When Animals Behave Like Animals

DSCN4037Bowel movements. Bathing. Reproduction. These are all normal, everyday activities (ok – maybe the last one isn’t everyday unless you’re in a new relationship with someone really hot), which require the removal of clothing. They’re performed behind closed doors. And if someone walks in on you while you’re in the middle of doing it (especially doing it), everyone is expected to die of embarrassment.

denisovans_fig_1That’s what we’re taught as children, and that’s supposedly what we’re expected to teach our own children. Yet with the simple removal of just a pair of chromosomes, these private moments involving our very private parts and called “nasty” in the case of humans, become “nature” when talking about animals.

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I'm going to love this website!

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I’m going to love this website!

I had a friend whose toddler loved to reach into his diaper, scoop out a wad of poop, and then draw on his bedroom walls. If the baby was using oil colors, his parents would have praised him and named him Picasso, but since he was painting with stinky excrement, his hand was slapped and he was sent to the corner without dessert.

imagesThis apparently isn’t the case with man’s close relative – the gorilla. Last week I took my 7-year old son Jake to the zoo.  Jake and a creature resembling Tarzan’s best friend were studying each other when he turned around, exposing his backside (the gorilla – not Jake). He squatted directly over the moat separating the primates from the humans and started to bear down, giving the onlookers a peek of nature at work. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.41.48 PMAt first I thought the gorilla had been meticulously potty trained to poop into the moat, making the collection easier for the zookeepers in training who enter the zoo hierarchy on the bottom rung as poop-picker-uppers. But instead of letting his feces fall freely, the gorilla caught the lump in his hand and set it down beside him.

64asia5rebzbzqwltib7ixrm4.400x300x1Then the gorilla pointed just like ET with his glowing index finger and he proceeded to play with the poop like it was some kind of fascinating new Play-Doh. The primate poked it and prodded it, then molded the middle of the dung heap, forming a little cup. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.54.36 PMJust when you’d think he was going to sip from it as if it was a wine goblet, he reached back around to his backside and caught yet another load as it squeezed through his anus. The gorilla set the second lump down next to his little cup and poked some more.DSCN4079

The crowd reacted like they were watching a violent bus crash – aghast and horrified, yet so curious they couldn’t stop looking.

Jake thought it was cool.

Later, we went to visit the zebras and found two that were particularly friendly, if you get my meaning. Since I haven’t yet sat down to explain to Jake how babies are made, my mind was racing with explanations for the zebras’ behavior:

  • She’s giving that zebra a piggyback ride
  • They’re playing bucking broncos
  • She has an itchy butt and the boy zebra is helping her scratch it
  • She’s just giving him a boost
  • It’s a zebra game where they try to line up their stripes

DSCN4040It turns out I didn’t have to say anything. Jake just laughed and thought it was cool.

Then we visited the yellow-backed duikers, which are small African antelopes. They weren’t doing anything to call attention to themselves until one started licking the other’s butt. That one didn’t mind, and before you know it, he was exchanging the favor by simultaneously licking the other’s butt as well. The duikers were obviously enjoying themselves tremendously.DSCN4048

I figured that in a couple of years when I explain the facts of life to Jake, I’ll bypass the description of that little option for fear that in math class every answer he shouts out will be “69!” Jake will have to figure the duikers’ experience out for himself, or rather himself and some other willing partner. I guess learning experiences like that one are what college is for.

Jake says that when he grows up he wants to be a zookeeper. It will be very interesting to hear what he ends up telling kids who are asking why the duikers are licking each other’s butts, why gorillas play with their poop, and if zebras really are just striped horses since they’re mounting each other and taking a ride.

Maybe he won’t give any explanation. He’ll just tell them it’s cool.

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

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Filed under Humor, Kids, Parenting

The Problem With Costco? How Do You Get All That Crap Home?

IMG_2885Costco. The mere whisper of its name conjures images of big, bigger, and so-big-there’s-no-way-in-hell-you’ll-ever-finish-it-before-it-goes-bad mega-big. It wasn’t that long ago when in their wildest dreams Americans could never have imagined the wonders of this super-duper-store. Why in the world would you ever need a half-gallon of shampoo, 500 Styrofoam dinner plates and tortilla chips in a bag that’s bigger than your torso? Yet today, we wouldn’t consider buying a single pound of ground beef at Ralph’s when we can go to a mega warehouse and buy the whole cow. You never know when a boatload of your closest friends might drop by unexpectedly and expect you to whip up an impromptu barbeque.

The sheer enormity of Costco hits you well before you enter the store. Costco parking lots are the size of small amusement parks, and still they miraculously tend to fill up – particularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Parking vultures will wait 15 minutes hovering over a customer loading up his vehicle rather than hoof it from an open spot that’s so far away it lies in another zip code. I don’t mind the trek, and figure that the walk to and from the warehouse will do me good, burning a few of the many calories I plan to consume from the numerous free samples. You could go to Costco every day of the week, never spend a dime, and still eat like a king – that is if kings enjoy nibbling on a smorgasbord of pomegranate juice, Cajun sausages, waffle bites, and spinach dip.

Samples are a daily surprise at Costco.

Because of my distant parking spot, I’m very appreciative that Costco hasn’t yet installed those brakes that lock the wheels of the shopping cart when they reach the parking lot boundary. Frankly, I’m a little surprised. If I was a homeless person, Costco would definitely be my cart of choice. You can probably hold 20 dozen more cans in its roomy basket, and unlike the carts with the missing bottom available at 2-story Targets so they can travel up their own person-less escalator, Costco carts have big bottom racks that could possibly fit all three of my homeless children in case I needed to transport them up and down the boulevard.

Is it just me, or did anyone else do a double-take over the line big bottom racks?

The Costco powers-that-be were absolutely brilliant in their decision to remove compact-sized parking spots from their parking lots. Have you ever seen a Smart Car pull into the lot? Not very often, if ever. They had better bring along some bungee cords and rope if they plan to strap that 12-pack of paper towels to their roof like a Douglas fir leaving the Christmas tree lot.

There’s a reason there’s no bicycle racks or motorcycle parking, because there’s not a single thing sold at Costco that’s small enough to strap into your backpack, with the exception of a gift card to Spafinder or one of Costco’s special Road Show events selling engagement rings. Somehow I figure if someone’s wealthy enough to afford a fabulous sea salt scrub or planning to pop the question to the girl of his or her dreams, they’re probably not going to do it while riding a 10-speed. However, you can actually buy a bicycle or motorcycle at Costco and park your 2-wheeler in the store while you shop (the motorcycle is on display in the store and available at Costco.com). However, don’t plan to do any additional shopping unless you arrange to pick everything up later in your proper minivan or U-Haul trailer.

IMG_2887There have been days when I have filled up the back end of my 8-person minivan from floor to ceiling and still had to invade the middle row and passenger seat for the rest of my purchases. I start to feel like that classic I Love Lucy episode where Fred loads up the car for the move to California and has to tie golf clubs and conga drums to the hood to make everything fit.

I wish a trip to Costco felt like a zany screwball comedy. It doesn’t.

photoweek114bIt’s not just the 2 hours of shopping and cart maneuvering, retracing my steps to the far end of the store for the forgotten frozen pizzas, the 35 minute line at the register which is so long it snakes into the snacks aisle, the brainpower needed to strategically place all the items in my car so the 50-lb. bag of dog food is not resting on the giant pumpkin pie, or having to drive 15 miles below the speed limit so the entire pile doesn’t entomb me during a sudden stop. Just when I think my long Costco journey is over, I am now faced with the prospect of making 20 separate trips hauling the load from my driveway into my house. Because I hate making multiple trips to and from the car, I turn this job of 20 into just 4 trips, hauling so many heavy items stuffed into my reusable bags across my forearms that the embedded dents in my flesh become nearly permanent.  I place the 80 cup pack of Newman’s Own Keurig coffee cups on top of the 24 rolls of Charmin bathroom tissue on top of the 32-pack of diet Coke, then cradle the triple pack of Kellogg’s cereal between my right elbow and hip, the box of 250 Bounce fabric softener sheets between my left elbow and hip, and balance the entire load like a tightrope walker.

I don’t usually make it to the kitchen without dropping everything, but I keep trying, telling myself that next time it will be different.

After I transport everything into the house, I spend another hour slicing open those plastic containers that are tighter than Fort Knox and ripping apart the cardboard boxes that enclose 90% of everything sold at Costco. Next I have to somehow defy the laws of matter to find space in my refrigerator and cupboards to store everything. My rule of thumb: If it fits, that’s where it goes. Then I slam the door hard before everything falls out.

I’m finally done. Or am I?

Like every single slasher film ever made, even this is a false ending, because then I have to flatten all those boxes and get them to fit in our over-sized recycling bin. Some trips to Costco take two weeks for the garbage man to finally collect it all.

But the very worst thing about Costco? Getting my Costco American Express bill three weeks later, totaling only slightly less than the gross domestic product of a small country.

You’d think would be the nail in the coffin to get me to quit shopping at Costco… but no.

The last time I went, I noticed that they actually sell coffins at Costco.

I wonder if my car is big enough to get it home.

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Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Family, Humor

This Thanksgiving I am Grateful for My Friends, Family, and Not Having to Wear Heels to Work

photo-40We spent Thanksgiving dinner tonight with my inlaws, and for something completely different, I decided to dress up. For me, dressing up means putting on a pair of earrings, but tonight I thought I’d be a little crazy and actually slip on a pair of heels.

Yes. Crazy. And so is any woman who wears these elevated toe-torture devices on purpose.

For the past decade, I’ve rarely worn heels. If you glance below my knees you’ll find flip flops, sneakers, barefoot sports shoes, or better yet – just plain bare feet.

Not the kind of shoe you should wear to a funeral

Not the kind of shoe you should wear to a funeral

I’ll reluctantly trudge through a wedding in a pair of pumps, and I used to wear them to funerals until I realized my heels were doubling as lawn aerators. Since then, I switched to flats.

Don’t ask me why all of a sudden tonight I walked (or rather teetered) out my front door wearing a pair of painful pumps. I do stupid things all the time, and even stupider, I’ll eventually do it again sometime, even before the pain subsides.

Walk downhill on San Francisco's Lombard Street. This is what it feels like to wear heels.

Walk downhill on San Francisco’s Lombard Street. This is what it feels like to wear heels.

The blisters were beginning to form on my left foot before I even put on the right heel. My toes were squeezed together creating an unnatural point that should only be reserved for elves. Forcing my feet into a permanent 45 degree downward angle made me feel like I was struggling to maneuver downhill on Lombard Street, and I’m sure my face was wincing at every step like I was in the throws of childbirth. Still, I soldiered on.

The heels came off in the car, were forced on again for the walk from the car to my inlaw’s Thanksgiving food line, then were stealthy kicked under the table for the duration of dinner.

I put them on again to stagger to the bathroom, where I inspected the welts across my toe knuckles.

Just the price of being a woman, I tried to tell myself.

Like those giraffe women in Africa who keep adding rings to their necks to make their necks longer.

Long necks for the sake of beauty

Long necks for the sake of beauty

Like the Chinese women who have their feet broken and bound so they’re forced into shoes made for Polly Pockets.

Small feet for the sake of beauty

Small feet for the sake of beauty

Or the tribal women who stretch their earlobes.

Big earlobes for the sake of beauty

Big earlobes for the sake of beauty

Like painful heels, that earlobe craze unfortunately is catching on.

Big earlobes for the sake of... God knows why

Big earlobes for the sake of… God knows why

After the Thanksgiving festivities, I contemplated walking barefoot back to the car, but it was dark, and I wasn’t sure if stepping on potential twigs, rocks or glass would be more painful than just wearing the heels for 100 feet.

I think walking barefoot on hot coals would have been a more pleasant journey.

By the time I returned home, I probably should have either chucked the heels directly into the garbage can or donated them back to the charity I bought them from. After all, the insole still had the $4.95 price tag from when I purchased the shoes from American Way two years ago. But the heels look nice and kind of classy, so in my silly, optimistic mind I visualized myself with feet a half size smaller and thinner, slipped into these lovely pumps, giving the optical illusion that my legs are sexy, slender but muscular, tan, and free from hair and varicose veins. I prance around on these fantasy stilettos like a statuesque supermodel, rather than wobble on them like the uncoordinated klutz I am.

Then I woke up and grabbed the Bandaids for my popped blisters.

I figured since Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for giving thanks, I might extend that gratitude publicly by saying I am very VERY thankful I do not have to wear heels to work. Sure I could be some high-powered lawyer, a CFO for a Fortune 500 company, or a Tea Party staffer, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to put on heels every day.

You also couldn’t pay me enough money to be a Tea Party staffer even if I didn’t have to wear heels every day.

It has been ten weeks since I’ve had time to write a new blog, and I have the good fortune of steady work to blame as the reason for my lack of posts. But one of the best things about my job is that I do it from home.

I am a sound editor, and not only do I not have to wear heels, I don’t have to wear anything at all, except for a pair of headphones. On hot summer days I’ve even contemplated such attire, but I’m always afraid that might be the day the Gas Man comes to check the meter, takes a peek through my bedroom window and spots me with just my birthday suit and headphones and then tells all the other Gas Men around the water cooler about me, and then they might all try to get his route.

Not to take a peek at the naked gal with the headphones. To ask me where they can get a gig like mine.

Granted, Gas Men have the kind of job where they’re lucky enough not to wear heels, but to get away with not even having to wear clothes – now that’s a great gig!

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Filed under Holidays, Humor

Will Friday the 13th Curse My “Happy” Birthday?

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Dedicated to all the triskaidekaphobics out there.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

I’m not by nature a superstitious person. I don’t mind if black cats follow me home, I doubt my mom will end up in a full body cast if I stomp on a sidewalk crack, and although I don’t deliberately walk under ladders, if found a good reason for it – say I could pick up a penny by doing so, I might cross my fingers, stoop under the steps and nab it.

cupcake2Today is Friday the 13th of September, and it also happens to be my birthday.  These two events combined beg to question:

Is it possible to have a Happy Birthday?

images-1

Dear Jason,
Why did you ruin my birthday?
(Not) love… Cathy

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think much of this dreaded day until Hollywood began making those Friday the 13th slasher films. Starting in 1980, Friday the 13th suddenly became synonymous with the name “Jason,” hockey masks, and horny camp counselors. Not surprisingly, this franchise lasted just one film short of 13. Perhaps they’re not planning to make another, since it might be unlucky.

Cool, huh? Why didn't I learn this in school?

Cool, huh? Why didn’t I learn this in school?

If I’m even slightly nervous about my birthday falling on Friday the 13th, I could consider the 1 in 31 other people who also have a birthday on the 13th (or the 1 in 30 in September, April, June and November, or the 1 in 28 or 1 in 29… you get where I’m headed here) who most of the time live through their cursed day as well. Except, of course, the ones who do actually die.

They’re the ones that make me nervous.

This is the 8th time my birthday has fallen on Friday the 13th, and remarkably I have survived all the other attempts for bad luck to foil my celebrated day.

Barely.

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Tammie and me. I’m trying not to strangle her before her first birthday.

My very first birthday fell on Friday the 13th, and I should have realized then (if I was coherent enough as a toddler) that my childhood birthdays were doomed. My sister Tammie was born exactly one month before – on August the 13th – so even though I was the oldest child, I would never be able to celebrate a birthday with my parents all to myself. But Tammie got the double whammy load of bad luck since her 13th birthday fell on Friday the 13th. I’m not really sure what the bad luck was since she got the guys in high school and I didn’t, but I hope the jealous voodoo spell I cast on her brought something bad.

Tammie… if you’re reading this, I’m kidding. If you’re not reading it, then I still resent you for being thinner and getting a better tan in high school than I did.

images-7Sorry. I’m not sure what would calm that unfortunate outburst more – a good psychiatrist or a steaming caldron with a lock of Tammie’s hair.

If I’m worried about doomsday destroying my birthday this year, I suppose I could oppose the Friday the 13th curse with my own counter-spells by grasping a 4-leaf clover and a rabbit’s foot in each hand all day; however without the full use of my grip, I’m more likely to be responsible for my own bad luck by dropping my iphone, sunglasses, and car keys more often than I do already.Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 11.16.28 AM

illegal-nap

Not actually me. But it feels like it’s actually me.

Some people fend off the Friday the 13th curse by avoiding air travel, delaying important decisions, or safest of all – staying in bed all day. Since today is also my birthday, and the present I would like most is a nap, this old superstition may be a great excuse for me to get my birthday wish without my family thinking I’m a slacker.Publication1

I don’t plan on spending my birthday hanging up horseshoes, knocking on wood, or throwing salt over my shoulder, because that would be just plain stupid.

But I think I might wait until Saturday the 14th to buy a lotto ticket.images-10

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Filed under Anxiety, Holidays, Humor

Is My Husband on Steroids?

1002297_10151774053404553_849902831_nThere’s been a lot of talk lately about the use – or rather abuse – of performance enhancing drugs in sports. Twelve Major League Baseball players were recently suspended for 50 games each, Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins were yanked out from under him, and every four years Olympic Gold Medal winners return their gold medals with their tails between their remarkably firm legs. At this very moment, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is facing a potentially career-ending suspension which would transform his legacy from possibly “the greatest baseball player in history” to “just another guy who doped.”

So why do they risk everything – their income, employment, reputation, and health to ingest or inject illegal foreign substances into their bodies that cause them to have unpredictable behavior, severe acne, and possible shut down of vital organs?

Because it makes them hot!

Their bodies become buff and chiseled, and desired by both men and women, as long as they only face forward so they don’t expose the gross back acne the meds cause. They strut around with their oversize torsos and vein-bulging limbs, and people notice.

But the big payoff is performance. It’s one thing when a small crowd gathers as you pump 400 lbs. above your head at 24 Hour Fitness. It’s a much bigger deal if you are a Major League player with an 8-figure contract, hitting consistent homers out of the ballpark, and destined for seat in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

What a rush!

And apparently these days you can only attain that fame and fortune by secretly joining the performance enhancing team.

Which leads me to my husband Tom.

Although he played a few years of softball on a couple of niche adult teams, my husband hasn’t played baseball since he was a tween. Tom didn’t even play in high school since he was a little stinker back then and formed a huge resentment against the coach, preferring the life of an adolescent loser rather than become a varsity athlete.

But this summer Tom tried out and was drafted into a local Single A Minor League Baseball team called the Dogs. Every Sunday he and the Dogs played against another team of aging athletes who worship America’s greatest pastime, and have big dreams of somehow entering Baseball’s Hall of Fame (in another lifetime).

Tom has bulked up considerably, which means I can actually see where some of his muscles start and stop. And now when I ask him to replace the 5-gallon water bottle, I barely hear him grunt at all. At the ripe old age of 45, Tom has become a born again athlete. Which begs to question:

Is my husband on steroids?

I’m searching for clues. Fortunately I haven’t noticed any back acne, but he’s getting really cranky lately. This might be caused by his new no-gluten diet. If I had to live without pasta and pizza, I might be homicidal too, and even a 30 lb. weight loss wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing my family and spending the rest of my life wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Through the use of either steroids or the depraved diet, Tom has lost 8 lbs. in the past two months. His 5-months pregnant-sized belly is slimming down to a “Is she or isn’t she, it’s rude to ask if you don’t know” baby bump.

I found an article from the Mayo Clinic that revealed some of the side effects of performance enhancing drugs for men, including:

  • Prominent breasts
  • Baldness
  • Shrunken testicles
  • Infertility
  • Impotence

Fortunately the pair of bumps above his belt have not grown, the bumps below the belt haven’t shrunk, and his baldness isn’t progressing at a faster rate than usual, which is basically a state of don’t ask – don’t tell delusion. In other words: “Yes, my forehead is growing but I’m pretending that it’s not and please don’t bring it up or I might cry out loud.” As for the last two, although my husband hasn’t knocked me up for over 7 years, it’s not for lack of trying and probably more due to my IUD and state of menopause.

Is Tom’s performance enhanced, or is he just getting better with practice?

On the way home from work once or twice a week, Tom slugs it up at a batting cage, and he’s draped our backyard driveway with netting and turned it into his own personal batting cage. He claims he made it for our 6-year old son Jake, but I know Tom gets a thrill out of hurling and hitting wiffle balls and cheering for himself.

According to the non-backyard batting cage speedometer, Tom is hitting pitches that are 70 mph and many that are zooming at his bat at 80 mph. He hits some of those. The ones he misses he just claims were outside or too high.

During games, Tom consistently bats 190 and averages just one to two errors each game. He’s had a couple of injuries, but champs it out and limps back the next week for another loss.

The Dogs recently finished up their season in the last place.

The verdict?

If Tom is doping, it’s not performance enhancing.

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Filed under Baseball, Humor, Husband

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Royal Baby

Disclaimer: Not the real Royal Baby.

Disclaimer: Not the real Royal Baby.

Handmaidens have guided Kate Middleton through nine long months of holding her hair as she vomited morning sickness into the royal throne and dabbing at the sweat build up (correction: perspiration) that collected under the Duchess of Cambridge’s enlarged bosoms these past summer months. Prince William (AKA the Duke of Cambridge) spent a number of hours calmly barking “Push, my Lady! Push!” as doctors and nurses donning taffeta and top hats tended to the Duchess’ labor. And finally, on the 22nd of July in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Yet, the future heir of the kingdom of Great Britain, slid out the birth canal like every other vaginal birth baby in the history of the world, and was born.

Yet unlike every other vaginal birth baby in the history of the world, the rest of this baby’s life will be quite different.

Even though Willie and Katie will most likely only be ministering to the Royal Baby during photo ops, dozens of their loyal staff have participated in months of classes on caring for the infant upon its arrival to its home in the nursery of Kensington Palace. Hopefully the Duchess and Duke also sat in on the seminars, just in case their employees depart unexpectedly to write a tell-all book or become special guests on Oprah.

Here is a sample of their schooling from the symposium entitled:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Royal Baby

Diapering the Royal Baby: Even before he exited the hospital’s neonatal unit, millions of the future king’s subjects were already kissing his royal butt, so obviously much training was put into taking care of his bottom. Absorbent cotton grown exclusively from the United Kingdom’s dominion of South Africa will be crafted with a covering made from 2,000 thread count Egyptian linen. An olfactory expert has been enlisted who will smell the scent of the of the baby’s bowel movement the moment it exits his royal rectum. Without hesitation, this employee (whom the staff has affectionately nicknamed “Sir Brown Noser”) will whisk the baby away and remove the troubling turd. Sir Brown Noser will be accompanied by another aide, the Humidity Homer, who will insert his finger into the diaper every 60 seconds to see if the little tot has wet himself. This Dynamic Duo will be joined by a larger team who will gently cleanse the baby’s bottom with only the purest, most natural soaps, then massage fragrant lavender lotion onto his chubby cheeks. Maybe the ones on his face as well.

Breastfeeding the Royal Baby: Apparently there is a lactation consultant who is recognized world-wide in only the most elite circles as being enormously skilled in the art of forcing a newborn to latch on to a nipple, no matter how prim and proper that nipple may be. Yet this expert is so discreet, no one knows her name or what she looks like (or even if she is a she). Known only under the pseudonym The Queen of Suck, she has advised everyone from Angelina Jolie to Octomom on the best way to breastfeed a baby. The confidentiality agreement is so airtight that she (or he) is not allowed to discuss the details of angling Mother Kate’s breast into feeding position lest the Milk Maiden be put to death by drowning in a vat of formula.

Getting the Royal Baby to Sleep: Genuine eunuchs will be flown in from China to wave palm fronds over the Royal Baby during naptime and a trio of Benedictine Monks will sing three-part harmonies of Gregorian chants. The royal bassinet has been fitted with a 10-inch memory foam mattress and a 21st century “Magic Fingers” device which contains 12 different speed settings which the baby may choose himself based on his squirming direction.

Playing with the Royal Baby: Three of the most popular American My Gym teachers have been flown across the pond to teach the Royal Baby to play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. They have been instructing Kate and William for the past two months on games and songs, and basically getting them to behave like the children they were never allowed to be. We are told that the Proud Papa’s favorite children’s song is The Hokey Pokey; however, his manservant is still not used to ignoring his Highness’ instructions: “You put your right line in, you put your right leg out…” and has been known to trip mid-step while carrying in the morning tea.

A pacifier for the Royal Baby?: Even if it is blinged out with the Hope Diamond itself, under no circumstances should the Royal Baby be allowed to establish the crude habit of sucking on a pacifier. Although the pacifier is lifesaver for common folk, its use is known to cause an overbite. On the other hand, the Brits are famous for their bad teeth, so binky-sucking might be allowable in private, as long as its dependence doesn’t continue after the future king has been shoved off to boarding school.

Although with time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their underlings may become more adept at caring for their little bundle of regal joy, they will soon be thrust into the next stage of infant care: Baby-proofing the Royal Castle. The first item on the list: installing a child-proof lock for the lid of the Royal Throne.

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Filed under Humor, Parody, Satire

Happy Father’s Day to the Guy Who Knocked Me Up!

happy-fathers-day-knocked-up-mom-fathers_day-ecards-someecards Life was pretty simple for Tom in the fall of 2004. He owned a tiny, unkempt home in Van Nuys and his three dogs happily roamed the huge yard filled with knee-high weeds. His roommate Travis was a barrel of laughs and they’d have cigar-infused poker games beginning at 10:30 pm on Friday nights and lasting until the wee hours of Saturday. Tom spent his free time watching ballgames and blaring Black Sabbath as he tooled around in his little sports-like car.

IMG_1953“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends would say. “It’s a shame he can’t find a nice girl.”

It never occurred to me that I might be that nice girl.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.03.29 PM

Emily & Mary 2003

In 1995, I became friends with Tom and his soon-to-be wife, who became his soon-to-be ex.  My ex-husband and I split up in May of 2004 when my daughters were 3 and 7 years old, and six months later, I was frustrated that I couldn’t get the internet to work. I knew Tom was great with computers, so I asked if he could set up my  Mac and offered to make him dinner in exchange.

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Tom & Baby Jake

Apparently he could run rings around a PC, but he’d never touched a Mac. Tom’s roommate gave him a crash course before he came over so he could fake it.

Tom never did get me online, but a year later we were married, and three months after our wedding day I was pregnant. I was already 43 and in perimenopause. He was 38 and apparently had some tenacious swimmers.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.06.48 PM

Tom and 4-year old Mary

Suddenly Tom had a new home in a different part of the valley – one where the lawn was expected to be short and the mess shouldn’t be chokeable to young children. He became an instant step dad to my two little girls, and his life was no longer his own.

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Tom & 8-year old Emily

There were constant play dates, slumber parties, and endless backyard karaoke performances with pop songs and show tunes that would make his ears bleed. Tom knew nothing about decorating Barbie’s Dream House, putting on Fashion Polly gowns, or watching predictable Disney Channel sitcoms with overbearing laugh tracks. But he learned.

Today Tom is blaring the brand new Black Sabbath album, but now it’s from his family-friendly mini SUV. The late night cigar-infused poker games are few and far between, but he attended one last night and won a whopping 70 bucks. Tom still has 3 dogs (2 of them replaced the other 2 that died), but he now has 3 kids added to the mix.

Tom Jake Raingutter Regata

Tom & Jake at the Cub Scout’s Raingutter Regatta

Tom became the treasurer of our local elementary school even before his own son was a student, and the assistant den leader for Jake’s Cub Scout Pack. It’s a fairly odd turn for a man whose favorite song lyrics come from a guy known for biting the head off a bat.  He also became the head coach for Jake’s Toluca Baseball team. Tom Jake Toluca GrettelTom even built a batting cage in our backyard driveway, complete with enclosed netting, and he pitches wiffle balls to Jake after work.

His life has become much busier than I’m sure he ever dreamed it could be. Tom started his own blog Middle Age Metal HeadParenting With a Heavy Metal Twist. Although I doubt that he’s fond of Talking Heads (probably too conventional), the common theme running through his blog seems to be like the band’s Once in a Lifetime lyric: How did I get here?

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.18.35 PMTom doesn’t spend all weekend watching ballgames anymore. Instead, he mows the lawn and takes out the trash. He washes the dogs, shaves the Australian shepherd’s hairy, poopy butt, and fixes anything that breaks, including the 83-year old brass doorknobs that fall off weekly.

Tom Mary pool

Tom & Mary in our above-ground pool

He sets up our above ground pool in May, takes it down in October and plays water volleyball with Mary and Jake most summer evenings. He’s teaching Emily how to drive and play guitar. He makes us delicious, healthy meals and guides us in 20-minute workout sessions. During family dinners, he has us each go around the dinner table and say the three things we did well, the one thing we wish we could do better, and what we could do to get better at that thing.Tom Jake cowboys

Tom has a twisted sense of humor, and never ceases to make us all laugh. We never get sick of him saying, “We’re off like a prom dress,” or his friend Joe’s line, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff; pet the sweaty stuff.” Tom doesn’t hold a grudge, always tries to get us to look on the bright side, and has a never-ending faith that no matter what happens, together we can walk through anything.

Tom Jake“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends still say.

How lucky I am to have become his nice girl.

Note: Thank you to someecards for their inspiration for the title of this blog post. For Father’s Day, I sent Tom their “Happy You-Knocked-Up-Mom Day” e-card. He thanked me by saying he’s happy to oblige any time.

Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

Today: Emily, Cathy, Tom Mary & Jake. Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

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