Monday, December 16, 2013

Five Excuses for When you Forget to Move your Elf on the Shelf

image via:

Ah, the Elf on the Shelf. This big-brothery snitch has such a wide range of effects on people. There are the very enthusiastic Elf lovers whose creepy little elves bring their kids Lexuses (Lexi?) with giant bows and knit them brand new sweaters overnight. There are the people who fall in the high-middle range, getting their elves into more easily attainable mischief like having it spray shaving cream all over their bathroom mirror or spill flour all over their kitchen. (Wait, what? Why??) I’m no scientist and I kind of suck at math, but if I had to guess I’d say most people fall into the lower-middle range of moving the elf to a different room some nights, and on a lot of nights, forgetting to move it at all. (If you’re wondering, my scientific research method was based on typing “forgot to” into Google’s search bar – the top auto-complete result was “forgot to move elf on the shelf.” So don’t feel bad about it, people! Everybody's doing it!)

As for me, I sit comfortably in a place that’s not even on the scale. I hate the Elf on the Shelf so much that I don’t even find the pictures of elves doing questionable shit funny. You know, like getting their asses licked by the family dog or selling drugs to the kids’ action figures. I mean I guess it's funny, but... eh. I can’t even explain why I dislike the Elf on the Shelf so much, I just do.** I can’t hate on the elf enthusiasts though, because I’m a crafty mofo myself a lot of the time so if I did get in on this elf business, I’d probably teeter between that high-middle range and forgetting to move the thing all the time.

That’s why I want to help all you parents out there who might feel like you’re struggling at the back of the pack of Elf parents out there. Can’t keep up? Kids crapping on you because little Glittertits hasn’t moved in a week? Fear not! I bring you…

Five Excuses You Can Use When You Forget To Move Your Elf on the Shelf!

“Sparkleturd saw what you did and now she’s on strike.”
That's it. That's all you say. Don’t ever, under any circumstances, say what it was your kids “did,” obviously. Keep them on their toes. You might even get a confession out of them if you’re lucky.

“What are you talking about? Jingledouche DID move! Are you losing your mind?”
Just make your kids believe they’re going crazy. I mean, they believe this toy has been sneaking around their house breaking all their shit while they’re sleeping, how hard can it be to trick them into thinking they’re going off the deep end?

“Santa’s evil nemesis came in and planted a bomb in Fairycrotch last night. If she moves, even a tiny bit, our house will explode.”
That should cover you for the rest of Elf season. Go get a beer.

“It had more important things to do last night, honey. Like watch tv. Roseanne reruns.”
This will help your kids to realize that everybody can’t be “on” all the time. Give the damn elf a break already.

“It’s Dead. I’m sorry.”
This is ballsy parenting, people. This one pulls double, even TRIPLE duty. It takes care of your excuse for not moving it, you get to teach your kids a valuable lesson in coping with loss, and you also get to get rid of the elf for good! Flex your crafting muscles for extra closure, moms. I’m sure there are plenty of ideas out there on Pinterest that you can use for an elf funeral. I suggest giving Tiny Cookiefarts  a proper Viking burial: light it on fire and flush it down the toilet. But not if you have a septic tank. That’s just flirting with disaster.

*Disclaimer: I really do think the Elf on the Shelf is kind of cute, and I do appreciate the efforts (small or large) all my parent friends put in to make their kids’ Christmas season a little more magical. I promise.
**Possible reasons I hate the Elf on the Shelf:
My kid is still too young to grasp the concept of blackmail
I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it first
Thanks Obama

I'm too traditional and I fear change
It has a weird face

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ode to the Homemade Halloween Costume: Part Two

I thought I had something to do today but I couldn’t think of what it was. It was bothering me and bothering me, and then I remembered that I wanted to rig up a Wile-E Coyote-esque trap to kill the deer that ate my pumpkins and all my parsley last night. Do you think that would work? I think it would but Mr. F is not on board.

That wasn’t it though. Even after I remembered about my plan, I still had a nagging feeling that I was supposed to do something. And then it came to me that I wanted to finish this post that I started writing a year ago.

So where was I? Oh... right. Everyone has that span of time where they’re too cool to dress up for Halloween, but you always come back, one way or another. I came back with a whorey vengeance, making up for all those years I wasn’t allowed to trash it up on Halloween. If memory serves, I brought back the black cat of my childhood a few times with an extra shot of slut and boob-showing. I think there may have been a slutty devil in there somewhere too. But eventually I got it out of my system and found my way back home to the land of weird and obscure costumes, right where I belong.

I dressed up as Prince, which freaked out so many people. I actually went out in public like this. Sadly, I think this crappy picture is the only one that exists.

I don't have to be beautiful to turn you on

I found this dress at the Salvation Army in July one year, and I could not believe someone would get rid of it. I think I may have squealed and jumped up and down when I saw it hanging on the rack of musty smelling, lice encrusted cast-offs. It called my name. I’m not kidding. Last weekend, because I am the biggest nerd alive, I had a discussion with Mr. F about why it's important to commit to your Halloween costume. I cut bangs for this one. I love Halloween.

Another terrible picture, but you can see my sweet flip phone!
 Do you recognize it? If you do, high fives.

Then came Before & After Britney Spears. Because I clearly don’t have any problem with making a fool of myself in public, I graciously let my friend be the Before version.

Whatever. It was culturally relevant at the time
Getting Mr. F (when I was pre-Mrs. F) to dress up like Zack Morris was a hard sell. I still can’t figure that one out because it was an awesome idea. To this day, this is one of my favorite costumes. Check out that Zack Morris phone!

Always culturally relevant
Oh, and speaking of making a fool of myself in public, there was that time I dressed up for work and nobody else dressed up. I know what you’re thinking. “Haha Kate! Just like that episode of Modern Family!” Yeah. Just like that episode of Modern Family. Except instead of a cute Spiderman costume, I wore this:

Culturally relevant in 1982
I don’t like to get political, but I do like making fun of people. So this costume happened.

The back says 'Maverick'
This is what I wore this year to a costume party. I love this show and I love Zooey Deschanel and I want to be her in real life. Creepy skin-suit style.

Remember how I said I owe it all to my parents? Probably not because it was a year ago. Well anyway, they showed up this year, too!

Must see TV

So there you go. I finally followed up my ode to the homemade Halloween costume. Who says I never finish anyth

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm Aware of You - Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Apparently we have a lot to be aware of this month. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to my friend over at The Naptown Organizer, it’s also Window Covering Safety Awareness Month. The sign at my local community college let me know that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A quick Google search confirms that it’s also Autism Awareness Month, Dwarfism Awareness Month, and on a lighter note, National Squirrel Awareness Month. No, I did not make that up, I swear. (WTF, America?) With the exception of the latter, October is a pretty heavy month.

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is part of the month long Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But I hope you never have to be aware of pregnancy loss. As you may or may not know, I became very aware of pregnancy loss myself a little over a year ago.

I’ve been meaning to follow up on that experience, but I can’t seem to get it down on paper for some reason. I'm working on it. The short version is, time does heal all wounds, but there are some wounds that never completely heal. And I suppose that’s what this day of awareness is all about.

A couple of months ago, I was on the beach with Kid A, and as usual, he found a little friend to play with. A boy who was a little bit older than his two-and-a-half years - maybe about four, running up and down in the surf. I watched them play for a little while from my chair until I had to get up because they were getting too far away. I’ll bet I probably looked pretty lazy to anyone who might have been watching. Honestly, I had been trying to avoid the boy’s mother because my aversion to small talk makes for some pretty awkward conversation most of the time. But I had to swallow my social anxiety or risk losing my kid.

So I did, and the usual stranger-moms talk took place: “How old is your child?” “How old is yours?” *awkward silence* Obligatry back-and-forth about respective child’s developmental stage (ie: “Is he/she potty trained yet?” "Does he/she still nap?") *awkward silence* *awkward silence* - and this is about when I start getting weird and telling inappropriate stories and embarrassing myself because I can’t deal with the silence any more. But something different happened this time. Stranger-Mom asked me if Kid A was my only child, and I said, “Yes, you?”

She replied, “Yes, he is. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

She didn’t have to say any more. She could have if she wanted to, I would have listened. She didn’t though, and I understood. It was implicit in those seven words – it wasn’t supposed to be this way – the terrible pain she had been through, the grief and hurt she was still feeling. The plans that were made and never lived. The excitement that turned to terror that turned confusion that turned to an ocean of tears. I wanted to do so much in that moment. I wanted to hug her, to reach out and grab her hand, to sit down and share our stories. But she and I were strangers, just passing through each other’s lives for a few minutes as our kids played on the beach. So I just looked at her and nodded and said, “Me, too.” And that was that.

The funny thing about experiencing the loss of a pregnancy or infant is that once you go through it, you enter into this tragic sorority. Maybe it’s not so much funny as it is heartbreaking. But the good thing about it is that someone out there understands. We feel each other's pain, and that’s what you need. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets you through. After I wrote about my molar pregnancy, so many women reached out to me to share their own experiences of loss, and I am forever thankful for that. Those simple messages of empathy played such a huge role in helping me cope with what I was going through.

I wish I had said more to that woman on the beach, because I knew we were sisters, and she knew it too. So today, this goes out to all my sisters – I understand. You’re not alone. Not even close.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Swag Ho Monday: Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip Hair Elastics From Hell®

When I was handed these Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics, my exact reaction was “What is this, some kind of fucking joke?” Have you ever been in a pinch and had to use a rubber band as a hair tie? It sucks. 

According to their website, Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics are “gentle to the hair.” (HAHAHA!) They “hold hair securely, gently, all day.” And then they never, ever let go.

The greatst invention since New Coke!
They’re made out of this rubbery silicone-ish material, and just by looking at them I could feel the hairs ripping out of my head. I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but these things were actually looking at my hair and drooling, just waiting to get their sticky rubber no slip grip on my fragile, innocent ponytail.

I wasn’t even about to try with these stupid things. I’d rather make my own hair tie out of a piece of chewed gum than put these elastics in my hair. I already have so much sad, broken hair around my face that this happens by the end of every day:

I believe I can fly
I’m not sure who would come up with such an evil torture device, but I’m guessing it was a dude. Some MBA turd with a bunch of ridiculous ideas he picked up in B-school. Well, keep your innovative solutions out of my hair, brah! No thank yoooooooou!

Since I’m like a depression era hoarder who can’t ever throw anything away – not even the world’s most ridiculous hair ties that cost me zero dollars – I had to find something to do with these. Since I’m always short on chip clips and I also have a tendency to stockpile bags of chips (seriously, my pantry is stuffed full of half eaten, stale bags of snacks), I figured they might make a good substitute for a rubber band. And guess, what, I was right!

Hair ties for fresh snacks? Ok.
I do not recommend purchasing these hair ties. Unless you know you're about to get into a cat fight in a bar. Then maybe you could wrap your hands in them to tip the hair pulling portion of the battle into your favor.
Oh, like you don't have a drawer like this.
But if for some reason you ever happen to come into possession of Scunci Evolution No Slip Grip hair elastics, just remember, they belong in your junk drawer, not your beauty products drawer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Swag Ho Monday - This Piece of Wood

I love the beach. No wait, I love the shore. I’ve been to plenty of beaches, including some of the “world’s best,” but for me, nothing holds up to the beach I call home – the Jersey Shore. Or, “down the shore” if you’re a native. On other beaches, the sand just isn’t right. The water’s too clear. You can see all the creepy sea life swimming around you. There’s not enough sea glass. There’s not enough garbage.

Beach condom, anyone?

There are other elements that combine to make the Jersey Shore the place I hope I go when I die. One of those elements is the boardwalk. Specifically, Seaside Heights boardwalk. I know… gross, right? What’s my problem? You don’t get it, do you? You think I'm a weirdo.

I took this picture in Asbury Park last summer. This is also gone now.
 Here’s the best way I can think of to explain it: have you ever been made to watch a beloved movie from someone else’s childhood that you yourself have never seen? Let’s say you’ve never seen The NeverEnding Story, but for me, it was one of those movies I loved and watched over and over again as a child. I say to you, “WHAT?? You’ve never seen this movie? You have to watch it!” And you and I sit down and watch. As I’m watching, I’m reliving my childhood, loving all my favorite parts, quoting my favorite lines. Meanwhile, adult you, experiencing this bizarre movie for the first time, are sitting there thinking, “What the hell is that giant white dog thing flying around? This movie sucks!”

Make sense now? Kinda?

That boardwalk, for better or for worse, is a part of my happy place. It’s a part of me. And if you pay attention to the news, you know that it’s taken quite a beating over the last year.

The first time I was able to get back there after Hurricane Sandy tossed the piers and all the rides into the ocean, I was shocked, but I was also so relieved to find that there was one small piece of it that survived. Including this crappy shooting game, my beloved Carson City.

Kid A "shoots the guns"
I don’t know how long it has been there, but I do know it has been there for my entire life. So much of the place has changed. I had forgotten about it, actually, until a few years ago when I was sitting in a boardwalk bar with my brother kicking off Memorial Day weekend and we decided to seek it out. And there it was, like a time machine, exactly as we remembered it.  I feel like I talk a lot about smells around here. Don’t I? Well that was the part that hit me as we approached. It smelled just like I remembered. 

We stopped here every time. I hope he remembers it!
After the hurricane, pretty much the whole boardwalk had to be rebuilt. As the crowds hit the boardwalk for that first time in May, it smelled like brand new wood.  The new boardwalk is nice. It looks pretty, even though the questionable clientele of Seaside Heights have accelerated its age significantly with cigarette burns and grease stains. Come on, it adds to the charm!

In a blind test, I’m sure I’m the only person who would pick mildewy rot smell over fresh wood.

So the point I’m trying to make here in a rambling way is that I’m sentimental. In a weird, hoarderish way. I take probably 400 pictures and videos a month, I keep things that nobody should keep, all because I have this compulsive need to hoard my memories.

We were there as usual, the weekend before my favorite place - the only remaining piece of boardwalk that wasn’t swept away by the hurricane - burned to the ground. I was at Carson City with my cousin and Kid A. I had a fleeting thought as I looked at the new section of boards that nothing is permanent. That sure, everything pretty much came back, and they can’t take our memories away(!), and jersey strong(!), and all those other nice sayings, but there’s no guarantee that your favorite place won't just disappear tomorrow and you’ll never experience it again. I had that thought and for a second I really felt like taking a piece of Carson City, just in case.

I couldn’t even tell you what I would have taken, had I gone through with it. You obviously can’t just go around taking pieces of things. At the time, the thought didn’t even make sense, and that’s why I didn’t act on it. Because it was a stupid thought. Who steals pieces of arcade games? Not even me.

And now, it makes so much sense. Less than a week after I stood in the same spot with my kid that my parents stood with me so many years before, it has been reduced to a pile of ashes. Seeing it in person was like going to a friend’s funeral, except nobody was saying, “Ohhhh. She looks good.” She doesn’t look good. (Semi-related side note: no corpses look good. I would like to put out a formal request, right here and now: when I die, please nobody feel like you have to pretend that I look good if for whatever reason you end up in a room with my embalmed body. Thanks in advance!)

She looks good, don't she?
The moral of this long and rambling tale is that if you’re ever in a place you really love and you feel compelled to steal a piece of it, just freakin do it. Take it!

There is now only about a 10-ish foot section of old boardwalk left (out of the whole 2.5 miles). I thought it was all gone, and when I saw that tiny, pathetic, splintery section, I wanted to lay down on it and cry. But someone probably threw up on it or bled on it or who knows what else, so I only did it in my mind.

That’s how I ended up with this piece of wood. I stubbed my toe on it walking on the beach that’s right off the boardwalk. I had just paid $5 for this tiny little magnet that is allegedly made from the old boardwalk.

Whatever. Let me believe it's real.

I’m 50% sure it’s not. But who knows? I can’t be alone here, there are pieces of “old boardwalk” selling for close to $50. (No, I did not buy that. I realize I have written an over 1,000 word eulogy for a place that’s pretty much the equivalent of Fat Elvis, but I’m not that nuts! 

This piece of wood I dug out of the sand, however, is part of the old boardwalk. How do I know? I can smell it. What am I going to do with it? I don't know. Put it in a box somewhere. Maybe make something out of it one day.  Maybe I'll forget what it is, and I'll stub my toe on it once again, and ask myself why this old piece of wood is in my basement. But for now, I'm happy I have it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Swag Ho Monday: Bleach Tablets, or How to Sanitize Lovey Blankets

Well, third time’s a charm. I’m late for this post, yet again. There's something you should know about me: I’m late for everything.

Late. Not pregnant.
There. Now that we've cleared that up, I would like to tell you about Clearon bleach tablets. But first, I would like to tell you about "The Guys."

Meet The Guys: Coonie, Smelly Ellie, and Moo
See, Kid A has these three lovey blanket things that he is always chewing on. He chews the corners, so they’re always smelly and brown. They're relatively clean in the photo above. At their worst, they have dark brown, crusty corners. Why is that awkward? Because for some reason, people love to touch these things. I don’t get it. People are constantly going, “Oh! Is this your little friend?” and reaching out to grab at them. And I get to watch them recoil in horror as they realize that it’s strangely wet, and they don’t know what kind of bodily fluid and/or mystery slime they just got all over their hands. Then I say, “It’s slobber. You're touching slobber. He chews on them,” and I laugh.
And MAN, do they smell. I wish I could appropriately convey in words the stink on these things. I guess the best way to describe it would be a dead animal floating in a pot of rotten cabbage soup. Left out in the sun for a week. In the crotch of an old hobo sitting in a subway station in July. The worst is when he leaves one or all three of them in my car on a hot summer day, and I open the car door and get blasted in the face with this thick stench. It’s really horrible, but he stuffs them up his nose and breathes them in. Everybody likes their own brand, eh?
Oh, this is magic! Hmmmm, wafting... wafting
Anyway, he sleeps with these things. They comfort him when he’s freaking out. He’s addicted to them – if you hand one to him when he’s in the middle of a tantrum, he stops, shoves it into his mouth, and you can actually see his eyes roll back. It’s bizarre and awesome to watch, and needless to say, The Guys are not going anywhere if I can help it. I’m so lucky there are three of them.
From L-R: just a day in the life of The Guys; Coonie on the Asbury Park boardwalk; Ellie taking in a show at Sesame Place; Coonie at Spaceship Earth in Epcot Center; Moo getting a good chew after a long day
For over two and a half years, I’ve been tirelessly searching for a better way to clean The Guys. I Google, I read, I experiment. I haven't found a safe way to kill the smell and effectively clean The Guys and keep them that way. I have a sanitizing option on my washing machine, but I’m not about to run it every single day for three small pieces of fabric. I use cloth paper towels, ferchristsake. I love the Earth too much for that shit. I won’t bleach them, because he chews on them. For that same reason, I’m not even really a fan of washing them at all in the washing machine. I just don’t like the thought of him ingesting detergent and fabric softener.
The Guys getting a bath in the sink. Check out that nice foggy water!
This is why, when I saw these Clearon Bleach Tablets, my mind went right to “Oh! Maybe I can wash The Guys with these!” The man who gave these to me was doing some kind of sales pitch, but I wasn’t listening to a word he said because I was running through Guys-washing scenarios in my head. I heard what I wanted to hear from him, which is probably not at all what he was saying. I heard the words “safe” and “everyday use” and that was it.
I was just about to try out my newest Guys-washing technique, when I realized that these are just bleach. In tablet form. Like the name says right on the bottle. If I had listened or maybe even read the package, or… I don’t know… paid attention to the freakin name of the product, I would have known that and I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. They just did a pretty good job of cleaning my smelly ass dishwasher, but what's good for your dishwasher is not always good for your child's intestines.
Don’t cry for me, though! I finally found a quick and easy way to disinfect The Guys that I can do every day. I disinfect my dish sponge in the microwave every so often, and it occurred to me as I was doing it one day that I could do the same for The Guys. I know! GENIUS!
I just rinse them really well and scrape off all the dried drool and food particles (the things we do for our kids, amirite?) Sometimes I’ll scrub them with a little baby shampoo if they’re particularly rank. Then I squeeze them out and throw them in the microwave for three minutes each on high.
Kid A says, "Ma, Ellie's for dinner?"
Let them dry outside or put them in the dryer and you are now the proud owner of disinfected lovey blankets! No more dead animal cabbage hobo crotch! Unless you’re like me and you get lazy and don’t do it every day. But that's on you.