Lowering Standards

I’m over at Punchnel’s today, writing about low standards.

Specifically about how I scrambled to adjust in the first months that followed getting five kids all at once. You know, how after you get kids things like this become acceptable:

that's low
What? We’re pre-rinsing!

Punchnel’s is a smart and edgy online magazine that you should totally check out.

I get to swear there, and also tell stories that are a little too risqué for my own blog.

I love the internet.

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Hot Date

I have a theory–a double theory, really– that for any topic you can name, there is either an X-Files episode or a Jonathan Richman song about it

From When I Say ‘Wife’ by Jonathan Richman:

When I say ‘wife’
it’s cause I can’t find another word
for the way we be
but ‘wife’ sounds like you’re mortgaged
‘wife’ sounds like laundry

I’m a wife. I was planning on never being a wife, but here I am. “Wife” had always sounded like laundry to me too, back in those days when I was planning to never be one.

I pictured going blind trying to distinguish between black and navy blue socks in order to match them up; I pictured having to learn how to starch and/or iron. When I said “wife” I imagined Friday night casseroles, yard work on Saturday mornings, and uncomfortable, too-warm clothes that made me pass out in church on Sundays.

Then I got a career that ran nights and weekends and a boyfriend who both cooked and did laundry (not to mention, kept his socks to a respectable black or white only). And “wife” started to look like a giant mystery to me. If it wasn’t what I had always believed it to be, then what was it?

I decided to find out.

One of the common misconceptions that people have is that romance dies once you become married. The way to combat this, according to all the magazines, is to have Date Night. The importance of hiring a babysitter is stressed, and you should put on cologne and pantyhose and drive far away to pay too much money for dinner and a show. In our jobs, both CC and I assist in providing the entertainment for everybody else’s Date Night, so that doesn’t really appeal to us.

Besides, he gets really grumpy if you ask him to wear pantyhose on his day off.

So we have Date Morning.

Every Friday we have our standing hot date. I took all of these pictures to prove how hot our dates are because nobody believes me.

We start by getting dressed up:

I'm ready.
I’m ready.

Then we go to the bank for grocery money. Yeah, we’re going grocery shopping. Because grocery shopping is hot.

When we get to the teller, CC turns on his charm.

CC: She’s so mean to me, Rita. At home, she makes me call her “mistress”.

Well, I am wearing leather.

He will repeat this joke to every teller that passes within earshot. If there are some that don’t pass by and miss it, he’ll make sure to go see them at their desks on the way out.

Our next stop is the Farmer’s Market.

These same magazines that specify how you’re supposed to do Date Night also make a Big Deal about Farmer’s Markets. They refer to seasonal, outdoor markets that are supposedly a great savings and if you don’t frequent them you are killing both your family and your community, not to mention your soul and probably a couple of kittens somewhere.

In New Jersey, those types of farmer’s markets are subsidized by the State and sell produce that may or may not be “organic”, and may or may not have had pesticides sprayed all over them, but are most definitely about FOUR TIMES the cost of anything at the grocery store. I’ve got five kids and I figure I’m already supporting those markets through my taxes.

The farmer’s market that gets us all hot & bothered- and I DO mean hot & bothered- is year-round inside a zero-frills building.

If you’re one of my kids, you may want to stop reading here to avoid thoughts that you can’t unthink later.

Although they tell me at the entrance that I’m not welcome there, they never actually check. It does make me a little nervous, which only adds to the excitement.

No thank you, alcoholic.
No thank you, alcoholic.

You know how when you go to Whole Foods you walk out with only one teeny paper bag even though you laid out like eighty frickin’ bucks? The farmer’s market is the total inverse of that. A full cart rarely tops out over forty dollars, which I have to admit makes me more than a little breathless. Plus they have all of this:

Celery Knob
I swear to you here, on a pile of kittens, the sign for this item reads “Celery Knob”
potato. . .sack
potato. . .sack

(C’mon, I can’t be the only one who thought that.)

Feeling lucky?
Feeling lucky?
I forgive your errant apostrophe because of your errant "h".
I forgive your errant apostrophe because of your errant “h”.

By the time we check out, our minds are full of images of lewd produce and thongs.  We’re thinking about testing out the window tinting in the backseat of the minivan.

Next to the farmer’s market is the “meat” market where you can get your Santeria supplies. I think it’s kind of lame that one might buy one’s goat eyeballs and rooster hearts at market, but it is nice to know the resource is there if you need it in a pinch. (The only reason I didn’t get pictures of those particular items is that it smells really bad. Which is why nobody ever buys any eating-meat there.)

Chickens have neither fingers nor paws, people
Chickens have neither fingers nor paws, people

What more excitement can there possibly be after being around all that suggestive produce, lingerie, and “meat”?

Well. . .Plenty.

You, Flock of Seagulls. You know why we're here?
You, Flock of Seagulls. You know why we’re here?*

Because there’s Fairway, newly opened near us.

Oh, Fairway. *sigh* When I think about you, I just. . .

We know why you're here. Get a room!
We know why you’re here. Get a room!

 Fairway is all of your grocery dreams come true. Even if you think you don’t have any grocery dreams.

Because you totally do.

I am very sleepy and have always wanted a kitten. Can I borrow your kid for a minute?
I am very sleepy and have always wanted a kitten. Can I borrow your kid for a minute?

All my grocery store fantasies are here. Fresh-baked chocolate croissants. Cheese samples. Eleventy-billion types of cold-pressed olive oil with store-baked baguettes for sampling. At this point in the date, it’s all I can do to keep my mind on the grocery list. The store isn’t exactly helping. It’s like they want us to be inappropriate right there in the aisles or something.

That's so sweet.
Wait. How did they know his pet name?
You're not helping, coupon.
You’re not helping, coupon.
Hmm.
Smackin’ Whip? Hmm.

Even Costco is in on it. And I feel like I should remind you once again that these are actual pictures from an actual hot date.

DSCF7354

DSCF7355

This picture makes it look as if his member were handicapped, which I assure you is not the case.
This picture makes it look as if his member were handicapped, which I assure you is not the case.

With great effort, we refrain from putting up that”Sorry, this lane closed” sign and spending a little quality time together right there on the checkout counter. Even though I see it as exactly the same as a “Do Not Disturb” sign, CC reminds me that this would be a pretty ridiculous reason to get arrested and that besides, the only kid who would have enough money to bail us out is #1, and she probably wouldn’t do it because she’s saving all her money to get away from us.

GOT ANY GOOD GROCERY STORE STORIES?

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR DATE NIGHT?

*update: I just found out at dinner last night that my Flock of Seagulls reference is yet one more joke that I make to CC all the time that he doesn’t get, and yet has never said anything about. Even though he took #1 to see Pulp Fiction while she was an infant. So for him, I give you this link. The Flock of Seagulls line isn’t until about 2:00 in, but it’s a great scene.

Oh, there’s also a Jonathan Richman song called Abominable Snowman in the Market, thereby double-proving my theory.

One Waitress Sunday

#3 got a job today. She officially starts training next week as a waitress.

#1 is already a waitress.

#2 has a job interview tomorrow for a potentially waitress-related position.

I used to be a waitress. Before I started pushing boxes and wrapping cables and making people louder, I served pancakes and eggs, meatloaf and midwestern spaghetti, and later, margaritas and fried ice cream. Waiting tables is hard work. Mainly because there are people involved.

I used to have these drowning waitress dreams. In my dreams, I would already be rushing around with five tables, and then the hostess would seat me a 20-top, a 7-top and an 11-top all at once. There weren’t enough menus. One of the tables would be upside down on the ceiling and I would have to climb a spiderweb to get up to it while pirates tried to unhook my fingers and kept trying to flip my tray. Each time someone ordered something I would go back to the kitchen only to find out we were out of it. Everyone needed separate checks at the last minute and there were six birthdays at six different tables, each one requiring that I make a labor-intensive free dessert with a complete absence of kitchen utensils, and then gather of as many coworkers as possible to sing the made-up Mexican birthday song.

I would wake from these dreams feeling like I worked all night instead of sleeping. I’d chase my hangover with a cigarette, the cigarette with a cup of double-strength coffee; I’d find a clean uniform shirt, spot-clean my apron, and put my SAS shoes on for another go-round.

There isn’t a single thing about this past life that I miss.

Every so often, even today, nearly twenty years later, I will still have a drowning waitress dream. Except now I will realize in my dream that this isn’t my job any more, and I untie my apron and walk out.

So given all the waitressing that is happening and is about to happen in my house, I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a useful piece of advice for the girls, and I think I finally have one:

Smile often, and pay attention to your tray.

Because at some point your tray WILL betray you. You are going to drop stuff. If you’re lucky, you’re only going to drop that entrée on the floor, the one that your customer has been waiting on for half an hour; if you’re unlucky you’re going to drop it ON your customer. A smile is your only defense at that point.

At the mexican place we served beer in these 23-ounce Pilsner glasses. I had a table of four who each ordered one. I served the first one to the lady, at which point the tray tipped and dumped all over her. Every. Ounce. That’s 69 ounces of beer, for those of you who are counting.

Will you believe me when I tell you that she had just come from the gym and had a change of clothes with her in a bag at the table, a bag that miraculously escaped the Beer Deluge? And that my manager comped them and they stayed and drank all night and left me a big tip?

I figured that was my allotment of waitress grace, and I should get out while I could. I quit shortly after that.

How about you- got any drowning ex-occupation stories? Any good waitress stories?

Here’s your picture: My mom’s entry for my Pi Day Pie contest. She didn’t win a damn thing.

My mom used to cook. She gave it up for Lent when I was 13.
My mom used to cook. She gave it up for Lent when I was 13.

Here are your links:

Continuing on with our waitress & other jobs theme, I first got introduced to the Ziggens when I worked a Glenn Campbell show. Glenn Campbell’s sound guy is the drummer for the punk-ish Ziggens and gave me a disc. I played it and fell in love, particularly with this song, which made such an impression on me that I never ask anyone in my family if they want scrambled or fried; I sing “How do you like yo’ eggs?“. Later I got to do monitors when the Ziggens opened up for Dick Dale, which ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite gigs. The Ziggens: The Waitress Song

What makes you ridiculously happy? Worth it for the mutant animal sculpture alone. 5 Bizarre Things…on Ironic Mom

I loved this one just from the title, but then there’s also this awesome sort of walking dead chicken picture. . .    I Spatchcocked A Rooster Eunuch on The Food and Wine Hedonist.

I’m lucky like this too: Doing Life Together and the Division of Labor on Scattered Smothered and Covered

Do you greet your loved ones when they come home? It matters. The Homecoming Dance on Spectator.

Happy Sunday.