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I Still Just Want to Be in a Book

You guys!!! I don’t know if you heard (if you didn’t, you need to think about getting your ears checked because I’ve been screeching about this pretty loudly….), but I’m going to be in a BOOK! It’s the follow up to  I Just Want to Pee Alone (2012) which is closing in on 30,000 copies sold and is the gold standard among self published anthologies. The sequel is called I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone and it’s full of stories by kick-ass bloggers who contributed stories about motherhood and being a woman.  I wrote a story about a day with my niece, which will be featured alongside the essays of some very talented writers.

Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me and who follow me.  I know sometimes I’m not around to hang out with my friends and you all probably think when I say I’m home “writing” that I’m holed up with a bag of Cheetos watching Law & Order, but as you can see – I’m in a BOOK and so I really have been busy writing!  I’m so excited to see my name in print….I wasn’t really expecting my first “real” publication to involve a toilet seat on the cover but ya know, life’s funny like that sometimes.

The book is due to come out at the end of March, but here’s a sneak peek at the cover and the lineup of all-star contributors.

I STill Just Want to Pee Alone best selling book People I want to punch in the throatContributors:

Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat

Bethany Kriger Thies of Bad Parenting Moments

Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying

Alyson Herzig of The Shitastrophy

JD Bailey of Honest Mom

Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket

Suzanne Fleet of Toulouse and Tonic

Nicole Leigh Shaw of Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist

Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year

Rebecca Gallagher of Frugalista Blog

Rita Templeton of Fighting off Frumpy

Darcy Perdu of So Then Stories

Christine Burke of Keeper of The Fruit Loops

Amy Flory of Funny Is Family

Robyn Welling of Hollow Tree Ventures

Sarah del Rio of est. 1975

Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting

Jennifer Hicks of Real Life Parenting

Courtney Fitzgerald of Our Small Moments

Lola Lolita of Sammiches and Psych Meds

Victoria Fedden of Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds

Keesha Beckford of Mom’s New Stage

Stacia Ellermeier of Dried-on Milk

Ashley Allen of Big Top Family

Meredith Bland of Pile of Babies

Harmony Hobbs of Modern Mommy Madness

Janel Mills of 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of

Kim Forde of The Fordeville Diaries

Stacey Gill of One Funny Motha

Beth Caldwell of The Cult of Perfect Motherhood

Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus

Michelle Back of Mommy Back Talk

Tracy Sano of Tracy on the Rocks  <—-THAT’S ME!!!!

Linda Roy of elleroy was here

Michelle Poston Combs of Rubber Shoes In Hell

Susan Lee Maccarelli of Pecked To Death By Chickens

Vicki Lesage of Life, Love, and Sarcasm in Paris

Kris Amels of Why, Mommy?

Mackenzie Cheeseman of Is there cheese in it?

Tracy DeBlois of Orange & Silver

There’s No Crying In Yoga

I hate doing yoga. Well, that’s not entirely true…I really just hate doing things that I’m not good at, and I’m not good at yoga.  So I guess it IS entirely true. If I ever suddenly get good at yoga, I won’t hate it. ‘Cept I know I’m not going to get better unless I do it more. And so the cycle goes. In the meantime: I hate yoga.

My friend Julianne teaches yoga and after a year of her nagging me nicely asking me if I wanted to attend her class, I caved.  I brushed the thick layer of dust off my yoga mat that I had bought for boot camp several years ago and put my yoga face on.  (I don’t know what my yoga face is, but it’s probably one that looks like I am in a lot of pain…)  

 “How hard could it be, it’s a bunch of stretches and stuff.  You got this.” I gave myself a little pep talk before entering the room for my very first class. And the first half of the class was pretty easy to follow along minus the weird names of the poses. “Downhill dogs,” “Turtle touches,” “Shackanag-what?”

About halfway through the class, I really started to sweat. This stretching shit was NOT easy!! Then, we had to do all kinds of balance stuff and things started to heat up.  I am not really what anyone would call “coordinated.”  The expression, “Bull in a chinashop” could have been coined by someone watching me try to be graceful.  I am like Chris Farley on crack at all times- a jerky, jumpy ball of nerves and energy with virtually no control over my motions.

As I attempted not to fall over like a tree being attacked by a chainsaw, yelling “TIMMMMBBEERRRRR” on my way down, I started to really get frustrated.  “This is BULLSHIT!” I thought. “Yoga is all about using your own body weight. This is SO UNFAIR. Of course it’s easy for those skinny broads, because I have way more body weight than they do!!!!” But, I persevered.

The next pose was some body contortion of sorts and I found myself bent over with my head between my legs.  I glanced over at my right ankle. Then my left.  WHAT IN THE ACTUAL  HELL had become of my ankles? I had KANKLES! They were so fat and enormous and awful.  How had I gotten so out of shape? “You are a fat cow, Tracy. Nobody else here has kankles!!”

That’s when I stopped being able to tell the difference between sweat dripping down my face and the tears.  The more I teary I became, the more my nose started to run.  Soon, I was a teary, sweaty, snotty Gumby-resembling disaster, twisted and bent in all kinds of positions that didn’t feel natural.  Screw this.

Into the bathroom I marched, ready to beak up with yoga before it could break up with me. That’s a strategy that hasn’t exactly fared well in the past but there’s a first time for everything. As I splashed water on my face, I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. Big mistake. I was a red, blotchy mixture of cry-baby face and blood pumping from the exhaustion of an out-of-shaper trying to move muscles I had forgotten existed.  I blew my nose and took a deep breath and evaluated the wreck staring back at me.

I took a good hard look and I decided I need to have a tough conversation with myself.

“Tracy, if you want to see change, you have to do something different. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.”

“Yeah, but it’s HARD!!!!” I whined.

“Of course it’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  The hard…is what makes it great.”

“I mean are you serious right now? You’re giving me a pep talk using Jimmy Dugan lines from ‘A League of Their Own’?” I snorted.

“Umm, technically you’re giving you a pep talk using Jimmy Dugan lines but whatever, yeah I mean it’s a good movie and you have to admit…he’s got a point.” I said to myself.

Myself was not impressed.

“Pff. If you were going to use a Jimmy Dugan line, I think ‘There’s no CRYING in yoga!!’ Would have been a lot more effective and witty.  You know Tom Hanks gets  that high- pitched voice and he’s all, ‘There’s no CRYING—‘”

“YEAH I GET IT- I’ve seen the movie too…But look at me!! I wasn’t cut out for this! I’m a mess!”

“True. You are a mess. But seriously, you’re not a quitter.  Just go back in there. And hurry up! People are going to think you’re taking a dump in here if you stay much longer…”

“Well, what if I just don’t go back in? Huh? Then nobody will think I’m taking a DUMP- they’ll just think I LEFT! Because that’s what I’m doing. I’m leaving. So there, dummy!”

“Oh yeah, DUMMY- well how you gonna get home? You left your purse with your KEYS in the yoga room….idiot.”

“Ugh. I am an idiot. You’re right, I have to go back in. Crap.”

“HA!! I’m totally right. I’m always right. And you took so long now they’re really going to think you’re taking a dump!”

“I’m not taking a dump! And shauddup because you are me so they’re going to think both of us were taking a dump and….gah! I need to get back in there before someone walks in here and catches me talking to myself and has me locked up!”

And so I went back to the class. And you know what, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I’ve been back to yoga several times since…and I’m kinda starting to like it even though I still suck at it.  But you know what? I haven’t teared up or left the class mid-way since, so…#babysteps.

So the moral of the story is, start what you finish- it doesn’t matter if the only reason is because you left your car keys where you started. And try things that are hard- change is hard, but you gotta put yourself out there and give it a go, even if it’s uncomfortable. And lastly, don’t talk to yourself out loud in public.  Because it’s weird yo. And not everyone will understand.

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 Thanks for reading! ~Tracy

yoga yogis exercise

Doin’ the No-Pants Dance

I was having a little bit of trouble coming up with new writing topics, so I asked my followers on Facebook for help.  I asked for 3 words- they could be themed or completely unrelated words- and I would commit to using the 3 words with the most “likes” as a writing prompt for my next post. I received some very creative answers…some of them actually frightened me and I prayed they would not get voted in.  In the end, the phrase with the most votes was “hotel room eavesdropping.” Hmmmm.

I know a lot of people have funny stories about the things they have “overheard” (intentionally or not) during a hotel stay.  I wracked my brain for a hotel eavesdropping story.  I’ve come up short.  I think the reason I don’t have any good eavesdropping stories is because I’m usually involved in the shenanigans that are being eavesdropped on.  I am not a very good bystander.  I often find myself in the heart of the action, whether I like it or not. 

One such story involves a hotel stay many years ago.  I was working at the Marriott so I had booked a couple of rooms using my employee discount for a friend’s 21st birthday outing in Boston.  Like many 21st birthday celebrations, our night ended in complete chaos.  A bunch of screechy girls and a few of their boyfriends sprinkled in, had gone out for a night on the town.  We came back to the hotel hot messes, of course.  A trail of pink boa feathers led to our rooms.  Loud laughter and drunken debauchery filled the air.

It’s all a little blurry (not just from the cheap beer but it was also over ten years ago and my old-lady memory can’t recall the all the details)  but at one point, a few of us had wandered into one of the rooms where a girl happened to be with her boyfriend during a bit of a private moment.  Of course, we didn’t have the good sense to leave when we realized what was going on and just made ourselves comfortable through fits of giggles.  A few minutes later, a loud knock was heard at the door.  I walked over and looked through the peephole.  Not surprisingly, Hotel Security was standing on the other side of the door.

“Oh my GAWD!” I hissed.  “The room is under MY name.  Somebody help me. Someone talk to him, I can’t talk to him!” I freaked out. “Please!! One of you talk to him and get this under control.”

“Okay,” said the girl of the interrupted horizontal tango couple who had been barged in on.  “I’ll talk to him. But I don’t have any pants.  Give me your pants.” If sacrificing my pants was what I had to do to get out of dealing with the security man, sacrificing my pants is what I would do. I jerked  my pants off and handed them to my friend, who yanked them up, opened the door, looked at the Security man and said, “I don’t know these people!”, as she pushed past him and ran down the hall, leaving me stunned and pantless.  This wasn’t my room.  I didn’t have any PANTS.  The security man stood there waiting.

So, I wandered over to the door and mustered up as much confidence and self-respect as one could who was answering the door with no pants on in the middle of the night.  “Um. Hi.”

“Miss, is this your hotel room?” he asked stone-faced.

“Um. Yes, well sorta. I mean…this is not the room that I am staying in. Otherwise, you know, I would have put a pair of pants on after mine got hijacked. But technically these rooms are in my name, yes.”

The man glared at me. “We have gotten several noise complaints from these rooms.  I need you guys to keep it down- starting NOW!!”

“Yessir,” I sheepishly apologized and promised I would get everyone under control.

I closed the door behind me, mortified.

“What the HELL! I can’t believe I just had to deal with that- and PANTSLESS! You guys are the worst. Tell everyone to shut up.  I’m going to wait a minute so the security guy leaves and then I’m going to back to my room. Everyone just go to sleep!” I scolded them, furious that I had to take the heat for the group.

I waited a few minutes and then cracked the door open. I stuck my head out and scampered down the hall as fast as I could with my naked booty bobbing behind me. I glanced behind me just quickly enough to see that the security man was still walking the halls, arms folded and watching my half-naked trot back to my room.  Great.

My next shift at work, I got pulled aside by my boss. “Tracy, I don’t know what happened during your stay at the Boston property- and I don’t want to know.  The General Manager got a letter from them and they are NOT happy with the way a Marriott employee represented this hotel.  I suggest you write a letter to their GM, and to ours apologizing- and please make sure that you NEVER allow your guests to act that way in our hotels again.”  I nodded, humiliated. 

“Oh and Tracy?” she smirked.   “Thanks for wearing pants to work today.”

 

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 Thanks for reading! ~Tracy

A Very Chucky Christmas

My younger brother Jimmy was terrified of Chucky when he was a kid…except at first we didn’t know it was Chucky that he was afraid of because he would just run around the house in petrified hysterics crying, “The doll!! The doll!!”  I don’t know when he watched Child’s Play, but from the minute he did, that scary Chucky doll had scarred him for the rest of his life.

Being the oldest of four and more mature than my siblings, I would often have to intervene during feuds.  My other brother and sister would antagonize him about Chucky and whenever they were mad at him, they’d tell him that Chucky lived in the basement. I would of course come to his rescue.

“Jimmy, calm down. Calm down.  It’s okay, they’re just picking on you.  There’s no such thing as Chucky. He’s not real, Jimmy. The doll isn’t real.  It’s okay,”  I’d soothingly reassure him.

I was always there for him….until he would do something to tick me off and my maturity went out the window and I turned on him.
“Jimmy, if you do that one more time, Chucky’s going to GET YOU!” I’d threaten him.

“But, Tracy…” he quivered, “ You said there’s no such thing as Chucky!!”  Well shoot now I felt bad.  I didn’t want the kid to wind up in extra therapy over ME.

“You’re right Jimmy.  There’s no such thing as Chucky.” I paused… “But Chucky’s cousin?? Oh he’s real.  He’s really real. And he lives behind your BED!!”

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MOM!!!!” he would run off screeching.

To this day I don’t think that my brother Jim will go down to my parents’ basement unescorted, even though it isn’t scary anymore because they’re finished it and because he’s 29 and doesn’t “really” believe in Chucky anymore.  There’s something to be said for a childhood fear of a killer doll that’s haunted you for so long it’s seeped into your bones and become a part of you.

After my mom’s mom passed away, we inherited way too much of my grandmother’s crap- as my dad liked to remind us- and some of that crap involved some very creepy Christmas decorations.  You know how some people like to go with a traditional look with their decorations and some people like more modern and others prefer sophisticated? I have to believe after seeing my grandmother’s collection of Christmas décor that she was going for the “Scare the fuck out of anyone who sees it” look.  Seriously, she had all these really weird-scary decorations- and my mom took them all like we wanted to make creepy-scary OUR tradition or something.

Being that it’s Christmas time as I’m writing this, I asked my dad if he could send me a few pictures of their inherited décor so I could show you what I am talking about.  Since I started blogging, Dad doesn’t ask questions when I ask him for random pictures of things around the house, he just does it.

So when I asked him for a few pictures of the creepy Christmas decorations, I thought he could easily snap a few since they’d be out.  He hesitantly confessed to me that they had become humbugs and since none of the kids lived there anymore, they hadn’t put out anything Christmas-y this year.
“Oh bummer. I really was hoping you could grab a few shots of the creepy Christmas stuff.  I need it for a blog…no big deal. So how was your day?” I texted him.

Dad disappeared for a few minutes and then I got a text back from him “Does this work?”

Christmas decorations

HA! I can’t believe my dad went rifling through all the boxed away Christmas stuff just to get me a picture.  What a good father. “Yeah, Dad. The Mr. and Mrs. Claus are tacky, not scary, but that gnome is perfect!”
Dad tells me the Santa Frog should work well too because….well, it’s a freaking Santa Frog.  Dad was busy trying to convince me that the Santa Frog was plenty scary and then I remembered something very important. Don’t tell MOM! Mom always finds out about my blog antics and I didn’t want him getting in trouble.

Funny Text from Dad

Ooops! Sorry, Dad!
ANYWAY, so back to my story: picture THIS guy but WAY, WAY scarier:

Creepy Christmas Gnome

Mom had inherited from Grandma THE scariest of all, 3 foot tall life-sized Chucky Christmas gnome.  You could plug Chucky in and he’d move from side to side with this evil little grin.   He was most certainly possessed.  Once I laid eyes on him, I knew he must serve a purpose for the better good of torturing Jimmy.

After I moved away to California, I would come home for visits and barely say hello to my parents before racing down to the basement to dig him up and hide him on Jimmy for him to find when he least expected it and scare the living daylights out of him.
Jim would go into the bathroom to take a shower and run out screaming.  My mom would just look at me as I giggled and shake her head. “Not the SHOWER, Tracy?!”

Jimmy would retaliate by sneaking Chucky into my bed as a surprise creepy snuggle partner.

It became a race for who could get to Chucky the fastest.

In the closet, the kitchen pantry, his feet sticking out from under the desk, there Chucky would be. There were no limits to where Chucky would be hiding when I came home for a visit.

The Chucky Doll got passed back and forth and he became less of a scary doll and more of a fun prank between bother and sister.
After one such trip back east, I was unpacking my suitcase when I got home and what I found made me laugh and laugh: Jimmy hadn’t been able to fit the real Chucky into my suitcase but he had found a Mini-version in Grandma’s never-ending supply of weird-ass Christmas trolls and stuffed him in with my belongings.

The years went by and eventually the Chucky doll prank got forgotten.  Last time I went looking for him, Mom said he got ruined in a basement flood or something and that Chucky was finally really dead.
Recently, I came home from work and I noticed my roommate Hannah had done some holiday decorating.  She must have come across the little Mini- Chucky that got sent home with me that one year and put him out on display with all of our beautiful Christmas décor.  She knew it would make me smile to randomly see Chucky siting on our TV stand just like all the times I had bumped into him in the shower, in the pantry and under my covers.
Some people like their traditional Christmas décor. Some people like sophisticated. I like those things too- But there’s a part of me that will always love our “Creepy Christmas” tradition because it reminds me of laughing my ass off with my crazy, silly brother who’s probably sucking his thumb in the corner right now after seeing these Chucky-like images from the basement.

What are YOUR Christmas traditions?

You Smell like Beef and Cheese you don't smell like Santa

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I’m Thankful for Marjorie This Thanksgiving

My younger brother is in the Navy and stationed in a desolate (that’s my word- his are “armpit of America, horrible wasteland”, etc etc you get the picture) part of California.  He was supposed to come down to San Diego to spend his first California Thanksgiving with his big sis and our cousins.

Last night I got a panicked call from him that he can’t leave when he thought he would be able to on Wednesday and he wouldn’t be able to make the train I booked him. He SAID it was because something changed with his schedule but he might just be a big dingbat and didn’t really check when he could leave. Who knows? I wasn’t mad, that runs in the family….(Sheepishly pointing at myself….)

“No problem, Bobby. You’ve come to the right place.  Big sis here misses her planes all the time, I’m sure we can find you a later train.”

With a huge sigh of relief, we hung up and tonight I set about the task of changing the ticket.

I went online. Yep, there was a later time alright. But all the later times were either sold out or marked “UNABLE TO BOOK.”

$^%@^%$!%@^ (That’s me yelling all kinds of sweary words at my computer.)

Now I start freaking out.

Kid’s going to be stuck eating a Subway footlong on Thanksgiving.  I can’t let this happen.  He needs to be with his FAMILY.

So I called up the reservation desk, and I yelled at the automated lady Judy for a while.  “What’s your confirmation number?” She asked.

“D5CA72″ I said slowly.

“Okay. So that’s B like Boy, 5-“

I cut her off, “NO! D!! D like DOG!!”

“I don’t think I understand you,” Captain Obvious Judy tells me. “Let’s try again. Say slowly the first 3 letters or numbers of your reservation.”

In the most articulate way I can, I slllooowwlllly and very carefully pronounced, “DDDddddddEEEEE, 5, C”

“Okay, let’s review. So the first 3 letters and numbers of your reservation are E like Eric-“

“NO!!!” I shouted. This bitch Judy was really starting to piss me off.  I felt like she was messing with me and trying to make me feel like I have a speech impediment.

“DDDEEEEEEE FIIIIVVEEEEEEE CCEEEEEE” I shouted into the phone. “D, D D You’re NOT LISTENING TO ME JUDY” I bellowed.

I think Judy finally realized that we had come to the end of our reservation road together.

“Okay, I don’t think I understand.  I’ll transfer you to a specialist.”

“Gee, thanks Judy.” I grumbled.

Judy promptly put me on hold and I began to pace.  Suddenly the Subway sandwich I had been picturing him eating on Turkey Day had now turned into a bowl of gruel as he sat cowering the corner of his prison cell of a barrack.

Finally after what felt like an eternity, a woman greeted me.  “Hi, I’m Marjorie.  How can I help you?”

“MARJORIE!!” I frantically cried into the phone. “Marjorie, I booked a ticket for my brother to come down here for Thanksgiving and he can’t come on the train I booked because he’s in the Navy and they changed his schedule and I tried to change it online but all the trains say they’re sold out or unable to book and he’s going to be eating gruel and Judy didn’t understand when I was saying D and….” Out of breath, I trailed off. “Marjorie, can you help me?”

Well little Miss Marjorie click clacked away on her computer.

“What’s your reservation number?” She asked me.

“D. Like Dog.” In anticipation I waited for her to ask me if I had said, G or B or C or any other letter in the alphabet.  But she didn’t.

“Uh- huh and then what?” She asked.  I read off the rest of the reservation number to her. My heart was still beating as she pulled up his schedule. What if they were all sold out? What if there were no more seats or what if I had been a cheapskate and bought the kind of ticket that can’t be changed?

“Well, I can go ahead and change that for you! Did you want to book him in Coach or Business class?” She asked.

“Huh? Oh, well I originally booked it on Coach. I don’t care if you tie him to the roof if you just get him down here!” I offered hopefully.

She laughed, “No need for that.  I went ahead and changed that for you. Oh, but I’m sorry I can’t give you the AAA discount you used because it’s less than the 3 day change window.”

“That’s okay!!” I said gleefully. “I don’t need the discount!!”

“Oh wait, did you say he was military?”

“Yes! He’s Navy.”

“Active duty?” She asked.

“Yep.”

“Oh well then I’ll go ahead and book it with his military discount. So you’ll see a refund for $4.50 on your credit card.”

“MARJORIE!! Oh THANK YOU, Marjorie!!” I was nearly in tears.

“I’m so glad I could help. I went ahead and emailed you the new itinerary. Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?”

I paused for a minute. “Well. Did you say there was a Business Class seat available? Would you mind looking up the price difference for me?” I asked her.

“Of course, it’s $19 to upgrade the longest leg of his trip. Did you want to do that?’

“For $19, yes, let’s do that!”

“Okay Tracy, so I emailed you the newest itinerary. Is there anything else at all I can do for you?”

“Marjorie, you just saved one Navy fella from getting his neck wrung by his sister.  So let’s review, I nearly had a heart attack but for less than $15 more he got the ticket he needed AND he gets to ride Business Class? So I essentially just rewarded him for putting me through this.  Is that about right?”

Marjorie laughed, “Yes, ma’am – I think you summed it up!”

“Well, Marjorie, I am so happy you could help me and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!”

“You as well, Ms. Sano.”

So there you have it.  I am thankful that my brother doesn’t have to eat porridge in a cold cell alone on Thanksgiving.  Even more so, I am thankful for real live people like Marjorie who are kind and helpful.

Unlike that dumb bitch Judy!

What are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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Beauty and the Burrito

If this story sounds familiar, that’s because some of you have read this post already. It won an Honorable Mention on Humor Press in the 2013 3rd Quarter  Humor Writing Contest.  Anyway, since I’ve been treating my blog like a red-headed stepchild with the lack of posts, I figured that even though it isn’t “brand new,” it’s never been published here on the blog so here’s a new-to-the-blog but not really new post. Enjoy!

 

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I will never forget the day my niece was born. A friend of mine worked at Sephora and had given me a giant bag of goodies. As I dug into it, I started trying out all the different products. And I mean all. I smeared on the face-life cream, eye patches to reduce puffiness, lip plumper, teeth whitening strips, cellulite goo on my thighs, stomach firming gel, foot tingly stuff with the special socks, exfoliators, you name it and I had it gobbed on my body.

Just as I was lying in bed like a mummy, stiff and probably high as a kite, from all the bio-hazardous chemicals I had lathered on, my sister texted me, “I think it’s time. Should I wake up Ian?” My sister, Mandy, had crept downstairs to her treadmill and had started working out at 11:30 at night her time to “work off” the contractions. Mandy is one of those people who you kind of want to hate, but you can’t because she’s so nice. She only eats when she’s hungry, she put on less weight during her pregnancy than I do eating a drunken late-night burrito, and she was WORKING OUT the night she went into labor. In fact, that was the nickname I had given the baby during Mandy’s pregnancy, “The Burrito,” because I told my sister there was no way she was actually pregnant, that she just looked like she had eaten a carne asada burrito and had a full tummy. “Kiss the Burrito for me,” I would tell her repeatedly over the next 9 months.

I think I rolled my eyes when I saw that she had texted that she was running her contractions away, but my eyes had gone numb at that point so I’m not really sure. “It’s really kind of hurting but I don’t want to have a false alarm,” she told me. “I’m having bad contractions, and I’m in a lot of pain. What do I do?”

The Big Sister panic button had been pushed. I was 3,000 miles away and I have no experience with childbirth. Okay. Breathe. Just breathe, Tracy. Consult Big Sister Handbook. Crap. No handbook. I’ve been meaning to get my hands on one. Okay, just stay calm.

“Like how bad is the pain?” I asked her.

“Really bad, I think it’s happening, but I’m not sure, how do you know?”

Umm. Ma’am? Heartache? I got that in the bag. Fight with Mom? Check. Trouble at work? No problem. Baby’s coming….Holy Hell, are you out of your mind, I haven’t a clue!!

“Okay, so like…it’s really hurting? Or really-really hurting? ‘Cause, I mean, I have this cream on my stomach and it’s really starting to hurt. Like more than tingle, I mean, I’m in a lot of pain now. I think it might be starting to eat away at my skin….” I lifted my shirt and peeked to make sure.

I glanced back at my phone, “REALLY??!? Really right now, you’re trying to compare my LABOR PAINS to your CELLULITE TREATMENT?!?!” Clearly my sister was being a bit irrational and she didn’t know how intense this stuff was, so I let that one slide.

“Yeah, ummm…I think you should probably wake up Ian now.”

I was on pins and needles the next few hours, and finally I got the call from Mandy, “She’s here! You have a niece!” We talked for a couple of minutes and when we hung up, I remember feeling so proud of her. How could the same person who had shared a bedroom with me growing up, now be a mother? I cried tears of joy that night, and tears of sadness for not being able to be there with her or to meet little Kailee. Then I cried tears of joy again when I looked in the mirror and saw how good my skin looked. I didn’t tell Mandy that part though. She was still emotional from all the hormones and might have thought I was being “shallow.”

I finally met my little Kailee a month and a half later and instantly fell in love. Holding my sister’s baby in my arms for the first time was one of the best moments of my life. Every time I’ve seen my little burrito since then, I am stunned at how smart she is and how fast she’s growing. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to come visit her Auntie so we can play beauty shop together!

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Why I’m Cutting Crime Shows Out of My TV Lineup

I think I need to take a break from watching Law and Order reruns.  Generally, I’m a (too?) trusting person and I tend to think that people won’t be mean to me because I’m not mean to people- which is ridiculous, I know.  But, lately I’ve been swinging the pendulum to the other side, imagining that everyone is some kind of deranged killer and that’s probably worse than being happy go lucky.  Last night, I realized I need to get myself in check when I stopped to get gas.  The credit card machine wasn’t working at the pump, so I had to go inside to pay.  Standing near the cashier counter were two suspicious looking guys who were clearly ready to shoot the place up, like an episode of SVU I saw this weekend.  Unfortunately, Ice-T wasn’t lurking in the background waiting to take the bullet for me.

Perp Number One had a backpack (probably filled with body parts OR empty waiting to put my chopped up body in it- either or) with a skateboard strapped to it.  Now, one thing you need to know about me is that when I get nervous, I talk.  A lot.  On first dates, work meetings, awkward situations, you can always count on me to blabber on so much I turn blue because I forget to breathe. Turns out, being nervous about getting chopped into a million pieces is no exception.

“Oh! Look! Your skateboard is missing a wheel!” I exclaimed, pointing to at his getaway vehicle.  I think my subconscious had rationalized it might be harder for him to slice and dice me if he knew how nice I was.  Make it personal, I was thinking.

He looked at me grimly and then slurred out some gibberish through his missing teeth. 

I literally had no idea what he had said.  But of course, I kept talking, gib gabbering away about his broken wheel.  Then, I began to panic.  What if all this “personalizing” made him think I would want to give him a ride or something?  Then what would I say? If I said no, he might want to stab me and cut my boobs off as a trophy and bring them to his Russian mob boss for his body-parts showcase. 

Stop talking, Tracy. STOP!!

I couldn’t stop.

“Yeah, that’s too bad, hopefully you can fix it soon.”

“Uh huh.” (More gibberish).  “I found this glove.” He held up a black glove with the fingers cut off.

“Oh, um. Well that’s great! See- you found a glove to make up for the skateboard wheel!” I exclaimed excitedly.

“I can’t ride a glove home,” he retorted.

I thought about that for a minute.  “That’s true.  Well, I was just trying to find the silver lining for ya….” I trailed off, suddenly aware that Murderer Number Two didn’t seem to be partners with the no-fingered glove skateboard bandit. 

Oh my god.  I’d been chatting up the WRONG KILLER this whole time!!! This skateboard guy was probably harmless and this OTHER fella was ready to blow the whole place up with a semi-automatic and I hadn’t made it personal with him AT ALL.  GAH!

Skateboard guy left without incident. 

My hands shook as I thought of something to say to the other killer.  Nothing came to mind because I was so frazzled so I focused my nervous chats on the cashier, silently begging him with my eyes to call 911.  He didn’t get my telepathic memo so I just settled for blurting out, “Fifty on pump 4 please.”

Skateboard guy suddenly stuck his head back into the store. 

This was it. The ambush.  The jig was up-  and they were about to end it all right now. 

I whispered, “Hail Mary Full of Grace. The lord is something.” I don’t really even know the Hail Mary but I figured if there was ever a time to say a quick prayer, it was now, even if just a little part of one. 

Then, I grabbed at my chest where I had been shot and everything went dark.

No but really I just grabbed my receipt and watched the skateboard guy hand the cashier a dollar while he grabbed a lighter off the counter.  The second guy never moved an inch and I’m still having my doubts about him. 

So, yeah I’m thinking no crime shows for a while- maybe I’ll stick to watching wholesome Cosby Show reruns on Nick at Nite until the dust in my insane imagination settles… although Rudy in her awkward phase might dredge up scarier delusions than the murderers do-  I’ll keep you posted.

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Tracy Takes the Theater

When my brothers and sister and I were kids, my mom was really dedicated to making sure we were “well rounded” members of society.  She made us do a bunch of after-school activities because her kids weren’t going to go through life with missed opportunities like she did.  For that, I thank her.  It was a great gesture. However, as you can imagine, the execution wasn’t always as flawless as the idea.

All four of us kids had to take dance classes: ballet, tap, jazz, whatever.  Back then, my coordination level was about as awful as it is now, except it was slightly less noticeable because we were kids and there were a couple of other sucky kids in the class to mask just how sucky of a dancer I was.  Now, when I say I was sucky, I wasn’t just a few beats off from the rest of the class….I was horribly off and spinning around in dizzy circles while the rest of the class was busy doing tippy toe pirouettes or whatever they were practicing at the time.  I spent more time on my ass than I did doing the fancy formations we were being taught.

All I really cared about was being out of class in time to watch my favorite show, Party of Five, which happened to always be airing on the nights that we had dance lessons.  If we went a minute over, I would freak out that we were missing seeing a riveting storyline where orphaned teenagers lived alone and took care of each other. I always wanted to be like Party of Five- you know, live alone without my parents and take care of my siblings, because OBVIOUSLY I could have done a better job taking care of myself and other kids as a teenager than my parents could….(parents are so stupid.)  But I didn’t really want my parents to die like in the show because that would have been awful so I would instead wish that my dad would get a job in like Russia or something and then leave us to take care of the house because THAT would have been a totally realistic scenario. You know, me in charge but my parents not dead. “See you later, kids….you got this, right, Tracy?” Right. It’s absurd, but I was 12.  So anyway, on those nights that we were running late to see Party of Five, I would yell at my mom to drive faster to get home and I swear she drove 3 miles UNDER the speed limit the whole way, just to piss me off.  Thankfully, my father who was/is a 13 year old girl in the body of a middle aged man, always had it tuned in when we got home under the guise that he didn’t want me to miss any of it, and could always fill my sister and me in on the first 7 minutes we could have caught if Mom just would drive like a normal human being.

Anyway, there was always one night during each session that the parents came to watch us and on those nights, I extra wanted to die.  Even though I knew that each parent was watching their own kid, I felt like I was being scrutinized and then I would grow a 3rd left foot and all my inept left feet would keep bumping into each other, making my performance even more embarrassing than usual.  That was NOTHING compared to recital days though- up on stage, a fool for a whole auditorium to see…..

Our first recital was definitely the worst.  They sent home a notice to our parents that we had to wear “dark makeup” so it would show up on stage.  My sister Mandy and I were so excited that we got to wear eye makeup-mascara and eyeliner and whatnot.  When my mother went out shopping for makeup for our performance, we couldn’t believe it.  MOM’S LETTING US WEAR MAKEUP?! We figured Mom would come up with some crazy reason that we wouldn’t be allowed to and how no child of hers was wearing adult makeup, even if it WAS for a recital. But, shockingly, she was totally into it!!!

The day of the recital, we got into our fancy ballet costumes and let mom makeup us up.  First Mandy went. As mom went to work on Mandy’s face painting her up with all kinds of goo, I was waiting for her to look like a beautiful princess.  Maybe makeup worked differently than I thought?  Maybe it took some time to kick in?  “Mom?” I asked, as I picked up a bottle of full coverage foundation, marked ‘Dark, for ethnic skin’, “Umm, are you sure this is what they meant by DARK makeup?”  I giggled as she gooped more onto Mandy’s porcelain white skin.

“Yes, this is what they want you to do. I was in the drama club and you have to wear dark makeup so they can see you on stage!” Mom emphatically responded as she gooped more goo onto my sister.

But where was the eyeliner? Where was the lipstick? Where was the mascara and the princess makeup? Mandy looked like she had fallen face first into a pile of mud.  A few minutes later, so did I.  What the heck? We had been so excited about wearing makeup but instead Mom had made us look like Ooompa Loompas!!

The whole ride over, we were wiping at our faces, trying to minimize the goop factor but mom kept yelling at us not to touch it.  Mandy and I had really started to panic the closer we got to the school auditorium.  “Mom, we look ridiculous!”  We whined.

Our suspicions that we looked ridiculous were validated when we walked into one of the backstage rooms and all the other little non-gooped up faced girls turned to stare at us.  “Moooooooommmm!!!” we hissed, “We TOLD YOU this isn’t what they meant by ‘dark makeup.’”

“Okay, okay,” she reluctantly acknowledged when she saw all the other princess- makeup-faced girls. Unable to completely admit defeat, she added, “But still- that’s how they do it in the THEATER!”

The good news is, all that dark goo took the attention off all those left feet….

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Clash of the Couples- Murder She Wrote

We’ve all had a ridiculous argument with a significant other that when we look back was absolutely hilarious in the aftermath.  I am not generally a “fighter” but my favorite outrageous dispute was with an ex, when he thought I was trying to kill him. For the sake of this story, let’s call him “Paranoid Pete.”  (I don’t really care that much about protecting him and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my blog but just in case…I don’t know the slander laws that well.)

A bunch of us were going out bar hopping one weekend.  Paranoid Pete in tow, we all met at my friend Dave’s house. (That’s Dave’s real name, by the way…he doesn’t have a nickname. We never dated, plus he doesn’t care if I slander him in any of my stories- I asked).  We were all socializing at the house first and then we left to go out.  Now let me tell you: my friends and I are a rambunctious crowd- we’re loud, we’re fun, and boy- oh- boy can we DRINK.  Being the wholesome fella Pete was, he tried to keep up….with the loudness, with the fun, and with the drinking.  And he failed- miserably.  Especially with the drinking.  Somewhere between the house and the second bar, PP started to lose his shit.  He was taking off his shoes and falling all over the place and just becoming an all-around horrid train wreck and embarrassment.  Annoyed that I had to leave to tend to this lightweight, I told my friends that I was taking him back to Dave’s house to pull it together. 

On the walk back home, Pete’s antics were escalating. He was climbing trees and yelling belligerently.  Finally, after contemplating just leaving him on the street, I got him back to Dave’s.  He said he didn’t feel well so he went into the bathroom and stuck his head in the toilet. Then he started mumbling gibberish.  At one point, I swear I heard him say, “You’re trying to kill me.”

I was beyond irritated but I was trying to be a nice girlfriend.  Calling to him from the kitchen as I was getting him a glass of water, I reassured him, “I’m not trying to kill you.  Just let it out if you need to.  It’s okay. I’m getting you some water…”

Then, like a bolt of lightening, he ran out of the house, yelling, “I’m not going to let you poison me!!!!”

Gah! This guy! Not only did he make me leave early, but now I had to go find this idiot. You had GOT to be kidding me. I walked around to the front of the house and he was nowhere to be found. I searched up and down the streets. I called his phone a minimum of 100 times.  After an hour of unfruitful searching, I called in an Amber Alert to my cousin Katie and our friend Dave. “I’m so sorry you guys but Pete’s ran off and he thinks I’m trying to kill him and I don’t know what to do. Don’t rush back but I could really use your help because this fool might sorta be missing…”

Everyone came back and was asking what happened. “Dude, I have no idea! One minute he’s in the bathroom and then he’s yelling that I’m trying to kill him! He’s absolutely lost it!!”

We split up into search parties. After another hour of looking, we all came up dry.  As panic really started to set in, and I was about ready to call the local hospitals, (Sure, he was annoying but I wasn’t completely heartless!) I got a call from him.  I answered it immediately.  The voice on the other end was not his.

“Hello, this is Officer Smith.  I’ve got an extremely disoriented gentleman here. I took his phone and saw that the person who had last called him 100 times was probably responsible for him. He’s on the corner of Oak and 3rd. Please come collect him so I don’t have to bring him in.”

Lovely.  I brought backup with me in case he still thought I was trying to kill him. That was a good move because indeed he did maintain his belief that I was a killer. At one point, he climbed another tree to get away from me and promptly fell out of it.  I’m not going to lie to you, I laughed a little at that.  Okay, maybe I laughed a lot.

Finally, we stuffed him into the car as I was desperate to get him home and just end the nightmare. The entire car ride I had to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other one holding him into the passenger seat because he continued to insist I was trying to kill him and kept trying to open the door and jump out onto the freeway. I was so annoyed with him that the thought of him becoming roadkill didn’t sound so terrible, but then I figured I might get stuck filling out paperwork all night and that didn’t sound all that fun either.

I somehow got Paranoid Pete home in one piece.  My roommate Molly and her boyfriend were sleeping but were awoken by Pete’s’ disorderly conduct. As I was trying to help him get ready for bed, I handed him his toothbrush (even a crisis is no excuse to neglect your oral hygiene!).  He was spitting out the toothpaste shrieking, “You’re putting razors in my toothpaste! You’re trying to kill me! There are razors in here!!”

Sleepy-eyed, Molly stood in her bedroom doorway to find out what the commotion was all about.  “What the HELL is going on out here?!” she asked, confused.

“SHE’S TRYING TO KILL ME!!” He screamed, his eyes wild.

“Yes, that’s right. I’m trying to kill him. With razors. In his toothpaste. Can’t you see?” I rolled my eyes.

At some point, I got my disaster of a boyfriend to go to sleep. When he woke up in the morning, his eyes were no longer wild, but wide and apologetic. “Tracy. I am so sorry. I don’t know what happened to me last night.”

“What part are you sorry for? The part where you ran away, climbed a tree and fell out of it, or the part where you thought I was trying to murder you?”

“All of it.  That wasn’t me. I didn’t have that much to drink! I think someone drugged me!”

“Someone drugged you?” I stared back at him in disbelief and disgust. “I mean. People don’t usually go around drugging GUYS. What would be the point of that, so they could follow you around with a camera and capture the looney tunes on film? You were NOT drugged!  You just can’t handle your booze!!” I snarled, all my patience left behind at last night’s rodeo, corralling him home.

I think he sensed the unwelcome look in my eyes so he promptly left.  He later let me know that he had a broken arm from the tree fall that required a cast and that he had asked them to do a drug test on him while at the hospital, still convinced someone had roofied him. Whaddayaknow, he must have sweat out all that GHB because the tox screen came back clean.

I have to say, that was one argument that probably will never be topped.  Although I didn’t start off wanting to kill him, I sure did by the end of the night. 

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Have you ever felt like offing your significant other?  Ever have a fight that was so funny, the story lasted longer than the relationship?  If you want to read more about funny couples clashing, I’ve got great news.  A whole bunch of hilarious writers have teamed up to write a book of funny stories, called “Clash of the Couples.”

Coupledom. Fact or fable, Adam and Eve birthed the perpetual relationship drama as seen on TV today. Despite the serpents, this couple HAD IT MADE. Luxury real estate, lush gardens, and privacy out the yin-yang. Life was glorious until the bare-bottomed babe could no longer resist temptation. Despite her better half’s warnings and threats to sleep in a tree, she tasted the forbidden fruit. One bite of that seductive, juicy contraband and the stage was set for eternity— a nibble that has blossomed into an endless supply of tiny tidbits that divide lovers to this day!

Taking a cue from the naked explorers of authentic sin, Clash of the Couples is a new anthology featuring a collection of completely absurd lovers’ squabbles and relationship spats. Think couples fight over kids, sex, and money? Think again! Furniture, the last beer, and where to store the placenta are what genuinely ignite our feuds. And no argument is off limits. This book has it all!

Inside you’ll find a gut-busting compilation of stories such as: “I Can’t Believe You Ate My Sandwich,” “Never Assume Anything,” “Only I Can Talk About Me,” and “You Want Some College Boobs?” from forty-three fearless writers. Prepare to laugh, roll your eyes, and shiver in suspense. While Eve may have had the first bite, we ate the whole tree. And made pies.

Published by Blue Lobster Book Co., Clash of the Couples launches loudly and obnoxiously on November 3, 2014. You’ll hear us coming, but look for it on Amazon, B&N, Apple, and other places where you typically buy books. For instant updates, follow along on Facebook!

 

The lineup includes:

Andrew S. Delfino of Almost Coherent Parent

Crystal Ponti of MommiFried

Camille DeFer Thompson of Camille DeFer Thompson

Kimberly Morand of Anchor Magazine: Navigating Depression, Bipolar, and Anxiety

Meredith Napolitano of From Meredith to Mommy

Chris Dean of pixie.c.d.

Linda Roy of elleroy was here

Kevin Zelenka of Double Trouble Daddy

Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus

R.C. Liley of Going Dad

Mary Widdicks of Outmanned

Marie Bollman of Make Your Own Damn Dinner

Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie

Mike Reynolds of Puzzling Posts

Leigh-Mary Hoffmann of Happily Ever Laughter Blog

Lisa Petty of Lisa R. Petty

Lynn Shattuck of The Light Will Find You

Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids

Stacey Gustafson of Are You Kidding Me?

Angela Godbout of FRaPS

Courtney Conover of The Brown Girl with Long Hair

Jenny Hills of Express Bus Mama

Marcia Kester Doyle of Menopausal Mother

Julia Arnold of Frantic Mama

Jessica Azar of Herd Management

Susan A. Black of I Like That

Dave Lesser of Amateur Idiot Professional Dad

Sarah del Rio of est. 1975

Nicole R. Wildhood of Naught Be All Else

Angela Keck of Writer Mom’s Blog

Alexa Bigwarfe of No Holding Back

Brian Sorrell of Dadding Full Time

Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket

April Grant of 100lb Countdown

Bev Feldman of Linkouture

Jodi Flaherty of The Noise of Boys

Scott Rigdon of Three Five Zero

Lydia Richmond of Cluttered Genius

Allie Burdick of VITA – Train for Life

Michelle Grewe of Crumpets and Bollocks

Barb Godshalk of Co-Author of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey

Jonathon Floyd of One Funny Daddy

Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting

Chris Carter of The Mom Cafe

Clash of the Couples book Tracy on the Rocks

Innocent Until Proven Guilty Pleasures

It occurred to me that I don’t really have many guilty pleasures.  Oh, pleasure, sure!! Lots and lots of those- but “guilty” ones? Not so much.  I live on my own, I don’t have any kids to look out for…anything stupid I do, I pay the consequences for.  The one thing I beat myself up over and I guess feel “guilty” about, is how much I spend and how little I save. You guys, I go out all.the.time.  I have a lot of different groups of friends and we’re always meeting for happy hour, going to dinner, grabbing some apps- you get it. It’s not that I don’t LOVE meeting up with friends and it’s not that I don’t love going out.  It’s just that if I added up all my dinners and going out dollars, I would probably have enough to buy a yacht. Or at least a pretty pimped out tugboat or something. 

I love going out to dinner, it’s true.  First, I’m not so great of a cook. The food I make is usually mediocre at best, but usually inedible.  So there’s that.  Next, I put a lot into my job, my writing and all kinds of activities and I’m usually too pooped to do anything at the end of the day that isn’t enjoyable to me or relaxing.  Lastly, I really, really appreciate being waited on. Let me clarify- I am usually the first one to jump up and ask, “Can I get anyone anything while I’m up?” I love playing hostess, I love being helpful and it comes naturally to me.  That being said, it’s nice when I know that I’m PAYING someone to wait on me so I don’t have to feel bad about not being the person running around and getting things to make sure the meal is enjoyable.  Sometimes it’s nice to put that all on someone else.

Plus, I know how hard it is to wait tables and I am always conscious of that fact when I’m out. Once upon a time, I myself waited tables.  I was the worst server ever to be given an apron.  I once spilled an entire tray of mimosas on a woman on Mother’s Day at brunch.  She was furious.  Even though we paid for her to get her dress dry cleaned, comp’d her whole party’s meal, she was still livid.  The table next to hers left an enormous tip.  I approached the gentleman who wrote the gratuity in, asking him if it was a mistake. “No, honey it’s not a mistake,” nodding over at the mimosa disaster, “I have a feeling THEY won’t be leaving you anything and I saw how hard you’ve been working.”  For that reason, I tend to be an “over-tipper” when I go out now.

So yeah, I love going “out” for lots of reasons.  I do like going to nice, upscale restaurants with great food, but I also love finding “hole in the wall” type places that have great food too.  Sometimes those places are a lot more fun and relaxed and you can just let loose and not have to worry about laughing too loud or that awkward moment in the ladies room where the bathroom lady wants to hand you a towel.  I hate those bathroom attendants. 

Whenever I walk into a restroom and see a bathroom attendant, I almost always contemplate how badly I have to go and consider walking out.  But, since I have a bladder the size of a walnut, avoiding them is never an option.  Look, I’m sure they are nice people and all…but I just don’t get it.  I know they’re there to provide a service- make sure that the bathrooms are kept clean and all that.  But it’s so WEIRD! I always feel rushed to wash my hands and sometimes the way they ration out the towels, I want another one but I don’t want to ask for it because then I’ll feel obligated to tip them.  I don’t think I should have to tip someone for squirting some soap into my hand and giving me a paper towel.  I can get my own towel! What’s next? Are they going to have people standing at the stalls rationing out toilet paper?

 

And you know how they always spread out an array of toiletries on the counter? Gum, body spray, deodorant, lip stick, tampons.  Um- AS IF I would ever use some random person’s deodorant!!! And let me repeat in my best Cher from Clueless voice- AS IF!!!! 

Then, if I want to take a minute to apply some lipstick -from my purse not from the pile on the counter-I feel like I also owe a tip for taking up their towel-handing real estate by standing at the mirror.  I’m sure I’m overthinking the whole thing and I should just stop worrying and not care about what the bathroom people think of me.  It’s not like I have to see them again, right? WRONG! That’s the thing. I have to see them at least several times throughout the night (see above reference of the walnut bladder).  Ugh. And even if I wanted to tip them, (I don’t want to, I’m just saying hypothetically) I never have cash on me. Who carries cash, anyway? That’s soooo 1992. 

Right- so anyway, in summary:  I love going out to dinner- I do NOT love bathroom attendants.  I feel guilty for how much money I spend going out to eat. I also feel guilty for not tipping the bathroom people, but NOT guilty enough to start doing it. 

If you have any questions on what I consider a guilty pleasure, a pleasure without the guilt, or just a guilt with no pleasure involved, come find me at the wine bar down the street where I will be not guiltily eating and drinking pleasurably and guiltily but not pleasurably not tipping the bathroom lady.

 

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