Friday, August 30, 2013

Confessions of a Housewife: What Really Happens in My Bathroom

Brian will sometimes ask “what did you do today” when he arrives home from work. I’m often at a loss for words, because I’m not really sure WHAT I did during the day. In order to answer that question, I paid close attention this morning to see how my day begins. It is somewhat disturbing, but in the interest of full discloser and self-awareness I have decided to share these deep secrets with you, my friends. Because I’m such a complicated person, I’m going to have to do these confessions a room at a time, starting with the most important place in the house: the bathroom.

It starts when I quickly go potty before getting into the shower (I still use the term “potty…so sue me). Yes, I know you are thinking to yourself “Good God, Marlys, TMI”! Seriously, though, this has been driving me crazy because I need to know if I’m the only one who thinks like this when going through a morning ritual. Hopefully some of you will feel blessedly reassured that you aren’t alone. Either that, or I’ll feel even weirder than I already do.

Getting back to the potty, if I have a little time and am not in a crazy rush, I will sometimes find myself looking at the baseboards. Not a good idea, as this results in panic. Gross, there is hair building up and some water stains. This will then result in me pulling off a wad of toilet paper and leaning down as far as I can in order to swipe up the hair. But then, sadly, I realize I need to do this along the ENTIRE baseboard. As my butt leaves the seat I accept the fact that my shower will have to wait a few minutes. One time I leaned so far forward that I fell. Off the pot. What a dumbass.

I’m typically naked, since I’m preparing to enter the shower. As the water runs, and I’m cleaning up the baseboards, I then notice the toilet. Sometimes I notice an empty bottle of shampoo on the floor behind the toilet. How in the HELL did that get there? Sometimes there are a few stains in the toilet that weren’t there the last time I went through this ritual, which causes me to stop, mid “baseboard sweep”, in order to get the toilet cleaner from under the cabinet. The problem with this, because I’m naked, means I catch a glance of myself in the mirror.

Most of the time this results in a brief scream of horror. Often, I will stop to critique this 44 year old body and find myself thinking a myriad of things. Damn, Marlys, you need to shave those arms. Then I think to myself how much easier it would’ve been to live three or four decades ago when we weren’t expected to shave. What a pain in the ass, seriously. We had women who were so strong they fought for our right to vote…only to have their ancestors enslave us to the razor. Weak, sisters, really weak.

Sometimes I think I look pretty darn good compared to the women of the 1950’s, who by their forties would be sporting short gray hair and dowdy house dresses. Of course, this is only if I haven’t recently seen Kelly Ripa in one of her teeny little tight dresses sitting all upright and stiff while sexily sucking down her coffee on her morning show. On THOSE occasions, it occurs to me I'd be considered morbidly obese in the world of Hollywood and should never leave the house unless I want to scare the public. Compared to her I’m Jabba the Hutt; of course, compared to her we are ALL Jabba the Hut. Jabba rules!

Turning from the mirror in shame, I might find that I forgot what I was doing at the counter in the first place so I’ll load up my toothbrush and hop in the shower. This is only after grabbing the nearest towel, hung to dry from last night’s shower rush. No, we DON’T wash our towels after every use. Ain’t nobody got time for dat. No, I don’t care if Marah used the towel last. She would’ve been clean, after all, and I’d just glad she hung it up instead of tossing it in a wet mess onto the floor of her room (walking you through a visit to her room would require an entire blog unto itself….it’s like entering the home of Leatherface, sans the dead bodies…at least as far as I know).

Back to the toothbrush. Yes, I brush my teeth in the shower. No, I’m not going to apologize. Some of you might think it’s gross but I like to think of it as extended tooth time. I find that I sometimes brush for ten minutes or more while pondering why I hate Sam Brownback and Kelly Ripa…or the gross hard water buildup on the tile.

This is why my showers can take so long. As I’m brushing my teeth, I look at the tile. Every chink in the grout leaves me thinking “damn, we need to replace this tile.” Then I realize that costs money. As I think about the tile, I notice how grungy the doors are getting. Sigh, this means a quick trip out of the shower to the counter cabinet in order to grab the foaming bubbles.

Gross. I noticed my naked self in the mirror again. Here we go…could you seriously be ANY older girl??? Sometimes I’ll turn to the side and suck in just so that I feel a little skinnier. But then I have to grab my boobs and lift them up. High. Wait, higher. Damn, I need a boob job. Then I notice the toothbrush in my mouth and realize I’m in the middle of a shower and the hot water is going to run out if I don’t hurry up. As I get back into the shower and pull the door shut I notice the water buildup. Crap. I need the foaming bubbles.

Sometimes, before I can get back out in order to retrieve the foaming bubbles, I’ll notice the bottles of shampoo on the floor and panic. My special shampoo needs to be placed up high on the edge of the doors so that Brody doesn’t use it. I don’t get my nails done, I don’t collect purses, & I’ve never had a bikini wax...but I do try to at least take care of my hair. And I don’t want to share my shampoo! Then I’ll notice half of the cheap bottles are empty.

Damn, family, can’t ANYONE remove an empty bottle from the shower and put it in the trash??? Rather than risk another meeting with the mirror, I just toss the bottles over the door and hope they don’t land behind the toilet. That would mean I’d have to clean the tile.

Oh, so THAT’S why that empty shampoo bottle was behind the toilet! See how this works? Full circle, ladies.

This type of scenario happens everywhere I go in my house. Sometimes it can take me an hour just to walk down the stairs. Or up the stairs. Or across the room.

The next time Brian asks me what I did today I’m going to show him this. It might result in a visit to the psychologist, but at least there will be documentation of my mental illness.

Next week: Confessions of a Housewife: What Really Happens in my Refrigerator. Gross.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Best Miley Cyrus Blog EVER!!!

After day two of the Miley Cyrus "incident” I am left with one screaming thought: everyone else’s blogs are going viral and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot!

I know many bloggers. We poor our hearts out; we agonize over how to share deep thoughts about events going on in our lives with the hope that someone else might learn some of our lessons or be inspired by our stories. We write because we need an outlet, a way to share the daily things in life that truly speak to us, that define us, and that connect us with our peers.

None of us has ever gone viral. I’ll share a secret, though. We do look at other successful blogs to see what entices their readers and what sets them apart from others.

This week, speaking only for myself, I’m rather perplexed at the posts making the Facebook and Twitter rounds. Those who are blogging about Miley are going viral. Seriously, who really knew that Miley Cyrus twerking on stage was the Golden Ticket needed by those of us in the blogosphere desiring to hit the jackpot?

I might be too late. The time to really hit it big would’ve been Sunday night. Nevertheless, I’m going to toss my hat in the ring because this, THIS, is what ‘Merica wants to read about.

So without further ado, I give you MY take on Miss Cyrus.

1. She is not a role model. If your child THINKS she is a role model, then you have failed miserably as a parent. She is an entertainer, an actress, a singer, and a very poor humper/dancer. Not to boast, but MY twelve year old simply laughed and stated “gross”.

2. She is on her own journey, one that she clearly wants to broadcast to the world. While it is (somewhat) fascinating to watch, it isn’t the first rock star journey we have witnessed and it won’t be the last. It is rather primitive, frankly, and I’d much rather dive back into “Life” by Keith Richards for true entertainment and cultural/historical lessons.

3. My generation gasped at Madonna in a wedding dress singing about losing her virginity. I didn’t think it was shocking at the time, but then again, I was in high school. My personal opinion is that Madonna paled in comparison to foam finger-humping, but maybe I’m old school and protective of my generation’s icons.

4. Yes, Mr. Thicke is a married father in his thirties. In today’s society, with our politicians tweeting their family jewels and young playboy models marrying geriatric patients, this is par for the course in Hollywood. Come on folks, that particular piece (no pun intended) of her act has been going on for decades.

5. I just read a deep and intellectual breakdown of why Miley’s treatment of the bears is deep seated racism towards black women. I won’t deny that this was her motive…I simply lack the mental capacity to fully understand the study. I also lack the required time to read up on the subject due to the necessary household chores piling up in the background while I shirk such duties in order to jump on the “Miley Cyrus OMG” blogging bandwagon.

6. Finally, with some discomfort, I cannot end without mentioning the “Miley Cyrus is immoral” statements. While most of what I’ve written is in fun, this issue does have me concerned. In referring back to #5 on this list, I will reiterate that I lack the intellectual ability (okay, that’ not true, I honestly lack the TIME) to explore these sexual issues on a deeper level. However, let me remind each and every individual who believes she is immoral that she is a performer. She was performing on a stage that, in fact, expects and begs behavior along these lines. Music is an art, performing is an art, and in the world of pop music just about anything goes. Yes, the boundaries are pushed with every generation but how an artist chooses to express herself/himself is not a direct indictment of their private morality. Frankly, until I can say with total and unabashed honesty that I am perfect, I will, blessedly, leave Miley’s judgement up to herself and/or whatever higher power she may believe in. Oh, and I will continue talking to my children daily about self respect towards themselves and others (I tossed that into the mix so readers won’t judge ME).

In summary, this too shall pass. We survived Janet Jackson’s nipple (okay, she SHOULD’VE gotten a pass because it was an unintentional wardrobe malfunction) and we survived Roseanne Barr’s horrifying attack on the National Anthem. The thing to remember, in this fickle and strange world of social media and celebrity shock & awe, is that Roseanne really didn’t survive her attack on the National Anthem. It crippled her career.

In the end, this is how these things truly work out. You are the consumer. If Miley really messed up, she’ll suffer. On the other hand, if America’s consumers respond to her in typical fashion, she’ll skyrocket to the top of the musical food chain and we bloggers will have ample fodder for the future.

Regardless, Miley will be bumped eventually by a more shocking GaGa/Madonna/Alice Cooper/Ozzie and go down in the annals of history as another child star who headed down a very rocky road while trying to find herself. (Side note: I’m extremely uncomfortable imagining what could be more shocking than stuffed animal dry humping or seeing the head of a bat being ripped off but it’s coming, people, it’s coming). I’ve always wondered why child stars and rock stars don’t read up on the history of their troubled past peers. Wouldn’t it seem so much easier to learn from other’s mistakes?

But THAT, my friends, is the true story. And a reminder that they are human, just like the rest of us.

Good luck to you Miley. May you find your way while the rest of us watch with bated breath…and while I head off to finish the laundry and pray that this blog goes viral with the rest of them.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Parent Vulnerability

“Behind the story I tell is the one I don't. Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear…” ― Dorothy Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure

The one thing, that which can cause the most pain imaginable, has happened again.

The losses occur every second around the world. We don’t give it much thought until it happens to us or to someone we know. Then it sits, in the back of our minds, whispering a silent "thank you" to God for sparing our own or begging and pleading for answers.

Some things in life are certain, of this we know. Water is king, fire burns, humans are flawed, and death is inevitable. When it is the death of our own child, however, there is no comfort. There are no words that can make it better.

I’ve seen it. All of you have, whether you realize it or not. It is around you even if acquaintances don’t talk about it. After our miscarriage, a world was opened up to me, a world where women I knew compassionately shared the details of their own experiences. Many of our friends had been through this and were shaken by the impact. They simply had never talked openly about it.

A miscarriage is just a taste, though. A taste of what it feels like for a parent to bury their own offspring. When a child is lost whom you have smelled, kissed, touched, and locked eyes with, it is something that tears a hole through a person’s soul and forever alters them.

My small hometown is grieving, looking for answers and clinging to each other as they try to get through the loss of one of their own. I no longer live there and didn’t know the handsome young man who died earlier this week. I can relate to the shock, though, and remember several other unique and special friends from my own peer group whose lights were extinguished before they could fully catch fire. I remember the town reeling in pain. Generations before me were also forced to say goodbye to young men and women who left them far too early.

Friends and family will get through this and as the years pass, they will sometimes reflect back with a smile, laugh, or tear. They will be fine.

My thoughts are with two people who will not be fine. They will also move on and reflect with those same laughs and tears, but their core will never, ever, fully recover.

You most likely won’t see it outwardly. They will bravely continue their lives, going to work, paying their bills, laughing with friends, and loving their other children. But this is a loss from which one does not recover.

I’ve seen other mothers and fathers who have buried a child and they are never the same. Having never been through this personally, I don’t have the words to explain it and neither, most likely, do they. It is like a seismic shift in the earth, only it is within them and it cannot be measured by science or machines.

As I write this today, it is for this mother and father. They are wounded unalterably.

I can’t speak for every person, and I certainly don’t mean to offend those who do not have children, but I know as certainly as I feel these keys beneath my fingers that I could survive the loss of my deeply loved spouse as well as any other family member or friend. It would be devastating, but the cycle of life doesn’t spare any of us, ever. To lose one of my children, however, would break me in ways that I cannot even begin to fathom. I don’t want to fathom it; and yet, as I think of this mother and father, I cannot avoid it. As I type, my throat is tightening, eyes are watering, and I am having a hard time catching my breath.

There is only this simple message. Be gentle with parents who have suffered this horrifying pain and offer them every ounce of love and care you can muster. We are blessed to be with our children only as long as we get them and that has to be enough. Although being a parent leaves us vulnerable and open to the potential of this devastation, not one of us would trade one second with our kids to avoid it. Appreciate every single moment, every single word, every single look, expression, and movement of your amazing and unique children.

And never, ever, take them for granted.