Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Jesus and Drool

I'm not a particularly religious person at this stage in my life (I'll stop and wait for the audible gasps to subside...)  I believe in a higher power and the Greater Good, but I don't want to be one of those douche-baggy people who say, "I'm not religious, I'm SPIRITUAL."

I grew up hardcore COC (Church of Christ, for you lay people), and then immediately rebelled against it upon being subjected to daily chapel and Bible classes at Lipscomb University.  To be fair to Lipscomb, I was already leaning away, but that was the Jesus-straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

Now that I'm a mommy, I am revisiting the whole religion thing.  I have fond memories of church as a small child (it's when I became old enough to ask questions that things went sour), and I think it's good for kids to grow up with that moral compass and community.  Therefore, I'm trying to find some happy medium for A.  You know, somewhere in between Sunday pagan sleeping-in rituals, and Shoving-Jesus-Forcibly-Down-Your-Throat-Old-School-COC.

So the question becomes, what kind of church fits my little family?  It needs to be strong enough for Austin, yet pH-balanced for Mommy.  Liberal enough to accept that I'm an unrepentant single mother/ recreational alcoholic, but not so liberal as, for example, the Unitarian Church fairy walks (no joke- a teacher down the hall from me last year did that shit.)

I actually tried a new church today, and it was ok.  You can click here for the full review.  I didn't burst into flames, so that was good.  A was also super-smiley when I picked him up from the nursery, so that was good, too.  I didn't rededicate my life or anything this morning, but at least I had A mingling with a morally superior group of tots.

So far, so.... so...



I feel like I can't give an impartial review, and here's why:
  • I tried it on a whim,  
  • I really don't give a damn if I meet someone or not, and 
  • My ulterior motive is writing material or a funny story or two for dinner parties.

That being said- I can't decide if I am awesome or the biggest loser ever (in the improper noun sort of way- not in the Capitalized/ Jillian Michaels And Allison Sweeny Just Handed Me A Grand Prize Of $250,000 sort of way.) I hear complaints from various friends about not receiving enough matches, or not getting any dates from the 2 particular sites that I have joined (the other shall remain nameless to keep my last shred of dignity somewhat intact-ish).  Me, however- I get plenty of matches.  These matches have included gems such as:
  • A cattle farmer
  • An avid self-help book reader and collector (Grrreeeat)
  • Men who I consider "geographically challenged"
  • A couple of guys who, judging from their pictures, I am pretty sure had parents who were related
  • Fatties.  eHarmony clearly didn't listen to my particular deal-breakers.
  • And this one guy who sent a message to introduce himself with the subject, "Let's F@ck."  Except he didn't use a euphamistic symbol.  And he didn't actually introduce himself.  That's all there was to it.
Between these 2 sites, there are 3 or 4 guys that I find interesting (But one of those is un-datable- he's overweight, has a creepy beard, and lists his profession as "the pursuit of happiness."  He also included an FBI "person of interest" picture.  He's hilarious, though).  Of the potentially datable ones, one seems a little too young, one is a little too old, and one looks just right (and he's hot!), but he uses bad grammar.

My initial screening process is twofold:  once through where I am too nice, and then through the list again later, armed with chardonnay and a girlfriend to make the harsher but inevitable cuts.  I haven't met anyone yet, but I am working on being less judgmental.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On Dating (and Drool)

I hate dating.  Hate, hate, hate it.  I always have.  Perhaps that's why I habitually date guys I work with- because I already know them, and I get to skip the whole awkward, "You like horses? I like horses, TOOOOO!" part.  However, I am growing increasingly concerned about the level of co-dependence that my roomie and I seem to be slipping so easily into.  She fixes things while I cook dinner.  I take out the trash while she does dishes.  Yesterday, I ordered for her before she got to happy(ish) hour.

One of my BFFs, Misty, has been in a co-dependent relationship with her roommate for about 4 years now.  They are an old married couple- I swear it.  D and I have not been cohabiting long enough for this.  It must stop now, before it is too late!

So, now that I have taken a good hard look at my current life, I see pretty clearly that my most likely future includes me, D, and about 20 hairless cats.  I'm not math-savvy enough to run the actual statistical analysis, but I'm pretty sure that the odds aren't good.  Although I love my roomie dearly, I am not quite ready to give up yet (after my recent for-real 29th birthday, I consider it a waste of my last good trophy-wife years).  On that note, I have decided to do the unthinkable...

I am going to consider the possibility of dating.  Like, really dating.  And on that note (and also on Ambien), I have signed up for 3 months of eHarmony at a "limited time special price."  I never thought in a million years that I would be at this point:  yet another single mom on a dating website. Stay tuned for results-  I expect hilarity to ensue.  If nothing else, it could make for good blogging, no?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Are You My November Daddy?"

I have officially found something that sucks more than dating as a single mom- breaking up as a single mom.

So now, on top of the suckage that automatically ensues in a breakup, I have the added guilt of potentially causing my child psychological trauma.  Sure, anyone who knows me knows that I could never be truly happy forever with a man named Larry who lives on Bland Drive (no joke- and his dentist's name is Dr. Downer), but my kid doesn't understand that.  All A knows is that he is around a lot, has really cool toys at his house, and has way more follow-through than Mommy when it comes to disciplinary action.

How do people do this?  How the crap does this dating thing work with a kid?  There are so many new levels (and it's not like dating wasn't hard enough before.)

The way I see it, here are the options:

A) Keep a steady stream of men around so that A is accustomed, but not attached (November Daddy, anyone?)
B) Settle for a man with good bone structure and a W2 (hey, I've done worse)
C) Give up entirely, -or-
D) Win the cosmic love lottery and have Mr. Right show up on my doorstep, sweep me off my feet, and turn  me into one of those women who actually live in dual-income households (without making A get a job making Nikes or sewing for Kathy Lee's clothing line)

I'm thinking 'C'. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bitter, Party of One

So I just watched this birth slide show by some Orange County photographer on Facebook, because one of my friends posted it, and then about 30 of my other friends commented on how beautiful it was, and how they all cried. 
 Here is my take on it.

 This gorgeous chick and her super-attentive husband had a natural home birth, complete with midwive, grandma, and expensive photographer (who set the slideshow to a musical background of Enya).  I can only hope that mom's legs and body were photoshopped, because no human being is that hairless- even the tiny one that she pushed out in her inflatable birthing tub, set upon immaculate yet really cool hardwood floors.  This really good-looking couple's hip tattoos would lend one to believe that they had crappy jobs, but at least they had each other- but their Orange County home, apparently remodeled and filled with understated modern artwork, screamed otherwise.  They have money, too.  Bastards.

So let me recap:  Gorgeous couple, trendy enough for me not to hate, nice home, apparently head-over-heels in love, perfect naturally birthed baby with cool name- all set to aforementioned musical backdrop of Enya. 

And yet all I, with my overly cynical mind and chubby Baby Daddy who doesn't want to pay child support, could think was this- Haha, I had an epidural, biotch.  Who's in labor now???  Mwhahaha. Epidurals are better than world peace.  My epidural kicks her lovely and thoughtful birthing present (a probably really expensive necklace with the baby's initial as the centerpiece)'s ass.

Maybe I'll have my upcoming child support hearing photographed by someone artsy, and set it to a musical backdrop of Yanni (or some such nonsense).  Stay tuned- and please try to post on how beautiful it was.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Men who Want Minivans and the Women who Love(d) Them

     Mom friends, countrymen, suburbanites, lend me your ears:  I come to call your attention to a hidden U.S. epidemic-- More and more men are secretly wanting mini-vans.

     But are these men- our husbands, fathers, and businessmen- caravaning in suited droves to the local Dodge dealership?  No.  No, they are not.  Instead, they are trying to seduce us, their women, into the test driver's seat of Siennas and Odysseys.  They are luring us into believing that we need a minivan to properly fulfill our suburban destiny.  They casually drop amenities like "extra cabin space" and the "convenience of sliding doors" into any and all auto-related conversations.  And be sure that every time we bitch and moan about some trivial problem with our sensible mid-sized sedans, these men latch on, minivan wheels spinning in their heads.

"But why are all these men suddenly wanting minivans?" you may ask.  I have no idea. But alas, it seems that the days of domestic bickering over mid-life crises and sporty convertibles are soon to be long gone.  And as they go, so too go oversized pick-up trucks and chest hair.  It's simply un-American.

What I do know, however, is why these men are trying to fulfill their minivan fantasies vicariously through us, their unsuspecting female companions.  It is simple: Pride.  They are ashamed to admit that inner longing and drive, that desire for extended drive-train and sensibility.  We, ladies, are the cover.  This way, they can play the "I had to appease the wife" card over the water cooler as their masculine friends snicker at the new purchase.  But be sure when it is time for the next family outing, your man will "offer" to take the wheel so you can relax.  He can always nod to you if another man driver casts him a condescending look at a traffic light.

I ask you this:  If our men are too good to be seen driving mini-vans, aren't we? I submit to you that we are. Beware the closeted minivan wanter.  The next time hubby casually leaves out a copy of Motor Trends opened to the latest review of the Chrysler Town & Country, close it, or better yet, cover it with Cosmo.  The next time he looks at you with that baby-making gleam in his eye, ask yourself exactly where he plans to have you put the extra car seat.  Check out this gem from a popular minivan manufacturer's website:

"Sure, function led you to Grand Caravan, but when you change from errand clothes to evening clothes, it's nice to navigate shiny chrome and a crosshair grille up to the valet with pride."  
Who wrote this?  A man did.

 Resist, reach within, and seek out that sexy inner you- the one before salaried jobs and mortgages, when the souvenir from a hot date was a hangover, not a balloon for the kid.  What will it be- MILF or mom jeans?

Stand for what you believe in, or else go ahead and proudly don those jeans in all their high-waisted glory.
I say we leave the minivans to caterers and home-schoolers where they belong.  It's a little thing called dignity. It's time to rise up and fight for womankind- and for manhood.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Application for Step Dad

Repost- trying to consolidate some blogs. Still relevant, though! :)

Application for Step-Dad
Current mood: cantankerous

Announcing vacancy for Step dad for Austin, trophy husband for Erin (11/04/08)

Please answer the following questions truthfully and honestly. Please attach a separate page if you feel any answer needs to explained more thoroughly.


Sex: (One can't be too sure these days)
Approximate salary: _______ yearly
Marital Status: if divorced, how evil is your ex-wife? 1(least evil- 5 makes Satan look like a Girl Scout) 1 2 3 4 5
amount of alimony/ month? ___
Children? y / n if yes, how many?
amount of child support/ month? ____
Do you like children? y n
Do you want to have more children? y n if yes, how many? ____

More questions:
Are you a musician, or do you plan in any way to one day support yourself by being a professional musician instead of your current job as a waiter? If yes, thank you for your interest, but your skill set is not a match for this position at this time. Y/ N

How crazy is your mother? 1 2 3 4 5
How involved is she in your life? 1 2 3 4 5
Do you work out? Y/ N
Please list your hobbies:

On a scale from 1-5, how much rage would you have if I asked you to take out the trash? 1 2 3 4 5

Do you drink? Y N
If yes, what is your drink of choice? Beer __ Whiskey __ Martini __ Something Fruity__ Jagermeister__
If you answered "Something Fruity" or "Jagermeister," you do not need to answer any more questions on this application. Thank you for your interest.
Approximate of drinks per week? 1 or 2 ___ 3-5___ 5-10___ I don't remember ___

You would best describe your perfect date as:
A. A couple of drinks, and a professional sporting event
B. A candlelight dinner and scenic walk
C. Doing repeated shots of Jagermeister at a dingy sports bar, followed by showing me videos of episodes of Reality TV that you appeared on
D. Just hanging out at home talking and watching movies
E. Something so strange and disturbing that it would never ever make this list

What is your credit score? ___

Approximately how many hours per week will you be willing to help me with the baby? ___

What would you want your role to be in Austin's life?
A. A strict disciplinarian
B. A friend and confidant
C. A role model
D. I want Austin to be my golf caddy
E. Mortal enemy
F. Other (please explain) __________

Why do you want to be considered for this position?

Thank you for your interest. Candidates who are determined by HR to be matches for the position will be contacted for follow-up interview.

Read more:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kissing Frogs: A Thinly-Veiled Metaphor

There once was a young woman who would sometimes think back to her childhood. She remembered, quite vividly, catching tadpoles in various neighborhood bodies of water on those long, lazy Southern summer days. It was such a small thrill- the chase, the competition, the catch. There was strategy and risk, triumph and defeat. The neighborhood kids would boldly venture through unexplored woods, on a quest for the perfect pond- the Holy Grail of Tadpoling. Sure, there were tangible risks, like poison ivy and Copperheads, but that was all part of the allure- that element of danger lurking at the edge of almost stifling normalcy. Sometimes, some of the kids (those that were louder, braver, or more apt to prove Darwin right) would get side-tracked and try to catch the usually poisonous water snakes, but not her. She was smart enough to know when it was all for show, and besides, she wanted something attainable. And she always got it. At the end of the day, those other kids would count her amphibious conquests with envy, as they returned empty-handed to stretch tales of the deadly snake that got away. She would emerge from the forest sweaty, mud-stained, and victorious. If only she had outgrown it.

Of course, while catch and release was great fun, she was sometimes left wanting more (as children and sportsmen often do). Twice she made a valid attempt at keeping the tadpoles. In her first attempt, she tried to turn their captive environment into something cute and girly- a well-decorated trophy case in which to display her shrinking-tailed glories. Naturally, they soon died. Not being one to easily accept defeat, the girl learned from this attempt, and the next round of tadpoles were welcomed into a terrarium as close to their natural habitat as possible (however stagnant and un-color coordinated it might have been). She nurtured them, and took pleasure from watching them grow as a direct result of her time and attention. However, as the tadpoles realized their full potential and turned into frogs, she quickly came to the realization that she really had neither use nor desire for frogs. They were smelly, ugly, and loud; not to mention she had to actually procure food for them. She could have released them into the wild and set them free, but instead she chose the path of least resistance- leaving all but their most basic needs untended until the frogs grew big enough to escape their cage, hopping away to an uncertain fate.

Some things never change.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Birthdays and Self-Loathing

My birthday sucks. It has for many, many years. I've come to expect it. However, I now have a toddler. A sweet, innocent, wide-eyed child, for whom birthdays are still new and magical, and without disappointment. This post should be about how magical A's birthday was, and what it meant to me as his mom- but it's not. I have that one in his baby book. The other side of the story is...

Yesterday was my baby's birthday. I had to work, and Tuesdays are my long day. You see, I work an extra job one day a week to help make ends meet. I do this not because I want to, but because my baby's daddy decided that helping with those ends wasn't so very important to him. So after my 12 hour day, my "family" went out to eat to celebrate the rest of the birthday that I had to miss. We never do anything together anymore, an after all, it was a special occasion. GRANTED, it was my bright idea, but...

The three of us go the restaurant. We sit, we order, we bicker like always, and we eat. Austin, in true celebratory mode, proceeds to throw all his kids meal (which we NEVER order him, because he just wants to share... but it was a special occasion!) into the floor in true baby gangsta fashion. You know, like those rap guys popping bottles of Cristal champagne just to pour them out over the hoochy back-up dancers. What a waste.

But I digress. Let's fast-forward to the check. The server brings it. Baby Daddy has been working for over a month now, so I make no move for it. Neither does he. It was like a classic game of stare down without the staring. He knew the check was there; I knew the check was there. He knew that I knew, and vice versa. But neither of us made a move. Finally, he cracked. He picked up the check, pulled out his wallet, and I began feeling victorious (which never, ever ends well for me). I thought that this, THIS, was the moment. The moment I had aspired to for over a year. The moment that I was validated not just as an incubator and ATM, but as a mother and human being. But alas, the moment was quickly crushed when he pulled out a single bill and passed the check to me. He wanted to split it. I was livid.

Before you pass judgment, let me mention that this restaurant was Logan's Road House. And we ordered off the "2 for $14.99" menu. Granted, we both had soft drinks, and we did splurge for that special kid's meal. I realize that in the grand scheme of life, it's not such a big deal- but really? Really? This is the thanks I get for carrying his child for 9 months (3 of which were spent on bed rest), giving birth, and busting my ass to single-handedly support our family? I'm not worth 2 for $14.99?

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

And the moral of the story, kids, is "Don't get knocked up." And if you do, be sure to either run his background check and FICO score first, or be prepared to lower your standards- significantly.

At least Logan's has good rolls.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Dating and Sleep Training (Especially Sleep Training)

There comes a point in every previously knocked-up woman's life where she reaches a crossroads. The single (or in my case, single-ish) mommy thing is a delicate balance- does she continue with the currently working formula, however precarious it may be; or does she risk tipping the scales and upsetting the balance to find a chance at new and possibly everlasting happiness?

Whatever the path this nurturing, overworked, and under-appreciated purely hypothetical mother might choose, one thing is certain: I Need To Freaking Sleep.

"And exactly how might this relate to dating?" you might ask. Imagine with me, if you will, exactly how a woman like me might begin a dating relationship.

Boy sees girl in a crowded public place. Boy and girl make eye contact. Eye contact becomes flirtatious. Boy decides to approach girl. Conversation goes something like this:
Boy: So, come here often?
Girl: Back off buddy, I have a baby.
*Now, we have 2 options.*
(A) Boy flees immediately, or
(B) Boy doesn't see the big deal, and pursues the conversation.
Boy: So, what part of town do you live in?
Girl: I live in the suburbs, with my Baby Daddy.
*Boy becomes concerned*
Boy: So you guys are still together?
Girl: No, but I fully support him financially, and have for a very long time.
*Boy's ears perk up, thinking he may have found the independently wealthy golden ticket*
Boy: So, what do you do for a living?
Girl: I am a teacher and full-time grad student.
*Boy realizes the error of previous logic*
*And again, we have 2 options*
(A) Boy immediately runs away and warns his friends along with every other eligible bachelor in the bar, or
(B) Boy is genuinely interested in Girl, and a relationship ensues.

Let's assume that Boy chose option (B) on the latter. At some point in any serious adult relationship, an overnight visit is bound to occur. So in our scenario, Boy has chosen to overlook all the other baggage, only to find a crying toddler in Mommy's bed by 11:00. And we are not just talking whimpering- we're talking wailing and gnashing of teeth. Not just tonight, but every night. Maybe even every night forever (Don't believe me? Just ask my friend, whose 7 year old step-son still sleeps in the bed with Mommy at night. I, for one, would be willing to bet that Mommy is single). This does not bode well for Boy and Girl.

Of course, if you know me at all, you know that I would never expect a man to come sweep me off my feet and make life super grand. So let's explore, more briefly (due to the fact that I'm crashing from aforementioned lack of sleep) that the mother took the other path: The overworked single mom is juggling a career and a child, and putting in extra hours to make ends meet. Toddler doesn't sleep, toddler keeps not sleeping, so Mommy doesn't sleep- ergo, sleep-deprived Mommy botches something important at work, gets fired and replaced by a younger, more put-together toddlerless woman without the ever-present stains on her shirt, bags under her eyes, and coffee pot in her hand.

And now to the point, for which you have surely been eagerly awaiting: I say all this to justify ignoring my kid's sobbing pleas for me currently coming from his room. The way I see it, he will be far more damaged in the long run from the lack of a stable and loving step-daddy (path 1) or the loss of a roof over his head (path 2) than from the lack of instant gratification in the form of coming to my bed. Of course I tell myself this now, but that doesn't currently make me any less tired. If this scenario ("Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyyy! Daaaaaddddddy! Why don't you LOVE me? WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!") continues to play out tomorrow, Mommy might have to rule out medical reasons, like Austin's genetic susceptibility to my terrible seasonal allergies, for which Children's Benadryl is clearly the best treatment. This pollen is ridiculous, and if marked drowsiness is a side effect, so be it.

It's all about what is in the child's best interest.