Very Important Research

April 7, 2014

OMFG! I’m still alive! And so are you! AWESOMESAUCE! OK, now let’s move on.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Mr. Blue Collar and me deciding to put up with each other’s shit for the foreseeable future. We’ve put up with each other for 14 years now. And we’ve also decided to bring a third person onto our relationship…Uncle Sam! That’s right, I’m hopping back on the grid and gettin’ hitched to my main squeeze next year.

I have to say, one of my few super girly guilty pleasures is I love weddings. Despite that fact, I’m not the kind of person who has been planning my wedding since I was 5. I honestly never really thought I’d get married. So I’m having fun trying to plan the most inexpensive yet fun wedding shindig possible while still capturing the awesomeness that is our Blue Collar relationship.

I’ll write more about the ridiculousness of wedding planning in the future. Today, I want to talk about the most important research I’ve done so far. And that is…trying to find the corniest, cheesiest, most annoying love song possible. While searching for a craptastic song I could dedicate to the love of my life, I realized that the list could go on for pages BUT there are definitely 3 songs that everyone loves to hate when it comes to this genre.

I checked 10 (American) lists and this song was on 8 of them

I was like 10 when this song came out, and I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF IT, YOU JERKS! Don’t judge me. I still know all the words. I still am jealous of their sweet hairstyles. I still don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. So what?! It is magic.

This one showed up on 9 of the lists

I tried coming up with something witty for this, but there’s really nothing funny about that NSync song. I think I intentionally blocked the memory of that song’s existence from my mind. I hate it. I hate it like poison. Let us never speak of it again.

Finally, we have the one song that showed up on every single list that I checked. That’s right. 10 out of 10 people who make arbitrary lists of shitty love songs agree, this is the worst love song, EVAR!

You know what that video needs? More people wearing turtle necks under leather jackets.

Anyway, this post and that last craptastic song are dedicated to you, Mr. Blue Collar! I don’t want to stand with you on a mountain, cuz I’m afraid of heights. I don’t want to bathe with you in the sea because jellyfish. Also, that’s where marine life poops. But I do want to be with you for, like, a really long time.

I love you more than hipsters love skinny jeans and irony.

 


Writer’s Block Can Suck It

August 26, 2013

(for #njpoet)

It seems like over the course of the past 2 months, every time I’ve opened WordPress my brain has been cock-blocked. I’ll click on “Add New Post” and get as far as writing a title and then…nothing. There was one day where I got about 2 paragraphs in on a Secular Whatever-the-F***-Day-it-is Silliness post. It was gonna be a good one about the Prancercise Goddess and her cameltoe of wonder (seriously, go back and look. But remember, what’s seen cannot be unseen). But then Lil Blue and Mr. Blue Collar both interrupted me with back-to-back “can you use your psychic powers to find the shit I’m looking for” requests. I know it’s hard to believe, but Secular Silliness is work. If I’m interrupted mid-silliness, the flow is gone and I give up.

Well, the part about nothing happening isn’t entirely true. I say my brain has been cock-blocked but it’s really just me blocking myself, isn’t it? That’s probably closer to the truth. It starts with me forgetting that I shouldn’t evaluate my self-worth based on whether or not I can pay my phone bill this month. I get anxiety because I have no phone and one less connection to people around me. Planning our days becomes more difficult. I have to tell people my phone isn’t on so they don’t think I’m ignoring them. Usually, I’m not embarrassed by saying I’m broke. But this time it’s different.

Because it isn’t really about not being able to pay my phone bill. It’s about whether or not I feel successful. It’s about whether or not I can call myself a writer.

I want to say here that I’m not looking for validation from you all right now. This isn’t about whether any of you think I’m any good at stringing words together in a way you find entertaining or informative. I know some of you like what I do and that is ridiculously flattering, encouraging, and humbling. I also know some of you think my writing and/or opinions are shit. I appreciate that, too, in a very special way.

When people ask me what I do, I usually just say I’m a stay at home mom. Now that I’ve been writing for The BQ Brew, I’ll pause and then say something like I’ve been doing a little bit of writing here and there. I’ve never just immediately said, “I’m a writer.”

I tell myself things like, “When I see my name in print, then I’ll feel like a REAL WRITER.” The feeling doesn’t come. Then I say, “When I get paid to write something, then I’ll be a REAL WRITER.” Still nothing. Because I don’t think I’m good enough.

My friends are some of the greatest writers I’ve ever read. And they’re just genuinely intelligent, decent, kind people. They’re awesome in the truest sense of the word. When I’m around them I feel like a kid being allowed to sit at the grownup’s table for the first time at Xmas. Most of the time this is inspiring and pushes me to move forward and try harder. But other times, I feel inexperienced, naive, tiny. Childish. This is not their fault. They encourage me to believe in myself. Hmmm…

I believe I have the ability to read more, know more and do more. I believe I can try harder. I believe I can be more consistent and less selfish (because my bad thoughts are really just me feeling sorry for myself, and that’s what selfishness is, in the end). I believe that I’ll always have kind people around who will give me a boost when I need it most.

Maybe most importantly, I believe that someday I might be able to think of myself as a REAL WRITER. Maybe even a decent one. For now, I’m going to be happy with “Trying To Be A Writer” as a job description.


I Don’t Have A Real Job

May 8, 2013

Being Blue Collar Mamma.

It means unclogging the toilet every day, twice a day. That’s 14 times a week. Sometimes it takes 2 minutes, other times 10 to 15 minutes. So on average, I spend at least an hour a week, 4 hours a month, 48 hours a year plunging a toilet.

It means I wash the dishes every day. Every goddamned day, I wash them. And every goddamn time it’s like I blink and the sink is full again. I can’t tell you how much I hate doing the goddamned dishes. I’d rather scrub the toilet that never fucking flushes right.

It means I like my kitchen table to be as clean as possible. So, naturally, my kitchen table is the collection point for everything in the apartment. Homework, food, toys, mail, clothes, wallets, keys, books, electronics, receipts, cats…everything but shoes. Shoes are never ever allowed on the table. Because that’s gross.

It means having to know where everyone’s shit is at all times. Haven’t seen it in months? Didn’t see where the owner of the thing put it? TOUGH SHIT! You better believe I still have to know where that shit is. And you know what the sad part is? 75% of the time, I DO know where everyone’s shit is.

It means having to stick to a weekly budget and having to make it stretch further and further every week. I consider myself lucky, though, because I have 3 small supermarkets within walking distance from my house. So, every week I get the circulars from all 3 and make trips to each so I can get the most for our money. But still, sometimes my budget isn’t enough and I have to ask Mr. BC for more. And I hate it.

It means being the personal assistant to the other 2 people who live here. I have to schedule everyone’s time appropriately. Play dates, after school, activities, family time, appointments, all of it. Sometimes there are schedule conflicts. They are always my fault.

It means trying to find a job that will allow me to be home everyday by 3pm so I can be there for my Lil Blue. It means being unsuccessful at finding such a job.

It means making time for everyone. Wanting to hang out with loved ones. Craving interaction with people I care about. Making plans, having people cancel on you, and having to be OK with it. It means scheduling the next cancellation. Rejection is a rule, not an exception.

It means knowing that starting every sentence the same way is probably annoying the shit out of you.

It means not recognizing myself in the mirror anymore. I’ve gained weight. My skin is weirder than it used to be. My hair is turning grey. My tits are starting to sag and I have stretch marks. And I’m kind of OK with everything but the condition of my skin.

It means that I have been writing different versions of this in my head for months. Revising it. Changing the tone to fit my mood. Trying to make it into some great piece of insight. Knowing it isn’t and accepting that failure. Acknowledging that for a long time I didn’t have the balls to say half of this stuff out loud. It means knowing I will be judged and only giving the tiniest of fucks about that.


WTF Is Wrong With My Brain?!

February 15, 2013

What I’m about to describe to you, my lovelies, is a dream I had the other night. I must warn you, it is full of “huh?” and “what the hell is wrong with you?” moments. It’s not x-rated or anything, so you prudes don’t have to worry.

I don’t know why or how, but my family gets invited over to Angelina Jolie’s house. Yup. That’s how it starts. My subconscious is lazy as fuck. Anyway, we get there via private jet courtesy of the Jolie-Pitts. When we arrive we learn that Brad won’t be there because he’s on location filming a movie. That’s probably why this dream is not x-rated. (Seriously, wtf brain?!) Jolie invites us in, and i remember feeling instantly disgusted by everything. My face looked like this the whole time. For some reason, Brangelina’s house was gaudy as hell. I mean so GAUDY Liberace didn’t have shit on them. I don’t know why, because I’d assumed that they had a more cool style. Not that I care, but i remember thinking that in my dream. The part I remember most about the interior of the house was the bathroom. It was as big as my apartment. Mostly, it was normal. It was off white and had a light colored Italian marble tile on the walls. The vivid part was the bathtub. It wasn’t the tub so much as what they used for privacy. Instead of doors or a shower curtain, there was a 8ft tall sculptural monstrosity. It was very similar to this dolphin figurine but the glaze was more opalescent, there were more waves in the background and the dolphins were smiling. In my dream, i walked in to the bathroom, saw this thing, said WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!, said I’ll just hold it and walked right back out.

The next thing I remember is going outside. Their lawn was AstroTurf green and was devoid of any other kind of plant life. It was like being in a surreal painting. Intense blue sky, vivid green lawn, stark white house with giant white marble sculptures at the front and rear entrances. And in the middle of the lawn, there sat a 10 foot deep above ground swimming pool made of seamless glass. Again, i made a face. I didn’t go in at first because i was too busy judging the hell out of these people. I thought, all this money and that’s what you put in your backyard? And how the hell are the kids supposed to play in that shit? She needs to get her ass to a public pool and see how family fun is done! I looked up and remember seeing feet and bathing suit covered crotch. I shook my head and went to try to have fun.

I remember trying to dive in the pool. I stood on the edge and jumped so high i started passing through clouds. my face was getting cold. I distinctly recall telling myself STOP! You don’t like flying dreams, remember dumbass? So I land in the pool, hang on to the sides for a bit. then get out.

When leaving, Jolie asks us how we enjoyed our time and I just let loose on her. I start reprimanding her for her tackiness, her unsafe pool, asking her where her kids are (not one kid in the whole dream). She stands there with a blank look in her eyes and a half smile on her face, unblinking. Suddenly I see a thin line forming diagonally across her forehead. Then another across her cheek. On her chin. Til there are dozens. She continues looking me right in the eye. She spreads her arms slowly, as though she wants to embrace me. I stare at her half expecting what comes next. She inhales deeply and, opening her mouth impossibly wide, she screams and explodes into a multitude of tiny fragments…and i wake up.

How’s that for a tall glass of what-in-the-hell-are-you-smoking?


Testing

January 25, 2013

I updated my wordpress app. Usually “updating an app” is code for “i thought I’d go ahead and mess all my shit up today.”

Anyway, I have to test this shit to see if it still works. Bear with me, fuckers!

image

Here’s a pic of some of my cats to make this experience less unpleasant for you. Also, this


School Bus Drivers and Matrons Likely to Strike in NYC

January 14, 2013

School bus drivers and matrons in New York City are likely to go on strike this Wednesday, according to Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181.

The union wants an Employee Protection Provision (EPP) included in any new contract bid the city accepts from private bus companies. This would protect some of the members with most seniority (the highest paid and most likely to be laid off). It basically says that employees are not guaranteed a position if a new company takes over and can be laid off, but if a position becomes available the new company has to pick from laid off workers, those with seniority to be picked first. The provision has been in bus contacts since the 1960s. It was taken out in the 70s which resulted in a strike. It was put back in in 1979.

The city & DOE’s position is that EPPs are illegal so their hands are tied.

The city failed to properly fight a lawsuit levelled against them & the union by private companies regarding the Employee Protection Provision. However, that ruling was ONLY for companies who provide service to preK students. The city also asked Gov. Cuomo to veto a bill they had previously supported that would allow those bussing preK students to be provided with the same provision. For the Mayor and the DOE to place blame solely on the union AND to claim that all EPPs are illegal is inaccurate and irresponsible.

Bus drivers and matrons are right to be concerned about their job security. According to a study by the Government Accountability Office(pdf), the number of long-term unemployed people age 55 and older has more than doubled since the recession began. More than a third of unemployed older workers have been out of work for more than a year, and 55 percent have been unempoyed for more than six months, up from 23 percent in 2007. One person interviewed by the GAO said employers encouraged them to screen out workers over 40. These middle class workers stand to lose their pay checks, their health insurance, their pensions…with little hope of finding employment elsewhere.

Most important, though, are the students who will be affected. Who do you want your kid driven to school by: the person who gets barely above minimum wage, little to no healthcare coverage, and has less experience? OR someone experienced who has built a relationship with students, is secure in their finances, and has paid sick leave? 152,000 students will be affected one way or another. Many of those kids have special needs. Do we really want to jeopardize the jobs of experienced workers, who put the safety of our kids first, just to save a few bucks? Well, judging from the Mayor’s and DOE’s track records…union-busting is their ONLY concern.


My Hero

December 31, 2012

Lil Blue and I were having an intense discussion recently (translation: I was arguing with an 11 year old). He insisted he is going to be a super hero when he gets older. I figured he’s 11, so it’s time to talk about the difference between real heros and fictional ones.

After he realized that I wasn’t just being a mean mommy who wants to crush his dreams, he asked me who my heros are. After thinking for a minute, I decided he’s old enough for me to give him specific answers rather than the usual “firefighters-doctors-teachers” answer I usually give.

I told him my first hero is my mother. Of course, Lil Blue thought it was because she took care of me and all that. But I told him no, that’s not why. It’s because she never gives up. Despite all the hardships life has thrown at her, she found the courage to pursue happiness. I’ve seen her unhappy, but i’ve never seen her wallow in self pity. “You pick yourself up and keep going,” that’s how she raised us, and she leads by example. That’s why my mom is my hero.

Next on the list are Sister and Brother Blue, because they know, as I do, how to survive in this sometimes craptastic life. The secret for us is laughter. They’re able to find humor in the littlest things. Sometimes people find it inappropriate, but it really isn’t. It’s a coping mechanism. And they are able to make others see the funny side of things. That’s a valuable asset for a friend to have.

Last, but never least, is Mr. Blue Collar. Lil Blue looked at me like I had 4 heads when I told him that. I explained that his father wakes up every morning and goes to a job he hates just to provide us with food and shelter. And even though he hates the place he works, he does an excellent job. He doesn’t let his current career situation stop him from pursuing other opportunities that will make life better for all of us. He doesn’t let his past or the fact that his childhood was crappy stand in the way of him being a good partner and father. Instead of using it as an excuse, he uses it as an example of who he doesn’t want to be. He stands up for what’s right no matter what, even if it means defending a person he can’t stand. And, despite his gruff exterior and having had to live through a very tough childhood, he is one of the kindest people I have ever known.

I told Lil Blue that the people I admire most are the ones who are able to make the best of shitty situations. The ones who stand up for what’s right for everyone, not just themselves. That, to me, is heroic.

I hope you all have a great new year. I won’t say I wish you no struggles, because it’s unrealistic. I will say I wish your struggles to be small enough for you to bear. And I promise you that, though it might only be in spirit, I will always try to bear some of your burdens with you.


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