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It’s Not A Writer’s Block…It’s Just Life.

20 Sep

Every day my husband asks me, “Did you do any new blogging today?” And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve pathetically say no. I think I have a writer’s block. I’ve heard about those. I shouldn’t feel bad. Even the greatest literary geniuses have hit the pen and ink brick wall. In fact, Earnest Hemmingway was once asked what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered. His reply? “A blank piece of paper.”

It’s not that I don’t experience things I could write about. Hell, I’m a mom of two teenagers—a daughter 13 years old going on 23, and a son 15 years old going on 4. I’m the wife of a guy who will scream to me that we are out of coffee creamer, but is too lazy to move the gallon of milk to see that we actually have two left. I’m the daughter of a narcissistic mother whom I’ve realized, thanks to my therapist, won’t be happy till she’s on every prescription drug they advertise on TV because she thinks she’s entitled to be. I spend more time at doctors’ offices than I do at Sephora, Wal-Mart AND Office Maxx put together. And you don’t think I have anything I could talk about? Ha!

The thing is, I don’t think anyone would believe half the crap I could write about based on what I experience during one day of my life. I, myself, often think that what I see while out and about is nothing but a pilot for a really bad TV series that only shows up on the cable channels your remote can’t even reach. The phrase “Oh that did not just happen!” flashes through my head each day more often than the memories of my 80’s high school years complete with big hair, Jordache jeans and my “Foreigner 4” album.

For example, let’s take a flash view of the breakdown of my day today:

6:00am – Get up to make sure my children get on the school bus without someone losing an eye. The morning routine begins: daughter hogs bathroom, son yells for her to get out, daughter slams door on his knuckles, son threatens to pee on her backpack if she doesn’t hurry up, daughter comes to me whining that she wishes I could have given birth to another girl instead of her brother. I have to remind her that he was born first and it was out of my control. She grabs her still-dry backpack and her I-Pod and storms out of the house. My son pats me on the back, tells me I should have just stopped at one, and leaves as well. I grab a muffin and a Xanax and crawl back into bed.

9:00am – I wake up again from my drug-induced sleep to see husband has left for work. I know this because his spot on the bed has been replaced by a shower-wet bath towel and a pair of dirty boxers. Oh yeay. I pull my aching body out of bed and crawl into a shower myself to loosen up the sore shoulders and knees. On my way to the bathroom, I step on a clothes hanger. Curse words fly.

9:30am – I’m still in the shower. I plan on staying in here all day now. There is no one in the house to bother me except the four cats, one of which must need water because he’s licking the water drops that keep rolling down the shower door from the steam. I’m in my own personal heaven.

9:40am – I now have run out of hot water and must rinse the deep conditioner from my hair by jumping in and out of the ice cold spray. More curse words. My feet begin to turn purple from the cold water pooling around my ankles.

10:15am – I finish getting ready, grab my purse, car keys and sunglasses and head to the car. I start the car. I turn off car. I take the keys and go back in the house when I realize I forgot my cell phone. I grab the cell phone. I go back to the car. I start the car again. I turn off the car again . I take the keys and go back in the house when I realize I forgot my datebook. I grab the datebook. I go back to the car. I start car the car for the third time. I realize I forgot my bottle of water. Screw it. I sigh and drive off.

10:45am – I get to my doctor’s office to have a past ear infection checked. The nurse asks if I’m better. I lie and say yes. The nurse takes my temperature. I am told I have a fever of 101. Oh great. The doctor says my ear still looks bad. In fact, the other one is now infected AND my lungs are congested. I am given a handful of antibiotics, a cough medicine, and some funky looking teapot. I ask the doctor if I am supposed to use the teapot to soothe my aching body with a nice cup of chamomile before bed. He tells me that the “teapot” is actually for my nose, so I can squirt warm water and baking soda from it up one nostril and let it run like a faucet out the other to flush my sinuses of nasty toxins. Are you freaking kidding me? The last time I experienced something remotely close to what he had just described was in high school when my best friend liquefied cherry Jell-O in her mouth and I made her laugh hard causing it to shoot out of her nose and onto the back of the cutest guy in lunch, who just happened to be wearing a  white oxford shirt that day. The poor guy. Even to this day, I feel bad we did that to him. The receptionist schedules an appointment for me to come back in two weeks.and tells me to have a great afternoon. I give her a look that makes her so uncomfortable, she tells me I can keep the Viagra pen I was writing the check for my co-pay with. Nice…sick but still intimidating!

1:00pm – I arrive at my local Wal-Mart Super Center to pick up just the basics so my family can survive through the weekend till I’m feeling better to do “real shopping” on Monday. I begin my trip through the store by having an old woman drive up the back of my heel in the antacids department because she can’t see over the steering bar of the shopping cart. I grab Pepto for the house then back up to get a bottle of Motrin for the pain I now have in my foot. I head to the grocery department and see there is absolutely no line at the deli. I muster up the last bit of energy I have to make a mad dash to get sandwich meat for lunches. I am immediately cut off by a man in a sleeveless shirt that says “I Think Your Mom’s Hot”. He’s about 40. He looks at me, straightens his John Deere hat, sucks in his stomach and smiles. I have an urge to tell him my mom is 82 but I’m scared of the response I’ll get. I get all of my food and household items and make my way to the checkout lines. There are only two lanes open: the “15 items or less” aisle and the tobacco/Red Bull aisle. Even though I don’t smoke, my cart containing over 20 boxes of frozen foods alone exempts me from going to the short lane. I kill time by reading the latest headline about how Tom Cruise was abducted by aliens. I can’t help but overhear the woman in front of me on her cell phone talking to her BFF that she’s in Lane 19 and to meet here there so they can go outside for a smoke as soon as she’s done paying for her 40 packs of Ramen Noodles and a 12 pack of Bud. She begins to fight with her son, who I actually thought was her young boyfriend till he called her mom, never hanging up the phone on her BFF for a second. My head begins to pound, so I grab a Vitamin Water out of the nearby cooler and pop an Excedrin Migraine. The cashier tells me the bill for my “basics” comes to $168. I write her a check and pop a second Excedrin Migraine.

3:00pm – I get home, unpack the groceries and make myself lunch. Finally. While I heat up a hot pack for my now piercingly painful ear, I decide to call my mother. I should have waited for the migraine meds to kick in a bit more before I dialed the phone. This conversation was no different than any other daily check-in-with-mom phone call.Hi mom…. yeah, I just got home from the doctor… oh, you’re sick too?… what’s wrong today?… you had that last week… oh, it’s different this week?… no, I don’t think my antibiotics will help with your new bout of diarrhea… maybe you should eat some applesauce… oh that gives you gas?…. I didn’t know that… gee, it’s nice that it is finally cooler outside… the cold weather makes your rosacea bad?… mom, I’ve gotta go. My husband is home from work early to help me stick hot pokers in my eyes… ummm, I said my husband is home early to help me fix the exercise ropes for my thighs… I’ll talk to you tomorrow mom.” I check the clock to see if I was able to take another Xanax. Dammit.

5:00pm – I officially declare my day has ended to all who are in the house, including the cats. I inform them that they are on their own for the rest of the night and I am not to be disturbed unless the house is ablaze  or someone is bleeding to death. I remind my daughter of the words “to death” so she won’t bother me for her daily eight Band-Aid hangnail injury. I take my medicine for my ear infection, grab an ice pack for my new Wal-Mart Achilles injury, and go upstairs to lay down in bed. As I begin to drift off to a nap, I hear my husband call out that he can’t find the ketchup in the refrigerator. I smile to myself as I hear my our daughter tell him, “If you aren’t on fire, don’t bother. She won’t answer.”

See? Nothing special to write about here. Just another boring day in the life of Sassy Auburn.

**UPDATE** – After my husband reviewed my latest post, he feared that people reading it would think I’m a chronic pill popper. I jokingly said “What stay-at-home mom isn’t?” He didn’t find that so funny. So, for the sake of my health, his reputation and our sanity, please make the following changes in the posting you just read:  a) replace all references to Xanax with the words “piece of fruit”; b) replace all mentions of the product “Excedrin Migraine” with the words “Tic-Tac”.  Thank you.

Hurry Up, The Maids Are Coming!

6 Aug

You would have thought the Queen of England was coming to my house with the way I was acting last night. “Put those shoes away! Get those dishes out of the sink! Who’s going to sweep this floor? Take the garbage out of the bathroom!” The members of my home were running around like hamsters on a wheel. Time was running out. I’d never get everything done in time. I’m getting a stress headache.

So who was coming over that was so important that I made my family clean up till the stroke of midnight? Were Branjolina and the new babies coming to visit? Maybe it was the Publisher’s Clearing House crew with my 26 pound check. Or was it was the Absolut Vodka hunk, Jason Lewis, coming to drop off a case of booze in person? Unfortunately no, it was none of those fantasy friends. It was a group that was even more ‘in-the-know” and my house had to be ready for them. Who were they, you ask?

….the maids.

Yeah, okay. Take a minute to process that one. I’m cleaning my house so the maids won’t think my family is a group of slobs. Now if any of you have or had a maid, you know exactly where I’m coming from. There is a line between what is acceptably clean and what is “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!” dirty. I’m sure for the most part I was being obsessive compulsive. But then again, if I was that OCD I wouldn’t need a maid in the first place.

For the most part, I’ve always been able to handle my house on my own with the help of my husband and two kids. It’s been much more difficult, however, since I had had three shoulder surgeries and four hernia operations within the past 8 years. I’ve had to cave in to the fact I can no longer reach, grab, push, pull, lift, carry, and stand for long periods of time. That pretty much takes away my ability to do much cleaning now at all. My husband isn’t the most together person when it comes to cleaning either. He was the only child of a stay-at-home Italian mom and didn’t realize that clothes didn’t wash and fold themselves till he was around 25. In fact, while helping me after my first hernia surgery, he actually called me on his cell phone from our basement to ask me what the knobs on the washing machine were for. Give me strength.

With a foot surgery on my upcoming agenda and no idea how long I will be out of commission for, I decided to break down and hire a cleaning service. I don’t feel bad that I am now aware that I can’t take care of my house by myself. Hell no, I’m not that proud. I’m upset because I have to let a van full of women see my cluttered, disarranged abode. There is no privacy paper you sign when the maid service comes to your house either. Everything they see will be discussed amongst the living before the end of the day. And because of this “all seeing, all knowing” clause that you know is in fine print, anything not in place must be put in place ASAP. Things such as all dirty socks buried under the couch. All of the toenail clippings on the floor that no one will claim must be disposed of. All pay stubs must be filed. All wine glasses must be washed and their accompanying empty bottles must be disposed of. And the collection of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues must be “put away for safe keeping” as per my husband.

So if all this is going to be done, why bother to get a maid? I guess it’s because a home is easy to de-clutter but not easy to clean. And when the time comes to remove the clutter, somehow accumulated crud appears where clutter once was. By that point, to most wives and moms, it’s overwhelming to the point of tears. Cleaning services are awesome. They get down on their knees and scrub the bathroom places that I only see when tying my shoe while taking a pee. They will clean my kitchen and dining room floor with a nail brush. They chisel off the Spaghettios that have become a permanent fixture in my microwave. They will suck out the fuzz from under the refrigerator. They will polish the candlestick holders that Aunt Melva gave to my mother-in-law who in turn gave to us which honestly don’t match a damn thing but my husband says we can’t get rid of due to sentimental value. At this point, they have accumulated sediments … not sentiments. They will tackle this home with a shop vac, old t-shirt scraps and Windex. And for this I will pay them. I will pay them well, and I will nominate them for cleaning sainthood.

So as soon as I finish getting my house in order, I will be ready for them to come in and tackle my dusty, dingy but full of love and appreciation home. I just hope to hell they don’t open the hallway closet. If they do, the chances are good they will be attacked by a hockey stick, a computer charger, 15 X-Box games, an empty six-pack of coke, Christmas decorations, and a box of stale Cheerios. I’ll have to make a note to get that cleaned out before next Spring.

Cosmetic Review: Sephora’s Atomic Volume Mascara

15 Jul

ATOMIC VOLUME MASCARA

By Sephora Brand

Price: $16 at Sephora.com and Sephora retail stores

Item Description:

What it is: mega-volume mascara.

What it does: Sephora Brand Atomic Volume Mascara blows all other mascaras away. An innovative tubular brush applicator with a lash-lengthening comb perfectly separates lashes for a full, sexy flutter. The advanced color formula conditions lashes, keeping them pretty, healthy, and capable of causing an explosion.

Things I like: Lasts ALL day; no smudging, smearing, running or flaking; very lengthening; thickening but not clumping; blackest of black color; one coat coverage; fabu-licious applicator!

Things I don’t like: Hmmmm, let me think. Ah, none.

Rankings:

Packaging Design: 5 out of 5

Portability/Convenience: 5 out of 5

Wearability: 5 out of 5

Shade/Color Variety: 5 out of 5

Value: 5 out of 5

Overall Ranking (on a scale from 1 – 10): 10

Likely To Buy It Again? Absolutely!

Why?

Let me start by saying I am a mascara fuss pot. I don’t try a lot of different mascaras, and I like even less. With the weather where I live changing from wet to dry in an instant, and temperatures fluctuating from freezer to oven within a month, my skin can definitely lose all control. My eyes are a true show of these rapid changes. With the wrong makeup, it’s easy to tell that the “hazy hot & humid” alert has gone off as you slowly see my eyes sliding down into an oil slick on my cheeks. Ugh.

Rewind to a few weeks ago when I made a stop to my local retail Sephora heaven and picked up a few things that I probably didn’t need. When I checked out, I had qualified for a deluxe sample and I had my choice of three things. Two of them I had already (you can see the pattern already, can’t you?) but the third was a new mascara from Sephora called Atomic Volume. I knew nothing about it—didn’t know the shade or the formula—but I’m always willing to try new glamour. Like I do with all of my new buys and latest samples, I tried it out as soon as I got home.

The first thing I notice when I applied the mascara was how long it made my lashes. Not just fluttery long… killer-looking, curly long!! This is a big selling point for me as my lashes are very straight and short. Next I realized how awesome the unique applicator was. It’s tubular with lots of little combs. It doesn’t have one of those poofy mushy brushes. It’s precise. It gets even the smallest of lashes in the corners and crannies. This applicator made each lash thick, but not clumpy or sticky at all. Ok, so I must love it 100%, right? I mean it did pass every test, didn’t it? Not yet. Now comes the test of time…. And this will decide if it is a mascara that can run with the big boys.

I took the mascara off at bedtime that night with my usual waterproof eye makeup remover. It took two cotton balls to get all the mascara off, but that’s why a mascara is good…stay-power. The next morning I curled my skimpy lashes, applied my new Atomic sample of mascara, and left the house to go about my daily routine of this and that. Other than touching up my lip gloss here and there during the day, I barely check my makeup. I don’t have time to be a mirror monger. So at the end of my hectic craziness, I headed home to put on my super lounge clothes and take my face off. When I peeked in the mirror to see how my mascara held up, I was more than pleasantly surprised: I was flat out amazingly shocked! My lashes… my ubersexy lashes… looked as perfecto as they did when I put the mascara on first thing that morning. Not one flake of black. Not one smudge of creamy soot. Long, luscious lashes after ten strenuous hours, and they were still going strong!

That’s it. I was in love. And it was with a black, teardrop shaped tube.

Until they either stop making it or I need falsies (lashes that is), I have found my one and only mascara. Sephora’s Atomic Volume is the answer to my lash prayers. It is my new number one fave glamour item, and I have already started spreading the word. This is one item that you just cannot miss with all year ‘round!

“Ex”treme Stupidity?

8 Jul

I’ve you ever noticed that after you break up with your mate, they seem to become dumb overnight? Or maybe you find it to be a process… that they have their head on somewhat straight early on, but as time goes by, their intelligence dims to the wattage of a Christmas tree bulb.

I realized this recently with my ex-husband. I have to interact with him on a human level about twice a month when my teenage children go to his house for their “weekend father” visit. If it was possible, I wouldn’t even stop the car and look at him when I go to drop off the kids. And if they were more athletic, I would teach them how to leap from a slow moving vehicle so I wouldn’t even have to down-shift the car from second gear. But somewhere in my custody papers I think it reads I actually have to put the car in park. No where does it say, however, that I have to turn off the ignition. Thank God.

I know I am going to have to converse with my ex as an adult, or as close as he can get, when I get to the drop off location and he gets out of his car and motions for me to roll down my window. When he does this I can feel my stomach roll and I immediately start reaching for the elixir of Pepto and Tylenol. He’s wants to speak. To me. Out loud. Oh lord, give me strength. Ever since my ex and I divorced, he loves to “chat” with me about his latest ideas, inventions, outings, and dreams. The first few years he did this, a good portion of them seemed decent. Buying a house, savings bonds, things like that. They weren’t always pursued in a way that I would I do them, but still it showed he was putting thought into something. Then somewhere along the way, the “EX”treme Stupidity factor set in. Now every couple of months or so he feels the need to share with me the details about his latest undertakings. Stupid stupid stupid undertakings. These could be anything such as a picture-taking endeavor in a woods full of ticks and mosquitoes to click some slides of deer and butterflies (even though he has thousands of these, and takes new ones every weekend), the patent his father and him want to get for a magnet-operated car, the newest get-rich-quick scheme that he’s been “personally selected” to participate in, or his development of medical knowledge when his last date informed him of the clinical definition of a hermaphrodite. I’ll leave that last statement alone for now, as it really deserves a post all by itself.

In my ex-husband’s defense, I will say that he is not very informed. But that’s by choice. He does not have cable TV. Actually he gets no TV whatsoever as he lives in the woods in the middle of nowhere (hence the bug and animal photos). He has a computer with dial-up internet access but never logs on to read the latest headlines because that costs money. FYI, my ex likes to conserve money whenever possible and is always looking for a way to get more of it. He says he’s thrifty. I say he’s flat out cheap. So where does he get the majority of his worldly information? Are you ready for this?… the mail. The junk mail. And that’s enough of a foundation for a disaster in itself.

Because it is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, my ex feels that everything that enters the black box with a red flag is legit and good. Everything. This included the stuffing envelopes for thousands of dollars invitation, the newest vitamin for weight-loss newsletter, the “How To Rid Yourself Of Cancer-Causing Chemicals” magazine offer, how he’s been chosen to get his latest bird picture published in a feature book for a “small” processing fee, and the selling of legal services to needy individuals (but only if he buys the service for himself first) job offer. The list is long, pathetic, and very detailed. But you get my drift.

You would think that the longer your ex is out on his own, the more street savvy he would become. I mean, why wouldn’t he? You did! Honestly, after the break-up, someone actually handed you a bag of clues, and you reached in an got one! But the longer you two are apart, the more obscure the statements that leave their mouth become. Now for me personally, I can take extreme enjoyment in being able to tell my ex that his latest venture is about as promising as a loaf of bread rising without yeast. Or water. Or in my ex’s case, even flour. But that might be because I can be a sassy sadistic shit at times. Can it be true that the father of my children has an I.Q. that is declining more quickly than the water level in my humidifier? Or is it because I only notice his wrongs instead of his rights now that we are apart? Maybe I just want to believe – and gloat – that our divorce made me a smarter, stronger, more cautious, more alert individual than him. Could that be true? Hmmmmm. I’m not sure. I’ll have to see about that one.

I’ll let you know what I think right after he sends his large Money Gram to a public relations firm in Guam in order to make a few extra hundred dollars after being selected to the prestigious position of “Mystery Shopper of the Month.”