to go sit down and stop blowing the “hottie’ whistle she picked up somewhere.

Jeana mentioned that she and Lynne were past the hottie whistle stage and that was totally news to Lynne. News that did not go over well.

The housewives finally stopped wreaking havoc on the state of Nevada and got back in their limo and went home.

Next week, Tamra tries to work through her abandonment issues with her dad. Jeana goes on her first date since separating from Matt. And I need my head examined for knowing so much about this show. *****The Real Housewives of New York premieres February 17th!!!!!!!!!

I can see clearly now

  • February 4, 2009

Two years ago this month I had LASIK eye surgery at the Wolfe Clinic. It was a life changing procedure and I cannot believe I waited so long to have it done. However, I do live in fear that some day in the future I’ll wake up and be blind like Ned Flanders in that Simpson‘s episode.

My eyesight truly sucked. I started wearing glasses in third grade and switched to contacts in eighth. I could not drive a car or see across the room without my glasses or contacts. I had been thinking about LASIK surgery for a long time but my eye doctor did not think I was a viable candidate. Then all of a sudden she said I was so I think they just decide willy- nilly whether or not it will work for you.

My dad had recently bankrolled the solution to some sort of debacle Trish had gotten herself into and in a desperate attempt to regain parity between the amount spent on each of his grown adult children, he insisted on paying for me to have LASIK eye surgery even though Dave and I had already arranged to cover the cost through our flexible spending account. I accepted his generous offer. I think there is a good chance Trish will do something in the future that might result in my dad paying for a tummy tuck.

On the day of the surgery Dave dropped me off at The Wolfe Clinic. I was part of a group of ten and we were all there to have the surgery. They gave us a short presentation about what to expect and said they would be calling us up individually to give us a dose of valium. Some of the people in the group were nervous and had a lot of questions about the procedure and whether or not it would hurt.

I mostly had questions about the valium.

I wondered if we would need more after the initial dose wore off and inquired as to whether there would be some valium in the postoperative packet they told us we would receive when the procedure was complete. I had read Valley of the Dolls and did not want to miss my golden opportunity to mix alcohol with pills that were legitimately prescribed for me by a doctor. If having your corneas sliced end to end is not a good enough reason to anesthetize yourself with cabernet and valium I don’t know what is. The woman that answered my question told me no and probably also thought I had a drug problem.

I had the distinction of having the largest astigmatism of anyone being operated on in our group (which should have automatically made me eligible for additional valium but whatever).

They called my name first which was fine because I wanted to get it over with. I’d just signed all kinds of documents stating about fifty different ways I could come out of this whole thing blind and I wanted to know sooner rather than later if I’d need to learn Braille.

The procedure starts with numbing drops and then a big suction cup thingy is attached to your eyeball. Everything goes black after that and you need to remain calm and daydream or something while the Wolfe Clinic doctors and nurses do the hard stuff like calibrate the laser beams and make sure there aren’t any technical difficulties. This is the part of the procedure where they make the big flaps in your cornea.

Then you walk from that chair next door to another chair where they use laser light pulses to re-shape the corneas. It’s not a big deal at all as long as you do what the doctor tells you to and don’t have a big freak out or anything, especially when you smell the laser burning off some of your corneal tissue.

When my doctor was done with the procedure he spent a lot of time telling me how well I had done and how calm I’d been. He mentioned how quiet I was and that I followed his instructions very well. All the while he was smiling at me and patting me on the back. He seemed genuinely appreciative.

I’m very perceptive and figured out he was really telling me that most of the male patients he’d performed the LASIK procedure on were big wussies and had probably requested that the procedure be halted while they got themselves under control.

The nurse took me to another room to lie down for a while and I was shocked to find I could read the clock on the wall, even with two plastic eye shields taped over my eyes.

After about fifteen minutes they told me I could leave. I was given a giant pair of those black terminator goggles that old people are always wearing. They’re not quite so funny when you’re the one wearing them.

My numbing eye drops had started to wear off. I sat on a bench in the entryway of the Wolfe Clinic and somehow managed to open my eyes long enough to hit the speed dial for Dave on my cell phone.

When he and Lauren arrived five minutes later the stinging was so bad Dave had to lead me to the car because I couldn’t open my eyes. I was not thrilled with their decision to go through the drive thru at Wendy’s. I wanted to get home and crawl into bed with all the shades drawn.

I had been instructed to try to sleep for two to three hours because resting my eyes and keeping them closed was the best thing for them.

When I woke up and came downstairs I flipped up my plastic eye shields and used the tape to stick them to my forehead so I could take my new eyesight for a test run.

It was awesome. I watched TV that night and could see the clock on the bookcase clear across the room. My vision continually improved over the next forty-eight hours and at my post-operative eye exam a week later my vision was 20/20 in each eye.

I still have perfect eyesight. The Wolfe Clinic is dynamite with a laser beam and I’d recommend their doctors to anyone who is contemplating LASIK eye surgery. But just so you know, they are quite stingy with the valium.

I Heart Phil

  • February 3, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil is totally my homeboy. The world’s most famous groundhog saw his shadow yesterday thus predicting six more weeks of winter.

Yay for me, boo for you! I love winter. I do not have a problem with things like ground blizzards, ice storms, and major winter events that might dump 10 inches of snow on my house.

I once drove to the store in the middle of a blizzard to buy supplies (alcohol and a movie). It did not even bother me that I had to drive the car with my head hanging out the window like a dog in order to see the road. It was my own personal REO Speedwagon moment because I was so ridin’ the storm out.

One night when I was in my twenties, the weatherman on the news was warning everyone to stay inside and not leave their homes due to dangerously frigid wind chill temperatures. Lisa and I thought it would be a better idea to go to Plaza Pub, drink ourselves silly, and dance on our chairs.

We then thought it would be an even BETTER idea to go over to Kent’s house after the bar closed to join a bunch of people partying in the hot tub.

Then it seemed like an even BETTER idea to challenge each other to run around the perimeter of the house in our bare feet to see who could make it back to the hot tub first.

I had so much ice built up on the soles of my feet that I accidentally overshot the hot tub and skidded into some trees at the end of the property. Someone managed to grab the neck of my t-shirt and pull me back before I hurt myself.

The death flu I came down with thirty-six hours later is not my favorite part of this story.

In the summertime, if the weatherman predicts a dangerously high heat index I have no problem not leaving my air conditioned house for the next twenty four hours and will pay Matthew or Lauren to bring in the paper and mail for me so I don’t have to go outside.

We could use some snow right now. A lot of it melted last weekend, which exposed a big layer of what Chloe has been doing in the front yard all winter. Either we need snow to cover it back up or someone needs to get out there with a pooper-scooper because we are going to look pretty ghetto if this continues.

Sometimes I wonder if I have the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder because instead of getting sad when the days get shorter, I get happier. My favorite month is October because that means that winter is not far away and I like the anticipation of colder weather, the holidays, and snow. I also like cloudy days and spring is my least favorite season so perhaps I am not right in the head.

I am kind of excited for this summer though. Dave and I are looking forward to spending time with Tom and Amy at their lake house. In addition, we cannot wait to get out on our patio so we can start annoying Neal and Sandy as soon as possible.

Until then I will continue monitoring the weather channel for impending winter storms. We have a good chance of at least one blizzard in March.

Dave really wants to buy a hot tub some day. Phil and I are totally on board with that.

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