Thank You, Lady I’ve Never Met Before

Thank you, lady I’ve never met, for saying my baby is cute. I think so, too. Yes m’am, I agree, babies are really wonderful. Oh. We’re going to be chatting for a bit, aren’t we?

Sure, you can touch her toes and then say “Tell Mommy she needs to put some socks on you- your toesies is cold! Yes they are! Say, My toesies is cold Mama!”. It’s seventy degrees outside, though, so I’m going to act like I didn’t hear you, new friend.

You’re right, she is chubby, isn’t she? It’s okay to say it. You don’t have to whisper. You won’t hurt her feelings because she doesn’t understand your words. She’s, like, a baby.

Why yes, I AM breastfeeding. You’re inquiring if my breasts contain milk. That is not weird at all. I’m tempted to ask you if you still menstruate but I understand boundaries.

No, she’s not our first child but our seventh, in fact. I can tell by the way your eyes widened to approximately the size of manhole covers that you find this shocking. You even take a step back and then steady yourself on your shopping cart. If I hadn’t spoken the words myself, I would almost think that I just informed you that I am married to a man-goat and that we are raising our children on a hearty diet of devil worship and meth.

I mean, since you asked, yes, we did know what we were getting ourselves into. Hahahahaha! How about you, though? When you chose that dingy-ass seasonal sweatshirt emblazoned with a cornucopia outlined in orange puffy glitter glue and spilling its bounty of grapes,clementines, leaves and whatever the fuck else all across your bosom. Did YOU realize what you were getting yourself into? I’m asking because that shit is fugly. Maybe you have progressive glaucoma and can’t really tell what you’re pulling out of your closet. Maybe one of your kids made it for you and you can’t bear to not wear it, at least once, during every Thanksgiving season since ’82. I don’t know. I’m grasping at straws here, lady. I want to suggest that you cut it up and re-purpose it as dust cloths or perhaps a cozy cushion for your cat’s window perch (I’d bet money that you have 15 cats) but I don’t because I have remarkable restraint- except for procreation, amIright?

Okay, well, looks like your groceries are all bagged up and ready to go. I do appreciate your offer of the Charmin coupon you didn’t end up using (Haha! You are SO right! We DO use a lot of toilet paper!), but I’m all set. We love trees and the Earth and mostly use or hands or the shower curtain for all our wiping needs.

But, hell, give me that applique sweatshirt and we’ll have us some recycled, washable butt wipes.That’s a win for both of us.

Just When I Needed You Most

****Originally published 11/22/2014 (Edited and updated 11/10/2015)****

We start getting all sentimental this time of year, don’t we? Taking stock, counting blessings, giving thanks. Slowing down to recognize and appreciate friends, family, employment, good health, and society finally accepting that leggings are pants (because they are, dammit). I’m adding an unexpected but undeniably valuable item to my ‘thankful list’ this year.

Recently, I was presented with the unlikely opportunity to recognize a bodily reaction that many of us take for granted. It is readily available in times of fear, surprise, excitement, spicy foods, and yet we rarely speak of it.

I drove over to my best friend’s house to drop off something on her porch. They have this grey cat, Lola, who likes to hang out just behind the bushes in front of their porch. Oftentimes, as I walk down the pathway leading to Nikki’s home, Lola will saunter out of the shrubbery and escort me to the door.

On this occasion I heard the familiar rustling of leaves to the left of the walkway. I expected to see chill, slow moving Lola emerge from her hiding place and join me for the next 20 steps. I was not at all alarmed, but already leaning forward, preparing to squat down to pet the cat.

Instead, an ordinary grey squirrel shot out of the bushes like a furry bullet. He was traveling at approximately 2,500 mph and his trajectory was across the top of my my foot. Did you hear me? ACROSS my foot. Like, his clawed-ass feet met with the top of my boot. There was a quick scratching noise against the leather and then he was gone.

I reacted, in what I assume looked to the neighbor standing in her yard, like I was preforming my own version of River Dance with spastic wild abandon and while hopped up on meth. My knees met my chest over and over again as my feet stomped against the concrete in what sounded almost like a deliberate pattern. I pulled my arms in, bent and with fists clenched, close to my rib cage. A blood curdling “Motherfuckerrrrrr!” flew from my lips. Birds that had been resting in the trees above fled from the scene as if I’d just fired a shotgun into the air in a quiet meadow.

Squirrel was long up a tree by the time I realized I was still doing an awkward defense tap dance. After what seemed like a solid five minutes of involuntary jogging in place, I was calm enough to continue my walk to the porch.

The furtive attack left me shaking and unnerved but then, ultimately, relieved and aware of something I’ve always taken for granted: I am ever grateful for a fully functioning and swiftly reactive anal muscle clench. The ass sphincter deserves recognition and praise. No longer should it be spoken of in hushed tones. Let us discuss it freely around the family dinner table and in staff meetings. When we greet one another we should ask “How are you?” and then “All well with your clench?”. Weird Al should maybe write a song about it. “In the Still of the Tight” would be a fun title.

Had that muscle failed me, I’d have absolutely shit my pants. Actual dookie traveling down one or both pant legs. What then? The neighbor would’ve have seen me go from random public tap dance to walking all stiff-legged like Frankenstein’s monster toward the front door. I’d have had to ask Nikki if I could take a shower and borrow clothes and to please ignore the odor. I’d have been late to pick up the little kids from preschool. I’d have had to explain: “I’m so sorry I’m late- an asshole squirrel launched a blitzkrieg across the top of my foot. See, I thought it was my friend’s cat, Lola, but it wasn’t so then I shit myself. Obviously, I had to shower and change clothes and all. I would like to say that it won’t happen again but how the hell do I know? Who knew squirrels were such shifty-ass mofos? Not me. Not until today.”

It’s simple, really. As this holiday season approaches, while we’re all considering our lives; where we’ve been, where we’re going, what we value, maybe give a little thought to your anal muscle. Its rapid response to an unexpected adrenaline dump could save you from taking a different type of dump right in the middle of the mall food court. That muscle- quiet, unseen and modest- doesn’t ask for much (muscles can’t talk) yet, aside from the heart, could possibly be the most important bit of soft tissue in our bodies.

It is here that I’d like to publicly thank my own anal muscle:

Thank you, sphincter. Your clench is unwavering. You were there just when I needed you most. I vow to never, ever take you for granted again. You are important. You matter. You saved my pants.

Call of Doody

Have you ever walked into a public restroom and discovered something so vile and offensive that you just cannot even so you turn to briskly walk/run out the door, being mindful not to touch anything and to maybe hold your breath until you’ve safely exited the room of odiousness and in your haste you glance over at the mirror and you see the look of utter horror on your face and you think to yourself “So THAT’s what I look like when I walk into a Target bathroom, open a stall door and see that someone defecated and then seemingly attempted to wipe their ass- not with the ample toilet paper provided, the end of which is hanging in plain view from the bottom of the dispenser, but with the actual toilet seat, front of the toilet bowl and a little bit of the stall wall.”

Then your mind starts manufacturing possible scenarios: I wonder wtf happened in here. Did someone just have an accident? Did they try to clean up their shit but then the mess got worse and worse until they said “F*ck it, I tried. Not my job to clean my own defecation when it happened in a public restroom. Is this someone’s, like, “thing” you know, to shit on every conceivable surface in the Target bathroom stall? Is there a shit bandit on the loose? I’d expect something like this in WalMart, wouldn’t think twice about it, in fact, but my beloved Target? No. I HAVE to tell someone.

So you go to customer service and you’re all “Hi, yeah, ummmm…I just wanted to let you know that something really, very bad happened in the first stall in the ladies restroom. Not, like, a murder or an abandoned baby or anything, but whichever of your unfortunate employees is charged with bathroom duty (ha! duty) today will probably want to suit up in a something akin to what hospital workers wear when dealing with an Ebola patient or that flesh eating bacteria- what’s it called? Necrotizing something or other?- Anyway, I just thought you should know beacuse it’s not a good situation in there. It’s appalling, actually. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and, as always, God bless Target!” And then you maybe salute a little bit, just a general salute to or at nothing in particular, before you drink and bathe in hand sanitizer (the UP and UP brand, naturally).

Hmmm? Has that ever happened to you guys?

The Stitch

In the grocery store this week:

Older Lady (acknowledging my pregnancy): “When are you due, dear?”

Me: “Sometime in July.”

Older Lady: “Oh you don’t want to tell me an exact date? I understand- you can never be too careful.”

Me: “Oh, no M’am, it’s not that- I’m just not exactly sure. It’ll be a c-section and will be scheduled, I’m just not sure of when in July, really.”

Older Lady: “A c-section- will this be your first one of those?”

Me: “No, it’ll be the seventh.”

Older Lady: “Oh so you never got the benefit of the ‘extra stitch?'”

Me: “I guess not…what’s that?”

Older lady: “Well, after I delivered my son, and this was 40-odd years ago, the doctor turned to my husband and asked “Do you want me to tighten ‘er up for ya?” My husband wasn’t sure what he was asking so he said “What do you mean, doc?” And the doctor says “I can put an extra stitch in here- she’ll be just like a virgin again.” So my husband says “Stitch away, doc!” And I’ll tell ya- I never once regretted getting my cooch tightened up. It really spiced things up for us. Yours should still be nice and tight, though.”

Me (slow blinking): “Yes M’am…uh….I’ve had no complaints, I guess.”

Older Lady: “I hope everything goes well for you, dear.”

Me: “Thank you! This conversation was the highlight of my day!”

Older Lady: “Me too, dear.(Smiles and winks) Brought back some good memories.”

Two things: I pray that old people never stop sharing their stories with me AND I’ll be reminding Garrett what a gift all of these c-sections have been to him. You’re welcome, Garrett.

Maybe a Little Bit Fruity?

*From the archives; originally published 3/29/2014

 

I’m not sure why, but strangers will talk to me about almost anything. Maybe I release a scent that lets them know that I’m desperate for adult conversation. Maybe my eyes say “Please, random stranger, tell me about your sinus infection or your cousin’s closed head injury…and don’t leave out the gross details!” I’m not complaining, y’all. I consider it a gift. I’ve met some amazing people and heard some incredible stories because of this stranger- attracting gift I’ve been given.

Just a couple of days ago, I had a fun encounter with a lovely older lady in the grocery store. I was in the aisle picking up Diet Coke and she was staring blankly at the vast wall of wine. I had to ask her to move her shopping cart over a bit so I could get by.

Me: “Excuse me, M’am, could I just scoot by?”

Older lady: “Oh, sure, honey. I’m not paying a bit of attention.”

Me: “No problem. Thank you.”

Older lady: “May I trouble you a moment? Do you know anything about these wines? Which is your favorite?”

Me: “I don’t drink but I can try to help you. Do you want red or white wine?”

Older lady: “Hmmmm…I’m not really sure. I just need something that’s sweet. Maybe a little bit fruity? I don’t really want it to taste like wine.”

Me: “I’m not really sure there are any that don’t taste like wine…Maybe you should get a flavored vodka and mix it with a fruit juice?”

Older lady: “No, vodka is for people who want to get drunk. I just want a little something that I can mix with my husband’s strawberry Ensure. He’s lost that “loving feeling”, if you know what I mean. I’m just trying to give him a little kick in the rear. We ladies have needs too, don’t we honey?”

Me: “Wow! Good for you! It’s good to keep the romance alive.”

Older lady: “I just want the sex every couple of weeks or so. Does wine spoil or will it keep in the pantry for a while?”

Like a Light Bulb

File this under “Sometimes Kids Can Teach Us Stuff”:

Leo: “You know what Christmas song I don’t like?”

Me: “Which one?”

Leo: “Rudolph. Somebody shoulda stood up for him. You can’t not play with someone ’cause they’re different and you shouldn’t call them names. Where were his ‘real’ friends? Why did Santa not notice that the other reindeers was being mean to him?”

Me: “Well…”

Leo: “Oh God, is this going to be one of your (doing air quotes) “teaching moments”?”

Me: “Nope- sounds like you have it all figured out. I think it’s awesome that you noticed Rudolph needed someone to stand up for him.”

Leo: “And that Santa kinda sucks at taking care of his reindeers…but don’t tell him I said that. I still want presents.”

Dear Santa-

There’s a 6-year-old in Georgia who thinks you need to step up your sensitivity training. This should be taken as constructive criticism and in the most loving way possible. Kid is just looking out for the marginalized among your herd and definitely still deserves that RC car.

Love-

A Proud Mom