Dear City of Austin Asshats,

Wow, it was HOT today, wasn't it? I mean hot hot – like face melting hot. Like squelchy leg sweat hot. Kids- screaming-in-the-car-like-you're-driving-them-straight-into-the-sun hot. The kind of hot where you want to, I don't know, grab said squelchy screamers and wander through a public park where there are splashy fountains shooting up from the ground.

But – oh no! The splashy fountains are turned off!

Water main break?
Forgot to pay the bill?

False! False! False! 

Now we have CRYING squelchy screamers. Who are even hotter than before. And who are now donkey-kicking their way back to the car.

It's not even really summer, you know? It's not supposed to be this hot. But here's the thing, City of Austin Asshats, I don't think it's the weather making it so toasty. I think it's the fact that your BIG OL' CITY OF AUSTIN ASSHAT PANTS ARE ON FIRE. That's why it's so damn hot around here.

Let's be honest, shall we? I'm a mom. I can call bullshit faster than I can simultaneously change a diaper, talk on the phone and yell at a kid. So when you tell me you petted a unicorn on the nose at school today, I know you're telling stories. When you tell me you have no homework because the teacher forgot, I know you're not telling the truth. When you tell me that's not poop smeared on the wall, I know you're fibbing.

And, City of Austin, when you tell me that the Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park was never meant for children to play in it – I know you're lying.

I mean COME ON.

It shoots water out of the ground. It was designed as part of an interactive park. Kids have been playing in it since 2007. And suddenly it's, "Oh, shit! This isn't for playing in!"


Feeble excuses (entertaining as they may be) aren't going to cut it. "Oh no! The outdoor fountain is getting dirt and grass in it!" "The water is not 100% chlorinated!" "If we let your kids play here, we'll have to get lifeguards… in case a jet of water, uh, holds someone down. In a puddle. On the sidewalk."

How stupid do you think we are? Can't you just say, "Oh, shit! The budget!"? We'll hate it, but we'll understand. We may even try to raise money somehow, or otherwise help you out. We may settle for certain hours that the fountain is on. We may be grouchy, but we may also work with you on a compromise. But making up lame excuses, and then trying to blame our children for being too dirty? Please.

If Liz Carpenter was still around she would be PISSED at you guys. She would ride over you with her wheel-y cart and then back over you just to make her point. This is a fountain meant for kids; for families; for people who are looking for free fun on a hot day, running over people with wheel-y carts notwithstanding.

So don't try to pass off budget woes with lame excuses. Don't try to pass the blame onto the state or the parks and rec department or my kids' muddy feet. Remember that a big part of your city is made up of moms. We smell shit everyday, literally and figuratively. And when that stinky smell insidiously wafts by on a hot day and prevents us from having a nice afternoon out in the town that we love, well, we're going to call you out. We're good at that, too.

Every morning, I drive over the South 1st bridge and I think of how beautiful this city is. I think about how lucky I am to live here; how lucky I am to raise my children here. I buy them local food, support local businesses, indoctrinate them in Keep Austin Weird vernacular.

So this kind of shit happens and I feel betrayed, City of Austin Asshats. I feel thisclose to ragey. If I wanted someone to lie to me I would ask my almost 4-year-old who threw her shoes on top of the car (answer: flying unicorns). But I know flying unicorns haven't jacked up the Liz Carpenter fountain. I know YOU know flying unicorns haven't jacked up the Liz Carpenter fountain. So let's be straight with each other, OK?


There are a lot more hot days to come. How about not fanning the flames with your fiery pants? How about, instead, cooling off those pants in a nice public fountain, made for just such a thing. Just be careful of your grassy feet. You might make the filters explode. And then the flying unicorns will die from shrapnel wounds and the kids will REALLY be angry.

Donkey kicks to you all, City of Austin Asshats. Make it right.

Concerned Mother


Dear Asshole neighbors,

Could you kindly SHUT UP?

It's 2:15 am.

You may not realize this, but the Biscuit Brothers Holiday CD does not turn up loud enough to drown out your screeching and hollering and car door slams and speeding down the street.

And while I appreciate your enthusiasm for, uh, celebrating the fact that it's mid-November? Sharing with all of us your assholian vocal range? Returning from a trip that has your internal clock all screwed up so that you think it's 2 pm? I have to say that listening to you woohoo in the street as you try to run each other over in your stupid noisy cars stopped being fun about three hours ago.

I don't really want to reenact the thirtysomething pilot and run outside in my underwear and threaten to beat people up. Nope. I'm just going to sit on my couch, in my ikeasaurus tshirt and do my best to keep everyone in the house safe and sleeping. Also, I'm going to call the police.

I know, I know, I hate to be that grouchy old lady who doesn't want anyone to have any fun. The one who has to put down her Oreos and challah bread and scramble around in the kitchen for the phone. The one who steps on about about 14 musical toys on her way to said kitchen, making just about as much noise as you're making. But I am that lady tonight. And one day, you will be old and grouchy, too. You will have three kids you're trying to keep asleep all night long – at the same time. You will have to turn vornado fans on in two of their rooms and be thankful (thankful?!) that the third has a 16,000 decibel air compressor about three feet from him.

So please, for the love of just being a decent fucking human being, be quiet.

Thanks a bunch.

concerned mother

Dear Swine Flu, You Asshole,

First of all, up yours. Haven't you even heard it's not flu season anymore? Duh. What are you trying to prove, anyway? Your hemagglutinin is is longer and thicker than regular flu's hemagglutinin? Well, shut up. Nobody cares. Go get a giant belt buckle and leave us all alone.

Second of all, I realize that just the other day Governor Perry made a remark about seceding Texas from the union. He's a complete dumbass with a penchant for teabagging parties. I know that. You know that. Whatever. So what I'm saying is, sure we want him to recognize that Texas is indeed part of the USA, and that that's not a bad thing. Sure. But there are ways to make him fall to his knees and fellate the federal government, without infecting his state with a virulent disease requiring help from the CDC. I mean, I appreciate your patriotism, Swine Flu, but your methods are a little Twelve Monkeys, no?

Third of all, If the Twelve Monkeys thing goes the opposite way and Texas actually has to be cut off from the rest of the US so that we don't infect all of the intellectuals and adorable Midwesterners, you are going to be accused of being in cahoots with The Idiot Governor. The US will start calling Texas the Perryneal Colony and everyone will think of us as some kind of illegal country version of a MRSA-laced boil nestled on the country's taint. Plus, they will tsk-tsk at us while we die.

Fourth of all, If Texas gets quarantined and I can't get my trach baby out to Ohio to get his airway fixed, I am so going to be so fucking pissed, you do not even know. YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW.

Fifth of all, If the swine flu gets into my house, it will be strung up by its aforementioned hemagluggtinin(s) and "legally questioned" until Jack Bauer has to come over and say, "Wow, that's a lot of questions, maybe you should stop it."

Sixth of all, I won't stop it.

Seventh of all, I have installed an overhead blower by all the exterior-facing doors in my house. These blowers shoot down a gaseous version of Tamiflu on everyone who enters. I'm not bluffing.

Eighth of all, there is no eighth of all.

Ninth of all, up yours. that's right. I said it again.

Tenth of all, You made me say "taint" and "fellate" in a blog post my mom will read, and also my friend's mom will read, so don't you feel ashamed of yourself.

I'm sorry, Swine Flu, if this letter has seemed harsh or rude. I know we don't know each other. But, also, you are acting like a real asshole, thinking you're all stealthily infiltrating the US via Texas. You know what? That is so not an original idea. So not. Did you hear about the wall down there? It's anti-viral. Did you know that? Totally made of Microban, that wall. Again, not bluffing. Don't test me.

I hope this letter gives you something to think about, Swine Flu. There's that saying, you know: Don't Mess With Texas. Well, it has an addendum now: Don't Mess With Moms From Texas Who Have a Trach Baby.

Concerned Mother

Dear Mean Faerie or Goblin or Spawn of Satan Who Is In Charge Of Making People and Animals Barf,


I know it’s been a while since we’ve spoken, and to be perfectly frank, that’s been just fine with me. Yet, you’ve forced the conversation today, haven’t you? In fact, you have ruined a perfectly good post I was writing about getting to meet Mary Roach last night, co-opting it, and forcing me to, instead, write you a mean letter.

Listen, MFOGOSOSWIICOMPAAB, I know that you know I’ve hated you for pretty much my whole life. This has not seemed to bother you, and we’ve been able to happily coexist without bothering each other very often. So what confuses me is why you had to come after me with such a vengeance today.

Well, I should clarify. You didn’t come after me, you came after the wee-er one. While she was in her car seat. And we were 35 minutes from home. And I had nary a wipe or change of clothes in the car.

Because of you, MFOGOSOSWIICOMPAAB, I am now not only going to have to set fire to the car seat, I am going to have to set fire to my car, too. Not cool.

And then, just as a little haha joke you thought it would be funny for us to finally make it home (after completely dismantaling the car seat, strapping a nearly naked wee-er one into her brother’s booster, strapping the wee one into the front passenger seat, and high-tailing it down the highway as fast as I could go while holding my breath from the stench) and discover a GIANT PILE OF PUKE on the newly cleaned carpet.


At first I was really pissed. Why would you make the dog puke everywhere like that? But then I noticed the empty box of raisins full of the teeth marks from a really stupid dog. Are you laughing hysterically now that I can’t hate you for making him puke? Are you pleased that even though I want to swiftly kick your ass for the drama you caused in the car today, I can’t, because you might have saved the dog’s life? Of course, we still have to watch him carefully all night so that we can catch the first signs of kidney failure, because the moron seems to have re-eaten a portion of the regurgitated raisins (gross), but at least there was that initial puke to keep him from croaking.

So thanks, MFOGOSOSWIICOMPAAB. You have reinstated contact with me after radio silence for quite some time. You have killed the car seat, which pisses me off. You have altered the smell of my car, which really pisses me off. But hopefully you have saved my dog. So I guess I can’t hate you as much I want to.

Still. You suck.

concerned mother

I get it, but I don’t like it

Dear Person Who Invented Fried Chicken That Is Not Really What I Would Count As Fried Chicken,

I get it. Really. I do. You were thinking about my health. And you were thinking about presentation, and ease of eating. But seriously, PWIFCTINRWIWCAFC… boneless, skinless chicken fried chicken breasts are BULLSHIT. Do you hear me? They are bull. shit.

Is it wrong that I want to go sit at a restaurant and have a nice waitperson bring me a glass of sweet tea, a plate of fried chicken (legs preferably), a mess of mashed potatoes, and some turnip greens? Is that so horrifying? I don’t want to eat it everyday, I promise. But every now and then, mama needs to get her grease on. And shoveling handfuls of Golden Chick fried chicken livers into my mouth while I sit in the car is maybe not what I had in mind.

What IS on my mind? Thanks for asking. It’s on-the-bone fried chicken, meant to be eaten with hands, sitting on a plate that is not made of paper, placed on a table with a red-checked tablecloth and maybe a vase with a bluebonnet in it.

This is what I want.

Why is it so hard to find? I live in the south, dammit! Sure, it’s not the deep south, but it’s Texas, and people talk funny and wear boots and vote republican *shiver*, so it counts.

Why then, PWIFCTINRWIWCAFC, did you have to come along and muck things up? We do not need dressed up fried chicken in Texas. We do not need knives and forks to eat our poultry. Skinless, boneless breasts?? Really?? Everyone – and I mean everyone – knows that the skin is the best damn part.

My grandmother is floating around somewhere right now, and she is fucking pissed off at you PWIFCTINRWIWCAFC, for ruining fried chicken as we know it. Her ghost is whispering into my ear that you are also probably the person responsible for inventing biscuits in a can. Convenient? Yes. Should they be called "biscuits?" Hell no!

I just can’t believe your scheming ways have ruined fried chicken for an entire Texas town, PWIFCTINRWIWCAFC. Ruined it!

Now I have to go eat Popeyes in my car and dry my tears with hard, not-very-buttermilky biscuits.



concerned eater


playing hide and seek
fun game to play with your kids
not with viruses

Dear Wonky Virus,

Normally, I like to start out these letters in a friendly sort of way. Throw out a few compliments, offer some self-deprecating humor, ingratiate my target a bit and then WHAM, get all nasty in a deft A-A-B move (if you play Lego Star Wars on the Wii, you know what I mean. If, Wonky Virus, you have no hands, as I suspect, and cannot play the Wii, A-A-B is a fancy Jedi move that tosses you up into a flying somersault and then STABS your light saber into the ground – or your victim – with  stunningly destructive results).

Today, I’m skipping straight to the A-A-B, asshole.

Plainly put, we don’t like you, Wonky Virus. We want you to go away. Set up shop somewhere else. Skeedaddle. Vamoose. GO AWAY. And when I say "go away" I mean for real. None of this "disappear for twelve hours and then show up again in the form of a 103.4 degree fever" bullshit. Get on out of here. Don’t come back.

It’s been four days that you’ve been able to enjoy residence within the walls of the wee-er one. And now she’s tired of you. We’re all tired of you. It’s time for her to eat again. It’s time for her to sleep again. It’s time for her to not be burning up from the inside out. You’ve had plenty of time to do whatever it is you need to do, and now it’s time for you to move along.

Do you hear me, Wonky Virus?! Do you?!




concerned mother