Monday, September 28, 2009

Short Pirates Shop Here!

Does anyone know any short pirates who need Halloween costumes? Announcing the all new Etsy shop catering to the fashion-forward mini-marauder, brought to you by Captain Barnacle Bonney, piratical clothier extraordinaire!

Pint Sized Plunder

I said I would do it, and I did. Yay, me!

There are only a few things posted for sale so far. I finished a bunch of outfits on Thursday and Friday. Between paying attention to the cats, the dog, and Wendy (who all wanted a piece of me the second I sat down to work), I came up with a couple of outfits and a pirate coat.

Unfortunately, Wendy has decided that her role in all of this is more “tyrannical sweatshop mischief elf” than “willing model and promotions specialist.” The stuff would look a lot cuter on a happy photogenic kid, but I had to settle for laying it all out on the nicer patches of my juice-stained couch and trying to hold my camera steady while said photogenic one climbed my leg and tried her best to snatch it from my hands.

This is not a huge money-making venture. It is more of a way to expend some creative energy so I don’t completely lose my shit when the water goes out on me during another shower.

Have I told you all about the problems we are having with our well? Meh. Another day, another post. This post is a happy post! Mo launches an Etsy shop! YAY! I mean, AVAST!

*Update: I just went to put some more stuff on, and I sold my little pirate coat! DUDE! It was only up for like, 18 hours. I've found a niche market. I'm going to make millions. MILLIONS.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Snapshot

After day of torching villages and terrorizing the countryside, Baby Dragon curls into her nest and sleeps soundly. She is lulled by the gentle rumbling emanating from Daddy Dragon's snout, and by dreams of tomorrow's conquests.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Wickles Made Me Do It

0r, Ways to make a little scratch without actually selling tissue samples to science.

Pickles with hot peppers in them. Wickedly delicious pickles. WICKLES! I really can't describe how good these are.

Last week, while sitting down with a nice tuna salad and wickle sandwich, I was looking around on Craigslist for jobs. After sifting through the "Education," "Writing/Editing," and "Retail" sections, I clicked on "etc." And that's when I seriously began considering a new life as either a horse sitter or an egg donor.

Is anyone else out there in joblessville using their college degree to drain bacon right now?

Look, I'm not wallowing in a pit of despair, wondering if I have value. Not yet anyway. I know that I have value. I have skills. MAD skills, and a great personality. I just haven't figured out how to make a buck off of those skills in an efficient, childcare-conscious way. (If I am spending more than half of my take-home on childcare, it's not worth it to me, especially if the job does nothing to further my long-term goals. Sorry, it's just not.)

It's all about diversifying your marketability, the advice people tell you. Real life experience counts for a lot! Okay...

Successful multi-tasker seeks career in simultaneous enchilada production and online bill paying. My prolific production of analytical thoughts on The Great Gatsby will be a great asset to your company. Qualified to explain the nuances of Tinkerbell's potty habits in great detail.

At some point in the day, after researching and poring over listings and revamping your resume and sending the applications out, you just have to do something else. That is my major advice.

Back to last week. As I was slowly backing away from the paid medical experiments page on Craigslist, I tripped over my sewing stuff and remembered that I do actually have a trade skill. And then I made a bunch of kid's pirate outfits. It's the Wickles. They went straight to my head.

Pirate costumes? Really, Mo? This is your big plan?
I never said it was a big plan. So what if it is my big plan?
Because pirates are Effing Awesome. That's why.

Soon, I will be selling them on Etsy. Maybe I'll make a few bucks. Maybe it keep my head out of the computer (and my ass) for a while. That second part is more important to me right at this moment.

I'd like to thank Erin and Nana for bringing Wickles into my life. I don't know how I've been getting along without them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monkeys at a Moby Concert on Sunday Night

(Because we are hip, hip, hipsters.)

Me: (about thirty seconds before we see Moby) We’re going to see someone famous!
Steph: I KNOW! And he’s going to look just like himself!

He did, too. Steph and Ryan took us to see Moby on Sunday night. He looked just like himself and we were about ten feet away from him. I am pretty sure that he looked right at me.

Sure, there were only a thousand people there, and he was bound to look in the general direction of ten feet away at some point, but gimme a break, people. I live *this* close to the Pennsyltuckey part of PA. I don’t see famous people. I also don’t do much in the way of things that are fun, and it was exhilarating to be in the city at night. A Sunday night, no less. (How do I still get the out-on-a-school-night charge, even though I have no school the next day? I don’t know!)

The opening act was a woman named Kelli Scarr, and to be honest, I don’t think anyone was initially wowed. She stood there in a shapeless black tunic, her hair in a messy bun, half-crying into the mic, “I…want…to break…uuuup,” kind of like, as Carl put it, “Sinead O’Connor on Quaaludes.” Something about the sincere, vulnerable quality of her crooning compelled Carl to actually rub my shoulders every time she began a new warble. In fact, as I looked around at the crowd, all of the hipster boys were absently caressing the hipster girls. This woman’s voice actually has the power to induce group comforting behavior. We were self-soothing monkeys, grooming and hugging each other until the distressing feeling went away.

Her songs were very pretty, but between the keyboard-synthesized beats and the green/gold disco light swirling around her, Steph and I were forced to conclude that we were at the saddest underwater-themed Junior Prom ever. When she reappeared later-hair brushed, in a dress-to provide the soulful power-vocals for Moby’s music, I was actually blown away.

Dear Kelli Scarr, Don't hold back. Belt it right out. Do the thing you did when you sang Wait for Me. You're better that way.

Maybe people who are in on the music scene will not think so, but small-venue concert etiquette is a little weird. We were at the Theater of the Living Arts on South Street in Philadelphia, which is basically a big room with some balcony space and a bar off to the side. While the sound guys checked wires and fiddled with stuff on stage, I was overcome with that strangers-in-an-elevator feeling. I have been to two concerts in my life, both of them in stadiums, so I felt like the most awkward duck in the pond, especially while the lights were up. Everyone faces front, arms folded, no eye contact. Monkeys in trendy fedoras trying not to start shit with other monkeys.

Once the band took the stage, though, it was all good. We were not able to get full-on rave-revival, because Moby apparently likes to talk between songs, but that was okay. I love Moby music. (He was doing the geeky-normal guy thing. I would totally talk food politics with this guy in a bookstore.) We bopped and swayed and jumped and fist-pumped. When Moby ran over to wail on the bongos, me and Steph freaked out and threw our hand in the air even more. Two days later, my calves and abs are still sore.

I was a little worried that Carl would not like it. Was it anxiety that he and my friends will not ever blend well? Maybe. Not fair, right, considering that we haven't really had much of an opportunity to try it out? He did like it, though. He bopped and fist-pumped and sung along to songs I didn't know he knew. I forgot; he likes things that are bluesy and full of soul and also rock. He confirmed the feeling I had as we spilled out of the TLA at 11:30 on a school night: "We need more of this."

"This" = get out. see interesting things. take part. enjoy life. Be free-range monkeys. Possibly with say-something hats.

This was the best thing for us right now. Thanks, Steph and Ryan. You guys techno/soul/rock my world.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Unemployment: Tales from the Dark Side

or, This whole Staycation thing isn't really doing it for me.
Feeling useless does strange things to a person. For example, on Wednesday, when I made this, I was rolling on the floor laughing:

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: How to Keep Busy

...and now it just seems like a unsettling cry for antidepressants. On the bright side, Wendy and I had a good time drawing pictures together for four hours and then jumping in the bath, covered with marker. She claims to have had no part in the laundry basket incident, and resents my slanderous representation of her character. See? Innocent.

Carl and I have been knocking around house together; both of us combing the Internet for jobs, both of us scared of what will happen next, both of us frustrated to the point of irrational outbursts regarding crumbs on counters and deleted TiVo. We find ridiculous reasons to storm out of the house-with half-explained purpose, in half-hearted anger, because we desperately need something from the store. A LEMON! WE NEED A LEMON RIGHT NOW, GODDAMNIT! If we don't have a lemon, the enchiladas will be ruined, and we might as well give up now and eat 89-cent pot pies from the freezer for the rest of our lives! I don't want that for our children! To Giant!

It is kind of a mania-coaster that is half-submerged in swamp water, and we are stapled to the seats. I have to remember to breathe at the right times, or the green bile of bitter fear rises up to choke me. The choking makes the lung-full of air that much more thrilling, though. Wendy and I are good together, mostly. Marker parties. Library jaunts. Park picnics. It's sweet. And when Carl and I find something new to laugh about or something good to do that's free, it's like we just discovered Peanut Butter Captain Crunch again. Whee! The the top of the coaster! And there is Captain Crunch here! WHEEEEEE!!!

*Erin, if you are here for some reason, I cannot vouch for your continued mental health, should you read the following.*

We have had pretty good-ahem-relations, lately. Apparently, there is something about the thick atmosphere of suppressed impotent rage that makes everyone want to…pollinate. (I know several scientists that have done scientific experiments proving this. With science.) Which is SO not the thing to be doing when no one is working, no one is on birth control and about nine months from now, we will be either moving and/or buying a house. This is not the time to be pollinated.

It was different before. Before, when I quit delivering pizzas for my 24th birthday because I didn't want do it anymore, and I didn't care where I worked next, I wasn't unemployed. I was bumming around. Before, the news was full of reasons that other people should worry about their futures, while I snapped on my name tag and went to mall to mock my boss and his small, petty life in middle management.

That was a different version of me, who was not wrapped and tangled around other people who depend on my being useful. That was a rootless version of me that did not care if I was useful or not. It is different now. I'll be 28 in a few months. Those four years that have elapsed since the era of willful job-quitting are vast oceans of time zones when you throw a family into the mix.
Excuse me, I have a sudden, crushing desire for a lemon. *storm storm storm*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bribes, Booze and a Dirty Bathtub

Y'all want to hear about my three-stage program for potty training?
Yes. You do. I can tell by the beads of sweat that are forming along your quivering top lip. Those are excitement beads.

Okay, my peeps. Here goes:

1. Buy $4 three-pack of "beautiful" princess panties at Wal-Mart.
"Oh my god. That's such a good idea. No one wants to poop in their special panties." ~My Mom

2. Stop applying diapers to butt.
"I think she's pooping. Are you pooping? Are you sure? Can I check? Hon, I think she's pooping!" ~Carl, every time Wendy gets a far-away look in her eyes.

3. Clean up messes until she gets the point.
"Yup. Right in the tub."
"At least it wasn't on the carpet."
"Well, let me tell you about the living room..."

I should add a step 4 here:
4. Toast your-erm..her brilliant accomplishment. With beer. Or wine. Or whatever is on hand.

After a few weeks of ever-decreasing diaper usage and, yes, a few poos on the floor, Wendy has gone on the potty for two straight days without incident. In addition to Sleeping Beauty panties, I have also bribed her with Popsicles. And Tinkerbell snacks. Yeah, I bribe my kid for good behavior. What? I also feed her boxed macaroni and cheese. Child Protective Services awaits your call.

I know this particular brand of potty-training would not work with other kids, or, for that matter, other parents. I guess you could call this child-led parenting, because Wendy just seems ready for it, and therefor, so am I. I would, however, have to mix in a large measure of blase attitude toward it all ("meh. it'll happen when it happens.") and above all, willingness to clean up puddles of pee without taking it personally.

To take care of stage 4, I happen to have on hand about three ounces of Patron. In celebration of Potty Training, I have invented the Green Tea-quila Fizz! In whatever proportions seem right at the time:

Orange Juice
Green Tea Ginger Ale

It isn't really green. But it's damn refreshing. As refreshing as being glad, for once, that my rug is already crap and needs replaced, like, five years ago. CHEERS, EVERYONE!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Mommy Tells Wendy How It Is

or, How I Checked Out a Book About Making Organic Leather Goods at the Library Last Week

Me: There’s this thing called the economy, and it works kind of like the weather. Sometimes the sun is shining and we all get to go outside and have jobs and buy houses and eat fancy lunches at Olive Garden. Sometimes it rains, and everyone stays inside and eats lots of hamburger and watches too much America's Next Top Model on basic cable. Right now, it’s raining out. It rains and rains and thunders and then rains some more. A lot of people (including us, soon) cannot even afford to have basic cable, because of all this rain. This is a metaphor, of course, you see that, right? It’s not really raining; some jackass monkey man spent all of our money on toys to play soldier on the other side of the world and then a balloon popped and some bad men gave themselves bonuses…you get it?

So, when I was a teenager, like your sister, we were all looking forward to graduating high school, launching multi-million dollar web-ventures of our own, and walking around for the rest of our lives with sun shining out of our asses. We did not expect unfavorable atmospheric conditions to begin just as we had to leave the house to find money to pay off our nice college educations.

Wendy: Life’s not fair, is is it?
Me: Right. I digress. It did rain, and here we are, and I don't want to cry about all the evaporated expectations. And if you are going to watch The Lion King six times every day, can you please stop channeling Scar?

I am trying to be like my grandma here. She was born in the Depression era, and raised four kids in the Philadelphia projects while her husband was in the military. (Don't get your Dora panties in a twist, I'm only nominally comparing my situation to hers. We are a few steps away from being there. I know that.) My point is that my mom remembers having a good childhood, and they did not have fancy lunches anywhere. My grandma had a good attitude. She made raisin smiley-faces in the oatmeal seem like a very special,
magical treat. For dinner.

She also drank and smoked a lot. I don’t plan to do that. I can do the raisin thing, but you’ll have to settle for a more lucid, if less overly cheerful mom. Sorry.

Wendy: Are you a happy monster?
Me: Yes. That’s about the size of it.

Anyway, I know that you don’t really need the excess of things to which kids have become accustom. If we can't actually live at the Disney Store like you want to, you'll be fine. If they never give us a mortgage so we can buy our house, if we have to actuallyleave this house and rent a much smaller one with less yard, if you get one birthday present this year instead of three…you will be fine. You were never going to have a constant shower of expensive stuff anyway. I'm not worried about the stuff you are going to miss out on. That stuff will not make you a better, smarter, happier person.

I am worried about not being able to tuck you in at night because I’m working nights at the mall. I’m worried about taking a job an hour away and not seeing you during daylight hours at all. I’m worried about putting you in daycare where people do not know that you deserve to be loved every minute of every day. I’m worried about these things affecting the way your dad and I see the world and, mostly, I’m worried about you growing up with broken, unhappy people all around you. I don’t want that for you. I am determined to prevent that from happening.

I also don’t want to hear about the apocalypse coming in 2012. Dear Hollywood, can you not make twenty movies about it between now and then? Can you just let us raise our kids on hamburger and over-cooked optimism without having to also contemplate how we will feed them after Global Warming Eats Us All?

Wendy: Lions eat antelope.
Me: Yes.
Wendy: What’s antelope?
Me: It’s kind of like a deer.
Wendy: Oh. Can we eat antelope?
Me: No, but we can eat deer. Let’s become organic farmers and eat deer somewhere in the mountains. Would you like that?
Wendy: I like to eat deer.
Me: Good. I’ll teach you how to tan hides. After I learn how to tan hides. I love you.
Wendy: I love you so much, Mommy. Can I have a blue lolly-pop?
Me: Yes. Blue lolly-pops are free at the post office.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You're Gonna Love My Nuts

Me: Let me brush your hair.

Wendy: NO!

Me: Let me brush your hair please. It has knots in it.

Wendy: I have to go tell the squirrels NO NO NO!

Me: What?

Wendy: The squirrels dropped the nuts in my hair and that wasn't very nice! I have to tell them NO NO NO!

Me: Holy crap. That is a problem.

Wendy: Don't say holy crap to the squirrels, mommy. Say feckin jeeze.

And that's when my trucker mouth really began to bite me in the ass with gusto....