Friday, September 23, 2011


I always used to say to my ex-husband, "I didn't marry your mother!"

It was one of the biggest sources of friction in our relationship: I am a delightful, sensible person, while she is an overbearing, meddling lunatic. Who eats fish heads. (Not even kidding.)

In some sort of horrible cosmic comedy, the fact that I didn't marry her not only had no bearing whatsoever on her decorum for the duration of my ill-fated first marriage, but it also meant that I couldn't divorce her, either. Somehow, in her mentally-unstable fish head-eating haze, she's construed the fact that she and I are not divorced to mean that we must be good buddies, from which it (il)logically follows that she should phone me seventeen times a week to complain about her boss and ask whether Medium Fry needs a new jacket because she just saw some on clearance at Wal-Mart.

My ex phoned me this week to tell me his mother had phoned him to complain that I never answer the phone or return her messages when she calls.

First of all - she tattled on me? And secondly, what the hell did she think he was going to be able to do about it? The moron can't even hold down a cell phone account, I'm not about to start taking his advice. Thirdly, the kid doesn't need some shitty discount Wal-Mart jacket! I buy her nice jackets! What is with that woman and her Wal-Mart jackets?!

*pant, pant*

But I didn't say any of those things. You know why? Because I am a delightful, sensible person. So I put on my most thoroughly delightful saccharine-yet-terrifying-because-it-is-only-thinly-veiling-my-actual-rage voice (with which I assure you he is very familiar) and made an exceedingly sensible point, namely:

"Ohhhh, I see. So how many times a day would you like to converse with my parents? I'm sure I could arrange something..."

... ... (Have patience. It always takes him a while to process.) ... ...

... "Oh. Yeah. Uh, I guess it is kinda weird that she calls you so much. Maybe I'll tell her she should stop phoning you."

"I doubt she's going to be able to go cold turkey after all these years."

"Yeah, you're probably right. So how much can she call you?"

"I think a couple times a month is about the maximum I should reasonably be expected to handle politely."

"Okay, I'll tell her. Oh, hey, by the way, I've been having trouble with my cell phone..."

"You mean it got cut off again?"

... ... (processing... ) ... ...

"Um... yeah. So don't call me on it."

"Roger that."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It Ain't for Sissies

At first, the signs were subtle. If you weren't paying attention you wouldn't even notice them.

Then one day you walk out of the liquor store and think, Gee, that guy didn't even ask to see my ID when I bought this.

In fact, you realize that you can't think of the last time anyone asked for your ID.

Or, for that matter, your phone number.

Oh my gawd, you think. How long has this been going on? How far gone am I?

Maybe it was just the lighting. Yeah, the lighting. The lighting in that place was total shit.

You rush home and scrutinize yourself in a magnifying mirror. You discover what appears to be - although the sighting has not been confirmed - something resembling a line on your forehead. A permanent line.

Although it could have just been the lighting in your bathroom. The lighting in your bathroom is total shit.

Just to be safe, you make an emergency appointment with your hairdresser to get some side bangs.

But by the time it reaches this point, no amount of side bangs can help you. The signs start coming hard and fast, and all of them are pointing to one thing: Old. Here are some handy ways to know if you've arrived at Old:

- The pimply young grocery store clerk calls you "ma'am".
- Actually, everyone does.
- It takes you two months to fully recover from an all-nighter.
- "Now why did I come upstairs...?"
- You're in a long-distance relationship with your breasts.
- Your idea of a good time is a glass of red and a nap.
- It requires conscious effort to refrain from buying purple clothing.
- Your tweezing schedule has begun to interfere with your social life.
- You could swear that chocolate bars used to be way bigger.
- If someone would just get you some fucking coffee right now, no one would have to get hurt.
- Mascara has changed in your estimation from special-occasion accent to indispensable crutch.
- Someone of the opposite sex compliments your appearance and you become faint with gratitude.
- You used to be free to flirt with abandon, but now you're pretty sure you're going to be arrested for the dirty joke you just told that handsome young fellow.
- And, finally:

Frankly, Old is a scary place, and I'd like some company - if any of the above sound familiar, give me a shout. I'm thinking we could start a support group.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Ol' Hydraulic Frolic

Hey, did you hear about that French fellow who had to pay damages to his wife for not having sex with her for "a period of several years"?

I have to admit I'm appalled at the injustice of it. No, no, not that someone saw fit to attempt to legislate someone else's sex life - what really knots my knickers is that Monsieur B. failed to comply with Unspoken Spousal Agreement Number 6, a.k.a. the Proper Quantity and Type of Sex Agreement, as follows:

6 With respect to the Proper Quantity and Type of Sex to be entertained in the marriage:
 6.1 The spouses shall participate in some quantity of sex;
    6.1.1 at least some, and preferably all, of which shall occur with the marital partner;
    6.1.2 the spouses' fantasy lives notwithstanding;
    6.1.3 chance encounters with George Clooney also notwithstanding.
 6.2 The quantity of sex to be allotted within the marriage shall be mutually disagreeable to both parties;
    6.2.1 the sex shall be distributed spatially such that it occurs in a non-random manner;
    6.2.2 the sex shall be distributed temporally such that it occurs in a non-random manner.
 6.3 The type of sex to be allotted within the marriage shall also be mutually disagreeable to both parties;
    6.3.1 the sex shall be enacted in a non-random fashion.
 6.4 The disagreeable nature of the sex lives of the spouses shall be trotted out regularly;
    6.4.1 in any and all arguments longer than 10 seconds in duration;
    6.4.2 in moments of pique, as seen fit by the parties; and
    6.4.3 whenever drinking with friends.

So you see, Monsieur B. was clearly acting in violation of clauses 6.1 through 6.3, and one may infer 6.4 as well, although this is not essential to the case.

I'm an advocate of alternative sentencing in these types of rulings, so I would be very interested to know how exactly the judge assigned a dollar figure to the judgement. Perhaps Madame B. presented receipts for any "alternate means" she was forced to employ?

Although, even at cost plus 10% over several years, it hardly seems possible that one woman could burn through that many thousands of dollars' worth of hardware... she must have been awarded a battery stipend as well. Plus maybe a wee "pain and suffering" amount for any carpal tunnel incurred. Then multiply the lot by Madame B.'s subjective Hotness Factor - as determined solely at the discretion of the judge - and you've got yourself a quality alternative sentence.

I applaud you, crazy French judge.

Coincidentally, I predict a 6oo% increase in job security for positions within the French legal system as a result of this precedent-setting/ floodgate-opening case.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Damn You, Flynn!

I used to think the most dangerous place to leave toy cars would be on the stairs. Now that I have children of my own, I realize that it's actually the bathtub.

You can always trust kids to one-up you like that.

This leads me to a related conclusion at which I also couldn't have arrived without having been a parent. Be brave, this is gonna hurt a little: your kids are smarter than you.

Not just statistically smarter, or better at texting, or whatever it is you routinely tell yourself to help yourself sleep at night, but actually smarter. Sure sure, you can tie your own shoes and snicker at the dirty jokes in the Pixar films that are still going way over their little heads, but otherwise they are floating like butterflies and stinging like bees while you are basically standing around scratching your ass. Intellectually speaking, anyways.

Now to be fair, they have a lot less going on than you do - no work, no responsibilities - but all this means is that they are able to devote 100% of their formidable processing powers to a) obtaining junk food; b) shedding whatever work or responsibilities they are handed; and/or c) formulating "non-linear interpretations" of rules.

Cases in point:

a) We recently saw twin eight-year-old boys at Superstore get the old "One treat, do you hear me? ONE!" from Mom, then - having made artful use of Dad's inattention during the remainder of the shopping trip - waltz out of the store a half-hour later with one of them cradling a family-sized chocolate bar and the other a bag of marshmallows. (Pwned!)

b) My girlfriend finally hit on a potty training incentive that worked: every time her daughter used the potty, she would get a sticker. When she earned ten stickers, she got a trip to the store to pick out one treat, whatever she wanted. Once at the store, she looked her mother straight in the eye and requested a roll of stickers. (PWNED!!)

c) Small Fry. All the time. *sigh* pwned.

And if the three-year-old is running laps around my best efforts I'm thinking I'll probably need to retain a lawyer before Medium Fry hits her teen years, to help me through curfew negotiations.