Overheard: At Home

Background: My mother buys cookies and other snacks for my brother which he is instructed to keep in his room locked in a safe so she can’t get to them. No, I’m not kidding. She went grocery shopping today and brought home Chips Ahoy! for my brother.

Mom: You already locked up the cookies, you ass wipe!

Brother: Yes, I did.

Mom: I wanted one! You’re such a jerk!

Brother: They’re my cookies.

Mom: Go get me a cookie!

Brother: You look like a cookie! You can’t have any.

Mom: Ass wipe.

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Inside My Brain: Baby Registry

The following thought process was brought to you by the above. I was browsing on Amazon and said “Yes, I am a classy broad, I will put this on my wish list!” That’s when I noticed the ADD TO BABY REGISTRY button below that.

Begin thought process:

Add to baby registry? Is that new? When did that happen? Maybe they added it when they re-vamped their site a couple days ago. Or maybe not! Why isn’t there a wedding registry button, why just babies? Does Amazon know something I don’t? Oh my God, what’s that commercial? The one where that thing can predict whether you’re pregnant five days before a missed period? Was it an Amazon commercial? This isn’t a baby item! Why is Amazon asking me if I want this book for my unborn child? Maybe this is a sign. My child is going to be SO FREAKING CLASSY. Unsurprising. Look at it’s mother.

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Conversations with The Family

Butterfly Sweaters

Scene: Friday night dinner at my grandparent’s

Players: Mom, Grammy, Grampy, Aunt, Uncle, Myself, Boyfriend

Background: My family all talks at once, usually we’re pretty good at keeping up with multiple conversations, but not always.

. . . .

Grammy: “I was watching the news the other day, and they were saying how it got so cold in Florida that one of the zoos had to take all the butterflies in the butterfly exhibit and move them inside to a warm place. The butterflies would have frozen!”

Me: “Wow, someone went out there and plucked each individual butterfly?”

Mom: “What if they missed one?”

Group in General: “Yeah, what if they missed one?” “Who wants to see butterflies at a zoo?” “Can butterflies freeze? And get frozen solid?” etc., etc.

Grammy: continuing “…and then they showed a chimpanzee putting on a sweater! He was putting on the sweater all by himself, just pulled the sweater right on!”

[silent pause]

Aunt: “A butterfly put on a sweater?!”

Boyfriend: “What does a butterfly sweater look like?!”

Myself, Uncle, Mother (who heard Grammy move on to the chimpanzee story): hysterical laughter, choking on beverages, etc.

Grammy: ‘No! The monkey! The monkey! Of course a butterfly didn’t put on a sweater!”

Aunt: “I was gonna say! Those delicate wings!”

Boyfriend: “No, really, what would a butterfly sweater even look like?”

Aunt: “It would need wing holes! Wing sleeves!”

Me: “Oh my God, why is this my life? Butterfly sweaters?! Seriously people.”

Grammy: “No one ever listens to me.”

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Mom’s New Headphones

My mom is slightly hard of hearing. She says “What?!” about eighty batrillion times a day and turns the volume on the TV up way, way too loud. She’s also constantly watching TV. So my brother, in one of his rare genius moments, bought her these headphones that enable her to hear the TV, without having the volume turned up on the television.

Life has improved drastically.

I come home, and the house is silent. There’s mom, on the couch, happily watching NCIS with her headphones. I go to bed at night and I can actually sleep! No more listening to Abby and Gibbs yammer on about some crime while I’m trying to count sheep. Our house is so peaceful.

Of course, the headphones have some drawbacks. She can hear the TV when she has them on, but she can’t hear anything else. The phone ringing, for instance. Or the dog crying because someone shut her in the basement by accident again. Or anyone speaking to her. This is mostly a problem if we happen to be watching a television show together.

Me: “Oh my god, did you see that girl? What a mess.”

Mom: *chews popcorn*

Me: “If I was on the Bachelor I would never do one of these cheesy intros.”

Mom: *yawns*

Me: “Hey Mom, did you tape that other show…oh, why do I bother.”

It makes watching TV with her kind of lame now. I mean before it was all “What did she say!? Rewind, I sneezed and didn’t hear it!” so at least now we can watch shows in one pass. I guess I’d rather have her sitting quietly than have my eardrums blown out by an episode of The Nanny.

The headphones also cause her to forget she’s wearing them and just go about her day in her own little world, with the headphones. She’ll put something on TV, slap on her headphones, and get things done. She’ll wander the house chuckling to herself and unable to hear any of us. It’s pretty annoying, because you don’t realize she’s “watching” TV until you try to talk to her and she completely ignores you. I couldn’t resist, and had to have a little fun with her the other day.

Me: “Mom where’s the spatula? Mom, hey…oh. You’re wearing your headphones. Can’t hear a thing I’m saying.” *thoughtful pause, smirk* “You smell funny! Those pajamas are dumb! You should stop eating so many cookies!”

Mom: “Hey! I can hear you, you know!”

Me: “Oh OF COURSE, that you heard!”

The headphones also cause her to zone out completely, typically in the middle of a task that requires attention. See, she’ll wear the headphones around the house, cleaning, cooking, whatever. Then something exciting will happen on her show, and she’ll race back to the couch to watch it, completely forgetting about what she was doing. Hence, the Burnt Toast Incident of New Year’s Eve.

Mom decided to have some toast before she went out on New Year’s Eve. Always smart to have some starch before you go out drinking. She put the toast in and wandered off to watch her show. I was getting ready in the bathroom. Our toaster SUCKS and burns everything, so you have to watch it really carefully. I just had a feeling she was going to burn her toast.

I couldn’t smell it burning, but I was getting worried so I went down the hall to check on her and her toast.

Black smoke was billowing out of the toaster oven.

“MOM! FIRE!!!” I screeched, not daring to go in the kitchen (hello, there was a fire). Mom, by some miracle, must have heard my screech, because she flew off the couch, flinging her headphones into the dog’s water dish by accident.

“Shiiiitttt!!! My toast! My headphones!” She stood in the kitchen for a moment, as if she was trying to figure out whether she should deal with the flames shooting out of the toaster oven or save her beloved headphones.

“Mom! Do something!” I shouted, frantically fanning the smoke away from me and opening windows. That seemed to snap her out of it.  She bravely unplugged the toaster and put out the flaming pumpernickel. We were lucky, but my brother and I knew it was only a matter of time before the headphones situation got out of hand.

We let her keep the headphones, but she has been forbidden to wear them while cooking.

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The Family

I typically refer to my family as “The Family.” I realize this makes us sound like mafioso (we’re not. I don’t think. We don’t have nearly enough money or fedoras for that) but it’s really the only expression that works. My friends have started doing it, too – “Oh no she didn’t! What did The Family think about that?” It’s made me realize what a freakish unit we are.

When something happens, it effects all of us. Stories spread through The Family very quickly. For instance, on Christmas when my Great Aunt said something horrific to my cousin’s new fiance, she was being confronted by my grandmother and The Family knew all about it before she was even finished uttering the words.

When that same fiance started turning my cousin into someone he is most certainly not and turning him against The Family, she became good as dead to us. When my uncle’s girlfriend went crazy a couple years ago and upset The Family – done. It seems like we’ve had a lot of relationship issues within The Family lately – boyfriends and girlfriends not meeting our strict approval. Through every knew instance of disapproval, my boyfriend gets a little more smug.

“They still love me! Your great aunt has never made me cry!”

“They do love you, but they’d love you more with a college degree. They talk about that all the time.”

“At least they’re still talking about me. When was the last time anyone mentioned your uncle’s crazy girlfriend?”

Touche.

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Engagements

It’s that time of year again. Engagement Season. I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but once you reach your 20s suddenly all winter long people are popping the question. My Facebook newsfeed is riddled with pictures of diamond rings and happy couples, and every day I hear a new “Oh, did you hear? So-and-so got engaged!” story. Most recently was my cousin, who has known his new fiance for less than two months.  That one stung for a second, until I realized how completey insane it is for a 25 year old to be proposing to someone he’s known for less than two months.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for ten years. Yes, you read that right – ten years. Since I was fifteen. Do I have a ring on my finger? No. Am I upset about this? Not anymore. I definitely used to be – it caused a pretty nasty and devastating breakup a few months ago, at our ten month anniversary, when I did not receive the ring I had been expecting (and had already picked out and given him the details of).

That breakup and all the “state of our relationship” talks that came after it was a big eye opener. It made me realize that I wanted to be engaged because so many other people were already there, and I felt like I deserved it more. I mean, ten years, people. Never mind that year nine of our relationship hadn’t been stellar – a ring would fix that. Never mind that my boyfriend wasn’t ready to be engaged – he’d warm up to the idea once he saw how nice that ring looked on my finger. I shouldn’t have even been surprised when our ten year anniversary came and went without a ring – without even a celebration. I was trying to make our relationship into something it just was not, and would never be. Did this mean we shouldn’t be together? Was our relationship doomed to always fail? I thought so, at first.

Then I thought about why I felt we should be getting engaged in the first place – because it was what people were expecting. It was what I was expecting. Did I really care if we got engaged? Not really. I don’t even love the idea of having a wedding. We both still want to be together, and both still want to get married, so does it really matter when we get engaged? I know it will happen when the time is right for both of us, and I know it will be a complete surprise, and what girl doesn’t want her proposal to be a complete surprise? In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the relationship we have right now.   Because really, when you get engaged, wouldn’t you rather people were saying “Finally!” than “Already?!”

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Conversations with Mom II

Scene: Tonight, in the car, talking about what a horrid wretch my brother is. Grammy and Grampy are her parents, my grandparents.

Mom: When I was younger, I would never flip out the way he does! I would never have dreamed of using that type of language with Grammy and Grampy! Except for that one time.

Me: [laughing] Oh except for that one time? What was it about, do you remember?

Mom: Well, I was on the phone in my room with one of my girlfriends, and Grampy comes out of the bathroom like a raving loon. He wanted to know why there were so many tissues in the trash.

Me: Tissues in the trash?!

Mom: Yes, like I said, he was being a raving loon. Anyway, I was very emotional back then, so I immediately took the phone, while still talking to my girlfriend, and whipped it at his head. So he came at me, and I got up swinging and swearing and calling him every name in the book and some that I made up. Then he kicked me out. Well, fine then. Grammy was over her friend Beverly’s, so I walked myself on over to Beverly’s and told her that Grampy kicked me out. She must have had a few drinks, because she just started laughing hysterically. Then I told her what happened and she marched me right back home. And I didn’t talk to Grampy for months.

Me: Over tissues.

Mom: Yes. Then I felt really bad that we weren’t speaking, so Grammy made Grampy feel bad and said to him “What if something happened to her and you weren’t speaking!” So one night he came up to me and said “Do you have the time?” and things went back to normal after that.

Fast forward to later tonight, while we were taking out the trash.

Me: Why do we have so much trash?! Look at everyone else on the street, and look at us. Why are we like this?

Mom: I don’t know! That’s what Grampy was always yelling about, the trash! That’s why the tissues sent him over the edge.

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The Great Purge

I’ve been doing a deep cleaning of my room lately. My life feels so unorganized right now and I don’t even know where to start making it better, but my room? My room is easy in comparison. Plus, it somehow soothes my anxiety-ridden mind to come home after yet another stressful day at work and just be able to project some order on something.

It’s been a really rewarding experience. There is nothing like opening a newly organized sock drawer and being able to locate the exact pair of socks you wanted. It’s a great feeling. I’ve gotten rid of a ton of stuff, both to trash and to donate or sell. I still have quite a ways to go, but I am happy with my progress.

Anyway, I’ve come across quite a few things that have survived many previous purges because I can’t bear to get rid of them. This time was no different. I think we all have some random crap that we totally don’t need but feel like we should hang on to. Here are some of mine:

  • Graduation cap – We got to keep our high school graduation cap and gown, for reasons unknown. What the hell am I going to do with this? I have no idea where the gown is, but I still have the cap, taking up space in my closet. Maybe I’ll frame it like a tiny, sad version of that collage the Cullen’s made.
  • Room keys for various hotels – I did finally manage to let go of these, though it was surprisingly difficult. They’re all attached to a memory and make me warm and fuzzy when I look at them.
  • Tamagotchi – Yes, I still have mine, though sadly it no longer works. I’m not sure I’d want it to. Looking back, I don’t see the appeal. And it turns out they still make them! I can’t get rid of it though. I can show my kids someday and they’ll probably be all “WTF is that, Mom?” and zip off with their jet packs or something. It will be like that doll my mom used to have that my grandmother kept – it’s head was attached via a string, and when you pulled the head off, it would slowly zip back down to the body while saying things like “Here comes my booodddyyy!”
  • Pay stubs – Like, every one I’ve ever received. They always seemed important to keep but today I decided they are not, so into the shredder they all went. It was very satisfying, somehow.
  • Magazine pages – I ripped a shit-ton of pages out of magazines. Did I think Future Me was going to go back and read these? Because she didn’t. She threw them in the trash.
  • A pocket IQ test – You never know when you may need to prove your intelligence on the fly.

And I’ve only done maybe one quarter of my room. I figure when I finally move out in the spring I’ll only be taking the absolute necessities with me. Like the Tamagotchi and pocket IQ test.

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Conversations With Mom

The Scene: This weekend, while watching Say Yes to the Dress: Beverly Hills. One of the brides was “the only Indian signed with Vivid” (she was in adult entertainment).

Me:  “She doesn’t even look Indian.”

Mom: “She must mean she’s from India.”

Me: “…Yeah, that’s what Indians are, people from India.”

Mom: shakes her head at me like I’m an idiot – “And the other Indians. The ones who live here.”

Me: “Mom, the only INDIANS that live here are people from India, you’re thinking of Native Americans.”

Mom: “Well they USED to be Indians.”

Me: “They were never Indians, that was incorrect. They’ve always been Native Americans and Indians are people from India.”

Mom: “Stop trying to be all high and mighty and politically correct! They were Indians! Like cowboys and Indians?! a-woo-woo-woo-woo! You know!” (she started making “Indian” noises here, like the Lost Boys in Peter Pan.)

Me: “Okay, just stop. Stop it. You’re wrong and I’m right end of story.”

Fast-forward to yesterday in the car with my mom. She was describing the Sunday Drives they would go on when she was a kid.

Mom: “We would drive all the way up the highway and then turn around, and there used to be this place called the Deerskin Trading Post, and that was always a popular stop for us. They had a lot of Western stuff, moccasins, jewelry. I suppose YOU would call it ‘Native American’.”

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I’m an idiot.

I’m a idiot.

I’m trying not to make this post just say “I’m an idiot” a hundred times, but that’s totally how I feel.

I’m working on applying to grad school for next fall. I kind of decided on a whim that I would go back to school and really devote myself to being educated and getting a good job and being all successful. This was a decision I made after a bad breakup. I also cut my hair. It was a rough period for me.

I don’t know what I was thinking, since I’m not exactly the picture of a career driven, motivated woman. My dream is to be a stay at home mom, for Christ’s sake.

Anyway, I decided to go back to school. I picked some programs I thought sounded interesting and registered for the GRE. The GRE costs $160. This is highway robbery if you ask me, but since no one did I paid the $160. I wrote down the test date on numerous calendars, told people all about having to take the GRE. Then I spent some more money on a GRE prep book and enthusiastically threw myself into studying. Until I lost interest, around the math section. I suck at math.

So today rolled around, GRE test day. I’d lost interest in studying. I’d lost interest in going back to school (what’s the point? The economy sucks. I can’t get a new job anyway, like the GRE is gonna help), got back with the boyfriend so life changes didn’t seem necessary, and decided I would just throw myself into becoming a writer. You don’t need an advanced degree for that!

But I’d already paid for the test, so I figured I’d just do my best and apply to school anyway, just to see what would happen.

Spent the morning doing a bit of last minute prep (making sure my hair looked good) and went into my email to write down the address of the test center from the confirmation email they sent me (last week, so weird) when I noticed my test date was for LAST SATURDAY. Fuck me sideways. I missed the damn GRE. And wasted $160. I am too depressed for any words other than “I’m an idiot.”

I’m trying to see this as a blessing in disguise. Like, “You can’t decided on a whim to go back to school and expect to have everything ready to go in three months! That’s insane!” So I decided to take my time with it. One of the schools has a May application deadline, so I might re-register for the GRE and just apply to that school for the fall. Maybe I’ll just get all my shit together and plan on applying for next spring. I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll just go write a book in the meantime and it will be wildly successful. I don’t know, but somehow this still feels like a weight off of my shoulders.

An expensive, $160 weight. That makes me wish I didn’t go on that shopping spree at Zara the other day. But no way in hell am I returning anything. Especially not those dreamy boots. At least now I don’t feel so overwhelmed and hurried. But yeah, that’s my day.

I’m an idiot.

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