There, Beneath The Blue Suburban Sky

The thing with working from home is that I never get to stay home sick, and I never get to play hookie from the office. I don't get the 30 minute commute to listen to The Divinyls real loud and forget about life. I never get to 'leave it at the door', because I never leave the damn door. I never remember to take a lunch break because it's not like I'm going to get some Major Change of Scenery if I do. And then my boss calls me to ask about something and I am a flaming ball of bitch and he's all, "Did you take a lunch today?" and I'm all, "What's the fucking point, yo?" and he's all, "I'll call you back after your exorcism" and then my kids come home from school and I actually stop working then for a while to make them dinner and get their homework done but then I hear Outlook be all, "Bliiiiing! You've got mail!" and I try to ignore it, I really do, but once my kids are settled and happy and playing basketball or Wii - because they're smarter than I am and also, get to leave their day jobs - I go into the office to pick up the coffee mugs and gatorade bottles and I think about vacuuming but that damn Outlook is all, "Bliiiing! You're ignoring me!" and so I think, "Huh, I could just wrap up this one last thing while the kids are settled and then it's 9 at night and I'm dead smack in the middle of something I can't stop.

And then my husband comes home at midnight, walks in the office and says, "Why are you still *sniffsniff* ohmygod did you not take a lunch today?" and I'm all, "Look, I can stop whenever I want" and he's all, "But have you smelled yourself today?" and I'm all, "I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM"  and he's all, "Not one some deodorant can't cure" and then he makes me go to bed. And then I get up the next day and I am a flaming ball of banshee because the dishes aren't done and there is a crumb trail across the living room floor and I have started a dust mite breeding mill on my mantle but the kids rooms are clean and my husband has washed his laundry and everyone is very well rested and have all watched their respective favorite shows because they are selfish assholes who understand the concept of "downtime" but I have 8,382 editions of the Daily Show piled up in the DVR and I can't find a bra so I do what any reasonable person in my position would do...I go back to work.

Second verse, same as the first.

So, I bought a dog.

I didn't mean to buy a dog, I meant to buy a plant stand and some pants that will actually button around what used to qualify as a waistline. Because as awesome as it is to be able to say, "I am the Head of Communications for Random Nameless Business Solutions Corporation", sitting in an Ikea chair typing all day is not nearly as good a cardio workout as running 10 miles every night carrying trays full of very expensive crystal wine glasses was. That shit should be an Olympic sport, seriously.

My fingers, however, are totally beefcake.

But we went out to buy a plant stand and some fat pants and we passed the place where the wild things are and I had to look because someone had to go take a laser to his balls and now I can't have anymore babies so I project all my misplaced clock-ticking onto fuzzy little four legged creatures and while I was looking at the Chihuahuas, because god forbid you own anything but a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua in the great state of Texas, I saw it. Her. The one, lone beagle, looking at me and my husband with that, "Resistance Is Futile" look that only an 8 week puppy can give right before she p0wns you, or the Borg, just with more wires through your brain, and the next thing I know, I am taking lunches.

Because nothing says "it's time to take your lunch break" like an eight week old puppy's digestive system trying to adjust to a new diet on white carpet.

And nothing says, "I certainly made the right choice in keeping these 19 piercings out of the chin-to-hips zone" like 8 week old puppy teeth going for your forearm but missing, slightly to the left. And so we named her Penny Lane because she is in my ear and in my eye and also in my nipples and in the boys no-fly zones but that's honestly just because she's a midget-dwarf and they wear boxers, but her name goes pretty nicely in keeping with the theme we have going here, what with Jethro the frog and Tull the toad, who used to live in the causeway behind our house but now live with us in our yellow submarine. There's also Pedro the tree frog, but we're pretty sure he's a refugee from Arizona. Bygones.

The Grand Apologia

I want to start by clarifying for you that my children are very kind people. Mostly. They stick up for the little guy. They get into fights on the bus that end in their heads getting smashed into the windows because they will not let some kid, no matter how big or popular he is, say the N word in their presence. They start to smash ants with their shoes and then one of them says, and I quote, "Wait, what will his mother do after this?" and then they stop and rescue those very ants from the Driveway of Doom. They thank me every single night for dinner, even though I've told them a bazillion times that it is my moral, legal and ethical duty to feed them, and no thanks are required. They call adults Mr and Mrs, or Sir and Ma'am. They are respectful of adults, (possibly only) when in the presence of said adults.

Basically, I'm saying my kids can queue like motherfuckers. And that they're nice people, generally, when they have to be. Of course, they are but children, and I am slightly biased. But still, I think I've done right by them, and even you would agree, I imagine, if only you were capable.

I'd also like to state for the record that two out of the three of these Eddie Haskels nice kids are vegetarians. I won't even attempt to take credit for this, even though I am a little proud of the fact. Their father works at a restaurant; a very nice restaurant where they wear tuxedos to serve you and specialize in dicing up a specific species of animal in all sorts of beautifully over-priced arrangements. I am not in the business of killing beasts of burden for gangsters...only the English language, but I'll freely admit that of all the things I'd like to quit, eating animals is probably the most unlikely. You see, I have this thing that happens to me every month called a period, and it's not your average, "Oh, how inconvenient and annoying this monthly uterine-lining expulsion is", it's someone shaking up a pub can of Guiness real hard and then poking a hole in the can. Every drop of liquid in my entire body rushes for equally-pressurized pastures and once the iron is all gone, there's really only one thing I can do to get it back.

Enter cows.

And I am sorry for this. I really, truly wish I could show the same level of professional courtesy that I have come to expect, nigh, demand, the animal kingdom show me back. On an intellectual level, I am 100% again the consumption of animals but on the animal level, I need medium rare steak like Kathy needs Regis. However, I make up for the sins of myself and the father with the fact that two of my children have, all on their own, written off meat of any kind, simply because they don't want it anymore.

Well, one of them did. The other one did because it gives him an 'angle' with which to pick up hot chicks. Bygones.

I mention all of this so that you'll understand that when those boys, my darling sons, showed up shrieking at the back door with first a tiny little frog, and then a fat, bumpy toad, and lastly an ohmygodsoslimy tree frog, I tried to dissuade them from keeping them. I reminded them that all of God's creatures have mothers and homes and lives and who are we to dictate the fortunes of another living thing? They agreed, but were overcome with the pre-pubescent need to watch stuff crawl about their bedrooms. Stuff that isn't in the laundry basket. They kept  the frogs and the toad and we are now proud pet owners with a moral, legal and ethical duty to see to it that those creatures remain alive and moderately thriving for as long as we are capable.

And see? There's this thing called the Food Chain, and how it works is that if you are able to create brick walls that won't blow down if wolves huff and puff on them, you get to live at the top of the food chain. Also, if you run really fast. If you are able to skeeve mothers out and eventually be dissected in middle school science rooms, you get to live in the middle of the food chain. If you live in old cardboard egg cartons and require only a little rock salt to survive, you are unfortunately sent to the bottom of the food chain, and that is where our paths have crossed today.

It's not that the kids were actually thrilled to watch you die, it's that they were overly excited to finally partake in the Circle of Life. Their food comes from pantry shelves and grocery store coolers. They've never known the thrill of the hunt, they've never had to strategize their meals. They've never had to use cunning and camouflage and their tongues to catch anything (except chicken pox) (which I gave them) (shut up). So when they saw Tull (their toad, brotha from anotha mutha to Jethro) lurking in the burrow he'd dug for himself, blending in seamlessly with the moss and driftwood surrounding his admittedly gross as all fuck body, moving nothing but his eyes, watching every spastic little hoppy move you made, I had no choice but to call them over. It's my duty as a mother to teach these children science. And so, together we watched in breathless wonder as you stumbled closer and closer to our lurking friend, and I just want to assure you that the screams and fistbumps that followed your instantaneous capture and descent into the admittedly gross as all fuck bowels of our toad were not in celebration of your death, but merely in respect for the grandness of the natural order of things.

Because we salute the Earth, and all her creatures great and small, but particularly ones with really, really freaking long oh my god so totally awesome tongues.

With regrets to your cricket brethren, I bid you adieu. May you receive your 40 virgins or, you know, a job ruling over a bunch of whiny humans on Earth. Either way, really.

Here, There and Everywhere

So, tomorrow is Mother's Day. I want Morris Chestnut; I'll settle for a nap, thank you very much.

Megan from Velveteen Mind asked me to share a little bit of my story for a Mother's Day blog carnival about Heart and the Art of Parenthood. My story is here, and so are ones from Jessica of Balancing Everything, Ron from Clark Kent's Lunchbox, Leslie from Mrs Flinger, Lucrecer Braxton from Art Slam, Michele Lamar from v3 Marketing and Maya from Think Maya.

We'd love to hear your story, too. Click over to share yours, and have a wonderful Mother's Day. Or Sunday. Or nap. Or Morris Chestnut. But I don't want to hear about that.

*Yeah, I'd totally just post it here and save you the click, but I was compensated for the post and ad contracts be ad contracts, yo.