Better Living Through Voodoo. Science.

This Saturday morning, my doorbell rang. The children each ran to the door, assuming it was for them, because lord knows it wasn't going to be for me. #recluse I sauntered over to the door with morning hair, morning breath, morning face, and morning coffee, and it turns out it was for me. Well, it was for my eternal soul. I happened to be on the phone,  because I assumed it was one of the neighborhood kids and didn't bother setting the phone down, so the people at the door trying to teach me about the kindgom of some god went on their merry, albeit early, way. 

Of course, they don't know that I spent 17 years in the service of the same god as they are in now, so they don't know that I was totally rating their performance. 

My boyfriend giggle on the phone asked me how they did and I said, um, err, they just handed me some literature and left, weirdly considerate. He asked what my old spiel was for when people answered their doors on the phone, and I stammered. Because. Err. Well? What *was* my spiel, anyway? Am I really getting this old

No, I am not really getting this old. It's just that the last time I woke someone up on Saturday morning to save their hungover soul, the only people who had phones you could carry around with you and use anywhere you wanted to were Captain James T Kirk and his pals at Star Fleet. 

Like, yesterday, tvs inside of cars and phones without cords were dreams we had when we weren't busy joking about running out of water one day and stuff. And yet, here we are. Our cars will start themselves for us and our phones are used for killing cranky pigs and my trash can opens the freaking door for me everytime I need to throw something away. 

Really. I can't get my sons to open a door for me. Chivalry isn't dead, friends, it's just hiding in simplehuman garbage cans. Whom I am an ambassador for. #disclosure

On a good day, I can get my kids to put trash somewhere in the same zip code as our trash cans. The toilet paper rolls make it to the floor beside the bathroom trash, the recycling will defy the laws of gravity and decency in piles across from the recycle bin, and the tossbale trash from meals will delicately congeal on the counter between the sink and trash can. I have begged and pleaded and threatened and freaked out about this, but what I had never before done was add voodoo to the equation.

This is my black magic trash can. If you walk passed it, wave your hand, and say Allah, peanut butter sandwiches! IT WILL OPEN FOR YOU. I can't make my kids stop throwing things away now. It's *awesome* 

This is my soap pump. It is almost impossible to yank your hand out from under it before the soap squirts out, it's that fast. Don't think I haven't blown through a whole bag of soap trying. I am easily amused by shiny objects, shut up. 

Why do I love having a soap pump that magically dispenses soap for us faster than you can say child labor laws or soux chef, and a trash can that just opens when I need it to? Because turkey

I'm no germophobe but I am a turkeyophile and turkey guts, while delicious at 160 degrees and up, aren't so awesome smeared all over the kitchen counters, trash lids, and soap pumps. Smearing almost always = bad. Not sending your nephew home with a raging case of salmonilla poisoning almost always = good. 

Also, having two dogs who can't wave and a trash can full of turkey guts that opens by wave-sensing-voodoo? Yeah. 

So, I have this extra sensor soap pump. Anyone want one? It comes with lavendar hand soap (but I am a slave to the lemon dish soap, which is made specifically to work with these pumps. Just sayin.) Let me see the grossest, nastiest, dirtiest mess your kids have ever gotten into. (Because we all know you took a picture before you cleaned them up. BLOGGERS.) Leave a link in the comments to your picture, and the best-worst one gets it.

Twenty One

It is with great shame that I confess to you that I am not a Colorado native. 

I always wanted to be one of the few, the proud, the natives, who drove around town with their awesome bumper stickers and spoke with their weird non-accents and considered being born with an Apgar score of 6 a freaking medal of honor. 

But alas, I am not...I only play one on the internet. Someone told me a few weeks back that they found my blog by googling "Denver Mom Blog" and I smiled so hard my face broke. I wish I was from Colorado; I wish answering the "where are you from?" question was as easy as "Oh, the box in the middle of the country. You know, the one full of piles of win?" which is exactly how I'd answer if I was actually from there. 

But I'm not. I wasn't born there, I was simply born-again there. Twenty one years ago today I made Colorado my home. Twenty five years ago I started toying with the idea of starting my whole life over in Colorado, but I'm slow on the uptake sometimes. Evidence

This is my birth certificate.

Totally counts as a birth certificate if you squint real hard when you're drunk, shut up.

But it really doesn't matter that I have a deep and abiding love of all things Crocs (and I make them look gooood), or that my pantry is armed to the latches with Celestial Seasonings tea, or that I know what Fat Tire really tastes like - and would take a 1554 over it any old day. No one cares that I own a 1997 Lesbaru manual transmission station wagon, that I know what a Rocky Mountain Oyster is, and how to avoid one at all costs. People just roll their eyes when I proclaim that I actually saw Opie (RIP) play at Herman's, and have forgotten how I've gotten home from Lincoln's more times than I can count. I remember when the furthest south any self-respecting Denverite would go before hitting The Outer Regions was Arapahoe Road, and when only thing between Arvada and Boulder on 36 was Storage Tech. STC. 

I even remember when it was STC, gentle readers. 

But I wasn't born there, so none of that counts. 

But...my *kids* were.

I think it was Confucius who said,  "If you can't beat'm, breed for'm." This has earned me the equivalent of an Ivy-league degree (working on my Master's as we speak), and ipso-facto gets me a lifetime membership to the Colorado Native Club. Pass the hummus and the oxygen masks. 

And while I may never, ever be able to answer "Where are you from?" without needing a globe, an abacus, and a shot of whiskey, my kids, who may have been dragged across this freaking continent by their horrible parents, they know that their home is Colorado. They know they always have a place to go back to, that it will always be there waiting for them, and that it's probably the best place in the world to be from.

Especially if you're into drinking contests #unbeatable

I know all too many of us are gypsies, wanderers, homeless homies, and I think a lot of that is why we gravitate to each other here, online, where there arent' boundaries or bumper stickers, where we get to decide where home is for us. Colorado was home for me, and someday I hope soon California will be, too.

But really, sometimes it's just easier for me to say that this, you, are my home, and I'm totally okay with that, too. 

Here's to 21 years of wandering, of searching, of living a different life. Here's to each of us that was born again, by force or fire. Here's to the beginning of my next adult life, and you all are a part of that. Here's to us. Let's go get wasted on Goldschlager or something. 

(My friend Ryan make those t-shirts, by the way. They're called The Home T and he does a whole bunch of states. They make really great presents for us lost souls and a portion of each sale goes to MS research. (Oh, Ashley, don't read this post, or go look at your next birthday present. DON'T.) I kind of want one from each of the places I am occasionally from, or maybe just one of, like, North America or something. Check him out, he's a cool dude and fellow social media traveler making super fun things.)

What I Haven't Got

Winter's change is the cruelest of all, for me. It is frozen and dark and offers no glimmers of hope, except those that twinkle reflecting off the frozen tundra, mirages in the desert of our lives holding out the distance sparkle of solace where the reality is that there is none to be had, and it is cold, and there is a long way to go before there will be warm, golden light.

Everyone is writing their end of the year posts this week. The best books they've read, the coolest places they've traveled to, the best pictures they've taken, the best goals they can think of for themselves in 2013 - this is the week that pretty much everyone looks in the rear view mirror, checks their blind spot, and changes lanes along the highway of their lives. People woke up on Tuesday - maybe refreshed, maybe hungover, maybe pregnant, and stared down a new day and a new year with the determination to do/be/write/love/act better.

More. Bigger. Differently. Something. 

These are the moments for which I hold my breath and wait for time to pass. These are the days I pray for forgetfulness or distraction. These are the times I wish I wasn't, and didn't, and won't. 

My year isn't ending yet. My year ends on January 7th when my entire world did. It ends again on January 25th, when the new house of cards I'd spent 17 years meticulously building up came crashing down. My year isn't restarting yet.  It begins anew on January 9th, just like it has every year since 1992 when I was shoved headfirst through an airplane jetway and into a brand new life. 

January marks the days of my mother - the day I lost her, and the day I left her forever. January marks the day I lost my husband and decided in my heart, if not my head, to leave him forever, too. January is not the month I reset or recharge or realigned; it is the month I die over and over again. January is a month of resignation, of giving in - letting go and letting whatever the hell will make this easier

...

But I am trying to change that. 

This year will be the first calendar year that I live start to finish intentionally, for myself, not in a way that I feel like someone else is making me live but in the way that I chose to live. I ended this year entirely too far over the edge of the precipice to let anyone pull me back into that old cycle, that old life that I keep setting myself up to live through and die from over and over again.  

I'm learning - no, I've always known, I'm trying to accept - how much of everything that has transpired is my own fault. I didn't make my husband drink-and-everything-that-comes-with-it, but he certainly didn't make me stay, either. I perceive requirements that don't always actually exist and customize my life around them, because I am a highly skilled, professionally groomed enabler, and that is what we do best. I've been so afraid of change that I found a near exact replica of my relationship with my mother and entered into a legally binding, contractual, lifetime relationship with it. 

Every January I mourn these losses that are in fact gifts. Twice in my life I have held my nose and stood tippy-toes-over a precipice, waiting and hoping for something, someone, god will anything just come shove me over? because I certainly have never had the courage to leap on my own accord. Twice in my life I have been given exactly that which I have wished for. 

And it is a gift. These weights I cling to are actually disguised wings. I just have to figure out how to use them to fly.

I Won't Even Pretend Like There's Point Enough Here to Warrant a Title.

I was prepping myself to point and laugh at all of you suckers who have to set your clocks ahead on Saturday night because neener neener! We don't have to here! but then I realized oh.

Right.

I live in Arizona. So.

We really don't set clocks ahead or behind like everyone else does and trying to figure that out is a lot like trying to count to the last number or see all of the stars and it just makes my head hurt. I like to imagine that the Arizona Powers The Be simply said, "You know what? Screw this noise" and opted out of daylight savings but I'm sure there's some much more logical explanation that has to do with the staaaaars and the dessssssert and peyote spiiiiiiritualism or some crap. 

I've never really understood why everyone complains so much about daylight savings. It always happens on a Saturday, so the only people who are actually hurt by daylight savings are the closers at the bar (And cops, and firemen, and nurses). Everyone else can shove it. There is nothing worse than gearing up to yell last call and flip the house lights and turn on The Roots and having your boss remind you that nope, when it's 2 am, it's really 1 am so keep'm pouring, woman.

The only thing that should, could, make up for this cruelty to waiters is Springing Forward. Balance dictates that we *should* get to close shop an hour early when daylight savings ends, but oh no. They had to decide to push the clocks around at the exact same time the bars close, so not only don't you get to close an hour early, you get to stay at work until just about SUNRISE. 

Because none of us have children to go home to, oh no.

There is no justice in the world for servers. Tip well, my friends...especially on Saturday night. 

I sometimes wonder how long it will take me to stop saying "we" when I refer to people in the service industry. I haven't occupationally waited a table since, gosh, the spring of 2008? There was that one night that one of my clients demanded that I wait on a bunch of Chinese Communists in New York City, but that was actually kind of amusing in a "Oh, patriarchy, you so crazy" kind of way, and I drank their Caymus later. 

I do mean all of it. 

Ouch.

It occurs to me that a few people reading this blog now might not even know that I was a lifer-waitress, and quite happy as such. Everyone is good at something, and I am an exquisite cocktail server. I can sling eggs, too, I just like cocktailing better. I can't remember names, but I can tell you exactly what you drink for an embarrassing amount of years later. I think this is why I can never find my keys. My head is stuffed full of his double jack and coke and her gold margarita no salt to ever be able to retain any additional information. I need a restaurant purge of the frontal lobe of my brain, and maybe I'll be a more efficient human being. 

Maybe I will also stop having the dream where I show up to work with no apron and I haven't closed out my drawer from the night before and no one has caught on to either of these facts yet so if I just hack the Aloha system and steal someone's apron while they're out back smoking, everything will be okay. Except we're out of cornbread muffins and remodeling so the front door is now out by the gas pumps and waiting tables dreams are weird. 

But I loved it, I really did. It was fun, I made good money, and I had a lot of time to just be home with my kids. It kept me in amazing shape, I'm realizing now that I have a job at a desk that doesn't keep me in amazing shape. Why the hell have I gained 40 pounds since I turned 30? Oh, maybe because you don't walk 50 miles a day carrying a 20 pound tray of drinks in a skirt, brainy smurf.

I'm great with people in 85 minute increments. I can have deep, meaningful, lasting relationships with people inside the vortex of my section. I was the queen of regular customers. More of my tables were 'my' customers than were not, because I knew them. I knew what they drank, I knew how their kids were wasting their lives, I knew what books they liked and how they preferred their cigars trimmed. I knew their spouses and their employers and their intimate details. I was their best friend, for a little under two hours, and then I vanished. I made them feel cared for and then I went away. I was their mommy and their wife and their daughter and then I was nothing. I was their attachment disorder. 

Maybe that's what I like about blogging, that it call all just vanish, that I can just vanish. I need that in my lilfe, the ability to just *poof* be gone. All I have to do is flip this lid closed and I don't exist. It's wonderfully dysfunctional, social media. It's social in the most anti-social way possible. It's completely on our own weird little self-interested terms.

And it does not keep you in amazing shape. But you don't smell like garlic and hops after, so there's that. 

Ikea Hates All the Single Ladies, or, If You Like it Then You Shoulda Putta Hex Bit On It

I'm writing this post from bed. This is more remarkable than you'd think:

A) after toying with this for over a week, I'm admitting defeat and officially saying that I have the stomach apocalypse.

B) I am actually in my bed, not on a mattress on the floor.

Last weekend while the kids went to their dads, I put my bed up -- my very pretty, very king sized, very Ikea bed.

I've put together my share of Ikea furniture in my day, but in hindsight I realize that I've put together my share of Ikea furniture in my day with soon-to-be-ex. Have I ever put Ikea furniture together, alone?

Um.

Er.

No?

No, I don't think I have. You know why? BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. I live in a part of the country that is densely populated with the religion that doesn't totally always frown on polygamy, and now I get why every city densely populated with this religious group has an Ikea in close proximity -- you need at least seven sister wives to put the [expletive expletive] furniture together.

For a company so big on space-conservation, you think they'd be a little more sympathetic to the single and/or child-labour-less, but alas, Ikea hates single people and punishes us with bed frames that require a degree in Tetris and the superpower of being able to hault physics for at least two hours at a time in order to assemble. Oh, and the $7.99 Ikea toolkit. Which, for the record, is the best $7.99 I've ever spent.  

So I'm up off the floor, in my platform bed, which is just high enough for a puke bucket, which I think I might need because I Can Haz the Tummy Crab. Hooked on Fonics Worked for Me aside: When you tell your daughter you're sorry she has a tummy cramp, she's going to hear tummy *crab* and be convinced for years to come that she has an actual crab in her tummy and must puke and/or poop it out. Everyone in your family will adopt the term tummy crab, and it will eventually stop grossing you the fuck out. 

Everyone in your family will adopt the word tummy crab because everyone in your family will GET a tummy crab. Even the dog was hurling last week. We got the King Tummy Crab, it seems. Last week we all had [something something poop @suebob just stopped reading this post poop something] and then yesterday, I kept almost passing out from the near constant nauseous-dizzies. Last time that happened, I ended up with a tummy crab and a half.

This time I have neither the means nor the uterus for that deliciousness, so while I'm waving my >>llama eyes<< at Jesus and yelling at him to get off mah barren wasteland, I'm pretty sure I just still have the flu. 

Which leads me to my grandmother. 

No, I haven't taken any medicine today, why do you ask?

My grandmother wasn't allowed in our house, or us in hers, for the better part of my life. This was partly due to the fact that my mother had a tortured relationship with her, but also because my grandmother enjoyed the finer points of Satanism for a while, before diving into the channeling of shockingly uninspired historic figures. Really, if you're going to summon one's spirit to speak through you, do your homework. Pick someone better than George Washington. LIVE A LITTLE. 

But everybody needs somebody sometimes, even my mother, and when we were particularly ill, she'd like Grandmom come over to take care of us. And I miss that, I cannot lie. There is nothing better than someone taking care of you when you're sick. My daughter this morning offered to walk her own self to the bus stop so I could stay home and get my tummy crab out, and while there's no way I'm ready for that nonsense yet, it made me smile to know she cares.

And my grandmother, for all her craziness, did 'sick kid' like a G6, yo.

She would read to us and brush our hair and play us songs from Oklahoma on the piano and make us eat weak tea and dry toast all day long. Weak tea and dry toast aren't actually items, they are the world for sick-food, kind of like my little brother referred to my aunt & uncle, Jean and Wayne, as JeanaWayne. Both of them. It was a title, and so is Weak Tea and Dry Toast. The tea was never weak, and it was full of sugar and milk, and the toast had the most perfectly halfway-melted pads of butter swirled around grape jelly on top of it. Still, Weak Tea and Dry Toast. 

Which is what I'm nomming on right now, trying to keep everything in that should just come out already, because I'm an idiot. But I'm an idiot who can't stand the idea of hurling out a Tummy Crab, no matter how much better I know I'll feel after. 

My big brother actually started a Facebook thread asking people what their family's sick-foods are, and I find this a fascinating adventure into culture and tradition. So, I'm curious, what are your sick-foods? 

Entertain me, please.