Yes, I am a Woman.

untitled (7)

Newsflash: We all have feminine and masculine tendencies. Naturally, some of us might be more on one side than the other regardless of our gender.  Some of us might have an equal balance of both. These traits might be due to our childhoods or because we were born that way.

What I’m saying is — enough already. Sheesh.

Still some people automatically lump either gender into tidy little boxes. Men like sports. Women like makeup. Men burp and fart. Women like makeup. Men scratch themselves a lot. Women tell men to stop burping, farting and scratching themselves and give us their credit card already so we can go buy more makeup.

We all know it’s ridiculous to overgeneralize based on gender. I’m a good example. I grew up with five brothers. And last time I checked, I am a woman.

Here are a few facts about me:

  • I hate makeup.
  • I rarely wear makeup.
  • Once a year when I wear makeup for a special occasion, I have no idea how to apply it so I don’t end up looking like this:


  • I love sports. I like to play them, I like to watch them on TV.
  • I live for Super Bowl Sunday.
  • I love to listen to bands like Alice in Chains.
  • I am strong. I’m wily. I could drop you like a sack of bricks with one swift chop to your trachea.
  • I hate washing my hair. I hate brushing my hair. I hate my hair.
  • Shoes are evil. Especially any shoe that is not a sneaker or flip-flop.
  • I hate purses. I have no idea why people spend tons of money on them. I walk into a purse store like Coach and my mind switches off. Picking out a purse is like watching my horribly-applied clown makeup dry.  I prefer to just stick my wallet into my jacket pocket and call it good.
  • If I carry a purse, (I own exactly one) I will spend the entire time flinging it around while yelling “What in the hell am I supposed to do with this stupid thing?! It’s like an anchor around my neck and I swear I will die right here in the middle of this fracking Coach store if I have to drag it around one more minute!”
  • I hate clothes shopping. I hate clothes. If I could wear the same outfit every day — say, a large potato sack with a rope belt — I’d be happy.
  • I have no idea what pants go with which shirt. Or what’s considered trendy or fashionable. Because I. Do. Not. Care. (also, I have bad taste in clothes, see above)
  • I hate shopping in general. Going to the mall is cruel and unusual punishment. While my husband will agonize over which coffee pot to buy, I’ll slink slowly to the floor in agony, crying “for the love of all that is holy JUST PICK ONE SO WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS HELLHOLE!” Then I hit him in the head with my giant ugly purse.
  • I don’t like to cook.
  • I don’t like to bake.
  • I do love to eat.
  • I don’t like to clean. I will clean of course, but I won’t like it.
  • I hate math but I’m good at it. I also excel in science and medical stuff. (that’s right, the technical term is “stuff”)
  • I love to play basketball and I’ve got a killer hook shot.
  • I love to play video games for hours, like Tomb Raider and Mario Kart.
  • I actually rather enjoyed all of the Iron Man and Avenger movies.
  • Sometimes I burp. Very long and loud burps that rattle the windows.

So is your mind blown? No? Fine. (ahem)

What about you guys? How are you unlike/like your gender’s stereotypes?


Family · Humor

So I Married A Big Man-Baby


My dear husband will be undergoing surgery next week for carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand.  With all his nonstop fretting and whining you’d think he was getting his entire arm amputated.

untitled (6)He throws around words like “recuperate” and “pre-op” and “anesthesia” like I haven’t been down this road many times myself. And just because I’m such a loving, understanding wife, I make sure to let him know this every chance I get.

Him: “Oh man, my surgery’s next week! I’m getting so nervous!”

Me (aka Loving Wife): “Oh? As nervous as I was when I had an entire human being ripped out of my abdomen, leaving me with 8 inches of stiches and staples?”

Him: “I wonder how long I’ll have to rest afterward. I think I’ll just have to lay around and watch movies for a few days, maybe a week. Y’know, take it easy.”

Me: “Oh yeah! Take it easy. Just like I did that day I almost passed out from the pain of having my stomach ripped open and my pelvis set on fire, yet I still had to get up to breastfeed every 2 hours and change diapers in between throwing up and wishing I was dead?”

Continue reading “So I Married A Big Man-Baby”


Boys Vs. Girls

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

Men say “tomato”, women say “get off yer ass and get it yourself.”

Women say “Did you hear what I just said?” and men say, “Huh?”

I suppose the take home message here is apparently men and women are different.

I guess. I don’t know.

Are men and women really that different from each other?  I’m only one month younger than my husband, and I think we’re pretty similar in many ways:

  • We both like to eat.
  • We both prefer to get sleep every night.
  • We both laugh too much at America’s Funniest Videos.
  • We both think Ryan Seacrest’s fame was purely accidental.

Yet I often wonder how we would have communicated when we were kids. See if you can spot any differences. Slide1 Slide1 Slide1

Slide1 Slide1 Slide1

My Conclusion? My husband is from Mars, I like to talk.

What do you think? In your experience, do women really talk more than men or do I just need to shut up more often? (If you’re a man, don’t answer that.)

If you’re a woman, I totally don’t think that’s true at all, do you? I mean so what if I like to have discussions and express my thoughts on things and sometimes I tend to ramble and all but really, I think gender differences are all a bunch of hooey because we are exactly the same and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m the stereotypical never-ending-talker and he’s the one who says nothing but “Yes, dear” and “Huh?” because I know men who like totally talk a lot and women who don’t talk a lot so what do you think? Does Cory or John like me? because I totally think they do.



Well, Duh…


Hold onto your beer can hats, guys, because I have something big to tell you. Everything you ever knew about the world and how it works is about to be turned upside down.

I hate to be the one to break this to you [sigh] but here goes…

Women Prefer Men With Bigger Penises


Beer Makes Men Happier

Is your mind blown? Well believe it, baby. Would I lie to you? It’s been proven in recent studies. Yes! By people in white lab coats! Who are no doubt running around some freaky lab, analyzing brain scans of men drinking Heineken while women are judging their manhood on a scale from 1 to 10. My husband wants to know if they’re in need of any more test subjects because he’s available and will work for free beer.

So I’ve decided to save these scientists future time and money and let them in on a few of my own earth-shattering studies:

  • When Women Ask Men “Am I Right? Well, Am I?!” They Prefer Men Nod Their Heads, Hand Them Their Credit Card And Walk Away
  • When Women Ask “Does This Make My Butt Look Big?” They Prefer Men Answer, “Hell No! Never! You Have The Best, Most Perfectly Sized Ass In The Universe! Here, Take My Credit Card!”
  • Husbands Who Say “I’m Sorry, I Was Wrong and You Were Right”  Live Longer
  • Men Prefer Women With Bigger Breasts
  • Small-Breasted Women Prefer Men Who Prefer Women With Smaller Breasts
  • Both Men and Women Prefer Men Have No Breasts
  • Men Prefer Women Who Stop Talking For Five Seconds So They Can Watch The Game In Peace
  • Women Prefer Men to Say Something, Anything, For The Love Of God Isn’t There One Tiny Spark Of A Thought Flickering Across That Simple Little Brain Of Yours?!
  • Women Get Bitchy During Their Period
  • Women Get Bitchy When Not On Their Period
  • Women Get Bitchy, Period
  • Women Like Chocolate
  • When Women Eat Chocolate They Get Really Happy And Very Quiet


So there you have it! I am so happy to enlighten you guys today. Hope you learned something.

Ladies, if you’ve done any of your own scientific studies, please, share your results below in the comments.


Confessions of a Crybaby

Last night, my husband found me sitting on the couch watching television in a daze, my eyes red and puffy.

“Are you crying?”


“Were you crying?”

(wipes nose, slips soggy tissue into shirt) “Uh….no, I most certainly was not.” (sniff) “Crying.”(sniff)
(a fat tear slides down my face)

“But it’s a commercial for car insurance.”

“I can’t help it, all right?! Just look at her!” (weeps) “Her name is Flo! FLO! She’s got a ridiculous beehive headband hairdo and she’s way too perky! I hate her with every fiber of my being! It’s so sad! Why do I dislike her so? I’m a terrible, terrible person!” (sobs)

“I need a beer.”

So sad in so many ways.

I’ve always been a big crier. When I was a little girl and witnessed any minor injustice at school–kids pushing other kids, kids not taking turns on the slide, kids not sharing their fruit roll-ups with me at lunch–I’d burst into tears. It was my go-to defense tactic. I was just an emotional kid. When my brother knocked my vanilla Jello pudding pop into a mud puddle on purpose, I sobbed uncontrollably for days. When I read that Pa Ingalls had to tell Laura her beloved dog, Jack had died, I cried for months on end. My ability to turn on the waterworks stayed with me throughout my entire life. Once in college, I sobbed while addressing a huge lecture class. There wasn’t even an exam that day.

Where have you gone, sweet Pudding Pops of my youth? Please come back! Why, Bill? Why?!

You’d think I’d harden up, develop that cold cynical shell so many people seem to have once they reach middle age. My crying has only gotten worse. I cry while looking at baby photos of my kids. I sniffle at a stop light when a good song comes on the radio. I tear up when cantaloupes go on sale.

I really like cantaloupe.

I think crying is good for you. I think it means you’re a strong person, that you’re not afraid to feel genuine emotions or appear vulnerable to others.

No? It just means I’m simply a woman? It’s just too much estrogen?

Yeah. Maybe. I’m proud of my emotions. I like to feel things. I have empathy. So what? (soft sob) Is that so wrong? What are you trying to tell me? (sniff) Where’s that ****ing Kleenex?

My tears help connect me to the moment. They remind me of the blessings in life.  Sure, I’m cheesy. I admit I’m wimpy. And okay, I’m sappier than that old commercial about Julie through the glass.

(If you don’t cry at this commercial you are nothing but an empty unfeeling robot)

We need to allow ourselves to show more of these sweet emotions in this cruel heartless world. I just wish I could control it better once the flood starts. If only I could be a little more selective in what makes me a pile of mush.

Yesterday I was on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game when it hit me: that was my son out there on the field. My son. Running and kicking and smiling and laughing. My son! I thought, with a tightness in my throat. I have a son! Look at him! He’s amazing and he’s my son! He’s a miracle!

Tears threatened the corners of my eyes like thunder clouds before a rainstorm. Hold it together, Darla. Yes, you’re a mom. He’s your son. No big whoop. He may be a miracle but…let’s be real here…he still doesn’t know how to make himself a bowl of cereal. And yesterday you found him singing in the mirror with his underwear on his head. Now, don’t you cry in front of the soccer coach. There’s no crying in soccer! There’s NO CRYING IN SOCCER! Don’t do it! No! C’mon….suck it up. Oh, for god’s sake, here it comes! Stop crying! Swallow those tears.! This is going to be embarrassing….hold it in….

Too late.

Soccer, baseball…it all makes me cry like a little girl.

It may shock you to know my husband doesn’t cry much. Almost never. I think I saw a few tears come out of his eyes once–at the altar when we were about to get married. For all I know, he was crying about the impending loss of being single or had just sliced a huge onion.

“But I have dry eyes!” he protests. “It’s a real medical condition! I am not capable of crying! I have feelings! I swear! What? Don’t look at me like that! I can feel things! I just choose not to show it is all. Wait–what are you doing? Why do you have the tweezers? Get away from me!”

“Oh, c’mon…I just want to pluck one eyebrow. Just one. There’s got to be a tear in there somewhere and I’m gonna force that sucker out.”

Do you cry a lot? Or hardly ever? Ever in public? Or just in private over a beer? If so, what’s wrong with you anyway?


A Brief History of Sex (According to Me)

Hey, sweetie…let’s make love….Honey?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment I started to think sex was weird.

Maybe it was when we had that first health class in fifth grade and the creepy teacher passed around a maxi pad, urging us to discuss the feelings we had about the opposite sex and our changing bodies.

Maybe it was when my best friend informed me on the playground that Brian and Heather were making out in the trees next to the jungle gym.

In either case, I was left confused and mortified–probably because I thought getting your period only meant your life was cursed for all eternity (not too far off with that guess), and unless ‘making out’ meant a secret hide-n-seek game involving deciphering codes on a pirate’s treasure map, I wasn’t interested.

I can’t remember who told me exactly what sex entailed, and I’m not clear on what my reaction was when I found out. But I have a feeling it went something like this:

Friend: Then the boy puts his–

Me: NO! Nononononono! [plugging ears] I can’t hear you! lalalalalalalalala!

Friend: …and then the girl–

Me: Ahhh! AHHH! Stop! Stop talking! Oh, god! I just want to die!!! ahhhhhhhhhh!
[running away, flailing my arms and screaming at the top of my lungs]

Once I hit middle school age, the whole concept still struck me as being generally ugh-y and super icky.   Sex was this big mystery and I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out its secrets. Even innocent games of Spin the Bottle gave me panic attacks.  The bottle would spin in slow motion and I’d squeeze my eyes shut and silently pray, “Please don’t be me! Please don’t be me!”  My greatest fear was to be banished to a dark closet with a cute boy, fumbling around in the silence.  Sure, I had my crushes. I played my share of ‘kissing tag’ on the playground. I could understand the attraction part.  But I always felt a few steps behind the other kids whenever it concerned actual sex.  It all just seemed way too complicated and painfully embarrassing. First, why would anyone purposefully want to do that? And second, if I was ever going to do that, it could damn well wait until I at least loved the boy. Or didn’t think he had cooties.

College was filled with more confusion, bad dates, casual relationships here and there. Mostly, I spent my time in the library, holding out hope of finding my Mr. Right and not Mr. He’ll Do For Now, I Guess. Who knew libraries weren’t exactly a hotbed for singles looking for love?

Then in my 20s, I finally met the love of my life, my husband.

When you’re still in your 20s, sex is almost a constant need. You enjoy it, you look foward to it. You think it’s the greatest thing since microwave pizza. Finally you find someone that actually wants to do it with you all the time and you don’t mind! So you try to top yourselves with the sexathons:

“Hey, honey! Wanna do it again? I know! Let’s try and do it seven times in one day! We’ll break a world record!” or “Hey, honey! I just made a bologna sandwich. Wanna do it?” or “Hey, honey! It’s 2 pm. Wanna do it?” Sex is fun and giddy and full of lustful anticipation.

Then you get married, and a few years go by; you start to think, “Hey, let’s have a baby!” Suddenly sex completely transforms from this thing you once enjoyed immensely to this thing that hangs over both of you like a big black cloud sucking every ounce of pleasure out of your romantic relationship.

And if you’re like me and can’t get pregnant to save your life, sex becomes another chore. A long, drawn-out-over-two-years chore full of charts and temps and pinpointing ovulation and the phases of the moon.

“Hey, honey. Sorry, but we have to do it tomorrow at 3:15.” [sighing heavily]

“Huh? Well, I can’t, I’m at the gym then.”

“Nope. It’s 3:15. We only have a 14 hour  window for ovulation. My egg has already descended the fallopian tube and it’s waiting for your sperm. So the optimum fertilization time is tomorrow at 3:15. Oh and we have to tilt my uterus at a 45 degree angle, say a few prayers, light a sage incense, and then dance naked around a fire chanting Kumbaya under the new moon.”

“Again? Aw, man! Didn’t we just do all that last week? Great. Just great.” [heavy sigh]

I finally not only got pregnant but stayed pregnant. Nothing short of a miracle for me with my medical history. Also a testament to the hundreds of times we had stressful mechanical sex for the sole purpose of merging egg with sperm every cycle for over two years. Isn’t it romantic?

After a long labor and emergency c-section, my son arrived, healthy and perfect. It was at my first post-op appointment with my OB/GYN that taught me the next phase of sex: After kids.

Me [excitedly]: So…when can we have sex again? Once the stitches heal?

Doctor: Ha! Sex? Oh, no, no, no. You won’t be having sex again for awhile, trust me. [chuckling to himself]

Me: Because of the stitches?

Doctor: Because of your baby.

After my son turned four, I gave birth to my daughter and met with my doctor once again.

Me [excitedly]: So…when can I go on birth control again?

Doctor: Birth control? For what?

Me: For when we start to have sex again.

Doctor: [snickering] Ha! Sex? Oh, no, no, no. You won’t have to worry about that. You have two young kids under the age of five! Ask me again in about four years! [laughing so hard he starts to gasp for air]

Now my husband and I are forging ahead into new territory. We’re both in our early 40s. Our kids are much older and less reliant on us so we have more quality time alone.  We could have all the sex we want.

But now we’re just too damn tired.

Me: “Hey, honey…pssst…so…you wanna…”

Him: “Huh? Wha? Oh, I guess I was sleeping just then. What did you want?”

Me: [….snoring….]

Him: “Honey, wake up, what did you want?”

Me: “Oh…sorry I just nodded off there, too. Um, yeah, did you want to do it tonight or next Tuesday night?”

Him: “Well, Conan looks good tonight, he’s got Will Ferrel on so…aw, what the hell. Let’s do it! Honey? Honey!”

Me: [….snoring…..]

Him: “Yeah. We’ll do it Tuesday for….for…..[yawn]….suuuure….[…snoring…]


Born to Be Mildly Reckless While Still Maintaining an Adequate Level of Controlled Boredom

Ah, yes. Spring is here. The weather is warming up, the sun is beaming down. My husband is getting older, his hair grayer (and less hairier). His normal weekend routine of sitting on the couch drinking a beer while watching home improvement shows is becoming boring. This can only mean one thing:

Mid-Life Crisis Time!


Recently, my husband has flirted with the crazy idea of not only buying a bike (and to my horror, not a Schwinn– but a chopper), but actually riding on one.

I get it, honey. Your life is humdrum. The open road is calling. Adventure awaits just around the bend. Somehow zipping down the highway–exposed to all the elements, the bugs in your teeth, the wind in your hair, the giant tractor trailer trucks blowing you around like a feather– is what people yearn for when their lives become a bit stale. I can only assume risking one’s life tooling down the road just to pick up some deodorant at Walmart must be an exhilarating experience. (Be sure to pick up some Depends too for the ride back when that tractor trailer truck nearly sideswipes you.)

I know why he wants to ride. I once had a dream of becoming a motorcycle mama. I even managed to recruit some of my friends to share in this fantasy. We’d form a motorcycle gang. (Yeah!) We’d leave our lives behind and hit the open road. (Hell, yeah!)  Drive to destinations unknown. (Helllllllls yeah!) and become rebels without a clue! (Uh…what?)  It would be so…Easy Rider-ish.  We could all wear pink leather from head to toe and call ourselves The Pinky Tuscaderos. Or The Leather Tuscaderos. Probably The Pinky Leather Tuscaderos.

The Fonz seems to dig her. Or maybe he’s gesturing for her to jump the shark. Either way, I like her style.

Although, something tells me I’d look more like this:

No matter. I can drive a scooter, right? Sure. A slow-as-death scooter with a basket for my medications and a cool ringie-dingie bell on the handlebars to keep those pesky young whippersnappers at bay, dagnabit.

The only problem is: I am a giant klutz. When it comes to bikes, or any other mode of transportation that requires coordination, balance, and the ability to remain upright, I am a failure. And it’s been a painful lesson to learn.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of my many (many!) past accidents over the years.

1973: Crashed and fell off Big Wheel in front of my laughing brothers while eating peanut butter toast.
Outcome: skinned knees, bruised ego, peanut butter face-plant

1977: Fell and rolled down a hill after attempting ‘Shoot the Duck’ with my 1970s metal-wheeled rainbow roller skates with the bright red pom poms.
Outcome: twisted ankle, ruined skates, lost ability to be ‘funky’ or ‘groovy’ for weeks afterward

1981: Fell off my brother’s skateboard after hitting a bone-shattering 30 mph zipping down ‘Death Hill’ Drive after my friends dared me.  (Plus one of them promised me some of their Pop Rocks if I made it to the bottom of the hill alive, and no kid will resist that prize, am I right, Angie?)
Outcome: skinned knees, twisted ankle, bruised ego, three packages of Pop Rocks

1981: Slid off banana-seat bike while making a sharp corner (and belting out the theme to ‘Gimme a Break’ off-key). Crashed into my brothers and left behind a twisted heap of Schwinn carnage that was the talk of the neighborhood the rest of the summer.
Outcome: road rash on every single part of my body

1981: Fell off my 10-speed while in hot pursuit of older brother after he stole my Big League Chew. Landed in ditch. Survived, only to have my best friend who was following close behind, run completely over my body with her bike.
Outcome: Bruises on every part of my body, kidneys swollen to watermelon-size, still Big League Chew-less

So…notice anything about the above trip down Clumsy Lane? Well, for starters, apparently 1981 was a very bad year for me. Also, I’m no fool. I know the only way I could even attempt riding a bike again, let alone an actual motorcycle, it would have to be along these lines:

Or maybe this:

But I am middle-age. I do crave adventure. I want to get my motor running and head out on the highway looking for adventure and whatever comes my way. Still, I don’t want to end up in the hospital. My husband is actually more of a klutz than I am (on our first date, he fell into a stream while attempting to putt through the big windmill at the mini-golf course) Plus he’s a big guy, 220 pounds, six foot one. I don’t think he’s built to be on a bike.  He’d be too heavy, too tippy.

Of course,  then I realize if he does buy one, he could also purchase a rather snazzy leather jacket and he’d look like this:

So I thought maybe this motorcycle thing could be a good thing. Cool even. Definitely sexy. As long as he stays stationary.

But once he’s actually riding the motorcycle, I know I’ll be at home worried sick because he will end up doing something like this.

Maybe I can convince him to buy one of these instead?


How (Not) to Argue with a Woman

My husband and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary this April. Before we were married, we lived together in a tiny apartment for another two years. That’s fourteen years of being ‘up in each other’s bidnezz’ as they say on the streets.  Quite a long time to spend being forced to share bathroom sink space and remote control possession.  Boundaries are pushed to the limit and arguments happen.  To survive (and because we love each other dearly), we’ve managed to learn each other’s habits and quirks well enough to know when to draw the line in the sand, and when to toss the damned stick aside and run like hell in the other direction. Most of the time, arguing is simply not worth it. We’ve learned to carefully tiptoe around the little piles of poop minefield, because really, we’re much too old and tired now to want to risk stepping in it.  And once it hits the fan, well, the clean up is a bitch.

Sometimes no matter what the situation, I can get testy. The kind of testy that happens when you poke a sharp stick at a sleeping bear. It may or may not have to do with hormones, but I will let you in on this secret–mysteriously enough, it intensifies once a month.  I’ll feel this gnawing ball of  aggravation in the pit of my stomach that seems to have struck out of the clear blue sky.  It’s not about anything specifically. It could be about anything, everything or nothing–most likely all three at once. Confused? That makes two of us. And this sudden black storm cloud of emotion churns and grows, finally blowing into a gigantic eruption of anger, which honestly, I have no control over. I am as surprised at my outburst of irritation as my husband. (Don’t tell him I said that.) Once the volcano starts, it just can’t be stopped. “Thar she blows! Run for your life!”

My husband is a good man. He’s smart, funny, loving. But he doesn’t know how to argue with me.  We’ve had, on average, approximately one doozie of an argument every five years or so. We get it out of our system and settle back into the comfy trappings of marriage. It’s the little squabbles though, the ones about the endless laundry and errands–those are the ones he has trouble with to this day.

Most of the time, he doesn’t realize we were arguing.   In fact, I’ve noticed that during the argument, he seems astounded as to what’s happening and therefore doesn’t know how to react.  Even worse, he has no tools to help him cope with the inevitable fallout once I notice that after all my ranting and raving, he is still standing there like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming souped up mack truck filled with crazed hunters packing Uzis.

So men, I want to give you a few tips to help you through any argument–real or imagined. (First tip: they are all real to us.)

These tips might help you prevent an argument from even starting in the first place.  We really don’t want to have to run you over like a Mack truck. But you make it so damn easy.

Let’s look at the anatomy of what starts out as an innocent ‘discussion’, shall we?

Scene: A married couple are in the kitchen after a long day at work. The woman is running around in circles attempting to make a dent in the disaster that is their home. The man is leaning on the counter, reading the newspaper, and eating chips and salsa over the sink.

Woman: Ugh! What the–? The dishes are clean?

Man: Huh?

Woman: The dishes!

Man: What?

Woman: Why are they still in the dishwasher?

Man: Huh?

Woman: I said, the DISHES! (Woman points at the dishwasher)

Man: What? (Man scoops up another salsa-laden chip and crams it in his mouth)

Woman: I thought they were dirty!  But they’re clean and now I put the dirty dishes in and all the gross spaghetti sauce from the dinner I slaved over last night that you failed to help me clean up AGAIN spilled all over the clean glasses that YOU failed to empty AGAIN and why didn’t you empty them? Huh? Do I have to do everything? You just don’t CARE do you? No! If it wasn’t for me, this entire house would crumble around us! I have so many things to do all day and deal with the kids and my mother and the shopping and the cooking and the cleaning and then I come home and you don’t care that the dishes have to be cleaned again and why are you still standing there eating chips?! God! You’re dripping salsa all over the place! God! You drive me crazy!  I am NOT cleaning THAT up! Oh, no! You’ve got another thing comin’ if you think I’ll clean up your mess! You can do it! And you know what else? YOU can reclean the dishes in the dishwasher! Yeah! How ’bout that, huh? I’m not the only one who’s tired, y’know? A little help from you would be nice, y’know? Give me those damn chips!

(Woman yanks chip bag out of the man’s hands)

Man: What? I don’t know what you want me to do! You took my chips!  I…uh….why are you getting so mad? Why? What did I do?

Woman: AHHHHHHHH! God!
(Woman crumples the chip bag and throws it onto the counter. Salsa and chips scatter everywhere. Man’s mouth drops open.)

End Scene.

Okay. The first thing you may notice is the man had four golden opportunities to turn things around right from the start. Four chances to prevent a chip and salsa disaster. Instead, his responses just heightened the woman’s irritation, causing it to snowball into Armageddon within mere nanoseconds. Here’s what you need to do instead:

Rule No. 1: Pay attention. Focus. Figure out what she’s saying to you, immediately. Act like your life depends on it. You can tell by the tone of her voice how close she is to cracking. When you hear that voice, drop the chips, drop the salsa, drop everything.

Rule No. 2: Never act bewildered. Even if you don’t know what she’s talking about, just pretend you do. Nod your head. Empathize. Agree. You need to let her know you are on her side. And again, put the chips down.

Rule No. 3: Never answer in one word sentences. Never answer with another question.

Rule No. 4: Never stand there shoveling chips and salsa into your mouth while her life is spinning out of control right in front of you.

Rule No. 5: Never act like her meltdown is unfair. It may very well be blown out of proportion, but you need to match her emotions before she one ups you. Pretend you are just as upset. Say something like, “Oh no! The dishes! Oh, that’s terrible! God!”

Rule No. 6: Apologize, apologize, apologize. Even if it’s not your fault. Even if you know it was her turn with the dishes and you were the one who made the spaghetti sauce the night before.  Just tell her you’re sorry. Over and over again.

Rule No. 7:  If you see she’s still in a tizzy, step in and actually do the thing she’s asking you to do. Yes, clean the dishes for her. Tell her to go sit down on the couch for a minute and you’ll take care of it. Really, it’s just dishes. If you don’t offer to help,  consider yourself signed up for a week long marathon of The Good and Pissed Off Wife.

Rule No. 8: Never ask her, “Why are you so mad?” This is the equivalent of dumping a can of gasoline on a roaring fire.

Rule No. 9: And for God’s sake, never, ever say, “What did I do?” That is a Pandora’s box you don’t want to bust open, trust me.

So now that you know these rules, let’s start the scene again:

Woman: Ugh! What the–? The dishes are clean?

Man: They are? Let me see. (Man puts the chip bag down on the counter and peers into the dishwasher) Oh, man! They ARE clean! I’m sorry. I must have forgotten to take them out. Don’t worry, I’ll take them out and get it all cleaned up. You go sit on the couch and watch some TV before dinner, okay? (Man starts taking the dishes out of the dishwasher)

Woman: Oh, that’s okay. I’ll help you. It was probably my fault.

Man: Oh, no. It was my fault. I’m sorry. I am really, really sorry. So very sorry.

Woman: That’s okay.

Man: No. I mean it. I am sorry.

(Woman and Man put dishes away together. Chip bag and salsa are intact.)

End Scene.

See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?

I have faith in you guys. I know you can do it. If you follow the above rules, I guarantee you’ll come out of every potential minor and major squabble (mostly) unscathed.

Good luck.


All Cold and No Play Makes Dad a Wimp

Like most people, I love this time of year: the apple-picking, the pumpkin-cutting, the leaf-jumping. Oh, and let’s not forget the eye-rolling once football season is underway (it’s my husband that does the eye-rolling).  But other than my undying and bordering on pathetic love for Tom Brady with his ridiculous mullet and chiseled-out-of-marble chin, the fall season brings one more thing to my household that could make a grown woman cry.

Last weekend, I was busy baking an apple pie, flitting around my kitchen in my apron, humming the tune to Monster Mash, and floating on a high of cinnamon and nutmeg, when my world came crashing down.

“Ohhhhhh…” A low moan was coming from the living room couch. For a brief moment, I hesitated, my fingers hovering over the pie crust. No, it couldn’t be, I thought.  I shook my head, giggling nervously, and continued pinching the sides of my pie, letting the apple-sweet smell transport me back to my blissful world where brightly-colored foliage and pumpkin hay rides existed.

“Ohhhhhh…ohhhhhh…” The moaning got louder and trailed on even longer, straight into my cinnamon haven, complete with a pathetic whimper at the end.

“Honey? Honey!” my husband called out, his voice almost frantic.  I placed the pie in the oven and walked into the living room, wiping my hands on my apron.

“I think I’m sick,” he said, blowing his nose into a tissue. My husband’s voice sounded similar to what I’m sure most people sound like on their death bed. My carefree autumn days were coming to an end.

My husband had a cold.

The common cold: common in the sense that, at any given point in time, one or both of my kids have one. For weeks on end, they shuffle around in their pajamas, hacking and sniffling themselves from room to room leaving behind a trail of tissues. When I’m unlucky enough to catch their germs, life goes on. I grab some Kleenex and a vaporizer, take a few swigs of Nyquil, and continue my daily existence as normal (i.e. run the entire household by myself).

But when my husband gets a cold? Everything comes to a grinding, sniveling halt.

“Yes, you’re sick. There, there,” I whispered, rubbing his back. “You have a cold. It’ll be okay, I promise. So, are you going to the grocery store today? We’re out of cinnamon. Oh, and while you’re out, we need more Nyquil.”

The look in his eyes was like a lost sick puppy found on the side of the road. It became clear right away that my husband was going to do neither of those things. His intent? To lie on that couch and not move a muscle until every second of his week-long germ-fest was over.

This reminds me of my most recent major surgery. A couple years ago, I had endured five abdominal incisions and almost bled to death as the
surgery went on for more than three hours, much longer than the doctors had expected.  After it was all over, I was in agony. This surgery completely wiped me out, even more so than my previous two c-sections. I spent two days in the hospital morphined up to the eyeballs. When I returned home, every step I took was excruciating. My husband was able to take one day off from work to help care for me. So I lay in bed, swimming in Vicodin, feverish and in severe pain. The next day (a mere three days after major surgery) I was alone and taking care of my two young kids. I faintly remember that at one point, I had to make them lunch, and almost passed out from the pain, right there on our kitchen floor. But I pressed on with gritted determination. As God is my witness, my kids would never be without their peanut butter and jelly.

I am a woman. I am a mom. This is just what we do.

But my husband has a cold.

I sat down on the couch and tried to discuss with him how much stronger women are than men. But if he could just somehow reach deep down and tap into some of that inner strength, he could overcome this cold, get up off the couch, and help me with the dishes. I’m not sure he was even listening, being consumed with his illness and all. His hacking and moaning just became more miserable.

“Buh men can ben presh more weigh,” he sniffled.

“Oh, really?” I playfully jabbed him on his arm.

“Ow! That hurt!” he cried.

So why do men crumble with the first sign of a cold virus?
What happens inside their brains to make them turn instantly into puddles of
emasculated wretchedness?

It’s the one big mystery left in the universe.

But I have a theory:

The “Plop-Plop-Fizz-Fizz-Oh-My-God-My-Husband-Has-A-Cold-Someone-Just-Shoot-Me-Now” Theory

Consider the typical man: He is shopping at Wal-Mart, drooling over the automotive section, trying to decide between the Armor All deluxe or regular. He touches the shopping cart handle, touches his nose and instantly, the cold virus enters his nasal passages. This immediately triggers a mucus-producing response.  Soon the man’s sinuses are completely filled with pus.

He goes home, feeling achy and feverish, and parks himself on the couch. He attempts to blow his nose. But it’s too late; the pus has already leaked and crossed over the brain’s delicate membrane into the main section of his brain: the He-Man-frontal lobe. This area is the main force behind a man’s “take-charge, I am Manly Man and a Warrior and I can bench press 350 pounds and I must prove my manhood by hunting and shooting defenseless animals” personality.

Next, the other two major areas of his brain begin to slowly shut down. First Food, then Sex.  Yes, in that exact order. The thoughts about both are still there, but his ability to do anything about them is dulled. This leaves only one tiny part of his brain fully functioning*: The Little Boy-oblongata. This is where he’s reduced to nothing more than a crying, whining five year old boy who wants warm milk, a blankie and hugs from his

*Some medical journals have alluded to another as-yet-unnamed and unverified section of a man’s brain responsible for watching Pawn Stars marathons in his underwear.  It is believed that this part of his brain also remains completely intact during a bout with the common cold.

I am so convinced of my theory, I’m thinking of having it submitted to the next New England Journal of Medicine. Plus I drew up a little diagram. My husband saw it and said, “I don’t get it.”

Diagram of a Wimpy Cold

So ladies, am I wrong? If so, I have all the time in the world to come up with other theories.

My next one: Why men can’t cry in front of other men. Wish me luck.