I'd take credit for being the old person in the neighborhood that everyone is scared of or laughs at. Either way old.

We don't have a fence around our house, so it's easy for randoms to just walk through our yard and peek into our daily lives, like stalkers, but with a permit to be looky-loos.

Some kids, not my kids, were in our backyard yesterday hollering and whooping it up and playing some strange amalgam of football and dodgeball. The strangeness of their ballet dance enthralled me for a second.

Until Prince saw them. Then it was just five agonizing minutes of telling (yelling at) him to stop your barking already! Please? and getting him to chew on a toy he just stares at and has always despised.

I'm a smart pet owner that way.

I went back to washing the dishes, looking out the window and making faces that included eye rolls (my specialty), smirking, grimacing and narrowing my eyes into a focused glare.

The dish brush rattled against the sink as I threw it down when the football came crashing violently into our sliding door, the boys kept taunting the dog and Prince lost his fool mind. 

Walking with strides of one part determination, two parts pissed-offedness (it's a word, Encyclopedia Britannica), I went to the sliding down and did my mom stare at the kids. 

What are you doing? I yelled at the kids through the glass.

They all shrugged their slim shoulders and looked at one another, probably thinking what is wrong with this woman? And then they continued to shake their heads meekly at me and say, nothing.

I walked away one more time because I could feel my heart racing and suddenly my lungs forgot how to fill with air and I needed my inhaler.

When I came back from my minutes long, harried journey into the hearts of darkness that is my purse, I found the kids taunting Prince again.

That's it!

I stepped up to the sliding door again and with all my energy yelled, GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU KIDS and I mumbled some random mutterings under my breath about youth.

As the boys stood there, not sure what type of Twilight Zone they just walked into, I contemplated when it was I turned into an ogre.

This week I learned that forty has not been kind to me and I expect forty-one to truly make minced meat of me and:

The interwebs is an infinite and mysterious place:

  • there are betting odds for what royal baby number two will be named
  • THIS was the first in-flight movie
  • 10 original reviews of classic works of lit - it ain't pretty
  • Are women the only people that make cupcakes? Fuck no. There are kids, men, boys, girls, maybe aliens. I don't know, but the title of this post makes me bristle. And I realize there are books and other posts with this same issue, but I'm not going to list them here, because that would take me like forever to list and remember? I'm lazy.

 

Parenting comes so easily to me - I need to start coaching people

I suggested to the kids they have a fine snack of apples when they got home from school.

I've never heard such laughter as the laughter that came out of their mouths as they completely disregarded my suggestion and stormed the fridge and pantry and chose stuff like chips, popsicles and pudding. 

After two minutes of stuffing their mouths, they quickly dispersed to different corners of the house and I was left standing in their dust in the kitchen.

Half an hour later, they came back still hungry. 

You cannot eat anymore! We're about to eat dinner! I scolded.

They rolled their eyes like the professionals they are and marched upstairs like heavy-footed soldiers. 

I, on the other hand, hadn't eaten since noon and had an aggravating five minute walk to the mailbox and back where a cat hissed at me. Therefore, I deserved a snack of chips and dip. 

Ahhhhh, the luxuries of being a parent.

My parents didn't need a magic eight ball to tell them the smart gene avoided my brain altogether

I've been in constant pain for the past few months. 

Fucked up migraines. Horror movie like rashes that mottle my skin. Bloating to the point that I think my spirit animal is in fact a whale. Grimace inducing stomach pains that force me to crawl towards the sofa and just lie there while I moan. Cramping and pain through my body that forces me to walk like a senior citizen and I realize I am the Asian Abe Vigoda. 

I was diagnosed with celiac disease about five years ago. It came up in some blood work a neurologist had me do since I was suffering from vertigo at the time and my migraines were getting worse. 

Neurologist: Here's a sheet that lists trigger foods for migraines and here's another sheet about celiac disease. 

Me: What is this cecilia disease you speak of?

Neuro: It's celiac.  You'll want to lay off foods with gluten in it.

Me [horrified]: Like bread?

Neuro: Yes. 

Me [in my best Mel Gibson, William Wallace voice]: Never!

Neuro [shrugs shoulders]: Well, you're never going to feel good. 

But last year, I had enough. The migraines and the supposedly inexplicable stomach issues I had for so long had beaten me down to an icky, gooey pulp. Finally following the doctor's advice - it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, right? - I went gluten-free.

Holy shit I felt great. The migraines subsided, my stomach felt normal. I could do the entire Gene Kelly scene from Singing in the Rain. If I wanted.

Here's the but. . . a few months ago I just had to try some regular bread because gluten-free bread isusually heavy and bland and could be used to make a wall in an Edgar Allen Poe story. 

And then I couldn't stop. Carl raised his eyebrows when I'd pop a cracker or twenty-five into my mouth, but I reassured him, "It's just this once. I can stop right now."

That's what addicts say, right?

Well, I haven't been able to fucking stop poisoning my body and it feels like it's dying from the inside out.

Today was the day I was supposed to stop, but asshole me made biscuits for the kids which is really just making it for me and. . .well, the story ends with me curled up on the sofa again. 

Tomorrow. I'll start tomorrow. 

I can't navigate these peaks and valleys

image.jpg

Mom!! 

I grimace because my middle child interrupted my thoughts of food. What kind of monster does that, huh?

There's a kitten crying in our yard and it's really little and it's crying and it's... 

Oh man. Cats. I tell people I hate cats, but my college roommates and I had a cat and then I ended up taking care of a friend's cat for almost a year, so maybe I don't hate cats? But I am really allergic to them, like head exploding, violent eye scratching, I'm gonna die throat closing allergic to them.

I go out to investigate. Shit. This kitten's eyes aren't even open yet. It can't be more than a week old. There is another kitten crying behind a bush. Double shit. I want to walk away and just go back in the house.

Where the fuck is the mom?  

Our neighborhood is like feral cat world. There are cats everywhere, usually terrorizing me and the dogs and jumping out from under my car when I least expect it and I wonder if I should start wearing adult diapers. Really.

But on this day, there are no cats in sight. It's like they're all at the bar airing their grievances about that Asian woman and her yappy little dogs they could kick the shit out of if they had a chance. Hello. 

I go back inside. 

Aren't you going to do anything? 

My guilt goes from from guilty to fucking guilty.  

I explain to the boy how the mom cat will come back and take care of her children because that's what they do, right? But a lump in my throat is telling me something else. 

Eight hours later, still no mom cat and lots of kitten crying. I bring them in the house because my conscience has been berating me all this time.

Fuck. Are those hives all over my face? Why can't I breathe well? 

For three days, I bottle feed our new housemates. I nuzzle them, talk with them, keep them safe and warm.

I don't like cats. My head aches, like hangover pain. My throat itches - where is that garden claw? My eyes are red and watery and I want to knife them out. 

But these kittens are. . . cute and loving and even the dogs don't mind having them around. 

I look around the interwebs for litter boxes. The next thing I know, I'm on an IKEA hack site and dream of building this pretty hideaway litter box.

Carl says, "You know we can't keep them, right?" I see him massage his temples and at least I don't have to suffer alone when it comes to cat allergies?

A day later, Carl finds a home for the grey kitten. I interrogate him about the new parents: Have they ever had cats before? Why don't they want both of them? Do they know how to take care of kittens? How many current pets do they have and are they current on their shots? Just give me their social security number and I'll run a background check on them.

For another few days, the tabby is fine and getting bigger and bigger. I imagine it playing with the dogs and it makes me smile. 

Despite my reluctance, the kids finally name her, we think it's a her, Amelia Pond - Pond for short - because the tabby reminds them of Amelia's red hair. Gingers unite! Their obsession with Doctor Who is not a healthy one. 

So we all hold cradle and nuzzle Pond and there's lots of love going on this room right now and I think I should probably bake some cookies.

And then. . .

Well, things go downhill. Apparently there's this horrible sounding thing called fading kitten syndrome. There is nothing we can do despite desperate searches on the interwebs and contact with vets. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming.

I can't think about it for too long because the whole fucking thing just makes me too sad. 

Our Amelia Pond is gone.

I need to find a TARDIS, travel back in time and somehow bring Pond back. 

It's clear I'm the logical one here

I get a shit-load of useless emails every day. Some are SPAM, but most of them are from companies whose websites I visited and wanted to get something for free or wanted a discount on my order so I signed up for their newsletter. I'm admitting one of my deepest, darkest secrets here and I don't feel very liberated. Shame is more the sentiment here.

I was about to delete one of these emails that claimed I could win a gas grill and cases of chicken breast, but in small type to the right, I saw that the company was based out of eastern Washington State. Nowhere near where I grew up in Seattle, but if they're from Washington, they must be trustworthy right? So of course, I signed-up for said sweepstakes, even though I have no fucking clue who this company is.

They are probably tracking my every move on the interwebs as I type: 

  • please ignore that click on the link to some story about Taylor Swift - it was an accident, goddamit! 
  • you read the bank account balance correctly so if you want money, you'd better go find a different victim that actually has some.
  • so what if I just spent an hour on Amazon looking at lunch containers and reading all those effing reviews? SO WHAT?
  • NO, I'm NOT printing more coupons (because we're out of black ink - where's my coupon for that?).

I really need to delete all these emails, don't I?

When you spend a lot of time with a toddler, you lose your bearings

Mom!! I need to go potty!

Okay - hold on! I didn't even have time to roll my eyes before I slipped on a puddle of pee. Maybe it was more like a lake. My god - how much pee can be in one toddler?

What happened? I asked, my breath staggered and voice going higher with every syllable. I thought you were going to wait to go potty? We have to talk about your timing.

The toddler looked up at me, worried and shook her head: But I don't even have a watch!

Innumeracy

I'm on the phone right now - don't mind me. It's only been goddamn 40 minutes and 41 seconds and counting. Any my phone battery is about to die and I have no idea where my charger is.

Oh hello - I'm doing our taxes right now. Oh you're done? Yeah, that was me yelling expletives your way. I actually finished our taxes two weeks ago and then had a question for a CPA because apparently there are people out there who like numbers and as usual, I put it off because the thought of talking numbers with someone is pretty low on my list. 

And so here I am, on the phone, just waiting to hit that submit button with just one question to ask. And I'm getting grumpy because this wait time is stupid. Stupid, I tell you!! Also, I haven't eaten today and it's lunch time, dammit! What if I start eating and then someone finally comes on the line? I don't like being interrupted while eating. 

I suddenly feel like a senior citizen. Get off my lawn!

I'm not making any sense right now, I know.

This is my brain. . . on numbers. 

Gwyneth Paltrow just called me a narcissistic parent

It all started when I saw Se7en. Poor Gwyneth Paltrow at home alone while her scruffy husband, Brad Pitt, hunts down a serial killer. And let's not forget the head in the box.

My kind of movie.

Then there was Emma. Not the Emma with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong which came out the same year and was on public television. No, the Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor that came out in the movie theaters - that's who we're talking about here. Get with the program. 

Maybe it was because of her golden hair in all those fancy braids and buns or her perky British accent that always ended in a lilt and a sly smile or the mere fact that her mom was in Futureworld which was a middling and less-than-average sequel of Westworld with Yul Brynner (be still my beating heart. Beat, heart, beat!) that scared the shit outta me as a kid. And James Brolin looks like Christian Bale. Thanks a lot, Michael Crichton. 

Then Shakespeare in Love came out and it was pretty much over. 

GP and I became best friends. 

I watched every movie she was in and followed the peaks and valleys of her romantic interludes: Hey Brad - we love each other - let's get the same goddamn haircut! Surely this was much more educational that what was going on in my college classes because how the fuck would Venn diagrams be helpful in my life? Man, I should've paid more attention in school.

But then GP and I started arguing. Shallow Hal? View From the Top? C'mon! Really? This is where we're going? Well, fine. I could play dirty, too. How about bleaching my jet black hair just so I could get blonde highlights (puts head down on desk in shame. My sad, sad hair)?

Then there were all the stupid, weird things she said in the media. And then she came out with her lifestyle, shopping like I have a million dollars in the bank website, goop.

And like a good friend, I turned my back on her because, well, that's my modus operandi: when the going gets tough. . .

I stayed on the goop mailing list because like any jilted lover, I like to hold on to memories of guilt, selfishness and the obliviousness of my faults that caused the break-up. 

On goop this past week, there's this article called The Legacy of a Narcissistic Parent (which some peon probably wrote for GP because isn't she still going through her conscious uncoupling period and how do you have any time for anything except Iron Man these days, based on a book by psychiatrist Dr. Robin Berman: Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child With Love and Limits.

Mouthful, I know.

While I read it, I kept looking over my shoulder: is someone judging me, is someone watching me, is someone eating a meal without me?

Narcissists have a way of making everything about them—they take up all of the air in the room. Their profound need for attention and praise subverts everyone else’s needs. Unchecked, a parent’s narcissism eclipses a child’s feelings. Narcissistic parents take their children’s every feeling or action personally. These parents are easily angered when a child does not agree with them or mirror them. Parents with narcissistic tendencies are so sensitive to praise and admiration as fuel that it makes them overly sensitive to criticism. So children learn to tiptoe around these emotional minefields, trying not to trigger that anger, or worse, have their parents withdraw love.
Perceptive children will also pick up on the emotional vulnerability of their parents. They will compliment their parent or try to be a perfect reflection of them. They hope that taking care of mom or dad will shore the parent up enough so he or she can eventually get back to taking care of them. With all of that care directed at parents, these children will likely lose touch with their own emotions and needs.

Ohmagod. Is this me? Certainly this told the tale of my own childhood. Am I just following the natural cycle?

I wanted to throw something at the computer. Instead, I ate. A lot. 

Was all this just a push for all of us guilty parties to buy Dr. Berman's book and move it up the bestseller list?

Like I didn't have a shit ton of other things on my mind as a parent, now I've got to think about being a "conscious and mindful" parent? I'm not even a conscious and mindful individual. How the heck am I supposed to pull this off?

I ran to Carl, woke his ass up and told him about this article. I got a stink face and shrugged shoulders.

You do the best you can, he said and with that went back to sleep.

Was that what I wanted to hear? I don't know. I have no idea what I was expecting. Where is Deepak Chopra when you need him?

Don't mind me - I'm just sitting here reflecting on my, apparently, shoddy parenting skills and wondering if cake or cookies would be a better dinner choice.

Whatevs. It's Friday. I'm gonna go and paint the town which is really just code for: fall asleep on the sofa since I can't find anything on T.V. to watch. 

I need an intervention

THIS.

The fuck am I doing? 

Isn't this supposed to be the twilight of my life? I'm supposed to be enjoying sitting on the sofa with a blanket over my legs, yelling at Alex Trebek and being mean to everyone younger than me. 

Not wasting my time and paper and ink on goddamn coupons. This new obsession is taking over my life. I have to stop. I must stop. 

Ohmygod. I can't stop. Because savings high. 

This experience has made me a bit of a savant when it comes to math. 

Case in point: if I go to Target before Sunday, I can buy 12 bottles of Pantene Shampoo and Conditioners for $3.24 each. I can use 4 $5 off 3 bottles coupons and pay $18.88 and then receive 3 $5 Target gift cards due to a store promotion and subtract 5% for using my Target card. In the end, my total savings will be 34¢ a bottle. Oh, but fuck. That doesn't quite work because the coupons are only for shopping discount cards and I'm foiled again. 

I can't even subtract my birth year from 2015 and get my current age because of issues with borrowing digits from the next column over. 

Holy fuck balls! What am I going to do with 12 bottles of shampoo and conditioner? Where am I going to put this shit? 

I am both fired up and scared shitless. 

There is no end to this madness.

Also, I'm not going to talk about coupons on here for awhile because fuck it's annoying. 

Shit. I'm THAT woman now. 

Also, let me show you all the pictures and videos of my kids ever.

Ugh. I want to punch myself in the face so bad right now, but my threshold for pain is so fucking low it's embarrassing.

I'll have to settle for glaring at myself in the mirror. 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night - Hey!

I spent ten minutes making sure I spelled Saturday correctly. Something happens to your brain when it reaches forty and it's not good. I don't care what the fuck you say, Oprah. Give me some money and I'll reconsider.

A friend of mine texted me that she was going to a bridal shower on Saturday or was it a baby shower? They're basically the same right? Except instead of lingerie you get diapers. Anyway, then she told me she was going out to a bar with friends and then going to a restaurant with said friends and then to another bar after.

I used to have friends. I used to even go to bars and laugh and talk shit about the old people (read: people in their 30's and 40's) that surrounded us and waxed boring poetic about kids and minivans and the stress of what to cook for dinner.

What fools. Get a life, losers.

But now I'm 40 and when asked 'what are you doing on Saturday night?' - I scrunch up my face like I think the other person is an idiot and say remarkably candid things like I'm watching 48 Hours or baking cookies so I can devour them in under 15 minutes or pushing back my cuticles. 

But what I did last Saturday is the most atrocious crime. I clipped coupons while watching T.V. The 12-year-old came into the living room and looked at the mountain of coupons in front of me and asked if I was starting a fire. Clever girl. 

I actually thought I was going to have a panic attack because of coupons. Am I cutting the right ones? Is there a Google translator for this couponing lingo? Do I really want to buy five bottles of shampoo so I can hand the cashier 10 coupons (1 manufacturer's coupon and 1 store coupon for each product) all to get the $5 gift card?

I went to the grocery store today, but didn't buy anything because I left my coupons at home and guilted myself so much - don't buy that mac and cheese now, idiot, when you can save $1.25 if you just bring in a million coupons for the 10 you have to buy.

Now we don't have anything for dinner except chips and salsa and lemons and some over-ripe bananas. 

Guess I'll have to bake more cookies.