Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Nine: Ma’am and the cleanse…

Okay, so here we are in 2021. I suppose all of those New Year hopes and resolutions laced with the infusion of alcohol the night before can make you believe that anything is possible, that is until the cold glare of the reality of morning hits you like a two by four smack over the head. I stare into the mirror of truth. NOTHING has changed. I still cannot fit into a size 6 and, snoring next to me is NOT George Clooney but Confused Husband. Face it! You are NEVER going to meet George Clooney unless you fly to Lake Como, hire a boat, jump overboard in a scuba suit, and stealthily swim up to his dock like a ninja entering the property to strip down from your scuba suit, and have a formal gown underneath(Yes, it is Bond-Esq). You then blend in with the crowd and join the fête that George is hosting. (Obviously, I have thought about this scenario a lot!). George is just about to come over to me and say: “I have never seen YOU before!” But my daydream is RUDELY interrupted by Confused Husband who has woken up from his slumber during my George Daydream to announce that we are going on a cleanse! I don’t recall agreeing to this! It is a lemon juice, red pepper concoction. A stew of nonsense that will certainly make me sick. Why do New Year’s Eve resolutions invoke cleanses, diets, a new you, yada, yada?

“All the celebrities do this!” He bellows and then adds, “I bet EVEN George!”(how dare you speak of him by first name only!) “Need I remind you, we are not celebrities!” I share. He looks at me like I have just told him there is no such thing as Santa. Heading into the kitchen, he states: “WE may not be celebrities but, we can still do a cleanse!”

Confused Husband turns into a deranged Julia Child, creating his concoction with such fervor and zest, it is alarming. Watching his current frenzied state, I don’t think that he is aware of what he is dumping into this stew of nonsense. I am pretty sure, along with the cayenne pepper, he has added chocolate sprinkles. I am positive that I could use this absurd brew to remove rust.

The color of Confused Husband’s mixture borders between diarrhea and vomit. I really should be filming him and putting it on YouTube under: “Massive food blunders.” I like a fortune teller, or even a fortune cookie, can foresee the outcome of this train-wreck occurring in my kitchen. No, this is not going to end well.

The blender whirs away. I turn my eyes elsewhere as its contents are so horrifying. The ridiculous smile pasted on Confused Husbands’ face makes me wonder if perhaps he hit his head last night and is in a concussed state. With great ceremony, he presents his atrocious product behaving like a bully in a High School cafeteria. He attempts to force me to drink it with comments like: “Drink it! Oh, you will feel like a new person! Years younger!” (does he have a bridge to sell me?). I will not bend to peer pressure and suggest that he be the Guinea Pig and try it first. I sense his hesitation as he sniffs the contents of the blender. I am about to gag. No, worries he does it for me.

So much for the Great Cleanse of 2021…

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Ma’am and Auld Lang Syne…

The New Year’s song or New Year’s anthem is Auld Lang Syne. It is Scottish and translates to “old long since”, but the meaning is more like old times or the olden days. The song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.
It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia. Although this year, I surmise we can all agree that 2020 was unlike any year before, and not very nostalgic.
I have been trying to write a post reflecting on 2020. All I can see is a poop emoji and a complete stew of nonsense. It is daunting and I feel like we are all aboard this Crazy train and none of us is able to get off. 2020 is indeed a runaway train of a bad Lifetime movie that we are all trapped in. There are so many things to worry about and we have all had such trying experiences this year, I imagine we will be having several PTSD moments in the future.
If you haven’t seen the show Snow Piercer based on the movie I feel that 2020 can be summed up watching this series. People are trapped on a runaway train because due to climate change the world is now completely frozen. There is a hierarchy on the train and the upper class has a Marie Antoinette “Let them eat cake!” attitude to the rest of the train. (Sound familiar peeps here in the States?!)
Okay, as the Brits say”Stiff upper lip.” “Keep calm and carry on!” Let’s look at the positive things coming around the corner. Covid vaccines, a sane non-crooked, non-lying administration is headed our way. These are good things I know! But it is difficult to navigate all we have been through.
I don’t think that ringing in the New Year has ever held more meaning for me! We have lived through a pandemic, unemployment, EVERYDAY craziness here in DC, and the world!
All I got out of it was a lousy t-shirt saying: “I survived Covid!” For Fucks sake! Of course, I am grateful and I know shouldn’t be whinging about this compared to others, but I am HUMAN! I have my moments and this is one of them!
I am able to get out of things with Confused Husband, all I have to say is: “Remember you gave me Covid”. I know this is my hall pass for the rest of my marriage and I am grateful. It is my kryptonite. Confused Husband is Superman and I am Lex Luther! I like Lex Luther will use my kryptonite when need be.
Instead, my New Year’s resolution is going to try and focus on important news like: Is Hilaria Baldwin really Spanish? Will The Kardashians have to actually fly commercial? These are the kinds of news stories I want to worry about.
As a world, we have all been through and are continuing to go through stuff. We have been tested as a species. My hope is that we are kinder, don’t take the simple pleasures in life for granted, such as hugs, handshakes, and seeing smiles. That we strive to be less judgemental and instead offer a compliment. Hopefully, we see every person in each race, religion, country, sexual orientation, to be our friend and family.
If I have learned anything this absurd year, it is to embrace each day, every experience, and not to sweat the small stuff.
There are no guarantees in life.
My wish is that 2020 is like the line:”Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.”
Perhaps we can’t forget 2020, but we can attain a new appreciation of insignificant moments that now mean so much.
Happy New Year!

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven: Will Ma’am be fa- la- la-ing….

Christmas is approaching, and although it is indeed different from Christmases past, there are still things to be done. As time has passed, and the chickens have flown the coop, we are down to one child left at home. I no longer have my little elf helpers. It is just me decorating, baking Christmas cookies, and shopping.
Confused Husband has never been a fan of Christmas. He gets his Grinch resting face on the day after Thanksgiving when I pull out the Christmas decorations and begin the merriment. Heaven forbid I ask him to assist with a Christmas project! He looks like he is having a root canal! He grumbles about the money I spend on Christmas cookie ingredients, but I don’t see him complaining as he shovels them into his mouth. I also notice that the various Christmas candies I have scattered about the house have left a trail of wrappers.
But this year, I have a secret weapon! A Superhero power, if you will. Every time he starts to complain about something, I say: “But you gave me Coronavirus.” It shuts him up real fast! I drag him along on my Christmas merriment excursions, whether it’s to walk through the city looking at the lights, grabbing a festive hot beverage, window shopping, whatever I feel like. I ignore his angry elf face and the fact that I even made him wear a goofy elf hat. I chuckle at it askew on his head. I am DEFINITELY driving the Christmas sleigh this year.
I also enjoy listening to Christmas music and watching holiday movies. I catch him and teen son whispering in the other room. I can guarantee it is not a discussion on what presents to buy me, rather an extraction plan of how to get out of watching the latest Lifetime Christmas flick. I intercept phrases like “Over pour her wine, so she falls asleep.” “Die Hard is a Christmas movie!” Oh! I am on to their scheme!
I casually come into the room fake coughing and say a little over dramatically like Greta Garbo: “That’s just the after-effect from my bout with Coronavirus.” I watch the guilt wash over him like a tsunami. He announces he will make popcorn for our movie.
During a commercial, I declare that we are going Christmas caroling with masks later in the week. Right before there is a revolt, I gingerly cough and smile.


Chapter One Hundred Twenty- Six: A seat at the table…

I often compare the various holidays to a dysfunctional brood of family members sitting around the dinner table, each with their own characteristics. Everyone has their own distinct personalities and opinions. They possess a particular Je ne sais quoi… if you will.

Let’s start with Christopher Columbus Day, I juxtapose this holiday to the racist cousin that visits once a year. The cousin no one wants to know or keep in contact with. We all remember the old song we had to learn in elementary school:”In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. Forced to memorize the names of his three ships: The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria. We had parades and a day off from school. As time went on and we began to see what exactly our distant cousin stood for we became less inclined to partake in any event that celebrates him. Columbus Day is like the interbred weird cousin that the family is ashamed of. He is seated at a folding chair, because he wasn’t invited to the family dinner, he just kind of showed up. Columbus Day is definitely the relative no one invites over…

Next, take Halloween. For example, seated at the dinner table, it could be described as the Goth Teen Black Sheep of the family. The non-conformist kid that you either REALLY like or REALLY wonder how you are related to someone so unique and unusual. You question their fashion choice, their dark side, their need to wear a disguise. The yearning to go to complete strangers homes like a party trick and beg for candy carrying a plastic pumpkin or without shame, show up on a doorstep with an ENORMOUS pillowcase intending to stuff to the brim with candy! The choice to take a chance with their life by ringing some random strangers’ doorbell in the hopes of not being murdered but receiving a treat.

Halloween is even so audacious enough to attach itself to the most DISGUSTING two candies EVER to exist:Candy Corn, and Circus Peanuts! The manner in which Halloween so brazenly forces those two candies in our face is a huge slap! Halloween beats to the sound of a different drum, it can be moody and dark, yet playful and fun. Like a teen, a mixture of hormones changing moods at a whim, depending on which way the wind blows.

Obviously, Halloween was quite different this year. While we once found it exciting wearing masks every Halloween, it has now become a normal part of everyday life. Let’s just say, and I feel confident speaking for most of us that the novelty of wearing a mask has worn off. Yet Halloween will still choose to wear one. Yes, Halloween is truly the rebel, outcast of the Holiday family….

Then there is Thanksgiving. The over hosting, stuffing until you pop, kind, chubby Aunt who winds up drinking too much only to pass out, regret, as well as forget, the insults along with dinner rolls that were hurled across the table kind of holiday. She is passive aggressive with her offerings of seconds on the mashed potatoes and simultaneously commenting in an underneath her breath, under handed way about your elastic waistband pants. Like a plump Aunt she smiles, yet judges at the same time. Unfortunately, you are too stuffed and on the verge of a food coma to put up a fight, waiting for the gravy to harden around your arteries. Pondering if this is the way you are going out on a stretcher in elastic waistband pants. So year after year like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome you return to your chubby Thanksgiving Aunt for another helping of insults.

Because your Aunt feeds you well, you may over look some of the conversations. You side step the rehashing of what the Colonists did to the Native Americans, by holding out your plate like Oliver Twist and saying:”More please!” Aunty Thanksgiving brings up the most TABOO topic of all POLITICS! but you and your elastic waistband pants are on a mission and you really want dessert. Then somehow politics are segued into football which you REALLY could care less about, you just want pie.

Yes, Thanksgiving is the complicated elderly Aunt that you have a love hate relationship with…

The succeeding seat at the table is the kind, emotional, story teller Uncle, aka Hanukkah. Never one to rush things, Uncle Hanukkah takes a good eight days to tell his stories. The word Hanukkah means dedication, and celebrating eight days you have to truly be dedicated. Now Uncle Hanukkah used to only give out Gelt(money) but as time went on gifts were incorporated. Most of the food is fried in oil for Hanukkah as a symbol for the miracle oil that burned for eight nights straight. Albeit Uncle Hanukkah may force you to get out those waistband pants that you put away after the Thanksgiving debacle. Fun fact! There are over 17.5 million jelly donuts consumed in Israel over Hanukkah and it makes me ponder opening up a Dunkin’ Donuts in Jerusalem.

Uncle Hanukkah also spells his name several different ways that is how cool, calm, mellow and sure of himself he is. Hanukkah is the neutral relative that everyone gets along with, accompanied by great stories…

Christmas I consider, as being the cheery Grandpa who comes bearing gifts and merriment with song.  There are expectations, yet they are already mapped out. Eat, drink, and be merry! Gone are the visions from the nightmare of Thanksgiving, you are almost fully recovered, only a few PTSD Thanksgiving episodes have occurred. Now visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads are there. Carols are sung, stockings hung, and the anticipated arrival of Santa. Christmas makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now it could be the egg nog laced with copious amounts of rum that you have sucked down, which makes you feel sentimental and calm. But we know the truth, it is because you are receiving gifts, and most of us already know what those gifts are. You have picked them out, or asked for them. But Christmas like Grandpa has rules. You either open presents the night before, or on Christmas morning. Additionally, you attend Midnight Mass or some kind of church service.

Christmas namely Grandpa doesn’t let you get out scot free. You are maybe forced to attend a Live Nativity scene or some sort of play. If you want those presents, Christmas will make you work for them. Towards the end of Christmas day when all of the merriment and good tidings have worn off, you are ready for Grandpa aka Christmas to leave, head back to the North Pole. Looking around at all of the rumpled wrapping paper and oodles of decorations that you will need to take down and box away somehow makes Christmas look less inviting. You are sick of all the people in your home and if you hear one more Christmas carol your head will explode. You now for some reason have no empathy for Tiny Tim and your personality becomes more like Scrooge as the day progresses. Yup, time for Grandpa to return to the old age home. Once a year is PLENTY!

Yes, you are thrilled that Grandpa aka Christmas only visits once a year, and you thoroughly understand the phrase”Bah Humbug!”

In blows New Year’s Eve. She is not always kind, and I reckon she is somehow a lost twin of Valentines Day. Perhaps a distant cousin through marriage, none the less, she shows up every year to remind you how you are alone, and your entire year sucked. She proves to you as you sit eating Chinese food solo and watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square, what a pathetic loser you truly are. You are like the voyeur watching all of these fabulous New Year’s Eve parties that you were not invited to.

Just when you have licked your wounds from New Year’s, and gotten out of the fetal position, here comes Valentine’s Day. She starts out like the sexy aloof distant cousin through marriage that no one is quite sure what to do with. But Valentine’s Day quickly turns into the weird spinster relative. Valentine’s Day is supposed to represent love and chocolate, but the spinster relative creeps in and it becomes about; disappointment, breakups, and loneliness.

It is as though the Spinster has given you a box of chocolates with only one edible chocolate in the entire box. Like her unwanted advice, you bite into each piece, sampling her unwelcome suggestions on how maybe next year Valentine’s Day can be different for you. She is no longer the mysterious relative you have been excited to see. Upon closer inspection, she is a frizzy haired, wrinkly, spinster that has sucked the life out of you, and you are pretty sure that she is no longer married to your relative. For sure, Valentine’s Day is that one family member that you can’t seem to escape from…

St. Patrick’s day is like the cousin of holidays no one wants to acknowledge.All we know about him is that he likes green and may look like a leprechaun. So let’s drink and throw him a parade! He is the drunk cousin that keeps popping up after he escapes rehab. His connection within the family is questionable. He is either the bastard son of a disinherited uncle or the half brother of a second cousin. no one knows for sure, but like a bad rash he keeps turning up expecting a parade.

Then we have Ramadan which is like the anorexic relative that we don’t eat in front of, we wait until the sun goes down and then gorge away, when they’re not looking. It’s our time of reflection yet we are too hungry to reflect. We know we are being selfless in fasting, but perhaps we just don’t have it in us.

Try to explain the family member of Easter. The relative who has an identity crisis that no one is allowed to speak of. You try to figure out what colored eggs, candy, baskets, bunnies, bonnets, and chicks have to do with Jesus and the resurrection? It’s just a cornucopia of chaos and nobody knows what the hell is going on. So you just go with the flow. There are whispers that perhaps Easter is actually related through marriage, making the other Holiday family members feel better that they are not related to a complete stew of nonsense that no one can seem to explain.

You partake in Easter egg hunts because thats what you are supposed to do. You smile at the giant Easter Bunny that is hopping around the garden and ponder could this be Christopher Columbus crashing the family get together…

Fourth of July is like the old, decrepit relative that we keep having HUGE birthday celebrations for. Every year it’s the same theme, because chances are they can’t remember last year’s party. There are picnics, parades, fireworks, and I guarantee most attending don’t know the age of the guest of honor…

Yes. Like one huge dysfunctional family.

Chapter One Hundred Twenty- Five: Ma’am is not Florence Nightingale…

I find Confused Husband on the sofa flopping around like a fish out of water. He shares with me his kidney stone issue, sweating and writhing whilst bellowing: “You try pushing an ENORMOUS object out of a tiny hole!” Yes, he has the audacity to say this to my face! (we have four children!) I recall him being in the delivery room at the time…

I feel that most men cannot handle pain. A point in case a headache turns out to be a brain tumor. A fever turns into Typhoid each time he has an ache or pain; it is Googled and, then, we have to hear the sad tale of his demise according to some quack he found online, that has Doomed-diagnosed him.

There was the “Poison Ivy Fiasco” of the early ’90s. He had poison ivy on his leg and, self-diagnosed as Leprosy. It was RIDICULOUS! Although I did inquire about the infamous Leper Colony in Istanbul(where we were living at the time) and see if they had any vacancies…

This nonsensical sitcom turns into a documentary about the notorious kidney stone. I begin to think of it as our fifth child. All of our socializing and routines are now revolving around “the stone” I suggest a stroll over to Starbucks, which is literally feet from our home. He looks at me like I have just said: “Hop, on the chuck wagon Westward HO!” He looks perplexed: “Well, what if the stone decides to make an appearance?” (like it is a celebrity or the Pope).

“For Fuck Sake! Then you can walk back across the street into our home.” He is frustrated that I don’t show empathy for his current situation. He reiterates the pain he is in. Hours later, he has a GRAND announcement: “The stone has passed!” This declaration is SOOO over the top! As though he has just proclaimed the war has ended. Does he expect a Ticker-Tape parade?

Upset that I am not fawning over his stone and his angst like he feels I should be, he begins to sketch out a portrait of his stone. I feel like I am watching a tutorial by Bob Ross. It is LUDICROUS! He is yammering on and on continuing his farcical seminar. He is shading in his stone and acting as though he is creating an artistic masterpiece. His stone ironically looks like Italy to me with a shorter heel. He is quite upset by my description of his stone. He insists that ironically his stone sketch looks EXACTLY like a kidney bean. Never one to admit he is wrong, he leaves the house avec his pitiful sketch in hand. I watch him out on the sidewalk like the roving reporter going up to people and showing them his sketch. I observe him heading further away until he and his little Italian bean sketch are out of sight.

Hours later, he bursts into the house to proclaim that after taking a survey of seven complete strangers(I am hearing sirens in the distance and wondering if they are headed here to cart him away in a rubber suit, after receiving several complaints of a nuisance in the neighborhood). Five of them agreed with him that it indeed was a kidney-looking stone, and the two that agreed with me that it looked like Italy were an elderly- woman with cataracts, and the other one didn’t speak English so, he thought she was saying Italy! (She was probably saying, IDIOT! Or calling for help in her native tongue).

I am all out of sympathy and he then bellows”You could never be Florence Nightingale! You have no empathy for me! That mister we can agree on….

Chapter One Hundred twenty-four: Ma’am would be a better turkey than Pilgrim…

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us. I have a lot in common with a Thanksgiving turkey. I am plump, have a turkey neck, and am middle-aged so, my days, like turkeys during this time, are numbered. I also sweat a lot and am judged by my weight. The way my teenage son listens to what I say, I might as well be saying: “Gobble, gobble!” Yes, I would do extremely well as a turkey.

I also have been thinking about the Pilgrims crossing over on the Mayflower. I could have never survived the perilous journey from the stench on the ship alone! I also am most POSITIVE, definitely that I would have contracted scurvy. If Confused Husband was with me, I can guarantee he would have thrown me overboard into the Atlantic. I suppose this is why we have never gone on a cruise.

If; I was fortunate enough to survive the journey and wound up on Plymouth Rock. I would have been relieved, as well as disappointed that I almost lost my life to land on a rock. Perhaps I would be happy to have gotten off of the ship after what I can only imagine was a hellish voyage. But now, I would have to survive foraging in the woods for food and shelter. I have never camped hence; I could certainly not be a proper Pilgrim! I would have to build a home and, the thought of this exhausts me! I am GREAT with decorating but building? No way! Having to plant a garden, deal with bugs, wild animals, and then wanting to sit down but wait! No chair so, I have to friggin whittle one from some damn tree.

I would have tried to befriend the Native Americans, all the while trying to act like I was low maintenance because I wouldn’t want to be rude. I mean, I couldn’t insult them by rejecting their offer to share one of their teepees. I am extremely claustrophobic and feel that I wouldn’t do well in a small enclosed place. I also am squeamish and don’t think I could have hunted with them. I enjoy wearing makeup but not like its war paint. Sitting around the campfire with them, listening to their stories of survival. Yes, they would have considered me high maintenance. They would have figured out that I am not a “happy camper”; no pun intended and probably sent me packing.

Like a sweaty turkey basting in the oven, that is me during one of my hot flashes.

I feel cooked, stuffed, and sweltering, served up on a platter, put a fork in me I am done. Gobble, gobble…So overall, I guess between having to be a Pilgrim or a turkey, the closest I am is the poster child for Butterball…

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Three: Is Ma’am a Short Order Cook?…

Confused Husband has an uncanny ability to drop his food order at me like I am a Short Order cook and have just hollered through the little window: “What will you have Buddy?”

Case in point: I am scrubbing the toilet, and he meanders in the doorway nonchalantly asking: “How’s it going?” I look up from my chore at hand and debate which answer flashing through my mind I should give. Did he REALLY just ask me that?!

He smiles lopsided and without, waiting for an answer, says:” You know, I could really go for a toasted on whole wheat with a smidge of mayo and perhaps a slice of provolone between two pieces of a bologna sandwich.”

I retort:” Well, I could go for perhaps size six sweatpants, with a smidge of Pinot Grigio served to me by two guys who look like George Clooney. But guess what? It’s not happening!”

He then realizes he has overstepped and scurries away.

Later on, ensconced on the sofa shoveling peanut butter into my mouth like there is no tomorrow, he attempts to circle the drain again.: ” I was thinking about a lightly breaded chicken breast with a side of some sort -of vegetable, and maybe either roasted potatoes or some sort- of pasta.”

I look at him: ” Funny you mentioned that because I was just thinking about Prince Charming with a side of swooping me up on his horse to take me to his palace or perhaps his NYC penthouse but, oh yeah, I have a better chance of being eaten by a shark or struck by lightning as do you than any of what I have mentioned for either of those phenomenons to occur.” 

He looks crestfallen. What do I have on a paper hat and a crooked name tag? As he screams his order into the clown’s mouth and, all I hear is static?

Not one for ever getting a hint, he then suggests: “How about you rustle up ( who is he? Hoss from Bonanza and I am on a Dude Ranch?!). Some of your infamous scrambled eggs with a bagel, and your perfect coffee?” He smiles sheepishly like he has just suggested we have sex.

At times I am still dumbfounded that I am married to him. I blink like I am sending morse code. ” How about officials from Buckingham Palace arrive on our stoop, to inform me that my 23AndMe results came back and I am Queen Elizabeth’s fifth child and heir to the throne, and they are here to collect me and bring me to my true family, where I belong. Finally taking my rightful place!”

He then tries to argue his case by bringing up the time that we were in a dimly lit restaurant, and I didn’t have on my reading glasses. I wound up ordering the MOST expensive item on the menu and some very exorbitantly priced wine. He still likes to bellow how along, with a mortgage, we are paying off my restaurant bill. The least I could do is cook him a meal. That’s all you got? I calmly point out how he used one of those City Bikes and didn’t close the App after use and, it ran for a good 24 hours, or about the time while watching an infomercial at four in the morning, he decided it was a grand idea to sponsor some kid named Javier for just pennies a day. According to my calculations, Javier should now have a Ph.D. and a beach house with the money he has received from us. I continue on with my evidence:

” Let’s talk about Hal, the sad Willy Loman type salesman that showed up at our door selling some crazy vacuum? It was the price of a car payment and, guess what? It still is in the box unused but, Willy Loman got his commission and money for his hair transplant!”

The look on his face is like he just found out there is no Santa Clause. He mutters: “Shall we order pizza or Chinese?”

Ah! Now you are thinking!

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Two: Is Ma’am a G.O.A.T?…

GOAT, I had no idea what that meant. The goat I know is an animal that lives on a farm. According to Webster: any of various hollow-horned ruminant mammals (especially of the genus Capra) related to the sheep but of lighter build and with backwardly arching horns, a short tail, and usually straight hair. 

Apparently, GOAT is now a hip term that means something else. Greatest Of All Time…I ask teenage son if I am a goat? He looks at me like I am insane. He says:” We’ll you are goat-like when you don’t wax your chin. ( WTF??!!!), and when you get mad, you sound like a goat, and definitely your feet because you haven’t had a pedicure are goat-like hooves, you know like a cloven hoof mom? So yeah, you could be a goat!” He says enthusiastically. I glare at his ridiculous smile and have a visual of his photo on the back of a milk carton with the word “Missing” under it. I can’t believe that I have to explain which goat I mean! He nods and says, “Yeah, sure, that is you! He snickers and runs out of the room. I overhear him on the phone, sharing with his friend our ludicrous conversation and how he said I was GOAT. But then he says Grouchy, Old, And, Tired and bursts out laughing.

Yes, this Old goat is about to dig a hole in the back garden with her goat hooves for Missing On a Milk Carton Boy…

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One: Ma’am’s nightmare before Halloween…

All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, aka, Halloween is upon us. I think that I can speak for most when I say that the excitement and novelty of wearing a mask, have let’s say… worn off. Attempting to salvage the Halloween spirit, I suggest to Confused Husband that we get pumpkins and carve them out as we used to when we had a house full of children. Sighing dramatically as though I have just asked him to watch a tutorial on how to create the perfect eyebrow, he muses as to “WHY?!”
I share that maybe it would help us feel more normal in these uncertain times. He retorts: “Well, we are already wearing masks so; actually, it’s like Halloween every day!” I ponder this remark floating out there, made by this person standing before me, who I promised to “Love til death do us part.” For a moment, I visualize his face on a pumpkin being carved out by me.

I truly have always loved Halloween! The creative things you can do for this holiday have always been a joy for me. I used to love creating costumes for the kids and decorating the house. Obviously, this year things are different, and all the things we took for granted are no longer possible.
I did buy candy just for the house, out of habit when I was in the Halloween aisle in the market.

Remarkably, Confused Husband seems to enjoy this aspect of our “Faux Halloween” as he sits there, unwrapping and shoveling Reese’s peanut butter cups into his mouth. Watching him reminds me of those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park feasting on people. I am not happy with him and feel he is NOT Reese’s worthy, more like Candy Corn or Circus Peanut worthy. In my opinion, those are two of the most disgusting candies around. Yes, his punishment for not embracing Halloween should be only allowed to eat Candy Corn. He coughs, and for a moment, I think he has gagged on the ridiculous amount of candy he has stuffed in his mouth. It makes me think of those contestants in a hot dog eating contest, just heaping huge amounts into their pie hole without swallowing.

I have a flashback of him years ago choking on his vampire teeth during a costume party. It was RIDICULOUS! He claims to have PTSD from this, hence why he hasn’t dressed up since. He always starts with his tale of woe the same way: “When I choked on my fangs and had to be Heimliched by Frankenstein (yes, he tells this story with a straight face and with pained expression). Usually when he starts his ludicrous tale of schmaltz I leave the room because of its absurdity. I know it verbatim and hearing it over and over, it is not only nonsensical, but EMBARRASSING! There was a nun involved and a Zombie(it sounds like a bad bar joke).

With stuffed mouth, he begins his diatribe of woe, and I wonder if the sugar has shot to his brain and caused him to have this Forrest Gump moment of reflection on “How I swallowed my fangs and almost died.” I am trying to hold back the laughter, which he doesn’t appreciate. He bellows:”You were almost a widow!” I CANNOT take him seriously with his chocolate covered teeth and lips camouflaged by the peanut butter. He looks like he has those wax lips on.

I live in a cartoon, with cartoon like characters. Some days it’s like I am in The Peanut Gallery and other times The Simpsons. He continues about his”Halloween Nightmare” I chime in “This is mine…”

Chapter One Hundred-Twenty: Ma’am and must love dogs…

Being a dog owner and taking ones dog out for a walk in the city opens up an entire can of worms than just walking on your own, or letting your dog out into your backyard. It is a WHOLE Pandora’s box! There is no go quietly into the night happening. There’s the meet and greet where people without dogs want to stop and pet your pooch and then reminisce about their youth and their dog Bingo. You then get to hear the ENTIRE story of how they taught Bingo to open doors on his own and let himself into the backyard for a potty break. I stand there listening to this stew of nonsense and know that my eyes are glazing over and my dog is now looking up at me like WTF!? I mean think about it, this is his bathroom time and do any of us like to be interrupted when we are in the loo?

FINALLY, with much apologetic fanfare, I escape and only make it about twenty feet before I am greeted by a dog owner who looks like a cross between a serial killer and my old chemistry teacher. His dog is called Thor and he is HUMUNGOUS! He is drooling like Niagara Falls and his nether region which is standing at attention needs its own name. It has caught the attention of my little Yorkie and let’s just say it’s an awkward situation. The owner whose name is Ted begins his tale of how Thor came into his life. Apparently Ted’s wife left him(GEEZE SHOCKING!) he was so distraught and lonely that he decided to get a dog for companionship. So he went to where all smart people go wanting a dog, friggin Craigslist! He said he had to drive to the boondocks and the people had an entire litter of pups. He informs me they gave him papers and after picking out Thor he was on his way home. Well, thousands of dollars later in vet bills for shots, deworming and several health issues. Thor is healthy and what was supposed to be no bigger then a twenty pound dog is now tipping the scales Ted says proudly at One -hundred pounds! Motto of story:”DON’T GET YOUR DOG FROM CRAIGSLIST!”

Ted forges on not learning his lesson once no ever a glutton for punishment he is headed out to get a friend for Thor! From again another Craigslist post. He rambles on about Thor needing a lady and he is either going to name her Storm or Wonder Woman. He asks my opinion on which name I prefer and honestly I want to scream:”Stop talking to me!” Thank goodness I have a mask on so he cannot see the rage on my face of this RIDICULOUS conversation! I feel like I am having a root canal. Thor not shy takes a massive dump and I stand there waiting for Ted to pick it up. I hope he has a GIANT bag because Thor’s load is like the Mount Everest of poop.

A lady approaches with her fluffy yappy Pomeranian named Coco who just twirls in circles and yaps. My dog Jack is old, pretty toothless, a curmudgeon and just wants to walk. The lady is all happy to chat. Her name is Bee and she shares in a whisper that she thinks Coco is a(she looks around and LOUD whispers LESBIAN! ) I CANNOT believe I am embroiled in such a ludicrous conversation! WHO CARES?!!! Aren’t all dogs bi anyway? Don’t they sniff BOTH male and female dogs butts???? I guess I said this out loud because I am given nasty looks from Bee like I have just offered her crack. Meanwhile, yappy, twirling Coco has twirled her way right into Thors Alps size pile of poop. Now Ted decides to scoop it up “A little late Ted!” as most of it is like a poop outfit on Coco. Bee is horrified and can’t even pick Coco up. She pulls Coco away leaving a skid-mark on the sidewalk, an entire trail of poop. I use this situation to escape from Ted and his ramblings.

We get across the street and run into Oskar and his owner Hal who we know. I inform Hal what has just occurred across the street, and he warns me that Chatty Chip and his dog Justin Bieber are around the corner. I thank him for this and turn back the other way running into Val and her two dogs Siegfried and Roy. They are barking and peeing and pretty much taking Val for a walk. She tries to engage in conversation, but thankfully is dragged away by the duo.

I cut into an alley hoping Jack can make his deposit and run into a group of other dog walkers. I feel like I have come across a Freemason back ally secret meeting. They stare at me like I am infiltrating their confidential rendezvous. Then they see Jack and I guess that’s like the secret handshake or magic password,”The eagle has landed, the fat man walks alone!” they open up their circle so I have no choice but to join UGH!

The conversation is like a high school club. They talk about how Ted never picks up Thor’s poop, about Val having no control over Siegfried and Roy, they question Bee allowing Coco to continuously yap, they muse about Chip thinking Justin Bieber is the BEST dog, and in reality Justin Bieber is a bully. They go on and on about someone named Martha and her dog Hugo and how Martha treats Hugo like her boyfriend and it’s creepy and weird. I am gob smacked! I look at these people reigning their commentary on others! Some of their dogs are in RIDICULOUS outfits! They are all talking to them in baby voices and praising their dogs like they are Einstein!(Okay, ones name is actually Einstein.)

I have got to laugh! I am standing at night in an alley with a group of people and dogs: Ira and his Labrador Ollie who has a Vote t-shirt on(not Ollie but the actual human) he is talking about the upcoming election. Then there is Hussain and his pooch Cleo telling us about his doggy day care place. Britt and Mr. Bentley sharing about Mr. Bentley’s recent visit to the vet to be neutered, he has a cone on his head and does not look happy. I realize it’s a connection for people during these especially trying, stressful times. I also recognize that maybe some of these people live alone and this is their way to connect with other humans. I suppose I have been too harsh.

I look down at my toothless, Forrest Gump like dog and behind my mask smile…