I’m not wearing Mom jeans, so stop looking past me that way

losing sense of self
it happens to all mothers
just like with the Borg

I had the kids with me at Target today, for an emergency shopping trip. Bread, strawberry jelly, laundry detergent, Icy Hot and Pulmicort. And while I was pushing the cart down the mostly deserted aisles (side note: shopping at Target right after school lets out is a win), I had this sort of out of body experience. I could see myself, all shlumpy and tired, with the gray peeking out from the semi-permanent hair color, and the unidentified splotch on my skirt and I thought, "Fuck me, I've become one of those moms." You know the kind. The women who have no other identity to the outside world – just "mom".

Now, truth be told, I've been a shlumpy, stained mom for a long time now. There was a break for a while there when I turned into a shlumpy, stained mom w    ith Crazy Fucked Up Things Happening All The Time, so that Crazy Fucked Up Things were my main focus, but now (knock on wood) I'm back to moderately typical shlumpy and stained.

And I don't like it.

Now that I can focus on somewhat mundane things, like grocery prices and whether or not both my shoes match, I am very upset to find that I'm invisible. People working at Target don't even see me walk by. It's as if having three kids with you and bags under your eyes gives you a sad kind of invisibility cloak. When you're cloaked, you can smile at the old ladies and wave thanks to people in the parking lot and no one even glances your way. You're "just a mom". No one. There are a million of you out there, buying Icy Hot and Easter candy that's on sale.

So how does one combat this? Go for the bright blue semi-permanent hair color next time? Wear roller skates? Or do you just forget it. Accept that this is how it's going to be for now and that's OK. The more invisible you are, the less people notice the stains on your shirt.

Part of this invisibility funk comes from having just spent a bunch of days pretending to be a fancy writer. Conversations and dinners and parties with grown-ups can really lead a girl on. She starts to think she might just be a person AND a mom. But then everything calms down, goes back to normal, and you have to watch your coach turn back into a pumpkin while you catch up on laundry.

So back to work I go. The time is nigh to write a new book or two. To take these invisible days and weeks and make the most of them because you never know what's around the (mostly evil, I've discovered) corner. God knows I don't want to return to the land of Crazy Fucked Up Things Happening All The Time, but I also don't want to melt into the shadows and buy some pajama jeans and eat Krispy Kremes until my friends have to stage an intervention.

Surely there's a happy medium to all of this? Right? Because I know better than to look at mundane days and whine in their faces. That just brings the hurt. But certainly it doesn't have to be an even exchange. Fuckedupness for nothingness? What about Fuckedupedness for mostly nothingness with a side of individuality and self. That would be a good start.

No pajama jeans just yet.

At least not until I'm through with all this candy I just bought on sale.

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My eyes are so puffy I wish I could sleep on them

I have been a lazy blogger lately. For shame. I have a good excuse, though – I have been busy pretending to be fancy. And as you may or may not know, pretending to be fancy takes a lot of time. You have to take a lot of showers and poke your eyes with mascara wands and decide how much xanax is the perfect amount for sleep, but not so much that you'll wake up with head full of stabbing bales of cotton.

Stabbing bales of cotton?

You know what I mean.

Also, when you are pretending to be fancy, you have to be "on" all the time, which means fooling people into thinking you are actually charming instead of someone pretending to be charming. This requires engaging in multi-faceted conversations, limited swearing, and a variety of breath perfumes. It also requires a LOT of energy, because remembering people's names is hard, and even harder than that is remembering to be constantly vigilant about your overactive armpit sweat glands that require you to keep some extra distance between yourself and others so that you don't cause an Exxon Valdez type calamity but with armpit sweat and a cocktail party full of fancy people instead of oil and vulnerable animals.

So.

I got to pretend to be fancy for a while, and this took a lot of preparation. Then it happened and it was awesome, then it took major recovery. I am still recovering.

And I wasn't even pretending to be THAT fancy. Just mid-list fancy. Which, if you know about publishing, isn't actually fancy at all. Unless you're typically trapped in your house chasing after kids and never get out. Then it's mega fancy because it requires bathing and ordering from menus.

In conclusion, I'm sorry to have been away from the blog for nine days. But there are at least three more librarians in the world who have bought my books, and I got to tell a dirty story in front of people. So it's been a very win-win bunch of days.

At some point, there may be a link online to the dirty storytelling, so I will let you know.

Until then: I am going to eat my weight in Advil and apologetically consult the Easter bunny, because OH SHIT you guys, Easter is this Sunday!

Also, I'm going to try to keep writing books because it's fun and I like to pretend to be fancy every now and then.

If I keep reading this Tina Fey book

I am just going to sit around all day typing out things that happened to me when I was a kid that should be life lessons for us all. Like the time in third grade my class was standing in line and I burped so loud you would have thought someone was filming the next John Belushi movie in my mouth. Or that the school had implemented a foghorn as the "lunch is over, suckers" bell.

My teacher was, of course, horrified, and she immediately put Stanley in the corner for burping so rudely like that. When Stanley (rightfully) protested that he didn't do it, he was given more time in the third grade pokey for lying. But he wasn't lying. Stanley had just been unfortunate enough to be standing behind me in line.

Stanley was one of those unfortunate kids who always had unfortunate things going on around him, like extra tiny Jason Whathisname standing up in the middle of the rainy day Cricket in Times Square assembly yelling, "HE SAID MY MAMA LOOKS LIKE A CHIHUAHUA!" Wherein everyone responded with guffaws of laughter because Mrs. Whatsherface, the teacher's aide (and also his mom), actually DID look like a chihuahua, except with less of a neck and wider.

So Stanley got in trouble for that, too, but again unnecessarily, because if you knew Stanley you knew he had not one bit of humor in him and so he was probably just stating a fact and Jason got all bent out of shape because he was the third grade drama queen.

You could tell that Stanley tried, though. He tried to think out of the elementary box. He really did. Even when we were young and enjoyed half day Kindergarten together, he was always doing something that shouldn't have gotten him in trouble but did. Like the time we were doing some kind of practice-following-instructions thing and the teacher asked us all to color the circle with the green crayon. Stanley pulled out a very yellow crayon and went to town. "I said, 'green', Stanley" the teacher warned gently, wherein Stanley went ballistic and hysterical, shouting that the crayon WAS green. It was just YELLOW-green, which was a green type thing.

So what is the lesson in all of this? What did I learn by going to school with Stanley from Kindergarten until maybe middle school but I don't really remember because everything after sixth grade becomes fuzzy with despair and hormones?

It is simply this: Don't stand in line behind me after lunch, always wink or gently punch someone in the arm when you call their mom a dog, and never think that yellow-green is the same as green-green or you will get your ass CALLED OUT in front of the whole damn class (or, if you are a grown-up, a PA at your pediatrician's office will prescribe the wrong type of antibiotics for your snotty kid).

I wonder whatever happened to Stanley? My bet is that he has a nice desk somewhere with a very red stapler.

And that he doesn't think Tina Fey is funny AT ALL.

Haiku time capsule

I've been cleaning out my office upstairs (which has gotten scarily close to a Hoarders episode), so that I can turn it into the family "library"/office. I have lofty dreams of floor to ceiling bookshelves and fake fur rugs and a tiny fridge so that I have ice cold co-colas at the ready ALL THE TIME.

So far, though, I have huge piles of crap. And a whole mess of dust.

In one of the piles of crap today, I discovered an old notebook circa 2001-02-ish. It is filled with haiku. Filled. Stuff I was writing when I should have been working. So I thought I'd share some with you.

I need to take pictures of the pages. Really. The juxtaposition of sentences like "westminster dog show hollywood hobbit fest" and "walk into doors" with "affliliate banner" and "promo launch" is making me laugh.

Anyway, here are some oooold haiku for you:

smoldering temptress
flirting, eyeing from afar
O, wicked snack cake

smack, whack, flip, kick, whomp
whose fantastic kung fun moves?
future boy Roy

To quote late, great Kurt
"Mother Nature is a whore"
where is winter, dammit?

silver nemesis
sidling too close for comfort
big stinky road hog

keeps newspaper bound
Snap! Flies off into corner
careful, may choke dog

glittering plat'num
glinting, sparkling in the sun
Frankendog basking

poopy pig keychain
sitting sheepishly, staring
literal desk crap

(side note: written under the one above, obviously from a meeting or something, it says, "March 1st Intel requirements change")

Here's a whole page with notes about "enrich your system, enrich yourself" and "change header copy" and "Revitalize your budget". In the margin I wrote "obfuscate" and there are a list of times that I think are contractions I was having while pregnant with the wee one. Then, everywhere else on the page is the debris of me trying to write a haiku about cat poop coffee and altoids, including this unfinished nonsequitor: "50 years ago/King George dead, potato born".

This is the winning cat poop haiku:

Curiously strong
altoids and cat poop coffee
gotta love the Brits

On the next page, I was obviously bored and investigating words that start with F. I wrote "FLOCCULENT" across the top of the page. Flabberghast makes a few appearances (including: "backwards flabberghast"). So does fortitude. Ferocity is there. And phasers, which I think is cheating.

Here's the haiku:

Feign fortitude
fend off the wooly flummox
fie ferocious fiend

And, you guys, the pages just go on and on and on. I won't bore you with ALL of the haiku, but here's one more that's my favorite so far:

lil' bitty flower
blooming in the median
flummoxed addled cold

Kari so Wary. Write it down. You’ll want to remember it.

The other day I was at Target with all the three kids, and they were in rare form. Ike-a-saurus was pelting strangers with goldfish (the crackers, not actual goldfish), the wee-er one was doing that thing where she pops her eyes so you can see all the whites, and then growls and gnashes her teeth (she was angry I had not immediately looked at the fake Barbie laptop when she asked), and the wee one had decided this particular Target visit was the exact perfect time to ask me why Hitler killed 6 million people.

So.

In the midst of all this mayhem an empathetic mom smiled at me and said, "You should have your own reality show." I laughed. Not because I thought she was crazy, not because I've heard that a million times before, not becaue I've thought it, too – but because it's actually happening. I just wasn't allowed to say anything yet.

I know you're all, "SHUT UP!"

But it's true! They're not paying us hardly anything, but I'm trying to casually lay copies of my books in every scene. Except for this one – I'm actually recording this right now, but my books are upstairs and I'm too lazy to go up there. I have to email the footage to the producers in the morning and they can, like, edit in some Strokes music and make my latenight blogging and watching 30 Rock look way more exciting than it really is.

I'll probably get in trouble for this, but here's a scintillating bit:

 

Right now the working title of the show is Kari So Wary: Life After the Trach. It's going to run on the OWN channel for 8 episodes. If people like it, then we'll get to make more.

Now you know why I haven't been blogging much. So many things have been going on, so many people at the house. It's been crazy. The kids are crazy. The dog is crazy. I keep trying to make sandwiches for the cameramen and that's against union rules. So much to get used to.

Really, though, having a cameraman or two at the house isn't that much different than when we had the nurses everyday. Except the camermen are a lot less helpful at naptime. And I'm not allowed to talk to them or give them my extra kale from the farmhouse bushel.

The cameramen are even coming with us to Cincinnati this summer. Just when we finally stopped having to get all the medical equipment through airport security, now we have all kinds of camera crap to wait on. They're not coming with us to the beach, though. Vacations are private – plus, my sister won't sign a release.

One of the major reasons the camera guys aren't coming to the beach, though, is because this is all a huge lie. Not true at all. Thank goodness! Happy first of April, biznatches.