Rate the Hate the Pot Luck Edition

Tonight, we're not having a recipe post. Today, the recipe is the invitees. Auds at Barking Mad has asked us to host a dinner party on our blogs and invite 10 bloggers to come over. I am all over that shit, yo. Especially since Andrea at Little Bald Doctors and Dana at Supernanny, Where Are You have already asked me over and I'm plum out of anymore dishes to bring.

I am supposed to invite 10 people I'd really like to meet in real life, so I am assuming I should omit those I already HAVE met in real life, for the sake of fairness. I had to wiggle some ladies in there, but for mostly unselfish reasons.

1. I'm trying to do this by menu item. First, in charge of the wine, I'm inviting Ron at Ducks Mahal. I don't know if Ron know thing one about wine, but I'm betting he's hysterical all drunk. He also gets to say grace before dinner, because there's something about him that makes me really want to go to church again. Ron is my kind of believer.

2. With some seriously refined appetizers, I'm inviting Andrea at Mommy's Martini. She made some dip for Bossy that evidently inspired proposals of marriage or something. Come on over, Andrea. Bring those martini recipes, too. I know they'll be as elegant as she is. Andrea will sit right next to me and correct me every time I drop a semi-colon in; the wrong place. And then we will laugh our asses off over almost nothing at all, like we were 13 or something.

3. I am recruiting Chris Cactus (and of course, his wife Beth) to bring the juice boxes and the Baskin Robbins cake for the kids. He knows why. I am inviting them because, well, I kind of want to hook up at least one of their kids with mine. You've got to at least try to pick your co-grandparents, right? I also secretly hope Chris will make a mixtape for us to listen to. Chris will be in charge of making sure the bathroom is clear of all freaks, short, mythical, outlandish or just flat out wrong before we enter. He will take 5,439 pictures of the party, and he will be the focal point of 5,438 of them. And that will be just fine.

4. I am inviting Jenny, the Bloggess, because as much as I lovelovelove her and no bathroom counter will ever feel the same again to me *wink*, my husband is majorly in crush with her, and he may not survive much longer if he doesn't meet her. I'm asking her to bring some oxygen tanks for the rest of you who don't know yet that you have to remember to breath when she talks, because she doesn't, at all, and you won't either. Just like when your husband snores all night and then stops, and you wake up almost but not quite totally asphyxiated. Fucker.

5. Laskigal is bringing the main dish. Why, I don't know. I just get the feeling she could make a really great main dish. She is just really great, kind of all the time. I think she'll make something interesting, but not at all pretentious, with just enough but not too many ingredients, and there will totally be something deep and spicy about what she makes. None of us will be able to quite put our finger on what it is, but we'll want more. After her course is over, we'll all be really settled and content. Because she's awesome like that.

6. Kori is going to get stuck making some side dish, and she'll do it, and she'll roll her eyes at me the whole time for making her do it, and we'll sit across the table from each other all night and make really quiet, subtle, inappropriate jokes that no one else will catch. We'll go outside together for a smoke, and we'll have some earth shattering heart to heart chat, and then we'll go back in and be all cool and collected and sly. She will tell stories over dinner, she'll be really monotone and even and calm about those stories, and the rest of us will sit with our jaws on the floor while she speaks, and we will all be in total awe of her come the end of the night. Then she'll make a blow job reference. And THAT is why she's invited. I can't be the ONLY one making them.

7. I am inviting the Suburban Kamikaze, because god knows someone has to get her out of the mid-west, even if for only one night. She's in charge of after-dinner drinks, and I fully expect them to have those snow-ball ice circles in them, sister. She will wear really hot underwear, and she will say things that everyone else in the room is thinking, kind of, but she will say them in a way none of us would ever think to, and we all will lose our will to speak by the end of the night, and just let her do it for us. We won't be sad about it, either; she's that good.

8. I am asking Momo-Fali to bring the beer, so long as it isn't Natural Light. She will be in charge of making sure there are no germs left on the counter, on our hands, in the air, or around most of the major metropolitan area. Afterward, she will write a 4 sentence recap of our dinner party, and it will be the most funny, brilliant thing anyone has ever read, and the entire night will be summed up perfectly. And her son will have labeled us all neatly before the night is through.

9. Polly, or Lesbian Dad as you may know her, is coming with Ms. Lesbian Mom and their children, who are so beautiful we will all be rendered instantly sterile, because what's the point, really? She's bringing dessert. She will talk of deep things, of stories that need to be told, with words that must be said, and we will all cry and be changed and forever moved, and then I will take the dessert she brings and lick it off of her. And I think she'll let me.

10. I am asking Sleep Deprivation Ninja to come, and we won't actually notice he's there, but occasionally we'll see a dark, shrouded blur whiz past us and hear a little chuckle adrift in the air. Just image how fast the dishes will be cleared from the table after dinner. Every dinner party needs a ninja in attendance. Just sayin'.

11. Fuck it, rules were made to be broken. RedNeck Mommy is coming, but you wouldn't know it unless I told you, because we look exactly alike, are almost exactly the same age, have almost exactly the same story, both have nose rings, are both Canadian, and both have so many kids we're about to have to move into a shoe. We will just trade places all night, never being in the same room at the same time, and you'll be slightly confused, but you'll get over it, because she's totally enchanting like that.

And that's all I'm allowed to invite, which kind of sucks, because I'd like to ask a whole lotta other people over. Maybe we'll have to do it again sometime.

Updated for what I suspect isn't the last time:

What's a party without some crashers? NO KINDA PARTY, that's what. Carolyn is crashing, and it's going to cause a bit of discord in her home because, well, she lives with a possessive jerk. *wink* She better not bring her kids, though, because we're serving Paranta and, well, go see for yourself. I have it on good authority that her kids will NOT be amused.

Ree is sneaking in with Andrea, and she's bringing the KY. Yep, I said it.

We'll see who else shows up. I'd better bust out some dixie plates.

Of All My Demon Spirits, I Need You The Most

Five Star Friday
I figure I've left you all hanging long enough. Here's the story of my aunt in part one of a little series I'd like to call Meet the Fuckers: The Tales of my Family.

(Seriousness disclaimer: You were warned)

My aunt was 21 the year I was born. She was my mother's first half sister. She had long, blond hair, blue eyes, and I think she just might have been left handed. She was the only blond in her family of jet-black haired relatives. Though my mother was quite the looker, she paled next to my aunt. Most of the western hemisphere paled next to her, to be perfectly honest. She. Was. Beautiful. In every way. She smiled all the time, she had a wicked laugh, she was incredibly intelligent.

There's some weird genetic variance in my family that causes the second born child to look seriously, questionably unlike anyone else in that immediate family. My aunt didn't resemble anyone in her family, I don't look like either of my parents or any of my siblings. My second child and my brother's second child look almost totally different than their older or younger siblings, who match as though they were twins. The strangest part? Those of us who are 2nd children, we mis-matches, all look EXACTLY alike. I am the spitting image of my aunt, my son looks like I had a baby with me, all frog-style, and my nephew could EASILY pass for my child. I bet that if his mother and I took him out, no one would guess he was hers.

So, yeah, we were close. I kind of idolized her. Truth be told, everyone did, but I looked like her and no one else I knew did.

She was thin, and apparently, she had always been thin. My grandmother and great-aunts explain that she was "just as skeeny as a bean pole!" and that's why her name was Beaner. I was a good deal older than I should have been when I came to the realization that A) her real name was Jean and B) Beaner is one of the more vile racial slurs one could chose to casually throw around. Leave it to my relatives, I tell ya.

When we were really young, my aunt was around quite a bit. She was a big fan of my dad, and really dug his band, and came over almost every night we had band practice. Her first husband, Tommy, rode a motorcycle, and I blame him for my total lack of ability to resist a bike to this very day.

When my parents divorced, and when Beaner and Tommy did, too, we saw less of her. She met and married a beautiful, Latin-ish man named Carmen, and I blame him for my total lack of ability to resist a Spanish man to this very day.

My family is, for lack of a better word, poor white trash. All of 'em. All of them, except Beaner, that is. She dug herself out a lovely little career rut pioneering some technology that is still used today to perform heart transplants. She drove a Ferrari that she used to let my brother drive, though he was too young, in the rain as they hydroplaned down the 202. She had a beautiful home in the affluent suburbs of New Castle, which is just south-west of Wilmington, which is the major city in Delaware, which is....oh fuck it. It's where Ryan Phillippe is from and it's about 30 minutes south of Philly.

In her house, she had glass tables, crystal wine glasses, a living room that no one ever sat in, an eat-in kitchen, and upstairs was a weight room. In that weight room there was a crawl space that led to a storage room. She, being childless herself, had that crawl space re-enforced and that storage area sound-proofed, wired and lit, and it became our playroom. She filled it with bean bag chairs and microscopes and all sorts of geeky, sciencey stuff that delighted us to no end.

When she started losing her mind, we stopped coming over.

My father has this picture of my grandmother (his ex-mother in law) and her two sisters, all sitting in a row, and he calls it the Nut Squad Shot. He has shoved that picture in the face of every woman of (our googlable last name's) descent and neener-neenered us with it. "THIS is your destiny," he'd laugh. My aunt never laughed back. He remembers with a sigh now that she always seemed not just unamused by, but abjectly afraid of, that picture.

None of us are of totally sound mind or body. We KNOW this. Some of us are just better at working around it. Beaner was. She was the only person in the complete total history of my family to go to college. She made it out, she made it happen, and then she found cocaine.

If you are related to me, you should just never do anything harder than pixie-sticks.

My mother was convinced she was possessed by Satan himself. Beaner was so coked out, she was starting to believe it. She smoked pot to calm her down when she was trying to not do blow, and then she did blow when she was sick of being calm. She hated her husband, and there were always rumours about him beating her, though never confirmed. She was angling for divorce, she was using so much she stood to lose her career, and she had no where to turn.

Beaner left her home, at the behest of her "boyfriend" (an old family friend who totally had the hots for her, and who was totally not anywhere near her league, and I know that's bitchy but it's true, and I am still pissed at that fucker.) She went to my grandmother, but, yeah, my grandmother is the craziest human alive, and with all the murals off hell and the channeling of George Washington and shit, that wasn't really going to work. She came to my mother, her oldest sister, and offered to pay her for a bed to sleep on and some sanity. She couldn't do drugs in my house, what with four kids running around. We were super-mega-christian; she knew she'd be safe.

My mother turned her away. She said she just couldn't handle Beaner's demonic influence in our home.

She checked herself into rehab one fall day. She checked herself out after 48 hours. No one knew she'd left except her doctors who begged her to stay. She showed up at our doorstep again, drunk, tired, smelling like a really full ashtray, and was sent away again. I don't know what she did after that.

A few days later, I missed my bus to school. I almost never missed my bus to school. I cut across the elementary school fields, ran down the side street, and booked it towards the last stop on the route. I'd done this a few times before, and had caught the bus every stinking time. I missed it that day.

I walked back home, opened the door, and the phone ran. Yup, just like that, just then. I answered it, and my other aunt, the aunt by marriage to the step-uncle, informed me the best way she knew how that they'd found Beaner's body somewhere near the train tracks that run down 1-95. I hung up the phone, and paused for just one second to reflect on all the many subtle ways that something made damn good and sure I fielded that phone call that morning. I turned, walked into the living room, and with one sentence watched the last remaining flicker of sanity in my mother's eyes die out.

It was on me to call the rest of the family, the friends, my father, everyone I could think of. I'm not entirely sure how old I was, but I don't think I'd even started my period yet. And I was playing The Reaper. And I did it, dead cold, straight faced, like a god damn rock.

The coroner determined that she had been sober, and sober for at least a full day. He also determined by the grip around her cigarette lighter that she had been scared out of her wits, and by her body temperature when she was found that she had laid on those train tracks for more than 3 hours. BEFORE the train ran her over her neck.

She was drug a good ways before she was flung into the weeds. The train conductor thought he'd seen something in his path at one point, so they were actually able to locate the approximate spot she laid, waiting. I don't know who found her body, all I know is what they saw. That, I won't tell you.

Sometimes I am really glad that I live 3,ooo miles away from where I grew up, because though I cannot remember how to get to my old school, and I can't picture the route to my church I attended 3 days a week, every week, for 16 years, I can with perfect clarity recall the exact spot on the highway that is across from the place they estimated she laid on the tracks that night. It's burned into my brain, and I don't think I ever want to see that again. Ever.

I never got to say goodbye to her. My mother forbid our attendance at her funeral, and I have no idea where she's laid to rest. I'm not entirely sure she was buried, but I imagine there is a grave-marker or a tombstone somewhere with her name on it. I don't believe in heaven or the afterlife, but sometimes I find myself talking out loud to her, just in case. I wonder if she would be proud of me for getting away from our family, or if she would condemn my choice to disown her mother and sister. I wonder what kind of Christmas presents she'd send my kids, her first great-nephews and niece. I wonder if she and my brother would still take the Ferrari out for a spin in the rain. I wonder if she lived so hard because she knew it was going to be short, and she had to squeeze in a lot in that little time she had.

Mostly, though, I wonder if she knew the impact she had on our lives. I wonder if her thoughts turned to her nephew and her niece in her final hours, who aside from my grandmother, arguably took the loss of her the hardest simply because we only knew the sunshine and the smiles and the light, and the nightmare she lived was beyond our comprehension. She was our beacon, our role model, our hope.

And now she's just gone. *poof* Just like that.

You Must Be So Proud

Imagine, if you will, walking up the staircase one day, rounding the corner, stepping into the hallway lit only by the 1970's tinted round bulb cover. The bronzed light bounces off the walls that are that shade of brown that is popular, classy, and really just looks like a decent poo. The light hits those walls, reflects off the honey wood floors, and glimmers against a little bubbly pile of something on the floor, about the size of a dime.

Whatever, wipe it up.

A day later, you walk into the kitchen. Maybe you trip over a stray Cheerio, perhaps your foot sticks in an errant popsicle dripping, but one thing is undeniable; there's another bubbly spot on in the kitchen floor. You check the ceiling for a leak. You look on the bottom of your shoe.

Weird, wipe it up.

Today, you walk from the dining room, around the couch, and into the living room. The sun is high in the sky, and your living room is flooded with golden light reflected off your therapy-yellow walls. You take a step, realize there's something almost but not quite gooey under your foot, and totally ass over foot slip and fall in it. BAM on the floor, you check your foot, and suddenly, as the stars swirl above your head, you figure it all out.

My child, she spits. And not this Spitz:

or even this Spitz

THIS spits.

I am the mother of two boys, and have been for over a decade now. I am no rookie in the world of spitting. My boys have spit on each other in the tub, with the hose water, out their noses at dinner; you know, boy stuff. And a long time ago when I actually gave two shits about pretending to parent them, I meticulously taught them to spit their toothpaste into the sink, to then rinse and spit, and then to swish fluoride rinse and spit that out, too. These kids have been schooled in the fine art of spitting. Not so much with numero tres, mi pequeño ángel accidental.

Apparently, I find blond pigtails, pink dresses, rats-nest hair and shit sandwich breath on a toddler endearing, because god knows she's lucky to see a brush of any form even once in a good week. Hell, she'd rather just suck on the tube of toothpaste anyway. That's fluoride, right?*

My point is that I've never exactly taught her to spit. Her brothers don't really run around spitting at each other anymore. I don't spit. Her father doesn't spit. Though we'll do it when we must**, we're just not spitters without a cause. And yet, she spits anyway.

The baby. The nasty little baby is spitting all over the house.

Can someone tell me, does spitting feel good or something? I've given it a whirl since my little discovery, and meh. It's alright. It's kinda fun when I get a good one going, get it all long and stringy, and then suck it back up right at the final second, but I think that may be a higher skill than someone who can barely wipe her own ass is capable of possessing.

Are you waiting for a point? Yeah, there isn't one. My kid likes to spit all over the damn floor. Don't think I don't know that you're pointing and laughing, either. I'd be willing to bet YOUR kids have some totally disgusting secret habit, too.

*I may be exaggerating slightly there.

**Easy, tiger. It's a family blog.

And I Suddenly Don't Want To Kill Him For Buying That Huge TV Anymore

My oldest son was born in the spring of 1998. When he was just four months old, his father gathered him in his arms, burrowed into the couch, and said, "Finally. Someone will watch the Olympics with me." It didn't matter what ass-backwards hour of the night that child woke up; his father was right there, bottle in one hand, remote control in the other.

I strongly encourage all you wives of athletes to time your pregnancies in accordance with the Olympic schedule.

My husband was a competitive swimmer for the majority of his life. When I say that he was a competitive swimmer, I don't just mean that he liked to race. I mean that he was one of the best swimmers around when he was doing it. He flew all over the damn country to train. He was courted by god knows how many universities. He was contracted by the US to coach a swim team in South Korea. He almost, ALMOST, qualified for the Olympic team tryouts countless times. I have binder on top of binder full of newspaper clippings featuring him, and box on box of medals in my basement. He still holds records in his hometown swim club.

He's on there. There, too.

I was not a competitive swimmer growing up. I was not a competitive anything growing up, honestly. Last time I checked, proselytizing wasn't was Olympic sport, but you never know. If speed-walking counts, maybe they're open to other ideas. Proselytizing is way harder than speed walking anyway.

Needless to say, the Olympics mean different things to The Donor and I, but we are united in the fact that we are both totally useless around here for two weeks solid, every even year. It means something in our house, something more than just entertainment. It means possibilities, the almost.

The almost is the hardest thing in the world to let go, if you ask me.

He watches the Olympics and he critiques strokes, he admires speed that was unheard of 15 years ago when he was swimming; he, I think, takes a little bit of pride in his sport, because he feels like he was a part of all that, that it's still his.

I watch it and I imagine every single one of my kids on that screen, on those starting blocks, on those balance beams. I dream of the legacies. My family has nothing but bad teeth and debt to pass from one generation to the next. Except my father, who is arguably the greatest guitarist you've never heard of, and my aunt, who did great things in science and then chopped her head off one fall day, so no one really remembers the accomplishments anymore, no one in my family has ever really done anything. No one excelled, no one sacrificed, no one dedicated themselves and pushed towards anything. THAT is not the legacy I want to pass down.

I've never seen my husband swim like he did back then, but I've seen him splash around in the pool from time to time, and I'll tell you something; some people are just born to do things. Sometimes, it's painfully obvious. I hope for my children that they find that thing, that one thing they're amazing at. I would be thrilled if that one thing was math, or science, or auto repair, so long as it fulfills them, but in all honestly, I want it to be a sport. They are athletes. It's in them. You don't have the dad they do and not be an athlete. We both go to great lengths to never, ever push our kids, but deep deep down where they can't see, I want it so badly for them, I can taste it.

So, for two weeks, I watch. I study technique, I look at form, I listen to strategy. I call my kids in from playing when the men get on the horse or the girls step up to the balance beams. I pull them into me when the guys climb up on their starting blocks and pull their goggles down, we scream together every time the USA gets a medal, and we scream even harder every time we shatter another world record.

Because, in my house, we're doing it together, those people on the TV and us. In my house, in my heart, those Olympians are blazing trails that my kids will walk someday, too.

PS: If you made it through that, go read this. It's much better.

My Car Has Crabs

The other day I made an off-handed reference to my car and the fact that it smelled a bit off, like, "vomit with really smelly feet" or something. Well, after a little digging, I am happy to report that I found the source of the odor.

One Dead Crab.

That's right, I had a dead crab in the back of my car. Factually, I had one full dead crab, one separate crab leg, and a few assorted crab parts on the side. You see, we spent a day at the beach last week, and the boys found all these totally rad crab parts that they just HAD to show their friends at home, and then 2of3 hit the motherload: One whole, entire, completely awesome dead crab. About the size of his palm.

I believe the exact agreement we struck went something like this: "You can show them to your friends and then they go straight into the outside trash." Two days later, we remembered that conversation.

So, I wrote that little post, and then Jill over at Charming & Delightful and I got into an email pissing match exchange over who had found the most gross stuff in the back of their car. And then we realized that hey, maybe we aren't the only two total suck ass overwhelmed and outnumbered mothers in the world. And THEN we decided to have a little contest.

That's right, we would like to know what the nastiest, most disgusting, slimiest, stinkiest thing you've ever found in your car is. I have found a pear that, by the feel of it when I discovered it under the passenger seat of the car, seemed about 4 months expired. Minimum. Only because it felt like pureed brains.

And, yeah, my car has crabs. Top that.

The winner will receive salvation in the form of a gift pack from Febreze, because if I believe in anything in life, it's hiding the evidence.

All you have to do to enter is:

  • Leave a comment, on either my blog or Jill's, telling us ALL about it. We want to know the smell, the feel, the look. The more our stomachs turn, the better.

  • Post about it on your own site, and be sure to include a link back to Febreze in the post. Feel free to steal our copyright-infringing button that we totally stole from the internet and modified anyway.

  • If you like, turn it into a post at your own blog and just sign up on the handy little Mr Linky thing on either of our sites.

Entries will be accepted until Monday, August 18th. And good luck topping dead crabs, yo.