I have a heat rash.
Outside, a million degrees.
Dog shat on the floor.
This morning at the breakfast table.
K: Knock knock
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Chicken who?
K: Chicken pox.
Me: That’s a disease, K.
K: (looks at me like I’ve got nine heads) I know. It’s a disease joke.
Maybe I should try to set a better example for the children.
Yes, it is January. It’s also 18 degrees this morning, so I am not sweating. This post is from last August… My most sincere apologies for the delay, you know, stuff and life and other stuff. Hope you like it.
It’s the very ass crack of dawn, J and K are begging to go to the beach, and I am already sweating.
We must be down the shore (we don’t go to the beach in New Jersey — we go “down the shore”. I don’t know why).
I drag my eyelids open to see the house on Long Beach Island.
I’m on vacation.
I go to “down the shore” every year in order to sit in the sand (in my prescription hat)
and slowly accumulate beach detritus in all the many cracks and crevices upon the plenary of my sticky white vastness. I continually sweat off the compulsory half inch of sunblock I apply and reapply faithfully, but no matter how vigilant I remain to the task, I undoubtedly forget some tiny portion of my skin which will then turn a brilliant, yet grossly unhealthy shade of magenta and stay that way for the rest of our trip. Yesterday I missed my double chin.
This is not a good look for me. I look like I’ve dyed my amish beard purple, and believe me when I tell you that there is no cream in the universe that will successfully hide a third degree double chin sunburn.
I am inordinately tired this morning because last night I slept in a room with my children. At one am K awoke (sort of), screaming: “DON’T EAT THAT” over and over again. It must have been one of the vegetable nightmares. Again.
Later on I was awoken by my son, who wanted me to know that I had woken him up during one of the more lively portions of the war my brain had quite unsuccessfully waged against the springs in my shitty, borrowed, beach house mattress over REM sleep.
I drag ass into the tiny kitchen and drink hot, life-affirming coffee. This is the highlight of my day.
I sweat more.
There are seven of us in this 200 sq foot apartment, the kids, the husband and I, my mother and father in law and my sister in law. There is something about this place that they all enjoy.
In my humble opinion, beaching is an occupation for only that lucky majority born with normal levels of melanin and far less freckly skin.
Which is to say, not me.
The apartment is so small that it’s impossible to pee without an audience. This, by far, tops the list of beach shit that doesn’t work for me. When I pee, I must be so completely alone that even I am not in the room, so on LBI, of course, I do not urinate at all.
It’s not so bad, I do sweat profusely, but this morning’s different. I need to make a deposit in the porcelain bank.
I’m prairie dogging it.
I sized up the bathroom in preparation to fire the rear thrusters. It’s a three by three foot square in between my sister-in-law and my mother and father-in-law’s bedroom and the walls are no more than glorified construction paper. This is going to be bad.
I have but one thing going for me.
They’re all still playing sleep survivor.
No one wants to be amongst the first up with the kids, you see, and I was already awake to keep them as close to some facsimile of quiet as I could manage. No one wanted to join me. I couldn’t blame them, and as for myself; if there had been any other choice before me… Any hint of reprieve from dropping the payload… I’d have taken it.
Things went as well as could have been expected on my end, but the toilet did not fulfill it’s contractual obligation.
I flushed, yet the shit remained.
I stared at the shit. It stared back at me. I recited the Lord’s Prayer and flushed again, ignoring the screaming voices in my head warning that everyone knows two flushes always equals a shit.
I was frozen with fear.
This was my worst nightmare. Trapped in a tiny apartment with my severe potty neurosis, all my inlaws and a stinky shit that won’t go down the pipe.
I scanned the room desperately for help.
My eyes stopped on the window:
No, the fall might be far enough to break my legs, but it would not kill me. What it would absolutely do is draw my theatrically sleeping family to the very room where my aromatic gift sits waiting to be discovered, while I languish 20 feet below, just a little too far from the ocean to drown myself before paramedics arrived.
Thankfully, there was a plunger.
If you have ever looked favorably upon me, please make me stealthy now, for should anyone ever find out what I am about to do here, I will have to divorce my husband and flee the country.
I won’t go into detail regarding my disagreement with the toilet, but I will tell you that no one, neither the toilet nor I, came out well in the end.
War is hell.
The sweet stink of argumentative shit permeated the apartment. It had been cold last night, no windows were open.
Still, they pretended to sleep.
Never let it be said that they did not afford me some comfort in my darkest hour.
My children are not so delicate.
“What’s that abhorrent smell?” asks J.
“smells like argumentative shit” says K.
Okay, not really. But it was something like that. Close enough for Government work, or something of the like.
As always, I am impressed that we ever set foot on the beach at all. The sheer magnitude of crap we bring along is staggering. Every person is loaded like a pack animal for the pilgrimage across sizzling asphalt and blistering sand to the ocean. If our flip flops haven’t melted to the street before we make it to the dune, we scale that rocky hump. If no one has broken an ankle or sliced too deeply into a foot on one the thousands of jagged rocks lining the side of the dune, we hike down the other side and remove our flip flops, in preparation to insert our bare feet into dry sand; each grain baked to precisely the temperature of the surface of the sun and piled just deep enough to swallow one’s entire foot, so that each step, without exception, is burnier than the last.
From the house, it seems to be a walk of around one city block to the water. Not far. Just out the driveway, really. Once en route, however, it becomes startlingly clear that this estimate is impossible, and that I have, once again, been taken in by what can only be described as “the beach mirage”. At any point during our journey to or from the beach I would tell you that we will undoubtedly fall off the edge of the earth before we get there. We are the summer version of the Donner Party. It must be at least sixty miles, uphill all the way. We are trekking through a mountainous Sahara Desert.
Yet, miraculously, we make it every time. The children rejoice.
Umbrellas, beach blankets, chairs, toys, books, hats, and one shit ton of sunblock emerge from our beach bags.
The children immediately beg to go in the water.
For ten years, until last year, actually, I managed to keep my feelings regarding ocean water a secret from my husbands family. I have very strong feelings regarding the sanctity of the ocean and all the animals who reside therein.
They do not wish the pleasure of my company, and I’m cool with it.
It all comes down to very simple logic:
In the ocean, everything that might happen across my skin is a jellyfish. Shells (jellyfish), rocks (jellyfish), seaweed (Jesus H. Fuck, that’s a jellyfish), even other people, although a persons touch inevitably bears a second option:
In 2 inches of ocean water I will dance like someone is shooting at my feet every time the current pushes a new load of crap to shore.
Last year, upon the exposure of my secret, my sister in law made me walk out into the ocean past the breakers. This, she said, would help me to overcome my fear. Instead, I took a huge wave right in my lady testicles, fell backwards into the ocean, took a nice gulp of seawater and spent the next week listening to humorous anecdotes about how I looked flailing around in the surf to avoid mythical jellyfish and sharks, and surreptitiously picking sand out of my girly bits.
There is no help for me.
By eleven am, the children are tired of the water and instead roll their wet salty bodies around in the sand; which congeals upon their bodies to form a completely impenetrable layer of sand glue that no brillo pad or pressure washer can remove. They do this every day, and every day they are genuinely surprised at how categorically unyielding their sand cement has become when they return to the house to shower.
At the beach J says:
Look Mom! I’m making sand angels! I’m Sandy the Sandman!
You’re going to be Sheldon the shower man when we get home.
He laughs and laughs.
Later, in the shower:
J: MOM! MOM! Quit scrubbing me!!!! I swear by all that is holy, I’ll never roll around in the sand again!!! Gaaaaaaak…
Replay scene twice daily for five to seven days.
This morning, in particular, was a special one:
I watched as K brought a shovel full of sand to her mouth, opened up, and ate it like it was brownie batter.
I swear, that child has Pica.
Me: K, we don’t eat sand.
K: I wasn’t.
Me: You just put a shovelful of sand into your mouth. I watched you.
K: No, you didn’t.
The sun must be getting to you, Mommy. Why don’t you close your eyes for a while.
Then it’s time to pack up all our shit, make like the Chosen People, and do our forty years in the desert back to the house for lunch.
K walked back to the apartment bowlegged, holding up the bottom of her tiny bikini with both hands, while the crotch dangled between her knees. Upon removal, I found a perfect sand sculpture of her can.
She likes to sit in the sand and let the waves crash over her. The repercussions are messy and time-consuming, but with a little spray glue I probably could’ve sold that thing online to some anonymous buyer and sent her to college with the proceeds. (Don’t be like that, you knew coming into this that kiddie porn jokes weren’t off the table)
Once the children are clean and fed, it’s time to drag our 900 lbs. of beach shit (and my sad and broken body) across the steaming asphalt, the rocky dune and the searingly hot sand, set up all our shit again, watch the children soak themselves in sea water, roll themselves in sand, and head back to the house again.
They charge people money for this.
It’s true. In order to have the privilege of accruing sand in your slot machine, you must wear a badge that identifies you as eligible to do so. Otherwise, you are subject to the will of the Beach Badge Boy.
You can always pick out the Beach Badge Boy because he’s always the kind of kid you want to punch in the mouth. Also, he is the one doing the Beach Badge Boy walk. If he is in flip flops, He walks like he spent the day on horseback and then jumped off his horse, only to find himself walking to your beach blanket in a river of lava. If he is in socks and sneakers, he invariably has blisters all over his feet which are causing him to walk like he has Parkinson’s disease. He is trying to be cool, for he is always fourteen years old and trying to impress scantily clad teenage girls (or other boys, whatever), but the Beach Badge Boy walk, along with the tiny notebook and three inch backpack he has slung over his shoulders is making it entirely impossible, so instead, he takes his job very, very, seriously.
Woe to those not wearing the badge.
You may see your Beach Badge Boy three or four times in a day, for he is always making sure. And while watching him walk around in four inches of sand with poor footwear is generally diverting, you can be sure that your Beach Badge Boy is vigilant in his pursuit of those who do not wear the badge. Beach Badge Boy has power over you, and he knows it. In fact, that has got to be the only perk to being a Beach Badge Boy, besides exceptionally well-toned calves from walking around the beach in four inches of blisteringly hot sand all day.
Friends, your beach badge boy is making sure. He needs to know that you are wearing your little plastic pin with a number on it that invariably pokes and pricks your skin upon any sort of jostle, either by it’s nasty sharp plastic edges or when the safety pin twists the wrong way, or comes undone, which happens… Always. It’s especially pleasant when your beach badge wounds come in contact with saltwater.
The Beach Badge Boy is the law on New Jersey beaches. Although, presumably, New Jersey beaches are wantonly ignoring child labor laws. He is the law, he and the beach patrol — the beach patrol is the guy wandering around in half of a police uniform and stinking of poor life choices.
By the end of the week I am spotted magenta, and suffering from a mild case of stockholm syndrome. My feet are leaden, my back is broken, and Ive acquired an irrational fear of my prescription hat. My family loves their beach time. My husband feels refreshed when it’s over and can never wait to go back.
Before we leave for another year, we always let the kids go to the beach one last time. Then we take them back to our mountainous home covered in sand and beach muck. K, of course, can be found holding up her tiny bottoms, for she is replete with sandy ass sculpture, and always, as I walk away from the sand and surf for the very last time, I hear the tinkling bells of my daughters laugh and I think to myself:
But they’re so happy. It’s got to be worth it.
For the children, Grandma and Grandpa are second only to Santa Claus for an easy mark. A trip to Grandma’s house is like going to Toys R Us, getting a shopping cart and having five minutes to grab whatever you want. Plus, Grandma has cool stuff, like a piano (upon which to pound) a set of handbells (still jangling in my head) and hundreds of delicate glass, china, and porcelain baubles to be examined (dropped) and adored (dropped).
By the evening of our second day fighting the good fight to keep my mother’s museum-quality-historical-society-pristine-child-free-for-most-of-the-year home safe from the hedonistic joy of two newly spoiled children had me exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that when K was sent to bed early (early bedtime: consequence for having categorically decried her Grandmother’s homemade cooking as “nasty” and then failing to complete her agreed upon bite quota), I went to bed as well.
She seemed unmoved as I led her up the stairs to serve her time, but I could feel injustice radiating through her tiny hand. She was like a miniature Rosa Parks, her head held high even while escorted to her cell. For K, it was plain to see that she had right on her side.
J, of course, was delighted with the turn of events. He sat at the kitchen table, squeaky clean from his special Grandma “jacuzzi tub bubble bath”, savoring every second he was allowed to stay up beyond his sister’s early retirement requirement. He was enjoying a slice of Grandma’s special lemon cake, the top of which was liberally sprinkled with the sweet, sweet, knowledge that K would not be having any.
Life was good for J.
Once K had finally quit singing her protest songs (screaming) and threatening to march on the kitchen (screaming “Gwandma, come get me!!!”), I retired to my bedroom.
As I began to settle in, I heard agitated voices and then running footsteps down the hall. I could actually hear my warm bed disappearing with each footstep as it made its way towards my door.
J barged in, breathless and flushed with the rosy glow of a child with a new puppy.
“Mom? Umm… K? She drew all over Grandma’s bathroom wall. With a BLUE marker (this particular piece of information made him positively giddy) and… umm… now she’s LYING about it.”
He paused to let the magic of this new information sink in. He was hopping back and forth from right foot to left, positively elated. He’d just won the sibling lottery. He took a breath to stable himself before he gave me the last (and obviously best) bit; the final nail in her punishment coffin. He was vibrating as I watched the power ball bearing his number come to rest in his eyeballs and turn them into cartoon dollar signs.
“And she’s blaming ME.”
My response was slightly less than he’d hoped. This whole episode reeked of a time suck, but since I’ve held on to that Mommy of the Year trophy for seven consecutive years (stop laughing. I make sure those children are DRESSED— in clean clothes mostly— and FED every day. Every. Single. Day.), I hauled myself out of bed and followed my son (who was more prancing than walking) down the hall to the scene of the crime. Stuffed into the bathroom were the husband, sitting on the tub with his arms crossed and angry, my mother, in rubber gloves with a look of grim resolve on her face… and K.
K was sitting on the toilet looking miserable. If the seat had been up, I’d have thought she’d had some bad Indian food.
J, upon seeing his sister’s face, rose gracefully en pointe, for he had been so blessed this evening that the complete history and practice of classical ballet came to him with nary a lesson. He spun and leaped gracefully in the room adjacent to his dejected sister, drinking in her misery like a fine wine.
She looked up at me with full on Precious Moments eyes— tears were welling up and her lower lip was trembling.
K: I didn’t do it.
Me: Well, then, how did these drawings get on the wall?
K: Maybe J did it?
A flash of hope flew across her face. Of course! J did it!
Me: J was downstairs eating his dessert, K.
K: (darkly) I didn’t do it.
Luckily (for her) the marker came off the wall easily.
I took her into her room to put her back to bed.
After I tucked her in she said:
“I’m scared of the dark.”
(It was a good play. It worked the previous night when we had just arrived and the room was a new place to sleep.)
Me: would you still be scared if I turned this lamp on for you?
(Mommy one, K zip)
Me: So why did you draw on the wall?
K: I didn’t do it.
Me: Who do you think drew on the wall?
(Also a good play for a smart four-year-old. She knows how things run around here, it’s not so far-fetched to think Grandma might buy that whopper on the cheap)
Me: Okay then, where did you get the marker?
K: That drawer. (Points towards the desk)
Trickery, skullduggery, chicanery, and worse, douchebaggery on the part of her most trusted allies. She sees it immediately; she is betrayed by her own mother and her own mouth.
Her little hands balled in her lap and her face squinched up like she’d swallowed a porcupine.
Me: Why did you draw on the wall?
K: I wanted to make people.
Me: You know we only draw on paper, K.
K: Yes… But I’m scared of the dark.
Not this time kid.
There’s a perfunctory knock at the door, and J came barging in, his twinkling eyes darting back and forth between K and me, trying to extract from our silence which sort of medieval torture would befall his little sister for her heinous crime to the bathroom wall. The rack? Would she be drawn and quartered? It was all good for him.
J: I’m going to bed, I just wanted a kiss and hug…
Liar. Dirty little Snoopy McSnooperson.
Me: I’ll be out to put you to bed momentarily. You can wait in your room.
He stands there.
Me: So… Go to your room.
J: Okay…. Jeez…
Once we were finally rid of peeping J, I told miserable, sniffling, K that she wouldn’t have been in trouble if she’d told the truth, but since she’d lied, Daddy and I would have to talk it over and she’d have a “consequence” (Consequences: ‘Cause you can’t just beat them anymore) in the morning. The best consequence, I find, is making them wait to find out what their consequence will be.
On to J. I had barely opened the door to his room when he asked:
J: Can I have some more lemon cake?
(This is the question he asked, but his eyes followed up with: because I’m a good child, the one who DIDN’T write on walls with BLUE marker.)
Me: No, it’s bedtime.
J: Well, can I watch TV for a little while before I go to sleep? (Because I didn’t make people in BLUE marker on the bathroom wall?)
Me: No, it’s past your bedtime.
I’m obviously and entirely unreasonable. J sat there before me with an airtight alibi for the time during which his sister perpetrated the crime of the century, and he can’t fleece that lamb for anything except the good feelings that come from watching his little sister get in trouble?
I left him there, contemplating where his plan might’ve gone wrong.
My bed was calling and I was answering. The last thing I remember is stopping outside of K’s door to hear the long exaggerated cry of a child who knows that a parent is within earshot.
Her sentence was one night without dessert. I was pushing for life without the possibility of parole for gross neglect of Mommy’s bedtime, but I was voted down.
When the Mother of the Year people come around again, my benevolence will be noted.
This year the husband was recruited to coach J’s Tee-ball team. He agreed with great enthusiasm. The Guy In Charge, however, made the unilateral decision to move J from the Tee-ball team up a level to “coach pitch”.
I assume this change occurred because of my child’s pronounced aptitude – nay, prowess for the sport, but this change put the husband in the unenviable position of playing team pitcher as well as coach. My first thought was that a full grown man really ought to be able to, not only, pull his weight on a team full of first and second graders, but also to beat those little shits into the ground with a skill set full of coordination and motor skills that they will not acquire for years, and then take a victory lap around their tiny bases with his VIP trophy. I mean, these are little kids. Some of them still aren’t 100% on what a ball is.
The husband was not as psyched. He pointed out that although he, an adult, will be the team pitcher, so will all the other grown-up coaches and it’s probable that they will all be better at it than he is.
He had a valid point.
After two very educational, informative and short practices, the kids
ran out of time were ready to take the field.
I dressed for the weather, which was supposed to be nice. In fact, I spent two hours digging around for my (extensive) collection of flip flops because during the great washer replacement of ’14 the husband moved them. He put them somewhere safe.
I never found them, but I did find two that sort of looked alike and called it close enough. At least I had both a right and a left. I’d have settled for less. I told all the other Moms they came from that store that sells mismatching socks (because I’m trendy). They did not appear to believe me.
I set up camping chairs for K and myself behind the batters box, where I could see J on the field as well as the bench. I don’t know why they even have a bench. J’s tiny ass might graze it once when he’s tired towards the end of the game, but otherwise he spends his bench time, along with the rest of the team, in orbit around the bench, climbing the fence, or over by the batting cage, where the three kids next up swing metal bats freely in an enclosed area.
It’s beginning to get cold.
J’s team is at home, so they’re out in the field first. Now that J plays Little League instead of Tee-Ball, a new position has been added to the line-up.
Catcher is, by far, the shittiest position in Little League. The poor wretched soul chosen as “catcher” is dressed in all the trappings of an adult catcher, but has neither the motor skills necessary to do the job nor a willingness to catch the ball. The padding and helmet are heavy, which, on the upside, reminds the doomed child to squat, but the catchers mask is too large for most of them to see or hear while it rests upon their tiny heads. So they sit there, completely mute, with their gloves stuck out in front of them and positively no idea what’s happening.
Consequently, Madison, the little girl playing catcher today, is beaten like a rented mule. Every pitch just kind of bonks off her little body and falls sadly to the ground, whereupon we all watch while she scrambles around, twisting the mask this way and that in a vain attempt to lay eyes on the elusive ball.
J is stationed deep out in right field, diligently picking his nose. I assume that’s why he is stationed deep out in right field.
During the second inning, it gets windy. By the time J’s team is up again, K and I are huddled together for warmth. I begin to regret seriously my choice of mismatched flip-flops.
A bug flies up my nose. It does not come out.
As with all of J’s games, immediately preceding the first (and therefore most important) time that my son has his turn at bat, K announces that she has to pee, can absolutely not wait until we get home, and we better go now… Or else. Our only option is The Port-a-Potty.
A place so foul, so disgusting, so utterly loathsome that it could, and maybe has been, weaponized by the government. It’s covered top to bottom in gonorrhea, so K is understandably excited to smear her bare flesh all over it’s filthy surfaces. I wonder if the CDC knows about this place. There is no TP. There is no soap or hand sanitizer. There is no light, so I have to use one of my flip flops to hold the door (a “door” only in the very loosest sense of the word, it’s more like a thin plastic petri dish) open.
Her pants are down in a flash, and I catch her just before she climbs onto the repellant blue and brown hole head first. I spy something moving in a dark corner and pray for a swift and painless death.
I wonder, just for a moment, what I’d do if she fell in, but the thought is gone as quickly as it enters my mind. I’m a mother, I’ll do what I have to.
I’ve got another one to take care of me in my old age. She’s on her own.
I lift her onto the pot. Immediately she touches everything moist within her reach and tries to stick her hands in her mouth.
I snort the bug further up my nose. Whatever, it’s the least of my problems now.
Hopefully, the dirt and sand K has ground into her hands from running around the playground before the game will somehow decontaminate whatever nightmare port a potty disease is waiting to infect us all.
In situations like these I find it’s best to make up your own science.
K and I get back to the camp chairs and J’s team is up at bat again. The husband is pitching. K marvels at how many bugs are flying around my head. The husband throws a super shitty pitch.
My jaw drops. Everything moves in slow motion.
The ball is headed directly for the cranium of Sydney, the smallest of all the small children on J’s team. The husband is gesturing wildly and yelling:
“Mmmooooovvve” (in that really deep slow-mo voice)
The child stares back at him blankly, wondering; I’m sure, just what in all hell these new antics could be.
I have just enough time to wonder whether the team is required to sign a legal waiver before the baseball collides with her cheek. Spit flies from her tiny mouth as her head twists slowly towards me from the force of impact. The other team’s catcher sits there with his glove out, completely unaware of the goings-on.
The husband takes off running (in slo-mo, of course – Chariots of Fire should have been playing in the background) for the batters box. The parents (except me because I’m a horrible person- I’d have a box of popcorn on my lap if I’d thought to bring it) turn away in horror, and Sydney just stands there for a moment looking shocked. Then, she lets out a scream so shrill that only dogs can hear, because we most certainly can not. All hands on deck.
They do sign waivers, don’t they?
Sydney is benched and iced. At least we don’t have to worry about keeping the ice cold. It’s so cold we could have just sat her down in the wind. The official ruling is “accidental boo-boo” and the game goes on. No reconstructive surgery, no foul.
J’s team is in the field again. The batters on the opposing team are continually hitting pop fly’s. All of our little fielders have the best of intentions – they get under the ball, they call it. They wait for it with their little gloves open… And then… when the ball gets to be 20… 10 feet away, they cringe, cover their heads with their gloves and run away. It’s like a really cold Monty Python skit.
On the whole, this strategy seems to be prolonging our game. I start to think about burning my flip flops for warmth.
Finally, we make it to the bottom of the sixth. My ass is frozen to the camp chair, and I’ve done away with my flip flops in favor of extra baseball gloves on my frostbitten feet. The little fat kid (Oh come on– all teams have one) is up to bat. The husband throws the pitch. Everything seems okay; I see no bloodshed in our immediate future. The little fat kid gets ready to swing but checks it instead.
It’s a one in a million shot.
The ball hit the bat and careens directly into little fat kid’s eye.
Little fat kid drops to his fat little knees and starts to cry.
We are so getting sued.
In case you needed another reason, this is why all the other Moms hate me:
When the ball hit the little fat kid in the eye, I snort laughed. I couldn’t stop it – it was snort laughed out into the atmosphere before I had time to mask my amusement. I understand that I’m a terrible person, I live with it, but I do my best to try and conceal it from all the other moms (most of whom are snort-laughing on the inside).
Little fat kid should have a nice shiner by morning and, mercifully, the next kid struck out and ended the game. It was a miserable loss for my son’s team (not that we keep score). Little fat kid was soon placated by what was already looking to be a glorious battle scar and the after game snack; little chocolate donuts and “juice” (which may or may not contain actual juice) pouches.
What I learned today is that little chocolate donuts cover a multitude of sins. All the children were happy. Madison, pummeled by the ball for the whole game was smiling and chasing her teammates despite her bruised and broken little body. Sydney, even with tears and the ice pack frozen solid to her tiny face, was smiling as she received her little chocolate donuts. J ate his snack and then pushed the car home (with us inside) and slept very well. Even K got a package, and happily crunched away on the dirt, sand, and diphtheria deposited upon her little chocolate donuts by her revolting port-a-potty hands (before I could get over to her and take them away. Tears. Lots of tears).
On to the first away game!
I have a bad back, so I go for therapeutical massage frequently. I’ve always seen female therapists; not for any real reason, just because there are more women than men in the field.
Lately, my back’s been so tight you could bounce a quarter off it and my neck has gotten so stiff that friends have started making “stiffie” jokes. It’s time for a massage when people start to make boner jokes about your neck. (Haha, by the way, very creative.)
I called my massage therapist (you have to call them therapists. They correct you if you accidentally slip in “masseuse”, and you do NOT want your masseuse angry with you) to schedule an appointment. She’s a popular lady, so I’m used to waiting a few days to get in, but this time it was a TWO WEEK wait for an appointment. The only one in the office who was free soon enough for my liking was:
The Massage Dude.
Hey, I’m amenable. I don’t discriminate. I’m sure he’s wonderful, of course I’ll see the dude. Why not?
Everything was as usual as I walked into the office, there was a waiting room full of ladies, peaceful colors everywhere, the waterfall was tinkling and Enya was playing softly in the background.
The place is like a monastery; you don’t want to speak above a whisper – if you talk at all. I waved hello to the receptionist, thought briefly about giving her the old Buddy Christ,
but sat down across from the serene waterfall instead, my back to the massage rooms.
The Massage Dude came out to get me. I got up and turned around to greet him warmly (as I am wont to do) and…
I was startled.
Let me preface the rest of what you will read here with a better understanding of my usual “massage therapist”. My usual lady is a sage-burning, bangle bracelet tinkling, warm, relaxing, hippy-dippy delight. Her long, flowy, hair is always down even though it’s a thousand and one degrees in her room, so it tickles my back while she works. She’s strong but gentle, and afterward she sings a little song to me and leaves me there to get up and dressed at my own pace. No rush. There’s always cold water waiting. I could take a little nappy if I wanted to. It’s a beautiful thing.
SHE SINGS A LITTLE SONG.
And so, on that fateful day, I had it in my mind that the Massage Dude would be just like her, only… A dude… You know, a crunchy dude.
Massage Dude looked like an Olympic gymnast. All he was missing was chalk on his hands and a pommel horse. He was considerably shorter than me, 5’4”– tops, and might have been friendly with the ‘roids.
I schooled my surprised face (I’m not very good at this. Once surprise and/or disappointment have begun the facial expression party, all a good schooling does is to add “confused disgust” into the conveyed emotional mix. I end up looking like I smelled something very bad.) and shook his beefy hand.
His neck was wider than his head, which made his head look sort of pointy. The whole effect made him look like a gigantic upside-down novelty pen. Like, If you clicked his feet, a pen tip would pop out of the top of his head. He could schedule his own appointments while practicing his handstands. He should have had the name of the office written across him.
I wasn’t getting a little song.
Upon this squat yet sturdy body, he was head to toe white. A white athletic shirt, tight enough to see every rippling ab and peck beneath it, tucked into white pleated stirrups.
The kind of stirrups that show, even upon first glance, whether Mr. John Thomas is swinging righty or lefty. Where do you even get those?
Does Amazon carry them?
He must have Googled “stirrups that show off my tool” and bought them online.
YET… it is not for me to judge others in the Zen garden which is my massage therapists office. Besides, weird massage experiences make for good blog fodder. Just ask Whyistherebreadinmykoolaid?
I followed him back into his room (also white and antiseptic, which was a disappointment. And absolutely no scent of burnt-sage-meant-to-cover-the-telltale-scent-of-marijuana. Which was a rather big disappointment) and he introduced himself.
For our purposes, I think
Douchy McDouchington Massage Dude will do just fine. Then he left me alone, presumably to go do some work on the rings to undress, (I was wearing clean and pretty undergarments that day, just for the record) hop on the table face down, and pull the sterile white sheet up to my neck. I don’t really know why I bothered to do that, he was just going to turn it down anyway.
The bed was really narrow, narrow like the width of the pillow narrow, so my shoulders and hips came just to the edges of either side. My poor squashed boobs were locked in a fierce battle with my upper arms for table space.
There was a knock at the door and The Dude walked in,
lubed up put massage oil on his hands, and began the massage.
I stifled a scream. Instantly I knew why it is that I see a woman.
He was rough, and not good rough either. Bad, bad, rough. Rough like he had a recipe calling for the juice of one Naptimethoughts.
I had to tell him several times to lighten up, interrupting him as he talked incessantly; making sure I knew all his credentials, his training, and his background in physical therapy. I pretended to care with my eyes closed, mumbling “Really” and “Good for you” at regular intervals. Don’t try this at home, kids. Not listening to a stranger is a finely honed skill one can only truly develop with years of practice not listening to their husband.
When he finished with my legs, butt and lower back, he went to work on my upper back and shoulders. Since he’s shorter than most men, he had to lean over the table a little. He leaned in maybe 30 degrees, but it was enough. It was that moment that I felt it on my upper arm.
There was no doubt.
It was not a pencil in his pocket. He was not saving a banana for a snack, and even though my memory of the 80’s is kind of foggy, I’m pretty sure stirrups don’t have pockets.
It was his private eye, and it was staring at the sky. It was his tubesteak.
I was facing away from him with my eyes closed when his pizzle made its first dramatic appearance, but there’s no mistaking the feel of the pink cigar with naught but thin white fabric between… The two of us. My eyes popped wide open and immediately turned to saucers, looking in every direction for…
A little bottle of Boner-be-Gone tucked away on one of the shelves?
Every muscle in my neck and back stiffened along with his… Unit. I tried to squeeze in on the narrow table, so it wouldn’t be so… Touching me, but I could shrink no more.
I tried to move over, almost my whole left shoulder and hip were dangling dangerously over the table’s edge and I was willing my leftover flubber to stay where it was. Who falls off the table in the middle of a massage? It was all, sadly, to no avail.
Donkey Kong was in hot pursuit of the princess.
I didn’t know what to do. Should I say something? How do you tell your massage therapist that his hard on is creeping you out?
Me: “Hey, not like it’s any big deal. but it seems that you have a fire down below. Could you, maybe, put it out before we continue?”
Because I want to be a part of that conversation. As far as I could see, here is the best case scenario to come out of that mess:
Him: “Oh, thank you so much for bringing it to my attention! I’ll just nip into the other room and have a little flute solo. Back in a tic! And no worries, I’ll wash up.”
Then I’d just offer my thanks and wait quietly while he jerked the chicken and came back to finish my massage, no harm no foul. Because that’s not disgusting, horrifying and mortifying all at once.
Oh. My. God.
Plus, I had turned my phone off in the car. I couldn’t even pray for a disruption.
There would be no salvation for Naptimethoughts, and Massage Dude was climbing onto the tiny table. There was simply no graceful way to deal with this… Problem.
Him: “You’re really stiff (Jesus, that doesn’t even require a joke, snide comment or horrifying pause). I’m going to try and get at this trigger point under your shoulder blade”
Me: “Umm… Okay”
(That’s his sausage rubbing on my buns. Oh, and there’s his knapsack swinging around back there too. Maybe I should just ask him to stop. No, he’ll ask me why, and THEN what do I say?)
Me: “Listen, when your boner was just rubbing up against my arm, I was good with it, really, but now your coin purse is all up on my ass, and this is (just now) getting weird.”
Him: “Oh, my apologies Ma’am. I’ll just go finish off the zipper trout so we can get down to business.”
Because that would work out well for all parties involved. There is no way out of this. Short of faking my own death (and what if he tried to give me mouth to mouth? Plus, since I’ve never actually died, I’m not really sure how to play it. I’d probably screw the whole thing up, give a totally unconvincing “Blehhhhhhhh” in the end, and he’d laugh, and I’d just have to get back on the bed and
let him finish finish him it THE MASSAGE. Finish the massage) or have a stroke, which, at that point, was a real possibility.
I no longer noticed what he was doing to my back, all I could feel was the twig and berries on my ass. This couldn’t end well.
And then it was time for me to turn over.
I don’t know what my face looked like, but I imagine it did not say “serene relaxation”. I turned over anyway, careful not to look at Willy Wonka.
He asked me if I was comfortable having my chest and thighs massaged.
Errrrmmmmm. No. Upon reflection, I was not comfortable with his hands in between my thighs.
How could he not know that I know he’s sporting some wood below the equator? He’s wearing STIRRUPS. Everyone can see it in its flaccid state, it’s like a train wreck after he’s pitched a tent.
Shouldn’t someone talk to him about his work attire? Not that I’d be first in line to have the “we can all see your penis” conversation with a co-worker either, but they could draw straws or something. Don’t they have a boss somewhere? Or a full length mirror? Whoever gets the short straw could just put him in front of the mirror and ask him if anything jumps out at him.
Him: A full body might be a good idea, since you’re so impossibly tight today.
Me: No thanks, if you want to touch me there, you have to buy me dinner first. (Haha hahahaaaaaa yeah. I made a funny. Cough-boner-cough)
So he took to my head, which is always the final, and usually my favorite, portion of the massage. But IT was there too. He wasn’t rubbing it up against the top of my cranium or anything disgusting like that, but I KNEW it was there. It was there, inches from the top of my head, taunting me, with posture like my mother always wanted me to have at the piano.
Him: “Are you usually this tight?”
Me: “…… yes?……”
Him: “You need to come back to see me more often. Your back and neck muscles are likely to spasm if you don’t keep them loose. Have you been to PT recently?”
Me: “No, conventional physical therapy is extremely
hard on DIFFICULT on my (don’t say boner don’t say boner) BACK, since both my neck and… (boner) BACK are injured. I swim and do massage therapy instead.”
(How does he not know?)
Me: Oh, look at the time. (I looked down at a freckle on my wrist) I have a meeting, so time is tight for me today. It was so nice meeting you, (ram rod) MASSAGE DUDE. (Please leave now)
I started dressing while he was still in the room and I was out of there before the massage oil dried on my skin. I did not tip him. His tip was big enough when I left.
My dear readers, my friends… I have failed you, and perhaps I have failed myself as well. The other day while commenting on Omigosh She’s Naked (very funny— read it) it came to light that I have neglected to relay to you one of my life’s— truly— most humiliating experiences.
That simply won’t do.
There is some closure for me, some (dramatic pause) dissolution of the embarrassment that I feel as I hand it over to you, my loving congregation, my partners in crime, my compatriots, and my companions down this blog we call Naptimethoughts, to laugh with me at my own ridiculousness and foibles.
Therefore, this omission can not stand.
I intend to right it today.
Please accept my humble apologies for forgetting to offer up this plate of mortification, indignity and shame for your amusement and hedonistic relish.
I remember it as though it were yesterday…
The year was 2008, May. I was quite pregnant with J. My feet were disappearing like a fart in a fan factory and I hadn’t seen my legs since Rudy Giuliani was running for President. I had not shaved anything in the lower region of my body since it had gone stealth. Underwear had become my most elusive foe, and I had given up on socks entirely. This particular day, I was wearing clogs, maternity pants (which frequently irritated my armpits), and a maternity shirt that made me look like some crazy circus tent. I was a hot mess. Even Dora wouldn’t explore me.
I drove to my appointed destination and waddled inside. I took up two chairs in the waiting room, from which my ass STILL overspilled, and watched some lady in a sweatsuit, who apparently had not been getting enough sunlight, pick up a prescription for vitamin D.
I judged her harshly and immediately.
She must be the World Record Holder of Lazy. Who can’t go outside for ten minutes a day? Only someone in a sweatsuit defending their title.
Normally, I would have given her the benefit of the doubt, and allowed “Vampire” as a second option, but I was quite irritated by the two (formerly) outer edges of my plastic throne that had recently come together to form the very center of my seat, and, just then, happened to be riding up my ass like it was an episode of Bonanza. I was not feeling charitable.
I waited. For a doctors office, there wasn’t a great deal of reading material. Not even an old issue of Highlights. Goofus and Gallant would have been a welcome distraction.
I had just begun reading a pamphlet on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Urrrgh, that shit ain’t right) when I was called back to see the doctor.
Now, let it be said that I had been to see this doctor once before. My prior appointment had been easy peasy. A breeze. I had no reason to believe that this appointment would be different in any way.
Oh, but friends, I was wrong. So wrong. So horrifically, mortifyingly, frightfully and heinously wrong. I walked into the exam room, where the nurse instructed me to disrobe to my underwear and put on a backless blue paper “gown”. With that, and before I could so much as pee a little (for all you men out there, that’s what pregnant ladies do. We pee a little), she was gone.
She was gone, and I was wearing naught but my girlie bits as undergarments.
Panic set in.
I stared at the blue paper gown.
I looked around that room as if underwear and a razor might magically appear before my very eyes, if only I willed it so.
Then I stared at the gown again.
Nothing good could come of this.
A choice had to be made. Either I stayed dressed, and confessed my nakedness (as well as my fear for his wellbeing upon seeing it), when the doctor (whom I do not know any better than pair of magic underpants) came into the room, or I put on the gown and hope for the best.
I took the gamble and put on the gown. I mean, what was he really going to do to me? He’s not an ObGyn, he’s a rheumatologist. And he’s a DOCTOR, right? He must have taken Anatomy at some point.
The blue paper gown didn’t fit, of course. I should have known, my baby “bump” had grown from hill to mountain to “effecting the tides” by then. I tried to gently tug it closed around my (probably) hairy ass, and it ripped in front, halfway up Mount J.
(Please remember that this event occurred before I had any kids, so I cursed like a sailor. Now, as is right and proper, I look around the room first.)
After a thorough search of the room for another blue paper robe, a stream of naughty words, and a few “Jesus Christ, where do they keep these things?” I noted the time.
The likelihood was that the doctor would be in any minute, and I had no choice but to admit defeat by paper robe and my own severe lack of foresight.
I sat on the table, naked ass towards the wall, and waited.
I had just enough time to wonder if the single plastic chair in the room would hold my girth long enough for me to try and squeeze out the room’s only (gigantic) window, when the doctor came in.
He was not the easygoing type. In fact, my impression of the man to date said very clearly:
“I’d prefer not to see your vagina today.”
I saw him take note of the rip in my paper robe. I tried to hold it closed with my fingers, but the ass portion of the blue paper robe kept creeping past it’s boundaries. I opened my mouth to confess… It had to be done… But he cut me off (quite tersely, might I add) with a bunch of questions regarding my health.
I started to relax a little. Maybe the tiny blue paper robe was just a prerequisite for everyone’s second visit, examined or not. Besides, I really didn’t feel like explaining why I was nakey under the drapey.
Then he said:
“Please lay down on the table.”
I felt the word vomit coming. He had to know the truth before it was too late, but he was talking again (he kept fucking talking) telling me how he was simply checking my joints for full range of motion. I did a quick tally of all the joints in the body. Knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists… Not bad, no need to lift up my blue paper gown. He turned my wrists in directions God never meant them to go, but we were okay. He moved my feet around, and assured me that they were still there (strained laughter).
I made nervous jokes about my hairy legs, and why I might (I couldn’t really be sure) have the lower body of King Kong, and just as I was feeling like this might be okay, just as I thought I might get away with minimal scarring, he bent both my legs at the knee.
Range of motion, you see. Hips are joints too. Fuck. Hips, I forgot about hips. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.
Everything moved in slow motion, the anticipation of my pending abasement was written by each passing second across my face. I grabbed at the ripped blue paper gown, which was all there was between me and the money shot, but it was too late. He pushed my knees apart, checking my hips for… Full range of motion… And suddenly there seemed to be a spotlight IN MY BAJINGO (and really, at that point in my pregnancy, I couldn’t say for sure that there wasn’t) shining up into his face. His eyebrows had disappeared into his forehead. He made a noise, I think he might have swallowed his tongue.
My appointment had turned into the beginning of a very bad 70’s porno.
I took the moment to inform the good doctor that I had chosen to go commando that day.
I think he understood, but I’ll never be sure. All the color had drained from his face, and he took a step back, like there was something in there that he was afraid would bite him (which is also entirely possible. I hadn’t seen the Holiest of Holies for myself in quite a long time, I really couldn’t tell you what might have taken up residence). As he gathered himself, he pronounced all my joints healthy, and said to see the receptionist about a follow up appointment.
Right. A follow up. Because I’d be coming back to that office EVER AGAIN.
In fact, if I’d been able to get my irritating maternity pants on properly, I’d have been out of there faster than the fat kid in a game of dodgeball. Unfortunately, it took a little while for my feet to find their way back into those designer pants, and then for me to get them pulled up, sans eye or hand assistance. But you can bet that when I finally got them back on, I waddled out of that office like my ass was on fire, back to my car and home, to bear my shame alone, for Naptimethoughts was not yet a glimmer in a secretary’s eye.
Update: My hoohaa is perfectly normal again. I can look at it whenever I like, and I’m positive there are no monsters living in there. I can also reach my feet, and it’s no longer a danger for me to shave my lower extremities. Not that there’s hair on my feet. There isn’t.
This morning, while K is watching a cartoon.
K: Mom, move over. I can’t see the TV.
(I say: Oh, so sorry that my cleaning, cooking, chauffeuring, and other various and sundry Mom duties have taken precious seconds away from your television time. My bad. I’ll know better for next time.
K hears: ………………………………… Television…………)
TWO MINUTES LATER
K: Mom, I need a tissue (the box of tissues sits immediately to her left)
Me: Then get a tissue.
K: I can’t. (She stares at the TV as her
mine cart finger begins its slow ascent towards gold her nose.)
Me: K, I have seen you extend BOTH of your arms in the past. Occasionally at the same time. Therefore, I’m absolutely positive that you can work but one of those pretty arms, right now, in order to get yourself a tissue.
K: I can’t (her finger is now dangerously close to her booger bearer)
Me: They’re right there.
K: I can’t get it. (Finger now beginning proboscis probe)
Me: Fine. Here. (I hand her a tissue just before the nudging of nose nuggets begins in earnest.)
ONE MINUTE LATER
K: Mom, here. (holds out her hand with nasty used tissue in it.)
Me: Throw it away, please. And wash your hands.
K: J, here (extends previously unusable arm, holding nasty used tissue, to her brother.)
Me: No, K. Your tissue has germs all over it. When we use a tissue, we throw it in the garbage ourselves.
K: (puts nasty used tissue in her lap) Ok, I did.
Me: No you didn’t, it’s still sitting in your lap.
K: No, I threw it away. (tissue still sitting in her lap)
Either my child’s lying proficiency is way below benchmark, or she really thinks the cheese has slid off my cracker.
I don’t know which is worse.
Today I am cutting the virtual ribbon (with my giant imaginary scissors) for a BRAND NEW feature on Naptimethoughts. I call it “Ask Naptimethoughts”.
It’s my own personal advice column.
That’s right, I have answered all of your prayers in one easy link.
I, Naptimethoughts, am here for you.
I am here to answer any and all of the questions you may be grappling with in your daily lives. Feel free to ask anything*… Anything you like*.
Please send your questions (and/or excessive and insincere praise, moral support and flattery) to:
Naptimethoughts@gmail.com, or feel free to leave your question in the comments section below.
I will *answer your questions, *solve your problems for you, and *generally improve your life. All for free, because that’s just the kind of gal I am.
*Naptimethoughts will probably give you bad advice. In fact, I can all but assure you that Naptimethoughts WILL give you bad advice. If I were you, I wouldn’t take anything that Naptimethoughts writes to you seriously AT ALL. If you have a real problem, please seek the advice of a real therapist or Psychiatrist. Ask Naptimethoughts is nothing but a fun way to give Naptimethoughts stuff to write about, and/or plug your blog.
*All that other stuff I wrote about improving your life and whatnot? Yeah, that’ll never happen, but you might get a laugh out of it.
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