Tag Archives: it’s only natural

I’m strictly a female female

You said it, Peggy Lee.

I enjoy being a girl.

Confession time: I’ve noticed recently that there is a part of me that I like to hide and pull out only when convenient: my XX chromosome. For a woman who grew up a slight tomboy with three older sisters, moved around, Mary Tyler Moore-d my way in the big city (New Orleans, not Minneapolis), refused to call home (because that’s what independent women do!), became a single mother and was at one point convinced that I absolutely could raise a son without a husband… I sure do turn to the “oh jeeze, I’m just a little old girl, what do I know” act whenever I don’t really want to do something.

Take today for example. Ding-dong, someone is at my home. And it’s like, 2:30 and I want to walk over to get Hank from school and I am not interested in whatever anyone has. So I open the door and Comcast guy is standing there.

“Well hello, ma’am, I’m Comcast guy, and I’m just visiting homes today to see if blah bleee da blurb bleebity blah blah blah.”

Now, I’m thinking, go away. Unless your Comcast offer comes with $10,000 cash and guaranteed safe liposuction rear-and-belly reducer and the Lego Deathstar (because I am not spending a house payment on that toy, no matter how much the boys want it), forget it! Go. Away. Now. But for some reason, I — Marney — the woman who is never short of creative words to let people in on what she is thinking — cannot just say it.

“Oh, you know, my husband, he takes care of all that!” I say. I may have even twirled my hair when I did it. And you know what? It worked. Off Comcast went to the next house while I slipped on my sneakers and headed out the door.

I did the same thing last week with the people who wanted us to use their lawn service. “Oh, jeeze, I don’t know WHAT my husband would want.” And the guy at Sears trying to sell me a refrigerator, when all I was doing was looking because ours works just fine and dandy: “Well, I doubt my husband would let me even have a new fridge.” LET? I really said that! Then there was the time the guy at the gym tried to talk me into getting a personal trainer: “Oh, gosh, I don’t know if I can do that, my husband takes care of the bills.” Uh…. no he doesn’t. Jim doesn’t even know where the checkbook is, let alone how much money is in it or what bill is due when. The list of things I am perfectly capable of doing yet still rarely do include:

  • killing a spider
  • carrying something heavy
  • anything involving electronics
  • hanging a picture
  • painting
  • changing the furnace filter
  • being the driver on an extended trip
  • settle a hotel bill
  • anything involving automobile maintenance, including changing wiper blades, getting a new battery or picking out new tires
  • killing spiders (worth a second mention, because I really am not afraid of spiders)

Remember — I am absolutely CAPABLE of these things. And there was a time when I wouldn’t just say, sure I can do that, but rather, I would INSIST that I do it. I remember when I was younger, thinking, I don’t need a man! I can do this all myself. And you know what? I think I could. For God’s sake, I managed to kill roaches that were flying at me in New Orleans with my bare hands, but I scream “Jiiiiiimmmmmmmm!” when a tiny little house spider is on the wall. I don’t know, just something about having a husband who will also do these things is so….


I use my husband’s perceived dominant XY as an excuse to cling to the perception that XX is meek and cute and just a GIRL. I fear that the sisterhood might reject me for it. I mean, all those years and all those fights for equal rights, and I won’t kill a damn spider! When the truth of it is, I LIKE chivalry. I like having someone who opens my doors and kills those pesky spiders. And it works to my advantage, as well. I can do things like look at a new car or browse the aisles at the Home Depot for paint samples or light fixtures, and when someone approaches me I’m all sing-songy and “ooohhhhhh, I’m just getting ideas” and they leave me the hell alone! Who doesn’t love that?

It’s not one way, either. There are plenty of things Jim can do that he just doesn’t: laundry, making beds, cooking. But I actually like doing those things, too. There are plenty of times when he can pull out the “oh my wife makes that decision” card to get out of making a choice. And not too long ago, realizing that I did indeed have to have a toilet that flushed, I fixed the snapped stopper in the tank. Even though we all know that’s man’s work.

I think I am overall a fairly strong person. But when it comes to using what the good Lord gave you….

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do,
I enjoy being a girl!


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It was a beautiful morning…

… and then Marney ruined it.

I think that’s how the story of my birth starts.

In case anyone was unaware, IT IS MY BIRTHDAY! I enjoy my birthday a great bit. I get a lot of glee out of announcing everywhere I go that it is, in fact, MY DAY. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!!!!!

When we were younger, my sister Carrie used to grouse about the endless teasing she received on her birthday. See, Carrie’s birthday is November 14. Which is precisely nine months after Valentine’s Day. And even though we all know it doesn’t really work exactly like that, it was still a source of a good laugh for her friends — that her Mom and Dad were doing a little mattress dancing for Valentine’s and SURPRISE, here comes Carrie.

I, however, never got what the complaining was all about. After all, on Valentine’s Day in 1963, my parents were still newlyweds. If anyone has a reason to “celebrate” Valentine’s, I think it would be a newly married couple barely into their 20’s.

I, however, am another story. It seems that while Carrie was the product of a night of love and romance, I was the product of Mom and Pops just doing it one April day. Hell, they already had four kids, and Amy was still a baby! There was no moonlight and roses. It was “hurry up, I have stuff to do.” Honestly.


Well, despite that image being infused into all our brains, it is STILL my birthday. HOORAY!

The story of my birth goes something like this:

Mom was drunk again.

Mom wakes up and is somehow surprised that she is in labor. Apparently the four previous deliveries and the fact that I was roughly a week late escaped her. So naturally — in full on Nancy style — she’s like, oh, I’ve got time. And she jumps in the shower. Fast forward 10 minutes and apparently she was all “TOM HELP ME!!!!!!!!”

Seems the baby wasn’t interested in whether Mom’s pits were clean or not.

So into the car they go. Now, I’ve heard different versions of this — the car died (it’s freaking January), they borrowed a neighbor’s car, the car was fine — I don’t know. Even though I was there, I do not remember these details. What I do know is that despite the fact that there was a perfectly good hospital just a few miles away, Mom and Dad decided that this baby MUST be born at St. Anne’s in Chicago. Even though by this time they were a good 25 miles out of the city in our new Wheaton home.

So into the city they go. I like to think about the lovely conversation they had on the way in. Something tells me Mom did a lot of talking and Dad did a lot of staring straight ahead and keeping his mouth shut. He’s a smart man, he knows when to talk and when to be so still you are practically a corpse.

Again, the versions of the story get hazy. In one version, Dad lovingly drops Mom off at the front door. In another, he tries to park, and Mom almost makes it certain that this will absolutely be his last child… THEN he drops her off at the front door.

However it happened, Mom apparently runs into the hospital grabbing at her hootie like a 3-year-old who waited too long to hit the head. The nurse pulls up a wheelchair, and Moms says, “uh……. no” and does the pointy-point-point at her lady bits, where someone’s head is about to pop right on out.

Needless to say, they got her to a room, and by the time the door shut all the way… IT’S A GIRL! Dad probably hadn’t put the car in park yet out in the parking lot.

And that was how it was, 37 years ago this very morning. I have to say, that while it is technically my birthday, it’s really Mom and Dad’s special day. Because really, their lives would be so much less awesome without me. So thanks you two. Thanks for getting it on one April day in 1973.


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Early present

My husband has slowly but surely learned that of all the stereotypes that women carry, I do not fit into many of them.

I hate shoes. I have a single pair of black heels. I bought them in Baton Rouge in 1998, and I still wear them. The three pairs of “cute” shoes I do own were bought only after photos were sent and approvals were given by friends.

I hate shopping. Except at WalMart. And in that case, for food.

I have no sense of style or understanding of what is and isn’t stylish. If it is fancy and it is in my closet, it is because someone named Nancy, Kayla or Carrie gave it to me. I think stretch pants should be mandatory, and still believe that “designer jeans” mean that the name “Z Cavaricci” is emblazoned on the ass pocket.

I think lace on a bra is flat-out ridiculous. How the hell do you hold those girls in place with lace? Cotton-spandex, people. Cotton-spandex.

I don’t understand why “granny panties” is a joke. Seriously, your granny wears them because they are COMFORTABLE. She is a wise woman, follow her lead.

But one of the things I could care less about is the age-old adage that it is in bad taste to ask a woman her age. Hence, in preparation for my birthday and the fact that I am a terrific birthday brat, Jim ordered up this bad boy for the paper where I work:

That’s right. It reads, “Love, your Fans.” Classic.

When my boss spotted this, she said, “Did he really mean to put your age in there?” and I was like “HELL YEAH!!!”

The best part of this was that I totally caught Jim rifling through my photo boxes, and he was all, “oh I’m just looking” and I didn’t think anything of it. And of all the pictures of me — such as the adorable pics where I am all full of the make-up and the cute hair from Kayla’s wedding or where I am at least less splotchy-looking — he picked this one. The reason I am bent over like that in the photo? Because Hank is the photographer. Over my right shoulder there you may be able to make out a face. That is because Hank took this picture of me watching the Cubs on our new tv a few years ago. I think that might be Dempster.

But of course, who am I to complain. That is exactly what I look like.

January 4. It’s just around the corner. The post-Christmas sales are in full swing, so go buy me something cheap and non-designer.


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Things that don’t wash off

December is here, and despite my curled lip and huffy anger at all that is winter, even I like Christmas. So, it’s time to start that decorating.

Recently, my mother has been able to slowly but surely unload a few of her boxes of total crap Christmas treasures on me. Not a lot, I warn you. I promise, my father is still buried in endless ornaments, figurines and knick-nackery, all of which looks identical. But somehow I managed to get an entire box that I didn’t even pack. Something my mother must have just handed over.

I’ll admit, as I was emptying it, I was enjoying it. My mother has, for the past 200 years or so, collected small Christmas trees. Wood. Glass. Plastic. Sprinkled with more sparkly sprinkles than will ever completely wash off your hands. And I like them. So I got some joy pulling them out one by one and taking  a good look.

Then it happened.

When I reached the bottom of the box, I found a pen. On it was stamped a business name, as you will commonly find on pens. Only this on reads:

Verdant Fields Nudist Camp

Get in touch with your OUTER self!

Enjoy ping pong, volleyball & our famous bottomless buffet.


Yeah, that’s right. I displayed my mother’s shame on a dirty pot holder and put it on the world wide web.

Thanks for the visual Mom. And for God’s sake, do NOT try to explain it. God forbid we have to have an experience where the cure is worse than the disease.

 Merry Naked Christmas.

UPDATE:  My friend Alicia informed me that this is a “joke” pen. That you can buy them with all sorts of disgusting and/or awesome fake places and hand them over to unsuspecting people like me and terrorize them. Of course, now the problem isn’t that my mother has been to a nudist camp. It’s that this is my mother’s sense of humor. I will miss her while she is in hell.


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Family matters

In case anyone was wondering which of the five of us — my brother, my sisters and myself — is the strangest, let me go ahead and answer that for you:

The answer is yes.

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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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Fever pitch

Guess who kept his mother up all night with a fever that refused to break?

This guy.

Feel better George, and thanks for not barfing on me.

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