Friday, February 25, 2011


What the hell are you looking at? I'm Wonder Woman, dammit!

We wrestled each other with a fury that came from some reserve of vengeance deep inside; both of us holding on with a death grip refusing to yield; the sinews of our muscles straining to keep from giving in to the will of the other. Finally, she yielded, more likely grew bored, and I was able to pry the mail from Bad Dog’s clenched canine jaws. I ran my fist-pumping victory lap around the porch. YES! I AM ALPHA DOG!
          And so this is our daily ritual. Each day when the mail truck parks in front of our house the dog and I race to the porch and jockey for position in front of the mail slot. This must be done for if I’m not there to collect the mail when it comes pouring through the slot then all my bills will be shred into confetti and eaten by Bad Dog, and although there’s nothing more festive than confetti bills, it’s no picnic watching the dog howling to extract them from her intestines at two in the morning or explaining to Time Warner that the dog ate my bill.
          In today's mail there was a promotional give-away box from CVS. I love getting free samples from CVS. What could it be? Shampoo? Hand sanitizer wipes? New hand lotion? I ripped open the box like a kid on Christmas while Bad Dog gnarled and shredded the PSE&G bill before ingesting it. I reached my hand deep inside the box and pulled a clear plastic package that contained…wait a minute. This can’t possibly be meant for me. I checked the box’s address label and sure enough, it was addressed to me. Then I got furious. In my hands was a sample of an adult diaper! Poise for those moments when your bladder just can’t pause.
          WHAT? How do I go from birth control one birthday to adult diapers the next? I was so furious that I actually looked up the phone number for the main headquarters of CVS which I discovered was in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After suffering through Dante’s Fifth Circle of Hell also known as the automated answering system, my thumb just kept pressing zero until a human voice answered. After airing my complaint I was switched to about three other people until finally I was transferred to a man whom I’m sure was the janitor put up by the rest of the office staff to act like a customer service manager and handle my complaint so they didn’t have to deal with a freak like me.
          “Mam,” he said trying to placate me, “we are so happy that you enjoy our free samples.”
          “No, no; I don’t enjoy this one. I’m not old enough for adult diapers!”
          “They’re not diapers; they’re liners.”
          “Don’t try to spin it on me. I’ve seen the commercials!”
“If you don’t mind, what is your age?”
Reluctantly, I told him.
          “Oh, that explains it. Since your last birthday your demographics have shifted, and that’s why you may be noticing a difference in product samples that are being sent to you.”
          “My demographics have shifted? What does that mean?” I cried. (True, my body has been undergoing seemingly seismic shifts, but that’s none of his business!)
          “It means that for promotional purposes you’re now contained in a group whose needs are more maintenance than restoration, if you will.”
          What?  I missed my own restoration period?
          “Mam, as I’m sure you found with our past samples, not every product is aimed at you—it’s aimed at your demographics. And that group constitutes over 25 years.”
          He was right. Not every free sample was for me like the K-Y Body Gel Tabasco Sauce or the Legg’s all in one thong panties and pantyhose, but at least they were life-affirming. At least they oozed possibility. At least they screamed "DESIRE!" rather than "Oops I crapped my pants!" I mean, am I wrong to suggest that the implication of adult diapers is, “Don’t worry. I’ll do my business right here on line so we won’t be late for that sunset buffet. Here’s a coupon.”
          I hung up the phone, dissatisfied and feeling old. However, to look on the bright side, I would still be considered a trophy wife if I dated at the top of my demographics. (And at this point, I don’t think Jim would even notice.) Anyway, I took the packaged Poise and threw it…well, truth be told I threw it in my purse because frankly there may come a time when I just can’t pause. And at least I’ll be poised.   

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I think I’m going through a mid-life crisis. At least I hope that my mid-life point hasn’t already passed me by. I mean, if I only live to be 50 that means that my mid-life crisis occurred at 25. And isn’t the entire decade of our 20’s one big life crisis anyway? At least upon reflection it seems that way. When we’re in our 20’s we’re just trying on one bad choice after another. Some of us married our bad choices, some of us gave birth to them, and some of us spent a lot of time in rehab thanks to them. Compared to our 20’s, our 30’s begin our assent into the age of reason.  
Anyway, among the many things I’ve been musing about, the one thing I can’t stop thinking about are the career choices I’ve made. My employment choices were based on the Sally Fields’ method of finding a job. The key to mastering this method is to accept the very first offer regardless of what that job is because that offer screamed “You like me! You really like me!” Considering taking a job that might be fun and interesting never entered my mind. It’s only now that I realize someone has to be hired for the fun and interesting jobs, right? Of course, considering my bad choices, these are the jobs I would have applied for in my 20’s with my reasons (now) why they scream “bad choice.”  
Cameraman for Lock Up or any other show about prison: My biggest fear in the entire world is prison. So it makes perfect sense that I love to watch the show Lock Up which is about being locked up in various prisons around the world. Whenever I watch the show I care less about the reaction of the inmate who’s being asked if he has any remorse for murdering 15 people and more about the cameraman’s reaction to the inmate’s response. If I’m sitting before a man sentenced to death or serving 20 consecutive life sentences I want more than just a hand-held camera separating us. Let’s put it this way, if I was the cameraman, all you would see on your television screen is a picture of the tiled floor because I’d drop that camera and run the second I saw a man in an orange jumpsuit with face tattoos coming towards me.
Deck Crew or Cameraman for Dangerous Catch: Okay, one of the best shows ever. Who’d think that crab fishing would be so riveting? And I consider myself a seasoned crab fisherman having spent many summer days tossing nets into the Hudson and pulling out pots filled with crabs until my shoulders ached. I can stand the grueling work; however, there’s no way I could ever be one of the deck crew on a ship being tossed around like a bath toy in the Bering Sea. Hauling heavy pots out of a violent ocean that keeps throwing fresh waves of Arctic ice water over you in the middle of winter during a hurricane takes more than a sense of adventure!
I’m always amazed at how steady the camera is while filming during those storms. If I was the cameraman all you’d see would be pieces of my liver floating around the deck because not only would I be constantly sea sick, but the rest of the crew would pull a mutiny on the bounty on me to rid the ship of my miserableness.
Editor for Snapped on the Oxygen Network: This is the show that highlights women who have snapped and usually always involves multiple murders. My fear about editing this show is that I might find myself the star of one of the episodes.
National Geographic Photographer: Travel the world, go to remote places, dance with the wolves, swim with the sharks, and sleep with the lions. The job would be the perfect job for me if it weren’t for the wolves, sharks, and lions. And the fact that sleeping outdoors in remote places of the world is not on my top ten list.
I guess I’ll just stick with being a writer and continue to write from the tamed jungle I call home about the wild adventures of my life. And show me a National Geographic photographer who’s driven away from a carwash with a Mexican in his trunk. Ha! There’s adventure!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Got Milk?

“Oh my God! We’ve been robbed!” my brain screamed as I entered the kitchen after having come home from work only to find the refrigerator wide open and half-eaten food strewn all over the hardwood floor. I tried to remain calm by taking a few deep breaths.
I didn’t understand. The front door was locked. I checked the back door, basement door—all locked. No one could’ve have gotten in through a window since they’re all painted shut. If a burglar did open a window I will hunt them down just so they can open the rest of them since in ten years my husband hasn’t been able to.
Then I panicked. Where’s the dog? She’s always waiting at the door for me. Was she harmed? I ran around the house shouting her name. Nothing. It wasn’t until I grabbed the phone to call the police that I saw the burglar prostrate, dead to the world, beside the couch. The burglar was none other than Bad Dog, her bad self. I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I’m pretty sure the clues pointed in her direction--strings of spaghetti crusted to her snout; her beard drenched with Sunday gravy. Anger replaced the panic. I nudged the hairy culprit with the toe of my snow boot but nothing. No response.
          I bent down and put my face next to hers to make sure she was breathing. Her pungent breath almost knocked me over. I recognized the sour smell but it took me a few seconds before I…Dear God!  She was drunk. Full-out stinking drunk! No wonder, really, because lying among all the food on the kitchen floor was an empty bottle of 2003 Malbec that had only been open the night before. I had an open bottle of Malbec and cheap Chardonnay in the fridge; she went with the Malbec. Good choice considering the menu of leftovers she chose: artisanal cheese that my friend had sent me from her Seattle dairy farm, four marinating Porterhouse steaks from the butcher at Fairway that I was planning on grilling for dinner, Godiva Chocolate, leftover eggplant parmigiana, spaghetti, and Sunday gravy with Johnny Meatballs meatballs! (She ate all the meatballs, so 2 thumbs up from Bad Dog and the canine crowd for Johnny Meatballs meatballs!)
How did Bad Dog get her bad self into the fridge? Well, my good man Watson, I’m going to conclude that someone to whom I said “I Do” to almost 20 years ago forgot to close the refrigerator as he was returning the gallon of milk that he had just poured for his and Katie’s cereal. Since I had left for work before he and the children left the house, I’m going to further conclude that he did not notice the refrigerator door was ajar when he left the house. Now, I can’t entirely blame him since our house is well over 100 years old and no longer level. (Hell, I’m over 40 years old and no longer level.) The kitchen is so slanted it’s like working in a ship’s galley during a raging storm. Things just toss and roll at will. My kitchen could definitely qualify for Weird New Jersey.   
          After I had cleaned up the mess I sat down on the sofa with a cup of coffee. (Unfortunately, the Malbec was all gone.) I watched as the carcass of Bad Dog began to stir. She pried one, then two hairy eyeballs open and, after a few feeble attempts, was able to lift her head. Talk about the hair of the dog! When her eyes were able to focus she just stared at me. It was a knowing stare that said, “Do you have any idea how many times I had to look at you like this? At least I licked your feet to ease your pain.”
          As she tried to rise on all four paws I could relate to her staggering imbalance, but still I said, “So, you had to eat the marinating Porterhouse? Johnny Meatballs and eggplant weren’t enough for you? Hope you enjoyed the wine!”
          She wobbled unsteadily to the back door reminding me of a drunken sailor’s drunken girlfriend who gets paid by the hour. I mused about taking her to A.A.
“Hi, this is Bad Dog and she’s an alcoholic.”
“Hello Bad Dog!”
As I watched her repeatedly fall sideways into the snow I thought that as bad as Bad Dog is, and she is bad, at least she has good taste. Artisanal cheeses, Johnny Meatballs, Porterhouse steaks tartare, and Malbec. Not a bad life for a bad dog.