Category: community

so vp think she’s good with spreadsheets… (g2)

I think I’ve already gone over how the VP in our department thinks I’m a fucking idiot, something even the Yankee picked up on even though my boss tries her best to play the diplomatic card as much as possible. My boss rocks as they are not the type to get into drama and will get pissed at the issue, not the person. They also have a tendency to try to see the best in others and want to explain bad behavior under a more rational light. Sometimes a bitch is just a bitch. Also, like I told my boss… I have to value the opinion to give a shit what it is.

The VP has more than once told me I scare her. I’m starting to wonder if she isn’t kidding.

The owners decided they wanted to see more training since our financial situation (i.e. people finally started paying their fucking bills and we got bitchier about getting them paid) started getting better. My stress level once this occurred plummeted. Up until that point, the VP wanted to send me to a class on communication skills, which in a meeting with one of the owners and the VP present, I pointed out “There’s only so many ways you can communicate ‘we can’t pay you because we’re not getting paid.'” The owner readily agreed, the VP stfu about it, but it was still on the to-do that we should have training of some sort.

Yankee and I both saw an advanced Excel class we thought might be interesting, so we requested that. VP is not so skilled in Excel, in fact usually asking for Yankee’s help and marveling at the skills, even when its a minor thing. VP and I don’t really interact much work-wise, so it became apparent she had no clue of my skill level when she suggested it would be too much for me, and I just said “I highly doubt it considering I’ve already taken the advanced certification courses. This would be little more than a refresher unless they’re getting into the actual VB coding or in-depth macros without the step-through recorder.”

I lost her somewhere in the first ten words, I could see it in her face. She backpedaled a bit, and it wasn’t long before she had signed up for the same course but before ours.

She came back afterwards and said she learned a couple small things but they didn’t go over anything she didn’t already know. Before I could stop myself I said “well that’s disappointing, I thought it was supposed to be an advanced class.”

The Yankee coughed to hide their snort, but we were rather concerned that we wouldn’t be getting much out of this. It looked like the only classes that were more of our cup of tea were a minimum of two days and about five times the cost. We were told point blank we were not allowed to be gone over one day.

Either way, we finagled it so our project cohort, the Hippy, is also scheduled for this same class (at the Yankee’s house, Hippy mentioned they had no clue how to even request training and they too used spreadsheets a lot, so I put a bug in the VP’s ear. Sometimes, she is useful).

So we get out from having to deal with the VP for at least one day. For that alone, I guess I don’t really mind if I don’t take a lot away from this class, though I’ve never walked away not learning at least something, even if its small. I’m also curious as to whether the VP just didn’t understand a lot of what was being said and filtered it out. Will be interesting to find out. At least the company will be worth it anyway.

i deign to socialize on independance day but be damned if i saw one firework (g2)

One of my rules of thumb: If I’ve refused invites about 7 times in a row, I HAVE to accept the next one. It’s my hermit prevention methodology.  I usually don’t get to 7 unless I’m having a really rough time personally.

So I accepted the invite to the Yankee’s house for the 4th of July. My housewarming gift was a multi-pack of Charmin. Yes, toilet tissue. The amount of time the Yankee spends talking about the inner workings of their digestive system, it was warranted. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought so either since they also also received another multi-pack, Poo-pourri, and a stainless steel aerated plunger.

I was in good company.

I brought onion dip, well because I always bring fucking onion dip. It’s never what anyone expects. It’s easy, and BFG told me to when I was once stumped with what to contribute so some gathering that required something aside from a bag of ice or some fucking potato chips. It’s my go-to if I cannot think of anything and/or I don’t want to spend a lot of time. It goes down like:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar, sharper the better
  • 1/4 cup ground/chopped/smashed walnuts OR almonds.
  • 1 red onion, chopped to tiny bits.
  • *stir*
  • *put in container and smear flat*
  • *chill*
  • Now, I usually use the microwave to soften it, but mine likes to go nuclear after 52 seconds of tepid so I’ve had to switch to hot water on the outside of the jar. If you used almonds, take strawberry marmelade and glaze the top of the dip with it, in a thin layer. If you used walnuts, use raspberry marmelade. I use the whole damn jar usually.
  • *chill*

Didn’t know there was going to be gourmet lessons and shit up in this blog, did you?

I use a food processor when I’m not thinking about the cleaning afterword. I’ve also been known to use a bag and a hammer/rolling pin when I do.

It may sound weird, but try it. Two of my cousins, also siblings, who I’ve never been around while they weren’t fighting/screaming/bashing the shit out fo each other, damn near sat on top of one another and silently devoured a container of this shit.

It’s powerful, people.

With that said, I got to see my homeboy, the Yankee’s (we bonded over turkey ice cream cake and dirty jokes) boyfriend. I also got to meet one of the project department newbies, one I’ve been really impressed with as far as their work performance and their significant (we too bonded over lewd topics and dirty innuendo, in fact I seem to have hit idol status for out-lewding him?), a gal from purchasing that I already was friends with came and brought her mom (I wanted to adopt her too), a guy from the design department I once freaked out by sitting next to him at a company-sponsored holiday function and introducing myself (I also wanted to name him Marcus apparently), and their OCD former neighbor who spent a lot of time listening from the sidelines or navigating the wall.

We talked shop, we made cracks about our various diagnoses: which just in that room alone we had a couple of depressions, one bipolar (Yankee’s bf, ironically), OCD (the neighbor has issues with things that close and lock, he doesn’t trust them), our own special version of Turret’s (as I like to call it), etc. The former neighbor was awesome, but very ackward. He wanted to join but didn’t know how while staying on topic, though I give him massive props for his attempts, but man… he had a sharp wit when Yankee’s BF brought it out of him. It was a blast. I cannot ever make anyone understand the vast comfort I get from exploring so many different personalities. Enjoying our differences because we know its welcome and safe is probably one of the best experiences ever.

The Hippy, the epic newcomer to the project department, and I talked extensively of our own dealings with our company. I have to say her insight into the psyche of many of our co-workers was astounding. Yes, the VP really is operating on feelings of insecurity and is desperately seeking validation. Yes, I do think your boss has to be forced to acknowledge their humanity before interacting with them. Yes, I do think that senior head is big bag of narcissistic, immature dicks. I nodded a lot on her insights. We also covered the perceptions they had about my department. Ironically, it all stemmed from the VP and how she treats people.

Although some were a bit on the polite side, the rest of us dove right into the sexual experiences and innuendo, even I disclosed one of my personal best being when my former spouse was not home. I even made an offhand remark at one point that the Hippy looked like she was glowing and did she get some, to which she responded, “why do you think we were late?” When her significant came back in from chatting with Yankee BF, she grew immediately silent and just blushed all over. It was totes adorbs. I couldn’t resist, I teased them a bit. He seemed to have no issue with this topic, but she was shy while he was there.

It was over a hundred degrees outside and Yankee’s bf was hellbent on grilling. We left him to it. At one point even closing the blinds just to escape the heat coming through the windows. I’ve never gone without at least seeing a few fireworks but somehow this year, we missed it altogether. Maybe I’ll make a small bomb and set it off in my yard when the temperature gets below the crack of hell’s ass again.

Spawn was near silent for most of this, and only nibbled. They’d spent the night with their BFF the night before, gone swimming and failed to reapply sunscreen on their pale ass skin in 100 degree weather. So my kid was also barely able to move and suffering a bit from the burn on their top half.

By the way, whoever said vinegar is good thing to put on a sunburn should be punched in the dick. Don’t do it. Greek yogurt, coconut skin oil, olive oil with tea tree in it, aftersun aloe gel with echinacea, lidocaine but only in the spray (touching too much is bad)… all good. Fucking vinegar, bad! If you want someone to have an hour and half of scream/crying, then by all means go with vinegar.

I had originally thought this might be a really awkward outing, and had a deal with Spawn that they were to feign illness at a certain time. Well, it wasn’t feigned with the burn,  but we ended up leaving about two hours or so after our designated time. It was worth it though. Spawn finally piped in their two cents on the way home, they always seem to have a better time than they let on. Those who meet Spawn just think they are the most well-behaved child on the planet. I’m wondering what kind of long con this kid is running to have so many fooled.

the yankee hates her f*tard boss (g2)

So my co-worker The Yankee invited Spawn and I over for their housewarming/Fourth of July festivities with other friends and co-workers. How this initially abrasive being has managed to win over the good graces of half the building, I will never understand but I have to say I’m kind of grateful for it.

Where I work, there is this US vs. THEM kind of vibe between departments. My department, mostly, has all been here about 4 years or less, with the exception of one self-proclaimed VP who has been here too damn long and should honestly be let go. When you’re biggest task for bragging rights is balancing one of the owner’s checkbook, you need to understand you’re an overpaid personal secretary and fuck off. She however has vast delusions of grandeur and is one of those who constantly plays the martyr, even though she has more fucking vacation time, benefits, pay… than anyone else.

She is also the one who hired the Yankee, gushed about their wonderfulness and absolute genius to an annoying degree (I think I went over this before that this woman thinks I’m a fucking idiot), and I’m guessing was hoping they would form a clique with the other useless, manipulative piece of shit that has everyone snowed. Ah three musketeers.

The Yankee can’t fucking stand her. And its getting worse every day. This amuses me to no end.

Personally, I give it a long try, but if I can’t get along with my direct superior, I’m looking for work elsewhere. That relationship is very important to me. We have to be able to work together. I adore my boss right now, we often see things eye to eye and back one another up. I have been seriously lucky in this department for the last 10+ years, I’m hoping its for making up for some epic shitty ones before.

During the course of the Yankee’s time here, they have managed to befriend and divulge a lot about the dynamics of the other departments. They found out that my department is absolutely hated, that we’re evil, that we’re a bunch of bastards… but this is a theme fostered by old fucktards in other departments that only remember the fucktards my department replaced… with the exception of one old fucktard anyway.

The new people are trying to reconcile what they’re being told with what they’re dealing with and its not matching up at all. My boss always breaks her neck to help anyone, but she’s no doormat. One of my other co-workers has all the aggression of a puppy, then there’s the yankee, me and the fucktard. I’m at most curt, but only because you can’t emotionally interpret shit in a 5 word email. I learned that the hard way decades ago. I’ve made a point of telling any of the ones I’ve met, you don’t have to schedule time with me, just come, nothing I’m doing is more important.

I always wondered why when some of the ones in our project department needed to ask me questions, they always maneuvered like they were navigating broken glass. I got along with quite a few, but the older ones I always felt needed a heavy dose of humbling and an attitude adjustment before they ran off the really good new people they didn’t bother to train.

The design team had nothing to do with us at all, I’ve only dealt with one guy in there and he’s kind of a slackass shit disturber who’s been here a long time. See a theme? Because of the Yankee, I’m slowly getting more interaction with these mythical beings that share common space with me that think I work in a lair rather than an office.

With all of this new information, and other departments who have an “in” via the Yankee… I’m kind of interested to see how the Fourth is going to play out when I’m in a situation where I’m not glued to a computer and can actually interact.

i think i live in a constant state of diarrhea of the brain (g2)

So one day, I’m explaining my thought processes to my offspring on how I decided when something was or was not good for me to eat, and it ended up, in a matter of minutes, suddenly confessing some of my more mundane sins of drinking underage and pretending to be a foreign exchange student to get into a nude bar, also underage and how, knowing this, I understood that when Spawn’s inner devils finally tried to make a powerplay over their good decision making skills, all I asked was to call me to pick them up if they were drunk.

And never accept an open container of anything from anyone, even if you know them.

I managed to stop myself just before I got into the stories of when I DIDN’T do this and or start spouting off how many lovers I’d had in my lifetime, including the one sort of homosexual incident that did little but confirm what side of the fence I preferred.


I just sat there for a minute and asked myself “how the fuck did I get to this subject matter?”

Of course, when I started thinking backwards into it, it made complete sense.

Irresponsible drinking and ignoring state laws started because I was talking about being in Germany when I was a teen where as long as you can sit up over the bar table they don’t give a shit how old you are and I got on that because I found it ironic that 99% of my diet in Germany consisted of pork, starch and beer but for some reason I would still lose 20 lbs every time I went and I got on THAT because I was talking about low carb being kind of the magic bullet for diabetics since it would force the body to burns its own resources.

OK, yeah that makes TOTAL sense now!


I do this at work too, and it seems to keep my immediate co-workers are in a constant state of disbelief/confusion/awe/revulsion/laughter/irritation… I’m not entirely sure but they seem kind of caught off guard by it. Of course, I refrain some things at work, especially personal stuff, but usually everything else is diarrhea of the brain.

I could also wander tangents better than main roads of thinking as far back as I can recall. I hated A to B to C thinking, if I could cross over and hit Z in less steps, I was all for it. I’m the person with spare parts left after the “some assembly required” instructions have been tossed aside.

I suspect my brain just went “WHEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeEEEEEE…. never fucking organizing a coherent thought again, asshole!” when my teacher decided to spend a couple weeks teaching us “stream of consciousness writing” which meant everything that popped in your head had to go on paper. It spoke to me on a deep level. I suspect my papers actually got better because of it… after the 50th proofread by me and others, anyway.

I was always bad about missing key points or small facts that better supported my goal since I was trying to force a brain of chaos into a linear set of organized thoughts and flowing with the stream let that all come out alongside the “damn, my left buttcheek hurts on this fucking chair” and “I wonder if that skank smell is coming from the lunchroom or that guy a couple rows down.”

Of course, once you’re in college, flowing with the stream was epic in my creative writing classes. My weird tangents seemed to amuse my professors to no end, at least those who didn’t have a stick up their ass.

I had to write a book report on William Burrough’s Naked Lunch. I titled it Losing My Lunch. Did you know that Peter Weller actually starred in the fucking movie? It’s just as shitty as the book. So I guess that means they did a good job? Yeah, RoboCop and the guy from Leviathan! That guy! I hated it, and I rambled on in detail. Got an A.

Of course, now I’m sure an entire crew of former english instructors would go apeshit if they saw my minimal use of commas, semicolons, colons and overuse of periods today.

In the mix of my random tangents, seems to be what my co-workers refer to as my own little idiosyncrasies. I can’t remember cliches and generally just don’t care for them. These two facts could influence one another.

Instead of saying… well fuck, I can’t remember. I was going for an example that I seem to say similar involving a guitar, but now I can’t remember the cliche or my own rendition.

The only thing I can remember saying recently is one guy came through our office and just seemed in a shitty mood and hell bent on taking it out on everyone in there. When he finally left, I remarked, “wow, wonder if he stuck his tampon in the wrong hole.”

This is normal for me, and I was moving through my thought process to ask my boss a question, but since they seemed physically incapable of inhaling it took me a good several minutes of waiting before I could finally proceed with my question, but not before hearing:

“Where the hell do you come up with this stuff?!?!?!”

“Um, I blame the ADHD toddler on crack that lives in my head. He’s a real pain in my ass.”


kicking diabetes ass: week 2, day 4: smugness gone and damn, I’m hungry (g2)

I enjoyed my moment of smugness, it only takes a mirror or a visit to a scale to slap my ass back to reality though so I revel in it when I can.

I have my doctor’s appointment soon, so I have to remember to print out everything I’ve been eating so I can either get chastised or commended depending on how they feel about things.

Last night was probably one of the single most annoying days I’ve had yet. I was ravenous. I wanted anything and everything. A co-worker brought in lemon ricotta cookies, and I made the massive mistake of having one. I’m drawn to new things, food being only one subject that this applies to. It’s like it triggered a starvation response.

I wanted meat, copious amount of it. I ate an entire head of cooked cabbage for dinner and was genuinely sad when there was no more. I had a bite of Spawn’s mac and cheese, just a bite, but I would have happily licked the bowl clean when they were done. I still kept my calories within in check, but my carb exceeded what I wanted.

I don’t know where this is coming from. Perhaps my body is finally going “oh fuck, you’re still not going to eat more than this?!?!” Or maybe the sugar and carb in the cookie set off the diabetic desire for yet more sugar and carbs. Or maybe, its time to add a little meat/egg to see if that helps.

It was frustrating to say the least, but I don’t seem to be having the same issue today. Maybe, regardless of calories, the carb level is the only thing I really need to watch when this is over. Below 50, I don’t have problems, but above it… and I get massive cravings.

It will be something to watch at least.

A nurse at my chiropractor’s said that her joints started feeling better when she eliminated all MSG from her diet and really watched her salt. My sister-in-law made sure her daughter got at least 50g of protein a day because it helped her focus in spite of her ADHD.

Do any of you have to watch certain aspects of what you eat in this way? What happens if you don’t? How did you discover the anomaly?

kicking diabetes ass: week 2, nothing like a moment of smugness on occasion (g2)

Diet buddy gave me a fitbit for my birthday. A device I really care little about, but the fact it tracks sleeping was kind of interesting. They also got me a blood sugar testing kit. I understand when I tell my diet buddy “I’m feeling fine though” it sounds like the same cop out grand used to give me. However, I know what the lows feel like very well, and I’ve been recently introduced to the highs, so I get that too.

I’d not taken my evening dose of my blood sugar medication when they gave it to me. I’d also had ice cream and cake about a half hour before. So I took my sugar for my friend to see. It was 135. Perfectly normal. Theirs was 238.

Their words: “I hate you.”

I made sure to text them the next morning with: “Fasting sugar was 98, yours?”

Them:”shut up”

My friend and I have been essentially doing the same thing, but emulating it in different ways, I held off on meat at the beginning and avoid it when cooking at home, they have some meat every day. They are also more active in their work than I am so they have eaten more calories a day than I have. Unfortunately, they tend to use lateness and rushing as a reason to hit the value menu at McDonald’s a few times too often, like 2-3 times a week lately. I’ve started given them lists of things that are ok to eat, other than the big mac I keep seeing hit their log.

I get that diet buddy feels the need to provide at least one meal for their kids (they do their own in the AM and school provides lunch), but my perspective is that since one is even in high school, they can start providing the evening meal since their parental works long hours, like Spawn does now. There’s no excuse for calling McD’s a “meal.” There’s also no time like the present to teach your genetically tied offspring how to eat so they don’t get diabetes.

Wow, I sound like an elitist.

However, I don’t think my buddy realizes that garbage accumulates. So their numbers are never going to get in control if they keep using excuses to keep the garbage flowing in. You can get something fairly healthy at McDonald’s, but you have to look it up and of course, its ALWAYS going to be better to cook.

I try to research any place I’m going to find something I can have before I go, Spawn is even starting to get good at it and will look it up on my phone while we head to wherever. My breaded chicken salad debacle was due to no research and a drugged kid to contend with, so I attempted instinct and it bit me in the ass. Lesson learned, read the fine print.

Another friend’s husband was recently told that he was banned from processed meats, his kidneys are failing and he too has diabetes. He’s not even overweight. I asked diet buddy if they eat this stuff, and if so, stop and see if this helps their sugar. I was told “yes, but very little.” My response is “go for none, if it kills your kidneys, why risk it?”

I’m starting to figure out why diet buddy’s doctor assume they’re lying when their A1C is telling a different story, but I’m starting to get the sense that diet buddy has about a 60% grasp on what healthy really means. Calories matter, sure, but how you’re getting those calories make the lifelong benefits.

This is also the person who has medical access to studies on products that claim they benefit health. I can ask for a recipe for a tincture that would clear an infection of any nature and they could give a list of shit I’ve never heard of. They are trained to know health and improvement of health. So why is the food so hard?

I guess I’m mostly irritated that yes, they are under an incredible amount of stress and I’m sure that exacerbates the problem. But this will kill them if they don’t fix it, and they have two kids to still worry about. I guess the underlying self-soothing part of yourself tries to tell yourself you deserve the big mac for all the effort you put forth, but don’t you deserve a 93% lean beef homemade burger with a thin slice of aged sharp cheddar and a pumpernickel bun a little more? If you’re going to be “bad” be the best bad you can, you know?

My final tally on my birthday when I added everything up ironically was about 1300. It’s lower than it estimates I burn no matter what calc I use, so win there. Also, my carb total was still in 50’s range. Another win. So in more than one way, I enjoyed my day of rebelliousness. It let me know I will be fine when I’m no longer constraining.

i’m going to get whiplash, but at least there’s a turkey made of ice cream (g2)

So the afternoon before my birthday, my diet buddy contacts me and says “would you be mad if I just can’t do the cake?”

My immediate response:”nope”

They started going into all the reasons of what was stressing them out so bad, but I really didn’t listen as, well I didn’t care. I was too busy placing an order for a giant ball of chocolate peanut butter ice cream shaped like a turkey.

When they stopped jibbering I asked if they minded picking it up after work the next day (love their speed), since the place was just across the street from their workplace. I didn’t tell them what I ordered though.



This is what was presented to them when they picked it up.

I heard later that the guy behind the counter was trying to figure out if my friend was disappointed or if they got the order wrong, but my friend just said “nope, nope… that indeed just screams the birthday person its going to. I just didn’t know what to expect.”

My birthday morning, I was hell bent on enjoying my usual haunt, as it was Saturday. I found out that kitschy little cafe has 3 omelets that are perfectly fine for me. With Spawn’s sore mouth, they ended up ordering what I used to always order. I showed the waitress the three omelets I was interested in and said “tell Kim to just surprise me.”

I ended up with the Sunshine omelet, which included pesto cream cheese, shallots, tomatoes, bacon and spinach and one piece of rye. It was heavenly and not bad at all healthwise. I had goop in my coffee, but no sugar.

The rest of the late afternoon was spent with the little yankee from work and her significant, diet buddy and their kids, Spawn who was so full from breakfast they didn’t eat anything (until cake of course) and me, making short work of the epic salad bar they have. I didn’t finish my plate after one trip and it took all I had to eat cake and ice cream. But I enjoyed every minute of it.

It was a really mixed assortment of people, my diet buddy being a god-fearing church goer who organizes the church choir and vacation bible school, it shocked our little yankee that we got along so well. But we’re both open-minded in spite of our differences. We’ve bumped heads a bit on the religious stuff once or twice, but only when Spawn didn’t want to spend any part of their summer at vacation bible school (they did go once) and diet buddy thought I was forcing them not to go. We got that straightened out pretty quick though, but I suspect diet buddy still wonders. Spawn doesn’t do what Spawn does not want to.

Yankee’s significant and I seemed to be completely kindred spirits on the innuendo front, so they were aces in my book immediately.

Diet buddy’s kids are just a hair into gullible and naive. They don’t get sarcasm too well, but I’ve made epic progress on that front. They also don’t get off colour humor. Considering Spawn is the youngest of the three kids and gets all the dirty jokes is kind of funny to me. Watching them have to explain it to the other two, even funnier.

kicking diabetes ass: week 1, day 5 – why is food making me overheat? (g2)

OK, my kid has had kind of a hellacious week. What started as a conversation about putting on braces, turned into putting on the braces the same day and the very next having surgery to redirect an impacted tooth that is going rogue, as well as removing two baby teeth in the way of the rogue tooth. The only thing i could say through the whole thing is:

“I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”

It is too. Ironically, Spawn’s other parental has great teeth, in spite of the copious consumption of drugs and negligent living.

Me however…

37d569b2a202602ebcbb44dffd9d07e8(Apparently, this is Katy Perry?)

Well, I wasn’t quite this bad, but it felt damn close.

Every dentist I see generally oooh’s and aaah’s over the massive amounts of metal and brackets implanted in my jaw even now to fix an overbite when I was teen. I had my mouth wired shut for most of one summer while it healed.

Hopefully Spawn’s gone through the worst they will ever see and I only account for maybe 20% of the genetics that went into their teeth. If I had any more fingers to cross on that, I would.

I was pushing them to get everything done as quickly as possible too. Spawn has a tendency to get a nugget of bad news and, if given time, will dwell on this nugget until its akin to the most life-threatening and painful outcome known to man. By the time they actually do whatever the not-so-great thing is, I have gone though days and days of hell with bitching and fighting while being made to feel like the most awful parent on the face of the earth who is solely to blame for the current travesty. This peaks to a final declaration, when they finally undergo whatever it is: “huh, well that wasn’t so bad.”

There’s more than once when I envisioned ripping their damn head off and going all WWE with a chair on what’s left of their little body. It’s exhausting.

So this time, I steamrolled braces and surgery on my child in a less than 24 hour period, before they had a chance to consider a thing and now is just the recovering part. It was a bit scary, a bit painful, and a lot of soft foods and pain relievers. I’ve just accommodated any desire they have had, especially food-wise. I remember this part, it sucks.

Their dinner tonight was small chicken bites, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and a frosty. Not healthy by a landslide but at least no longer frustrated with being hungry and hurting too much to eat anything more than a yogurt cup like the night before. I talked Spawn down from trying to order fried chicken with the bone in. The logic of the medically doped, I tell you.

With that said, I’ve ended up twice being hungry and having to eat out during that 24 hours, which is almost always a bad thing no matter how hard you try.

I chose what I thought would be the most diabetic friendly on both occasions, one biting me in the ass worse than the other. The first was a grilled chicken spinach salad with strawberries, pecans, tomatoes, blueberries and a bit of onion. Nothing too big, just perfectly filling. It ended up not being so bad (usually I research beforehand, I didn’t get a chance this time).

The next… well, I’ve noticed that caesar salads seem to the most calorie-carb friendly at most of the places I checked, I don’t know why. They aren’t exactly my favorite, but hey… I’m giving this all the effort and dammit I was hungry. I grabbed a chicken caesar and we headed home.

When I got home, I tossed one of the packets of the dressing and the stupid croutons, but damned if the chicken wasn’t breaded. I have avoided this crap this long and the shit was breaded…. grr.

So my calorie intake blew to over 900, and this close to my birthday/cake day. I know I should chalk it up to a life lesson and move on but its still really irritating. Why put freaking fried shit on a salad? It said NOTHING about this when I chose it! Just like the hungry and dieting to declare this a travesty, right?

But after eating, it happened again. Several times now, I’ve had a salad only to feel like the room temperature went up about five to ten degrees, but it only lasts for about an hour. The cheese is different but usually there isn’t any, tomatoes also vary, with meat or without meat. In fact the only common element has been lettuce, but not always the same kind or mixture.

I googled this, which is always a mistake since it tells me I’m dying in several different debilitating ways. Another reason listed, which makes more sense is, diabetes.

But what about diabetes causes a person to feel hot after they eat?

This disease is stupid.

what makes free comic book day epic? kamikaze kittens (g2)

I hijacked my diet buddy’s kids for Free Comic Book day since my friend works Saturdays. I’ve done this the fast few years actually, sometimes including the random other friend of Spawn’s. I hate the idea they have nothing to do all the time, especially on the one day a good bulk of cool stuff happens.

The kids usually expect to use their own spending money to get what they want, but I usually give them a set amount and anything over they have to cover. They’ve rarely if ever met their cap in the years I’ve been taking them.

They are not exposed as much to comic books, manga, and anime as Spawn has been. This is changing rapidly. This has all been my fault, as I’ve been so pointedly reminded of by their parental from time to time when time-limited bans are set due to overindulgence.

I’ve yet to feel any remorse.

In fact, I generally tend to give them a list to check out when the ban is lifted.

I’m an enabling asshole like that.

I was the kid who wasn’t allowed comics, so I have an immense amount to catch up with on this subject. Grand thought of comic books as brain-rotting evil and the only ones I was ever allowed were Archie. I still find comic shops a bit overwhelming on where to start and I tend to chicken out to the online options if on my own. I’m getting better since I’m the one who ends up having to get the kids going.

As a kid, I got my fix only through the MAD magazine they kept at kid-level since the manager at the grocery store we frequented thought anything with a cartoon character was obviously for children. I got educated on a lot of things prematurely because of this too.

My uncle’s collection of Hustler kind of helped fill in many blanks as well, along with setting a weird set of expectations (missionary looks rather tame after that), but I digress.

I was a little disappointed in the comic store this year. We like this one since its range it more expanded and not so focused on the jock squad with the pseudo-porn sporting huge spandex tits and ass up front and center.

In fact, I was kind shocked/elated to find out we had about a dozen or more comic stores to choose from in our area, but the one closest to us is very focused on the older male set alone. As excited as they were to see kids in their store the one year we went, we really didn’t feel that welcome by their set up and stock.

I don’t think they understand the message their arrangement and limited variety portrays. I truly believe that’s just all they think of when they hear “comics.”

This one we favored, last year at least, had comic book artists handing out sketches and talking with the public about their work. Of course, the artists had copies of their projects out for sale. There were door prizes, costume contests, hell even snacks. It was a blast. We were there for hours and spent a crapload.

This year there was none of that. There was one guy wearing an impressive comic book business suit and one little girl sporting a space/hero suit.

That was it.

I had one little runt of no more than seven decide he was going to pick a fight with me.

He slapped me on the ass and stuck his tongue out when I turned to check out who was getting fresh. Of course, like any mature adult, I responded by pulling a face that nearly turned my nostrils inside out.

He ran off.

Spawn:”well, at least you get some playtime with those your own age…”

We had a five comic per person limit, so Spawn checked my choices before running off to find their own, to which I responded, “Who said I was sharing?”

I got the kids started on finding their sections of choice to get the plundering started, then realized I hadn’t picked anything out for myself. I meandered around, I just didn’t see a whole lot jump out at me. Some “would likes,” not a lot of “gotta haves.”

I had several of the Sandman series I still hadn’t finished yet, so I felt a bit guilty adding to my queue.

Then I saw it. The one indulgence most only children don’t think of because imaginary friends are cheating assholes.

A game! A card game!

The only card games I know are Poker (I suck) and Spite & Malice (or as my mom would say, Spit & Shit).

I guess this tells you more about my childhood than I have.

But it had the learning curve I like and matched my attention span… two minutes to learn, no more than 30 minutes of play….

It was Exploding Kittens! Yes, kamikaze felines out to kill you aside from the real ones you might already have at home!

The whole goal is to avoid being virtual exploded by feline bitchiness while trolling the other players to they can be exploded, what more could you ask for?

Dicks, that’s what you could ask for.

Now to get my hands on the NSFW version so I can have the dicks too.

why am i on the same side as the haughty yankee? (g2)

Ok, so we have a new kid in our department from up north. My first impression was when they asked me “oh…. so you were educated in the south?” in a tone that sounded like they were smelling poop at the same time.


If you move to the south and work among Southerners, looking down at the education system that produced those around you… not a cool way to make friends. True, I think the education system sucks too, but I don’t think its confined to just the South. I pretty much have a nationwide hatred of the education system.

Up until this point, I had never in all my years used the word “yankee” to refer to anyone. I believe “haughty ass yankee” was actually my term.

So I was pretty rough with the new kid. They took the beating. In fact, for every sarcastic remark, they had one of their own in return.  Unlike others who might take this as an affront, I actually grew to respect the little shit on some level. I can’t help liking someone who doesn’t back down.

They were the choice of one of our VP’s. In fact, it tends to get pretty nauseating the amount of gushing over the new kid that goes on. To this VP, I’m little more than an idiot, so I’m thankful we don’t really interact too much.

This particular VP is mentally on the same page as one of the owners. For example, when this VP finds something stupid, she says “that’s gay.” This has been nails on chalkboard for as long as I’ve been here.

She once went on a diatribe about how offensive “goddamnit”, was to her. I couldn’t stop myself when I responded, “you find one word offensive but you have no problem offending at least 10% of the population and creating a hostile work environment by calling anything you find stupid,’gay’?”

I didn’t hear the phrase come out of her mouth for a while.

The new kid however has of course eaten up the praise, they’re new of course they do, but not been revolting about it either, at least. They have also been extremely open about everything, which is another thing I can always like in a person. Like sharing stories of their once-divorced lesbian sister who resides with her current spouse and two kids right next door to their mom. Considering the South is still really just adjusting in many ways to the thought that some people are even gay (something I don’t understand since there was quite a few gay, lesbian and bi in my high school), this was a welcome breath of fresh, diverse air.

However, a few days ago, the VP and the co-owners were making cracks about how badly they wanted to use the bathroom for the opposite gender. I brushed it off as end of the day stupidity, but then the VP wanted to go on some tirade about the school districts putting in place rules that allowed transgender kids to utilize facilities for their chosen (this word annoys me, but I can’t think of a better one to get my point across) gender.

The VP started to rage that if they had kids they would never allow them to use the same bathroom as someone “like that” who wanted to “dress up as girls or whatever” and “they needed to be kept from the rest of the kids.”

I was horrified.

I was speechless.

I suddenly want to erase the entire South off the face of the planet in the hopes the national IQ might rise. It took me a long while to stop staring her like a circus freak.

The new kid piped in. “We just need to not talk about this issue… AT ALL.”

It shut the VP down especially considering this came from their golden child. I looked over at the kid and realized we both had similar burning expressions.

Then they turned to me and said “I’m guessing we’re on the same page on this one?”


secrets you keep from kids: the pseudofriend (g2)

A friend of mine from high school died a few years ago and left a young kid behind. I didn’t know until their mom popped up on Facebook, even though I’d heard through the grapevine that we ended up coming back sort of near our hometown, at least within 50 miles of one another. I quietly ignored this for years.

Their kid is steamrolling into their teens, is of course adorable and even seems like someone I would thoroughly enjoy chatting with. They friended me on facebook after my friend’s mother, their grandmother, posted some pics of our high school days and referred to me as “their best friend.”

It was news to me. What I remember about this person is that during high school, I got into trouble a lot because they were constantly putting me in situations where I was covering for them. I also remember they cried when I gave them a haircut once. It was the grunge area, but do you have to be that emotionally attached to something that is essentially bodily waste?

They wanted to go out with someone they weren’t allowed to? They told their mom they would be at my house spending the night. I was the one who got busted with my family and got in trouble for it.

I got wrangled into a blind double date when they wanted to go out with an older person, which their mom only allowed if I would go too. I got stuck with their stinky sibling. Seriously, I don’t know how they managed it, but they looked both wet from some sort of contact with soap but moist and slick from sweat too. I spent a lot of time looking down thinking any moment they would start dripping. I tried my best to stay out of arm’s reach, with my head near open windows.

Another time, I’d invited them to go with a couple of us to the nearest and much larger city where there was more to do, common for our area. They had somehow hijacked the evening and we ended up where I wasn’t supposed to be with a bunch of people I didn’t know doing a lot of stuff that I’m sure would be objectionable. If any attention were directed at me, my friend would get pissed and go out of their way to recapture it.

Whenever they were around, I remember a lot of potentially cool but only barely started conversations with the copious amounts of people they wanted to surround themselves with, but only if the attention was completely on them. This is often what I think of when I think of their behavior.



Yes, this person wanted all the limelight, gender didn’t matter but opposite sex was preferred. I wasn’t in awe of them, I wasn’t chasing them either, so I was either a friend, a rival or their tool, depending on the situation.

Not even my full collection of Depeche Mode was safe. They borrowed them, then completely destroyed them. Fucker.

With that said, we did sometimes manage to have real bonding conversations, but there could not be anyone around and no prospect of anyone being there at any point in a 24 hour period.

We became better friends when we both married. They became the only married friends we’d had. I married young so finding people who were also married and relatable was tough. It made for casual weekends playing RPGs (the dice-rolling, tabletop kind, kids) that were actually enjoyable. I liked their spouse a lot and being with them seemed to settle that need to constantly have attention. They loved my friend, but they didn’t dote and gush either. They were a realistic slap, gently, to how things should be more equal.

It didn’t last long, one was in the military and the orders to ship out came soon after they married, but it was wonderful when a couple years later, they called and told us they were having their first kid. I hadn’t thought of them much after that, but hoped things had worked out.

But they didn’t. They split up and my friend ended up with an aggressive brain tumor that killed them. BFG and I have speculated a lot on whether this caused a lot of the bizarre behavior we’d come to know over the years, but at this point its rather pointless.

Now there’s a kid who has friended me on Facebook and any other social media we both use and I know the questions are there. They’re coming. It’s what I would have done if I knew my mom’s classmates. It’s what I imagine Spawn would do if this were us and not them.

The thought terrifies me.

None of this is anything I would ever tell this kid. Maybe that really does make me their best friend. They may not be mine, but I have and will keep their secrets. I guess that’s what a best friend is supposed to do.

i’m really not feeling this summer camp shit this year (g2)

I’ve usually spent a great amount of time trying to sign up Spawn for an epic series of adventures every summer.  The afterschool place they used to go to years back would promise a lot, and deliver little to nothing. It wasn’t even the ones running it that were the problem, oddly enough it was the owner. He felt it “cost too much,” even though that cost was passed onto the parents and a lot of the activities they tried to schedule were free.

You don’t know frugal until to you see caregivers who quit over a .13/hour raise… yeah, 13 cents. You also don’t see “dickhead” quite like a guy who drives a Mercedes and talks about things that cost too much to people who work for a .13/hour raise.

That was my breaking point.

Spawn and I had to suffer the place during the school year, but I would be damned if we would to do it during the summer. Of course, now Spawn is of an age they can actually stay home, but I don’t like the idea of them just sitting at home without stimulation that doesn’t involve a screen. I had to ban YouTube for a month because of their addiction to play-throughs. They even stopped drawing and usually that is akin to breathing.

Spawn knows that staying home also involves a honey-do list a mile long with a tight schedule as to when it should be completed. So they are not exactly thrilled by the idea either.

I have to schedule their chore list, you want to know what my kid is like doing chores? Watch this:


There it is! Yep, I spend a lot of time wanting to pull my hair out.

This year, Spawn also got really into cello as well and wishes to pursue it. This is really interfering with the school’s rules on PE requirements, since Spawn wants to go to a weird school in the future with the weird kids who like to do other creative shit, art being their focus. I support this completely, so I figure to nip the school’s gripes in the bud, I need to make sure some physical stuff is on the menu this summer.

The choices are sucking major ass though. Either the camps are beginners with the bulk being vastly younger than Spawn. Considering Spawn is giant for their age, this is a concern. Or they are the perfect age range, but for experienced kids. Or its 50 miles away, and they are only running from 9:47 – 3:26 and you have to pick them up within 10 minutes after or its a bagillion dollars extra.

Those of you parents ever notice this? For a bulk of us, we work 8a-9am to about 5-6pm… who the fuck came up with the hours of these summer camps? It’s couldn’t possible be anyone who actually procreated, right? Because if they are parents… they are either fucktards or their reproducing genitalia is so past used and fossilised, it caused their brain to rot to dust with it.

What are some of the more creative things you did with your kids during the summer (stories involving duct tape especially welcome)?

For those who may not be able to answer on the parent end, what kind of things did you do during the summer that you liked/hated/make you blow chunks? I’m game for anything.

movies that epitomize my “era”, whatever the hell that means (g2)

Spawn asked not too long ago how I would describe my “era.” They were referring to the scene of things when I was still a kid, I guess as a point of comparison for their own.

I told them it was grunge rock, goth, coffee, conversation and lots of plaid. I also declared I couldn’t wait until the style was revived because it was awesome and extremely comfortable.

I was accused of being a goth in high school. I didn’t define myself this way and the only thing I can think is that I liked to wear black mostly, dyed my hair weird colors and I was extremely pale. I’m still pale and I still wear lots of black and  even dye my hair as weird as I can get colors, yet when I tell anyone about the old moniker, they laugh. Adulthood sucks like that I guess.

I tried to think of a couple movies that were most like the social dynamics during that time. I was a big Brat Pack fan back then, but it wasn’t my era, mine came later. I also never understood why the “poor kids” in the John Hughes films seemed to have nicer houses than mine and most of the people I knew.




Only two really came to mind, Singles and Reality Bites.


p14225_p_v8_aa “Dammit, Janet… you rock my world.”












“Évian is naive spelled backward.”


They don’t have a massive deep message, they are rom-com situations within copious amounts of coffee, sarcasm, vintage-looking clothing, awesome music, rough and slightly messy but cute haircuts and long hair, fighting “the man” or saving the world and trying to get by without making it look like you care about having anything because money is bad.

I laugh because they both remind me of friends and myself through those years, high school, college and first jobs. We knew everything and the world just needed to pay attention so we could fix the stupid shit and move on to bigger problems.

I see many differences in the world now and the world then, but they’re subtle. The way we relate to our world, and one another, has changed. We no longer think we’ve sold our soul to have a nice house, but I do miss the simplicity. We were a lot different than the generation that followed, the one I refer to as the EW (Everyone’s a Winner) generation.

I also miss the passion. Not the relationship kind, because fuck that noise. I mean the passion for causes, things that I was completely and utterly emphatic about I can no longer even recall. It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve felt any level of that ferocity and its usually been directed to a teacher I felt was picking on my kid.

I thought Spawn of course would ooh and ahh or laugh  or show disgust about some of this, I joyfully pointed out the cameos by Tim Burton and Rob Zombie, or related the actors to ones they knew (“there’s Zoolander”). But after watching both of these films, their only comment was:

“So not a lot different, huh?”

where the hell have i been and where did the beginning of 2016 go? (g2)

So when you work in the financial area of things, you tend to get buried and reside in the year prior, the month prior, if you’re lucky the week prior of time. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel… we’re finally closing January… OF THIS YEAR!! and be damned if I didn’t go “What the fuck do you mean its April, when did that happen?”

So… yeah. That’s my last few months in a nutshell. But I don’t want to talk about that.

I want to talk about junk.

I want to talk about the different relationship men and women have with their junk.

Here’s a little history….

I have a co-worker who, every time he has to come to my desk, seems to have this compulsion to touch his junk, shift, pull some rogue underwear from his butt, whatev. I’m never shaking this man’s hand, is what I’m saying.

The fact his junk is level with my face while I’m sitting at a desk makes this blaringly obvious and I catch myself having to pull away from my internal dialog of potentially starched underwear or a thong to listen to what he is asking me enough to not make it obvious I’m staring at him playing with his junk. It’s bad enough I’ve considered researching underwear and suggesting a replacement.

I thought it was just him.

BUT THEN!… yet another co-worker came by and he too, talking as commonly as people do about the weather, got a good ol’ dig in the crotch and shifted things around in my face before he left.

My female co-workers were horrified by my vivid descriptions and speculations. This just would never occur to them to re-align the ta-ta’s during a work conversation, or bust out with a solid crotch scratch.

Even if their super maxi pad was completely upside down and superglued to a mangled bush, they would rather slowly and tearfully try to duck into a bathroom while trying to pry it off in silence, than make any motion to their genital area while in the presence of others, most especially co-workers.

I’m almost wondering now if this is some sort of prehistoric subliminal challenge.

Are they trying to say their dick is bigger?

They are in departments that are often butting heads with mine since no one likes to deal with any department that can say you do a shitty job, and then pull a shitload of numbers to prove it.

I’m still considering keeping underwear at my desk  to hand out to those poor souls who may iron starch in their crotch-holders, or think thongs are sexy until they have that conversation with a proctologist. Boxer briefs maybe? Cotton to breathe… that sounds nice.

As for the sausage fest… they will just have to understand….

My dick is ALWAYS bigger.

i know it’s thanksgiving, but i’d just like to leave early because i don’t like you. (g2)

Well, per usual I spent Thanksgiving with my cousin’s family. If you have been confused with my family dynamic…. well, join the club. Why should I be the only one? As far as my cousins and I have been able to discern from our earlier generations…

Great Great and Great-grandparents = Embodied heavenly creatures brought forth to make entire childhoods more epic and special than even the most tear-jerking of xmas films. At least per Grand and her kids to some extent.

Dead grandparent = At least somewhat beloved by all four children, especially my mother. Despised by spouse, based on how they were mentioned our entire lives. Only one cousin remembers this person and yes, fondly.

Grand = one of the single most psychotic creatures I have ever had the misfortune to meet, let alone be raised by. When spouse died within a month of their father dying, Grand snapped and seemed to spend their life devoted to the sole destruction of their own family. Their children remember them mostly as “typical” but not “involved.”

Grand and spouse’s four children = four of the most worthless fucking parents, and sometimes people, the world has ever had the disgrace to have on the planet. Not one, as a parent, has been worth a shit. Yes, including my mother. For their children, this ranged from present but withholds love and pride in exchange for preferential treatment (especially competing with their daughter-in-law), too busy picking out the next ex-Mrs. to be bothered being a parent, too busy partying and trying to find Mr. Right in all the Mr. Wrongs, to I’d rather raise the other kids I made instead of my first born but only if it doesn’t interfere with my drinking.

Cousins = the group in which I am in…. we have families, good ones and good friends. For the most part, we all have our heads on pretty solid in spite of at least half of our genetic makeup. However, we are all such different people that had we not shared genetics in even the most minor of way, we’d never speak.

I used to say I was visiting “my closest cousin” or “the cousin to whom I was closest.” I realized over the years that not only was this strictly relative in comparing my relationship with my other cousins, but completely untrue.

We are maybe the two people who might have had more than a passing conversation if we’d met in a waiting room or similar since we are techies. In my family, that’s close. We also have seven years difference in age. He’s the child of the eldest, I’m the child of the youngest. They had 12 years difference.

My cousin and his wife have an awesome kid who is eerily similar to Spawn, interests-wise, despite their six years difference in age. Sadly, they don’t talk to one another. They will both contentedly sit in the same room and play on their phone, computer or draw and not say a word for hours. This makes me sad, but I understand if it doesn’t happen naturally on its own, it will backfire.

My cousin and his wife do very well. They travel quite a bit, spoil their kid rotten and just generally get to do a lot together. I think it’s awesome. Comparatively, I probably make less than a fourth of what they do and we struggle quite a bit. I’m ok with that. The only time I’m not ok with that is when I feel like I’m getting graded for it. This only occurs when I’m visiting them. “Well, you know… you could do X if you just sock a little aside…” Um, no actually I can’t, that ends up lumped into groceries and we need those.

I also get graded on my parenting. Spawn has my level of stubborn when it comes to something they don’t want to do and for the longest time, this mostly focused on putting anything in their mouth that wasn’t pizza, chicken nuggets or french fries. I blame daycare, since they considered mashed potatoes and rice balanced side dishes when served together. Spawn is older now, has made and tasted a quickie version of kimchi even, but if they don’t like it, they’re still not eating it. I don’t have a problem with this.

My cousin’s wife is an awesome cook and I would use these as good reasons for Spawn to try something they “thought” they hated. Spawn would dig in their heels about it not being on that very short list in their head and instead of letting the parent handle it, both my cousin and his wife would gang up on my kid to make them try it. My knee jerk reaction was to do the opposite and let Spawn escape the onslaught.

They didn’t see they were doing anything wrong, but more than once I would have to point out, “I would never have to audacity to parent your kid, it’s not my place. So remember that when the urge strikes you to parent mine.”

The sad thing is this hasn’t happened with just them among my family. It really breaks down your own self worth when you are overstepped because someone thinks they can “handle” your kid better. Is it due to family persistently thinking you are forever 13? Or do they actually see you’re an adult but just think you’re that incompetent?

The whole reason I ever came to this area… I blame first on my mom’s death, the holidays, or those fucking Budweiser holiday commercials… not sure. I sure as hell wasn’t remembering my actual blood relatives when I came up with this idea.

I had a kid on the way and suddenly family took on a very intense meaning. My family was all over 3k miles away, Grand was getting on in years and none of their kids wanted to deal with them.

I would. I’d dealt with their crazy shit most of my life, another 10 years would be nothing to get them out of the solitude they were currently living in. It would give my kid exposure to at least one member of their own family. I was hell bent on making Grand’s twilight years an epic adventure as I learned what it meant to be a parent.

It wasn’t long before, due to Grand and her minions (the three surviving children) I was soundly ousted from that scenario. Grand was packed up and moved off into a house with a friend of the eldest and not long after…. an assisted living facility and then state-funded type you die in.

I’d managed to get some weight and blood sugar meds off Grand just long enough for the eldest to stuff them on a shelf where they put that and more back on. The degeneration was rapid… so so rapid. Within one year there was a walker… and a diaper.

Greed had always been a driving factor for Grand and her eldest was no different… eerily so. The best I could figure is they were under some assumption I had come back to take advantage of Grand and the… wealth? Grand has social security and a mortgage still, in their 80’s. They had lent 25k to the pathetic piece of shit of their youngest son. The same son who told me during that time period “Family decisions will be made by the family… not you.”

Those were our last words.

Example, I took Grand to the grocery store about 2-3 times a week. Grand was addicted to shopping and I noticed they would go up each and every aisle no matter how much they really needed to get. Did you know just doing that, Grand dropped a couple pant sizes in no time?

Grand had an almost desperate need to shove stuff in their cart. Macular degeneration helped a lot during this time period as Grand would focus on one side, while I pulled things out of the cart from the other and put it back. I always made sure there was at least something there to buy for their fix, but it had to stay under 10 bucks total.

With us grocery shopping so often, the food was fresher. Grand loved fruit and I only allowed 3 servings at most per trip, and all had to be different colors. Grand got pissed at me when I wouldn’t let them buy a 10lb bag of oranges (did I mention Grand was diabetic?). I got calls later that I was accused of not feeding Grand.

Whenever I did something that Grand didn’t like, they would start some shit with their kids in order to bully me, I guess? I would take the infant Spawn to visit their other and only living grandmother. Grand told anyone who would listen I was running around with various people, the allusion was that was sleeping around.

I remember one night I had just gotten back to Grand’s about midnight, Spawn conked out in my arms and Grand was rocking away, arms folded, look of disgust mounted on their face. I asked what was wrong. I was told that someone had called Grand to say I’d been out with some member of the opposite sex.

I’d heard shit like this my entire life. I would tell Grand where I was going and give a number, I would come back accused of all sorts of atrocities. This was before caller id, so I had no reason to believe it was wasn’t true. I just could never figure out who the hell looked like me enough or if their friends were just blind and stupid. I didn’t know how to not be defensive growing up, and always felt guilty for nothing.

I quietly walked over to the caller id when Grand refused to tell me who called… there’d been no calls in 27 hours. I asked Grand why they had spent my entire life sitting in that fucking chair coming up with bullshit lies to sling at me for no other reason than their own twisted amusement.

Then I sat down just opposite Grand, got close and said…”If I want to fuck half a dozen people of both genders in front of my infant kid, I’m almost thirty and you cannot do a damn thing to stop it as that is none of your fucking business. Are we understood?”

Grand was pissed, but a small nod told me what I needed. I rose and as I headed to bed I just said “You know, even if that were some sort of weekend hobby I decided to adopt, I still don’t think it would ever make me as shitty a parent as you.”

As time wore on, Grand tried various bullshit in order to regain “control.” With Grand, that’s all it was really about. I wasn’t letting Grand do what they wanted, or control me, so I needed to be disciplined and put in my place.

Thing is, I was the grandchild. Hearing enough various awful things I was apparently doing to Grand was enough to make her surviving children, at least two of them, wonder what the deal was.

The original plan was that Grand and I would me moving in together but there was no way I was moving back to Grand’s house. So in the midst of all of this, on the weekend I was to be moving into the new place (we got Grand up there in advance), I showed up with van full of stuff and find some friend of Grand’s eldest is already living there. I call my cousin to ask what is going on. They have no idea.

I get back in my van, and I head back to Grand’s old house. In three days, I’ve moved to my own place in the next city and I haven’t given anyone the address. I cut off all contact Grand’s kids in the area.

I get calls from Grand begging me to come get them. My paranoid mind is telling me the eldest is recording all of Grand’s conversations, but my logical mind is telling me not even they are that crazy.

They are that crazy.

The eldest proudly declares this when describing a conversation where Grand called their youngest to check on me and then called me to tell me to call the police if they showed up. Seriously.

I tell Grand that they were the catalyst for 99% of this. It sucks that their kids are as stupid and mean as they are, but they should be proud they’d done so well turning them into exactly what they wanted. That being jobless, homeless with an infant was the last situation I wanted to be in and be surrounded by that goon squad. That I didn’t want a damn thing from any of them and I sure as hell wasn’t telling them where I was.

This is also shortly after hearing about how Grand had enlisted the help of their eldest son to take me away from my mom almost 30 years ago. The one time I remember coming near Grand Jr aka the eldest is to pick up the rest of my things that actually did make it up (there’s still more), Spawn is staying with a friend of mine for the day as I will not have them around my kid in case anyone gets any wild ideas for a do-over.

Fast forward to this past holiday. This eldest child of Grand’s I’m civil to out of respect for my cousin. This is the only family he has to invite aside from me and he loves his parent. I get all that. I loved Grand even though I didn’t like them. Unfortunately, the eldest is hellbent on trying to delve right into the past slew of shit I’ve managed to dodge the past ten years.

I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care anymore. Grand had a shitty final ten years and that is on Grand and their kids. I did my best and like all of my life I have never felt a part of this family. I was the unwanted runt Grand brought home, put on a pedestal and proceeded to sink every dime into buying truckloads of unnecessary shit for, making it obvious to every other member of the family who the favored child was, most especially among other grandchildren. Doesn’t help any bonding with your family peers, I can tell you that. I grew up feeling like there was always going to be a sizable bill at the end. That I was expected to make a large income that would enable Grand to have a life they intended to become accustomed.

What a disappointment I must have been.

This eldest went on about how that friend was only staying there until I got there. This stunned me. They asked why I didn’t ask. I told them I did ask, I asked Grand, I asked my cousin when they weren’t available and they were all as clueless as I was.

I was accused of being insanely picky about everything I wanted down to the minor details. I told them that was ridiculous. Sure, I had a lot of things I liked, everybody does, but I wasn’t allowed to be involved in any of the decision-making enough to be accused of being picky. That the entire time any of this was going on, I saw one realtor, who showed us a bunch of overpriced insane shit and next thing I know there just is a place, it’s purchased and their friend is living in it. What I thought didn’t matter and no one asked.

To some degree, it kind of felt like an act and in some other, it seemed like the eldest kind of figured out where they fucked up. I’m sure, if they are like Grand, this will be rewritten in their mind in about a week, much like the “insane demands” I apparently made about… spigots, tiles? I remember a conversation once about things I thought were cool in kitchens. This is the only reference material I can recall on this and it had nothing to do with any places we’d seen. I want a completely stainless steel kitchen with sealed cabinets, a pressure washer and a drain in the floor… because I’m fucking lazy and that sounds awesome. I also want a more awesome chest and thicker hair.

My cousin’s wife… I’m not sure if she was trying to be comforting, but it really just pissed me off more. They were saying that not having someone as venomous as Grand around Spawn is something I should be thankful for. That I should be grateful to the their kids for all of it since it meant I was free of it.

But I’m not. They fucking meddled and pushed me to the side and instead of discussing anything with me, they just meddled more and dealt with Grand like baggage. There is no way NOW of knowing how any of it would have turned out. Grand might still be here, as cantankerous and shitty as ever, but on less meds and less weight and busy… I just wanted them busy and active and not sitting in that stupid rocker all day brooding over who they would fuck with next. Sure, it would have been trying for both me and Spawn, but maybe not as much as it was at the start had we all been allies versus enemies. We were just NEVER given that chance.

All of this BS aside, it shit on so many relationships with my family as well, I have nothing but bad feelings from all of that. If I’d known that then what would have occurred, before coming back to this area, I would have never come and probably headed further west and away from them.

THAT I could have been truly thankful for.

trolling your kids, a necessary hobby for any parent (g2)

I warn you now, my head is still filled with all the epic ways I still love Skyrim and some of the stuff that irks the crap out of me, so there may be a sequel to that one.

With that said, I asked Spawn one day “Do I troll you?”

To which Spawn responded with: “…. a little bit.”

Now if you’ve never heard of the term trolling, click the link and it will give you a bit of the internet history of it being basically a person who stirs up shit for their own amusement. That’s the very minimalist version, most true trolls are epic assholes. I don’t think I’ve hit quite that level.

Trolling my kid started from an early age, back even in diapers.

When Spawn was in the potty training stage, Spawn was perfect with toilet use at home, but always ended up in those damn pull-ups when I went to pick them up from daycare. Spawn didn’t want to stop playing to go to the bathroom and would intentionally go in their underpants to get a diaper put on.

I loudly informed the teacher with Spawn in hand, that if Spawn let it go in their underpants again they were to sit it in for a few minutes, just toss a bag over them and put them in a corner that you couldn’t smell and just let them enjoy their own stench. Overhearing this, Spawn never had another “accident.”

Spawn was going through the raging tantrum stage… now, I will say I was lucky and can only recall three really major episodes, all of which ended with either a bathroom or car visit (because of course they were public) and some sensitizing of a tiny backside, however there would be days when Spawn would be manipulating all of my hot buttons. One particular day, I leaned over and very low and soft I said, “you know, I do like you a LOT better than I did my other children.” The wide-eyed realization that crossed that face still makes me laugh.

The rest of that day was very quiet.

Oh and for those against the whole spanking thing, I say… meh. I tried the timeout thing once and ended up with a metal chair almost thrown at my head (Spawn was 3). A couple smacks to the butt might sting a few seconds, but then it’s over, your position of parental authority is reinforced (for a while at least) and I’m never disengaging as a parent (Who’s that time out really for?). So if you’re counting, Spawn has had three, maybe four spankings their entire life…so far.

When Spawn started trick-or-treating, I had already heard all the parents who bemoaned all the costume accessory crap they would end up carrying around before the night even got started. So I headed that one off really early by telling Spawn to only wear what they would wear all night because I had to keep my hands free in order to fight zombies, should any show up. To this day, Spawn will still carry my keys.

Spawn was going through a stage of toddler rebellion, I realized that what they wanted was a choice. So I figured out how to give a choice without it being a choice. “Do you want to get in the tub on your own or would you like me to throw you in?” It was rude, but it gave my kid a choice and things calmed down.

I used to often teasingly say to Spawn as a toddler, “Don’t make me beat you…” This backfired when my words were teasingly tossed back at me in the local store “Please don’t beat me!” *snicker*

Guess turnabout is fairplay…

I won’t accept that.

Nowadays, I troll Spawn by giving them vivid details of bathroom visits, or offering to take a picture.

Spawn has never been embarrassed to be around me… at least yet, so threatening to black out teeth has done little to amuse me. However, dropping them off at school and calling after them with a sad “I’ll miss you” when they are halfway across the courtyard garners me at least one good glare.

I will randomly text Spawn things like “It’s been too long, I don’t remember what you look like anymore” when they’re in school.

I tease constantly about this time-space that seems to only exist for kids in which when you say “a few minutes” this seems to translate to 30 to a kid. Spawn has been cooking dinner for us lately and a 30 minute recipe will take them an hour and a half.

“Is that in your minutes or real ones?”

And actually, Spawn’s interpretation of recipe reading has a lot to be desired. I had tried one of those food delivery services during the summer. With Spawn at home, they had plenty of time to read it over and make them up. Everything came in kits. It had fucking pictures. It really could not have been easier.

There would be leftover ingredients sitting on the counter…. always!

I realized Spawn was skimming. There were assumptive sentences and wording that was tripping them up so they’d ignore it. Like “After sauteing the chopped garlic (this would be skipped because “sauteing” was not understood, garlic would be left on cutting board, unchopped), mix the blah blah…..” Basically in that beginning phrasing, it would be the first time chopping or cooking that ingredient was mentioned and it didn’t specifically say “chop this.”

Spawn needed “Chop garlic tiny, put in pan with X butter, cook for X minutes.”

I get the recipes were worded for both efficiency and to still be descriptive enough to keep pace, but I guess kids or at least Spawn needed much simpler instruction.

Last night I told Spawn to make biscuits and gravy. I went over how to 3 times in 3 different ways.

When I got home, I got cut up summer sausage wearing goopy rue jackets… in a wok.

Yeah, visualize that a minute.

The biscuits were good, but then they were frozen and only had to be baked for 20.

Spawn has seen me eat sausage gravy.

Spawn has seen me a MAKE sausage gravy.

Times like this make me wonder if I’m the one who is getting trolled.

So…with that in mind, my latest text to Spawn:

“Ever wonder why you don’t use shampoo and conditioner on your crotch too? It’s just as susceptible if not more so to breakage and split ends.”

why Skyrim is still the greatest game ever, even four years later (g2)

If anyone knows me, they know I love video games.

Sure, I have my preferences. It has never appealed to me, in virtual or real life, to emulate any form of military combat. I like camo, I like the greens that are encompassed in it, but I like a lot of other things and colors too and coming up in the Cold War era, I really just have no interest.

My first real video game endeavors were things like Pong on my cousin’s Atari. Later on, they were first-person shooters. I went through Doom (I was a late bloomer and Wolfenstein looked like shit to me by then), Doom II, Quake and Quake II (with their NIN and Tool soundtracks, hell yeah) were a blast with the stereo speakers I spliced into my sound card. Nothing like making your desk shake from the sounds of an explosion. I played deathmatch and co-op with my former spouse. Some of our best times were taking it to their dad’s office to hook up the in-laws into a massive deathmatch after Sunday dinner. My father-in-law never could kill me even once, even with cheating. And I sucked.

When people started making their own player skins in Quake, I became more fascinated by that then game strategy. Plus, there really is nothing like smacking down prepubescent boys while skinned like Wonder Woman. I stood out like a Liberace billboard and was still killing them. I found a program that would let me make skins and I was hooked.

Duke Nukem came later and was sexist and misogynistic, but it kind of mocked its own misogyny and sexism by being laughably extreme, Archie Bunker style.

I spent two weeks trying to download a 50 meg demo of Diablo on 24.4k modem before the the days of “resume.”

What ended up becoming my great love later was MMORPG’s. This is when you can log in to a world that exists even when you aren’t playing and you are surrounded by millions of other players that are helping to shape and change that world. Ultima Online was my first taste of that, even though it started out as a gift for my spouse. It isn’t as cramped as my impression may indicate, but think about people all over the world who are present and playing in the same virtual space you were. You might have just woken up and they were just logging in after work, English being their second or third language. It was a new world with lots of varied ideas and I liked it.

Right now, WoW is the mainstay and perpetual example of the longest thriving MMORPG in existence and as much as it adds a lot of fun things that would be interesting to play, it has become a haven of the worst that gaming has to offer in gamers. The game itself forces you to interact with others instead of letting that happen organically and I suspect that will be their eventual downfall. I like it, and I hate it immensely.

When 2011 came around, I heard a lot of buzz and hype about Skyrim, but I had never really played more story-rich games so I had no experience or knowledge of The Elder Scrolls series. I’m a completionist by nature, don’t start me off at 3 or 4, bring them all and let me start at 1 and work my way through! It wasn’t until Spawn said they wanted it and Steam had one of their amazing sales that I grabbed it and it’s expansion packs. I watched Spawn play some and I just thought it was gorgeous. The more I watched the more I just couldn’t stop myself from trying it.

I want a collection of real swords in real life, so swinging a virtual one was right up my alley. They tried to make it as grey and realistic as the middle ages in many ways, but with real magic and dragons to boot. It has some gore, you start off watching a head chopped off. Blood will even splash in your vision when you kill something up close. People are dirty, wind-chapped, sun-burned and wrinkled. When non-player characters don’t know you, they’re rude, but they get nicer as you do more for them and become known.

In some aspects, the game felt very unfinished and kind of half-assed in areas. I suspect there was a deadline to push out another Fallout at the time. However, they left it a game that was open to modding. If you haven’t heard this term, think of as a shorthand of “modifying.” Mods are the things you download to mod your game… see, noun and a verb, very adaptive word.

As I was from waaaaay back with those Quake skins, I was a junkie for changing shit, bending it to my will. And the mod community of Skyrim especially stepped up and really expanded the hell out of the game. First, they fixed all the bugs the game-makers themselves didn’t. It was insanely prone to crashes, so they bumped up the graphics while speeding up the game and making it run more efficiently. They made it less grey and more beautiful to behold. They pulled out stuff that had gone unused and found a place for it. They expanded areas that were half-assed. They added new ones. They added new people. They altered the people already there to be… more. They made so many mods that you could make your game easier, harder, completely different or just fucked up for no reason at all other than its funny. Seriously… (it’s kind of loud, but I promise it is worth it).

Understand, I have none of that shit installed on my own game, but it is a great example of just how much people have been able to alter the game to their own twisted desires. Randy Savage dragons bitching about Slim Jim’s in the Middle Ages is certainly a level of delusion I’ve not elevated to myself. Riding around a giant yellow rubber duck that’s dressed like a princess certain is, but I digress.

If you are perhaps piqued but really want to laugh… a lot. There is a playthrough that visits a vast series of the stupidest, most pointless, irritating, yet beautiful example of adaptability of Skyrim, start here. You will laugh, I promise. A lot (continuations show in the upper right):

The Pew Pew Bow is my favorite.

I have been playing this game on and off for three years or more now and I have NEVER been able to complete it. NOT ONCE. I don’t mean the stuff that adds to the game, I mean the base game, it tells me I’ve seen barely half of what it has to offer…. HALF. I started out grabbing every wooden spoon and tankard I came across because “OMG, Cool!” and I am a completionist. My first character was started out stupidly, I didn’t care. I was such a mod junkie that I broke my first game to the point of not being able to progress any further. My completionist nature has that game stored until I can figure out how to unbreak it. In the meantime, I’ve had to start anew. So much had happened since then, I didn’t mind since it all seemed kind of new again.

I’m an equal opportunity sexist. From the mass amounts of armor and weapons I have added, most of that which is worn by me and my crew is very risque…. but the guys show as much skin as the girls. Metal diapers for everyone!

I found a bow that makes people explode occasionally.

I’ve added some of the most fascinating player-created, non-player characters I’ve ever seen. They entertain me immensely, just on their own. People and their creations are fascinating.

I can feel real fear. There is a point where you have dive towards the bottom of the ocean and it’s too dark to see and it’s set in an area of ice and snow. It’s terrifying because it pulls you in. You feel cold and isolated with it.

The AI on those around you are based heavily on their purpose. Some can sense you even when you’re stealthy because they are blind already and their hearing and sense of smell is stellar. Many times, they have gotten closer to me without me realizing, than I could to them.

You undergo a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas, and they aren’t easy to resolve. Sometimes, the best choice is the most painful. It forces you to garner some insight on what you might do if pushed to the wall. Sure, it’s a fake life with a fake outcome and easy to write it off as such to make you feel better, but we really cannot escape who we are. We all have dark sides, and my first play was to explore that.

As you play, you’re in the midst of a civil war about to erupt and there too, at some point, you’ll have to choose sides. It doesn’t force you directly, but you’re limited if you don’t in smaller but important ways. If you really pay attention, you realize that neither are all good or all bad, it’s all grey. You just have to pick the shade that you can live with.

I have my complaints of course. It’s very ego-centric. You, the player, are the coolest, biggest badass in this virtual world and you can become leader of all major organizations (except king… unless you have the mod for it). It would be nice if you had the choice of alliances instead, maybe vote for a leader of this or that organization. But the modding community responded to that too and you can start off as insignificant as you want, even an orphan child with dreams of being a farmer.

I wish Spawn and I could both play at the same time, in the same world. That would just be fun. Co-op is kind of underrated but it really teaches so much about cooperative interaction. Skyrim only has room for one and only one, and I haven’t seen a mod yet able to change that.

As much as you are allowed to make or destroy certain aspects, with as much freedom you are given, there are some big glaring oversights, an option C if you will, that never seemed to occur to the makers. Although I’m thrilled the mod community again, stepped in to rectify this, it’s not as fluid as it would be had the openness been present through all aspects of the core game. Maven Black-Briar is an epic bitch. When her part is done, I should be able to slaughter her and hang her on the rafters of her own home. I should not need a mod to do this. I don’t care if I have to go to jail. It would be worth it.

Yes, you can be sent to jail. You can also break out, bribe a guard or just raise hell and try to kill them all to escape. You will have a bounty on your head though and the more bad you do, the higher the bounty. You will also have guys come after you to take you out sporadically.

If I had other gripes, it would be how the guys look like they are all one generation from loinclothed Neanderthals able to scratch their knees without bending, while a large portion of the women are total babes. I don’t get how girls like that would deal with guys that fugly, but then that could be why there are so little children. Really, the base game with no mods has all ugly ass men. It’s truly sad.

Again, mod community to the rescue. With their help, you can have a more polished, attractive version of lesser cavemen to something that would put a teen vampire romance to shame with its sparkly, glistened androgyny. Of course, the women have their own variations. I’m a bit surprised how popular the larger thighs and butts seem to be, though of course they always have the boobs to match. However, it’s less Angelina Jolie and more Lainie Kazan.

But the best part… the really best part, is knowing, at one point when my player has to fight an epic battle beside some epic characters, one of them was voiced by the woman who brings it all full circle for me, Linda Carter. The real Wonder Woman. I squeed through the entire quest over getting to fight, even virtually, with fucking Wonder Woman. Hell, yeah.

ever had someone tell you more about yourself than you realized? (g2)

I guess having someone make an observation about you that confuses you might actually be very common. Self-awareness isn’t exactly common. Considering I spend quite a large amount of time trying to assess my mental standing on an ongoing basis, I tend to be a little more surprised than normal, especially when I seem to be way off.

I’ve been struggling lately with the desire to blog being beaten down by the desire to bitch. Not that I have a big issue with bitching, but I like it to be riddled with enough humor that is kind of muddled down to an “awww, ain’t it cute” level. I don’t like when all I want to do is rage and I don’t feel it’s constructive to share that. I hate it when I cannot convince my own mind to let go of the anger, I hate it even more if I drag someone else into it with me.

Now if I was having a turf war with my posse that’d be one thing, but this is mostly me latching onto unnecessary crap that goes against my philosophy of “indifference is the best revenge.” Lately, and for many months, what has been consuming me has been a large volume of petty little shit, stuff that usually doesn’t bother me.

My computer died. Some of the hardware I ordered was bad. I procrastinated on sending it back and apparently, even though it was not on, it decided to have a mini-fireworks display of a short out of the blue, effectively frying the bad parts further as well as possibly taking out some of the good. Now I cannot send it back.

I have discovered some bugs in the house and want to set it on fire and move. I know the winter is some of the influence as they migrate to warm areas and finding the occasional forgotten lunch nugget under a pile of old homework a’la Spawn isn’t helping. I miss living in the frozen desert of the west because it was too cold for this crap. Roaches can survive a nuclear war, but they cannot survive in the upper midwest of the US. Think on that.

I am hating the company I work for. Over a year of nonstop stress over stuff that I have to shoulder the blame for internally and externally in spite of my having nothing to do with it, my annual review being completely ignored all compiles to more than I am willing to take, especially considering my take home is less than my last job. With Spawn’s sights on a school in the upper part of the state in a few years (an expensive one), I’m thinking that will be a good direction. I also want to head out west soon after.

I’m also feeling choked by clutter and want to sell, trash or give away almost everything I own. I lived with the packrat that was Grand, so I short circuit when it gets too much.

Yesterday, I get a call from one of my fellow parent buds. They needed to pick up their car and needed a ride. Although I sincerely did not want to, I wanted to contemplate my next actions on my freshly revamped, cleaned and heavily modded installation of Skyrim that I plan on burying myself in when I could confiscate Spawn’s computer for a few hours.

I agreed to giving them a ride because… karma. Spawn had a ton of homework, so I suggested ditching the kids together so they can finish while we get the vehicle. My friend grabbed pizza for the kids and we go figure out what to eat that we know they’d hate. Seafood ended up being the answer.

We talk, we gripe, we trade advice, we vent, we laugh, we joke, we eat ourselves sick. I contemplate whether I still have the drinking skills to take out a massive margarita and still drive straight. I opt not. It’s dark, raining, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve had any copious amount of alcohol and I live in the state with the highest percentage of bad drivers already.

My buddy remarked that they were happy to see the edge was off me that day. I’m pretty sure I looked like a dog when it perks its ears and cocks its head to the side. My face went dead and I just asked “huh?” They said I seem to have less stress and mental weight on me that day than I have had in a long while. I was absolutely puzzled. Was I this good an actor? Was I secretly in a good mood and hadn’t noticed? Was I not still pissed about the same stuff that I’d been pissed about for months? Well, yeah I was still pissed about it.

Was there anything about today that was brighter, more special or good? Nah. I was being fed the same line of shit at work of “It’s ok, in about a month this will get SO much better and we’ll be back on track” that I’ve been hearing since I started there a few years ago. It’s a bad record I stopped acknowledging a long time ago.

To be honest, I don’t know. Perhaps in the back of my mind, I’m slowly embracing the indifference I have been longing for the past several months over the stupid stuff I can’t change and shouldn’t matter. Maybe deciding to look for a new job was enough to make me feel better. Maybe fantasizing about setting the house on fire is the positive imagery I was needing. Maybe I’m just excited that Santa is coming.

Sexy Halloween costume designers… it’s time to throw in the towel, you’ve obviously exhausted it all. Please stop. Really. (g2)

I would imagine most of you have, at least, heard of the below video in which a industrious rat is trying its best to make off with a slice of pizza twice its size. I’ve barely watched it, thought it cute, and moved on with my life.

And then Halloween comes rolling around and I’m perusing costume-related sites to plunder for inspiration and good ideas. Why I keep doing this, I don’t know since I just get pissed off and disappointed every year by the obvious lack of any creative investment these companies churn out every single year. You’d think my standards would be low enough since when I was kid, cut out garbage bags with one side printed with the actual character and the fragile yet suffocating mask combo sets were considered the “cool kid” options. It your costume was homemade, you were poor. Before you ask, I was the poor kid. I was the kid who was so unlucky and had full, fairly canon Native American garb that I wore for several years after being told there was some Nth Cherokee on my father’s side. I loved my costume, but then again, I was weird and liked homemade.

I should be happy the two dimensional world has evolved into such that costumes now look like costumes ALL THE WAY AROUND. When I was a kid, it was “Oh costume!..  I think” on the front side, kitchen trash bags on the other. Not even underoos bothered printing both sides of your favorite superhero. I suppose the thinking is you weren’t looking at the back so they didn’t bother.

Then when I think it’s could not get more mundane, more stupid, more “sexy” and more boring, I see this shit…

Rat pizza, but sexy Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the rat pizza video…. but SEXY.


Why in the world did they feel this needed to exist, and actually charge for real money? Personally, had the guy who sketched this shit came and said this was his great idea, I’d transfer his ass to janitorial since that’s obviously where anything he creates belongs.

Also here, on the left we have a somewhat cheap looking but altogether G-rated Elmo costume. You know what it is and what the goal of the costume was… you’re Elmo, I get it. The one to the right looks more like Elmo was massacred, cut into  stripes and the remaining pieces entwined on random parts of the female form with the severed skull glued on like a hat. It’s terrifying as well as stupid.

There is sexy corn, sexy watermelon, sexy musical instruments, sexy mustard/catsup, sexy Winnie the Pooh, sexy flags… yes, like country flags! Done sexy! In fact, it seems that every single bland but respectable costume for men seems to have a counterpart on the female side that begs the question… “where’s the rest of it?”

If the costume companies want to start really seeing their designs really fly off the shelves, they need to overhaul the entire thought process: Make the female costumes first. When you make the complementary male one, you have to use the same amount of material you used for the female one… or start over because obviously you just did something stupid.

I can totally get behind a Conan the Barbarian to a Red Sonya. Yes, they’re skimpy, but they’re meant to be. Elmo isn’t porn and shouldn’t be treated as such just because you’re making a costume for someone in possession of tits. Princess Leia in the slave costume has probably been the subject of about 87% of wet dreams since the 70’s. That too, I can totally understand. Being G-rated there and adding sleeves and pants would detract from the authenticity (yeah, the authenticity… that sounds convincing right?).

Spawn has had… well, you can tell how energetic I was feeling about their costume choices by how much I involved my rudimentary sewing skills into it. One year, I spent an entire month altering patterns to mold into an obscure anime character that no one recognized until they wore it again for a local comic con. This year, the choice was Happy from the anime, Fairy Tail. Two purchases from Amazon and I was done.

Unfortunately, Spawn wasn’t. Due to their wild colored hair and hair cut, they were approached by a couple kids and asked if they were a character from some semi-recent kid’s flick. Spawn was like “What a great idea!” All of a sudden, Happy was dropped and I was enlisted for some minor sewing whether I liked it or no. Of course, my biggest issue is that once I get involved, I have a lot of ideas…like using light thin material attached at the wrists when Spawn wanted to be a “bender” from Avatar: The Last Airbender so they could really “bend,” with places to stash them for treat hunting. Wanting to use prosthetics and makeup to take it up a notch, making spats that turn basic sneakers into furry knee boots, proposing to paint their full body to further push it to more canon, buying more than one wig because I didn’t like the first one… I’m not obsessed, but I like a little extra touch to give it more authenticity. Spawn wasn’t having any of it, and this is probably the first year I hated the costume. It didn’t turn out good enough in my mind, but was plenty for them. I know that’s all that should matter, but it annoys me still.

As far as the costume market goes though, I’m just sick of the most mundane of shit being made “sexy” because whoever designs these things is either sex-starved, 12, has never been outside of a porn house and thinks all women like dressing slutty or has some seriously sex addict issues they need to resolve. What happened to being clever? To being creative? To be unusual? I honestly don’t think store bought will ever really trump homemade in this area. It’d be nice if they’d at least try. Otherwise, why bother?

everything I ever learned about FINANCE and WORK ETHIC, I learned from grand…. and still try to emulate (g2)

Of all the trashing I do on Grand, they had their high points. From Grand, it was drilled in my head to never put on credit what you could pay off in a short time. Never take home anything you didn’t own outright, unless it was absolutely unavoidable (a house, for example). If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. Quality over quantity.

Grand was infamous for spending a great deal of time choosing a particular piece of furniture, it was always good quality, then making several payments over months until they could finally bring it home.

Considering I was also a child who was never on health insurance of any kind, how Grand managed to not only handle my braces, but when it came to needing surgery… as a parent now, I could hyperventilate over the co-pay alone, let alone having to shoulder the whole thing. It galls me now that I cannot provide better for my kid than Grand did on less money. I know it’s thirty and more years, inflation and the economy sucks, but sometimes I still feel like Grand would have just done better than I have.

You could also probably say I wasn’t too well-adjusted since I didn’t go to any kind of daycare or afterschool. I was a bastardized version of a latchkey kid. Grand was in the house, but I saw them little.

The few times I remember going to a daycare, it was a woman’s house way out in the sticks, the entire house was made just for taking care of large amounts of children. I remember mostly there being babies and then this wide age range of children who ran around and screamed like wild banshees. As an only child completely unfamiliar with kids who behaved so wild, I shoved myself in the darkest, quietest corner I could find and I did not sleep, talk, eat, drink or pee until Grand came to get me. It was hell.

Grand often did some jobs in different areas of the state as well. It was boring work involving copious amounts of fast food, walking and driving. It could normally take all day and sometimes the people you had to interact with weren’t so nice to deal with. It would take Grand to a lot of questionable neighborhoods as well, which all contributed to the reasons that Grand wanted to leave me elsewhere.

The last time Grand brought me out to that rabid, dog-fighting pen for infants, I snapped. This is years before automatic locks and Grand’s car was a relic even among that. I locked myself in the car and screamed that I was not ever going in there again. I could not have been more than six years old at the time. Any time Grand managed to get one door unlocked, I took my fist and slammed it down quicker than they could open the door. My face was purple, I sobbed, I yelled, I kicked, I made it clear that if either Grand or the woman who ran the daycare touched me, they’d come back with a stump. I was like a feral animal hell bent on mauling anyone who tried to drag me into that place.

In the same position as a parent, I’m pretty sure I would have given Spawn the worst spanking of their life.

But Grand didn’t.

I had never in my life behaved that way. Not once. All I can think is that, looking back, if I hated something so much to behave that badly now, there had to be a reason. Grand backed off. I could even perceive the slump in the shoulders when they gave up. Grand told the woman to leave and that I wouldn’t be staying. I very cautiously unlocked the door and backed as far away as I could. I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was going to get a lecture, at best. Considering Grand often shared techniques of taking the narrow end of a ruler to the backside of an uncle or two, I was convinced this was how I would die.

Grand didn’t go home though and we didn’t speak for a long time. In fact, when Grand finally did speak, not a word was said about anything I’d done. Grand went on to their locations of that day to do their work. I either sat in the car or made myself scarce while Grand did their job. I was perfectly content. Grand simply took me with instead and I never went back.

Over time, I learned to dress nicely and pack an activity bag, but oftentimes I was entertained just by the amazing (and often off-color) stories from managers, gas station attendants, drugstore shopkeepers and the multitude of people who became permanent fixtures in Grand’s world during these trips. It went on that way until I was old enough to drive and took over doing it for Grand instead.

Grand added an office to the back of the house and closed the shop they had rented. I was taught how to file, run copies, keep the drink station filled for people who came and waited. Hell, I even remember Grand describing how to keep a ledger of incoming and outgoing funds. I was probably the only toddler who could use the word “itemize.”

I still remember being plopped in the floor with a file cabinet drawer open while filing. I sang the alphabet song the entire time over… and over “A,B,C,D…….A,B,C,D,E… A,B,C,D,E,F….” for HOURS!!!! I sucked at alphabetizing even for a kid. I often wonder how in hell Grand managed to listen to that for that long and not lob a shoe at my head.

I was also only allowed to stay in the office either after Grand closed or I was needed bad enough for it to not matter. Otherwise, I was to remain scarce. So when I returned from school, I usually had to make my own meals and spent a great amount of time by myself. I was allowed to use the microwave, but nothing sharper than a butter knife. I had no clue how to cook. I once tried to boil water and almost melted a pot. I didn’t even know this was possible. Of course, I eliminated the evidence as quickly as I could.

My meals consisted of a LOT of canned soup and sandwiches growing up. Oftentimes, I would slip in just long enough to hide a sandwich in Grand’s desk drawer until they could stop and eat something more filling. In the winter, Grand would sometimes make a revolting pot of vegetable mush soup. I found with enough buttered bread wrapped around it like a burrito, I could shove it down without actually being subjected to the mushy texture. No vegetable should disintegrate like that. Grand was old school, and salmonella was a plague on everything.

It was the potato soup and chicken and dumplings that soothed my soul and made up for all the crappy canned soup. Those two were wondrous comfort food that thankfully my Grand could not fuck up. Grand tried their best, and generally tried to make at least one big meal a week, if possible with leftovers. Though it usually ended up on the weekend, it wasn’t always the weekend as Grand worked then too.

I normally got myself up and dressed, fixed some cereal or whatever breakfast items were sequestered off for my consumption and went to school while Grand was still asleep. Grand often worked until three and four in the morning, many weekends, bent over backwards for their clientele and refused for many, many years to increase the prices for their services. When it was glaringly obvious that Grand would not be able to make even basic ends meet, they finally bumped their prices up to meet the market average, and forever felt guilty for it.

These days, I’m not a morning person, Spawn has changed schools, so I have been coming in somewhat later. However, I stay even later and very rarely ever take a lunch. In fact, that was the only complaint on my last review was me not taking enough breaks. I know my boss worries because of burnout, but I’m at least a third generation workaholic. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember and I doubt I will ever change.

I think the only thing that has changed for me now, is that I’m a little jealous that both my mom and Grand have made it work by working for themselves. I’m tired of reviews. I want the day to start at a time of my choosing. I want to work as long or as little as I want. I want to reap the rewards of my efforts alone. As it is now, I am more or less a hamster doggedly trying to get that wheel to show some progress.

I am grateful for the lessons. Spawn knows how to cook and likes to stay home. They understand when they are home alone, they should either be doing homework or chores, but a little downtime is also important. Spawn has helped me in every office I’ve worked in since they could understand language, often to the amazement of my co-workers. I am often confused by their awe, since my own upbringing was much the same.

It was a shock to the system when I have had to be subjected to the children of others, children older than mine, that were officially hired to work and they have been worthless. I realize and am ok with the fact we might not be ladder-climbers, but we sure as hell know how to be invaluable. When the owner of a company is more impressed with my kid than his own… I learned something right and passed it on well.

Thanks, Grand.