Dear Gas Tank,

mileage may vary
the car conspires against me
and my poor budget

Hey there, Gas Tank. You and I have been getting a lot more face time lately, haven’t we? I think you’re a really nice tank and everything, and I do appreciate everything you do for me and my family, but, well, I think it’s time we talked.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy standing next to you and freezing my ass off while you guzzle away my vacation savings, it’s just that I think we’ve been spending a little too much time together lately.

I’m flattered that you want to spend all this time with me, but I want the time we spend together to be out of mutual appreciation, not desperation, you know what I mean? I feel like maybe you’ve been working overtime, or conspiring to get me closer to you or something. And I’m totally not criticizing, because I get it. You have a crush on me. And when you see me your day brightens. Birds sing a little louder. The clouds make little heart shapes in the sky. I’ve had crushes before. I know how you feel.

But manipulating the mileage you get? Just to feel my hand unscrew your lid? I don’t think that’s the most effective way to get my attention. Because I can tell you for certain, I didn’t drive 520 miles last week. That’s why I’m confused as to why you were empty today. I’m pretty sure this happened the week before last, too, Gas Tank.

I hate to say it, but… that’s not cool.

Not cool at all.

I know our relationship is complicated. I know it’s based on money and uncomfortable politics. But in the past we’ve been able to put that aside, you and I. Our relationship has been pure-ish. I feed you once every few weeks, and you help me haul shit around. It’s very win-win.

But, now? Now I don’t know what to do, Gas Tank. I feel betrayed. I feel like you’re guzzling gas just to get my attention. Can’t we go back to how things used to be? Can’t we relive the good old days? I think we have something special and that we can work out our differences. Does that make me crazy? I don’t know. But I need your help with this. A person-Gas Tank relationship takes work from both sides. Can I count on you to cut out these shenanigans and go back to our 520 mile days?

I genuinely like you. Almost even respect you. Will you respect me back?

Please?

Because if you don’t stop fucking around I could easily toss you aside for one of those fancy new hybrids.

Get it together, Gas Tank. I mean it this time.

Sincerely,
Kari
concerned mother

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Dear Heartless Grinchy Thieving Bastard(s),

Am trolling craigslist
I will track you down, assholes
you should be ashamed

So, Heartless Grinchy Thieving Bastards, I understand that animatronic light-up yard reindeer and their light up sleigh and their sleigh’s stuffed and jolly inhabitants are pretty ridiculous. I, myself, constantly make fun of them. But just because I make fun of them doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I actually like them a lot. I think they make the yard look festive and funny. And though I can’t find anything ironic about them so that I can passive-aggressively feel superior to my neighbors, that’s OK. Christmas is not about feeling superior to your neighbors. That’s what well-behaved children are for.

Anyway, HGTBs, you guys fucking suck. You suck for stealing our reindeer. You suck for stealing our reindeers’ sleigh. And you suck for stealing the Santa and Elf who were happily residing in the reindeers’ sleigh. You suck for making the wee one have to chew his cheeks as he fought away the tears this morning when he discovered the deer were gone. You especially fucking suck for making me unable to enjoy the extra hour of sleep I get on Sundays. I had to get up early today to fill out a goddamned useless police report, and explain to my kids why there are people in the world who steal CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS.

Assholes.

I hope you’re enjoying them. I hope your kids think you hung the fucking moon for getting them animatronic reindeer for your yard. I hope you’re not trying to sell them on craigslist or eBay. I hope you didn’t steal them to throw at cars off of highway overpasses. I hope you didn’t drown them in the pond across the street. I hope you’re all happily fucking sitting together in your yard, drinking light-up animatronic beers and enjoying a beautiful afternoon.

I also hope I don’t find you. Because if I do, you’re going to find out what it feels like to have a light-up animatronic reindeer, plus his two buddies, plus a sleigh, plus santa and an elf, all having a throwdown in your ass.

You have made the baby Jesus cry, Heartless Grinchy Thieving Bastards. I hope you’re happy.

Sincerely,
Kari
concerned mom

baby pangs

sometimes nature sucks
give me time to catch my breath
and then we can talk

Dear Mother Nature,

Excuse me, but WTF?

I’ve had the baby pangs something fierce lately. For this, I squarely blame you. You have infiltrated my psyche and caused me, for about two weeks, to dream every single night that I am out-to-here pregnant. I wake up and feel simultaneously disappointed and relieved. This is too much for my aging brain to handle so early in the morning, Mother Nature. You of all sentient/godly beings should know that.

I also don’t appreciate the fact that you’ve ratcheted things up a notch lately. Like how, for the past few days, I’ve had this feeling. This obsessive, pretending-to-be-intuitive feeling that I should get pregnant RIGHT NOW. As if the world depended on it. WTF is that, Nature? Why are you doing this to me? I have a sixteen month old who still doesn’t sleep through the night. By 5 in the afternoon I often want to crawl in the bathroom and cry myself to sleep. YOU KNOW THIS, NATURE. So, why? What is your deal?

Wait. Before you go off to create a tsunami or a tiny little flower or something, I have one more thing to talk to you about. Can we talk about today for a moment? Today I’ve really enjoyed how you’ve made me have to pee about 49,000 times. You have either seen to it that I have a(n?) hysterical pregnancy or a bladder infection.

Either way?

YOU BLOW, NATURE.

I want to kick you in your ear.

sincerely,
Kari
concerned mother

Update

In case you’re interested, here’s the response the mama in question
(see post below) received from the Round Rock Premium Outlet Mall.

It is… uninspiring:

Thanks for calling today.  It was a pleasure to speak with you this afternoon. 

As we discussed, Round Rock Premium Outlets, and our company in general, welcome breastfeeding mothers to our centers all the time.   We ask only that the breastfeeding be done in a tasteful/discreet manner.   

To my knowledge, we have never previously excluded anyone who was breastfeeding from one of our centers.

We hope that you and your son will feel comfortable returning to Round
Rock Premium Outlets soon.

Sincerely,

Michele Rothstein
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Chelsea Property Group
A SIMON Company

I mean, at least it’s polite and non-accusatory, but compare it to this (a similar incident that happened at a Round Rock Express game a little over a year ago).

Dave Fendrick with the Round Rock Express really just got it. He was embarrassed by what had happened and he went into full-on proactive "let’s make this right" action.

I don’t think Michele Rothstein gets it. It feels like this was one more more pain in her ass to get checked off of her Franklin planner to-do list yesterday. I could be wrong, but it feels like there should be more to that note.

********* UPDATE **********

An update to the update…. There will be a nurse-in at the Round Rock Outlet mall, by (or possibly in) the Disney Store, at 10:30 am this Sunday. Grab your boobies, grab a baby and come see if you can rile up some Segway drivin’ security folk.

Dear Round Rock Premium Outlet Mall (and Disney Store) Asshats,

Imagine, if you will, that you are hungry. You are so hungry, in fact, tears well up in your eyes. Your Filet O’ Fish sits mere millimeters from your face and yet – YET – you are not allowed to eat it. You can smell it, oh can you smell it. You can feel its warmth caress your chubby cheeks. The anticipation of the softness of its bun makes your mouth water and your hands rub together anxiously. You begin to squirm because the Filet O’ Fish is not going away. It’s right there, right in your face. And you are very, very hungry.

Finally, the Filet O’ Fish is made available to you. You take a luxurious bite. It is exquisite, and then, even as you’re chewing, the sandwich is ripped away from you. As it hangs again, millimeters from your face, someone tells you it’s a liability to let you eat your sandwich there, even if you do it privately, away from other people. You think, "well that’s horseshit," but you’re starving, so you forgo the fight and go sit on a faraway bench outside to finish your lunch.

Once outside, you take a seat and lustily bury your face into your lunch. As you’re munching, eyes rolling in delight, you see… what? Gob from Arrested Development? A man on a Segway hums up to you, steam coming from his ears.

"You must take your lunch to the bathroom," he fumes. "You must finish it there. There will be no sandwich eating in public."

"COME ON," you protest, trying to get in his good graces by giving a dead-on impression of Gob at his most obfuscated. "I’m hungry, and this is a public place!"

"It is a private place," the Gob-ish "security" man counters, even though you are both outside and not in a living room. He dismounts his phallic idiot-mobile. "You must do that," and here he gestures at you in a way that shows he’s disgusted by you and your sandwich, "in the bathroom."

You refuse. There is a standoff. Ultimately, not feeling up for a fight with a certifiable asshat, you put away your partially eaten meal and leave the premises. You don’t understand why you’ve been discriminated against. There are other people eating their lunches while sitting on benches and they have not been bothered by Segway-driving possibly fictional TV characters. You look around for the Candid Cameras. There are none. You look for Ashton Kutcher, he’s nowhere to be seen. You are stumped.

Resigned, you take your sandwich, finish it in the car and go home. You do not buy anything on your trip, and you tell all your friends who enjoy sandwiches to stay away from the Round Rock Premium Outlets.

OK. That story above? It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Positively moronic. And yet, substitute Filet O’ Fish sandwiches with breastfeeding and the scene is tiresomely familiar.

Not only was a woman harassed by a Segway-driving security guard as she she tried to nurse her four-month-old (discreetly, on a bench outside) at the Round Rock Premium Outlet Mall, said security guard had been called by the manager of  – wait for it – the Disney Store after the mama had asked if she could nurse her child privately in a dressing room for a few minutes. The Disney store manager informed her it was a liability to allow a mama to breastfeed her child privately in the store.

Why would that be a liability, Disney Store Manager? Could the mama’s breast fall off causing someone to trip? Could an overactive letdown accidentally shoot a stream of milk into an electrical socket and cause a blackout? Maybe the baby might burp really loudly, the burp would then be mistaken for a terroristic threat, and the whole store would be blown to smithereens by a renegade SWAT team of misguided vigilantes?

Not allowing a mother to privately nurse her baby in your store is top notch assholery, but calling Segway-driving security on her once she’s left the store? COME ON. It makes me laugh at the sheer preposterousness. A mother feeding her baby is a security risk how exactly? She will scare away other mothers? Doubt it. Her breasts will somehow escape her shirt and cause a car accident amongst lecherous passers-by? Probably not.

It doesn’t make any sense. It is, in fact, stupid that this happened. Actually, it’s all of those words we learn when we discuss discrimination – ignorant, degrading, embarrassing, litigious.

Oop. Did I say litigious? Well, why would that be? Oh, maybe because discriminating against breastfeeding mothers is against the law in Texas. Best read up on your statutes, dumbasses. And after that, an apology would be nice. Not just to the mama you humiliated and the baby you tried to starve, but to everyone else.

Apologize for not living in the 21st century. Apologize for your twisted views that breasts are only sex objects. Apologize for demanding someone eat their lunch in a restroom. Apologize for marring the sanctity of the Segway name.

And most of all?

Apologize for your idiocy. Because, damn.

COME ON, Round Rock Premium Outlets and Disney Store Manager. COME ON.

Sincerely,
Kari
concerned mother

It’s a good thing we don’t fly Continental

Dear Flight Attendant Meanie Who Works For Continental’s ExpressJet,

Hi there! I just read this article about how you humiliated a mama, asked her to drug her baby, and then apparently lied to get them thrown off your flight.

I would just like to commend you for being so open with your hatred for children. Usually, people who hate babies are kind of closeted about it, you know? They’ll make snide remarks to their friends, but they keep their full-on vitriol to themselves.

Not you, though, huh?

I’m thinking, however, that maybe being a flight attendant isn’t the best profession for you. Flight attendants are around A LOT of children. And they’re around A LOT of children who are not on their best behavior. (Traveling makes a lot of us cranky, not just babies).

Maybe you are one of Roald Dahl’s witches and you have a job around children because you’re trying to find the best way to turn them into mice/vaporize them? Or maybe you’re in some kind of secret immersion program used to cure oneself of unsavory habits (like hating babies)?

Whatever it is, I’m guessing you probably want to rethink your career choice. I thought I might offer you some assistance in coming with some employment alternatives that are more suitable for people who hate kids and/or have short tempers and/or who are assholes and/or who are fictional witches.

So here you go:

  • Editor of "I Hate Babies" magazine
  • Semi-truck driver who hauls loads of needles, extra-tears shampoo, pinchy sandals, lima beans and expired sunscreen
  • Person in charge of experimental trials testing out the effectiveness of cayenne pepper as a diaper rash ointment
  • Pharmaceutical executive who must constantly invent new vaccines for babies so that you and the other executives can afford to have solid gold bathtubs and pockets lined with politicians
  • Recipe writer for "Elementary School Cafeteria Lunches in 30 Minutes or Less"
  • Gingerbread house sitter

As you can see, Flight Attendant Meanie Who Works For Continental’s ExpressJet, there are many employment options for a person such as yourself. I hope that you consider making a change in your career path.

And also I hope you learn how to stop being such a psycho bitch.

Sincerely,
Kari
Concerned Mother

it’s not something that eats your lawn, though that’s what it sounds like

oooh evil grupster
individuality
a parent’s worst sin

Dear Today Show Producer,

Damn. It looks like I might be a grupster. And according to your segment this morning, this means I’m not only raising my children to be
sociopaths, I’m jeopardizing their values, character and "success
traits." (What is a success trait, anyway? Learning how to not choke on rocks? Cause if that’s one, you may actually be right.)

Also, because I selfishly like to listen to my own music and
prefer (though can not always afford) clothes that don’t come from the big
box stores I am – and I’m quoting here – "handicapping" my kids?

Right.

My own love for t-shirts that say things like "Reading is Sexy" and my
propensity to allow the chillins to wear novelty t-shirts makes me a
poor parent. Check. The fact that my son loves the Shins as much as I do means I’m damaging his future self. Check. The idea that because my ten-month-old daughter rides on my hip as I have professional meetings and phone calls means that by witnessing me in my non-mom environment she’s never going to have her own identity. Check.

I’m just following in the footsteps of generations of other moms, aren’t I? Traumatizing my kids by trying to do what I think works best for our family. Shame, shame. Guess I better bust out that Bedazzler and go to town on some smiley-faced low-low-low-priced Big Box denim fabric so I can make myself a skort and be a proper mom.

What kind of derisive, divisive, puffy, fluffy crap is this? News?
Advice? What is it’s purpose? You’d think you wouldn’t TRY to alienate
and insult your most popular demographic. (And by that I mean women
18-49 or whatever it is – not "grupsters." Obviously grupsters would never deign to click on their flat screen LCDs to watch such a plebian affair). Dare I even suggest that what the world needs now is love and not a bunch of ridiculous fuel added to the "mommy wars" fire?

I just love how at the very beginning of the segment
Meredith Vieira’s cloying voice says, "They’re hip, they’ve got their
own interests and stop the presses – they’re also moms and dads!" It’s
spoken so judgementally that I’m tempted to say it’s flat out vicious.
She is the real life, unctuous Dolores Umbridge, smiling as she encourages insults. Oh, wait, is that a comparison I’m not allowed to make because I’m a mom and therefore I’m not supposed to know who Dolores Umbridge is? I’m happy to admit the reference makes me a dork, but the mere suggestion that I’m not allowed to revel in and enjoy current pop culture because I’m a mom and it could somehow damage my kids… well… that makes me want to throw on my "WTF" t-shirt, grab my kids and wallow with them in some of Nirvana’s earlier music. Damn. I did it again, didn’t I?

Anyway, I appreciate the idea that because I’m sort of hip and trendy (but not really) I don’t want to be bothered by the spawn of my own loins. I mean, really, who does? The reality, though, is that my not-quite-punk rock shirts are covered in spit-up just like everyone else’s. My Chuck Taylor’s tread through smeared baby poo and flee down the aisles of Babies R Us when I need a baby gate. I am Every Mom disguised as myself. Or is that vice versa?

As I say to my son when he kicks his sister for no reason – "Hey, hey now, why are you trying to hurt someone just because you can? Time out, mister."

Well, time out to you, Today Show Producer. And just so you know I’m serious… no Shins for at least a week.

Sincerely,
Kari
concerned (yet selfishly a-typical) mother

The segment from this morning’s Today Show can be found here.