Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's Whoreticulture Friday! Issue 24

Whoreticulture: The industry and science of whores and whore-related topics. Whoreticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of OB-GYNery, Brazilian waxers and shavers, adultery, personal hygiene mavens and easy women. The word is composite, from two words, whore, from Greek meaning "harlot" or "dear", and the word "culture". Like NPR's Science Friday, Whoreticulture Friday exists to educate and spark discussion on the science of Whorology. Whoreticulture Friday is not for children. Or squeamish people. Or Mother-In-Laws.

Today's topic: When Mommy IS the whore.
So the other day I'm in the kitchen with Oldest Daughter and Current Husband, and we were talking about her ER visit.  More specifically, we were talking about how I blogged about it.  CH asked OD how she felt about my making her issues public, and she and I explained to him that she read the blog before it was posted.

CH:  "So do you read Mom's blog very often?"
ME:  "Uh, NEVER.  You are NEVER to read the blog."
OD:  "I don't, but why would it matter?  I read the stuff about me anyway, DON'T I?"
OD and I appraise each other with hard stares.  She thinks I'm writing about her and not telling her.  I think she's reading the blog and not telling me.  A moment of uncomfortable ovarian distrust ensues. I break the silence.
ME:  "Of course you do.  I'm just saying that there is some adult content on there, and I don't think it's appropriate for you.  Something you read might make your pupils burn out."
OD:  (makes choking noise.)  "Uh, I think my pupils burned out when...(she looks at Me and CH)...uh, never mind."   
ME:  "What?" 
OD:  "I can't say it with HIM in here!" 
OD leaves the room, laughing.
CH:  "What was THAT?  I get no respect around here."
ME:  "I have no idea, Rodney Dangerfield.  But I'm guessing it has something to do with her period.

CH and I both take a moment to contemplate the 27 years it's been since we were her age.  Ouch.  We really don't get it.  We both sort of shrug our shoulders and go back to whatever we were doing.  Before long, OD comes back into the kitchen, glances at CH, and hands me a note:

"I was going to say that my pupils have already been burned out because I was looking for brown eyeliner and the side pocket of your makeup bag was open and there were condoms in it!

Oh.  Shit.
She stands in the kitchen, HUGE smirk on her face, waiting for my reaction.  I quickly mull over some kind of response:

  • "Um...they're for when your brother is older and needs to learn about protection?" Because at this point I am willing to throw her little brother under the bus so she doesn't think I am doing the nasty with her father.  
  • "Um, I don't use those with Daddy!"  No, that's not right either.  I love her father, and all of my guitarist crushes have security.  I DO use them with Daddy.  Crap.
  • "If your father would get the damned vasectomy I wouldn't need to lug those around with my Clinique products, now would I?  Go take it up with him, I'm not a whore, he's lazy!  Marry someone who gets snipped, Princess, because you're just playing Russian Roulette during all of those nooners!"  Is the truth appropriate here?
  • "OD, why are you putting condoms in my makeup bag?  Where did you get these, health class?"  A good offense is the best defense.
But instead, I said,  "WHEN?!" and she took this as confirmation that indeed, CH and I have carnal relations.  We know each other Biblically.  We ride the pony.  We were so busted.  This made me think about a time just four years earlier, when OD was 9 and The Son was 6 and YD was just 3.  OD and The Son and I were sitting at the kitchen counter having a snack, and I was trying to teach them how to count in German.  (I know, it's weird.  Work with me here.)  We get to 6, which sounds like sex.  They both start giggling, and I think, "What could they possibly know?" so I go there.  

ME:  "What does Sex mean?"
SON:  "It's a bad word."
ME:  "No, it's not a bad word.  Sex is not bad, it's when people use the word and don't understand it that it's bad.  That's why kids usually shouldn't talk about it, because they can't really understand it until they're older.  What does it mean?"
OD:  "It's when two people start kissing and stuff."
ME:  "Who has sex?"
OD:  "College students and bad teenagers."

I hope she thinks I'm a college student, because I'm two decades past being a bad teenager.  And by the way?  I DID ask OD's permission to run her note in the blog.  It's interesting that she's okay with me writing about it on the blog, but still seems to think I haven't told her father.  When I asked her if I could write about it, she looked confused, and said, "Why?"  I told her it's funny, and that other moms go through the same thing.  She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Whatever.  It's your reputation."

Happy Whoreticulture Friday!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Guest Post on Mummytime!

So the lovely lovely Brenda at Mummytime extended a gold embossed invitation on stiff cream-colored paper that said:
Dear Julie
You are cordially invited 
to submit a guest post 
for my blog, Mummytime.

And so I did.  And that story is true except for the part about the stationery, and since she is in Australia and I am in the US it was more like, "Hey!  Wanna guest post?" and I said, "Sure!  How about a story about vomiting purses?" and she said, "Sounds classy, send it over!"  So please visit Brenda's amazingly chic blog and read my guest post, if you so choose.  And I thank you for your support.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's On Like Donkey Kong.

Current Husband and I have an interesting relationship.  There are lots of words that describe our love, like "odd", "immature", and "inexplicable", but I think the word that best describes it is "competitive". 

This week's Parade magazine had a cute article in it by Connie Schultz called "My Family's Scrabble Wars" about how competitive she is with her husband when they play.  CH and I play lots of hard-core Scrabble (as in we play competitively, not in that we play in leather and chains and it's somehow X-rated), so I had CH read the article, and he said, "Yeah, that's good.  You should write something like that, about how I kick your ass at everything we do."

Oh really?  No sex for you, CH.  
Who wins now, jackass?

We have been going mano y mano since we met.  It started with pool, then darts, then video games, and yes, he pretty much beat me at all of that.  But come on, those are traditional testosterone activities, and I held my own.  Then it would be things like "Who can get to the door first?" when we lived in our apartment.  One time, we were walking back to the apartment from doing laundry, and I took off to beat him back to the door.  CH saw me take off, and instead of trying to beat me, he just kicked the back of my foot, causing me to launch the laundry basket, full of FOLDED WHITES, on the grass in front of me.  I started punching him, and he just laughed and laughed.  It's a miracle we didn't make it on COPS that night.
This is what I deal with on a regular basis.

Don't believe me?  Here is a list of things we've competed at in the past year:
  • Who gets the last bite of a shared dessert at a restaurant.
  • Who gets the last cookie.
  • Who gets the last glass of wine in the bottle.
  • Who can find the remote faster (I think he may be tricking me into finding it for him.)
  • Who's stronger.
  • Who's smarter.
  • Finishing the crossword first.
  • Who can win Wii bowling/skiing/balance board/anything.
  • Losing weight.
  • Shooting baskets.
  • Grilling meat.
  • Playing ping pong.
  • Playing air hockey.
  • Playing Guitar Hero.
  • Trivial Pursuit.
  • Teaching the dog to talk.
You may think I'm trying to by funny, but I am deadly serious.  We stayed up until 2 a.m. once trying to beat each other's Wii skiing time.  And yes, CH beat me at that.  The bastard.  But in the words of Lenny Kravitz, It Ain't Over Til It's Over.  Which, strangely enough, happens to be "our song".  I told you our love is odd.

We are the worst at Scrabble, probably because it's something at which I can beat him regularly.  And he HATES it when I beat him.  He gets all quiet and focused, and he starts taking about 20 minutes every turn so he can get optimum points, and I'm such a giver that I don't call him out on time, because according to Scrabble rules I believe you are to take THREE minutes per turn.  (Since I am smarter, I figure giving him more time to think evens us out.)  We are pretty well matched in Scrabble, because I have a bigger vocabulary, but he is a logistics king.  I'll throw down a word like "Tithing" or "Redundant" and only get 18 points, and he'll put down an "X" on a Triple Word Score and make two words like "Ox" and "Axel" and get 75 pointsIt's really annoying.

There are things we respectfully refuse to compete over.  He has finally conceded that I am a better storyteller (after years of people telling him so - he took that kind of hard), and I know that I will never be able to achieve his level of skill in breakdancing.  Other than that, everything is game.

And to that?  I spell B-R-I-N-G. I-T.  Because it is on like Donkey Kong.  And I can probably beat him at that, too.  What does George the Superpet say about it?  Right now it's "Brrghhhhh..." but by the end of the year, it WILL be "Julie".

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Whoreticulture Friday! Issue 23

Whoreticulture: The industry and science of whores and whore-related topics. Whoreticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of OB-GYNery, Brazilian waxers and shavers, adultery, personal hygiene mavens and easy women. The word is composite, from two words, whore, from Greek meaning "harlot" or "dear", and the word "culture". Like NPR's Science Friday, Whoreticulture Friday exists to educate and spark discussion on the science of Whorology. Whoreticulture Friday is not for children. Or squeamish people. Or Mother-In-Laws.

Today's topic: Teen Emergency Room 101.

I normally write Whoreticulture Friday on Thursday night, and then it pops up in the morning when Mom checks the blog on Friday, because what mother doesn't say, "I dearly hope we pay out-of-state tuition for our daughter to get a double degree in Journalism and Political Science so she can use it to make really good homemade soup and a weekly blog called Whoreticulture Friday!  Yay college!"  But last night, I was coming up empty.  Actually, I had a great blog about this woman who slept with everyone in our neighborhood when I was a kid, but suddenly it felt a little wrong.  I'm not ready to spill that one yet.  We'll see if it ever comes out of the box (no pun intended).

Late last night, I sent a 9-1-1 emergency e-mail to a small group of friends asking if they had any good WF topics.  When I checked my e-mail today it was spilling over with masturbation, bikini line work, sexting, swimsuit shopping, and the shoe size/penis size myth.  I now have enough material for a month, thank you classy ladies.

However, as soon as I went to bed last night, I was whining to Current Husband about my lack of topic, and God spoke to me through the TV (aka one-eyed monster, Jamie!).  I woke up, refreshed and ready to write, and then Oldest Daughter came to me with a stomachache.  Since she can be a drama queen, I told her to take an Aleve, go to school, and if it didn't get better to go to the nurse and call me.  I took her to school at 7:30.  At 8:20 I had a call from the nurse to pick her up.

I called our doctor's office, and after EIGHT minutes on hold (a long time when your teenager is weeping and clutching her stomach next to you) they sent me to the ER.  We are driving to the hospital, and I know we are in for a long morning, at least.  I see a Starbucks.  Hmmm.  I know I shouldn't, but I had a half cup of coffee so far for the day, far below my usual 2-3 cup morning intake.  I ask OD if she minds if I pop in for a quick latte to go, she says no, and as I am reaching for the turn signal, I have this moment:

ANGEL ON SHOULDER:  "Julie.  Your daughter is in pain.  Get to the hospital."
DEVIL ON SHOULDER:  "She'll need you to be lucid.  You need caffeine to be a better mother."
ANGEL:  "What if her appendix ruptures while you're in the car?"
DEVIL:  "You know you want that skinny vanilla deliciousness."
ANGEL:  "The ER personnel will see your cup and realize you stopped while your child was in pain."
DEVIL:  "I can't argue with that."
Goodbye, Starbucks.  I'll think of you while I'm going cold turkey in the ER.

We got to the hospital, checked into the ER and were taken to what was to be our home for the next six hours.  For the record, there was not a coffee maker or Starbucks Via in the holding cell.  Something to know about me:

I an addicted to caffeine and do not handle stress well.  
I have two reactions to any stressful situation:
A)  Tell jokes.
B)  Lose my shit and start screaming, weeping, and/or breaking out in hives.

I am here to tell you that the one place any comedian will fail is in the Emergency Room.  You do not kill in the ER.  Apparently humor of any kind is frowned upon, and they hire nurses from East Berlin specifically to quash any tomfoolery.  Also?  Daughter with abdominal pain doesn't want to laugh.  But I just can't help it.  

I'm telling OD that I hope she has really good veins, that Grandma Jan is a nurse and she looks lustily at my bulging veins.  I'm telling her they hand out ponies to good little girls who pee in the cup.  I'm telling her she'll get Appendix Barbie, with a little flap on her stomach and a removable organ.  Then I start singing "The Climb."  When she tells me to stop making her laugh, I start saying "Miley Cyrus" because OD hates Miley Cyrus, so I figure it will bring her down, but then she starts yelling at me for saying "Miley Cyrus" because it's making her laugh, and therefore grimace in pain.  I try to shut up, I really do, but it's a compulsion.  Like when I interrupted a group of people at Erma Bombeck to ask Mo Rocca if the Bombeck kids tried to sell him drugs and he looked at me like I was Naked Glenn Beck.

In the holding cell, they immediately tell OD to get changed into a gown.  The person who hands the gown to her?  Nate.  Nate is training to be an EMT, and he gets to hang out with us during the day.  Nate reminds me of Seth Rogen, if Seth Rogen wasn't funny.  The problem?  Every time Nate is in the room, there is an Uncomfortable Estrogen Moment.  The first time this happens, Nurse Ratched, who has yet to smile at my daughter, says loudly, "Have you gotten your period yet?"  Oldest Daughter looks at Seth Rogen, looks at me, and mutters, "Um, yeah."  Ratched says, louder, "Are you having your period now?"  Seth Rogen busies himself with tubes and things, and Ratched stares at OD.  ""  Ratched instructs OD to put on the gown and says, like The Terminator, that she'll be back.  Seth Rogen follows her out like a puppy.

OD:  (grimacing in pain) "MOM!  Why does that guy have to be in here?"
ME:  "Because it is our curse, honey."

And then I tell OD about how, after I had given birth to her, a nursing supervisor came into my room with a male nursing student in tow, and told me they were there to check my episiotomy stitches.  
NURSE:  "Okay, you'll need to bend over the bed, honey." (Because I LOVE IT when total strangers call me honey.)
ME:  (Looking significantly at the man in the room) "Right now?"  As in, "Can Mr. Penis Dangler hit the hallway for this part?"
NURSE:  "Yes, honey, right now."  Mr. PD nervously shuffles feet.  At least I know what he's going to see will put him off sex for a while.  Unless he's INTO that kind of thing, in which case I should be paid.
I lean over the bed, the backless gown falls away, and now it's a Kodak moment of the most humiliating three minutes of my life.
NURSE:  "See how well her stitches are healing!  And no hemorrhoids!  Terrific!"
And I'm thinking, "I'm sorry Grandma, if you can see me from heaven.  I never meant for you to see this."

I finish telling OD this story, and I catch the look of horror on her face that says, "No grandkids for you!" when the crew of Doctor, Ratched, and Seth Rogen come back in.  The doctor is really nice, but she has a lazy eye, and I can't figure out which eye to look at while talking to her.  I realize that she can tell I am shifting my glance from one of her eyes to the other, I'm trying really hard not to smirk a little bit at the sheer hilarity of it, but I hope she in no way thinks I am mocking daughter's life is in her hands.  

DR:  "Are you sexually active?"
I want so badly to answer, YOU BET I AM!, but I wisely decide against it.
OD:  (Stealing a glance at Seth Rogen again.) "No."
DR:  "Have you started your periods?"
OD:  "Yes."
DR:  "Are you having your period right now?"
OD:  "No."

Doctor Lazy Eye orders some bloodwork, Ratched tells Seth Rogen to do it, and leaves.  I decide to turn on the TV in the room so OD and I have something to do.  Seth Rogen is putting the needles in, and there is a commercial for tampons.  OD looks at me like "turn off the TV!" but it's too late, so I just sit and look at the latex gloves and think about stealing some.  The tampon commercial ends, and Seth Rogen leaves.

Ten minutes later, he's back, and there is an Ultrasound Technician with him.  She gives OD a cup with a Contrast Liquid/7-Up cocktail in it, and tells her to drink up.  Seth Rogen is checking OD's blood pressure.
Ultra-Tech:  "Have you started your periods yet?"
OD:  (nearly growling) "Yes."
Ultra-Tech:  "Are you having it now?"
OD:  "No."

They ask OD to come with them to pee in the cup.  She goes, and when she returns, she is carrying a cup of her own urine.  

ME:  "Did you bring me something to drink?"
OD: (sets the cup on the counter and glares at me.) "That is so not funny Mom."  Miley Cyrus.  
Ultra-tech:  "I'll be back right after I bag this urine."
ME:  "You don't hear THAT every day!"
Crickets, crickets, crickets.  OD is not looking at me. ER people leave.

White blood cells come back normal.  Urine comes back normal.  They've decided we're doing an ultrasound and a CT scan.  Seth Rogen and CT Scan person come in to talk.
CT:  "Have you started your periods yet?"
OD:  (Now bored with it.) "Yes."
CT:  "Are you having it now?"

Six hours later, everything is done and Seth Rogen comes in and tells OD to put her clothes on.  Doctor Lazy Eye, Nurse Ratched, and Seth Rogen come back into the room and tell us OD has an ovarian cyst that is inflamed.  Seth Rogen sits back and listens while the women tell my daughter in great detail about her uterus, her ovaries, and what to expect while she is having her periods, including some excellent tampon talk.  My teen is ready to leave.

We are checked out of the ER and speed to Starbucks.  As we are picking up her Darvocet, OD looks at me and says, "Listen, I know you are going to blog about this.  You know what you can't talk about."  (And, for the record, I haven't.)  "But I guess now everyone knows that I've started having my period and I'm not having it right now.  So, whatever."

OD.  She's a giver.  Happy Whoreticulture Friday, and have a great weekend.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Addicted to Twitter and Jen Hates Me

I'm in a sunny meadow with technicolor grass and trees.  I'm chasing a little blue bird...come back, little bird, come back!...and I can't get enough.  It's as though the little bird is Red Bull and Vodka and I'm Lindsay Lohan.  Then I see people wandering in the meadow and I tell them "Follow me!!!" and most of them look at their watches and turn away (I'm talking to YOU, Jen Lancaster!  But with great respect and optimism...) but a few of them say "What the hell..." and follow me.  Suddenly, the bright sunny day with the little bluebird goes dark, and I hear CH's voice, far far away, saying, "Oh crap, we've lost our internet connection!" and I wake up, screaming.
 I should have known from its vacant eyes it was a junkie bird.

It's interesting I would pick up this new Internet crack rock at the Erma Bombeck thing.  Lesson?  Drugs are everywhere, kids.  Everyone kept saying "You need to be on Twitter...all writers should be Tweeting...." and so I did (remember @juliethewife - join me in the opium den!).  JUST like I got a big comb with "JULIE" on the handle for the back pocket of my Jordache jeans in 1982.  JUST like I got my hair cut in the Flock of Seagulls style, with one side shaved, in 1984 (I do have a picture, and if I had another hour I would find it).  JUST like I wore oversized button-down shirts and HUGE sweatshirts with leggings and sprayed my hair five inches off of my scalp in 1988.

Damn you, social trends.  You are my kryptonite.

So now, instead of writing like I should, I am spending a huge amount of time on Twitter, because I have to learn.  I am like Neo in The Matrix when they hook him up to learn about flying helicopters and kung fu and heavy weaponry (except it's Twitter stuff, like birdies and the @ # keys).  Here is the convo Current Husband and I had this morning:

CH:  "Hey, could you call the paper about that thing?"
ME:  "No, I have a ton of stuff to do today."
CH:  "Like what?"
ME:  (Indignant.)  "I have a ton of things to do.  I just told you that.  You totally don't respect my time or what I do around here."
CH:  "I just want to know what you have planned for today.  Just give me something."
ME:  "Writing."
CH:  "Writing what?"  
We sit in silence, looking at each other.
ME:  "ALRIGHT!  Posts on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe a blog entry.  Are you happy now?"
CH:  "Are Twitter and Facebook and the blog paying you?"
ME:  "No.  Only in cultural references and Trivial Pursuit 2010 answers."
CH:  "Then no.  I'm not happy now.  I would've thought that Jen Lancaster thing would have stopped you by now."

Et tu, Brute?  No sex for you, CH.  Let me tell you about the Jen Lancaster thing.

So I may have mentioned I attended the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop.  Did I?  Okay, good.  And I may have mentioned in the past that I am completely stalking Jen Lancaster, (New York Times Bestselling author of the soon-to-be released My Fair Lazy, order now!)  So I meet these extremely funny women who happen to be excellent writers (whom I am featuring on the Facebook page this week, are you following A Day In The Wife on FB yet?) and we are all keeping in touch on Facebook and now Twitter.  The Monday after the conference, the Erma Bombeck people are all over the place, friending and following everyone they met.  It's a good thing you cannot get syphilis from the Internet, because everyone from Erma Bombeck would have it.  (I have to say that it feels so wrong to put the words "Erma Bombeck" and "syphilis" in the same sentence, but I learned from Wade Rouse, who is writing a dog book with Jen, by the way, that I am supposed to be honest and humorous in my writing, and I ask you, what is funnier than syphilis, people?)

Three of the women I met and myself are messaging back and forth, and I see that Jen Lancaster has a new post on her blog, titled "Such a Pretty Stalker", about her seeing Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser and stalking him.  Of course, a big light bulb goes off and I think, "Hey!  I bet my good friend Jen would LOVE to hear about how it's so funny that I happen to be stalking HER!"  

And this, my friends, is how restraining orders begin:

STEP 1:  Constantly comb the victim's Facebook, Twitter, and blog page for references to things you think you have in common.
STEP 2:  Immediately decide to get in touch.  Already sent three e-mails?  That is not enough.  Real stalkers go for multi-media platforms.
STEP 3:  Follow victim on Twitter.  Jen's is @altgeldshrugged.  Follow her, because I bet she will follow YOU.
STEP 4:  Send snarky message, such as 
"@altgeltshrugged I posted that I'm YOUR stalker on my 4-14 blog, BTW, leave coffee grinds out of your garbage? Thx."
Oh yes, people.  I sent it.  But it gets worse.
So she isn't responding, and I'm all "But Jen, I get it!  We're buds!  You e-mailed me!" and I'm messaging with my Erma Chicks, and suddenly, MuffinTopMommy posts "Jen Lancaster is now following me on Twitter!  I can't believe it" and other stuff that was generally joyful, but the world spun around and when I came to, I looked on FB again, and ANOTHER one of the moms, Clare from It's All Good In The (Mother)Hood, has posted "She's following me on Twitter too!  I am so excited!"  And I am suddenly the girl who isn't going to prom and all of her friends are going.  And I have a dress and a secret bottle of Boone's Farm stashed for the Big Night, and I'm going to have to buy myself some flowers and drink it alone (well chilled, of course).  Because get this...

It was my birthday.  Sniff.  (shuffles feet.)

Let me hear it...the collective "Awwww".  Stalkers have birthdays too.  I kept thinking, "It's my birthday, I'm sure she will follow me.  It will be the pinnacle of my day."  Because:

STEP 5:  Stalkers should always assume the victim knows they exist.

I'm checking Twitter, and it's not happening.  So I look at my original post.  Hey!  What's that?  I SPELLED HER TWITTER NAME WRONG.  That must be it.  So what do I do?  I repost the same message to the right address.

Oh. Yes.  She.  Did.

Why?  Because:
STEP 6:  Good stalkers never quit.  Even after they serve their time.

So I send the post, AGAIN.  

crickets.  crickets.  crickets.

And to this very moment, Jen is still not following me on Twitter.  Even though she has over 14,000 followers and she is following over 13,000 people, and she describes herself as "an aggressive follower", I think I have actually freaked her out.  And really?  I'm not that scary, unless I am really drunk or you are a guy I want to date circa 1985-1991.

I have become the Dave to her Oprah.  The Matt Damon to her Jimmy Kimmel.  (I would normally put a third one in here, but I can't think of many stalking incidents that don't turn out badly.)  I am attending her book signing for My Fair Lazy (pre-order now!) on May 14 in Chicago, so Jen, I will be there.  Consider yourself warned.  And my friend and I have already made plans for a Liquid Lunch, and we are hooking up with the Chi Omegas from Iowa State (who saw my hair sprayed to the heavens; again, I have a photo, it's in the basement) and things might get a little loopy.  My friend has already told me that she is bringing her taser gun and plastic cuffs, and I have already told all of them I will need pictures of me being dragged away by security for the blog, so no worries my friends, it will be as though you are there with me.  Because I'm a giver that way.  I will set up a Paypal account so you can help me with bail if you feel so inclined.

ON A QUICK SIDE NOTE:  My friend made the hotel reservations, I was in charge of calling Borders to see if they are using wristbands for Jen's signing.  Called Borders on Michigan Ave.  Got automated system.  Hit 3 to hear store events.  The only one listed is Hulk Hogan appearing in October of 2009 and he will not sign memorabilia.  Figures, f***ing wrestlers.  Got through to sales rep, said "Jen Lancaster will be there on May 14, will this be a wristbanded event?"  Sales rep says, "uh, John Lencester?" and I say, "NO, J-E-N Lancaster.  She is signing books at your store on May 14."  "Oh. (pause) Let me go ask someone about that."  On hold for a long time.  "Um, we don't know anything about that event yet.  Call back a couple of days before and we should know something."  One would hope, honey.  One would hope.

SO.  You may be wondering, "What happened, Crazy Aunt Julie, how does the story end?"  (Or you may have stopped reading this post five days ago because it is so friggin' long.)  Let me tell you - this story has a happy ending.  After I spent my BIRTHDAY, which was my 41st and on a MONDAY and therefore a total FAIL, waiting for Jen Lancaster to friend me on Twitter, something good happened (other than meeting my blogger friends at Erma, which has been like manna from heaven).  I did get a famous friend.  The Bloggess, whom I love and respect and can only aspire to blog like her, followed me on Twitter.  And it made my entire week.   I love you, Jenny The Bloggess.  And I promise to never go through your garbage.

The End.  So tell me - what is your Twitter name?  Who are you stalking?  And finally, any suggestions on how I get Jen to follow me on Twitter?
Jen is now following me on Twitter!!!  Yay me!  It's just like when Oprah went on Dave's show and was all "I didn't know you were stalking me, I have no idea what's going on."  So hopefully she doesn't read my blog and say, "Uh, yeah, UN-Follow!!!  TWITTER SECURITY, STAT!"  Now what the hell am I going to write about?  Candace Bushnell?  Are you out there?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

George the Superpet can be The Pet of the Week!

George the Superpet doesn't get many accolades.  

He is the Travis Barker in our neighborhood, he looks longingly at squirrels running in our yard while they flip him off and yell obscenities at him, and his superpower is hearing the sound of a peanut butter jar opening from up to five miles away.

But now, George has a chance.  He can BE somebody.  He can be a contender.

He's been nominated for Pet of the Week on author W. Bruce Cameron's website, A Dog's Purpose, aptly named for the book coming out by the same title.  George was nominated by Tim Gunn for his style and his cool demeanor under pressure.  (Okay, okay, I did it!)

Here is George's link - click on it and vote for George, because really, what other dog on that site can read?  NONE.  

This is George's picture.  It's a good thing the site doesn't have Smell-O-Vision, because I am telling you this dog has gas right now to clear a room.  But don't let that affect your vote.  The legacy of George must live on in Pet of the Week.  Think George Carlin.  Think George Harrison.  Think GEORGE WASHINGTON. The future of Democracy depends upon you.  If you don't vote for George, the terrorists win.  Do you want that on your conscience?  Do you?

Erma, Techno and Twitter

WHO:  The Wife.
WHAT:  Final report from Erma Bombeck Writing Conference
WHERE:  Quad Cities
WHEN: Monday, April 19, 11:02 p.m.
WHY:  It's over and it's just begun.

Let me take a moment to say that the Erma Bombeck Writing Conference was terrific, and I'm going back for the next one in two years.  It's the only humor writing conference in the country, and if you're into that sort of thing, it's a can't-miss opportunity.  I met so many funny people.  Lucky lucky me.

The speakers and instructors were all top-shelf, the Tanqueray in my tonic.  Bill Scheft, a writer for Letterman and the author of the book "Everything Hurts", was probably my favorite, but his publicist and a writer in her own right Nettie Hartsock was also terrific.  Gail Collins, NY Times columnist and author of "When Everything Changed", which is a must-read for every woman and her daughters, was amazing, and Christian Landers, author of "Stuff White People Like" was the Cinderella story, if Cindy was smart, snarky and had a razor-sharp wit and red beard.  Tracy Beckerman was great, Danny Gallagher was funny...It was all so, so good.  I'll be highlighting some of the mom blogs I found there on my Facebook fan page.  The first one this week is Janet from, she is quite hilarious.

I am a little bit of a Techno-Granny.  Until recently, I rarely answered my cell phone.  I find cell phones annoying in that people don't seem to know when it is okay to use them.  I also don't love the idea of being available to everyone all the time.  If I'm in the bathroom at Starbucks, I'm not taking that call.  Then Oldest Daughter petitioned Current Husband for unlimited texting, and things changed.  I started texting people.  It was fun.  If you remember the tale of the U2 concert with CH last August, I sent about 40 texts, with only about 5 of them actually having any characters in them.  Welcome to 2010, Julie!

I learned something about myself on the trip to Dayton, Ohio - I am more techno than I thought, and I'm not just talking about dancing.  The first thing I realized as I drove into Illinois was that I left my cell phone charger at home.  I was now on borrowed time on the cell phone, and I had to turn it off.  Why?  Because I'd clearly need to use it in the back of an ambulance or in Ted Bundy's trunk.  No cell phone use.  Check.

I checked in at the Marriott in Dayton, and realized when I got into the room that there was no MP3 player.  Since I was missing the Ok Go concert in Chicago on Saturday, I wanted to listen to WTF? or Invincible while getting ready, which I can't do with headphones on.  No iPod.  Check.

After the dinner on the first night, I got back up to my room at around 9 p.m. and thought I'd do a blog post.  I set up my laptop on the desk and tried to log on.  No connection.  I read the instructions on the WiFi connection on the desk and tried again.  No dice.  I called the front desk and inquired as to the whereabouts of my WiFi.  They gave me some instructions and again, no luck.  We prayed together on the phone.  Nothing.  At 10 p.m. the guy on the phone finally said, "I think we'll need to send a technician to your room, okay?"  

WiFi and potential rapist or Safety and TV?
 "Can I fit all of her body parts 
in this box and get it out 
of the Marriott undetected?"

"Send him up."

I had to have me some Internet.  Facebook doesn't check itself, people.

Nettie Hartsock's session was all about social media and networking, and she was pretty adamant that writers need to use Twitter.  I've had a Twitter account for about 6 months, but never really used it.  I thought it was just a cell phone thing, and since I wasn't a big fan of my phone, I thought I was out.  Well, I logged back in on Sunday, and now I am a big, fat Tweeter.  It's great, because I have nothing but free time and I know how much the world is DYING to know what I am doing in 140 characters or less.  And being such an introvert, this will help me get my thoughts and opinions out more.  People will be so glad to see me come out of my shell.  Give me a Holla! on Twitter, @juliethewife. 

"@tedbundy, let me out of the trunk."  If you see this post on Twitter, call the authorities.  I've forgotten how to dial my phone.

Friday, April 16, 2010

News Report From Dayton

WHO:  Me.  Again.
WHAT:  Undercover report from Erma Bombeck Writing Conference
WHERE:  Dayton, Ohio
WHEN: Friday, April 16, 11:38 p.m.
WHY:  Because the Bombecks are making me apologize.

Something you all need to know if you are going to read this blog - there are rules.  Actually there is one rule, and this is the ONLY rule on A Day In the Wife:  
Remember I am an entertainer, not an historian.
(As an aside, it always bothers me that it is grammatically correct to say "an" before historian, because I say the H.  I just want to state for the record that I WANT to say "A" historian, but my fingers, which do the actual typing, won't let me.)

I've met two of Erma Bombeck's children, Betsy and Matt, and her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter Eva, who, other than Oldest Daughter, is the smartest seventh grader I've ever met.  She is getting up, taking the microphone, and asking questions at the seminars!  It is so flippin' cute.  Erma would be proud.

So her family members pulled me aside today and said they heard about my 1960's housewife-LSD-Florence blog post, and they asked that I keep the conference classy by not saying such things are going on here.  (They didn't really say that, but I didn't feel like blogging about Jello molds tonight, so lying is easier than being creative.  You can always rely on the fact that I will lie to you, gentle reader.)

  • FACT:  I'm at the Erma Bombeck Writing Conference in Dayton, OH.
  • FACT:  It's actually a writing conference, with real writers and such.
  • FACT:  No one is wearing polyester that I'm aware of, unless it's a blend.
  • FACT:  I didn't tell anyone "That's how we do it in the Quad Cities", although I must admit that I'm DESPERATE to do so.
 So now that you have the facts, I am going to keep this classy and tell you what is really going on:  This is a total Cougar Fest.  The male authors are falling all over themselves to bed these older, experienced women, and I say "Why not?"  We have more experience sexually than most of them do, and hey, we're funny.  If we weren't funny, or had delusions we are funny, we wouldn't be here.  Funny women are confident women, and I found that male authors were constantly trying to punch their Cougar Card with me.

Case in point:   Mo Rocca.
Some of you know Mo from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Some of you know Mo from PBS's Wishbone.  Some of you know him as a regular contributor to NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and CBS Sunday Morning.  Sunday Morning is here to purportedly film a bit for their show, but I think it's all a cover-up for their Cougar Hunting.

So Mo (I call him that now because we are friends) approached me and we had a conversation.  It became obvious he was totally hitting on me.  

MO:  "Hey, I graduated from Harvard the same year you graduated from Iowa State.  Isn't that cool?" 
ME:  "Um, sure.  How much have you made since you graduated?
MO:  "Probably around $200 million dollars.  How about you?"

ME:  "$1, 443.25.  But I've passed three human beings through my vagina."
MO:  "That is so hot.  I was totally drawn to your turkey gobbler chin.  Not all women have those.  May I put my arm around you and make an expression like you have a knife in my side, and then I will take you to your room in the Marriott and make sweet sweet love to you?"
ME:  "Sorry Mo, but the best thing I got from Iowa State was Current Husband. This cougar is taken.  But I would love to take a picture.  Do you mind if I pretend to look fatter than you?"
MO:  "Absolutely not.  I'm just sorry I'm 20 years too late."

Throwing my white person gang sign.
 Then I went to Christian Lander's seminar on his blog-to-book sensation, "Stuff White People Like".  He, too, tried to bed me, saying that he could tell I was a bit psychotic from my stalking of him, and that I seem to have a strangely attractive super-long thumb, but I shut him down as well, saying that CH is the only 5'9" man I need.

 He is throwing Canadian gang signs, I am throwing white person gang signs.  Blogger Danny Gallagher is in the back, playing the part of the guy who pops up in photos and makes Muppet faces.

Then I met the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, who heard I was in town and came to formally welcome me by buying two Blue Moons and getting me slightly inebriated for the conference dinner.  Apparently they try to get everyone intoxicated, thus the town slogan, "Get Drunk in Dayton".
 The Mayor of Dayton also throws white gang signs.

Okay, this is actually one of my sorority sisters from the Chi O house at Iowa State.  Isn't it cool that she's the mayor of Dayton, Ohio?  Today was "Casual Day" in city government, part of the budget cutting procedures.  That, and firing teachers.  The gentleman behind us is giving himself the Heimlich maneuver, but the Mayor saw his suffering and ran over and saved his life.  It was a truly inspirational moment.

So that is the scoop.  I have three more seminars tomorrow, and then I drive back to the Quad Cities, bringing all of the culture and knowledge I can steal from Dayton, Ohio, and delivering it back to Iowa.  It's like taking candy from a baby.

Still Not Whoreticulture Friday.

Still at Erma Bombeck.  Last night I finish the blog and I think, "I am so tired.  I'm going to bed." (The real Friday post is below.  This is just incoherent, sleep-deprived rambling.  It's like a have a newborn again.)

I go to bed.  There is no Current Husband.  There are no Current Children.  There is no George the Superpet hogging the bottom of the bed with his 100+ pound Poodleness.  I can't sleep.  I start thinking about that things that can go wrong in hotel rooms.  I think about that Cary Stanger (??) guy in California that took the three women hostage in their room and raped and killed them.  That didn't put me to sleep.  Nor did thoughts of the other 20 or so serial killers with whom I am familiar.  Normally this serial killer routine puts me right into dreamland, but not last night. 

Now I'm awake at what would normally be a full hour before "Teenage Waking Time" at my home, and I have to get on a shuttle bus in 20 minutes, and there is no coffee in my room.  How can I be expected to stalk an author appropriately with no sleep OR caffeine?

Meth don't fail me now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's NOT Whoreticulture Friday!

WHO:  Me.  Duh.
WHAT:  Undercover report from Erma Bombeck Writing Conference
WHERE:  Dayton, Ohio
WHEN:  Thursday, April 15, 11 p.m.
WHY:  These bitches are crazy with a capital K.

So I sign up for the Erma Bombeck Writing Conference last December because I love Erma Bombeck and I think "Hey, maybe I can learn something.  Like how to write." but what I really think is "Hey, maybe there will be a famous author there I can stalk!" and it turns out there is!  Christian Lander, who writes the blog "Stuff White People Like" and wrote his book by the same name from the blog, is here.  And I will find him.  Oh yes.  Yes I will.  Photo soon.

Erma was a trailblazer.  She wrote about how being a housewife can be a real pain in the ass, way back in the day when everyone wanted to be June Cleaver and Doris Day.  While that kind of thinking is very commonplace today, Erma was taking a real risk saying it back in the 1960's.  Women smiled, wore dresses and heels and full makeup to do laundry, kept the kids clean and orderly and gave Hubby a drink when he walked in the door to the smell of roast.  Erma said, "No one ever died from an unmade bed".  That's the kind of thinking I can get behind.

You go, Erma!

So I check in at the conference, and it turns out IT ISN'T ABOUT WRITING AT ALL.  It's about actually BEING Erma Bombeck.  We spent the first hour getting our 1960's name and polyester house dresses and giving each other bouffant hairdos.  We were seated, and told that the winner from the weekend would get to continue writing her column in the Dayton Daily Tribune and do her adult children's laundry.  My name for the conference is Donna Farlowe.

We then had a "Family Bitch-Off", where we were supposed to complain about our families and how our teenagers all had attitude and just want the keys to the car.   I thought I was in the running for the win, but Florence Miller took the prize by loudly complaining about how her husband doesn't do anything around the house and always wants to climb into her twin bed for "relations".

I would've been okay with Florence's win, but when she walked past my table, she looked down at me through blue shadowed lids, flipped her frosted hair and said, "And that's how we do it in Akron, bitch.  And?  Your shoes and purse don't match."   Everyone at our table looked at me and said, "Ooooh!"  I looked down at my bridge hand and muttered, "I'll Erma your Bombeck, Florence Miller, just you wait."  And then, when she was trying to subtly pull up her nylons, I slipped a tab of LSD into her Tom Collins.  When I last saw Florence, she was naked and singing the chorus from "Hair".  And THAT's how we do it in the Quad Cities, FLO.

I have to get to bed, because in the morning we are fresh-squeezing orange juice and doing Anita Bryant impressions, the Jello mold competition should be a killer (to grape or not to grape?), and I still need to put rollers in my hair.

I'll try to report tomorrow night, but I think we have a "mixer" until 11:30 p.m.

Dutifully submitted,
The Wife

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jen Lancaster, I am Your Stalker

How do I love thee, Jen Lancaster?  
Let me count thy ways...

First off, let me say that it is nearly 11 p.m. in The House of Wife, and I am leaving tomorrow a.m. for the Erma Bombeck writing conference in Dayton, Ohio.  It is a seven hour drive.  Am I packed?  Negative, ghost rider.  Are my papers in order?  Nope.  Do I have my stuff together to hand to the person who says, "So YOU are Julie!  I've been dying to represent/publish/pay you!"  Negativo.  But I've been teasing you with this Jen Friggin' Lancaster post, and I've been called a lot of things, but never a tease.

Oh, wait.  Yes I have.  Lots of times.  But that's a Whoreticulture Friday-type subject.

A friend of mine told me about Jen last year.  (Thank you, Tricia!)  I went to Jen's website, Jennsylvania, and then immediately ran out and bought all of her books.  They are hysterical and funny and real, and I love that she puts it all out there, bitchy ex-sorority girl and all.  I mean really - swiping a Coach briefcase from a homeless guy?  Invention of the word "asshat"?  Hatred of exercise?  Love of pie and mojitos?   What's not to like?

Then I started noticing all of the similarities between Jen's life and mine, and I realized that bitch had actually STOLEN the life I wanted, except that Jen is Me, and Fletch is CH, and Maisy is George the Superpet and the Thundercats are Oldest Daughter, The Son, and Youngest Daughter.  This is when I decided the most logical thing to do was to stalk her.

I'm not new to stalking - ask any number of guys I dated (or didn't) in high school and college.  I had some, um, how do you say...UNRESOLVED I would usually pick the guy who was least interested or the worst boyfriend prospect and then beat him into submission.  Very "cavewoman hits him on head with club and drags him to her cave."  My friend and roommate Dippy (this IS what we actually called her) introduced me to Current Husband, and then immediately pulled me aside and said, "He is totally not marriage material."  Hook, line, and sinker.  But the joke was on me, because CH ended up being exactly the kind of guy I should marry.  Funny how those things work out sometimes.

Anyhoo, I started my Jen Stalking in the usual way - I e-mailed her and asked for a meeting.  Because isn't it totally logical that a New York Times Best-Selling author would take the time to meet a complete stranger for drinks and pie?  Here is the actual e-mail I sent:
Hello Jen!

My fellow ex-sorority sister who loves kelly green and pink and Wham directed me to your books.  After the third one, I broke my library habit and actually bought Pretty in Plaid because I felt like an ass reading your work for free.  It was totally worth it, even if it was the equivalent of five Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes.  Totally worth it.

So I am writing my crazy crack whore (my equivalent of asshat) request knowing this will never work, but what the hell.  I SO SO SO want to go to Witty Women Writers, as I live in the Quad Cities and have been DYING to get to one of your events, but I have tickets to David Sedaris in the QC that night and a fabulous outfit already picked out.

SO - (deep breath) - I swear I am not a stalker, but I will be in Chicago on Nov. 12 and wondered if you ever let complete strangers take you out for lunch or pie or fruity alcoholic drinks for an hour (or 30 min!  Or 10!  Or you just yell things out of your window as I drive by!) of brain picking on getting a blog to print.  I know, I am so original, no one else in the world wants a piece of you. 

And I'm aware your time is worth more than pie.

I feel like I just asked you to prom, knowing you will say no.  And I already have my dress.  And I'm totally sober.  Ugh.  Here's my blog, if you aren't entirely creeped out:

Thanks.  (Sound of cork coming out of merlot.)  Anticipating auto-response.
 Okay, I can hear you saying, "Bitch, please."  Really.  I already sound psychotic, would YOU meet me?  Without security and a taser gun?  I don't think so.  But Jen, clearly not sensing the imminent danger, actually friggin' E-MAILED ME!!!  And then I had an orgasm and saw Jesus and unicorns and ponies...for a rejection.   But a rejection from JEN LANCASTER!  Here was her response:

Thanks so much for reading and getting in touch .  I really appreciate it!
I'm sure you understand that you are not the first person to make such a request, and I just cannot meet everyone one on one and continue to have time to shower and feed the menagerie.  But I hope to see you at a tour event for My Fair Lazy when it is released next year!
Best wishes,
Be careful what you wish for, Jen.  Of course, the tone of this response was very polite, which is not really Jen, so I waited for a few days, checking her blog to see if she would post my e-mail and rip me to shreds - "Can you believe this psycho?" - but she didn't.

Then, in November, she posted this absolutely hysterical riff on New Moon, where she re-creates the ENTIRE MOVIE using the action figure dolls in her kitchen.  Bella jumping off the cliff is the doll jumping in Jen's sink into a bowl, and Edward's apparition is his doll in an upside-down tea pitcher.  If you haven't seen it, here it is - Jen's New New Moon.  Since I am such a Twilight junkie, I felt compelled to comment upon Jen's genius, and it was time for another stalker e-mail:
Okay, I was having a sucky day, and New New Moon completely turned it around.  Really.  Can't wait for My Fair Lazy.

And then I was inspired to write two New Moon blogs, because of you, but I did give you props in the blog, and posted your New New Moon link on my FB page because it should be shared.

Thanks for being hilarious.  And REAL!!!  I raise a fruity drink in your honor.
 Holy shit, that's some embarrassing stuff.  And by the way Jen, did you notice my blog address?  Shouldn't you go there and then forward me on to your agent/publicist/editor?  How many times must I suck up to you before you bequeath your publishing life to me?  

Well kids, the answer to that would be ONE MORE TIME.  Because the third time is the charm.  Jen announced on her blog that she had a secret she was going to share later that week.  Most of her fans would read that and say, "I can't wait.  I wonder what my favorite author is up to!?"  Her stalker says, "I literally CAN'T WAIT.  I am going to speed-dial her, go through her garbage cans again, follow her to Starbucks, and e-mail AGAIN.  Because I like to punish myself."  
Jen -

I know!  I know!  You are getting a MOVIE!  And if you are, I want to play one of the people you yell at to get your latte at Starbucks, specifically to yell at me "MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!  A latte doesn't fetch ITSELF!!"

And if you aren't, you should.  Shame on Hollywood!

My book club is traveling from the Quad Cities to one of your Chicago readings in May, can't wait.


 More sucking up.  And again with the blog address.  Is my book club going?  I don't know.  It just sounded better than "I'll be there wearing your Lacoste shirt and pearls I filched from your dresser while you were out!"  I do know the friend who introduced me to Jen is likely going with me, and clearly needs to bring a tranquilizer gun and the number of my attorney.

But then, it happened.  Jen REPLIED to my e-mail, again:
No movie yet.  I don't think Hollywood would quite know what to do with me!
Looking forward to seeing you in May!
 Holy shit!  We're friends now!  She loves me!  I understand her!  She's looking forward to seeing me!  She likes me, she really likes me!  And then she responded to my New New Moon e-mail:
So glad you liked it!
Thanks for writing,
Oh.  So she responds to everything eventually.  Demoted to stalker status, again.  But can you imagine the volume of e-mail this woman gets?  So I was pretty psyched to hear from her.  Of course, I printed her e-mails and put them on my Author Stalker wall, right next to my framed autograph from David Sedaris that says he "looks forward to reading my book someday".  Yes, I forced him to write that, but still.  I think I've come up with the perfect line for Jen to write in my copy of "My Fair Lazy" when I attend the book signing in Chicago:

"Julie -
Cease and desist or I will call the authorities. 
p.s. Quit sending your damn blog to me, I'm not your meal ticket"
The end.   Or is it?