Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bad Meat

Sometimes, when my husband has annoyed me in some way, I hesitate in answering questions. Like when he holds up a baggie of meat and says, "Is this good?"

I hesitate because, really, what is good?
Can meat be bad or good?
Does meat have a conscience once it ceases to be live meat?

Or maybe he's referring to his holding of the baggie. I'm no great judge of meat holders, but I'd say he's doing a fine job, standing there. Holding his meat.

I just stare at him, slack jawed.  I'm sure it appears that I am straining to remember when I prepared the meat (was it on Meatloaf Monday? Or Taco Tuesday?), but I'm actually weighing the morality of knowingly letting my husband eat questionable meat against the satisfaction I will get from his intestinal discomfort caused by said meat.

This makes me a bad person. I know.

Smell it, maybe you should just smell it. That way, it's on his shoulders. If his nose deems it an acceptable meat, then surely I can't be held accountable if things go south. Is it sauced? Is it strongly sauced? It is sauced to the extent that it might make 6 day meat smell like 3 day meat? 

It's not like it's going to kill him. Right? My God, what if there is something really funky wrong with that meat and he has a compromised immune system or a weak heart that's never been diagnosed, and bad meat is just the thing that is going to send him into a downward spiral? What if this baggie of meat and my petty grievance fells the only man I've ever loved?

What have I done? 

He is turning from me, muttering "I think it's fine." and I hurl myself down the stairs and yell "NO! It's not okay! Don't eat it! I don't want to lose you!"

He looks at me like I'm a lunatic, because I am, and says "No, really. This is what you used day before yesterday, I remember putting it in this baggie."

His life, spared by his good memory and my guilty conscience.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips for a Great Honeymoon (and Marriage)

Sarah over at The Ex-Pat Bride was foolish enough to ask me to write about my honeymoon, and I took the opportunity to be a bossypants about what she (and everyone) should do on her honeymoon and throughout her married life.

The fate of her marriage, no doubt, lies in whether or not she takes my advice.

Go over there and read it, and feel free to add your own tips. Because there is nothing that newlyweds love more than getting bossed around by a bunch of chubby, crusty old married people whose idea of adventure is deciding whether to go to Costco or Target. Not saying you're all chubby and crusty, but - you know.

If you're visiting SFC from The Ex-Pat Bride, welcome! I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Traffic Court

One day last month, I went to pick Katie up at a birthday party. I was nearly out of gas, so I decided to take the Husband's car. Because I am a rule follower, and an upstanding citizen, and don't even cut across parking lots, choosing instead to go up and down the aisles correctly (much to the annoyance of my passengers) - you can imagine my shock and horror when I was pulled over by a policeman.

The Husband had failed to register his vehicle. But the nice policeman didn't give the ticket to the law breaking husband, he gave it to the innocent, the unfortunate, the law abiding - me.

I cried. He was unmoved.

So this morning, I sent Katie off to school, and dropped Julia at preschool, and Henry and I headed downtown to the Hall of Justice.

The ticket said to be there at 8:30, but the Husband assured me that I would be fine showing up around 9:30, after preschool drop off. Now, if you know me even a little bit, you know that:
1. I hate being late.
2. I hate being lost.
3. I follow the rules.
4. If numbers 1-3 get screwed up, there is a good chance I will vomit, or cry, or have to poop, or all three.

In my mind, I am already late. And because I have become a country mouse, and rarely go into 'the city', and our little city refuses to do things like have streets that go both fucking directions, I got turned around. By the time I get to the courthouse, I am sweaty, teary, and I'm experiencing some intestinal distress. I pull my literal and figurative shit together, strap Henry into the stroller, and head in.

Here is what I learned in Traffic Court:

1. Normal people don't get traffic tickets. Or they pay an attorney to take care of it for them. Of the 8 gazillion people in line, not a single one of them could be classified as 'normal'. Excluding me, of course.
2. It is possible to use "motherfucker" in every sentence, as every part of speech. As in, "That motherfucker over there...He went to the motherfucking store...That is motherfucked up." Thank you to the woman behind me for introducing "motherfucker" as a verb.
3. The jails in Danbury are "no shit" and the ones in Yadkin County have the best food.
4. No one brings their kid to traffic court. Again, excluding me.
5. You can entertain a 20 month old for exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes with 1 Dum Dum, a Hot Wheel, a pack of wipes, some Froggy Farkle dice, a miniature flower pot, 6 rubber bracelets, a robot ring, and 7 band aids.
6. At 1 hour and 16 minutes, the screaming will begin.
7. Grown ups don't like hearing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" as much as kids.
8. It is absolutely possible for an individual to process every traffic violation through a little window, without speaking a single word. He actually communicated with me using only his thumb. Seriously.
9. That bitch over there better watch her face. I don't know what this means, or who she was talking about, but if it was me, I was fully prepared to use my child as a human shield.

The Husband will be paying for this one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Model Student

When I was in the 5th grade, we studied weather systems. For my weather report, I chose to explain the power and fury of the hurricane the only way I knew how - in song.

A hurricane is a tropical storm,
With floods and winds and rain.
It starts way out in the ocean,
Where it huffs and puffs and strains.

Catchy, no? Is it any wonder that I remember the words 30 years later?

That is the same year I did an interpretive dance to 'Mountain Music',by the country supergroup Alabama. It was a tap dance. I had never taken a tap class in my life.

Other 'special projects' during my school years included a rewriting of The Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' to explain the Electoral College, and a dramatic interpretation of the Bay of Pigs in which I portrayed both President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro.

I am so grateful to the many teachers who indulged my desire for non-traditional learning.

So, when we went in for Katie's parent teacher conference today, and the first thing the teacher said was 'Katie must grow up to be an actress.', I couldn't help but beam with pride.

She is the first one to offer (or get elected) to write a script, or make a poster, or recreate a traditional Inuit Home using egg cartons and cotton balls. When she comes blazing through the door and announces 'I have a project!', I don't know which one of us is more excited.

Listening to her talk about the things she loves, her hands flapping all over the place and her eyes dancing and her goofy 10 year old laugh, it all makes me want to grab her and smother her in kisses. It makes me want to keep her here forever, just like this, because she is perfect. Even though she is a complete slob and prone to tears and pinches her sister, she is perfect.

My dad once said to me of Katie, 'She's just like you, but nicer.' I'll take it one step further. She's just like me, but better. She is an extraordinary person, and brings me immeasurable joy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall, and Falls

Yesterday, we had a great day at the Kersey Valley Maize Adventure.

We wandered around in a giant cornfield maze:

We jumped on the giant pillow and we meandered through the pumpkins. The kids' favorite thing, by far, was the cow train.

I love Katie. You would have thought she was on Space Mountain with all the hooting and hollering she was doing. In fact, all of my children had their hands up in the air and were yelling. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds. It was a good day.

And we couldn't leave with at least trying to break something-
We came home, tired and happy and hungry. My mom, who had gone with us, went home, and I went to Subway to get dinner. The Husband and I were finishing our sandwiches, the kids were running around, and we saw Henry go whizzing by into the mudroom, followed by a very loud "THUNK", as he ran (or fell) head first into the back door.

The Husband ran in and scooped him up and I yelled "WHERE IS BLEEDING FROM!?" Because, you know, there was blood.

He had a pretty good gash on his forehead, nice and gaping and making me want to throw up, so my mom came down and watched the girls while we went to the emergency room.

The entire time we were there, I could only think of two things:
1. My sweet boy, how brave he was being, how I hoped the stitches wouldn't hurt too much.
2. I STINK LIKE SUBWAY. Really, do I always have to get onions and banana peppers? Subway is delicious, but it smells like armpits. And you know what? Putting on hand sanitizer and chewing gum only makes you smell like you've rubbed hand sanitizer and Trident in your stinky armpits.

Henry is a rock star. He charmed the nurses and the doctor was mightily impressed when he laid quietly and didn't cry as he put the stitch in. With no numbing, because my baby is hard core (and it would mean another needle poke). Everyone at the hospital was amazing and we were in and out in less than two hours.

As I put him in bed last night, I couldn't help but marvel at what a brave little boy he is. He is also a beast, and I wonder how many trips to the ER we have ahead of us. I can only hope they are as quick and easy as last night.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Number Thirty-Three

While I was compiling my list of Thirty-Nine things to do while I'm thirty-nine, I got a little desperate. I got a little silly.

I got a little stupid.

Especially right around Number Thirty-Three:  Find out exactly how many mini-marshmallows I can fit in my mouth at once.

Look, I'll be honest with you. I thought it would be kind of funny, I would take funny pictures and it would be an easy blog post for a day when I was feeling lazy. Which honestly is most days; it's amazing all my posts aren't about how much of something I can eat, or how much it hurts to remove my mustache. Going in to it with that attitude makes me a little bit of an asshole.

And in the end, I got what I deserved.

First, I assembled my equipment:

1. The Mini-Marshmallows: Separated into groups of 25, for a total of 150. Looking at the piles, and knowing I have a ginormous mouth, I think this is doable.
2. Beverage: Sweet tea, of course.
3. Lip Gloss: If I'm going to take pictures of my face stuffed with marshmallows, I certainly don't want a nude lip!
4. Fire Extinguisher: Because I am going to look so hot that I might actually catch on fire. I had planned on safety goggles, but forgot them and was too a) lazy and b) traumatized to repeat the experiment.

Here I am, pre-stuffing. I am a little nervous, though I'm not sure why. It's not like I'm doing something important, like talking to a big group of people about anal fissures, or taking an online personality quiz.
Lip glosssssss!   

In goes the first group of 25. No big deal, but they take up a lot more room than I thought they would. I have to shove them in pretty fast, otherwise they get a little melty and that's not exactly an accurate assessment of how many marshmallows will fit in there. As you can see, I did a lot of thinking and research before conducting the experiment. At least five minutes, maybe seven.

And then the second handful (that's 50 marshmallows so far):

I am starting to think that 150 marshmallows might have been more than a little ambitious. But I think I can do one more pile:

Right after I snapped this picture, I actually inhaled one of the marshmallows and it caught a little in my throat. I started coughing, but was still trying desperately to hold the remaining marshmallows in my mouth. I knew this guy in high school who could put a cracker on his tongue, close his mouth, snort an oyster up his nose, then open his mouth. The oyster would be sitting on the cracker. With this in mind, I started doing this horking, snorting, snuffing thing, thinking maybe I could dislodge the marshmallow in my throat by shooting it through my nostrils, and not lose any of the ones in my mouth.

I know. At the time it made perfect sense.

The marshmallow in my throat finally let loose, and I had managed to keep all the ones in my mouth. It wouldn't be fair to count the one I'd swallowed, so I shoved another in my mouth, then a few more (because I'm an overachiever).

The final count: 67 marshmallows.
I find this hugely disappointing.

I'll be back, mini marshmallows. You may have defeated me this time, but I will have my day. I WILL HAVE MY DAY!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dear SFC, (Your Kids are Jerks!)

I received a letter in my inbox awhile back and couldn't wait to answer it. The problem was, the longer I thought about it, the more my opinion changed. There are several questions, so I'm going to break it up for you. 
Dear SFC,
I have a bit of a problem.  I have several friends who subscribe to a theory of parenting that is foreign to me.  Which is fine--whatever works, right?  Here’s the thing:  I don’t like inviting them on outings, and certainly not to my house for social events. 
These parents view social gatherings as free babysitting.  The parents eat, mingle, and ignore their children.  Did I mention their children are hellions?  So the care of their gremlins is left to me, as hostess of the event, or God forbid, my other guests.  This has happened multiple times, all by the same parents.  I have had furniture ruined, rips in upholstery, various things broken, and too many spills to mention.  It’s not that we own such invaluable things, it’s the principle of the thing. 
Are you talking about me? Just kidding. I think. Look, I've been in your position. I've had things in my house broken, I've had kids jumping on my furniture. After our Christmas party last year, I found cubes of cheese hidden everywhere. It was Easter before I found the last little bit squirreled away under the bathroom sink. I've also been on the other side. I'll admit to not watching my kids too closely at social events (especially where other kids are present). I've backed out of a friend's house muttering apologies and wincing at the damage. Here's a couple of questions: Are your friends apologetic? Do they offer to repair or pay for any damage? If they're just laughing it off, they don't value your home and maybe not your friendship. 
On your side of things: What do you have for these kids to do? Chances are, your house is boring as shit. Unless you have age appropriate toys, what else do they have to do but break stuff? If you have a kid between the ages of 3 and 7 as a guest, without providing them with an activity, you're asking for trouble. You're lucky if they get out of there with covering your cat in vomit or setting something on fire.
I value my relationship with these folks.  I just can’t stand them as parents.
Well, here's the bottom line. You value your relationship with them. So maybe the next time they come over, you have a cool craft the kids can do outside. Or you set them up in a safe environment away from things that you don't want them messing with. When we have other kids over, I always tell my children if there's something they don't want to share, put it away in a safe place until the others leave. It's a good practice for adults, too. I never leave my bong out when friends visit. 
To remedy this, my husband and I have tried to have kid-free events.  But, that’s not really fair to the friends we have who actually watch their kids.  
God. Sure it is. There is nothing wrong with hosting kid free events, as long as your kids are gone, too. Because having your kids there and telling everyone else to leave theirs at home is just assy.
I have a friend who I have sworn off eating in public with because she fails to see the necessity of the child eating at the table in a chair (!?!).  She lets her little one roam about the restaurant and thinks this is the adorable thing.  If only the fellow patrons of the restaurant shared her sentiment.  I mean, everyone likes to eat while having a child run about, right?—smearing mashed potatoes on everything they touch?  Precious!
Agreed. Mostly. Most parents try to frequent family friendly establishments, or pick places where they can easily go outside with a restless child. Slow service is a bitch when you have a kid under the age of about 8. But I'll admit that I've sat and finished coffee with friends on multiple occasions and let Henry walk around the coffee shop. Mashed potato-free, of course. 
Now, I don’t have a problem speaking my mind when it comes to how their parenting effects me.  My problem is tact.  How do I have a party and nicely ask them to either not bring their kids, or vow to watch them?
I am the most non-confrontational person, maybe EVER. The very first thing I would do is do what I can to remedy the problem - namely, give the kids something to do. A movie, a craft, a board game, an outside activity, whatever I could think of to help them not be bored. Bored kids = crazy kids. If it's a party where several children will be attending, I'd even consider springing for a babysitter, or getting an older tween or teen to be the cruise director for the evening. It's a small investment that would give you some serious peace of mind. 

But my best advice is this: Chill. And if you ever find yourself letting Junior down in a coffee shop to walk around so you can take five minutes and finish a conversation, have a bite of crow with that coffee.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

One Man's Junk E-Mail

Once every few days, I check my e-mail's junk folder. Just in case I've had a very important message - like Blogger letting me know I'm Blog of Note, or Skirt! offering me a job writing a monthly article, or Erma Bombeck coming back from the dead to give me a virtual fist bump - inadvertently bypass my inbox. While I've yet to receive any of those long-awaited messages, I have gotten more than my share of promises for fame, fortune, and a huge dong.

Sometimes, like today, the subject lines are arranged in such a way that brings me great amusement.
Which penis enlargement medications work?
Just label it!
Do you want to forget about...
Korean hand workshop this weekend! 
All you need is...
Turkey workshop

So, wait. Which is it that I need? The Korean hand workshop? Or the Turkey workshop? I'd have to open them to find out.

The Korean hand workshop (which is being held in the slightly larger town right next to my very small town), promises:
Korean Hand Reflex Therapy is a reflex therapy system for restoring health through the hands.  KHT was discovered in 1975 and is now applied worldwide
by thousands of lay persons as well as health care practitioners. 

You will be able to treat yourself and others by the end of the seminar.
So, when the class is over, they want me to give someone I've just met a handjob? I'm not sure about that. Let's see what the Turkey Workshop is all about.

Brine, truss, season and roast the ultimate holiday bird. Receive coaching on what type and size of turkey to select; then learn how to season and roast it. We’ll even give you tips for reheating and making the most of those seemingly endless leftovers. This technique-intensive hands-on workshop is designed for the greenest rookie to the most seasoned professional.
That's it? It really is just a workshop about...turkeys? Not figurative turkeys or jive turkeys or turkeys as a euphemism for a penis, just - turkeys. How boring. 
Anyone up for a Korean hand workshop?

Saturday, October 15, 2011


October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. So many women I know have suffered from miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss - please visit and view just some of them on the Memorial Wall. Theirs are stories of heartache and hope; this one is mine.

In the bottom of my jewelry box is a small compartment I refer to as the Place of Lost Things. There are the casings from the shells fired at my father's funeral, and the handkerchief I clutched all that day. And in a very small, unmarked white envelope, there is the memory of a baby lost before we had time to know it. It is the memory of three babies lost, in the five year chasm between the birth of Katie and my successful pregnancy with Julia.

It is an envelope I have not opened since the day it was given to me, after the last loss, almost 6 years ago. Until today.

The contents are small but heartbreaking. It is a token of what may have been, and a symbol of the unanswered questions and tears and hopelessness and confusion that miscarriage often brings.

The first loss came early - about 7 weeks. It happened suddenly and quickly and it was clear before I got confirmation from the doctor that there was no hope. My father was only weeks away from dying, and the pregnancy had given us all such joy during a time of fear and sadness. I remember praying on the way to the doctor's office - if I can not keep this baby, God, please let me keep my Daddy. The guilt I had over that prayer lasted long after I lost them both.

The second loss was shocking. Our first ultrasound had shown a clear and strong heartbeat. When I started spotting at 13 weeks, I couldn't even imagine that anything was very wrong. And even after it was clear that the baby had died - clear to my untrained eye that there was no movement of that blurry body on the screen - I held out hope for a miracle until the very last minute when they performed the D&C.

And the third? The third was crushing. I foolishly took Katie with me to the appointment, and gritted my teeth and did not cry when they told me there was no heartbeat, that the baby measured 8 weeks and had likely passed within a day or so of the appointment. I did not cry until later, in the safety of my husband's arms, feeling betrayed by my body, and punished by God.

Because when you are doing everything right, when you are taking the best care you can, who else is there to blame? What other way is there to feel?

Though I spoke the platitudes and was grateful for the child we had and processed the grief in the most logical way possible, at the end of the day I felt only hopelessness.

And so when, only a few months after the third loss (and the second D&C), I found myself unexpectedly pregnant, I was too afraid to be happy. Too unsure to be excited, too jaded to be anything but full of anxiety. When the first trimester passed without incident and moved into the second, when little flutters became rolling kicks, when my belly was so full I could feel her feet in my throat - I worried, still.

She came out kicking and screaming and red faced and pissed off and all I could keep saying was "Is she okay? Is she okay?" until the Husband finally looked at me and smiled and said "She's perfect."


Born by the power of prayer and progesterone.

Then, surprisingly and unbelievably and joyfully - Henry.

Three babies lost. Three babies born.

I think of those Lost Babies every day, and I give my love for them tenfold to the Born Babies. I can't spend time thinking of what might have been; I am far too grateful for what IS.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Ridiculous True Story With No Point or Moral.

When I was in the 5th grade, my Aunt Cookie, her husband D, and their Pekingese dogs, Moto and Toto, came to live with us. I still not sure the circumstances, but I was glad to have them there. Cookie was barely 5 feet, as round as she was tall, and wore an enormous red bouffant wig. She kept her wigs on styrofoam heads in her room, lined up on the dresser. Sometimes, she'd let me play with them. She'd also let me play with her extensive collection of notary embossers. It never occurred to me that it was unusual to have an extensive collection of notary embossers.
Her husband was a giant man, well over 6 feet, with Elton John glasses and questionable hygeine.

They were loud, they consistently showed bad judgment, and they drove my parents crazy.

I loved them.

During their brief stay with us, they convinced my mother to start a variety of home based businesses. She painted plaster statues of cowboys for awhile, stuff like this -
Then they bagged and sold peas. Was it peas? Maybe it was lima beans. I don't remember, but I do remember sitting at the kitchen table putting labels on bags. I'm not sure who bought them, or who would buy beans bagged in someone's kitchen by a 10 year old. Apparently, it wasn't a highly successful venture, as I'm not an heiress to a Legume Fortune.

They went through jobs like mad. The wig store. The Halloween store. The bean enterprise. And then, one day, they were just gone. My parents wouldn't answer questions, so I knew there had been a falling out. Several days later, Cookie and D showed up at my elementary school, to tell me they were sorry and they'd keep in touch.

I never saw them again.

A few weeks went by, and then the FBI started calling. Cookie and D had embezzled money from half a dozen companies from Oklahoma to North Carolina. The feds called every week, asking the same questions - have you seen them? Have you talked to them?

We had not.

The calls stopped and it wasn't until years later that we found out they'd been captured and sent to separate prisons in Texas.

When they were released, they found their way to Perkins, Oklahoma, and showed up unannounced at my Great Aunt's house. Family is family, even when they're criminals, so she invited them in for a meal. In the course of conversation, the subject of the Pekingese dogs came up. Poor Moto and Toto, it was revealed, has died within days of each other, while Cookie and D were incarcerated.

"Oh, that is too bad. I am so sorry." My auntie said.
"Yes, but they are always with us." Cookie replied.
"Of course, our dear pets are always in our hearts."
"No, Moto and Toto are always with us." and she pulled from her purse two small white boxes containing the cremated remains of the dogs.

That visit was the last time any of us heard from them.

If ever you are traveling through the Midwest and you run across a short, round woman with big red hair and the remains of two small dogs in her purse, tell her I said hello.

And in a completely unrelated note, my friend J. Rose from Cheeseblarg has a piece of her artwork being shown in New York City (New York City!), and is looking for sponsors to get her there. Watch her impassioned plea, and help her if you can, here:
Cheeseblarg Takes Manhattan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Have All the Answers

In a perfect world, my children would give me written notice of any hard questions they will be asking, 24 hours in advance. That way, I would have time to craft the perfect, honest-yet-age-appropriate answer. Instead, they zing one at me and I go "Uh, uh, uh, uh..." before stammering out something that may or may not answer the question.

Today alone, I have been asked:
1. What exactly are all the parts of the vagina?
2. What is sexual abuse?
3. What happens when all the people in town die? (I can only assume this has something to do with a zombie apocalypse. I am so damned tired of these zombie questions.)
4. When you and Daddy die, where would we go and live?
5. If you get really sick and the doctor can't make you better and you go to the hospital and they can't make you all better, before you die do you turn all green and yucky? (Again with the zombies?)

The last one is the only one I managed to answer without hesitation.

Last week I tackled lesbians, meth, and why boys get to pee standing up.

It has always been our policy to be honest, or as honest as we can be. The Husband wants no part in talking about lady business, so conversations about vaginas and boobies and babies fall squarely on my shoulders. So when Katie came home and told us that someone had kicked her in the nuts, it was up to me to set her straight.

"Honey, you don't have nuts."
"Well, what are nuts?"
"You know testicles? Testicles are nuts. Sometimes boys also call them balls."

Little truths are mind blowing when you're small.

The older they get, the harder the questions, and the grayer the answers. Conversations now often contain phrases like "we believe" or "I think". Sometimes we can give the facts and lay out a truth, and sometimes we just have to build a foundation and let them reach their own conclusions.

This parenting gig - it's a breeze.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Impressions

I'm guest blogging over at Triad Moms on Main in the morning - a very nice, non-funny piece on transitioning from a working outside the home mom to a stay at home mom. I always appreciate the opportunity to guest blog and, hopefully, some new readers will find me as a result.

Which is great.

Except - I'm faced with the dilemma: Do I run around tidying up and answer the door with my lip gloss on and vaseline smile and say "Welcome! I am so glad you're here!", or should I be a little more honest? Do I greet you braless, my boobs flopping all over the place, with bits chewed up food sticking to my shirt, talking about my butthole and dropping the occasional f-bomb? You won't have to read too deep into SFC to know the answer to that one.

When I was a working lady (not a hooker, just a lady who worked. Just to clarify.), I worked a job that required me to be presentable and well spoken and come off as smart, but not too smart. On first impression, I am non-threatening Wonder Bread. I am fairly pleasant, and chances are if you take me out some place, I am not going to get hammered and vomit on anyone's shoes.

But now that I don't work, and I'm not required to be particularly presentable, and I talk about the intimate details of my life in a public's a little harder to keep up appearances. It's disconcerting meeting someone that has read my blog before I've met them in person and they know about things like my issues with farty granola, and my difficulties with hair removal, and my deep seeded hatred of our mail carrier.

So if you're a first time reader, and my friends at TMOM have sent you my way - welcome! I am glad you're here.

And beware of first impressions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Methodist Chili

The Methodists are trying to kill me.

It all started out well enough. The fair is in town, so we took out a second mortgage, loaded up the kids, and spent a good part of the day with 8 million of the great unwashed.
There is no venue in the world that holds a larger collection of mullets and moose knuckles, and as a special treat this year - an 80 year old woman in a cardigan. With no shirt underneath. And no bra.

The girls are content with just a few rides each, and then we were able to enjoy my favorite part of the fair - the exhibits. This years' theme was "Everyone's a Hero", and boy - do they mean everyone.

The animals are always a hit with the kids. There was a camel with the saddest humps you've ever seen and the Husband, Mr. Funny Guy, says "I see she's breastfed three kids, too."

Ha. Ha. Ha.

But. About the Methodists.

Fair food is delicious, but it's also a terrific rip-off. But there is an area where local churches, policemen, firefighters, and civic organizations sell basic food for a decent price. We got the kids their $100 corn dogs and then, in an effort to be frugal, I opted to hit the firefighter's booth. Plus, you know, cute firefighters.

I'm standing in line for the firefighter's hot dogs and they are taking for.freaking.ever. and I look over and notice the Methodist church booth. There is no one in line, their hot dog deal is a buck cheaper, and the old couple behind the counter appears to be looking at me and smiling.

Now, I like the Methodists. They are not pushy and aren't always walking around asking me if I'm saved, or giving me shit for being a cannibal because Catholics eat Jesus. Methodists are reasonable.

So I give up on the firefighters and walk over to the Methodists' booth (where they also offer a kids' meal! With PB&J! For like $4!) and place my order. They have it to me less than five minutes later - hot dogs loaded up with chili and onions and mustard and slaw, and a kids' meal, all for less than $10. At this point, I am considering converting. I am so pleased that I ignore the marginally suspect chili on the dogs and scarf them down.

The Methodist Chili. 

We finish the afternoon at the fair and go home, happy and full up on fair-ness. While I'm pretty tired, I decide to run out to the grocery store to do our shopping for the week. Alone, which is a treat.

I'm about halfway through the shopping, still high on the fair and even the Methodist Chili. So much so that I've put a pack of hot dogs in the cart to have later in the week. So much so that when the first rumblings begin, I'm not the least bit concerned.

Gas. It's to be expected. 

But somewhere around the bread aisle, the rumbling makes it clear that this is no ordinary gas, that this is not simply gas, that this is - indeed - a problem. Now, if you know me well enough to be familiar with my bowel habits, you know that I am not a public pooper. My system completely shuts down when I am away from home, to the extent that it often takes up to five days on vacation for my sphincter to loosen up enough to let anything happen.

If you consider the last paragraph to be too much information, you may want to stop reading right here.

I am not jazzed at the prospect of using the toilet at the grocery store, but my gut has made it clear that I have two options - run like hell out of the store and maybe, maybe, make it home; or go to the back of the store and use their restroom and pray that no one comes in. I choose the latter.

I text the Husband from the bathroom.
OMG so sick grocery store METHODIST CHILI

He doesn't text back.

I manage to pull myself together enough to feel like I can finish my shopping. For about ten minutes, and then I'm right back in the bathroom. This time, I don't even bother to text him, but I do have the phone ready - just in case. I am feeling hot and flushed and a little light headed and I am absolutely terrified I am going to pass out. So I type the text, but don't hit send.


I figure I can hit the send button as I fall to the floor.

But I don't pass out, and I am able once again, through sheer will and strength of character, to regain my composure and finish the shopping. I can hear my voice quivering as I answer "Paper or plastic?", and my hands shake when I hand over my coupons. I load the car and get in, and I am little concerned that something will happen on the quarter mile drive home. To be on the safe side, I scribble a note ("Look at the Methodists!") and put it in my pocket. That way, when they find me dead, they will know where to start the investigation.

By some miracle (perpetrated by a Catholic God, no doubt) I make it home. I walk in the back door, my eyes filled with tears, my heart beating fast, and look at the Husband sitting blithely on the couch.

"Didn't you get my text?"

He looked at me dumbly, then picked up his phone and read the text. Surely he would jump up and run to me, maybe even pick me up and lay me on the bed, where he would administer immodium and cool cloths. But no. Instead, he turns to me and says -

"What do you have against Methodists?"