It’s that time once again to look at my Saved By The Bell: “Slater Wears Tiny Tank Tops” desk calendar and say to my cat, “Hold up — another year’s gone in the blink of Screech’s lazy eye? What the hell? Is this how time works? Yeah, well screw you, Einstein!”
And for god’s sake, shut the front door. It’s pretty friggin’ cold out.
2016 has proven to be quite the stellar year! And by “stellar” I mean an absolute shit show from start to finish! You too?! Come join me as I zip down memory lane at lightning speed on my greased-up sled and crash land into a Wal-Mart parking lot!
Here’s a quick rundown of the Maineiac family’s year. We’ll start with our 10-year-old daughter.
She spent five solid months of 2016 begging for one gift from Santa. It’s something every hellion in this country wants to get their grubby little hands on Christmas Day.
No, not a Cabbage Patch doll. Not a Tickle-Me-Elmo. Not even a Tickle-Me-Cabbage (I wish). But a stupidly overpriced mutant Furby inside a plastic egg, aka the Hatchimal.
That’s right–it’s an egg! With a toy inside! What will these crazy toy manufacturers think of next?
My bet is more useless plastic.
My husband and I stopped at Target last week to find a long line of Hatchimal-less losers standing outside in sub-zero temps. They sold out of 38 of the things in 8 seconds. And no, we did not stand outside for them. I wouldn’t stand in line for hours on a warm summer day for two tickets to a “Back from the Dead” Beatles reunion.
But as luck would have it, some 38-year-old man living in his mom’s basement is selling them on eBay for 300 bucks a pop. Why, just take out a hefty loan or sell your soul to the devil and this little gem could be collecting dust at the bottom of your child’s closet in no time!
After we informed our daughter that Santa might not deliver a Hatchimal this Christmas, this is the following conversation we had with her:
Her: But I really really really really really really really really REALLY want one!
Mr. Maineiac: Really?
Me: Hey, know what I got for Christmas when I was your age?
Me: A Nancy Drew book. Then my brother sat on my head and farted.
Mr. Maineiac: You know what I got one year?
Mr. Maineiac: A penny. And I had to share it with my two sisters. We all took turns holding it. Then they both sat on my head and farted.
Her (pouting): But I want a Hatchimal!
Us (pouting): Where’s that wine?
Next up, my teenage son. Let’s check in and see how his year’s been going!
Ooooookay! That’s all I could get out of him.
(And that really isn’t my son. …but y’know what though? It could be. I haven’t seen his face in about 2 years.)
Finally, let’s check in with my dear ol’ Ma. She spent the better part of 2016 telling me how much she detests Trump. I was talking with her on the phone and tried to change the subject of his upcoming presidency by bringing up other horrible reality TV shows.
Me: Hey, have you seen Naked and Afraid lately?
Mom: No, too icky! I get enough nausea from seeing Trump on the news every damn day. Did ya see that other show?
Me: Which one?
Mom: Y’know the one! That SHOW!
Me: Oh, yeah! Sure! THAT one!
Mom: Where the guy is married to all those crazy women?
Me: Sister Wives?
Mom: It’s ridiculous! First off, that man is not attractive AT ALL. And secondly, he’s ugly. What is wrong with all those women? I wanna see a woman married to four men! Let’s see that! Brother Husbands!
Me: Good idea!
Mom: Jeezum crow, did you see what Trump the Dump did now?
Me: Oops, gotta go! Time for more Hatchimal hunting!
And how was your year? Let me know so I can be totes jealz!
It’s time once again to overdose on gravy! Yes, Thanksgiving is almost here!
And it’s my turn over at The Nudge Wink Report. So slap on a feedbag and help me explore burning questions like:
–What makes Aunt Ethel cry into her creamed corn?
–Can turkeys fly?
–What is tofurky really made of?
–What would it take for Al Roker to shut his piehole for once? Hint: Not pie.
–What did former President George W. Bush say to this turkey?
“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone….ba-da-ba-da-ba-daaaaa….”
I’m writing this post because:
1) I wanted to see if I forgot how to write (looks like I did)
2) I missed you guys.
3) I needed a distraction from reading online all about how 2014 was the “Year of the Booty.”
I think this is the most serious case of writer’s block I’ve ever had. What is my problem lately? Why am I having a hard time writing? I can’t even get past the new-fangled wordpress dashboard/stats page. I went to create a new post just now and panicked when I saw this:
And I thought — Well Jiminy Cricket! They’ve done gone and changed it again! What in blue blazes do I click on now? Heavens to Betsy! Where in the dickens is the old dashboard?! Have I been gone from blogging that long? Has the entire WordPress world gone mad?! Looks like yet again some dadgum whippersnapper WordPress “genius” decided to fix something that ain’t broke! Well hell’s bells, ain’t that a kick in the moderately-arthritic lumbar discs! How am I supposed to function like this? Is it cold in here? Have you seen my glasses? Where’s my Tylenol?
Then I put on my prescription-strength trifocals, squinted real hard and saw there was an option to click on “Classic Dashboard” and I heaved the heaviest of heavy sighs. Dislodged a few more lumbar discs in the process. And then I pooped a couple more Tylenol pills.
That’s not a typo.
How is this old lady supposed to find her way around The Interwebz when some young techno-fool keeps changing it all around? Okay, we get it! You’ve been to college! You like to make things all fancy-schmancy in the hopes us old farts will finally give up and get back to knitting you that hip-n-cozy beard warmer.
And then there’s the problem of what I should write a post about. Oh my god the choices! The news? Too depressing. The holidays? Too controversial. Something funny? Waaaaaay too hard.
So this is it. My gift to you — My worst post ever.
But I also want to say to all of my readers: Happy Holidays, etc ! (I’m thinking of putting that greeting on T-shirts) And yes, I’m still alive! We do have power! If it goes out again for Christmas then no worries, I’ve stacked extra logs crafted from life-sized posters of Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” butt, should keep us warm and toasty until Armageddon.
I’ll get back to blogging more soon. Unless my dashboard changes again.
Oh, and here’s a few photos to warm your jaded hearts in the meantime. A letter from my 12-year old son to his sister and my daughter doing her Elf on a Shelf impression. Enjoy!
It’s time once again to reflect on all our accomplishments over the past year! Why? Because the calendar tells us we should, even though time is purely a construct of our minds and doesn’t actually exist! Except when you’re trapped in a mall parking lot with a carload of whining kids searching for that last parking spot so you can buy Aunt Helen the Duck Dynasty Chia Pet at 50% off.
Now let’s get to the bragging!
This year has been filled to the Pepto-Bismol brim with earth-shattering family events! Darla woke up one morning to find a giant crease down the side of her face from sleeping on her pillow’s seam, only to realize a week later it was still there. Because it was a wrinkle. Yes! A hearty congrats to her for continuing her steady decline in both looks and brainpower!
Life is like a box of sad wisps of neck hair.
In other news, Mr. Maineiac decided to save money by cutting his own hair with clippers. Which worked brilliantly until the guard fell off and suddenly Darla realized her lifelong dream of being married to Forrest Gump.
Ew. This dip tastes too “repent your sins now!” to me. Also, too spicy.
We are very pleased to announce our eldest, CJ, attempted once again to be the first 11-year old-boy to successfully kick his own ass, only to fall headfirst into the Nativity Scene, launching baby Jesus straight into the Seven-Layer dip. Tasty! Maybe next year, kiddo!
Next year, I’m putting broccoli in her chocolate milk.
And finally, our youngest, Little Miss J, cleverly switched out Darla’s shampoo and conditioner for dish soap in celebration of our annual Happy Pranksgiving holiday. While 100 naked Barbies enjoyed perfectly coiffed hairdos, Darla was left to wonder why her hair was as greasy as the puddle of turkey sludge still congealing at the bottom of the oven from Thanksgiving. Well played, Miss J, well played.
Finally, to celebrate our monumental year of milestones, we took a scenic drive to the local hospital after Darla ended up in traction (again). For several glorious days she dined on green Jell-O and punched the morphine drip button nonstop. “I’ll take ‘Meds That Might Kill Me’ for 1,000, Alex!”
from The Maineiacs!
P.S. If gift-giving this year, please send gin. I’m in Room 204.
I grew up in a very loud house. My five brothers were wild and my mother had a voice that could cut through steel. My only tactic to get noticed was to stealthily drop verbal bombs here and there during dinner conversation. Things I thought, but probably shouldn’t have said out loud. Blurting was what I did best. It got me some attention and a few laughs.
I called these little nuggets of blurtiness “Fork-Droppers” because my mom would always respond by clanging her fork to her plate and giving me The Look (while silently laughing). “Darla! Jeezum crow!” she’d snort while covering her eyes. But I couldn’t help myself.
Holidays seem to bring out my Fork-Droppers in full force. Take Easter dinner the other day with my family:
“Y’know, come to think of it, your older brother did have lots of girlfriends back in high school,” my mom said, folding her napkin in her lap. “Pass the peas, please, Darla.”
“God, yeah!” I yelled, my mouth stuffed full of ham, bits of gristle spraying everywhere. “He had girls up the wazoo!”
I handed my mom the peas, she glared at me over her eyeglasses.
“Uh…I meant that…figuratively?” I mumbled, my eyes darting around the table. We ate in a few moments of heavy silence.
“And, of course,” I added, tilting my head, “literally. I mean, let’s be real here! Am I right? Huh? Am I right?” My words sliced through the air like a knife cutting through a putrid hard-boiled egg. I snorted and slipped into a fit of frenzied guffawing, mashed potatoes flying as I tried in vain to stifle my laughter with a napkin.
My mom’s fork dropped.
“Darla!” she yelled.
Aside from the glaring fact I should try closing my mouth when I chew, why on earth do I say these things? Is it because I’ve completely lost my social filter of what’s appropriate? Am I still yearning for attention? Do I just want a cheap laugh? Should I have passed on that third glass of wine?
Or have I finally turned into my idol, Sophia of the Golden Girls?
And another one just because it’s funny as hell:
Have you or one of your relatives ever said anything stupid or inappropriate at a holiday dinner or get-together? Tell me so I can use it in the future.
In all my childhood photos, I was always grinning at the camera like a fool.
People thought of me as an extremely happy child. In report cards, teachers always said the same thing:
Darla is such a quiet and shy child–but always smiling!
I had a certain zest for life back then. Overall, I still do even now, in spite of what the news tells me to feel.
But this time of year, I start to get grumpy. Things begin to get on my nerves. My dark side comes out. Maybe it’s because of the lack of sunlight. Maybe it’s the pressure of everyone telling me to be “merry and bright”. Maybe it’s their insistence that I spread “holiday cheer” and “spend time with loved ones” or “stop yelling at Charlie Brown to buy a real f$#@ing tree for once.”
My therapist tells me it’s good to get these negative feelings out in the open. Own my anger. Clear the air. Be “more real”.
And I think it’s about time I listen to my six year old daughter’s sage advice.
My Christmas Confessional
Actually, I didn’t love the movie Love Actually. Not even a little bit Like,Actually.
Candy canes are pure evil wrapped in cellophane. Never hang them on your tree or you’ll hear the kids asking you for one morning, noon and night. Opening those suckers without breaking them is impossible. Scissors won’t work. Usually after tearing at them with my teeth for several minutes, I like to grab a hammer, then smash them into peppermint shards and yell, “You want a candy cane? Here! Have it! Merry Christmas! Make sure you stick it in your sister’s hair when you’re done with it because I have the scissors handy!”
I think Christmas trees are way too safe and boring nowadays. Whatever happened to stringing up those old lights with the frayed extension cords and the giant bulbs that could melt solid steel? Where’s the lead-laced tinsel? What is my dog supposed to eat now? How will I dispose of her poops by grabbing onto the little tinsel pieces and slinging them over into my neighbor’s yard?
Why do I fall for drinking egg nog every year? Why does it always taste like nutmeg-flavored milk of magnesia? Why is there never enough rum mixed in there to make me like the movie Love Actually?
All I want for Christmas is to never hear Mariah Carey sing that song again. Along with Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever, Like Totally, Ever, Like O.M.G! Getting Back Together.
Spending the holidays with the in-laws? All hype.
I think Santas that are hard of hearing should be fired. When I was seven, I told him all I wanted for Christmas was a Raggedy Ann clock. He yelled, “What did you say, little girl? A wagon and a rock?! You want a wagon and a ROCK?!” and the entire department store burst into cruel laughter as I cried behind my ugly tortoise-shell eyeglasses. As soon as Santa bellowed those terrible words, spraying spit and tobacco fumes into my sweet angelic face, I knew my Christmases would be forever doomed. My brothers gift wrapped a wagon and a rock for me every year after that fateful day. I never got my Raggedy Ann clock. Thanks for nothing, Santa.
Whew! Ah! That was so invigorating! I feel so much better now! Thanks for letting me vent. I think Scrooge was onto something.
How about you? Anything you’d like to get off your chest? Any juicy rants about the holidays? Past childhood traumas? Gifts you never received as a kid? C’mon, let ‘er rip, ’tis the season! I won’t judge! Much.
Many cold winter nights, I toss and turn, sleep as elusive as my dreams of ever having a family Christmas party where no one gets drunk, then fights over the Mayan calendar or who gets to take home Aunt Edna’s hard-as-a-hockey-puck fruitcake. (Something tells me the end of the world and digesting Aunt Edna’s fruitcake are closely linked.)
Still, as bleak as the holidays get, my heart is full of hope. Hope that one day my block-of-ice feet might be warmed by the coolest thing ever created by sheer ingenuity and a steam iron:
That’s right. Two of our favorite bloggers are currently running the HolySheetGiveaway, where you can win the chance to drool all over their face/chipmunk’s face/pillowcase every night.
Check out their spectacular videos here and here. Really, go watch them, they make my vlogs look, well…stupid. (Don’t tell me that’s not that hard to do, I know that.)
After that, all you have to do is enter your version of a ‘real’ holiday card. Because nothing says peace on earth more than blatant bitterness.
C’mon, do it! It’s easy!
Even I did it! I crafted my own version of Christmas below. And I am far from tech-savvy. Once I thought I was surfin’ the net on my smart phone and it took a full five minutes before I realized I was holding our garage door opener.
In other news, I’d like to leave you with a little more holiday cheer in the form of yet another vlog.
When I was a child, the kitchen was always a mysterious place. My mother would tie her “Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” apron on and disappear in there, banging around the pea green and pale yellow cupboards for hours. Eventually she’d emerge, and huge platters of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans would magically appear. I’d only venture in there occasionally, usually to steal a juicy sliver of roasted turkey or snatch a piping hot fried doughnut, fresh out of the oil. I was usually met with my mom’s frowning face. “Get outta here!” she’d scold, waving her wooden spoon at me, and I’d zip back into the living room to do the one thing I was good at: wreaking havoc with my brothers.
Maybe it was because my mom banned me, or maybe it was because I had zero interest in the endless stirring, sifting and rolling of ingredients–I simply never learned how to cook. Eating was my forte. After keeping this shameful secret for so long, I can finally stand up and admit:
I am a bad cook.
It wasn’t until I was living far away from home in a college dorm when I realized just how terrible I was at cooking–cooking anything. If it wasn’t microwavable, I was stumped. My roommate was understandably stunned when I confessed to her I didn’t even know how to make the basics, like hot dogs or Ramen noodles–the staples of any starving college student. After she finished laughing–and this went on for a good 30 minutes or so–she patiently showed me how to do complicated things, like dump a jar of sauce into a pan and stir in the frozen meatballs. “You mean, I just keep stirring, like this?” I’d sheepishly ask her, turning red from embarrassment. I was 17, and my first few cooking lessons were: 1) How to boil water 2) How not to burn the sauce. I barely succeeded.
I continued on with my pathetic cooking skills up until the present. I would love to say that now, over 24 years later, I am a culinary genius; that I put Ina Garten or Julia Child to shame. Well, if all three of us were in a Deviled Egg Contest, I might win. (It helps that one of them is no longer living.) Deviled eggs was the one recipe I perfected over the years. At every holiday or get-together my relatives could count on Darla’s Damn Delicious Deviled Eggs to make an appearance.
My husband would walk into the kitchen. “Ooh! God! Blech! What
smells in here?” he’d ask, his face scrunched up in disgust.
“Deviled eggs!” I’d gush. “I’m making them for the Fourth of July picnic!”
And for Thanksgiving? Why, deviled eggs! Christmas? Eggs! New Year’s? Guess. Oh, there was the one time for Easter when I went out on a limb and made deviled eggs. Apparently, I can handle boiling water on the stovetop. On the other hand, it seems the oven is still a scary place for me. Being a klutz, I have a ridiculously intense phobia I will burn myself. If my husband wants nachos, I have to put on a full-body oven mitt to even come close to that burning inferno of salsa and melted cheese.
Thankfully, there are three things I can do very well, and this has saved my butt in the kitchen on many occasions:
1) I can read. Even better, I can follow a recipe. Hallelujah! And if I can read the steps a few dozen times in preparation, then carefully refer to each step a few more times while I am doing them, I am usually able pull it off. Usually. More often than not, re-reading the steps just push me over the edge quicker. My cooking sessions end up ugly; full of imagined taunts from the real chefs and unbridled swearing from me. For example:
Paula Deen’s Southern Cornbread Stuffing
(why is it that the first time I read her recipe, her voice is all syrupy sweetness in my head, but with each re-reading, her southern twang takes on a more irritated tone?)
In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside. Okay, crumbled, she says. I can do crumbled! Umm…like this?
Okay, okay, I hear you Paula, jeez, don’t get your panties all in a bunch! You don’t have to smirk at me. I’ll try to crumble. Wait a minute, the bread is lumpy now. (I frantically try to find my husband) Honey, come over here and help me! Do I use a knife to crumble the bread or my hands? For the love of God, what does “crumble” mean? I can’t measure anything that’s crumbled! Why, Paula, why? (This is usually the point where I rip off my apron and toss it into the oven.)
Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Okay, I’m cooking the celery and onions, but are they transparent? They still look kinda opaque. Is opaque good? No? What the hell does opaque mean anyway? Transparent means clear? What? Good lord, where is that &*%ing dictionary? Calm down, Darla. Deep breaths. I’ll read the recipe again. Yep, Paula says they have to be transparent. Oh god, why does she insist on these things? Approximately 5 to 10 minutes, y’all. Approximately? Does she mean five minutes or seven? What if she means 10? I’ve cooked them for 11 minutes now and they still aren’t transparent. More like a deep rust color. Is this bad?
Dammit, Paula, shut up! I’m not your darlin’! I’m just trying to cook some @#$%ing onions and I’m crying already! (I frantically try to find my husband) Honey? Honey! Can you help me? Honey, where are you?
2) I can measure. I am a very meticulous measurer. Every ingredient has to be exact. There will be no spontaneous or questionable “eh, it kinda, sorta looks like a tablespoon…” or “I don’t have salt so I’ll mix in some Mrs. Dash instead” cooking in my kitchen. I would never dream of dumping sugar into my hand like Rachael Ray, then casually tossing it into the bowl like I’m throwing confetti in a parade. Oh, no. I will pour that sugar into a measuring cup and eyeball it to death. If someone ever invents a new kitchen gadget that resembles a tiny leveling tool, I’d be all over it.
Oh, shut up, Rachael. Who invited you? Why don’t you go throw some salt all over the place, dump some of your precious EVOO all over it, then “pop” some food in the oven and leave me alone to cry in my onions.
3) I can use my secret ingredient: Love. Whenever I make dinner, I never hesitate to inform the innocent victims at the table that my dish was made with it; I heaped it on there like my life depended on it. Without love, I’m afraid my cooking would be even worse, if that were possible (and it isn’t).
Miraculously, these few cooking abilities have enabled me to pull off a casserole dish or two. I (barely) managed to make a delicious (homemade!) stuffing for Thanksgiving last year (from scratch!) And nobody died after eating it. Did I mention it was homemade? I spent hours cutting bread into mind-numbing cubes with my own two little klutzy, clueless, oven-mitted hands (you try holding a knife with mitts on). Everybody raved about my stuffing. I think most of us were in shock it was so delicious–the turkey was all but ignored. The success of my stuffing ranked right up there with completing my college degree. I was so proud and made so much of it, we were eating stuffing with every single meal for an entire week. But dammit, it was tasty. We still talk about it. “Remember that stuffing you made last year?” my husband will ask with a dreamy look in his eyes. “Oh, yeah! It was good, wasn’t it?” I’ll sigh while scraping burnt tomato soup out of yet another ruined pot.
Even though I am a self-confessed bad cook, my husband is not. (God brought us two together for a reason.) He is a phenomenal cook and, even better, he loves to do it. Whenever I tell my friends, “Oh, Jim’s getting dinner ready,” they tell me how lucky I am. I always point out, he’s lucky I don’t cook. It all works out for the best.
So this Thanksgiving, as you’re slaving away in the kitchen, elbow-deep in roasted rosemary turkey with sprigs of thyme and carving cranberries into tiny Mayflowers, think of me.
I’ll be making stinky eggs.
Happy cooking and joyous eating, my friends!
Eat, drink, and be merry with the ones you love!
Be grateful I don’t cook for you! Oh, and–
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
I am taking an extended break from blogging…hopefully I’ll see you all around the New Year (if I survive the holidays)