Thursday, April 28, 2011

Turnabout is fair play.

Nine months ago today, I published my first Snarky Mom post.

Please, no gifts.

Which means that for 3/4 of a year now, my family has been front-and-center for all of you to read, the triumphs, the tragedies, the embarrassing stories, and stuff I can only classify as "evidence" has been my material in the blogging world.

Last week, my husband had enough of my one-sided stories. He called me from work and said he wanted a page of his own, so make one.

Right. His page. But I have to create it. Just like everything else.

And when I worked my magic on Facebook (the world isn't read for a Disgruntled Husband blog, nor does he have the time to maintain one, and God knows I'm not going to do it), he went on there, kicked me off as administrator, and introduced himself to the world.

I drew the picture.

*Objects may be more disgruntled in real life.

His first order of business? To start telling two very vague stories where I look like an idiot (at least, how he tells it). I was going to play nice and not tell any of his stories. (And believe you me, he has WAY more than I do. Just ask any couple we've ever been out to dinner with.)

So I came back with two words that I knew would shut him up: Self-Tanner.

I will not be telling that story at this time. Nor will I be telling the story of the shower cleaner, or scented Nair, or dead flowers.

But I can. And that's all the power I need right now.

In the meantime, why not go over to Facebook and "like" his page? If he hits 25 people, he gets to name his page. I have no idea what that means, but Mark Zuckerberg told me that, and it sounds like a good thing.

Also, his birthday is Sunday. He's going to be turning a number divisible by 5. And he's very upset by it. So please either cheer him up with a message or make him laugh. (Or make me laugh with a good age joke.)

This is all in good fun, I promise. You will not be seeing any FB-based marriage counseling through our pages. Vague threats and stories, probably, but nothing that's actually helpful.

Just like our real lives.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I've wondered for a few weeks now if it's appropriate to post about this subject, as it is a tragic one, but one that no one got hurt and is definitely on my kids' (and family's) mind.

A few weeks ago, we were hanging around the house on a Sunday morning, planning to go see Hop later that day. I was in the kitchen when Disgruntled Husband screams from the living room. "Get over here NOW!"

Someone had written on his Facebook page that they were "sooo sorry" and wondered if there was anything that we needed. This was a friend of his from high school, so his first thought was that someone had died. We tried calling his parents, and could not reach them. Out of desperation, DH found the phone number of the person that posted and called her.

"[DH], oh God. You don't know yet," his friend said. "Your parents' house is on fire. You can see it on the news."

At first relieved that no one was dead (as he first thought), he tried again to reach his parents on their cell phone. No luck. We went through every member of the family on the Christmas card list (and some that weren't) until we got ahold of DH's grandpa's girlfriend, who told us DH's mother was with Grandpa at the ER getting checked out. She gave us his cell number. I happened to be the lucky person to call it.

I talked to my mother-in-law and told her I knew. From Facebook.

"Aw shit," she said.

An actual picture from the fire. This was DH's grandmother's car, exactly where it was in the garage. It used to be a white Chrysler. Then again, there used to be a garage around it.

Everyone was okay. She and my father-in-law got out safely with their dogs. Ironically, they found out about the fire because my FIL is on the fire department and MIL woke up when she heard their own address on the scanner. She got up, went into the bathroom, and saw the fire out the window. (It started in the garage, which the bathroom has a clear view of.) My FIL threw on some clothes, drove his truck to the fire department, got the fire engine, and went back to his house. How F-ing surreal would that be, to be the first on the scene to fight your own fire?

That night, when the fire was out and DH finally spoke to his dad, one sentence he said really made me laugh. At the end of their conversation, I heard DH say, "Hey Dad, not that it would ever happen again, but if it does, can I not find out about on Facebook?"

Since that day (and no, we never did make it to Hop), we've been to Iowa. We saw the damage first-hand. We met up with my brother-in-law, who we hadn't seen in over 5 years, who was home from Iraq just to help his parents. Many things were destroyed in the fire, but I'm surprised at just how much had survived.

And then there are my kids. The Triple Threat are super tight with Grandma and Grandpa, so when the fire happened, I wondered what I should tell them. I decided to be open and honest with them, even showing them the news footage online. The boys were sad for Grandma and Grandpa and had lots of questions. MiniMe just wanted to see the video over and over again. Which I didn't let happen; once was enough. But the fact that she asked to watch it like she asks to watch the "Family" episode of Yo Gabba Gabba (thanks, On Demand), disturbs me.

As my brother-in-law said, now that we know everyone is safe and okay, the tasteless jokes can start. (Only, I'm a daughter-in-law and I know shouldn't make any.) BIL did ask how his Nintendo games and G.I. Joes fared. (Games okay, GI Joes bit the dust.) I did say to MIL that a very faint bright side of the situation is that they are all going through the items and purging the stuff I'd have to do in about 30 years. She laughed, but I know I probably shouldn't have said it.

I just watched the kids play "house fire" with MM's Barbie house. It was disturbing and fascinating all at the same time. Maybe it's therapy for them. (I remember going to a child psychologist when I was a kid for sleepwalking, and all we did was play house with a Playmobile set.) Still, I am concerned that they might play this way at school. The last thing I need is a call home because one of them said, "Oh no! The fire has spread to the second floor and Oma's car has blown up!"

(It's kind of like now when I go anywhere with MM, her lead-in to start a conversation is "Grandma and Grandpa's house burned down." Not what you expect when the Walmart cashier asks her if she wants a sucker.)

DH is dealing with things the best he can. When we went to Iowa, lots of his unburned crap came home with us. And he doesn't appreciate me hoping other things of his went down in a blaze of glory. (Like his troll doll collection. Or pencil collection. Or ugly clothes-from-high-school collection.)

(Unfortunately, many items from the last collection are here at my house. If I had only known.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

And the nominees are...

My friend Kathy (yes, she's a friend even if we've never met...or spoken on the phone...) over at sent me a facebook message this morning telling me I've won a prize.

So immediately, I dash to my window to look for the new Lexus, you know the one with the big red bow on it? It wasn't there. (Note to Kathy: I also like diamonds, seafood, spa gift certificates, and any contributions to paying off my student loans.)

She bestowed unto me a Blog Award. According to Kathy, you get this award from other bloggers, tell 7 things about yourself that no one knows, and then nominate 15 other bloggers (not the Pioneer Woman and Rants. Side note: I hope to be a "biggie" someday.), then you have to notify the people you nominated and link up with the person that nominated YOU.

And then send a recipe to the first name on the list. Or a pair of panties. (Yes, I actually got a chain letter like this once.)

So, thanks Kathy for the award and kind words! Kathy has six children, including triplets, lives in Alabama (send me some shrimp, ya'll), homeschools her kids, and doesn't have a drinking problem yet, at least one she's let me in on. If I had a Catholic, southern counterpart with twice as many children, it would be Kathy. We will meet someday, but for now, have recently friended each other with our real names on Facebook. Next stop, texting-ville.

My seven things (and I'm trying really hard to come up with things other than my social security number.)

1.)  I was on the Bozo Show as a kid. My mom sent away for tickets when she was pregnant with me and we got to go a month before my 10th birthday. I was chosen to be in a game, and my team lost. The replay footage shows a sassy red-head at heart of their defeat, but I refuse to believe it. My step-dad recently converted my tape to DVD, so maybe if you beg long enough, I'll post it here someday.

2.) I am obsessed with Weird Al Yankovic. Not just a fan, but one step away from restraining order. When I go to his concerts, it's me and a bunch of 8 year-old boys with their moms. It's cool now because I can blend in with the moms, but Larry Potter doesn't like Weird Al. Why not just tell me you're agnostic, LP? In college, we had to write an obituary of someone still alive (for journalism practice) and I chose Weird Al. I thought about sending it to him, but that just is creepy and probably would put me on the restraining order list.

3.) I wrote the school motto for my high school. It's lame. I forgot what it was. I don't think they use it on anything. In 1995, I got $50 in school memorabilia as my prize. Someone once told me that it's in the wikipedia article about my high school, but I've yet to check.

4.) I was an RA in college for 3 1/2 years. Because of this, there is very little that shocks or scares me. Seriously, I owe it all to Res Life.

5.) My least favorite foods are bell peppers (any color, but especially green), cabbage, and pepper (the spice). In that order. I can't make any of Rachael Ray's recipes because they seem to always include these ingredients and makes things spicy. I hate spicy.

6.) I can sew, cross-stitch, knit (basic things only), cook from scratch, plant a garden, and start a fire. In 1875, I'd be quite the catch.

7.) I went to the same junior high school as the Doublemint Twins and Gary Cole, only many years later. Vicki from The Real Housewives, Orange County, went to my high school, but graduated about 20 years before I did. I was in the class ahead of Steve Martin's eldest kid in that movie "Parenthood." I think his name was Jasen and I never met him.

Onto the awards!
(PS - I don't have 15.)

1.) My very good friend Jen and her family. She's on kid number five now, and yet somehow makes it all happen. I have three kids and can't keep up with her. She's honest and funny, and human, and is currently mourning her soap going off the air.  The Bigler Beat

2.) Meghann is a runner and healthy eater in Florida. I am neither in Wisconsin and still love her blog. She recently quit her job to be the spokesblogger (is that right?) for Attune Foods. She has an adorable dog and easy-on-the-eyes boyfriend. Her meals have inspired some of mine, but as of yet I am still not waking up to run 12 miles. Meals and Miles

3.) Okay, she's not exactly small-time, but I'm surprised when I hear someone hasn't heard of her. Jen Lancaster is by FAR my favorite author of all times. (And I was an English major.) I'm convinced that if I didn't have kids, I'd be her. Which she may not like to hear I compare myself to her. Go buy her books and read her blog. Jennsylvania

4.) Christina is a registered dietitian and some other awesome accolades I can't think of right now. She's a smart cookie (made only with all natural fruit juice and only eaten in moderation), with two small children. She's also the little sister of my high school friend Mark, who fixes my computer over the internet, but tells me it's like having to bury a hooker every time I ask him for help. (Sorry, this has nothing to do with Christina's blog. I just think it's funny.) Christina has good ideas on how to get kids to eat the healthy stuff, along with the kid staples in life.  Nourish my Kids

5.) Lisa and I went to school together since 5th grade. While I grew up to be the Snarky Mom, she's like a rocket scientist. An actual rocket scientist. She has more degrees than Disney World in July, has lived in many different countries, is wicked smart and makes me laugh all the time. Just the name of her blog makes me giggle: Suck it up, Princess

I don't have 15, but I'd like to get there. Please reply with YOUR blog address! I need more reasons to not cook dinner. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saving Face-book?

So, I'm on Facebook, both with The Snarky Mom and my real name. Just like 95% of the under 40 population. Facebook seems to be the next wave of technology. I'm sure I'll be telling stories to my kids about what I did before Facebook, like the kind my dad used to tell me about the computers he had in college (it took up a whole room).

About a year ago, Larry Potter took it upon himself to create a Facebook page. And then he told us about it.
After the freaking out and the flashes of "To Catch a Predator" running through my head, I went on his account, locked it up as tight as Fort Knox and blocked him from viewing my profile. He uses it mostly to play games. And now, Hoover is asking for a Facebook page. He's 5.

But that's all background information.

Sometimes, LP sits next to me while I'm on Facebook. I shield him appropriately. Sometimes, I'm on the computer after the kids go to bed, in the living room. Sometimes, LP wakes up early before school to get in some Farmville or Bejeweled Blitz action.

And this last point is where I can only assume he saw it. Perhaps I failed to logout of my Facebook account and since I play Bejeweled Blitz, too, he may have inadvertently been playing my game on my account. (Which explains why my daily spins are gone by the time I get up.)

I "like" a group called "(Certain Politician) is a Douchebag. Hey, I didn't name it. I'm not responsible for its content. I merely clicked the "like" button because it's a cause I support. They update often, and so it goes on my feed.

My mommy's Facebook page teaches me a whole bunch!

Monday, LP came home from school and said they were discussing politics in class. (Really? Third grade? I have a feeling it was just LP discussing politics and the rest of the class just tried to ignore him.) His long-term sub (teacher had a baby in March) must have asked LP what he knew about politics.

According to LP, he said, "Well, my mom belongs to a group on Facebook that says [Certain Politician] is a D-bag."

(Thank GOD he chose to say D-bag over the alternative.)

(It's the small victories these days, folks.)

After I chocked on my Diet Dr. Pepper, I asked what Mrs. Daniels said.

"She said, 'Don't say that!'"

This, normally, would be bad enough. Except that I've been in a photography class with Mrs. Daniels for the past two weeks. You know, social setting. And, I totally spaced on snack day AGAIN that same Monday. After forgetting it last month, too.

Mom of the Year, right here.

And while LP was telling us about school, it launched a 10 minute conversation between LP and the younger ones about what exactly a "D-bag" is.

Mark Zuckerberg, I blame you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coward's Response from Provena, via FACEBOOK

I posted something on Provena Health's Facebook page, and a few hours later, I got this response:

Provena Health wrote: "Dear "Snarky" Thank you for your interest in our Maybe a Baby after 30 class. We were pleased to offer this class to our community and received wonderful feedback from the couples who attended. As a faith-based, mission-driven ministry, our goal is never to frighten or to "make money" as our payor mix would show. Rather, our purpose is to educate and be a part of the wonderful blessing of bringing healthy babies into the world - which we do over 2,000 times a year. All classes are developed based on credible research. Fact is, fertility does indeed start to decline in one's late 20's. This class was about optimizing health, and preparing emotionally for a baby and how this blessed addition may affect a longer term marriage, a more established career, older grandparents who may require care, etc. It was fun. It was uplifting and it was our pleasure to host it."
And then deleted it, so no one else could read it. But then, mysteriously brought it back 20 minutes later. It's not a matter of technology delaying here, folks. I have two separate notifications in my email for the same passage. One at 9:49 p.m., and one at 10:12 p.m.

Why make this my albatross? Because it's one thing to offer "information," to women seeking it. It's quite another to buy a marketing list and spend money to find potential patients.
Here was my response to them:
Fertility does decline after a certain point, for sure. Why not promote teen pregnancy, when biological fertility percentages is at its highest? If I were you, I'd be a little more careful with what "information" you put out there. When the American Academy of Obstetrics says the age of advanced maternal age is 35, and you go and BUY ...lists of married, childless women in the area, older than 30 (perhaps younger than 35?), and send them information essentially scaring them of their choices, it sounds irresponsible to me. I'm still waiting for an email back from Heather, as well as from the chairman of your hospital board, Jon "Cody" Sokolski.
This is the first communication I've received from Provena, despite writing two private e-mails and alerting them to the blog post on Twitter. Why does Facebook get a response from them? And, I know they know what's going on...Joliet, Ill. showed up on my reader locator like fireworks on the 4th of July.

UPDATED to add: Heather says she never got my email. I have a hard time believing that. She also said it was because I never sent it. Yes, Heather, I am delusional as well as ovarianly elderly.

And can someone else find the condescension in Provena's post at the end of it? I'm too tired to deal with it tonight. I'm 32. My parents are 58 and 64. Somehow, I don't think I'll be juggling their care anytime soon, with or without a baby.

April (snow) Showers

Dear My Town's Public Works Department:

Look. I get it. It's April 20th. It shouldn't have snowed, but it did. There's no one out there that hates extraneous winter weather more than myself, so I can understand how you guys feel.

However, while it is my job to sit at home and be on Facebook take care of my children, it is your job to do something about the snow on our little city's roads.

Sure, it's all going to melt by 4 p.m. today. I know that. And I know that removing the snow from yesterday and today cuts into the snow removal budget for November and December. But those buses that my kids are on have to go through the snow now. Not only now, but yesterday afternoon when it was the equivalent of water/snow skiing at my nearest intersection.

I'm not talking salt trucks and sand, I just want a little blade action to get rid of the slush before someone gets hurt. I'm sure I don't know the complexities of the department's day-to-day jobs, but I do know that your director was in my husband's office yesterday. I'm most certain that meeting could have been put off until you took a little joyride down Cheesehead Lane.

Eh, looks safe enough, right boys?

You're not exactly my favorite department to begin with. The day Mini Me was born, my basement flooded with raw sewage. The orange-clad director told Disgruntled Husband it wasn't your department's fault. Our monetary settlement says otherwise. You also took a perfectly healthy tree from our yard, and many other peoples' yards, because the company that maintains your wires wanted to give you 1.3 million to do so. Arbor Day be damned! That winter, it looked like a tornado hit in a straight line from my house, all the way down Beer Bong Drive to the end of the road. Remind me to consult you when it comes to the beautification of our city.

So what I'm saying, Public Works Department, is that you need to get off your duffs and do your jobs. My meter's been read, no outages reported, and I'm pretty sure all of you have already used all your free spins in Bejeweled Blitz today. Get the blades out of storage, swear a little bit, and get on my road.

The Snarky Mom

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy 30th, Your Uterus Will Be Malfunctioning Shortly

I had Larry Potter when I was a few days shy of 23-and-a-half. Minus one couple I knew, I was the first of my friends to get married and procreate. It's a very strange feeling, especially if you're friends with people who were a year or two behind you in school, knowing that while you were dealing with breast pumps and sitz baths, you had friends talking about sorority mixers and English papers.

I finished having kids while still in my 20s. Forty years ago, this was the norm (what can I say...I'm retro), but nowadays, it's more common to finish your childbearing years in your 30s. Heck, I have friends that are my age that are only now starting to talk about when to have kids, and I'm 32.

So when my friend J. posted on Facebook what she got in the mail this morning, it made me curious...and a little angry.

"J....Maidenname Lastname would really like the nearby hospital to stop sending me fliers about how if I plan on having a baby, I'd better do it soon because I'm getting old, complete with invites to classes on the risks of pregnancy after 30. I am not amused."

Say WHA?!

J and her husband M have been married for five years, and are contemplating children. Like a meddlesome mother-in-law, I tease J about climbing aboard the baby train soon.

(Okay, I am aware that this needs to stop. I don't do it to be mean or nosy. I do it because J is my best friend from elementary school and she and M will make fabulous parents.)

(Fine. I'm a little nosy.)

When she posted her status this morning, I had to double check to make sure I read it correctly. I did. She has 13 comments on it, (the first one being mine saying I had nothing to do with her getting it) and all were appalled that she's receiving these sort of things.

I think the part that bothers me the most is the inference of 30 being the "advanced maternal age" number. It's totally not. (And I have it on good authority that advanced maternal age is a bunch of bullshit anyway.)

Thirty is the age where women need to attend classes on advance maternal age? Did this hospital catch a ride with Marty McFly in November 1955?

Hell, why not? And while we're at it, don't you DARE wear pants to the hospital, either.

I asked J for more information (and if I could use this in my blog) and this is what she sent me:

Here's more detail - it was a 4-page fold out deal that included multiple classes and tours of the facilities. "meet our doctors" "the risks of pregnancy after 30" etc etc. The title was "Maybe a Baby? (after 30!)" It was so slick, and so, so misguided. I can't think of anyone who would get that in the mail and think, "Yes! Just what I was hoping for!"

She also says that this mailer came from a hospital where she wouldn't deliver anyway. Good Lord, after that mailing, I don't think anyone should. I know hospitals have marketing budgets and directors, and I think the director of this one needs to have a B slap of reality across the cheekbones.

J also said she threw away the mailer before her husband saw it, wondering what information she was secretly sending away for. (He later found out about it over dinner, and is disappointed J threw it away.)

So, let me run this down for you. J is 32, married with no children. Some random local hospital buys a marketing list from someone who's compiling a list of local married, childless people over 30, spends a bedpan of cash (surely) developing this mailer, and then even more cash to mail it out to their targeted demographic, all to A.) Scare married childless women into becoming pregnant and B.) Delivering their fear-babies at this hospital.

Makes you think twice about any philanthropic donations to hospitals, doesn't it?

She only thinks she knows which hospital it is. If J were sure, I'd publish the hospital's name, address, email, phone number, marketing director's name, and direct line on the blog.

It makes me mad for J and M, and any other people that received this in the mail. Like I said, I was done having babies by the time I was 28, but certainly, I am in the minority with my friends. My grandmothers were 33 and 32 when they had my mom and dad, respectively. I have an aunt that had her kids in her late 30s. Several cousins, friends, former colleagues and neighbors have all had their kids after 30, 35, even some in their 40s.

Whichever west-suburban Chicago hospital that developed this campaign and sent it to J, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I bet you also tell women it's okay to smoke while pregnant, dads wait in the waiting room for their children to be born, and the only anesthetics used during childbirth is the shot of whiskey for the doc. Someone get me some concrete info on which hospital this is and I'll give them an earful.

Thanks to J for her story and fact-checking. Here's an article on the class:

And, as promised:

Provena Mercy Medical Center
1325 N. Highland Ave.
Aurora, IL 60506


Regional Director of Marketing:
Heather Gates
847-931-5518 / 630-801-2669

If you think this is ridculous, why not give Heather a jingle?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wanted: One Very Large Casket

As I mentioned last month, the not-so-mini-van was having issues. I called it Vehicular Diabetes, something that was manageable but had no cure.

Well, I'm sad to say that the not-so-mini-van had the vehicular equivalent of kidney failure. We drove it to the junkyard Wednesday, said our goodbyes, and left it to romp in the fields with the other vehicles.

Two Thursdays ago, we had it in the shop to see what was wrong with it, you know, technically. Well, the mechanic called an hour later, and said, "There's nothing good I can tell you about your van."

When a mechanic refuses to take your money, you know it's time to throw in the towel.

When Disgruntled Husband brought it back with the paperwork, we both noticed that all the lines were filled with what was wrong with the van. We both believe they stopped checking at that point because they ran out of room.

We got $100 from the salvage yard. And we got that much because of this:

Times Four.
The tires were a Christmas present two years ago. Lillian at the salvage yard told me she could get $25 a tire. Also, mental note, next time I need tires, I'm going to the salvage yard.

The tires weren't the only things valuable on the van. Oh no. There was something else.

That's the gas tank. Thankfully, it was not full, but it did have a quarter tank of liquid gold in it.

Today, I drove home with a new mini van. I have yet to name it, but did notice that the plates the dealer gave me were one letter off from spelling "slut." So there's that.

Goodbye not-so-mini-van. At 264,700 miles, you have served our family (and my aunt's, where it came from) well.

The not-so-mini-van 1997-2011.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Excuse-less and proud

Hey folks, yes, I'm aware I've been absent most of this week. And I haven't even apologized.

I'm a real B like that.

I'll explain it all later, I promise. My stress level has been about thiiiis high (imagine me holding my hand above my head) and my capacity for stress is only this high (hand at my boob-line). It's been great.

But I have pictures and funny stories and snarky comments. But first, if you don't mind, I'd like to eat lunch.

(It's 5:32 p.m. right now, and yes, I said lunch. It's been that kind of day.)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Open (Window) Season

Now that Spring has finally sprung, let me remind the cold-weather moms about something we tend to forget until this time every year, like changing your clocks or shaving your legs on a daily basis.

It's window-opening season, ladies.

Sure, I could mean this to be "Air your house out" or "Get that germy recirculated air out and let Mother Nature in." But, if you have children, it only means one thing: other people can hear you yell at your kids.

On Cheesehead Lane, where I live, it's a busy little street. Not so much in vehicular traffic, but in foot traffic. I'm between the local gas station/pharmacy/liquor store and the vagrant housing down the street. I'm also in spitting distance to the high school. Lots of people walk past our house every day.

So, when I yell at the kids, "No one is to show anyone their penis and it is NOT called a "half-moon," and the windows are open, it's not just Disgruntled Husband and me that can't believe the things I have to say, but now common townspeople, too. And they may take it out of context.

(Half-moon came about when DH had to put his two cents in about what a "Full Moon" was in non-celestial instances. The boys have been obsessed with it, and Hoover took it upon himself to further the vernacular and the usage. Yup, the Judge started this one.)

The window into our world may include calls to DCFS if we're not careful.

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes on my front porch drinking a cup of rapidly cooling coffee, attempting to read the paper and pretending to organize the crap on the porch, when I hear through the open window sounds of a B movie horror sequence. The screams! The sobs! The yelling of injustice! All of this over what color bowl is used to house their morning breakfast.

I have to admit, if I were walking by at that moment, I'd probably be talking to the local fuzz about a welfare check on Cheesehead Lane.

Which brings me to my second PSA for the day. If you're going to have your windows open, you're going to also have to sit your kids down to explain the laws of physics and the sound barrier. I do this every April. Not that it helps.

Please tell me I'm not alone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wapner, eat your heart out

When I married my husband, I knew he was a Poly Sci major and lawyer. I didn't make too much of it because I didn't think I needed to.

Ten year later, he may have changed who I am.

Tuesday night, my husband was elected to municipal judge. There was a primary, then a main election, and his name scrolled across the television like all the other races. He won with 56% of the vote.


No, no, no. Don't get me wrong. I've very proud of my husband. But, like most things that happen to other people, one of my first reactions is "How will this affect me?"

Since it's only been two days since he danced the victory dance at his office, I'm not yet sure how this will change either of our lives.

Some people have told me now that I'm a "judge's wife" I have to be demure and sophisticated and, most notably, know when to shut-up. He's going to an honest-to-God judges class in May, and yet I feel like I need a class to figure out what to do, too. Although I think mine would be more like the one Eliza Doolittle took than anything my husband will be attending.

And just in case someone out there is reading who may be able to help me, I've developed a list of questions I have, now that I have to be all proper and lady-like. Well, I should say, these are sub questions, because question number one involves the term "Judicial clothing stipend."

- Do I have to wear hats when I leave the house?
- When I flip someone off, does my fingernail on that finger need to be manicured?
- Just how expensive does my lipstick have to be, and if the answer is "very," does the city fund my shopping spree to Sephora?
-Can I get window darkeners on the not-so-mini van like limousines have?
-Are Crocs and jeans no longer acceptable?
-What about current events? That is, do I have to know something about them? (Because like Kate and Lydia say, if there's not a rolling ticker on Diego, I'm not going to know what happens during the day)
-Do my children need to be seen and not heard? Sub question: How do I accomplish that?
-Will I be invited to my town's inner circle of society events? (Note: that's generally Lia Sophia parties in the "nice"neighborhood and the Rotary fundraiser...which we already go to, but it would be nice if someone actually requested we be there.)
- Since he's paid by the city, will any utility bills and outstanding parking tickets be taken out of his salary?

And one I already know the answer to:
-Does that mean I can't write anymore Letters to the Editor?

I have a list of questions I'd like answered for Disgruntled Husband, too, but they mostly are about his holey Metallica t-shirts and penchant for wearing my hot pink Crocs to get take-out food. I did tell him today that since people have elected him because they think he has good judgement, he's actually going to need to exercise good judgement at home. This may or may not have been said as he points out that he forgot about garbage day for the fourth week in-a-row.

Dear Justice Disgruntled Husband: you can no longer wear these to get Taco Bell.

His first court-presiding is May 17th. I told this to my mom, and she asked if all of his relatives would be coming in to watch him. I laughed and told her that I'd already stenciled "Welcome Alleged Criminals" on a bed sheet for just such an occasion.

Somehow, I don't think he'll ever let me in the courtroom.

But yet, he expects me to call him "Your Honor" or "Your Lordship." (I said I have other terms to call him.)He asked why, when he got home from work yesterday, I didn't ask the kids to rise when he entered the room.

And it's only day two.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who do I think I am?

The genealogy show on NBC "Who Do You Think You Are?" is one of my favorites, and no, not just because I happen to be home Friday nights to watch it.

(Think back to the 90s. If your favorite shows were The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Nurses, and Sisters you either had small children or were a popular these shows were on Saturday nights. I was the latter.)

I have been doing genealogy since I was 15, when my aunt and uncle got me into it. It's not exactly a common past-time of any one under the age of 50, let alone a teenager, so I didn't let my peers in on the secret.

And every few years since, I've gotten my free account working and my aging copy of Family Tree Maker out to see what else I can find. Back in college and the early married years, I wasn't finding much I didn't already know.

But with the popularity of the internet and now the "Most Boring Show EVER" (says Disgruntled Husband) on Friday nights, tracing your own genealogy is not only emerging out of its geriatric shadows, but I dare say its becoming trendy and hip.

Though that's not how DH sees it. Or my dad - known forever here as Bubba (what my kids call him). You'd think that because Bubba is pushing retirement age, he'd be more interested in what his familial roots were. You'd be wrong.

(My grandmother, Bubba and I remind me of something out of the 90s version of Father of the Bride. George Banks takes his distraught future son-in-law to a bar after a fight with Annie, the daughter and fiance. George explains his family to Brian. "Annie comes from a long line of major overreactors. Me. I can definitely lose it. My mother. A nut. My grandfather. Stories about him were legendary. The good news, however, is that this overreacting... tends to get proportionately less by generation. So, your kids could be normal." I just keep thinking my kids' kids could not be even remotely snarky.)

Most of my family wanted to be in the witness protection program.

But because I get excited and Dh's eyes glaze over, I call my parents. And if I find out something about my dad's side of the family, I assume my mother - his ex-wife - really doesn't care, so I call Bubba. His response is always some variation of, "I'm glad you enjoy doing this."

Which is like asking someone if they like your new haircut and they respond, "What's important is if you like it."

I have traced back one small line of descendants as far back as Charlemagne. Yup, I am a direct descendant of Charlemagne; he's my 37th great-grandfather. And this really excited me until I found out that if you're of white European descent, there's an 80% probability that you are also related to Charlemagne. So much for that family fortune I was hoping for.

In that same line are dukes and kings and queens, people that lived in castles and had Roman numerals after their names. I'm related to the real Sheriff of Nottingham, as well as the first prominent family in Stanford, Connecticut.

And then, as I said to my mother, someone went slumming in the tobacco fields.

My mom's family, up until the people in Connecticut, put the poor in the expression dirt poor. You know, I'm thankful and all that they did end up in Carolina, as I wouldn't be here if they didn't, but all of that aside, couldn't they have just as easily set up shop at a place that wasn't considered a "frontier."

One relative of mine was in a debtor's prison in 1850. I'm so proud.

Saturday night, I was again scouring for information (don't I make a great date to watch TV with?) and I started on the path to figuring out a family mystery. I wish the producers from Who Do You Think You Are would give me a call, because though I'm not famous, my genealogical mysteries would take me to places a lot cheaper than Europe or Barbados, and would probably be just as interesting. But, I'm not Gwyneth or Sarah Jessica or Lionel; I'm not holding my breath on this one.

But come on, there's got to be some royal jewels with my name on it somewhere, right?

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Kitten Grows in Wisconsin

(Ed. Note: Spell Check isn't working on Blogger today. Yes, I was an English major, but I'm also human, and not a good one at that. Give me a break.)

My boys are back in school this gloomy Monday morning. Maybe it's gloomy for them, but for me, it's shining brightly in the corners of my mind.

On our last day of break, running out of things to keep my kids occupied, we had a birthday party for Clark.

Clark is our cat.

(Note: Okay, truth be told, I didn't actually put too much effort into finding things for them to do. I got out a puzzle for Hoover on day 4 and helped him put it together. I'm frickin' Mom of the Year for this because I hate doing puzzles.)

We bought Clark a cake at Walmart (because there's no way I'm dirtying a kitchen baking a cake for a cat), threw a candle in it, and that was supposed to be it.

But the kids wanted to buy him presents. So we got him a 5-pack of catnip-scented mice. Because we're thoughtful like that.

Clark requested a lame vanilla cake from Walmart. We were just honoring his wishes.
We sang to him the "Zoo" version of Happy Birthday because Hoover told us that was proper protocol for celebrating an animal's birthday.

Reflecting on all he has learned this first year of life, I'm sure.

After we sang, I cut up the cake. Clark got the first piece, of course.

Will the humiliation ever end?
He did take a taste, but that was about it. The kids were disappointed he didn't finish his cake. One of the kids offered to finish it for him, but since Clark tends to taste things with the same apparatus he cleans his poop chute with, I put the kabash on that one.

The kids were anxious to give Clark his presents, which he accepted heartily.

And part of me feels a sense of obligation to our other cat, Mo, because his birthday is April 11th. We probably should have a party for him, too. (Yes, I know the cats don't know what a birthday is, let alone when their's happen to be.)

(And yes, I'm embarrassed I actually know when both of my cats' birthdays are. Let's just gloss over this fact.)

As much as I tell myself this was all for the kids, an annoying little bird - in the form of junk mail - keeps chirping in my ear.

Am I really on my way to a Cat Fancy subscription?
This came in the mail a few days ago.  I think Cat Fancy is doing some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy with me. Never before had I celebrated a cat's birthday, until three days after I get this in the mail. Touche, Cat Fancy. Well played.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Name and Date

Okay, even as snarky as I am, I can't let nice, honest people congratulate me on something that isn't real.

Yes, I did receive those coupons in the mail.

No, I am not pregnant. In fact, the only thing I'm expecting is an estimate on the not-so-mini-van.

Here's the story:

Yesterday, I got the mail and saw that I received something from Gerber. I opened it up and saw the checks and some coupons and all the first-time mom literature one receives before or after your baby is born.

New moms eat this shit up. Old moms call the 800 number and harass the staff.

Because Mini-Me is rounding the corner to her fourth birthday, I am curious how I got on this list. So, I call the number on the front of the envelope.

I explain to the very nice lady (she sounded like some one's grandma) that my youngest child is almost four and doesn't use formula (in case she was confused). She laughed and said, "Well, let's take a look."

With my customer number, she was able to find me on her list.

"Well, Jessica, our database says you had a baby on December 20, 2010."


We both get a good chuckle out of it.

"It was the easiest pregnancy I've ever had," I said.

"I bet the delivery was a snap, too," she said. (I wish I had gotten her name. She was a hoot!)

My name and mis-information came from a third-party source, so she couldn't tell who originated the lie. But, she said she'd take me off the list and I could pass the coupons to whomever needed them.

So, on behalf of me and my fake-yet-real-to-Gerber 3 month old...APRIL FOOL!

Unexpected News

I have some news, and I feel the only way to announce it is with a picture of what I got in the mail yesterday.

Those are formula checks one gets in the mail before or after having a baby.

Let that sink in.