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The kids probably aren’t going to be all right. At least not yet.

13 Nov

I’m at the age now where more people I know are either married, getting married, getting divorced, had children, having children, or planning on having children in the very near future than not. They’re collecting relationships. I’m collecting degrees.

My theory is that since I grew up in a military town, those in the military tend to get married earlier than those that aren’t, and the majority of my young, married friends and/or parents are involved with someone in the military.

Or maybe it’s just to have something to do.

Or it could be “love.”

At any rate, I think a lot about how differently my life would be right now if I had married my high school sweetheart like I planned for so long. I’d probably already have a kid, my decor wouldn’t be composed of old alcohol bottles (there are six empty wine bottles in my living room right now, holding flowers or serving as bookends. There’s also a Corona bottle filled with sand from Mexico), I wouldn’t be comfortable in such a tiny ass, old house, and I’d be a different kind of happy. I know being married and having kids can really enrich your life and shit, but the kind of happy I am couldn’t come from a screaming mini-me or a husband in my bed. I’m pretty selfish.

Here are the main reasons why I know I’m not mentally prepared or emotionally equipped to handle a child:

  1. Whenever I empty the litterbox, I think to myself how much easier it’d be if I just fed the cats less food. There’d be so much less to scoop.
  2. My idea of a “well-balanced meal” is when I can balance in two hands — usually with my phone in the crook of my arm — whatever boxes or bags I’ll be eating from on the walk from the kitchen to the living room without having to go back and get more. I also drink from the carton.
  3. Whenever I’m supposed to shop for someone else, I get distracted and buy myself more clothes or shoes or jewelry or scarves or purses or make up or things to decorate my house with.
  4. I have an open jug of sangria on the kitchen counter, an open 2L bottle of Pear Arbor Mist at my feet in the living room (it’s 2:40pm), two open bottles of white wine in the fridge, an open bottle of red wine in the wine rack, two kinds of vodka in the freezer, an assortment of other liquors on top of the fridge, and two full flasks in my kitchen cabinet.
  5. Whenever I meet someone’s child, I extend my hand, prepared for a firm handshake. I’m then insulted when the child doesn’t respond appropriately to my question about the progress of their pending careers.
  6. I swear entirely too much and too frequently.
  7. I laugh hysterically when I hear the word “nickel” because I think they’re saying “nipple.” There I go laughing.
  8. As I was grading papers, Shelly wouldn’t leave me alone (he likes to eat — everything), so I locked him in my sunroom. Then when he meowed incessantly, I angled the screen of my computer to create a reflection on the wall just out of reach so he’d think he could get to it. I also call him “little bastard” or “teeny assface” from time to time. Shmow is perfect.
  9. I routinely heat my house with candles and an open oven door. And, most importantly,
  10. I just bought the most adorable pair of neon yellow pumps. The majority of the shoes I own are heels, and pregnant/mom feet just wouldn’t fit in them. I’m just not ready to part with my heel collection or accept that my adorable feet will become gigantic monsters that I can’t reach.

I have no doubts that some day I’ll get over all of these things, or I’ll figure out a way to make my life fit around the life of a child. But until then, I just have to keep in mind that despite the overcrowding of adorable babies flooding my Facebook News Feed and constant questioning of when I’m going to breed, kids right now would probably turn into teeny, tiny delinquents.

You’re welcome, world.

— AM.

Flogging Molly wasn’t a coincidence.

26 Oct

There’s really something magical about the first snowfall of the season.

The leaves are still dried, rotting away in gutters, illuminating the grayness of cement with the colors of their death — reds, yellows, and oranges, turned a musty brown as the moisture seeps into the skeletons left behind. All bets are off when it snows.

It snowed today.

I presented with BFF and a few others tonight to a large group of eager (for extra credit) students, discussing history and travel and humanity. BFF, D (who also presented), and I decided we needed to catch up. D has been teaching several counties away, and we no longer have classes together since he’s working strictly on thesis hours. We wound up at Jonny Carino’s splitting a pitcher of Bellini with three straws since it was too thick to pour into our glasses. The three of us became friends on a trip to Italy a couple summers ago, and our decision to split the pitcher was familiar territory, ringing distant memories of bottles upon bottles of wine in Florence and Rome, huddling up to keep our shit together. D and I almost had a thing on that trip, but he recently began dating his roommate’s ex-girlfriend before the trip, so nothing came of it but dancing, holding hands, and sharing drinks.

We asked how things are going with the two of them, since the last time we drank together his apprehension about a serious commitment wavered. He pulled out his phone and said “Check out what I’ll be picking up when I go back to Indiana over Christmas.” It was an engagement ring. Beautiful. Classic. “It was my great-grandmother’s.” Of course it was.

BFF and I reacted appropriately, offering congratulations and excitement and suppositions that “we’re of course invited to the wedding, right?” but when we made eye contact, like true BFFs do, we knew we were both screaming on the inside.

“I bet you’re jealous, huh? Since you don’t have this,” D said to BFF, who has been in a relationship for the last few years. What a little fucker, I thought. Somehow we changed the subject, but the sting of it stuck: when the hell did everyone decide now was the time to get married?

We said our goodbyes, and BFF and I decided we needed to continue drinking (even though it’s Thursday and I teach in a few hours). So we went to our favorite bar. Well, really it’s my favorite bar, mostly because the bartenders know me by name and have my gin and tonic prepared as I’m walking to the bar. I spent about 82% of my weeks there over the summer getting pre- or post-drunk. I’m an extremely good tipper for those who are responsible for my drunk.

“Dude, seriously, what the fuck,” isn’t really an uncommon way for us to start conversations, and this was no exception.

I mean really, it’s like someone decided that the second you hit your 20s, you’re supposed to have a ring on your finger and a zygote growing in your uterus. College? Careers? Post-graduate degrees? Na, bro. That shit’s for fools.

Clearly we’re fucking fools.

BFF hasn’t been out drinking with me when I’m in usual form for quite some time; mostly because she’s in a relationship, and single beast-me knows how to welcome conversation from strangers.

A homie with glasses and a satchel sits down across from us, offering his hand and a name. [Okay, total side note, but my radiator just kicked on and it almost made me piss myself. Damn old radiators.]

We spent the next hour or so accepting shots of tequila and chatting it up with homie with the glasses and satchel and his friend, Twitchy. Twitchy is awkward as shit, which I find ridiculously adorable. So much adorable, that when they got up to close their tabs, I told BFF I think Twitchy is super adorable and I could totally fix him, to which she replied “Bitch, I swear to God I will smack you in the face if you say that again.” Reason why we’re best friends? I think yes.

I’m not one to refuse strange conversation, especially from not-entirely-creepy guys who tell me I’m pretty, so I allowed it. Where was I from? I’m a German Jew, abandoned in the corn fields of Nicaragua. “Really? I’m a first generation American, too!” Hell-fucking-yeah. Making headway.

I spent most of the night awkwardly laughing, grateful that homeboys came around. I’d finally admitted to myself and to BFF that no matter what pseudo-homeless guy says or does, I forgive him and I never hold it against him — that much in love. (He’s a whole other story and kind of makes me turn into a Debbie Downer, so maybe I’ll save that for another day, but the quick and dirty version: I’ve been madly in love with him for years.)

I know it’s a good night when I (mostly soberly) tip 80% and can’t stop smiling as soon as I sit in my car. I live up the street from this bar, which likely contributes to my frequency of it. The ride home was brought to me by Flogging Molly’s “The Times They Are A-Changing”:

It’s no accident that tonight, when we learn of D’s engagement, we’re also reaching epiphanies of our (hopefully) inevitable happiness in relationships and how ridiculous we’ll feel in a few years (again, hopefully) when we’re with whoever-his-face-is while being courted by nice, drunk-as-fuck awkward guys who buy us shots and listen to me lie and tell us we’re pretty, the first snowfall is here, masking the death of summer in a blanket of silence.

The times are a-changing. I can feel it in my bones.

Or maybe that’s just the gin.


That’s the spirit.

23 Oct

I’m approaching the downward spiral of the semester. My day today (and, let’s face it, most days):

Woke up at 6:00 with every intent of going for a run. The neighborhood I live in truly is extraordinary. The entire avenue is lined with century’s old trees and homes. I live a 1/2 mile from a beautiful park, meticulously kept, surrounded by beautiful oaks and pines. This time of year, some type of bird chirp religiously all morning in the trees as I pass them, creating a beautiful contrast to the pounding of my tennis shoes on the pavement. But then I decided I liked the feeling of my thick blanket and the sound of my humidifier more, so I set my alarm for 7:00.

I then got out of bed, fed the cats, and showered with Shelley keeping a watchful eye from the rim of my tub. It’s cold in the mornings, so I keep a fluffy, pink robe and house shoes in the bathroom for when I get out. Shmow was laying on my bed, and she just made it look so perfectly comfortable, I lost balance of my legs and somehow fell on top of the bed, deciding to take a nap. Just a quick nap, really, since I didn’t need to leave until 8:30 to be ready to teach at 9:00 (to include a stop at my office to pick up the essays smoldering with mediocrity to hand back).

Woke up again at 8:00, threw an outfit together, pulled my hair into what resembles a Snooki poof meets Mae West, grabbed an apple, and fought Shelley to get out the door. He’s a sneaky little bastard and will take any chance the door is open as an opportunity to escape and investigate the outside world. (I decided I’m getting him a harness and leash to take him to the snow once winter comes. That’ll be exciting.)

My students were continuing their presentations today, so I got to sit there with my laptop open and give them feedback. As much as they annoy me with their banalities, I honestly think the best thing I can do as a teacher for introductory writing is help boost their confidence so they can have the lady/man balls to write something better somewhere down the line — hopefully for me, but I’m a burst of rainbows and sunshine, so I’ll find something good to tell them (“You spelled your name right! Good for you!”)

I spent my entire office hours catching up on homework for my graduate course tonight. Researching, annotating, alphabetizing, contextualizing, and trying to one-up everyone else (because I’m great and I need to continue to prove it).

By the time I got to my last class of the day, I realized I forgot to reread (since the last time I read it) what I wanted them to read, so I broke them into groups to present on sections while I skimmed it (‘cause I’m a fucking genius). Began a lecture on the rhetorical canons, then class ran out, with a “to be continued” note. They’re so ridiculously excited to pick up the discussion.

“Miss! Miss! Tell me more about Quintilian and Cicero and Aristotle and Socrates! The Sophists are just fascinating!”

Only not.

I came home for lunch, pulling together my expertise in culinary magic to make my lunch: a quesadilla, a spoon of cookie dough, and a small bowl of mango sorbet (‘cause I’m a fucking health nut) to finish my homework, despite Shelley’s efforts to convert my keyboard into a naptime spot.

Back to the office, continuing homework, meetings and strategizing with BFF about our ultimate takeover, then onto coffee. More coffee, and then another cup, you know, to make it through the evening.

Class for three hours, during which time I’m forced to work with a woman I actively despise, but since I’m the typist of our group, I choose to selectively ignore her stupid ideas (because they’re stupid and I’m more eloquent — clearly. Stupid).

Finally I get to come home, greeted by excited meows from the beasts as I trip over my once-clean apartment that is now for all intents and purposes akin to a frat house post Tour de Fat. Granted, the bottles of Wild Blue are from me, but still. They could’ve cleaned up a little bit and prepared for my arrival.

I took out the trash, lovingly guiding (or swinging bags, whatever) at Shelley, who attempted to run out the back door. There’s a gravel parking lot in the back of the house for the tenants of the building, and the dumpster is along the alley. The street light is motion-censored, so when a cat or bird or bat or zombie walk by, it turns on, but approximately 93% of the time it turns off right as I dump my trash in the dumpster. The dogs of the neighborhood sound the alarm (another reason why I have cats).

I decide on cereal for dinner, but then realize I have no clean spoons. I briefly consider using a fork and a coffee mug (because I also have no clean bowls), but then opt for cleaning some dishes. Another downfall to my cheap apartment: no dishwasher. Well, technically there is a dishwasher, but she’s a cranky bitch and generally refuses to wash dishes because she’s above that.

Before I even begin to wash dishes, I realize I left the washcloth in the crockpot to simmer. (What, you don’t cook your washcloths?) I find a new one among wine bottle openers (plural), lighters (also plural), coupons (yeah, still plural) for cat food, and a switchblade (singular. I thought more than one switchblade would be excessive). As I’m washing with the new cloth, it occurs to me that my housekeeping capabilities would terrify my grandmothers, serving as further evidence of my perpetually single life, and probably sending them to an early grave.

Feeling festive, I poured myself some eggnog in a wine glass because the other glasses I own are dirty. Oddly enough, my wine glasses are all clean. I typically only use wine glasses when I have company because, to be completely honest, I open a bottle of wine with absolutely no intent of drinking it one glass at a time. I’m classy that way.

The rest of my night will undoubtedly be filled with drinking Wild Blue (delicious lager) while watching reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” and dodging leaps from Shelley and Shmow as they engage in battle royale, burrowing under my carpet and knocking trinkets off my shelves.

Tomorrow? Same shit. I have to say, my twenties are turning out pretty delicious.


I clearly should have spent more time with my father.

21 Oct

Windows won’t close? Stuff a towel in and duct tape it.

That’s how I fix things.

I live in a house erected two turns-of-a-century ago. The floors are wooden, the ceilings are high, the windows have never been replaced, the doors are misaligned (there’s a trick to closing the French doors: grip the handle, physically pull the door up, and lock, generally wiggling the deadbolt), the plumbing is atrocious, the heating comes from small radiators that come alive with the tinkering of hot water running through their construction, and the insulation is laughable, mostly due to its nonexistence. My landlord installed an air conditioner in the living room window when I moved here last fall, and after a drafty winter, I decided I want it out in preparation for this winter. The handyman came by (much to my disappointment, the handyman was not burly, oozing with masculine good looks and smelling of hard work — rather, I towered over his frame which gazed up to me through magnified eyes in his bifocals) and removed the air conditioner from the window. My landlord asked if I had room to store it and I laughed.

“I shop as a form of therapy. I’ve added another row for clothes in the closet where I found the meth pipes when I moved in.”

Poor handyman loaded the window unit onto a dolly to drag down to the basement: a shrunken entrance on the side of the house, locked closed to keep the spiders in. After he left, I realized the window wouldn’t shut. There’s a two-inch gap at the bottom, but nothing discernible blocking its path. I took out the pink toolbox I got for Christmas last year from my parents from my former meth/clothes/shoes/storage/puppet/cleaning supply closet to see what I can do.

“Hammer? This should work,” and I grabbed the pink-handled hammer from its place. I tapped along the tracks of the windows, hoping to magically shake loose whatever was blocking the windows from properly closing.

I mean, really. Windows only have three functions: to look through, to open, and to close. It shouldn’t be this hard.

The old wood along the window began to splinter and form a small pile on the ledge. Well, maybe it’s just not smooth enough, I thought. Being the expert in home improvement that I was (I did manage to assemble a bookshelf I bought from Wal-Mart in three hours. Pretty impressive, I know), I thought that clearly it must be an issue of traction (I also am somewhat of an expert on the matters of physics and science and engineering and shit — numbers are soo my thing). So I went to the kitchen and grabbed  a bottle of olive oil. I tilted the opening of the bottle along the tracks, watching the liquid slowly seep out along the metal siding. Satisfied with my work, I tried to push the window closed again. It caught against something, and was still no closer to fulfilling its sole purposes in life and closing. I wiggled it. I opened it again. I closed it again. I pulled the strings on the side. I cast a spell, shouting Alohomora at the window, hoping it’d respond. Nothing. 

The temperature outside began to drop, and I was getting cold. I already had my kerosene heater on full blast (yeah, kerosene), and was bundled up in leggings, sweatpants, two pairs of socks, a tank top, a t-shirt, and a thick hoody given to me by the pseudo-homeless boy I was in love with. This damn window needed to shut or I had it in me to build a small fire in my living room, charring the ceilings.

I thought about putting tin foil around the window, stapling it to the sides of the wall, for insulation. It’d double as protection for when the aliens inevitably take over earth. That’s what M. Night Shyamalan taught me from the movie “Signs.” The second I took out the roll of tin foil from my kitchen cabinet, Shelley perked up and was ready to attack, gnawing on the silvery metal. Fuck. I couldn’t have him eating my window down.

I went into my former meth/clothes/shoes/storage/puppet/cleaning supply closet and found a towel. I balled the towel up, shoving it beneath the window’s opening. Satisfied with myself, I dusted off my hands.

Then the rain came, saturating the terry cloth fibers.

I tore through the house, trying to find something to fix this. Toothpaste? Tampons? Umbrellas? The bowl of fake fruit? I finally stumbled upon some duct tape, outlining the edges of the towel.

I’ve now reached a new level of ghetto.

Despite my degrees, I hold this house down with duct tape. I heat this house not with the heat from the radiator (too expensive) but through a kerosene heater, 17,658 candles, and an open oven door. Straight up Compton.


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