Subourbon Mom


2020 – An Ingrown Hair on Humanity
August 20, 2020, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor, Parenting, Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

Over the last two weeks we have launched one of our birds out of the nest and into real adulthood, and gently booted the other one back into fake adulthood (a.k.a. college).

Launch

During this process I learned a few things:

  1. My kids have a lot of shit – that we helped them move around the country, put up on walls and launder.
  2. They have better decorating taste than I will ever have
  3. If you rent a scooter (think razor scooter) to tour a city, just know that if you sucked at Mario cart, you will also suck at riding one of those
  4. You can switch the way a refrigerator door swings – seriously, I didn’t know you could do that at all
  5. Nashville will either make you start to hate fried chicken or ruin it because whenever you have it anywhere else it just won’t be good enough

One of the funniest things I heard was on the 10-hour car ride to launch Daughter #1 into her new, adult life in Nashville. We had lots of time to talk about what it might be like and what had happened over the last 6 months.  But I think she put it best when describing how a lot of recent graduates must feel around this time as they get jobs or head to college:

Mom, my life has been like an ingrown hair.  For a while I was growing and then I got stuck, but I was still growing, and it got all irritated.  All of the sudden I sprang out and I’ve moved, and I’m free!

From the mouths of babes, people – 2020 has been an ingrown hair of a year.  First it was growing and happening, and then it got stuck, but things were still happening. The world got irritated, but we’re trying to treat it with a salve of Dr. Faucci, the CDC and governors trying their best; with first responders and hospital staff and caregivers; and most of all, with sympathy, empathy and patience.

We’re still waiting to spring out of this craziness, but when we do, the relief will probably feel the same.

(I tried to find a funny ingrown hair meme – please don’t ever do that.  You can’t un-see what comes up.)



College Orientation – You Had the Power All Along, My Dear

We recently attended college orientation for Daughter #2 at a large university, and to be honest, I was lucky it ended up on my calendar. Not because I don’t care but because, like everything with the not-the-first-kid, you are just a little more relaxed about it. Added to that, it’s very disconcerting to suddenly not have access to every detail of your child’s schedule after being in charge of it for eighteen years. I had to text her the night before and ask if there were any parking passes we had to print out, what the address was, or if there was anything else that needed to be done ahead of time – shockingly, there wasn’t. Daughter #2, like her older sister, had it all under control.

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I like to think it was good parenting that made it happen, but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with me accidentally leaving them at restaurants or school, trying and failing to explain simple math, and letting them believe that many of the phrases I use are common phrases until their friends asked what they meant. I was clearly not to be trusted (I never understood algebra and I said “Fooped” instead of “Sharted” because I didn’t want them implying the word Shit…it sounds stupid now, but it made sense when I was tired and they were little).

The orientation started with the usual official school cheer, and we stood and made arm motions over our heads and yelled the appropriate things, like a bunch of sadly sober, not-quite-caffeinated-Village People.

At Daughter #1’s orientation, I paid close attention to Dean Somethingaboutliberalartsandgraduatinginfouryears, and Associate Dean of WhatdidshesayIhavetopee.  The second time around? Nope. I was busy feeling superior and counting blonds vs. brunettes in each row to pass the time.

And then they took our sweet babies to meet with their advisors, or hang out with the cultish, singing and dancing university groupies to get them acclimated to campus life. Some parents looked scared and bereft.

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Others looked around like plane passengers do when they’re trying to decide who would be worth having aboard if there was a crash on a tiny Pacific island. There were a few that I would not have trusted with the exit aisle…just sayin’.

The Deans of Random Departments spoke about how great the school is (yeah, the choir knows – our kids applied and we are writing a substantial check for them to go here – we get it), followed by lunch in the Dining Hall. That hasn’t changed, except that we never got to pick from a pizza bar, Mexican, a grill menu, a vegan menu, and a Chinese buffet. My school had one of those things as a theme, and God help you if you didn’t like flat burgers.  I spent many a dinner standing at the cereal bar, picking the stupid strawberry things out of Captain Crunch because…seriously, who orders Crunchberries instead of plain Captain Crunch?

The parents’ Resource Fair was okay, but the table I really wanted to see would have been called “Crap You Still Have to Buy.” Since we don’t find out until August what dorm Daughter #2 is in, I’ve already decided I’m going to buy every variety of drawers and basket in Target and start playing Tetris as soon as we get there.

And finally, there was a speech by the Mental Health Professional on how our roles as parents and children transition when they go to school, what to say and not to say, and things to watch out for. For that one, I put down my Candy Crush game (sadly, I’m on level 800-and-something) and paid attention. It never hurts to hear how this momentous change is affecting your baby, and what you need to do to make the transition easier.

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I made notes about what local delivery services were available (every college town should have Insomnia Cookies) to send things on bad days. I felt guilty about not writing more letters to Daughter #1, but realized that probably wasn’t going to get any better for Daughter #2, so then I felt extra guilty – I suck as a parent for not doing that for the first one, and suck even more for knowing I probably won’t do it this time, either.

I was nervous and scared for my baby, until I remembered that I’d already had my chance to be an attentive mom…and I was. Aside from accidentally leaving them at restaurants or sports events (I swear, it was a mis-communication…OMG let it go!) and swearing a lot, I know I must have done something right because they’re ready. They are strong, independent young women, ready to try new things, accept new challenges, and let me know, “I got this, Mom.”

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FaceBook – Guilt, Not a Guilty Pleasure

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I’m tired of FaceBook making me feel like a crappy parent, an uninvolved citizen, an un-inspiring adult, and someone who is only marginally good at weird visual puzzles. Mostly, I’m tired of feeling guilty about things I didn’t realize I’m supposed to be doing to be a good person, according to the Facebook Junkies.

Brace yourselves – I realize I’m probably going to offend some of you – but I’ve never been accused of holding back or using much of a filter, so here comes the hurricane…

First, stop with the chain posts – Share this with 10 people who need a hug today. If you send me one of those, consider it dead when it reaches my page. Adding a task to my already overloaded shit-I-have-to-do-today list does not make me feel more loved. I need an administrative assistant, not a FaceBook hug.

I also need a break from all those pseudo-inspirational messages like, Who did you inspire today? Or, my personal non-favorite, How are you bringing your AMAZING to work today? Seriously? How about “Congratulations! You didn’t punch that person in the throat today!” Or maybe, “Hang in there – they can’t all be that stupid.” Or, if you don’t like the heavy sarcasm, how about “Try to be nice to people today – yep, even them.”

But the ones that REALLY get me are the posts that say something like Share this if you have an amazing son/daughter. Wow – those are annoying on so many levels.

First, I’m pretty sure my kids know I think they’re amazing. If you don’t, D1 and D2, please be confident that I’m well aware that you both are already better people than I am, that you inspire me every day, and that I brag about you to the people that matter. When I criticize you, it doesn’t mean I think you’re stupid – it means I’m trying to protect you, and enable you to function as a kind adult in an unkind world.

Second, if I were a person struggling to conceive, or who’s child had passed away, I can only imagine that it would break my heart a little every time one of those little brag posts popped up.

And finally, I noticed there are precious few posts in the same vein saying, Share if you have an amazing husband/wife/partner/grandparent/parent.  Hmmmmm….what does that say about us?

The Share this if you love your son/daughter/grandchild posts are almost as bad. So are you saying that if I don’t share it I don’t love my kid? Seriously? I would be more irritated with this one if I thought a lot of kids were actually on FaceBook and fretting that their parents didn’t love them since they didn’t share that post. But, since most of them are on every platform other than FaceBook, maybe these aren’t so bad – just mildly guilt-inducing for us dinosaurs who don’t speak in pictures and acronyms.

So, like many of my friends have from time to time, I’m going to take a break from FaceBook. My blog posts will still appear because they automatically push to it, so don’t worry – you’ll still get your doses of Subourbonmom wit. Of course, it will help my chances of getting them published in a an actual book if you follow the blog by signing up to receive it via email. (Okay, that’s my very rare marketing plug.)

And don’t worry, Family, I’ll still be stalking you on Instagram and SnapChat, and yes, I know y’all have Finstas and other places where I’m the subject of many a meme. Have at it – the fact that you’re posting anything about me means I’m making an impact on your life.

Share this if you love sharing FaceBook rants. 

 



Hit On By A Woman

I’d rather be hit on by a woman than by a man.

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Let’s face it – a lot of women, when it comes to the fashion choices of their peers, are judgy sometimes downright bitchy.

Yep, I went there.

Maybe men are too – I just don’t know enough about that species, even after living with one for decades, to make that call. (I have my suspicions, but I figure this post will irritate enough people in one go.)

You can go ahead and get uncomfortable and deny that you and your friends are like that, and that it’s a sexist thing to say.  But I’ll bet you’re denying it while wearing some kind of socially acceptable clothing that isn’t made strictly for comfort. If you’re naked or wearing a onsie, I apologize for lumping you into this ridiculous generalization and salute you.

Now, if you’re out hunting in your local bar and your Cha Cha is hanging out there for all to see, then by all means, get those kudos from the guys – you probably don’t give a crap what other women are thinking anyway. Fist bump for setting a goal and going after it.

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But let’s be honest – most of you have been out with your friends at one time or another and some girl walked by looking slutty, overdressed, underdressed, dressed too young/too old or just too different.  Take your pick. And, someone in your group shook her head, pursed her lips, and said something mean about that girl behind her hand. If you’re in the South, she might even say something backhanded, like, “It must be nice to have enough confidence to go without a bra after nursing four kids.” So yeah, mean and bitchy. (I have no doubt there are men who do this too, and women who don’t – but if I talked about them, this wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like having men hit on me, too. It’s good to know that if all the rules in the world, my ethics and my love for Hubby were different, I could get a piece of that – it’s a powerful feeling. And having Hubby hit on me after 25 years of marriage is super-gratifying – I mean the man has seen me throwing up and giving birth to two kids.  There’s not a lot of glamour left.  Having a woman hit on me simply carries a different kind of weight – the same way someone telling you your dog is cute at the dog park might not be as satisfying as having an American Kennel Club judge tell you your dog could win the next championship. There’s a level of knowledge that makes the compliment mean more.

Sooo… another woman is going to get what went in to making all this awesomeness happen:

  • the hair products to make your locks smooth/curly/shiny/smelling good and every color of the hair rainbow
  • the blow-drying/straightening/curling so it looks like you didn’t blow dry/straighten/curl it
  • the makeup that’s just the right amount so it hides your flaws but doesn’t make you look like a ’ho
  • the clothes that say you’re not on the pole, but that still show off all the good parts (which by the way, aren’t necessarily the same for men and women)
  • the lengths you go through to not show panty lines – which leads to:
    • no underwear at all, a la Britney Spears back in the day (Millennials, think Kim Kardashian);
    • an uncomfortable thong that shows off all the cellulite; or
    • Spanx, which pushes all the fat into one place and looks like your grandma’s undies

images-3My guess is most men don’t really want to know how we Goddesses of Love and Lycra got this way. I love bologna, but I don’t want to know what it’s made of or how it got into those perfect, round slices of deliciousness. That’s what dating is for – to get beyond the packaging and, if you’re in your 40’s and lucky, the ingredients will be better than what’s in bologna.

Sadly, women don’t often openly and positively comment on other women, especially ones they don’t know.  Shame on us.  And, more often than not, it seems to me that women dress for other women, not for men – and it’s because we’re scared.

So the next time you’re out, no matter who you’re with or whether you know the person or not, send a genuine compliment out there – we are most critical of ourselves, and you never know what kind of day or week someone has had. Putting on a clean shirt or a bra may have been the best they could do that day.  Saying “Hey, I like your shirt” or “Your hair looks good today,” or even better, “I think you’re funny/kind/smart,” may make someone’s day in a way you never expected.

 

 

 

 



The Best Catalog Ever

The holiday season is upon us. Christmas music plays incessantly on local radio stations, pumpkin spice everything has been replaced with cinnamon everything and the marketing onslaught is in full swing.

Now I’m all for marketing – a store’s got to do something to get your attention amid the mind-boggling Elf on a Shelf displays. But come on, Marketers, every day can’t be “The BIGGEST SALE EVER.”  I don’t care how much your store has to sell by the end of the year – no marketing email should ever be labeled URGENT unless Victoria has decided to reveal her secret, or I’m getting something good for free that doesn’t include shipping or some God-awful tote bag I’ll never take in public.

Along with emails, the catalogs are also rolling in faster than sexual harassment accusations in the media.

In two days I got 19 catalogs in the mail. That’s right…19 catalogs. But the number of catalogs isn’t what I’m here to write about. In fact, I love looking through them every morning while I drink my coffee. (Catalogs are window shopping for people who have an aversion to other people.) It’s funny how at this time of year I will actually consider buying weird, only-funny-to-me gifts that I would never spend the money on at any other time. In previous years I’ve ordered squirrel spray, Sasquatch Band-Aids and key chains with made up nicknames on them.

But in this latest batch of shopper’s crack, I found two catalogs whose marketing teams failed (in my humble opinion).

When I saw this cover on a catalog for toy horse models, I couldn’t decide who the target audience was – was it kids who want to be like this model with the BRF, who clearly would rather be anywhere else? Or parents who want to believe their twelve-year-old still plays with model horses instead of obsessively checking the likes on her Finsta? (I have nothing personal against this model – she’s obviously very attractive and was told how to pose and smile.) Perhaps a better image for the cover would have been a younger kid happily playing on the floor on a rainy day with all the crap in the catalog. To the parents it says, “You are buying yourself some peace and quiet.” To the kid, it says, “This will bring you happiness until you can wear them down and they give you your own pony to keep in the garage.”

The other cover fail was on this American Girl catalog:

Nothing says I’m a stalker like hugging your best friend while also clutching a doll that looks and dresses exactly like her.

But in all of this marketing blitz, I realized there is a catalog I have never received, that I think a lot of people might want to order from as well. It’s filled with all my favorite things that I can’t by in a store, like these:

  • Life do-overs
  • The smell of my mother’s garage
  • Knowing how to speak and understand animals in their language
  • The ability to fly
  • One consequence-free bitch slap on the person of my choice
  • Opportunities to suck words back into my head that should never have escaped
  • Time to spend with those who aren’t here anymore
  • Dog kisses
  • An interview with King Arthur
  • The feeling you get when you snuggle with your kids

 

What would your catalog have in it?

 




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