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The Marble Jar

  • January 28, 2009

No one is listening to me in this house. Matthew and Lauren don’t hear me until I start yelling. Dave can’t hear me because he’s from Mars.

In an attempt to shamelessly manipulate everyone into actually listening to what I’m saying (and it’s not blah, blah, blah people) I have decided to employ the marble jar method. I will stay calm and everyone will want to listen to me because I will have modified their behavior via positive reinforcement, thus returning our household to a lovely harmonious state.

Everyone gets a jar. Do what I ask and you get a marble. Do it without my asking and you might get two. Not listening to me or not doing what I’ve asked will result in me taking a marble out of your jar. There will be no yelling, debating, arguing, or pleading. Just marbles going in and out. I’m going to be keeping track of invisible marbles for Dave because if I actually get him a jar he might divorce me.

At the end of the week, whoever has earned their pre-determined minimum number of marbles will get to choose a corresponding reward. The more expensive the item, the more marbles that will have to be earned.

I believe in this method. And either I straighten everyone out now or juvie hall’s gonna do it for me.

Lauren’s already tried to beat the system by giving Matthew a fake hug goodbye in order to earn a marble.

Dave earned an invisible marble by loading the dishwasher on my birthday. Dave lost an invisible marble because when I opened the dishwasher to unload it all the bowls and cups were upside down and filled with water that had what looked like pulverized cocoa puffs floating in it. Seven spoons were stuck together because he had stacked them all in the same section of the silverware thingy. Everything was jammed in so the stuff he piled on the bottom rack was still dirty. I organized everything and ran the dishwasher again.

Matthew tried to boycott the whole thing by saying he didn’t care about any stupid rewards. Once he heard what some of the rewards were (like duct tape and Wii games), he went upstairs to build a treasure chest for me to put everything in. He’s catching on quick.

I am trying to be clear with my expectations for everyone. Here are some of the ways they can earn or lose a marble:

1. Saying please and thank you to anyone without being asked (earn a marble).

2. Watching YouTube videos without adult supervision (lose a marble). I know the kids were only trying to find SpongeBob SquarePants but when I came upstairs they were watching SpongeBong HempPants (the crystal meth episode). I know they’re too young to understand the content but from now on nobody’s on YouTube unless I’m in the same room with them.

3. Let Chloe out when she rings the bell (earn a marble). I can hear it when I’m clear upstairs going to the bathroom and I don’t understand why no one else can hear it when they’re downstairs in the same room as the bell.

4. Hitting, spitting, or using physical force of any kind (lose a marble). I don’t care who started it. Just because your sibling hauled off and socked you in the arm does not mean you need to retaliate with a psychotic karate chop to the head. ***And Matthew, Lauren’s kind of a spit-talker so don’t be so quick to think she’s doing it on purpose or to be mean.

5. Unpack your backpack and bring me all forms, notes, assignment books and home folders (earn a marble). If you are capable of doing this at school you are capable of doing it at home. ****Dave please try harder to give me all your ATM receipts. The one you gave me last Sunday, dated September something, does not help me keep the checkbook balanced accurately (lose a marble).

6. Leave a path of destruction with a debris zone a mile wide through whatever room I just got done cleaning (lose a marble). If you are able to drag it all out you are able to put it all away. Don’t bother telling me you all of a sudden have a headache and need Motrin.

We had a family meeting after dinner tonight because we’re still working out some of the marble jar details. Matthew is currently at a negative three marbles and Lauren has earned two. It’s too early to tell if anyone will visit the treasure chest this week.

I hope this works. I’m going to lose all MY marbles if the behavior of my children doesn’t improve. I probably wouldn’t have to spend so many of my Weight Watchers points on wine if they’d stop acting like savages. But I probably still would.

SOS

  • January 27, 2009

Our friends Tom and Amy bought a pontoon boat a couple years ago and we affectionately refer to it as the party barge. As an Aquarian, I love being on the water and have no trouble whoring myself out to anyone who owns a boat. I don’t barter with sexual favors but rather my ability to put together a picnic spread that would make Martha Stewart proud (though once I know the boat gig’s a sure thing I get lazy and start showing up with a bucket of chicken from KFC).

Dave contributes by being the de facto first mate for Captain Tom. He does a bunch of rope tying and generally helps Tom avoid hitting stuff. They’re mostly successful as a team.

I’m in charge of gathering up all the shit we need to haul to the lake like floaties, and towels, and sunscreen, and chairs. It’s piled up so high Dave can barely see out the back window of our SUV. I also stock the cooler and it would be nice if the kids would stop calling their juice boxes “kid beer” because that does not paint us in the best light parentally.

One evening Dave and I got a babysitter and joined Tom and Amy and two other couples for a sunset booze cruise. I was almost high I was so excited at the prospect of being on the water without worrying about anyone drowning or complaining that we were out of Chips Ahoy.

We left the marina around 6:00 and boated over to party cove. We docked the boat on the sand and uncorked the wine.

I was having a fabulous time. I didn’t have to worry about my pathetic bladder control because I spent much of the evening standing waist deep in a big lukewarm toilet swilling wine with my friends. It’s not often I encounter situations where it’s totally appropriate to pee right in my swimsuit. I drank so much wine I didn’t care that my friends standing near me were using the lake/toilet as much as I was.

We stayed at party cove until it was dark. I was really glad that navigating us back to the marina didn’t fall under my list of responsibilities. Tom and Amy’s boat is really big and I could only imagine the shit we might hit with it since no one was exactly sober. I had no idea when we left the cove what it would take to get us back on terra firma.

We headed to the marina but it was so dark I was having a really hard time identifying where it was (I’d also had so much wine I had mono-vision). I figured Tom probably knew where he was going so I didn’t concern myself with the navigational details.

Until we hit the sand. Apparently we were not yet at the marina but were actually in very shallow water off a beach. Trust me, in the dark everything looked the same.

I don’t think we had the required amount of lights on the boat though. I say that because a boat roared past us and yelled, “Get some lights on!” in a very hostile tone (some boaters are so “by the book”). Tom and Amy hadn’t had the pontoon very long and we were still working out a few kinks.

Tom steered the boat away from the beach and we headed out to deeper water. The boat sputtered and died shortly after that.

We tried to get the marina on the phone so they could send someone out to tow us in (Tom had their number on speed dial because this actually wasn’t our first snafu). No one answered even though we called them repeatedly.

The men in our group busied themselves with some boat motor diagnostics while I threw on a life jacket and prepared to make another cabernet deposit in the lake. I jumped overboard and quickly realized that I don’t like being in deep water when it’s dark. I thought of the giant mutant carp that were always swimming around by the marina and wondered if any of them liked to swim out to the middle of the lake.

When it was time to get back in the boat I found out the ladder was broken and it is nearly impossible to haul your ass into a pontoon boat without one, especially when your blood alcohol level is probably twice the legal limit. Luckily Dave and the guy Susie was dating plucked me out of the water. I tried to stay out of everyone’s way after that.

We were lucky Jim was on board because he has a boat of his own and knows his way around a motor. He was able to determine that when we hit the sand, the gas line became disconnected and the boat died because gas was leaking everywhere.

Unfortunately, Jim was also smoking a cigarette when he discovered the problem and we’re lucky we didn’t end up on the front page of the Des Moines Register’s Metro section with the headline: Forty-something’s blow up boat, and selves on lake. I had a sudden mental image of the boat morphing into a giant Roman candle that shot drunken adults out of the center of its fire-cracker inferno. Any accompanying article would probably also mention that alcohol was thought to be a factor.

Jim got rid of the cigarette and hooked the gas line back up. We managed to make our way back to the marina on fumes.

I still had a great time. It’s true I never drank anything stronger than iced tea on the boat for the rest of the summer. And I got so many mosquito bites that night that my legs were covered in calamine lotion and band-aids for a week. And we owed the babysitter a bunch of money because we were so late getting home.

But I still love boating and I still love being on the water. I can’t help it. I’m an Aquarius, you know.

I’m too lazy (hungover) to think of a title for this blog post

  • January 25, 2009

She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her “baby“,
All the folks ‘round Brownsville say she’s crazy,
‘Cause she walks downtown with her suitcase in her hand,
Lookin’ for a mysterious dark- haired

—Helen Reddy, Delta Dawn

As of today I’m no longer 41. And my dad calls me honey, not baby, and has for as long as I can remember ( I call him dad because I don’t live in the deep south and I think calling anyone daddy when you’re older than 11 is super creepy).

I’m not freaked out about being forty-two years old. I’m not worried about getting wrinkly (Botox), or flabby (tummy tuck), or saggy (boob job) because when the money tree I planted in the back yard starts sprouting fifty dollar bills, I’m giving Dr. 90210 a call.

I have no regrets so far and worrying about things I can’t change is a total waste of time. And since the DeLorean is in the shop, I can‘t find my flux capacitor, and Dave used all the plutonium I can’t go back to the future even if I wanted to. But if I could, there are a few things I might mention to my younger self:

1. Don’t let Trish get so smashed at your bachelorette party. Everything was fine until she fell down Angie’s stairs and broke her leg a week before the wedding (also warn Angie about tricky stairs).

2. Always wear sunscreen and don’t climb into a tanning bed ever again. The more sunscreen you use now, the fewer dollars Dave will have to spend on chemical peels and microdermabrasion (leaving more money in the kitty for better boobs).

3. Don’t waste so much time on the couch with Dave watching Real World/Road Rules marathons on MTV. Once the babies start coming you and Dave will feel like two ships that pass in the night so get off your ass and go see a movie or something.

I’m sure I could think of more but mama had a lot of wine last night and I don’t think the part of my brain that creates the content for funny in the ‘hood is firing on all cylinders today. I think I need to put myself down for a nap.

But first I need to search itunes for a song about a woman who’s 42.

Tips and Toes

  • January 24, 2009

I kicked off the “all about Tracey” birthday weekend at the nail salon today.

When I walked in I saw that the tibia crushing sadist was already manhandling another woman so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about spending my birthday on crutches.

I was in dire need of a pedicure because I never did get around to having one before Christmas and things were getting really scary south of my ankles.

When the kids were at their grandparent’s house over Christmas break, Dave and I drank a bunch of wine and were, well, let‘s just pretend we were watching TV in bed one night and my totally dry and crusty heel somehow got drug across the sheets while we were watching TV and the sound it made was so absolutely horrible yet hysterical that we had to stop watching TV for a minute because we were laughing so hard and then Dave wanted to start watching TV again right away but I would not let him until he agreed that pedicures were not a frivolous waste of his money but actually a necessary part of my grooming and since David really wanted to get back to watching TV RIGHT THAT INSTANT he agreed so now I get to go to Top Nails whenever I want. I didn’t get anything in writing but I know Dave wouldn’t like it if the TV refused to like, TURN ON some night so I’m not worried.

But the girl who did my pedicure today skipped the most important step by not scraping all the bad stuff off my heels. Sure, she did some serious buffing and used some sort of loofah but that’s it.

The only reason I go to the chopstick salon in the first place is because they use the razor blade thingy to scrape off anything undesirable they might find on my heels. I always make sure my head is buried in a magazine so I don’t have to actually see them doing it.

I should mention that I was too busy talking to Wendy on my cell phone to notice nothing was being scraped until it was too late. I have one of those scraper things at home but one time I used it on my heels and cut myself so bad that Dave doesn’t think I should use it ever again.

After the pedicure I moved on to having my fake fingernails filled. The only dude in the whole place was waiting for me. This makes four times in a row if anyone’s interested. Some horrible soap opera was blaring from the TV and since my Top Nails boyfriend and I don’t speak the same language, I tuned everything out and spaced off for an hour to kill time.

I’m glad I had my nails done. It really was relaxing and now I’m ready for the weekend. I wish my heels were a little smoother but I don’t think that’s going to keep me and Dave from watching a little TV tonight.

I’m just getting so teeny tiny

  • January 22, 2009

I weighed in at Weight Watchers this morning and was pleasantly surprised to discover that 1.8 more pounds of me have gone poof.
I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’m currently masquerading as the poster girl for PMS and I wasn’t sure if that would be reflected on the scale.
I had to stand in line for a while this morning before I could weigh in. I made the following observation:
The bathroom at Weight Watchers is a popular place and I don’t like to think about what people might be doing in there. One lady had to go to the bathroom before she’d agree to step on the scale.
I don’t know how much the average pee-pee weighs but if that’s all that’s between her, a box of Krispy Kremes and a bell tower, she might want to re-think her weekly weight loss goals because she’s not leaving herself a big enough margin for error.
I didn’t stay for the meeting because I heard someone say it would last an hour and I clearly have better things to do. I managed to sneak out without having to make up any excuses for why I couldn’t stay (although I was prepared to say I was on my way to the gynecologist).
For lunch today I WAS going to treat myself to a grilled cheese sandwich. I used real butter but I did choose 2% milk cheddar cheese because I can’t tell the difference between it and the full fat kind. I also used my 1 point bread. It’s not 1 point because it’s fake diet bread filled with air. It’s only 1 point because the slices aren’t huge like the kind I buy for everyone else in this household.
However, I stepped away to blog a little and when I smelled something burning I ran to the stove to discover my grilled cheese was black and smoking (see visual aid at the top of this post). And there’s no more of my bread. And not quite enough butter to make another one anyway. And have I mentioned I have PMS? Is it to much to ask to have one little mother effing grilled cheese sandwich on weigh day? Is It???? I know it’s my own fault but now I’m stuck here in a stinky kitchen with no gooey, cheesy goodness.

My dad called this morning to tell me he and Debby were planning on picking up a birthday cake to have after we all go to dinner Saturday night (because apparently I‘m turning 8). I told him that was very nice but I was saving my WW points for going out to dinner both Saturday and Sunday night. Of course I’m also saving a bunch of them for wine (hello? It’s my birthday weekend) and if there’s a smack down between cake and cabernet, the wine is going to win every time.
That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m off in search of a lunch that’s still within my WW points budget and doesn’t suck. Maybe I’ll go to Krispy Kreme.

It’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to

  • January 22, 2009

My sister in law Stefanie sent me an e-mail the other day letting me know she left a comment on my blog. She mentioned she had never heard the adult diaper story and thought it was funny. She said she hoped Debby never got a hold of my blog because if she did, she’d need her own diaper because she’d probably crap.

My mom and dad got divorced when I was seven years old. Debby is my step – mom. She’s an important part of my life and she’s been with my dad since I was twelve. Even though Debby will never take the place of my mom, who died when I was 18, she comes pretty damn close.

Lots of people have asked me what I’d do if my dad and Debby found my blog. Damage control, probably. But I’m 41 years old and at some point we all have to come to the realization that we only really need to answer to ourselves (and maybe the police and God).

I have no such concerns about my mother in law reading my blog posts. Dave and his siblings spent a year of their childhood living in a Winnebago touring the west coast with their mom and her boyfriend (who went by the moniker Poet). I’m guessing she’d be A-OK with everything I’ve written.

Since I haven’t told my dad and Debby I’ve started a blog, they’d have to stumble across it on their own. That might not be so difficult since I used traceygarvisgraves.com for the domain name. If they Google me, they’ll see it. They’re getting pretty technically savvy at their house.

I’m not trying to hide anything. Some might wonder why I even care, at my age, if my dad and Debby read it. But I do care. I have a lot of respect for them and some of the things I blog about are things they might not necessarily be proud of.

I’ve posted about things I’ve done that are “technically” illegal. But much like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, I like to think my illegal shenanigans don’t count if certain people don’t know about them (plus the statute of limitations has long since run out on any of the crap I’ve pulled. I’m not entirely stupid).

I’ve always been the one no one has to worry about. I’ve only had one husband, both my kids are by the same father, and I don’t do anything freaky like practice witchcraft or swing with my neighbors. I try not to embarrass anyone with my blog posts but myself (and sometimes Trish).

I’ve never been arrested. The closest I’ve come to the clink was when the campus police pulled Noelle and me off the roof of Seashore Hall after we ate a big pile of ‘shrooms. The officer loaded us into his pseudo cop car and drove us back to the dorms. Even though we asked nicely, and thought it would be hysterical, he wouldn’t turn on his lights and sirens and run all the red lights. He deposited us back at our dorm and promised us the incident would appear in the Daily Iowan (we made sure he wrote down our first and last names). He must have been lying though because we never saw any mention of it in the paper.

I’d have to do a lot to surpass some of the stunts my siblings have pulled. God knows Trish has set the bar pretty high. But as I sit here polishing my sparkly good girl tiara, I realize my perch on the pedestal I’ve placed myself is growing more precarious by the day. The more people that read the blog, the better chance I have for someone to mention it to dad and Debby.

I should be more worried about a potential employer finding it. I’m guessing even if I’m hired by a company that doesn’t drug test, I might be asked to pee in a cup (I would like to think I’d pass but I might go to Jamaica again). I’d rather cover my naked body in honey and roll around in a pit of fire ants then put my neck in the noose of corporate America again but I may not have a choice. And blogging might make me less employable than I already am after a nine year hiatus from the work force. Let’s hope Human Resources has a sense of humor.

Sometimes I think about telling my dad I’m writing a blog. He knows I like to write and he’d be happy I was doing something I enjoy. But it would be kind of like telling him I’m earning some serious coin as a stripper. On one hand, yay for me for earning a nice living. On the other hand, he probably wouldn’t brag about me to his Friday morning breakfast group. I’m guessing telling all his friends I write a blog that highlights my love of wine and showcases my potty mouth wouldn’t be something he could get real excited about either.

My dad has always operated on a need to know basis. I once rolled in at 6:30 on a Sunday morning without a shirt on under my coat (I couldn’t find it in the dark. Could happen to anyone). He didn’t ask any questions, just offered me a cup of coffee. I was 21 at the time and home on break from college so he probably figured there wasn’t much he could do about it anyway. I love that about him. Debby is the one I’m worried about. She thinks Redbook magazine is kind of racy so if she reads the blog, the top of her head might blow off. She’s a bit more conservative than me.

When Matthew was a baby Dixie the psychic told me I would start writing again someday when the kids were out of the house. She said I would want something just for me. I never forgot what she said and I don’t know if the blog is just a self fulfilling prophecy or she really could see into the future.

For the first time in 9 years, my house is quiet during the day while the kids are in school. Blogging is something I tried and discovered I really liked. That fact that some people read it regularly blows my mind and I appreciate it. If you’re one of them, thank you.

Sooner or later I’ll tell dad and Debby about the blog. They’re welcome to read it at their own risk, of course. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written but my dad would probably be a little surprised by my language and some of my behavior. His opinion will always mean something to me. And no matter how old I am, there will always be a part of me that is still daddy’s little girl.

Must Love Dogs

  • January 20, 2009

Lauren and I went to see Hotel for Dogs on Sunday afternoon. Dave and Matthew thought Paul Blart: Mall Cop was more their style so we split up after lunch at Champps (where all the waitresses had Amy Winehouse beehives for some reason. Amy Winehouse is totally fugly so either I’m getting really effing old or I missed some sort of hair memo. One Amy Winehouse impersonator came perilously close to dragging her skeevy dreads through my Greek salad and I wanted to gag. Hairnets. Good idea, yes?).
(Ahem)
Anyway, I really enjoyed Hotel for Dogs. It was a bit formulaic and predictable but it had a happy ending. I cried anyway even though I knew they were HOLLYWOOD DOGS and not in any real danger. My loathsome PMS had reared its ugly head again and had I been at Marley and Me it would have taken a team of men in white coats and a big ass tranquilizer to get my emotions under control (I read the book – I know how that one ends).
After the movie we went to dad and Debby’s for dinner and I was bragging about my 10 lb. weight loss. I said I still wasn’t sure what had happened that made another trip to Weight Watchers necessary. Usually I only go there after I’ve had a baby and this is the third time I’ve joined. I only have two kids and even my rudimentary math skills told me that didn’t add up.
Then, I had an epiphany. I may not have had another baby but I had a Chloe and that’s awfully close in my book.
Chloe is the first pet we’ve had as a family. Actually we had a couple hamsters before that (starter pets, if you will) but they have a pretty short life expectancy and I don’t recommend them unless you want your children to experience the traumatic death of a pet every 18 months or so.
A little over a year ago, right after the last hamster died (R.I.P. Murphy), Dave and the kids started hinting around that a puppy might be nice.
I wasn’t so sure. I love animals. I mean like, really love them. I was quite attached to the hamsters. But a puppy was a huge responsibility I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also knew I’d be the one taking care of it.
Slowly, they wore me down.
Dave did quite a bit of research and compiled a list of suitable dog breeds for our household. The Cairn Terrier (like Toto from The Wizard of Oz) was one that Dave thought would be great for our family.
My big mouth and I mentioned that a veterinarian had listed an ad in the Sunday paper about a litter of Cairn Terrier puppies he had available.
Dave called and spoke to the vet and suddenly we were on our way to take a look. I knew we’d be coming home with one. I may have had some reservations about getting a puppy, but you can’t stick me in a room full of them and expect me to walk away empty handed. I love cute, furry, cuddly things almost as much as I love wine.
Dave and I decided we needed to come up with a code word in case the vet turned out to be a deranged lunatic. If we noticed anything worrisome about the vet or the puppies, we wanted a way to communicate that operation “we’re getting a puppy” had encountered a problem. I don’t know how in God’s name glockenspiel became our family code word but that‘s what we decided on (just try to work it into a sentence).
The vet turned out to very nice and totally normal. He brought all three puppies into the room and we played with them for over an hour.
We selected a calm female puppy and named her Chloe. We left with a little 1.4 lb. ball of cute and drove straight to Pet Smart.
The first nights, and the first three months, were hard (mostly on me). I had never potty trained a puppy before and I thought I was all done with the getting up in the middle of the night nonsense.

I spent most of November, December, and January standing in the front yard, in the snow, while Chloe did her business. I walked through knee high drifts in the back yard while the invisible fence guy and I taught Chloe where her boundaries were. And I took her out in the middle of the night when she cried.
We hung a bell by the door and taught Chloe how to ring it when she wanted to go out. Things got a lot better after that but it was several months before I let Chloe roam the house without worrying that someone would step on her or she’d pee or poop on the carpet.
When people came over we showed everyone all the tricks Chloe had learned in puppy school. We e-mailed pictures and slide shows to our friends and family. We regaled them with stories about all the cute things she’d done.
See, it’s just like when we had human babies. We assumed everyone was as enthralled by our puppy as we were and we bored them silly with our pet anecdotes.
Chloe is an important member of this household. Now I have three kids to check on when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I often sneak Chloe into bed with us even though Dave says he can’t sleep with her cuddled up next to him (yes he can, I’ve seen him). He loves her as much as the rest of us.
I’m just kidding about blaming Chloe for my return to Weight Watchers. I’m pretty sure the cosmopolitans and pizza had something to do with it. I just needed to make time to get in shape for swimsuit season. And with three kids (4 if we count Dave) that’s sometimes hard to do.

Tracey is having a birthday!

  • January 19, 2009

Dear David,

There are only 6 shopping days left until I turn 42. Though you probably won’t go near a mall until the day before my birthday, I’ve compiled a list of things I would enjoy receiving from you (in case you want to start shopping early).

1. The Dooney and Bourke medium chiara bag in black leather (not the patent leather one – patent is shiny. Just do what you usually do and tell the salesperson exactly what you need and then let them find it). I am going to ask for this handbag on every gift giving holiday from now until eternity (or I receive it, whichever comes first. To hell with my New Year’s resolution not to keep talking about it).

2. Black Uggs (the tall ones). I saw a 7 year old girl wearing them the other day and I almost snapped. The bastards at Younkers don’t sell them so you’ll have to go to Dillard’s (where the Dooney and Bourke handbags are also sold).

3. Nike Shox workout shoes. I need to replace my shoes if I’m going to continue going to Body Jam classes at the Y. My current shoes are getting worn out and if I trip and fall on my ass I won’t be able to wait on everyone hand and foot. Think of the shoes as a gift to the whole family.

4. Approximately 40 units of Botox. Stacy told me all about what Botox can do and I want to try it (no medi spas please. Dr. Feldman is the only one I trust to shoot poison into my forehead). While you’re at Dr. Feldman’s please grab a brochure for Restalyne (Stacy’s just recently filled my head with what this wonder drug can do).

5. Jo Malone Grapefruit Cologne. You can find this at Sephora at Jordan Creek Mall. You were so sweet to buy me Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle (that I asked you for) as one of my past birthday gifts but unfortunately it smells horrible on me. I do not smell like a mademoiselle, I smell like a 90 year old Madame when I wear it. I’ve done my research this time and the grapefruit scent is fabulous.

6. Please, no gifts from Dr. John’s lingerie boutique (and sex toy emporium). I’ve got enough of their inventory already. I know you like going there and they recently drew your name in the raffle but enough is enough (and the lingerie you “won” in the raffle wouldn’t fit an anorexic 9 year old so you’ll probably never see me wearing it).

Hopefully you’ll find this list helpful David. I want your shopping experience to be a pleasant one.

Love,

Tracey

Let’s Ask Tracey!

  • January 17, 2009

Dear Tracey,

I desperately want to have another baby but my husband feels that having only one child is perfect for our family. Now that our son is three, I can’t stop looking at pregnant women and wishing I was one of them. I’ve tried everything I can think of to convince him but he still says no. I don’t want to trick him into another baby but I’ll do whatever it takes to get what I want.

Signed,

One is not enough

Dear one is not enough,

I’m sorry to hear that you and your husband cannot agree on what is a very important decision between a husband and wife.

I don’t usually make such drastic recommendations but I can tell from your letter that you are 100% serious about reaching your goal of becoming a mom of two.

If you’re truly as desperate as you say, I suggest you offer your husband a no strings attached three way with you and the hot 20 year old teacher’s aide at your son’s pre-school, in exchange for another baby (if you can manage to be ovulating when it happens it could be win-win for everyone.)

Make sure you set careful parameters and verify that everyone involved knows this is a one time thing. You’ll also want to be very, very drunk. If you’re lucky, you’ll black out and forget the whole thing.

Just be careful if you go this route. I gave this advice to another mommy and even though she was not desperate enough for a three way, she now has a live in au pair from Sweden named Annika (who has the biggest rack you’ve ever seen). Luckily she is too busy breast feeding her newborn to care.

Good luck!

Dear Tracey,

I’m a stay at home mom tired of living within my means. All the other housewives drive nicer cars, have designer handbags, and spend their days shopping at the mall. I’m lucky if I can afford something from the sale rack at Old Navy.

I can’t even take comfort in the fact that I’m a good saver because our country’s current economic crisis has my IRA and stock portfolio in the shitter. What can I do to make myself feel a little better without spending money I don‘t have?

Signed,

Unable to keep up with the Jones’

Dear unable to keep up with the Jones’,

Don’t sweat it. Just because your neighbors appear to have everything you covet does not necessarily mean it’s all paid for. They may be in debt up to their eyeballs and so cash poor they can’t buy a stick of gum unless the visa logo is prominently displayed at the cash register.

There is nothing wrong with Old Navy. Target also has some pretty nice stuff on the cheap. In the meantime, I suggest you find something to sell. One of my friends sold her husband’s golf clubs on EBay and bought several new outfits, some shoes, and a handbag at Dillard’s. She told him the clubs were stolen when he came home drunk and forgot to close the garage door.

Does your husband golf or participate in any hobbies that require expensive equipment? Go look.

Until then, keep it real and keep using cash.

Dear Tracey,

My neighbor is constantly talking about how brilliant her kids are. According to her, they are bilingual Einsteins who do logarithms in their spare time (Francois is 18 months and Siegfried is 4 so I know she is full of shit). Children possess many gifts and I’m tired of her acting like I.Q. is the only thing that matters.

It’s true our son still cannot pronounce all his consonants (he’s 10) and he’s a little closer to having to ride the short bus than my husband and I are comfortable with. He’s a sweet child, and a friend to all, but he’s not the brightest crayon in the box. We love him and want what’s best for him and I don’t appreciate my neighbor implying that he’s retarded or her suggestion that I home school him because “he can’t possibly be mainstreamed.”

I hate her and I need to know how I should handle this situation.

Signed,

He’s not that stupid

Dear he’s not that stupid,

Your neighbor sounds like a real C. U. Next Tuesday. I’m sorry you are dealing with this situation. You sound like a very caring mom and I’ll try to help you.

The first thing you need to do is scour the elementary school parking lot for one of those “parents of an honor roll student” bumper stickers. Scrape it off and slap it on your car. Then start doing your son’s homework and see if you can proctor his tests at home. Make sure to show your neighbor his next report card.

Next, you need to uncover something your son is really good at. Can he play a musical instrument? If he’s in a successful rock band someday I bet he’ll pay you back for believing in him by buying you a mansion.

Is he good at sports? Dumb jocks have laughed all the way to the bank after being signed to the NBA or the NFL so if he shows some promise in this area, I think you should be very supportive. Since you’re already doing his homework he’ll have plenty of extra time to go to practice.

And remember, it doesn’t matter how smart your neighbor’s kids are because they’re going to get their asses handed to them on a daily basis because of their fucked up names. Everything will work out in the long run, I promise.

Tune in next week when I dole out more sage advice to people who haven’t figured out I am full of shit.

Don’t hate me because I’m so skinny

  • January 15, 2009

Today was my first Weight Watchers weigh in of 2009. I last weighed in on Christmas Eve day and even though I faithfully followed the program almost the entire month of December, I decided to take a hiatus from WW on December 27th when we shipped the offspring off to their grandparents for three days.

In the interest of not being totally inflexible and a huge buzz kill, I gave myself permission to skip counting points while the kids were gone because I knew Dave and I would be going out to dinner every night and I also knew we’d be drinking. Heavily. I tried to be careful about what I ate although I did have McDonald’s twice (necessary hangover remedy).

I got back on the program January 2nd and because I’m a lifetime member, and not required to weigh in weekly, I took advantage of this loophole and decided I’d weigh in only when I knew I’d undone any potential holiday damage.

As of today, I’ve lost another 2.8 lbs. since my last weigh in (10 lbs. total!) and I’ve gone down a whole pants size (I have a selection of jeans in about 4 different sizes so it was easy to grab a smaller pair – I call it going shopping in my closet. It doesn‘t require spending any money at the mall so Dave is a huge fan. If I keep this up I should be back in my 8th grade Gloria Vanderbilt’s in no time).

Because I allowed myself to indulge over the holidays, I’ve been alcohol free for almost two weeks now. Weight Watchers has something called the good health guidelines and one of them is to limit sugar and alcohol. I have no problem avoiding sugar but frankly alcohol is the only thing that makes dieting tolerable so I usually pretend I forgot about that part of the guideline. The wine I am so fond of takes a lot of my points and because I haven’t had any in forever, I actually had points left over this week.

I convinced Dave to watch the Sex and The City movie with me on pay per view Saturday night and even though a glass of red wine sounded really good and Dave had opened a bottle, I chose not to indulge. Clearly I drink when I WANT to and not because I HAVE to. However I started getting sick last weekend so I probably shouldn’t have let my antioxidant levels get so low. We’re having our neighbors over Saturday night so I should be able to get the levels back up where they should be.

I changed my weigh in day from Tuesday to Thursday so there would have been a different Weight Watchers leader had I stayed for the meeting. However, school is cancelled (again!) because of the weather and since both kids were with me, I had an excellent excuse for not staying for the meeting.

I’m curious to know who is in charge of television advertising at Weight Watchers. I saw a commercial the other day that stated Weight Watchers is NOT a diet (it totally is) and they have started showing this creepy little hunger monster that looks like a furry orange Sasquatch. It’s a tie in to their new momentum program which suggests filling foods to help you stay satisfied longer (wine is not on the filling foods list). I think the marketing people at Weight Watchers are all high and I want them to change their commercials immediately. Where the hell is the Duchess of York? I thought the commercials with her were very nice. I hope she hasn’t pulled a Kirstie Alley and exploded.

Anyway, I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing. It hasn’t been too hard and I still got to enjoy the holidays. Once I get a good dose of antioxidants my cold will go away and I’ll get back to the gym. Something tells me there won’t be any leftover points this week.

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