There's No State Income Tax, But They Make Up For It With The Asshole Tax

We spent Thanksgiving with my realtor, which is only slightly less depressing than spending it with no one. But I like my realtor. She's kind of nuts.

I mean, she's got penises peni penis' thank god at least I don't know what the plural for penis is all over her house, and two of her dogs have been dead for at least 3 months, and yet they keep on walking around. It's like hanging with half of the Rolling Stones at her place. The third dog is young, virile, a little fat, and no friend to the small children.

She told me as much. Her husband told me as much. The dog told me as much. My husband told me as much. My 4 year old told me as much. And still, I insisted they become friends. The Yorkie and the toddler should be friends, right? And so I showed her how to give him treats and I showed her how to offer her hand for a sniff and I showed her how to scratch him right *there* under his chin where no dog can resist being all loved up and he showed all of us how sharp his little teeth are. Also, what the insides of my kid's lip look like.


So I spent Thanksgiving in the ER with my realtor who was pretty sure I was going to sue her pants off for something that was my fault. My husband spent Thanksgiving at her house with her husband who was sure we were going to sue his pants of for something that was completely my fault. My daughter got a needle the size of one of those penile ornaments straight in her face for something that was completely and in every way my fault. And I got re-introduced to the US Healthcare system as a non-card carrying member.

The cost for this asshatery? A low low $311.99. A bargain, really, for ruining a strangers holiday and scarring my child's face for life.

I'll admit that I was a little peeved at the $500 bill they handed me, and only slightly relieved when they cut it in half since I paid up front. $250 for 20 minutes and 2 stitches? That's a damn steep salary. But then I looked in the mirror and remembered all those cuts and colors that ran me exactly the same, back in the day when I gave a rat's ass, and I figured that, if I'm going to pay a someone who went to night school that kind of money to make dead cells growing out of my head look decent, I can't really argue with paying someone who spent 10 years in university the same to save my child from having to wear a Frankensteinish scar in the center of her face for the rest of her life.

Also, 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES. My husband showed up at a Canadian ER the day before we moved with more of the flesh on his forearm than is decent to discuss in public no longer attached to his forearm and enough blood spewing out of that hole to fill a blood bank, or all those Twilight freaks, and he walked out after four hours without so much as being acknowledged. And now he has a very sexy scar all the way up his arm, and a nice reminder that caveman mechanics and Ikea kids beds and national health care Do. Not. Mix.

The $60 the charged me at the pharmacy for Amoxicillin is an entirely different story. I kind of wanted to kill America at that point. Or at least fuck it in the eye.

But, as they say, all's well that ends well. At fucking late o'clock, we sat around my realtor's dining room table and all gave thanks for something. The kids were thankful for the pool in her backyard, she and her husband for the company, me for barely having permanently scarred my child on any level, and my husband? He was thankful to be sitting in a room eating turkey with a mannequin wearing black lace panties and miniature Santa hats as pasties over her nips.

Karmic Retribution Often Comes With a Cherry On Top

You know what happens when you decide to be that asshole American who's all, "If you people elect Bush again, I'm so totally moving to Canada", and then you DO IT? Karma sees fit to deport your ass straight to his backyard, that's what.

But if you've been really good at some point in your life, even if you can't exact think of one single thing that would qualify you for karmic goodness, but it has to be there because karma decides to dish you out some goodness, you can at least get deported straight back to the backyard of the president you never had very kind words for which also happens to be occupied by all of the bloggers.

Or at least the comments on the last post tell me so. So for all of you who left nice words; thank you. For all of you in HOUSTON who left nice words; thank you, and I'm sorry I didn't respond to every one of you like I meant to, but I just plain suck right now.

Also, I'm taking your asses up on it.

December 4th, downtown Houston, you, me and happy hour. Details are here. Be there or be somewhere else entirely.

But really, please just be there.

***Completely unrelated***

When I was 11 or 12, I sat in my bathroom sink one night with a roll of scotch tape and a bottle of Elmer's glue and I tried, so hard, to find a way to make that tape sticky enough to put on my nose and yank out all of that crap clogging my little bitty pores.

I could be a kagabazillionaire right now, but then I'd be knee deep in the business of other people's snow-capped miniature paper-mache forests, and not wasting everyone's time changing the world as a blogger.

So I became a blogger. And met a guy named Jim. And we talked about opening a kids martial arts/UFC style studio, because he likes it and my kids like it and my husband likes it, but then we remember that someone had done that, too, and it didn't end so well for the asian guy.

And then we had the epic idea to start a line of kids cooking utensils, because yeah, someone really should do that, except someone already did do that, but our kids did start a kids review blog and no kid has ever done that before and the people who made the kids cooking stuff gave them some to test and the resulting carnage is right here.

Pretty Sure This Means My Period Is About To Start

I haven't talked too much about the actual move; like, the process behind it. I haven't because, honestly, I was busy pretending it wasn't happening. I didn't want to leave Canada, I wasn't planning on leaving Canada. I was happy in Canada. I was getting things in order to apply for citizenship in Canada. And now, I'm as far from Canada as I think I could be, geographically.

We say, or at least think, that the internet bridges all spans of time and distance, but it isn't really true. Right now, the internet is making what is a massive span of miles seem unfathomably far away. Right now, I feel two thousand light years away.

When I moved to Canada from Denver, I let myself die, repeatedly, inside. Every goodbye sucked a little bit of life out of me. I caved in on myself for a while and felt it. I didn't let myself meet new people for a long time. I didn't see new faces, I didn't hear new stories, I didn't hold new babies. I suspended myself in some weird loss-ridden vortex for a long time and ached for home.

Of course, Canada ended up being just as much home in 3 years as Denver had become in 15.

And now I'm back in that vortex. I'm in a neighborhood that doesn't have a Lauren outside chasing kids and a Sajeeda outside drinking tea and a Meera outside holding someone's kid and a Luke outside tweeting fabulously obscene 140 character sentences and an Andrew outside fixing everyone's bike and feeding the kids mint and a Brent washing his car and a Shawn and an Austin and a Dez watching really inappropriately frightening movies in my living room. I haven't seen so much as ONE neighbor yet, and I quite frankly don't want to.

I don't want to love these people. I don't want to have a favorite Texan, and I don't want her to fly halfway across the state to come stay for a weekend with me before I get kicked out of this place like my Canadian bella did. I don't want to have hundreds of pictures of their kids who will forever be suspended in the animation of FlickR, I don't want to hold on to four pasta bowls that don't match a god damn thing in my kitchen because someone used to make me Indian food in them. I don't want to have a size 5 hand-me-down toddler track suit in a ziploc baggy because it's the last thing that smells like a Texan's house.

I don't want anymore new. And so I've been ignoring this, this upheaval. I've drown myself in the Tasks At Hand that involve writing corporate web copy, unpacking boxes, washing laundry for 6 days, non-stop, and figuring out where to hang this damn Auspicious Animal. I've swooned in the space I am afforded in This Texas Life, because it's true; everything is bigger here. And so much fucking cheaper, I can't even believe it.

That big red home? 1/3 of the price of the Canadian blue home that was half the size. Not kidding.

I've been doing a great job of this. I haven't set up my office, on purpose, because setting up my office means turning on the Mac and that means 24" of everyone in Canada's life moving right on without me. It's 24 HD inches of faces I'm not going to see, of people across borders I won't see again for I-don't-know-how-long. It's reality, and reality is for pussies.

And then the first runny nose set in. And then I noticed the first flaw in the new house. And then I lost my momentum and let the dishes pile up. And then, this morning, I opened the packet for my health care policy enrollment forms.

And then it all hit me Square. In. The. Face.

I left. I left all of those things that I loved behind. AGAIN. I know what happens when you do that; I did it before, and I lost so much. And I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of giving up these relationships that form me and mold me and make me and my family better and stronger and safer and happier.

But here I am, thousands of miles from what I love in several different directions, with happy children and a professionally fulfilled spouse and a gorgeous kitchen and I think, if I'm going to live here, I'm going to have to let myself die a little first.

Or Midol. Maybe I just need to take some damn Midol.

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

"Where are we going, momma?" she asked me two night ago from the backseat of the car. "Home, baby", I answered. "Are we going to our new Texas house?" she squeaked softly from her carseat, and I told her we were. "Momma, dats not my home."


"Where is your home, babycakes?" "My bwue house is my home, wif my green woom. It's empty."

Empty House

Yes, yes it is, love.

She misses her home. She can 't remember the house in Denver that we lived in until she was 6 months old, she can't remember the little two bedroom apartment her brothers and I called home for a little over a year while her dad and I sorted our shit out, separately; all she knows in life is Moorside Place; the stairs, the yellow living room walls, her Granny Smith green bedroom walls, her white bed that we left behind for a new little baby who will need a crib when he's born. This is just some place full of boxes that we've crashed in for a while.

Home is where her gerbil is, and her gerbil isn't in America.

We're trying to do everything we can to make this as easy on them as possible. We spent every day of our 2+ weeks in the hotel at the pool, even the really cold, rainy ones, I haven't enrolled the boys in school yet, I got them cell phones, 3of3 has spent every single night in my bed, and I bought them every nasty, evil, food-coloring-soaked, marshmallow-laden, not really food at all breakfast cereal on the market. Because if their life is going to be torn asunder, I think they should at least get to eat some Count Chocula while it happens.

It's worked, so far.

We've spent these 3 weeks since we moved together, just the 5 of us, burrowed into each other making cardboard houses, watching so many movies, slowly unpacking, and laughing like we're hopped up on sugar dipped food coloring. It's been nice, but real life has to resume at some point.

Eventually, this house has to become home. And 3of3 doesn't even have a bed yet.

So yesterday, after my kid informed me that this isn't her home, I got on the horn with the eight thousand doctors and schools to get all the vaccination records and school records I'll need to get the boys back in school. I took them to Petsmart and let them buy a new gerbil, whom we've named Theodore. (Shut up, Molly & Marge, gerbils are heartier. It shall live. DAMMIT.) I opened a few of 3of3's boxes and dug out some clothes and toys. I went to the grocery store and bought more than beer and Apple Jacks. And last night, I took 3of3 with me to the Kirtsy Takes a Bow book signing where she made a new friend whom she wrestled with, got into a fight with, resolved that fight with and decided that he could be her new best friend fowrevowr.

And through sleepy eyes and tired words on our way back, she asked, "Momma, where we go now?" and I said that we were going back to our house. She said, "Are we going to my red home, momma?" and I smiled. Yes, little girl, we are going to your red home.

This Texas House

And now, to buy some fucking GRANOLA...

Cleanliness is Next To Godliness and Apparently, God Wants You to be Miserable

I grew up poor, and when I say I grew up poor, I don't mean that I could only afford the knock-off Caboodles; I mean that I wore my brother's old underwear and my gross annual income was the exact same as my husband's current net. MONTHLY.

We ate whatever we could get our filthy little hands on, we perfected the art of reusing grocery store paper bags for our trash cans and we wore whatever was given to us.

Usually, we looked like absolute trash.

The problem with that is simply that children reach a certain age when they stop caring at all about what they look like, right in between the "I got dwessed all by myselfes!" phase and before the "I'm getting laid, dammit" phase, and couple that with some significant levels of poverty and the daily dumpster dive for discarded treasures (one man's trash, yo) (is still just trash) (but is more fun to dig through rotten fruit and old coffee beans for than reading the fucking Bible) (again) and you have some stank-ass children.

My middle brother's feet smelled exactly like week old vomit, all the time. Not kidding.

One of the little rich-bitches that I lived near growing up, who's family was probably in the same income bracket as I am now, but whom then seemed like she, as all of those girls seemed to me, was dripping in Hamilton's, she asked me why I looked so much better than my little brother and sister all the time and the only answer I could come up with was that I cared enough to try.

My children do not share my dedication to personal appearance in the face of great adversity. Perhaps because I stopped caring enough to try once I could afford not to. Or perhaps because fuck if those yoga pants aren't the most comfortable things ever invented.

My children are lucky enough to not have the slightest inkling as to what the words hunger or need mean, but they are still disgusting little piggies, and it infuriates me. Of course, I am that mother that is all, "when I was a little kid" and "you have no idea how good you have it" and it infuriates them. We are at an impasse.

My oldest son is full-on in the middle of fucking puberty, which makes me feel so old I kind of want to see how much I'd go for at Sotheby's, and means that he is having all sorts of issues with his T zone. And he knows what a T zone is, which means he's only a few months years away from knowing what a G spot is and that will officially be the last mythical thing he believes in and my job will be OVER.

I've fully lost my train of thought here.

Oh, that's he's almost too big to cuddle but is far and away big enough for me to smell, all the time, everywhere I go, even when he's not there, and it's wigging me out.

Yesterday, I made him let me groom him. Death. By. Mother. I might as well have grabbed a coat hanger and started ranting about how hard I work and dishrags or something. I brushed his teeth, properly, made him floss AND rinse, and then I *gasp* washed his face. WITH NOXEMA. Sorry if I don't want to spend the next 6 years looking for my son's gorgeous face under a blanket of oozey pimples, but I didn't gain one hundred and five pounds for him to run around looking like semen-filled bubble wrap.

He's got my skin, which means he's either very oily or Sarhara dry, so Noxema is just about his only real option. And it smells like yo gramma, which is awesome. So I slathered him up, taught him how to wipe it all off, gave him his very own pint-sized tub of Noxema for his bathroom, and then basked in the glory of his perfectly soft, clear skin for one whole day.

Later that night, I watched him reading his book and I couldn't help myself. I reached out and rubbed his little cheek, and then told him how beautiful his skin looked. He told me that was the worst thing I've ever said to him in his whole life.

And that is music to any mother's ears.