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…

Chapter One Hundred-Nineteen: Has Ma’am been Catfished?…

Whilst ensconced on my sofa digging into a jar of peanut butter like I am Indiana Jones on an archeological expedition. Confused Husband asks me what is so engrossing on my phone? I inform him to be quiet that I am having a Twitter conversation with Keanu Reeves! 

He chuckles and says:”You realize that is NOT the real Keanu Reeves? It is probably some over weight man in the Midwest who lives in his mother’s basement. I inform him that he is just jealous that Keanu is conversing with me! I explain since we have been married a long time Keanu is asking me for relationship advice. I also point out that Confused Husband is just bitter against Twitter because he thought that Martha Stewart liked one of his tweets about soufflé  and it turns out it wasn’t the real Martha Stewart, but someone called Martha Stewart’s Ghost. He has been anti-Twitter ever since “The Soufflé Debacle” as we call it in our home.

He then points out that Keanu is a Hollywood heart throb and certainly doesn’t need my help with the ladies. I reiterate that Keanu albeit a Hollywood celebrity, is still a middle aged man searching for love! He scoffs and his arrogance makes me debate whether or not I will smother him with a pillow while he sleeps. 

I turn my focus back to Keanu who is asking me if he should send flowers and a card to the woman he is pursuing. I type in  laughing emojis and tell Keanu “Go big or go home!” I mean he certainly on his budget could afford to send her a lot more than that! Like a car or a HUMONGOUS gift card to shop!  He then informs me that he has a thirty dollar budget!( My Keanu you are CHEAP! No wonder why he is struggling with the ladies!).  He really is a frugal guy! (Maybe here in lies his dating woes?)

As I assist him building his dating profile. He tells me there is a question about main requirement for future partner. I expect him to respond with something like sense of humor, kind, etc… he screen shoots his answer for me. It says MUST HAVE TEETH in all caps! WTF?!!! Isn’t that just assumed?!! I mean Keanu where have you been looking for love? On Skid Row?!!! I am gobsmacked! He really is odd! Not how he portrays himself on screen! I suddenly have a BRILLIANT idea! I type to him What about Sandra Bullock? Isn’t she single? I thought they had great chemistry! I tell him. Immediately he types back” Like HOW could I EVER get her?!” 

Wow! Keanu really is in a funk! Imagine having the world as your oyster and feeling this insecure!

I allude to the fact that dreams really do come true! For example take Confused Husband and me. Some may say we are an odd match. Me who as proven will talk to anyone and seems to attract Whackadoodle’s on every outing. On the other hand, Confused Husband who doesn’t say much, blends into the background and wouldn’t notice a murder occurring in front of him. Yet somehow we found each other. ( As I hope he JOKINGLY likes to say: He is a captured audience, or a victim of Stockholm Syndrome!).

I try to give Keanu pointers by referencing his films. I advise him to be kind and romantic like his character Alex in The Lake House. I tell him to be determined and in control such as how he portrayed Jack Traven in Speed. To be stealth and calm as his character Johnny Utah in Point Break conjuring up that FBI undercover vibe, even surviving jumping out of a plane without a parachute (which I share A LOT of times relationships are like that! and now he has had the practice!) In other words Keanu, don’t be too assertive, just be chill. Then I announce that just because he was Neo AKA The One, doesn’t give him the right to be the ONLY one in a relationship! He must share the spotlight! I also suggest that he can only go all John Wick crazy, IF his paramour kills his dog or cooks his bunny(and point out that he UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should he date someone like that!).

He answers with “Wow! You really know a lot about Keanu Reeves movies!” (I must admit the talking of yourself in third person is a little weird!) I give him the pep talk, all of the motivational tapes crammed into one! “You’ve got this! You can do it! “Take one for the Gipper!” etc….

He thanks me and then informs me that he has to go because his shift at Walmart is starting soon. I send laughing emojis to show I appreciate his sense of humor. I then am informed that Nicolas Cage has started to follow me! Perhaps I should be a Twitter counselor for celebrities…

Chapter One Hundred-Eighteen: Ma’am and the case of mistaken identity…

Wearing a mask in public makes one go incognito. At times it is extremely hard to recognize people. There are also MANY examples of mistaken identity. Case in point: I was incorrectly identified as Atticus’ teacher at the supermarket. (No not mistaken for a Supermodel or famous actress). I have no idea who this woman is that I am supposed to be, or the one speaking to me. I cannot even begin to say:”Hey I am not his teacher. I don’t even know who Atticus is!” The woman whom I assume is his mother is extremely apologetic, apparently about Atticus’ behavior during his Zoom class. She then points out that it was also SOOO unfortunate that Atticus’ father walked by the computer in his boxer shorts for all the class to see as well. (She hints that she hopes there are no lawsuits from the other parents.) She then PROFUSELY apologizes about their pet parrot Omar who had evidently escaped from his cage, flew over Atticus and pooped on the keyboard causing Atticus  to scream, and cuss like a sailor but it was the bird NOT Atticus who was swearing she claims.(Blamed on Dad and his apparently free flowing use of the “F” bomb, which Omar enjoys repeating.) Upsetting some of his peers and their parents.

She barely comes up for air when she shares that she also is sorry for Atticus ‘ older brother Finn and his choice of language when he realized Atticus ate the rest of the Froot Loops, and the wrestling match that ensued when Finn put Atticus in a headlock as well as Finn’s decision to flip the middle finger to the Zoom classroom for all to see.

This poor woman! Purging and divulging all of her family’s sins to me on aisle eight next to the canned peas, like I am Father O’Hara and she is in Confessional! I don’t have the heart to tell her I am not Atticus’ teacher! I merely nod my head sympathetically, make what I hope are comforting sounds and fingers crossed that this gives her some solace. She laughs when she sees me staring at the bottles of wine in her cart. Giggling she says:”Self medicating!”

I laugh and show her my cart and it’s two Rosé  passengers. “Yes”, I say “During these trying times we are all self medicating! “

My heart feels for this woman! I tell her that:”Atticus is fine, and not to worry about the nonsense that occurs over Zoom. It happens to us all!” She is teary-eyed and appreciative of my reassuring words. If I can bring this woman a small slice of comfort on aisle eight than so be it! Even if I feel like an imposter! Trust me, if I purged to her about MY situation and how I was mistaken for a homeless woman on my son’s Zoom class by some surly teens! Providing she knew how many times like Omar, our dog ran around the house crapping. At least Omar does something cool like fly and talk! She would feel a WHOLE lot better about her familial situation than mine! Shall I share with her about how my house looks like a crime scene? That my fridge SHOULD win the Nobel Peace Prize for mold? That I prioritize buying wine over toilet paper? (Currently there are ten year old Christmas cocktail napkins in lieu of toilet paper gracing our bathrooms.) Shall I tell her that because Confused Husband has the TV on so loud I am now learning sign language because I am losing my hearing? Do I tell her that from the right side of the couch my world is bleak as well? That I sat in a faux pumpkin patch by myself because I was beverage shamed?!

Do I inform her of how many times Confused Husband was spotted in his underwear by non family members, and many Zoom calls? He is like the Zoom flasher! If she saw what I was up against at home, she would think her family situation is a picnic compared to mine! No, if she knew what I go through on a daily basis in the cluster that is my life, she would be consoling me by the canned peas…