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Mean girl

We were sitting in a meeting. My boss was talking.

“Blargity blah blah blah, and also bleh blargh….”

My co-worker tapped me on the shoulder.

“He’s talking to you,” he whispered out of the side of his mouth.

I could feel my face burn with flush as I looked up, my boss still talking. The others who sat around the table were giving me the side eye, aware — and amused — that I was totally busted.

I wasn’t listening to the bossman. But it was important.

I was on the facepage.


Dealing with a bully.


Womp womp.

There’s this mean girl who won’t leave me alone. Yes. Mean Girl. Like the movie. The one with Regina George.


Only this mean girl isn’t a teenager in a fictional film. She’s a grown ass woman. A REAL one. I’ve been around her forever but frankly didn’t notice how awful she was. But here she is, once again, terrorizing me on that stupid facepage.

Her name?


And holy hell is she kind of a bitch.


I don’t know when this actually happened, but it’s been happening for a while now, and it’s especially noticeable on social media. She is snarky and blunt. She cuts people off (as much as you can do in type). She has favorites and rolls her eyes at other people’s posts. She screen grabs them so she can show them and sneer about it with others. She is ALWAYS RIGHT. Don’t even try to argue, she’s in your face with her rightness and her-let-me-prove-its.

And she’s not letting up.

I’ll give her this though…

marney lasers

She. Is. Adorable.

I have officially entered the most ridiculous phase of my adult life. At 41, I find myself glued to my smart phone. Clicking on apps, counting up likes, posting nonsense, pissing people off.

And I don’t know what the hell is going on.

We spend all this time giving aggressive eyerolls to the youth of world. Those Millenials. They’re so full of themselves. They think it’s important to post photos of every scone they eat, every outfit they wear, and god forbid they don’t announce when they go to the gym. We get it. You do pilates.

But the fact is, if they are full of themselves, its only because someone else is feeding it. And that someone is pretty much the rest of us. For as Gen X as still am (hello, I have THREE butterflies tattooed on me!), I’m as self absorbed as anyone else.

It’s not a bad thing, to be self absorbed. To a point. I mean, sure, there are a handful of truly selfless folks in the world. But pretty much zero of them are on the facepage. It’s quite literally your own internet page with your name on the top and every word typed is about your thoughts and your feels and your needs and your hilarious whatevers.

I found myself recently counting likes.

And then?

Then I was comparing them.

“I have more likes than her, and she’s kind of a beast, so I am totally winning.”

“More people looked at my post than his post, score.”

“I’ll just type this” *clackity clackity clack* “And…… boom, send.”

Did I mention how old I am?


Yes. I’m 41 years old. FORTY-ONE.

Which is how many more likes I got than that jerk, zing!

I kid.

Kind of.

I’m older than Joan of Arc and the Virgin Mary COMBINED, and I’m counting my likes. And getting annoyed at people for not liking me more, or faster, or better, or in a more vocal way. I can only assume that the people who don’t fall all over themselves over my words are all…


Because they certainly are talking about me behind my back. There is no other explanation. They can’t stop talking about me. That’s why they aren’t talking about me.

Wait. What…


I’ve become such a narcissist about my social media, I’ve literally gotten in ACTUAL fights about it. Because people are talking. And they might be talking about me. They probably are. I need to go check.

While my boss — a real and actual person who gives me money — is ACTUALLY talking to me.

And then finally make it back home, where I sit at home and obsess over it more.

Not the assignment my boss just handed me. No no. I obsess over the likes.

This is officially the dumbest I have ever been in my entire life. Most of the people who I interact with in this way? I don’t really even know them. I think I do. But I don’t. And since there’s enough narcissism to go around, I think it’s only fair to say, they are pretty much in the same boat.

I took the facepage app off my phone. I had to. I can’t stop clicking it. And reading. And deciding what’s about me even when it makes no sense that it could be, but I’ve turned into someone so self absorbed I think that EVERY COMMENT IS HIDING AN AGENDA.

And who am I ignoring in the mean time?

jim hank george

The ones who do know me. The ones who are talking about me. The ones who talk to me. The ones who I want to talk about more than anything else in the world.

I can’t break up with the facepage. I love her too much.

But I have GOT to rid myself of this narcissist. She’s such a nasty bully.


Take that, narcissist. I’m done with you.

*end note — Writing a long blog post all about myself saying that I am done making everything all about me… now that’s just comedy.

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Fashion bugged

So, it’s been a mere three and a half months since I started my new job.

To be perfectly accurate, it was 105 days.

I got this new job, remember, because I am a human bucket of awesome. Remember? I started working as a writer and “social media manager” for a company that makes dresses. Cool huh? Someone was actually going to pay me MONEY to post on Facebook and write descriptions of clothes.


Yep. Well, 105 days later, and that bridge was burned in such a way that you’d think that raging inferno was caused by some old Irish woman’s cow. Burned that sucker to the ground, I did. Then salted the earth so nothing could grow again.

This is not a very easy post for me to write, because I want so badly to be snide and funny and quippy and silly. I want to joke about the trashy little office with perpetual stains on the floors and walls. I want to talk about the crazy attitudes and bemoaning and whining. I want to joke about the fact that so many people think feathers are a good embellishment, or the utterly terrible writing that I fixed on the website. I want to talk about the girl who mispronounced her own name (seriously, it was not a name with alternate pronunciations) or the girl who inexplicably seemed to form all of her sentences into questions.

We make clothes here?

Why are you asking me, you’ve been here for years, dumbass.

But I can’t really make too many jokes, really. And not just because I don’t want to trash my former employer and get sued all to hell, which I certainly do not.

Let me just tell the story.

The day that I interviewed, I had that cat-sees-a-ghost moment. You know what I am talking about, if you’ve ever had a cat (or a dog, probably). When you’re sitting there, minding your own business, watching old episodes of One Tree Hill on DVD reading the classics, when suddenly your cat is staring at the wall. He’s pissed, too. Whatever is there is dangerous, and scary. You can’t see it, but you can feel it. You should flee. But that’s ridiculous. You go back to Lucas and Nathan and that damn Dan Scott Miss Havisham and Pip and try to shake it off, but danger is there, somewhere. You know it.

This happened when the Beast rolled into the room to interview me. She poured into her seat as if her skin was stuffed with play-doh instead of bones and muscle. When she opened her mouth, she barked.

I wanted to scram out of there. But this job seemed great, and I thought I was resisting for the wrong reasons.

I was offered. I accepted. I started. I enjoyed.

I paddled forward and wrote and posted and learned. Some people made me cock my head to the side, others made me smile. I was new to an office, new to a 40-hour-week a job, I hadn’t held a 9-5 gig…. ever. All my full-time jobs in my whole adult life had always been off hours and always included weekends. This was new.

I was having a blast.

It lasted 65 days. Exactly 65 days in, and 40 days before I lost it, this ship turned, and it turned on a dime.

I feel pretty certain that describing it in full detail would be boring as complete and utter hell. It would also be impossible, as I am not really sure what all happened. But I know the date. And on that day, out of nowhere, the screaming started. And it never. stopped. On that day, the Beast opened her massive jowls and uttered a robust roar of anger, over an error so minor that at the time, her howl literally made me jump because I was not expecting it. To say it was disproportionate to the situation at hand isn’t just an understatement, it’s a false statement. It wasn’t disproportionate, it was absurd.

It was more absurd in light of the fact that I actually had not made any mistake, and in fact, the person who HAD made an error tried in vain to accept the blame. The Beast would have none of it. I swear, she glanced around the room to make sure all eyes were upon her before unleashing a bellow of insults at me, then walking away as swiftly as a woman that vast could possibly go.

I was left with my mouth hanging wide.

I was livid.

I tried the rest of the day to calm myself down. We were in the middle of a project, and everyone was getting yelled at sooner or later. Maybe it was just my turn.

The next day, the roar was ten times as loud at two other poor souls, and I thought, sweet relief, I’m out of the line of fire. That lasted roughly five hours.

Then I was wrong, and awful, and terrible. Y’all. I cried in front of my immediate supervisor. I told him I wasn’t going to make it through this nonsense. I told Jim I wasn’t going to make it through this nonsense.

But I did. For 40 more days.

And in those 40 days, what happened was hard to explain. The snide looks. The comments. The “what are you doing?” I got assigned to a project I wasn’t qualified to work on. I stayed late while others clocked out at 5 p.m. on the dot. I was dismissed. I was sneered at. I carried on, thinking, huh…

My intention was to just push through, get some experience, and move on. I mean, wasn’t that my intention from the start? To take the experience from this job and move it into a new career opportunity.

Then, the ghost that the cat saw finally made itself known.

Someone from another department had picked up one of my responsibilities, without my knowledge. They started posting to one of our social media sites. I know that when I started, I was excited about what seemed like this unreal opportunity to get paid to post on Facebook. But as it turned out, there was legitimate marketing strategy behind the postings. Nothing was done just to be done, like when you punch up a picture of the scone you’re about to devour and type in “YUM SCONES!!” When you implement a social media marketing strategy, everything from the post itself to the language to the time of day you post to how long your sentences are to your tags are part of a plan. Willy nilly is not allowed.

For whatever reason, someone else was posting. And they weren’t following any of the protocols.

I sent out an e-mail.

There was only one way that someone else was posting, and that was if they had obtained passwords from the Beast. And I certainly didn’t want to mess with that, so my e-mail was professional. Hey, here’s a heads up, here is our marketing plan. Here are some tips to make sure what you post is following the plan we’ve been implementing for the past few months.

Yeah, the cat jumped all over that ghost.

The Beast took the opportunity to let me know that I do a terrible job (not true) and I post terrible boring things (not true) that no one likes (not accurate at all) and so she told someone else to post. I pointed out that we’d actually made a fair amount of gains in the social media realm, gains that could be counted in the forms of likes and follows and average views. Her reply? “Matter of opinion.” Keep in mind that telling me that was borderline stupid, it was a matter of math. One plus one is two, that makes more people following you on social media. That’s not an opinion.


She made a point to make that reply go to all. She made it a point to write all of this — this belittling nonsense about my terrible performance that was not at all terrible — in a reply all to everyone who had seen my original e-mail about how we are working to best utilize social media as a marketing tool. In short, I reached out to collaborate with co-workers. She reached out to tell me I’m a damn idiot.

Shake it off. Shake it off.

I shook it off for three more days.

Until I woke up on a Monday morning, and a woman with zero supervisory powers whatsoever over me had sent me a similar e-mail, on the same string that I had originally started. “If you can’t handle this job, we’ll do it for you,” she wrote. “You can’t even keep up, your work is mediocre at best.”

Until that moment, I had not even had a full conversation with this woman. She was not my superior. We weren’t in the same department. We didn’t even cross paths.

I lost it.

I almost broke the bathroom door down trying to get in to tell Jim I was quitting on the spot. Then I sat my ass down at the computer, and very nicely responded to the e-mail, by telling this young woman to kindly kiss my ass, and this job can suck a nutsack. I quit.

Reply all.

That’s an awful lot of story packed into a short space, and I realize it’s just mine. But you know what? It’s true. I have no idea what happened. I don’t know what happened from days 1 through 65, and then 66 to 105, that made it end this way.

And I have been sufficiently bummed all to hell ever since.

This morning, while I was whining a bit about it on the facepage, my friend Jill mentioned that workplace bullying is a real thing. And until she wrote that, I had never once considered that was what was happening to me.

So I looked into it.

Did you know female to female workplace bullying is more common than any other kind? And a sign that you’re being bullied is that you’re given an impossible task of doing a new job without training or time to learn new skills, but that work is never good enough for the boss.

Just like the project I was handed, when I wasn’t really qualified to do it, and doing it meant that I had to ignore the rest of my job.

Others signs of workplace bullying:

  • You are constantly feeling agitated and anxious, experiencing a sense of doom, waiting for bad things to happen
  • No matter what you do, you are never left alone to do your job without interference
  • People feel justified screaming or yelling at you in front of others, but you are punished if you scream back
  • You are shocked when accused of incompetence, despite a history of objective excellence, typically by someone who cannot do your job
  • Everyone — co-workers, senior bosses, HR — agrees (in person and orally) that your tormentor is a jerk, but there is nothing they will do about it

I mean. Honestly. How did I not see that coming?

“Targets are more technically skilled than their bullies. They are the “go-to” veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance. Insecure bosses and co-workers can’t stand to share credit for the recognition of talent. Bully bosses steal credit from skilled targets.”

The Beast took credit for the increased social media traffic while denying that it had happened under my tenure. She told flat out lies about her involvement in my daily work, and she lied about my contributions.

“Targets are better liked, they have more social skills, and quite likely possess greater emotional intelligence. They have empathy (even for their bullies). Colleagues, customers, and management (with exception to the bullies and their sponsors) appreciate the warmth that the targets bring to the workplace.”

I was liked immediately. I even had empathy, right up until they lost their minds at me. I once offered to help out on a busy project, all the way up to fetching coffee. And you know what else? When it came to what I was doing, the writing, the learning, the posting… I was only getting better every day.

I was bullied.

My reaction was textbook. I was anxious. I cried. I just didn’t want to go to work. But I never thought about it in those terms. Because I’m not 16. I’m 39. I’m a 39-year-old woman who let a Beast and her toadies bully me right out of a perfectly good job that I was good at, and burn a bridge so far to the ground that the mythical phoenix itself ain’t ever rising out of that shit.

There were good things. My immediate supervisor was a good ear, and I found, hidden among the assholes, the uncool kids, a group of women who can’t seem to get on the Beast’s good side no matter what they do. They’re stuck, for one reason or another. And they’re being bullied.

I guess I figured that the whole bully thing was a good 25 years behind me, and that at this point in life, knowing who I am and how I am, I don’t seem — the type — to be bullied. But damn, y’all. People are dicks.

Now, for obvious reasons, I’m not going to actually SAY the name of my former employer. And for those of you who know it, how about you do me a favor and not get me sued, okay? It’s not really about them anyway. It’s about this nonsense. These assholes who wander the world as perfectly grown people who still decide to crap all over other people.

I didn’t really know it existed past a certain point in life. I can’t even pinpoint what triggered it, just that once it started, there was no stopping it. They were going to break me.

When I quit, the woman who had sent me the final e-mails replied, “Good. We need to get rid of dead weight.”

I don’t think she even knew my name.

I worked in news where I wrote stories about drug addicts who had stolen from their loved ones, and drunk drivers who had run over innocent people in the road. I’ve met men and women so petty that they’ll spend every last dime suing their former employers or their city leaders just to mess with them. I’ve been yelled at by strangers for standing in the wrong place. And once, when I lived in New Orleans, a complete stranger pushed me, with both hands, because I was in the way of where he wanted to walk.

I’ve always known people could be cold.

But I never realized they could be this openly, enthusiastically ugly.

Guess you’re never too old to learn.


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Have you ever noticed how much crap is out there on these here internets? Oh my Lord, so so so much crap.

But every once in a while, the crap is fantastic. Or dare I say, CRAPtastic.

I recently saw this post somewhere on some … page … somewhere …. about the worst things ever. One of them was a house centipede. You know what I am talking about, right? The bug with 1,000 legs? Moves faster than any naturally occurring creature should ever be able to move without an injection of some sort of nuclear power by-product. You see it, you grab a shoe, it is gone. And all you know now is that it is there. Somewhere. In your house.

I saw that on this list of awful things and thought — icky. Then, that night, there was one in my room. I picked up a shoe to smash it, and it was gone. An hour later it was crawling up the wall. So of course I woke up Jim to kill it. The next night — another one. The next day — A THIRD. That one was in the bathroom, and I was neekid. No shoes around! Ick. It is like that internet post created those evil bastards IN MY HOUSE. They really are one of the worst things ever, and that is the truth.

Which inspired me to think of other truths.

Truth — I have writer’s block. It is a real condition, but most people only associate it with famous writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, as if it is really only a first-world problem for the writing elite. I mean, seriously, between all the craptastic stuff out there on the internet, and in print, and in e-print or whatever you would call stuff that you can only get on an electronic device, there is SO MUCH CRAP available. It makes the idea of writer’s block seem ridiculous, because the wealth of what is out there is so immense that there is never nothing to read.

These days, everyone is reading some idiotic porn book called 50 Shades of Gray. I read an excerpt. Holy crap is it bad. They keep calling it “mommy porn” and all I can think is, why don’t these women just watch porn? You can get it for free. But my real irritation comes with the fact that someone wrote a fan fiction trilogy (read — she didn’t even come up with the idea herself, she just stole the Twilight story, added a few throbbing appendages and BAM … mommy porn) which is embarrassingly bad, and half the women in the country have decided to pick it up, read it, and covet the hell out of the characters. Meanwhile, I have writer’s block.

NOT. FAIR. Seriously ladies, just go have sex with your husbands.

My writer’s block has gotten in the way of a lot of things. It does not help that I write for a newspaper. I am getting my copy written, but it sucks. And I am pushing the deadline every week, because I cannot think of how to start a story. Headlines alone are killing me. I think I have struggled on my by-line, for Pete’s sake. I am lost in a sea of  “what the hell am I doing.” I think it is fair to say that every story I have written in the past month has been half-assed. But it is not because I am half-assing my work. It is because I am blocked.

It sounds really stupid, but when your outlet for “creativity” is writing, and you cannot write, or write well, it’s fairly maddening. Even the stupid post about the awful things — I could have written that. But I didn’t. Because I have writer’s block. I have writer’s block so bad, I am struggling to write a blog post about writer’s block.

I think I need a vacation. A week in the sun. I am frustrated. I am writing poorly. I am working poorly. I am not winning any awards any time soon.

There is a saying that applies to how some people make it though really tough times — Fake it until you make it. I think I need to take this approach. I need to bust through my writer’s block by writing like a crazy person. I need to try to work on this here blog every day.

So I am apologizing in advance. The next month (or months but Lord I seriously hope not), this blog will be disorganized, idiotic dribble, as I try to work through this blockage. I think I need to write it, and put it out there. Even when what I write is crap. Because let’s face it, it won’t be the only craptastic crap on the internet.


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A non-serviced customer

Today I had what I like to refer to as a mini-freakout. My e-mail refused to recognize… anything. It didn’t exist, page not found, nothing there, it’s possible, even, that it laughed at me.

I use my e-mail for work, so you can imagine my instant panic. I figured, bah, it’s probably just a glitch. But it WOULDN’T recover.

Enter my online chat with the “customer service experts” from my e-mail carrier. Considering I use a free e-mail service, the old saying of “you get what you pay for” could not have been more true. I’ve redacted the information that is embarrassing to myself, my e-mail provider, and that which of course could possibly get me sued…

Please wait for a  [provider] agent to respond. You are currently number 106 in the queue.

All [provider] agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience. A [provider] agent will be with you shortly. Your expected wait time is approximately 3 minutes.

All [provider] agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience. A [provider] agent will be with you shortly. Your expected wait time is approximately 490 minutes.

***490 minutes later***

All [provider] agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience. A [provider] agent will be with you shortly. Your expected wait time is approximately 0 minutes.

***10 minutes later***

You are now chatting with R

R: Hi Marney!

R: Welcome to our [provider] Account Verification Live Chat service. I’m glad you’ve joined us.

R: As I understand, you are unable to access your [provider] Mail account.

R: Is that correct?

R: Are you there?

Marney (who has been typing this whole time): Yes, I cannot access email. This is the response I get when I try to get mail: Ouch! The error, LaunchEmptyResponse, occurred when trying to connect to [provider] Mail. To retry [provider] Mail… To proceed to [provider] Mail Classic… This error might be temporary. Go to [provider] Mail Click here to check your mail using [provider] Mail Classic. When I try [provider] classic, it says the page was not found.

R: Thank you for providing the error message.

R: I realize the difficulties you must be experiencing due to this.

R: Marney, the issue you have described pertains to our Mail department.

***No shit, sherlock, I consider typing but do not***

R: I am transferring this chat to our Mail Specialist for further assistance.

Please wait while I transfer the chat to a [provider] agent.

***10 minutes later***

You are now chatting with P

P: Hi! Welcome back to our [provider] Mail Live Chat service. I’m glad you’ve joined us.

P: Thank you for providing us the details of your issue.

P: You mentioned that you cannot view your mails on your [provider] Mail account. Is that right?

Marney: Apparently the way to fix it was to wait a really long time until my turn came up, because it is working again. Is this a regular issue? I do not like [the new mail system], can i just use classic mail?

P: Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

P: I will be more than happy to assist you with your issue. However, it seems that you are not properly logged in to our Live chat.

Marney: I have been staring at this screen for an hour. I don’t know how else I can log on.

P: We are not able to detect your information here in our end, this would indicate that you are not using a secured chat connection.

Marney: I’m pretty sure it’s you guys.

Marney: I have that awesome little lock thing icon and everything here!

P: In order for us to assist you please make sure you are logged into your [provider] Mail account by checking on the upper right hand side of your screen.

Marney: The only thing in the upper right hand side of the screen is a red X that says “end chat.”

P: Now, please close this chat window as well and come back to me by logging in to this link below.

Marney: Also…. I have had trouble getting IN to my account. Hence, I need help with my mail. See?

P: Let me provide you the link to contact us again.

P: [link that didn’t work to begin with]

Marney: Will I have to wait another 490 minutes?

P: [totally different random link]

P: I am sorry if I cannot assist you right now, Marney.

Marney: No worries. In the meantime, it appears crappy [provider] mail has been fixed and my e-mail is back up. I’ll take the credit for it myself! Thanks!

P: By the way, there’s a short survey after this chat. I would really appreciate it if you will complete the survey and let my manager know how I did today.

Marney: Considering I didn’t get helped at all… are you sure you want me to fill that out?

P: You may fill out the survey if you want to, Marney.

Marney: Thanks, P.

P: Again, I do apologize for this inconvenience.

P: To take the survey, please click on the “END CHAT” button (not the “X”) found at the top-right side of this chat window.

***note: this is what is at the top-right side: Close chat

P: Please allow me to provide you a recap to cover our chat before you leave.

Marney: I needed to catch up on my sitting on my butt anyway.

P: We cannot detect a secure connection with you and I suggest that you contact us again using the link that I have provided.

P: I hope that I have helped you somehow.

P: Thank you for using [provider] Mail. If you have any other questions, please feel free to come back and chat with us at any time.

P: Thanks a lot for chatting. Have a great one!

Marney: No no, you have a great one.

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I’m irritated!

I’m feeling a little like Peter Griffin these days, seeing as pretty much everything chaps my hide. It’s because I am cold. So ever freaking cold. There is no remedy for my cold.

My new cozy socks — worthless.

My snuggie — worthless.

Kicking the heat up a good ten degrees — worthless, except for making my husband’s eyes bulge out of his skull when he spots it. So kind of worth the comedy of that, but mostly worthless.

Snuggling up to my husband — worthless. It doesn’t matter that his farts are warm, they are still farts.

You know it’s way too damn cold when the forecast predicts a high of 27, and you can’t wait for that welcome warmth. Jim said that my complaining about the cold is no different than the people who complain about the heat in July, the people who make me insane. And you know what? He is totally wrong. It’s not the same. It’s just not.

Since I’ve been stuck inside shivering and downing coffee and leaving a Marney-size permanent imprint on the sofa, I have begun to get more and more irritated by the things that keep me company. Meaning, the people who visit me on my television set and the tiny electronic friends (fiends?) who live inside my laptop.

Here are the things that — due to this irritable cold — really chap my hide:

*Toilet paper commercials — There’s a new commercial on these days. It’s a bunch of women talking about how their toilet paper isn’t just supposed to get you clean, it has to KEEP you clean. And one of the women, raising up both her hands, declares, “It has to keep my hands clean!” Seriously, if you cannot wipe your own butt without getting actual dookie all over your hands, you are a moron. If you cannot wipe your ass without getting it on your fingers, you need lessons, not new toilet paper.

*Feminine hygiene commercials — Here’s another one. It’s three women. One of them turns away, ashamed, while the other two continue on with their conversation. Then the voiceover says something along the lines of “I had to learn the hard way about feminine odor.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? Is she saying that here she was, having a little get-together with the girls, and suddenly they were like, “Hey Sandy, hate to tell you this, but you have a little crotch-rot going on” so Sandy turned away embarrassed. So she bought some special soap and now she’s no longer a social pariah? Because at the end of the commercial, the three women are enjoying each other’s company again. Dude…. GROSS GROSS GROSS. There’s a word for those women — skank. And they don’t have friends who politely tell them to wash their cooch. They have men who leave without paying. That’s how they know.

*SAG awards — These were on last week. And I was strangely compelled to watch. And was I ever mad, because the hardest working woman in show business was not honored even one little time. Her:

She is EVERYWHERE. Need those removable hooks for your holiday decorations? She’s got them. Need investment advice? SO DOES SHE. Carpets? Draperies? She’s your gal. Potting soil that feeds your plants for you? She’ll recommend it. For God’s sake, she’s the wife of the Whopper in the Burger King ads. Once she told me how awesome KY lubricants are for your love life. And she’s the official lady spokesperson for the Shakeweight.

Someone explain to me why this woman does not have a SAG award!

Her name is Erica Shaffer, by the way. And according to her resume, in addition to her acting chops, she can salsa dance and do a cockney accent and lists herself as an “expert” in teleprompter. So seriously, SAG, show this lady some love. She deserves a little statue too.

*Mark Zuckerberg — Two things dude: 1-Quit making “updates” and “changes” to Facebook. Stop it. Stop it now. 2-You are a multi-gizzilionaire. Do something about your hair. Head pubes are not now nor will they ever be in style. Fix it. So stop fixing Facebook, start fixing your hair. Got it?

*Media Matters & MSNBC — Look, I’m a good lefty liberal. I find Sarah Palin intolerable and GleN Beck moronic and Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are shameful to the great Irish people. But ENOUGH already. Media Matters used to just be a media watchdog website, and they held everyone’s feet to the fire. They regularly tore down people like Chris Matthews and ABC News and EVERYONE who uttered something that could have been proven to be wrong or exaggerated. But now it’s just a crusade on why we should all hate Fox News. MSNBC regularly hosts Media Matters editors as their guests. It’s no different from Fox. It’s really not. It’s just the other side, and it’s just as unfair and unbalanced. When you stop reporting the news and start reporting on the other people who report the news, you’re not really a journalist anymore.

*Buffering — Jim thinks this belongs in the Tournament of Bad. He is right. I do not have the patience to wait for you to buffer. Just show me the damn videos.

*Paid programming — Please just play Law & Order. It’s too hard to wake up and dig the remote out from under my husband’s butt to flip the channel. And by that time I am fully awake and then I WANT a steam mop or an indestructible frying pan or those same hair extensions that all the stars are wearing. There’s 20 years of Law & Order episodes out there, and I really didn’t pay much attention during the years when they thought to make one of the detectives a woman or when the guy from Crime Story took over for poor dead Jerry Orbach. Play those episodes instead.


This morning, Hank said to me, “Mom, you are cranky.” And is he ever right. I am cranky. And cold. Too damn cold.

Please come spring. Because right now, old man winter really chaps my hide.


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Quit your swining….

Today’s story is brought to you by Tamiflu. Tamiflu: breaking the wallets of sick people since 1999.

So George was all sick and barfy and not right over the weekend. And I was thinking, eh, he seems a little worse than a regular flu, but not too bad. Then Sunday he starts tugging at his ear, so I’m like, A-HA! Ear infection. So off to the doc we go yesterday.

Nope. No ear infection. H1N1. Aka, influenza A. Aka, Swine flu.

Ok, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The media always gets the swine flu thing wrong. Liberals. Because really, only swine get swine flu. H1N1/Influenza A is just more severe than your average seasonal flu, and lasts a little longer. George has already been through the worst of it. The doctor said complications usually come at the END of the cycle, which should be the end of this week. But his fever is already gone.

Speaking of which, the doc was a little shocked that I hadn’t taken his temperature. I said, he had a fever, and she was like, how much, and I was like….. uh……. hot on my hand? She gave me that one eyebrow up in the air look. Is it no longer acceptable to touch your kid and KNOW they have a fever? If so, um, looks like I need a new thermometer for Christmas. I don’t even know where mine is at. Or which end it goes in.

Lucky for me, Hank stayed home from school yesterday, he had a dentist appointment. And when he came out, his eye was blazing red. So I had the doc look at him too…. and he has a raging case of pink eye. Probably related to the flu, the doc says, but he is not symptomatic of the flu. Lovely that I might have spread it all over the dentist office, hmm? Which is a whole ‘nother story, jeeze louise.

Anyway, George’s doctor says, oh, by the way, the entire FAMILY has to be treated for H1N1. With a medicine that costs $50 each. EACH I TELL YOU! You should have seen my eyes bug out of my face when the pharmacist said that — and that is WITH insurance. And Jim’s got the good stuff, too! Guess who is super happy that Jim talked her into stopping at two kids right about now? Of course, it makes sense though since we’ve all been exposed. I mean, on Saturday, when he barfed all over me and the pillow I threw out, the first thing I did after ripping his clothes off was give him hugs and kisses, then I cleaned it up. And it’s not like I put on rubber gloves to do it.

 So I have to hold down George twice a day to pump this stuff in his mouth. Hank only gets it once a day, but I also have to sit on his head and pry his little eyeballs open to put the eye drops in. And Jim is the biggest baby of them all. He has pretty much doused himself with hand sanitizer and last night he freaked out a little when he grabbed the pantry door right after Hank had touched it. Although, I think Jim is more afraid of the pink eye then the flu. Big baby.

Anyway, the house has been throughly Lysoled. Bah.

However, just so everyone knows, even though you have been assured by the doctor that things are okay and your kids seem fine and they’ve started treatment, when your 4-year-old gets diagnosed with H1N1, you wake up every 30 minutes or so to make sure he is breathing. I am sure it will be a fun week for me.

Meanwhile, Hank — who is 8 years old — needs not one, not two, but THREE root canals. THREE ROOT CANALS. And I didn’t really want him sedated, and the dentist thought that was funny. His treatments start in January. Seeing as I have had one cavity ever in my life, let’s blame his other biological contributor for this one.

 The end.


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My, my, how the time flies

I was just saying to Jim last night, you know, I haven’t written on my blog in a week or so…

Try a month almost! How you people have survived without my wit and energy and the overall blessing I bestow upon your lives is beyond me.

I’ve been busy.

Ok, I am lying.

I’ve been lazy.

But not just a lazy blogger. A lazy EVERYTHING.

I’ve said it before, but I love summer. I love it love it love it. And as I do every year, I am in a total funk now that the realization has hit me that it is completely and utterly over. That even on the rare days that are hanging on at 75 and even 80 degrees, I need an extra blanket at night already and I’m already thinking, “meh, why bother” when I consider shaving my legs. It’s beautiful and pretty out and it smells good and the kids are irritating the hell out of me with their screaming playing nicely in the backyard. It doesn’t matter that I still have a tan. It’ll snow soon enough. Bleh.

My funk is affecting me in different ways. First, I am bitchy. Seriously, I just told Hank to stop laughing so loud.

I am also exhausted for no good reason. Last spring, Jim and I started hitting the gym often, keeping an eye on what we shoveled in our pie holes, flexing for no good reason. And 25 pounds practically washed right away. Then the awesomeness that is summer showed up and, in happy style, ruined our efforts. It wasn’t just the hot dogs and potato salad. It was the beer… and take out… and beer… and Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream (the BEST)… and beer… Long story short, that 25 pound weight loss was quickly reduced to a 15 pound weight loss. And my desire to lift and jog and Zumba those pounds back off is completely and utterly gone. Which, of course, is a total catch-22. I feel too tired and run down to exercise, and I am tired and run down because I am not exercising enough.

I did do a 5K:

How freaking cute are we? All in our pink and no make-up and no sleep at the ass crack of dawn all for boobs… in OMAHA.

(By the way, extra thanks to my awesome relatives Judy, Pete, Amy, Carrie and Ellen, plus one Mrs. Thomas and one unborn fetus named Finnbar, all of whom sponsored me by donating to the Komen foundation! You guys are AWESOME!)

So as big and fatty fat fat as I feel (especially standing next to Tara, why do I let her stand there? You know I could hip check her skinny butt right out of the frame), I had no problem whatsoever running the 5K, although I was slow as molasses. I finished in 37:44, rocking it at a super speedy 12:09 average mile. Placed 626 out of 686 runners (there were about 19,000 more people there just walking). That’s right, I run just slightly faster than all my dead relatives. Of course, my slow pace only fuels my irritation at my weight struggles, because I feel certain I could have kept it up and run that 5K five more times and been fine. Fat, but fine.

I mean sure, the Runza I ate didn’t help my weight-loss quest. But it’s Omaha for Christ’s sake. Visiting Omaha without eating a Runza is like driving through Detroit without stopping to feel superior to everyone. It’s just not done.

I suppose I am not totally exhausted for no good reason. I am, as usual, having a hard time sleeping again (thanks for passing that on, Dad). I’ve decided to deal with insomnia by medicating myself with watered-down beer. And when that doesn’t work, super lame OTC sleeping pills. I suppose when I am out, I am OUT. Jim could probably violate me however he chooses at that point. What if he wasn’t snoring away himself. But even my deepest slumber tends to only last three hours or so. If I slept for more than 90 minutes the evening before that photo above was taken, I would be shocked.

Anyway, add together the end of summer and my lack of discipline in the food department and my weight struggles and my trouble sleeping and my crabbiness and you have one big funk. And I am swimming in it. It’s a funk big enough that I even felt guilt when the devil dog next door finally got put down. It’s a funk that makes me not want to sit and write when it’s one of the things that I literally love to do. It’s a funk that makes me blow off Zumba even though it is ridiculously fun. It’s a funk that makes me want to go to McDonald’s right this very second for a two-cheeseburger meal… so good.

So here’s to a nice fall and a quick holiday and a kick-ass birthday and a fast return to spring. I need the time to fly so I can have my summer back. And shake my funk.


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Sins of the father

DATELINE — Tuesday night.

As I’ve done all but three or four Tuesdays in the past two and a half years, I worked. Tuesday is the night we do layout for the fabulous Braidwood Journal. If you haven’t read my paper lately, please do so! Small towns bring a wide amount of controversy. It’s fun!

Anyway, I generally get home on Tuesday’s late enough that the boys are all in bed, but not so late that it is obnoxious. This past Tuesday I rolled in right around midnight, humming a little Lady Gaga, ready to hop in bed and have a great snoozer. So I click open the garage door, and this is what I see:

I can hear you all now. What Marney? A car and a rust stain and some random toys crushed into the back of the garage.  WHAT?

Look closer:

Those are George’s socks. On the floor. IN THE GARAGE.

For piss sake.

It is utterly and completely hopeless.


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Sock it to me

My husband is a good guy. You know, good provider, good father, occasionally listens to the things I have to say. All the qualifications for a likable dude. But he is absolutely inept at one particular thing, and it involves his stinky man feet, his socks, and the hamper. More specifically, when he pulls his socks off of his stinky man feet, he cannot, for any reason ever, manage to put them in the hamper.

No joke people.

It’s like he just takes them off and flings them. Nevermind that the rest of his clothing makes it INTO the clothes hamper. His socks are magnetically attracted to areas where they DO NOT BELONG.

Sometimes I don’t even realize it:

Look how sweet George is, asleep on the red sofa.

Wait, what's that under his pillow?

Oh, look at that, it's Jim's freaking socks. On the arm of the couch. Under a pillow. Right where they apparently belong. Jackass.

Sometimes, he’s oblivious to the fact that he does it, or that I have been carefully documenting it:

In both of these photos, Jim had no idea why I was pointing a camera at him, so he decided to ignore me. After I snapped each photo, I said, “Do you know why I took that?” Nope, he would reply. I’d point at the floor, at which point he’d take a look, shrug, and continue watching whatever was keeping his attention on the television. And no, your eyes are not decieving you. In the second picture, there are TWO pairs of his nasty socks on the floor.

If I told you I was stark naked when I took the photos, it would be a lie. But had I been, Jim’s expression would have been the same indifference — don’t bother me and my socks, woman, we’re watching the game.

Here, we see the same socks on the floor, but two different days.



Recently, though, this epidemic has reached absolutely unacceptable heights. Witness this:

In the endless battle of nature versus nurture, Jim is proving that nurture wins. Those are Hank’s shoes and socks.

Look people, I’ve tried. But the man is impossible. No matter how many times I beg and plead that he put his socks in the hamper (with the rest of his freaking dirty clothes), it does not happen. Worse, there is no amount of ill placed bras, granny panties, feminine hygiene products or dirty dishes that can make him see the other side of the issue. I CANNOT GET HIM BACK. Leaving his socks on the floor when company is coming is also not a deterrent! What’s a gal to do?

Please, if you can, help me. This sock takeover of my home may actually consume me, and I am telling you right here and now, I am not responsible for my actions.


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It’s a doggone shame

I am increasingly frustrated as this week creeps into the weekend.

As some of you may already know, on Tuesday, I spent five and a half hours in the emergency room with Hank. I was at work, Jim was out of town, and my mother-in-law was at our home with the kids. Hank was out back with the kids next door, and when they went home, as typical 7-year-olds will do, they both left their flip flops in the backyard. Hank decided to return them, and headed next door. The next thing my mother-in-law knew, he was crying and there was a lot of blood. He’s 8. You should never type the phrase “there was a lot of blood” when referring to an 8-year-old.

According to Hank, as he approached the door, Kirsten, one of the 13-year-old twins, came up to it (he didn’t know it was Kirsten though, they are identical twins, he calls them “Kayla-Kirsten”). But before she made it all the way to the door, her dog Max, a German Shepherd that I would guess easily weighs 85 pounds at least, pushed through the front door and went after Hank. Fight or flight is a human instinct. So instinct told him to run. When Max caught him after two steps, knocked him down and took a bite out of his side, instinct told him to fight. So he punched the dog. Max promptly ran away, Kirsten managed to wrangle him back into the house, and Hank ran home.  Kirsten apparently also managed to scream and cry loud enough that her parents, who were visiting neighbors just a few doors down, were home in a flash.

My mother-in-law took one look at Hank and put him in the car and called my cell. True story, I was exiting the McDonald’s parking lot with my coffee (yes, I was cheating on Dunkin Donuts, but I was at a meeting in Braidwood and that was all I had available, don’t judge me!). I looked all over as I drove (totally safe) and could not find the phone. It was in my pocket. So as I punched call back, I was chuckling, because well, my butt was ringing, and I couldn’t find the phone. Seems my ass is so enormous that even my ringing cell phone can get lost in there.

Let me tell you a little story: when someone tells you to meet them at the emergency room because they are taking your child there, you panic. You drive like a maniac, telling yourself to slow down. You reason — I mean, she’s DRIVING him, she didn’t have to call 911, it’s got to be okay. What if it was his face? Oh my God, I didn’t ask. How many stitches is he going to need? He’s so afraid of doctors and needles. What the hell happened? Who is up to bat? OH MY GOD I STILL HAVE THE CUBS GAME ON THE RADIO TURN IT OFF YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER THERE EVER WAS EVER!!!!!!

I had to call my boss to tell her that I was headed to the hospital instead of coming back from my meeting. I think the conversation went like this:

Marney: “Pam… It’s me. Marney. Um…. um… My son, he was bit by a dog. I have to go to the thing. The place. St. Joe’s. I have to go there. I can’t write a story.”

Pam: “We’ll take care of it, go.”

Marney: “Oh, uh… ok.”

Thank God she has three kids of her own, she was able to translate my bizarre freaked out Mommy babble!

I did manage to get my head together in the next ten minutes to call back and give her a little information they needed that I hadn’t gotten done before my meeting.

When I got to the ER, the guy in front of me was travelling through the parking lot at  roughly negative 20 miles per hour. “It’s a god damn ER parking lot, hurry it UP!!!” I managed to yell out the window, though I am not sure how loud I was. Naturally, the lot was full. I parked near the front, only to find I was at a physicians only entrance and had to run around the building.

I got into the ER and gave them my name, and saw Hank sitting there with my mother-in-law and George. I ran over and asked him what happened, and got on my knees to give him a big old hug, really happy to see it wasn’t his face. At this point, as I reached out to hold him, I noticed that I had my McDonald’s coffee in my hand. Apparently I wanted that coffee, because I must have grabbed it as I got out of the car. Ha! As Hank started to tell me what happened, I made eye contact with another lady who was sitting there with her son. Dudes, she was totally crying and shaking her head listening to him talk. And she wasn’t the only one. A lot of parents in there with their kids or people waiting for whatever reason and even the obvious drug-seekers spoke to me as we waited. This super packed ER full of sick and broken people were all pretty pissed that my little boy had been bitten by a neighbor’s dog. By the time we got called in, I probably could have organized a small mob to hunt Max down.

Hours and hours later, his wound was clean and was not nearly as bad as it had first appeared. It was definitely gaping, but small. The doc told us that they wouldn’t stitch it, they don’t stitch animal wounds if they don’t have to because of the possibility of sealing in infection. Had it been on his face or somewhere where it would be cosmetically prudent to leave a smaller scar, she said she would have used probably just one or two stitches, so it obviously wasn’t the biggest, nastiest wound ever. In fact, if you look at it, you can see the outline of Max’s teeth. There’s a little puncture where his left canine broke skin, and the bigger wound is where he really sunk his teeth into the child.

So here’s where I get really frustrated. There’s not a lot I can do. Techincally, Hank was on their property (as far as we can tell). Had Max came at him in our yard, that would be a different deal. But this frustrates me so much because the only reason he was attacked in their yard and not ours is because he didn’t run fast enough. I don’t have any real recourse because a charging German Shepherd is faster than a surprised 8-year-old boy.

We called animal control, and they were out yesterday. The process involves getting the dog evaluated by a vet three times over the next few weeks. But that’s about it. He’s all registered and up to date on his shots, which is obviously a good thing. But every person I talk to, including extreme dog lovers, tells me that the dog needs to be put down. That if a dog attacks unprovoked, you have to put it down, because it will do it again. But they’re not going to do it.

They have told me several times now that they are getting rid of Max, but they are trying to find a shelter for him. Just this morning, the neighbor told me she hoped to have him gone by the end of the weekend. But until then we have no options for dealing with things like what happened last night — we sent the boys to the backyard to play, and Max, sitting at an upstairs window (the neighbors were not home) barked and barked at the children. He didn’t stop until I went up to Hank’s room, where his window faces theirs, and shouted, “Hey!” Max looked over at me, and, pardon my language, but I said, “Shut the fuck up.” He glared a little and turned and went away.

I don’t know what to do. Hank doesn’t want to play in the front unless I am out there. Jim would prefer both boys stay away from the neighbors all together.  It’s insanely unfair that my children, days away from summer vacation, are banished to the back yard because we just don’t know when the next attack is coming, and we literally cannot prevent it. And Jim isn’t even totally satisfied with that because he’s afraid Max could hop the fence. I want to believe that they really are going to get rid of him. But if they don’t, I imagine Jim is going to pre-spend next year’s tax return on a much larger fence, and one that goes around the front as well.

I’m open to suggestions. I’m just feeling so frustrated.


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