Uh, yeah there is. If you’re Evan. Or Carly’s mouth if the poor thing was unfortunate enough to have lip-locked with this bozo.
I’m all caught up now. Just in time for tonight’s episode. Bart and I split a bottle of wine and watched every second of Bachelor in Paradise on the DVR. It may have been the wine talking, but Bart said he enjoyed it. It was like an anthropological social experiment. Like watching real life, hyper-speed dating only without anything remotely close to real life. The less wine in the bottle, the more he liked it so yeah…might have been the wine talking.
But come on? What’s not to like? You have this guy, Evan, an “erectile dysfunction specialist” who’s a single dad who left his kids twice to seek love on TV. After Evan and Carly kissed (because they were the only two not kissing someone and the producers made them) she went back to her room and threw up in her minibar (which I’m assuming was empty due to her uncontrollable urge to burn away the sting of a floppy-tongued, spit-soakedsmooch) and he went back to his room and dreamed of all the horrible things his children would one day scream at the woman WHO IS NOT THEIR REAL MOM! Oh, and he stroked his dad bod. Gently. Soft dad bod caresses from a soft dad. As one does in paradise. Remember?
Awesome. Now that we had that little refresher.
Some other shit happened, mostly to Evan.
After he flitted all over the island looking for Carly and she ran out of hiding places, she came to the very adult conclusion to dump his sad ass. He handled it really well.
Carly was very concerned about his well-being so naturally she asked the always empathetic (emphasis on pathetic) Daniel if he was doing ok. Daniel didn’t understand the question.
Aw, no worries, Daniel. Paradise was well aware of how Dr. Flacido Domingo was doing.
He totally rallied, don’t worry. He mustered up enough strength to keep his whispy, pencil thin goatee looking extra pre-pubuscent and gave his pores a nice soaking with some Sea Breeze astringent and hot, salty tears.
And then he was all like, “F it! I’m in paradise, bitches! And by “bitches” I mean you, face towel!” And the face towel was all like, “Oh, no you didn’t just throw me!” and totally threw it back. “OUCH, face towel!” Evan wailed. And cried. Again.
Paradise it not for pussies.
And speaking of pussies, Nick is all upset because the guy who bested him for a short-term, highly-publisized engagement and subsequent break up to Bachelorette Andi showed up and stole his girl AGAIN! Come on, Nick! How many times can you be humiliated on one television franchise?! Even Tom must have told Jerry to suck it eventually. And he was getting paid for that frying-pan-over-the-head shit!
What else happened?
There was a weird clown. I think. Maybe I dreamed that.
The men all appear to have slightly deformed nipples.
One of the twins got drunk on half a beer and cried because she really, really wanted the other girls to braid her hair.
There were about seventeen empty cabanas on the beach, but three couples decided to make-out on the same one. Because this is paradise?
I think some roses were handed out. Someone might have gone home? Or maybe not yet? Hmm…I can’t remember. Might be the wine talking.
I could only stand 1:26 minutes of Bachelor in Paradise tonight and that’s a real problem, friends. It’s a double episode week. That’s FOUR hours of quality television I’m woefully behind on. You don’t just go binge-watching half-naked, drunk strangers get bit by crabs while they poop their pants and make-out in hot tubs. You’ve got to train for this stuff, people. This ain’t House of Cards or Orange is the New Black. This is paradise, baby. Novices, go home.
Fortunately, I am the Simone Biles of reality TV watching and therefore don’t need to watch full episodes to recap them. I can zero right in on the nugget that boils down the essence and makes TV, great TV.
Read on and be amazed.
First, some highlights:
Chad actually left paradise. We were mislead into thinking he would return and incite panic and fear in Evan and his red t-shirt collection, but alas. Blink and you almost miss him shoving bologna slices and shots of Fireball into his meat hole while lamenting his future in the back of the reject Escalade. “What am I going to do now?” He questioned. “I can’t be the Bachelor now. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!”
New girl showed up and packed a steamer truck of crazy. I guess you can just drop into paradise whenever you feel like it? I remember Leah from Ben’s season. She was quiet and unassuming until she wasn’t. Then she was bat shit crazy and let loose a monsoon of delusion she was clearly harboring for at least 6, possibly 7, past lives. It was awesome.
Leah was sad to hear Chad got the boot seconds before she got there. She was sure they’d be a match because they both like protein and she spent the last few months injecting the same fillers found in his lunch meat into her lips. Who needs dumb, old pheromones?
Twins were not impressed with Leah’s new lips.
Carly ran out of guys so she had to hang out with Evan. She said she wanted a man to act like a man so he put his head on her shoulder and sighed. You know, like a man.
Carly and Evan kissed. She declared said kiss to be the grossest, most disgusting thing to happen in paradise since Chad’s 1st Annual Crab & Crap show.
Evan was instantly in love and spent the rest of the night gently caressing his tummy and dreaming about cake tasting and pleated tuxedo shirts. You know, like a man.
Roses were handed out.
A couple of crabs humped.
That’s all fine and good, but here’s the real essence-capturing nugget. I call this moment, “When Crazy Met Stupid.”
In a desperate attempt to garner a rose, Crazy Train Leah and dumb, misogynist Canadian Daniel had a lovely, little chat that went something like this:
Crazy: I don’t want people to think–
Dumb: That you’re some crazy girl?
Crazy: I’m not crazy. I’m very normal. I have lots of layers.
Dumb: Like an onion.
Dumb: Are you going to make me cry?
Crazy: (Emphatically) No.
Dumb: Okay, so not like an onion.
Crazy: I have layers like an onion, but I might cry because I’m the onion. (SUBTEXT: STFU, Daniel and get a clue! This is about ME. It will always be about me! Give me your eff’ing rose so I can shove it up your dumb, maple syrup loving ass!)
Dumb: So you’re like an orange… with one layer.
Crazy ponders this.
Crazy Leah and Jubilee were dismissed.
They cried in the back of black SUVs. Again.
There. Now you’re caught up on the first hour and twenty-six minutes of Monday’s episode and only had to shed .000000000000078 of brain matter to grasp it.
Only two hours and thirty-six minutes left in Paradise for this week. Belly up to the bar, but for the love of god don’t eat the free pretzels and wash your hands after touching everything!
Five minutes, I said. I’ll just watch for five minutes.
What’s the harm? The Bachelorette ended and I was missing Chris Harrison. I was curious, I admit. I never watched this show. FIVE MINUTES, I said.
Look, I never promised you quality television recaps, but even I may have sunk to the lowest of the stinkiest, most manuer-ish of compost piles. Last night I fell victim to some fabulous ABC PR person’s wily ways and watched maybe the dumbest, grossest, saddest show on all of television. And yes, I mean that in the most flattering way.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I please direct your DVRs to this piece of broadcasting gold:
That’s right. The Bachelor goes to paradise and there ain’t enough Airbus A380’s in the world to store the baggage these romanic rejects are packing.
First, a small digression. WTF is up with single parents who gush over their small children and tout how being a parent is the most important thing they’ve ever done, blah blah blah only to ditch their little obligations for months at a time to be some soulless producer’s bonus-generating puppet. We’ve got two single parents on BiP, friends. And mind you this is both of their second times at the shitshow. (Shitshow = not-so-subtle foreshadowing, btw.) Is flaunting your cameltoe and posturing with a belligerent, steroid-dropping, raw potato eating, angry gorilla man really your best parenting game? I mean, I will run, RUN, to Target anytime Bart says “I got this” but I’m usually back in a couple of hours. Or at least that same day. And Single Mom Amanda has a daughter who is only two. TWO! And Mommy’s been on reality TV looking for love TWICE in her lifetime! COME ON. Ever hear of Tinder?
Also, Single Mom Amanda clearly shares a wardrobe with her four year-old. Put on some damn pants and cover those ass cheeks, MOM.
But I digress. Sort of. Actually not really because ass cheeks and steroids is kind of the lifeline of this show. In a nutshell, you take fifteen Bachelor/Bachelorette cast-offs, throw them into some resort on a tropical beach, supply them with an always open open bar (and adorable bartender who sees the exchange of more contanimated bodily fluids than the lab technican at a college campus health center) and you promise them a second chance at finding love.
Here’s the dumb-ass fame whores you’ll meet:
Amanda– Aforementioned single mom who still has her baby voice and love of levitating, shoulder less blouses.
Evan– Aforementioned single dad, erectile dysfunction specialist, wimpy-wimpy-whiner-pants who is still bitching about the red t-shirt that gorilla man Chad tore in a fit of steroid-induced rage.
Chad– Aforementioned gorilla man, roid-rager, and clearly THE STAR OF THE WHOLE DAMN FRANCHISE!
Lace– The Female Chad minus the roids. Crazy like a fox. A drunk fox. A constantly drunk fox.
Nick– Two-time runner up on previous Bachelorette seasons. Did you read that correctly? TWO TIME RUNNER UP. Give it up, man! GIVE IT UP!
The Twins: Bumpy and Bimminy? Itsy and Bitsy? Twin 1 and Twin 2? Whatevs. They’re back and possibly even dumber than before.
Grant: Guy who says he feels bad for anyone who gets stuck with the crazy girl and immediately starts flirting with the crazy girl.
Jubilee: War vet who realized she had a bad case of Resting Bitch Face after watching herself on The Bachelor. Tries hard to smile now, which may the most positive outcome this show has ever had.
Jared: Guy all the girls seem to like. I don’t get it. Not at all. What is with the forward-combed hairstyle? What is he hiding in the temple region of his forehead? Am I only one who sees this uncanny resemblance?
Daniel: Possibly more offensive than Chad and the worst Canadian import since Carly Rae Jepsen. Compares himself to herpes and refers to women as “sweet fruit.”
Carly: Not Carly the bad Canadian mentioned above. Weird layers in her hair. Reeks of instability. Probably fun to drink with.
Vinnie: Bland and unattractive on The Bachelorette and, well, points for consistency, I guess.
Sarah: Most normal cast mate and I really wish she would just go home.
Izzy: Might have been seen locking lips with Bland Vinnie. I don’t know. I don’t care.
I’m still not actually sure how this show works, but no matter. I’m not watching it because for the sportsmanship. I’m watching it for this:
That’s gorilla man Chad getting all Lindsay Lohan-y in the sand. And that’s a crab by his head that crawled out of his pants and is trying to get as far from paradise as possible. There are a lot of crabs in paradise as Chad pointed out upon exiting (Oh. Did I spoil something?) before telling them all to “F*ck off.” They’re crabs, Chad. And the producers brought them here as a giant metaphor for this whole entire season.
So I guess there is supposed to be some kind of format to this show. People go on dates. They get jealous. They fight. They give out roses. They think they’re falling in love. Dates appear to involve a shit ton of party supplies and horrific, mood-killing clowns who mimic sexual intercourse with gyrating hips and a well-placed horn.
Jubilee got the magical date card and asked Heckle to join her at a tiny bistro table and pretend to eat a meal surrounded by drippy, glittery, low-hung pinatas. Because why? Because nothing says, “Let’s romance” like a roomful of paper mache chili peppers filled with Sweet Tarts and Frooties.
Shit was just weird. Let’s talk about Chad.
So, all the ladies were encouraged by producers to pontificate about the “real Chad” and make wild hypotheses like, “I bet we will like him” and “But he’s really hot. How bad can he be?” There is no way anyone with enough brain matter to find their way out of an airport would find anything about this guy attractive. Unless of course you’re Lace whom as we already know from MOTHER ROSE BEST was seventy-three shades of crazy. Oh wait! She’s not crazy anymore according to Dr. Lace. After seeing herself on The Bachelor she realized she had some issues:
Drinks too much
Jealous as f*ck
Secure as an ice cube facade twelve inches from the equator
She claimed to have worked out all the crazy which was evident by the at-home footage of her cradling a stemless wine glass and professing her love for its contents. Also agreeing to be on this show really points to totally lucid, sane, upstanding citizen.
Naturally Chad and Lace were drawn to each other like a dying geranium to a beam of sunlight. Within seconds these two idiots were making out in the hot tub, which lead to lots of splashing, more drinking, and slurred profanities as each one tried to drown the other and eat their head. Eventually Chad was gross enough even for Lace who declared him to be the reincarnation of the “Old Lace.” (Thirty minutes prior she called him “a king” and wanted to treat him as such so what does she know?)
Chad no likey rejection.
Frustrated, he stomped away, ate thirty-five pounds of deli meat, and eventually passed out in the crab infested sand and proceeded to shit himself.
A minute for that to sink in.
What’s that? You didn’t read that right?
I said, PROCEEDED TO SHIT HIMSELF.
A grown up!
My toddler doesn’t even do that anymore!
The next morning host, Chris Harrison called out the litany of bad things Chad did in his schammered state like:
Called Lace a bitch and threatened to leave her duct-tied under a bus
Threatened to kill all of the castmates and their families
Made fun of Sarah who was born with half of an arm missing
Tried to throw a few punches at his former buddy, Daniel
Told the resort workers to “suck a dick”
Chad denied it all and couldn’t understand why everyone was so upset? Chris Harrison can tolerate–even encourage– a lot of crap, but not when it’s spilling out of the pockets of your cargo shorts. Chad was asked to pack his knives and go. (Wait. Wrong show but it actually works here. Sorry, Padma.)
Naturally this enraged Chad because WTF does Chris Harrison know. He didn’t know what went down the previous night because he was too busy hanging out in his hotel robe drinking mimosas. Chris was all like, “Ew, Chad! No one drinks mimosas at night! Now get the f*ck off my island!”
But this is reality television, my friends, and producers do not let this kind of gold go easily. Yes, no one truly in their right mind is going to look for love on a reality show, but people like Chad come around as often as Comet Hale-Bopp (and incites as much insanity.) Like his exit on The Bachelorette, this is going to be long, drawn out, creepy, dramatic, and prone to evil whistling. You have to tune in next week to see what happens. You have to. Don’t make me do this alone.
Pack your bags, anti-itching cream, penicillin, and Chad-Away spray because we’re going in. Paradise, here I come.
Phonophobia: Fear of loud sounds, including voices–including your own–especially Shelly Mazzanoble’s.
Does anyone like hearing their voice? I cannot stand it. (True confession: Even though I co-host the Dungeons & Dragons podcast, I can’t listen to a single one, which sucks because we’ve had some really great guests on there. And I tend to do a great imitation of Bert from Sesame Street that I’m pretty sure would blow my own mind.) I also don’t love seeing myself because in my mind I’m waaaaaaaaaaaay better looking than that goofy, wildly gesturing, large-eyed creature with the grating voice before me.
If you also can’t stand my voice or the sight of me perhaps you should stop reading now. If you think you can stomach it, below is the link to my performance as part of this year’s Listen to your Mother Seattle show. (And if I had any technical skills I’d be able to change the frozen image below so that it’s not one of me looking like I’m mid cat-call to some poor significant other in the front row who’s covertly watching a MMA fight on his phone throughout the show. Not covert enough, Bucko! LISTEN TO MY GRATING VOICE!)
Here’s what people are saying about my performance!
“Wow. You said pussy and nipple in like the first 7 seconds. Wow.”
“So, I’m still not sure. Do you like being a mom?”
“I love your necklace.”
So, you know. Those are pretty enticing reasons to watch this.
The show was tremendous fun and the cast– wow, oh wow. They were all truly stellar. I encourage you to listen to all of their stories. I think you’ll love their words as well as their voices. My necklace is pretty badass too.
My baby boy is three today! How did this happen? Well, kind of like this (give or take a few momentous occasions.)
10/23/12: Pregnancy test is positive. Stress eat a wheel of brie and 3 pounds of raw cookie dough
10/24/12: Am certain it’s a girl. Settle on a name.
2/19/13: Mom finally concedes and buys little red dress for future granddaughter.
2/20/13: Find out from ultrasound it’s a boy.
2/20/13: Mom returns dress.
7/10/13: Sent to hospital without lunch for induction. Really pissed about missing lunch.
7/10/13: Really pissed no one will give me one of the infamous hospital chocolate milkshakes. What the hell am I paying for here?
7/11/13: Happily trade milkshake for epidural. Really, really love epidural. Ask for a glass of wine.
7/11/13: 9:09 PM. Anesthesiologist says, “Congratulations! You’re not pregnant anymore.” Think that’s a really weird thing to say.
7/11/13: 9:10 PM. Immediately fill with dread and anxiety. OMG, there’s a baby here! We’re really doing this!
7/11/13: 9:12 PM. Miss being pregnant. Still love epidural. Ask for a milkshake.
7/11/13: 9:22 PM. Hold Quinn as he stares at me with big, blue eyes. Both agree to try not to kill each other.
8/11/13: Call boss and ask if I can come back to work early.
8/15/13: Would love to dress Quinn in cute onsies, but scared of actually touching him. Wonder if anyone would notice he only wears ponchos.
9/23/13: Kid is really cute, but wonder when those maternal instincts are supposed to kick in.
10/22/13: Eagerly anticipate returning to work. How relaxing will that be!
10/23/13: Return to work and cry the whole way to daycare.
10/24/13: Wonder why babies get really, really adorable the day after maternity leave ends.
10/25/13-7/10/16: Blur, blur, blur
7/11/16: Wake up to three year-old son jumping through streamers and asking who hung up all the Paw Patrol decorations. Says, “Awwww. That’s nice!” when we tell him the Birthday Fairy came.
7/11/16: Cannot imagine life without this adorable, funny, kind, polite, friendly, smart, entertaining, genius* child in our lives. Would not trade a minute of being his mom—not even for all the chocolate milkshakes and epidurals in the world.
I keep hearing “Oh, that’s the best age!” regardless of what age he is, but this time I’m inclined to believe it. He’s actually quite funny and charming. He loves slapstick humor and stories about monsters and bad guys (who rampage other people’s stuff. Never his.) We have real conversations. He has definite opinions. He tells me he likes my ponytail and hates my cardigans.
Every day I find myself questioning the things he’s learning, as in “Holy cow, who taught him that amazing thing?” (Usually the answer is daycare.)
I try to write down the adorable things that come out of his mouth, but always forget because they’re usually followed by something horrifying and cringeworthy. Those things I always write down.
Lately I’ve been paying attention to the words I find myself stringing together in response to my dear, sweet child. Things I never thought I’d have to say. Things I never thought I would have to explain. Things I never thought would be compared to a bounce house.
Here are just a few of the highlights of the past few days:
Because I don’t need a penis, that’s why.
Honey, please don’t call that nice family, “butt guys.” We don’t even know them.
Don’t say “doody butt.”
Don’t say “booty butt.”
Don’t say “booger butt.”
Don’t say “butty butt butt booger butt guy.”
Would you want your name to be,”Toilet Butt?”
Yes, GOD DAMMIT is potty talk so stop saying it.
No, you can not say GOD DAMMIT when you’re at home. It’s potty talk here too.
How did Jacob get a toilet on his head?
Honey, please stop licking Princess Leia.
I don’t think the dog wants you to rub your butt on him.
No, I don’t want to tickle your nipple.
Can you tickle your own armpit, please?
Is that shaving cream on your penis?
No, your penis is not a bounce house.
Because people don’t like it when you point at their bodies and say, “I can see your penis.”
No, I don’t know what superpower Naked Toddler has. Do tell.
Mommy did not say that. You must have imagined it.
After gushing all over social media and pestering my friends with connections to Delta headquarters to make suremy love letter got into the right hands (READ: Got my ass upgraded on my next 836 Delta flights), and getting no love in return, I feel…different. My next flight on Delta was woefully uneventful (READ: Did not get my ass upgraded) and I was a little hurt. I mean come on. No one likes airlines these days and I wrote a love letter. There’s no special marker that pops up when my ticket is scanned?
Shelly Mazzanoble, Seat 37 C, Vegetarian, prefers aisle seat due to freakishly small bladder, wrote a fantastic love letter about how great our customer service was! Loves Biscoff cookies! Get this girl some cookies and upgrade STAT!
On that uneventful flight, I was asked if I wanted peanuts, the snack mix, or Biscoff cookies. I pressed my luck a bit and said, “I want all of them.” I gave the flight attendant a little raised eyebrow to compliment my greed as a way of saying, “You know who I am, right? I’m the girl who loves you, baby. Don’t make me write another letter.” The flight attendant clearly doesn’t read her corporate emails because although she grudgingly tossed me all three snacks, she made me feel a little dirty for asking. Whatevs. There’s no shame in my snack-hoarding game.
Fast-forward many months later when I was about to book a flight to upstate NY. I have limited choices when flying to my hometown, but thankfully Delta is one of them. Despite our lackluster, one-sided love affair, I’m still loyal (READ: Hopeful I will one day get my upgrade) and still try to fly them when given the choice. And because they are one of two airlines willing to take me home, I am always tempted by their stupid, miles-earning credit card.
First checked bag is free? (Yes!)
Walk on the shitty red carpet as opposed to the shitty blue carpet when boarding? (Yes!)
$95 annual fee? (Not cool.)
You know what I have to say to annual fees, Delta?
But this time it was different. I was about to drop nearly two grand on two tickets and was swayed by the promise of saving $100. All I had to do was get approved for the pretty gold Delta Amex card and click the box saying I’d like to use it to complete my booking. At least that’s how I interpreted the ad attached to my almost complete booking:
Specifically, this part:
So I applied and was approved within seconds. (I have really good credit) and was then asked if I wanted my card number right away so I could use it to complete my booking. I clicked yes, yes, of course yes! I was then told I had 180 seconds to write down my credit card number. 180 seconds! Well, hell, no pressure, Amex! Was that even possible!?
But I did it because I’m awesome and motivated by $100 credits. Then it was time to pay for my booking with my new fancy card, but alas, Delta’s website doesn’t have my fortitude. I can write down 15 random digits in 180 seconds, but can an airline webpage survive 180 seconds of idleness? Nope. The answer is, no. It can not. So naturally I had to start the whole booking process again. Fun!
When it was time once again to overpay for my two tickets I took some pride in clicking on the Delta SkyMiles Amex box under, “Where exactly shall we place your future debt?” I‘m one of them now. I thought. Nothing but wind in my hair and shitty red carpet under my feet.
But something was wrong.
It asked for the expiration date and security code, which was odd considering I didn’t have those two things. Clearly those inane details were for the likes of MasterCard and Visa types. So I did what anyone would do when asked for information they don’t have– pressed submit and hoped no one noticed.
But nope. Shouty pop-up window got in my face and demanded more numbers.
Can not complete your reservation!
BUT I DON’T HAVE THOSE NUMBERS!
Idleness will kill this reservation too!
I’M NOT IDLE! YOU ARE!
Timing out in 3…2…
DON’T YOU LEAVE ME! LOOK AT ME! STAY WITH ME, NEARLY COMPLETE RESERVATION!
I explained the situation to Chump #1 who told me I needed to call Member Services. Fine. I did.
Chump #2 from Member Services told me he couldn’t help but someone from SOME BULLSHIT DEPARTMENT THAT DOESN’T EXIST (or SBDTDE) could totally help. He agreed to transfer me.
SBDTDE did not answer because THEY ARE A DECOY DEPARTMENT HELPLESS “MEMBERS” ARE SENT WAIT ON HOLD FOR INFINITY. I waited 8 minutes before I gave in and left a message in hopes another Chump might call me back within 24 hours. Yeah, right.
I hung up and returned to the Live Chat where Chump #3 informed me that NO ONE at American Express could look up my expiration date or security number.
CHUMP #3: “It’s a security issue, ma’am.”
ME: “But I was promised a $100 credit if I completed my booking using my new card.”
CHUMP #3: “Yes!”
ME: “But I can’t do that without the expiration date or security number.”
CHUMP #3: “Yes!”
Before I could rudely disconnect our chat, Chump #3 gave me another 800# to try. And I’m so glad he did because Chump #4 had a great idea.”
CHUMP #4: “That information is printed on your card which should arrive in 7-10 days!”
ME: “But I’m trying to book the ticket now.”
CHUMP #4: “I’ve heard of the cards arriving in as quick as 6 days.”
ME: “Ticket prices have gone up 43% since I checked 3 days ago. If they go up again in 7-10 business days will you refund me the difference in price?”
CHUMP #4: “Umm…I have to look into that as I do not know.”
ME: “No, you won’t. That wasn’t a real question. I’m proving a point.”
CHUMP #4: “Yes!”
I know what you’re thinking. All this for $100 credit? Girlfriend, get a life. Or at least a day job. But this became less about the $100 and more about my total investment. You couldn’t put a price on how much time I was wasting chatting with these yahoos.
Just as I was about to pop into another chat session, Chump #5 from SBDTDE called me back. He was also super helpful.
CHUMP #5: “No, no, no ma’am. You can not have that information.”
ME: “But it’s my information.”
CHUMP #5: “We do not have access to that information.”
ME: “So I won’t be able to use my card to complete my booking?”
CHUMP #5: “Wow, you have really good credit, ma’am!”
ME: “Thank you. Even though that was the sole reason I got the card?”
CHUMP #5: “Not without the expiration date and security number, no.”
ME: “Then I don’t want your card. Cancel it.”
CHUMP #5: “I can not cancel your card. You will have to wait to get the card to cancel the card. Have a good day!”
Okay, maybe I’m a bit of a masochist, but you know I had to go back to the Live Chat well and find me a new chump to chat up.
I again reiterated my frustration to Chump #6 and told him I didn’t want the damn card. I would also be sure to tell Delta why I was going to fly American because I know THEY WILL CARE. Thanks for shitacular service all around.
But Chump #6 was…different. Chump #6 was with me on this. He knew of another team within the bowels of American Express that could help.
I’m sorry, Chump #6. What exactly do you mean by, “feel different?” Different than what? How do you feel different? Is it the same way I feel different? Are we actually the same in how we all feel different when buying a product we can not use when required and therefore not different at all? I know. Mind…blown.
Honestly, I don’t know how I stopped this vicious cycle. I don’t know when I found the courage to stop connecting to AMEX’s Live Chat and call fake 800#’s. I don’t know when I became resigned to the fact that I wasn’t getting my $100 credit or bonus snacks or free upgrades, but within 7-10 (possibly as soon as 6) business days, I was going to get a stupid credit card with an annual fee that I no longer wanted.
And I sure don’t know how this happened:
What exactly do you mean by “enjoy your day, Jewton?”
Stay at home mothers and fathers are freakin’ rockstars only without the exceedingly high paychecks and entourage. Actually scratch that. They’re more like the entourage– managing, protecting, catering to and anticipating the demands, follies, and triggers of petulant, oblivious egomaniacs. 24/7. It never stops. It goes on foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…
Quinn and I were both home sick yesterday and now I have a renewed appreciation for my job and my mom who stayed home with my brother and me (and let me tell you, we were assholes.) I was kind of looking forward to our time together. He’s extra cuddly and prefers his lazy-ass mom over his funny and physical dad when he’s not feeling well. I had a DVR stocked with cultural pillars such as Southern Charm and The Real Housewives of Dallas. I had a boatload of magazines to catch up on. Aches and chills be damned! Today was going to be a good day.
“Say what?” Asked every stay-at-home mother and father ever.
I love my kid which is exactly why I pay other people to hang out with him during the day. It’s his best chance of survival. Trust. I can’t be on my game 100% of the time. I am not to be counted on on every day, all day. I am irresponsible and distracted by shiny objects and reality TV. If I am within twenty feet of my bed, I will fall into it. I am powerless over the lure of a warm duvet and sateen sheets.
Case in point, our day began in bed where my delusions of grandeur had me believing we would spend most of our day like good, little sick people. A little Daniel Tiger on the iPad for him and quality Bravo television for me. And then I remembered this wasn’t daycare and Miss Tobi wasn’t coming around with blueberry muffins so if my child was to eat, I better muster up enough energy to pop four mini waffles in the toaster and open a packet of string cheese.
“Can we watch Scooby-Doo?” He asked when I handed him his breakfast.
“Scooby’s not on the iPad, honey. How about you play a game or watch some Thomas instead?”
“I do want to watch Scooby-Doo!”
I could sense tensions were mounting. Did I really want to get into it this early in the day or did I want to stay in bed surrounded by magazines and sugar free syrup? Choose your battles, right?
“Oh fine.” I Netflixed Scooby and settled in with my Vegetarian Times. Hey! I’m home, I’ve got time. How about I make something inspired and healthy for dinner tonight? Something like Freekeh-Lentil Salad with Artichokes and Preserved Lemon. Yum! I’d have to go to the store for Freekeh, but that would be a nice, leisurely post-nap outing for us. I’m sure I’d be feeling better this afternoon and fresh air would be good for us. Sick days are the best!
“You’re seriously cray cray, lady!” said every stay-at-home mother and father ever.
“Can I go downstairs?” Quinn asked.
“Right now? Scooby just started!”
“I want to go downstairs!”
97% of his toys were downstairs and yet I was sure I could convince him to stay in bed and fall back asleep.
“Please downstairs right now!”
Here’s the thing about my kid. While at times it appears he has no boundaries like when he whips open the shower curtain and asks what the hell that thing is or when he takes food out of his mouth and puts it on your plate, he clearly has a respect—no, a fear—of perceived boundaries. For example, he will not get out of his bed. Not a crib— a bed. He gets in it on his own, but when he wakes up he always calls for one of us to get him. It’s like there’s an invisible force field that keeps him rooted there. We didn’t teach him this. In fact, we encourage him to get out of bed so neither of us has to get him on weekend mornings. But he won’t. I’m told I should be thankful, but again—lazy mom.
So dear child wants to go downstairs and doesn’t quite realize he can get off the bed and walk down the hall and go down the steps—AND HOLD THE RAILING FOR GOD’S SAKE ALWAYS HOLD THE RAILING— so he whines and kicks and rolls over on top of my face until I agree to take him downstairs.
“Oh fine,” I said. There is TV and magazines down there too, I guess.
We play the current favorite game—Tower— where you stack a combination of Jenga blocks and Duplo bricks in a pile and then throw Matchbox cars at it. I build the tower. He throws the cars. We do this 4,032 times until he finds a new attraction.
“Want to play trains with me, Mommy?”
Oh boy! What I want to do is laundry or organize my summer clothes or Google Freekeh because WTF is it, but if your kid asks you to play and your mind doesn’t immediately launch into the ultimate parental guilt trip anthem then you are a bit of a dick. One day my little boy will be too busy to take me to Walgreen’s to stock up on Metamucil and Icy Hot or sit next to me in my 94 degree home and marvel at how Pat and Vanna have been hosting Wheel of Fortune for 329 years and hardly look a day over 75.
We do this for the next 2 years (or 8 minutes, whatever. Time speeds by in dog years when you’re home sick with a toddler who is also supposed to be sick, but sure isn’t acting like it) before moving on to the next game: Tackle. I’m not a fan of this game.
“But Buddy, Mommy doesn’t want to be tack—”
After a few more body slams and moonsaults, I was desperate to get him off my back— literally— so I broke the glass and pulled the emergency alarm.
“Hey, do you want some ice cream?”
When I went upstairs to get the ice cream I realized it was almost lunch time. Time flies when you’re getting repeatedly kicked in the kidneys! Well ice cream isn’t the worst lunch but I should probably try to balance things out. Perhaps fish sticks and a side of orzo? Noodles with an alfredo sauce? Grilled cheese with rosemary ham? Nah, we didn’t have any of that.
“MOMMY, I’M HUNGRY!”
I threw some Club Crackers and a Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bar on a plate and hightailed it back to the basement.
Just as I was getting settled in on the couch with Us Weekly, we heard it. The telltale sign that something amazing was happening outside and we were about to miss it.
“MOMMY! GARBAGE TRUCKS!”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon…
So back upstairs we went to stand on the front stoop and watch the garbage man empty our trash and the trash of seven of our neighbors. Truly amazing experience. We are forever changed having witnessed this.
When the truck was out of sight, I convinced Quinn to watch a Curious George movie which was sure to buy me 56 minutes of quality magazine time.
“Mommy, I need water.”
Oh right. The carb paste and diet chocolate I fed my child for lunch isn’t going to wash itself down. I’m totally nailing this caregiver thing.
I gathered up all the dirty towels I could find determined to do at least one chore today and threw them down the stairs getting them about 18 feet closer to the washer. Mission accomplished.
Six minutes into Curious George, Quinn wanted to go outside and play with Puppy.
Great. Just what the child and dog needed—time to play outside. Sigh…
On our way outside nature called.
“I need to poop, Mommy,” Quinn said. “RIGHT NOW!”
I rushed him into the bathroom and got him situated with a Star magazine and pack of wipes.
Business complete, we pulled out all the bath toys and played with them on the bathroom floor for the next 30 minutes.
“You know,” I began. “These are much more fun in the bath. How about we play another game? Like guess what cartoon is on PBS right now?”
“Great! Let’s get you a snack.”
But I forgot that “get you a snack” to a toddler means “open seven different food items and refuse them all” The kitchen floor was littered with granola bar and gummy fruit wrappers, which I would have cleaned up had I not been interrupted.
“Let’s fill my surprise eggs!”
Little boy blue and the man on the moon…
First, let’s discuss “surprise eggs.” If you don’t have a toddler you might not know about this bizarre phenomenon running rampant on YouTube.
There are countless videos of adult hands cracking open these eggs and vocalizing what’s inside. These videos have MILLIONS of views, (of which Quinn has accounted for at least 462,945.) When we’re not watching videos of strangers opening surprise eggs, we’re filling and opening our own surprise eggs and therefore have a zillion empty egg parts strewn across our home and 87,356 tiny toys to go in them. Sometimes Quinn pretends he’s the host of his own YouTube show and will make you sit and watch as he slowly opens eggs and says things like, “I wonder what’s in this purple egg. Oh look, it’s Shaggy!” I fill the eggs, he opens the eggs. We repeat. Forever. I am Sisyphus and cheap plastic Easter eggs are my boulder.
When you comin’ home, Dad, I don’t know when…
Surprise eggs cracked, it was finally nap time and I cajoled Quinn to lay down with promises of stories about bad guys. He fell asleep mid-way through a story about a dinosaur who poops on everything, which was my only indication that he was actually sick. This kid loves it when dinosaurs poop on everything.
Once he was asleep I had designs on my own nap but spent two hours and twelve minutes listening to Quinn cough instead. (Second indication that he was really sick.) As soon as he woke, he asked for popsicles and a tennis ball for Puppy to fetch. I was so grateful he didn’t choke on his phlegm, I shuttled him to the backyard with the whole box of frozen delicacies. Only Quinn wouldn’t put down his Popsicle to throw the ball so it kept bouncing into the giant containers of potted bamboo, forcing me to plunge my bare arm into the bowels of dead leaves and spider webs to retrieve the stupid ball Puppy had no interest in fetching.
Next Quinn decided the front porch was where all the action was and he really wanted a cereal bar. No, dummy, not THAT strawberry cereal bar. Or THAT strawberry one. THAT strawberry cereal bar. Good thing we opened three strawberry cereal bars to find the right one.
In lieu of eating the cereal bar, Quinn removed his crocs and threw them into the garden, the whole time asking if it was okay to throw his Crocs in the garden.
“Because birds will eat them and they will die. Do you want birds to die?”
“I don’t know.”
“No, you don’t. We do not want birds to die.”
“Because birds are beautiful and we love them.”
Puppy decided to eat the wayward cereal bar. As I tried to pry it out of his jaw, a pitiful wail emerged four inches from my left. Wanting to see if birds were eating his Crocs, Quinn leaned over for a better vantage point. Only he positioned his head between two balusters in the railing. Yep. You know it! Kids getting their heads stuck in a railing! That shit really happens– with mothers FOUR INCHES AWAY! Naturally he was panicky and crying because you don’t have to be a responsible grown-up charged with the caring and protecting of a small child you grew in your body to know this was not good. Know what else is not good? Me in a crisis.
But the Universe and all that is divine clearly loves my child because I was cool as a Tuck’s pad and somehow freed him with nary a scratch, bump or bruise on either of us.
“That was scary!” he said.
“And that is why you should always listen to your Mommy!” I said, because I never miss a teachable moment.
He moved on because toddlers are resilient but I was shitting my PJ’s (OMG WHY WAS I STILL WEARING MY PJ’S?) and needed to stop shaking so I could send rapid-fire texts to Bart asking when he was coming home. Clearly I am not to be trusted with a child. I TOLD YOU!
In the next 45 minutes we did the following:
Played in the driveway
Scolded Quinn for being too close to the street
Scolded Puppy for being too close to the street
Scolded Quinn for calling a family of three walking by “Poopy Head Underwears”
Tried to stop Puppy from eating 3 peanut butter crackers and the plastic wrapper they came in
Googled “what happens when your dog eats plastic wrappers?”
Went to the backyard
Went to the side yard
Went to the neighbor’s yard
Went back to the driveway
Sat on lounge chairs and pretended to drive to work
Took all the tennis balls from our yard and threw them in the neighbor’s yard
Freaked the eff out because we didn’t have any more tennis balls
Clocked over 14,000 steps without leaving home
Bart came home to a frying pan full of onions
“Here’s dinner!” I said. Damn, I’m productive.
He asked how I was feeling and I told him I was too exhausted to answer. I had more energy 6 seconds after Quinn was born.
“Maybe another sick day tomorrow?”
“Oh hell no!” I shouted. I could not wait to go back to work and relax.
When you coming home, son, I don’t know when…
Oh STFU, Harry goddamn Chapin. You clearly never spent the day with a toddler.
“Word,” said every stay-at-home mother and father ever.
I had a truly magical experience yesterday as I took the stage at Town Hall Seattle alongside eleven fabulous, courageous, amazing storytellers. Together we comprised the 2016 Listen to Your Mother Seattle cast and in all honestly, we kicked ass.
It was hard to believe that by showtime I had known most of these women for less than 24 hours and yet, I felt the kind of kindred connection I hadn’t experienced since meeting my dorm mates freshman year of college. (A similar amount of booze may have been involved too.) These women made me laugh (oh man, did they) and tear up (more than once.) I can honestly say I am a better mother because of it. It was inspiring to say the least. Everyone’s story was so beautifully told and while all different, we were all connected by one common thread: motherhood. Is there anything stronger than that? So yeah, when a mother talks, you should definitely listen.
If you have a chance to see a Listen to Your Mother show in your town, do it. Man, woman, mother, father, or child, you will be moved and inspired. You will also see some of the most fabulous footwear in your life.
I know this will come as a shock to you and I don’t want you to panic, but there’s an asshat on the internet.
This one comes in the form of that big Dum-Dum* who thinks maternity leave is a big, fat vacation. I know, I know, didn’t the internet talk about this like days ago? Haven’t way more articulate people ripped into her already? (Yes and yes for example.) Why are we even helping promote her stupid book anyway?
But I can’t stop thinking about her Dum-Dum remarks. This has to be a publicity stunt by her publisher, right? I mean, no self-respecting woman who came to this Earth by way of a mother could seriously have those antiquated, far-fetched, Trump-like thoughts, could they? WTF does this little Dum-Dum think new moms are doing on maternity leave? Why is it she thinks she deserves in on that action– without the whole “having a baby thing”, of course.
First, a little background in case you managed to avoid this Dum-Dum and the ire of smart, educated, supportive men and women around the world. This dumbass “worked hard” as an editor at a “popular magazine” and was “jealous” when her co-workers with kids “left the office at 6:00 to tend to their children.” Unless this Dum-Dum thinks, “leaving the office to tend to children” is a euphemism for “going to drop loads of discretionary income on a wild night on the town” I’m totally confused by her envy.
But jealous she was and she parlayed her covetousness into a novel and then coined the World’s Most Annoying phrase: “Meternity leave.”
What the snot sucker is “Meternity Leave,” you ask? Great question. Here’s how the Dum-Dum describes it:
“A sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”
A sabbatical-like break! NAILED IT! That’s exactly what maternity leave is like! I mean, what the hell do new mothers do with all that free time!
Wait. Maybe she’s right and new moms are totally screwing up this precious time being all stressy and maternal and KEEPING THINGS ALIVE and not shaving their body parts. Let’s see how the dictonary defines a sabbatical:
“Any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.”
Yep. She NAILED IT!
I was definitely granted an extended period of leave (12 weeks) from my customary work. And I definitely acquired some new skills and training. Let’s see, I learned how to function on 2 hours of sleep, dress an 8 pound human in tiny polo shirts and jeggings without breaking his bones, and figured out the best app (of which there are many) to track another living thing’s poop and pee. I was trained in the art of coaxing a magical, life-sustaining elixir out of my body simply by attaching my sore, chaffed, cracked, swollen body parts to a hospital grade, high-speed suction machine at least EIGHT TIMES A DAY. I got to spend hours upon hours with nice doctors, nurses and occupational therapists trying to figure out why my child couldn’t eat like a “normal” baby. Life skills, baby!
Rest? Well, that’s probably not a big part of a sabbatical so we’ll move on.
But wait, maybe she was looking at a different definition of sabbatical. Like maybe this one?
“A period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.”
Oh yeah! That’s more like it! Travel? We did that! Almost daily to the pediatrician’s office and a few times to the nice lady doctor who snipped tongue-ties in her home. Sometimes I even made it to a Weight Watchers meeting.
Research? Did that too! How do I increase my milk supply? Will I ever bond with this tiny human? Will a tongue tie kill my baby???
“Focused on another part of my life that didn’t relate to my job?” Hells to the yes! Wait, unless my job was caring for a tiny, helpless newborn. In that case, FAIL. But, nope. This Dum-Dum sounds like someone who has never cared for anyone but herself so I’m pretty sure “another part” means something like “doing your nails, learning a new language, taking a cooking class in Portugal.” In that case, NAILED IT again! Damn, Dum-Dum! Are you sure you’re not a mother?
Well, shoot. There’s that rest thing again. Obviously I screwed up my sabbatical– I mean, maternity leave–oopsie again. I mean Meternity leave.
My mom recently asked if I remembered those early days of motherhood. I do, but mostly because of the old pictures stored on my phone. The memories I have aren’t the ones I thought I would cultivate before I had a baby. Quinn was born in July so naturally I had visions of lazy days by the local saltwater pool and sipping coffee on flagstone patios with my unemployed friends. Quinn and I would grow closer in those 12 weeks than we were the 40 weeks and 3 days he occupied space in my belly.
Imagine my surprise when the mere thought of changing his diaper or putting a him down for a nap sent me into an anxiety-ridden inferiority complex.
Every time I hear our neighbors in their backyard I’m taken back to a time in the seemingly darkest part of the night, when I paced back and forth in the living room awkwardly trying to comfort a crying baby back to sleep and not wake Bart who had to get up in a few hours to go to work. I remember having the windows closed even though it was mid-August and hot because god forbid anyone hear the sounds a baby makes. I heard laughter, saw the raising and lowering of plastic martini glasses, smelled cigarettes and barbecue. Life was going on all around me. Talk about envy.
I remember watching a lot of Bravo television. Like a lot. (Which is totally what I would do on a real sabbatical.) I remember sitting in the living room in the middle of the warm, sunny afternoon with the blinds drawn so my neighbors or the lawn guy wouldn’t see my bumbled attempts at nursing or worse, me attached to the breast pump.
I remember being awake at 4 AM and watching Quinn lying on the blanket I picked up at a garage sale for $1, cooing, eyes wide with delight at the new things surrounding him. I remember thinking “this is my life now. This is how it will always be. Upside down and turned around. I want to sleep so bad.”
I remember binge-watching Orange is the New Black with my husband, trying to relax and pretend things were normal again but really we were waiting on pins and needles for the alarm to go off. Every time Quinn woke up, we were sure we’d never get him to sleep again.
I remember really wanting a glass of wine, but the math of trying to figure out when was the exact right time to have alcohol between pumpings and how long I had to drink it was too exhausting.
I remember wanting to close my eyes, but I dreaded being woken up.
I remember thinking everyone else was way better at this crap than I was. I remember how I used to not care about things like that (see: admitting math is too exhausting) and mad that this bothered me now.
I remember feeling incredibly alone even though my husband was right there and my friends were always on call.
I remember feeling disappointed when my doctor declared me perfectly sane and said all these feelings were “normal.” Sigh…I guess this was just me then.
But it wasn’t just me. I mean, it was and always will be. It was normal and healthy and scary and terrifying and thankfully temporary. But it wasn’t a sabbatical.
So yeah, Dum-Dum, Meternity time sounds like a hoot. Self-reflection up the ying-yang. I do hope that one day Ms. Dum-Dum finds someone willing to procreate with her so she can make her co-workers pureed-pea-green with envy when she clocks out at 6 for some R&R with a newborn. And I really hope she spends her meternity time self-reflecting on the ginormous asshat she once was.
*Edited because when I read this back the word I used to describe her was too mean even for me. So you know, I’m all class, baby.