Jingle: That Little MotherPucker

Prologue:

The  year my daughter came of age, that is, she was old enough to understand The Elf on the Shelf, I, like all other (unknowing, naive, unsuspecting, moronic) first-time moms was beyond excited to introduce the Elf to our family. “Jingle” as she was soon named, was welcomed into our home with the holiday cheer and merry magic that accompanies all the wonders of Christmas. Every night, Vivian went to bed speculating on where, oh where, Jingle would be in the morning. And every night, my husband and I took turns finding new and creative ways to move that impish little thing. Oh, what joy! Or so we thought…

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Chapter 1: The First Year

  1. No alarm was needed to remind us to move Jingle. We could barely wait for the kid to fall asleep!
  2. There were so many choices of where to place Jingle! She could peak from the window, sail through the wind on a toilet paper swing or sleep soundly in a Kleenex box! Hooooray!
  3. When we got low on ideas, there was Pinterest – waiting to provide “1,001 Ways to Pose Your Elf on the Shelf”! AND lucky for us, you only had to spend 2 hours a night (not counting travel time to the craft store) with your hot glue gun, bag of chocolate chips, sewing machine, welder’s mask, soldering iron and eye of newt.
  4. Every morning, Vivian flung herself out of bed and with utter joy searched our home for Jingle. When she found her, she would have whole conversations with her and then regale us with what she thought Jingle was saying in response.
  5. The threat of Jingle telling Santa about bad behavior was enough to make Vivian hop to attention military-style and remain obedient for a day or two. Ahhh… parenting at its finest!
  6. I took pictures of every single spot where we found dear Jingle. Come Christmas morning, Vivian found a special note documenting the elf’s travels around our house now that she had returned to the North Pole.

Chapter 2: Every Year Since

  1. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to move that MotherPucker. I turn the alarm off because inevitably I am in the middle of something when the alarm sounds. I finish the night’s chores, get all snug in my bed, await visions of sugar plums and… OH SHIT! I forgot to move that MotherPucker.
  2. There is not an inch of this house where that MotherPucker hasn’t sat its tiny felt ass. Some spots more than once.
  3. Pinterest is an asshole. And I don’t want to build an entire scaled scene from the Mesozoic era to incorporate that MotherPucker into an historically accurate lesson on tectonic plate shifting.
  4. It’s 6:30 am. I don’t want to look for that MotherPucker and frankly, Vivian isn’t all that thrilled at that MotherPucker’s antics either. Where the hell are you? We’ve got shit to do.
  5. The threat of that MotherPucker telling Santa about bad behavior makes little to no difference because… well… yeah, right.
  6. One of my Christmas miracles is getting to pack that MotherPucker back up and hide it in a closet for another year. PEACE.

Epilogue:

It’s less than a week until that MotherPucker returns. I have zero new ideas and not much more inclination to think of any. BUT… I will move and hide that little shapeless shit, Jingle, every single Christmas of my life if that is what Vivian wants. If it makes her believe in magic and gives her faith, I will fill the house with Jingle’s entire genealogical line. Because that’s what matters. Her smile. Her happy.

Still. Jingle = MotherPucker

 

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5 Reasons Why I Like My Gym

FullSizeRender (4)This morning, I was really excited because I saw “an” ab. That’s right, one abdominal muscle. Much less a “six-pack”, much more a “single” hiding beneath a paper bag. All the same, it is an ab.

Naturally, I took copious photos and texted them to friends and then ate a tub of ice cream to congratulate myself on the debut of my super hot ab. All that got me thinkin’. Turns out, I really love my gym. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. I really, really, so much like making the owner of my gym uncomfortable. It is one of my very favorite things to do. Is that “nice”? Not really. But I pay him and I feel that makes it somewhat justifiable. He is an excellent candidate for my amusement because he has that slight social awkwardness mixed with the “when I drink, I’m hilarious” vibe. It’s the perfect combination – I know he can take it, but I also know that in day-to-day life, he doesn’t have the appropriately quick responses to my sarcasm. Thus, he is reduced to nervous laughter and awkward eye contact. Fidgety hands are a bonus!
  2. When I waltz in carrying a huge Sonic Iced Tea – unsweetened, thank you very much – no one judges me because it’s not water. At least not openly. (They judge me on why I’m waltzing instead of walking. Who am I, Ginger Rogers?) For all they know, it’s purified water from an enchanted forest that I harvested from the tears of fairies. And I’ve had more than one person nod approvingly when they noticed the absence of my flask, so…
  3. The people are really friendly. Need a spotter? Wanna talk protein? Need me to look the other way while you make muscles in the mirror and take selfies? You got it. No one assumes the machines are free or that you aren’t about to use that set of dumbbells. We all do the thing where you gesture the universal version of gym sign language while simultaneously mouthing, “Are you using that?” It’s gym etiquette because no one can hear shit with their headphones on and it’s really fun to pretend we’re all a bunch of drunken Italians, frantically waving our arms in the air. Ok, one of us actually is a drunken Italian (hand goes up), but the analogy still applies.
  4. The machines and equipment aren’t so high-tech that I have to take a two-week training on how to properly begin using them without looking like an asshole. I prefer to save those moments for when I drop a weight on my toe or fall off the elliptical.
  5. If you take an aesthetic average of all members, it would come out to be, well, average. Some members are above average specimens of sex appeal and some slightly more “beautiful on the inside”. This creates a harmonious balance of solid Grade B looks. Why does this matter? I’m supposed to say that it doesn’t. But if you pretend that working out next to a bunch of Housewives of Some City or Channing Tatum isn’t intimidating as hell, well then, you’re a liar and your pants are on fire. If your gym is filled with babes of either gender, you’re gonna feel bad about yourself and you’re not gonna come back. I pulled the pin; truth bomb just exploded.

 

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P.S. It’s also a stones throw from my house, very clean and relatively affordable, but none of that is funny so…

P.P.S. Number of alcohol references in this post: 5, Number of times I seem like a meanie: 0 (Ok, I know #1 & #5 make me seem a bit like a wench.)

P.P.P.S (?) I’m not an alcoholic or a meanie. And I have a single, so watch what you say about me.

Magical Dinner Guests

I’ve been granted a wish; by a leprechaun, genie, whatever… I’m told I can have a dinner party with any three other people, living or dead. Naturally, this is very exciting but I have to speed dial some cleaning folks and caterers cause if there are two things I don’t do, they are clean and cook. On to the guest list. With so many choices, I feel like the best way to make such an important decision is to throw a few back first. I need my judgment to be slightly impaired and my intuition heightened. Plus, it’s Friday night and I’m thirsty. No one likes a sober hostess; cheers!

Guest list… I think to create a truly interesting dynamic, perhaps I should mix up some right-brained, left-brained type thinkers. Stir the proverbial pot. [Speaking of pot, note to self, if any of the J’s (Jim, Jerry or Janis) make the cut, figure out how to obtain pot.] I consider some of the more obvious choices – Honest Abe, who was my first crush (yes the 16th president); Marilyn Monroe, who just about everyone finds fascinating because she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” with barely any air in her lungs; my grandma, cause well, I miss her terribly.

But it’s just not that simple. There’s a lot to consider here. I don’t want to bridge too much of a time gap, for example. Like what if Zac Efron’s cell rings during appetizers and Wyatt Earp, having never seen a cell, is all, “You tell em, I’m coming… and Hell’s coming with me!” and shoots the shit out of Zac’s iPhone? Uh, awkward.

Likewise, I don’t want such polar opposite personality types that it creates tension, resulting in uncomfortable silence. Nothing kills a good dinner party like uncomfortable silence. That and your Uncle Bob’s “bat wing” trick. So Mother Teresa and Quentin Tarantino place settings will not appear on the same table.

Ultimately, a decision must be made. I lick invisible invitations and mail them off by whatever magical means this wish has been granted to me. Typical. Now, I’m nervous; what if no one shows up?

The clock is ticking and I haven’t found suitable attire yet. What do you wear to such an unprecedented event? Jeans. I wear jeans and a black shirt. It says, “I’m relatable. And too drunk to properly dress myself.”

Ding Dong. Guests have arrived right on time. I sort of half-stumble, half-gallop (cause I’m a pretty pony) to the door and swing it wide to reveal… What in the HELL? Why is my whole family here? A better question is where are Anna Kendrick, Marc Chagall and Susan B. Anthony? I must have pondered that out loud, because my dad just shook his head at me and said, “Jenna, you really should drink less. And dinner better be ready soon.”

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If I Were Mark Zuckerberg

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The ZuckerBurger

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See? We look alike.

Let’s get one thing straight from the start: I love Facebook. I adore it. Je’taime Facebook. Why? Simple. The reason it was created. The original intention. I get to keep in touch with family and friends that I don’t see often or ever without traveling or, God Forbid, phoning. Courier Pigeon, anyone? I’m not hatin’ on the Zuck or his brainchild.

So that’s out of the way. Now, there is one huge issue with Facebook. One really friggin’ annoying issue… Zuckerberg didn’t think to set RULES for posting. We are all but lemmings following suit and without guidance as to appropriate social interaction via the Internet, we end up saying things like, “I ate pie. Vagina. My trees are lush.”

If I were Mark Zuckerfucker, I would have well-established guidelines for anyone with a FB profile. If you don’t follow those guidelines, you are booted off the site and also, fire ants are released down the crack of your bum.

If I were Mark ZitiMarinara, I would enforce these rules to ensure that Facebook stays the social media channel of choice because it has the balance we all seek between trash and news, between levity and reality, between cats playing the piano and up to the minute coverage of political revolutions.

If I were Mark Zuckerballin, these would be my Facebook rules:

Selfies – You may post one selfie per week. The correct number of selfies has been well-tested and… One per week, people. That’s it. By well-tested, I’m referring to the unfunded, unprofessional and unsolicited social experiment that my friend and I conducted. If your selfie involves premeditated props, outfits, staging and professional lighting, you are simply a douchebag and your FB “friends” are sharing that photo with horrible captions via Messenger.

Lurkers – This is Facebook, not Stalkerbook or Creeperbook or SingleWhiteFemaleBook. Let’s see your face. Read your comments. In the sage words of Vanilla Ice, “Stop, Collaborate and Listen.” Don’t be a voyeur. What are you afraid of? Interact. Be part of the community or stop looking at our #TBT photos and judging how we’ve aged.

Kids – Your kids are adorable. We want to read what ridiculous nonsense they say that makes us all chuckle and go, “Kids say the darnedest things!” in our best pre-sex offender Bill Cosby impersonation. We want to see pictures of them in capes and high heels and a ladle on their head. We do not, however, want to read a 12 Act play of their dialogue and we don’t need a daily blow by blow of their activities. We don’t need pictures when they wake up, eat their breakfast, drop a twosy …

Crossfit – Stop it. When you post how many squat drop diddles you do, we all want to throw a dumbbell at your privates. We don’t need your menu de jour of planks and squats and tippy toe touches. You drank the Kool-Aid; we get it.

Food – Great! You tried a new recipe. Awesome. Found a new healthier alternative to chocolate cake? Sweet – tell us. Once in awhile. Daily pictures of your three meals and 2 healthy snacks per day are too much. Discussing your cooking methods in such depth that I know how many times you stirred your spatula; that is more than too much. You have a Bobby Flay complex. I just created that… The APA may want to consider adding it.

Games – Go ahead; invite me to play Candy Crush one more time… I dare you. When I get a notification that someone invited me to play a game, I literally want to blow up the world. That might sound extreme, but after you decline for the 937th time, it becomes a realistic and seemingly plausible plan. Certainly justifiable.

Negative Nancy – We all have bad days. We all get our britches in a bunch because of bad customer service. We all have been the recipient of someone else’s bad mood. And we all want a little dose of “misery loves company” to elevate our outlook. That being said, if your posting becomes more depressing than a handful of downers, you should seek other sources for empathy. A therapist may be a good place to start. The rest of FacebookLand is just trying to muddle along in clouds of cotton candy and rivers of fruit punch and you’re jacking up our vibe.

Sad Stuff – Don’t post it unless it is actually going to help someone. If you are only posting it because you are the Negative Nancy from above, stop that shit, and stop it now. If, however, you have to post something sad for truly good reasons, you still must counteract with something happy within the next few days. We need to know you’re ok. We’re not heartless, just judgmental.

Sharing Funny Videos – If you share an already viral video, it better be funny. I mean damn funny. I mean make us laugh so hard that tears come from our eyes and pee from our respective gender parts. Because chances are good that said video has appeared and auto played in each of our feeds about 50 times already. So speaking for myself, if I have to see it AGAIN, it better be the kind of thing that makes me spontaneously laugh days later when I’m at the Sonic drive-thru and the employee thinks I’m ordering a large, unsweetened BWAAAAHAAAHAAA.

So there you have it. If I were Mark ZippySnatcher, these would be my rules and Facebook would be a better social forum because of it. Don’t you think? Now if you will excuse me, I have to post a selfie with my kid playing Candy Crush and eating the gourmet Gluten-Free waffle I’ve just made before I go to the gym 😉 What?!? If I were Mark Zucklymooker, I wouldn’t have to follow my own rules… Damn, bitch, I’m worth like $8 trillion.

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Gym Attire and Why Yours is Wrong

I have a lot of thoughts about the gym. Actually, I would say that if I’m being honest, my judgments thoughts are geared more towards the gym-goers. I have thoughts on the guttural noises they make. I have thoughts on their training methodology. I have thoughts on their hygiene or more often, lack thereof. Right now, though, I would like to focus solely on gym-goers and their choices of attire.

Seeing as I joined a gym four (4) whole months ago, my tenure obviously makes me amply qualified to judge comment on this realm of fashion. For the remainder of this post, the gym-goer shall be referred to as GG. Here are some of the main offenders in no particular order:

  • The GG that wears a shirt to the gym that has another gym’s logo on it. This is the equivalent of wearing a Harvard sweatshirt while attending classes at Yale. Someone’s definitely going to give you a swirly.
  • The GG that weight-trains in huge neon yellow, zebra-striped harem pants. I do not understand the function of these. I do not understand their ostentatious pattern. I do not understand where you even purchase such atrocities.

  • The GG that barely wears anything at all. Pssst… I can see your hooters and/or your Netherworld and I didn’t ask to. If you are this GG and you are male, nobody (and I mean nobody) of either gender takes notice of you in a flattering way. If anyone is looking at you, it is most likely that they are waiting for the right time to snap an Instagram and plaster it all over social media with a caption that reads, “I can see this guy’s junk and it ain’t pretty.”

    If you are this GG and you are female, (wo)men may come on to you but they are most likely married and going through a mid-life crisis or a minor and going through puberty. Other normally-clad women will find ways to inauspiciously throw metal-tipped darts at your boobies in hopes of popping the silicone. And yes, every woman carries metal-tipped darts to the gym. They are right next to the deodorant in our gym bags.

  • The GG that wears yoga attire even when they aren’t taking a yoga class. We get it. You shop at Whole Foods. You are flexible and make love not war. You can stand on one foot for inordinately long periods of time while breathing deeply. But can you lift this dumbbell that I’m about to throw at your head? Can you do the elliptical to the beat of any Chris Brown song without falling off? Put that in your downward dog and smoke it.
  • The GG that wears new, coordinating designer brand ensembles. This tells the world that you spend more time shopping for your gym clothes than you do actually going to the gym. And that tells the world that you are spoiled. And that makes the world not like you. Come to think of it, you look awfully familiar… And I could swear I’ve seen your vagina getting out of a car before… Paris Hilton, what are you doing at my gym?

Some additional words of advice on the topic:

  • You do not need to wear a fanny pack.
  • You do not need to wear a belt that has holsters for water bottles.
  • You do not need to wear a visor indoors.
  • You do not need to wear leg warmers.
  • You do not need to wear a sports bra if you are a man.

Now if I’m missing anything feel free to comment and let me know. Additionally, if you are one of the aforementioned offending GG’s and you genuinely seek counsel on the proper attire, also feel free to comment and I will guide you in the direction of being completely inconspicuous at the gym. As always,

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Marriage Counseling with an Elf

If you have a kid or some child that visits your home frequently and is over the age of 3, you have an Elf on the Shelf, so you can skip the following debriefing. If you do not know of this phenomenon, let me illuminate you. It is a poorly formed stuffed elf with a hard plastic head that you can barely pose, yet you are expected to contort the thing in all kinds of anthropomorphic ways. The idea is that once you name the elf, it gets its magic and every night flies back to the North Pole to report the child’s behavior to Santa. It returns by the first flicker of the kiddo’s eyes in the morning, but it is always in a new spot. You can’t touch the elf or it will lose its powers. There you have it.

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With a child of 3, this is our first year having an elf. Our daughter named the elf Jingle and every night since Thanksgiving, my husband and I have been positioning Jingle in every room of the house doing every conceivable rated-G activity. A few nights in, it was clear to me that Jingle was sent to us as more than just a way to bribe our child into behaving; she was sent here to be our marriage counselor.

1. She demands teamwork and partnership: “Did you remember to move Jingle?” “Oh! Thanks! I almost forgot. Boy, that would have been bad!” “Asshole.”

2. She fosters our creative thinking: We literally have a typed list of possible places Jingle can go so we always have something to draw from if we get stuck. We brainstormed, that’s right… together, to compile a fairly comprehensive list, if I do say so myself.

3. She forces us to communicate: We disagree on tonight’s placement of Jingle. We see the little gleam in her eye. She’s prompting us; “Tell each other how you really feel.” And so we do… “Why do you think your ideas are soooo much better than mine? You’re never supportive of me and you act so superior!” “No, you are twisting my words! I said there MIGHT be a better place to hide the elf than with its head in the oven…”

4. She helps us prioritize family values: Our child’s happiness is our number one priority so if it means that one of us can’t brush our teeth for an entire 24 hours because Jingle is “practicing good dental hygiene” with our toothbrush, then so be it. It’s all about sacrifice.

5. She encourages intimacy: After you have spent four hours coming up with an idea, creating the perfect backdrop, sewing custom-fitted elf clothes to match the scenario, placing the entire elf diorama somewhere that your kid can’t knock it over thus taking away all the elf magic, cleaning up any evidence and then discussing the answers to any possible questions your child might ask that would render you speechless and give away the whole darn plot… Well, after all that, there is nothing left to do but hold each other close while you shake and whimper, “What have our lives become?”

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The Elf on the Shelf is a marriage saver, I tell you. It really brings you closer than you ever thought you could be. So my friends, I leave you with this advice: Once December 25th arrives and your elf returns back to the North Pole for the next 11 months, don’t be too quick to fall back into the old routines. Try to carry all the lessons your wise elf has imparted with you throughout the year. Either that or pack that elf away in a box that will never get opened again, because DAMN! Hiding that little shapeless shit night after night gets exhausting and who the hell wants to stumble around acting happy to search for the thing at 6 am? We sure as shit don’t…

Nervous Laughter

I laugh a lot. All the time, even when I shouldn’t. If laughter is the spice of life then my life is the hottest, “sign-a-waiver chicken wing” SPICY! My normal laughter sounds, well, normal. Varies in intensity, generally robust and of an average tonal quality that doesn’t cause people to run their nails down a chalkboard to escape its sound. That is my normal laughter.

Now, my nervous laughter, on the other hand… Whenever I hear my own nervous laughter, I have to resist the urge to punch myself in the face. It doesn’t even sound like me. When did Fran Drescher and Homer Simpson mate and produce an offspring that has now inhabited my body and is taking over my laughter?

Is it that bad? Yes. It sounds like a cross between a braying donkey and a giggling toddler. A monkey in heat and a smoker’s cough…

Cute donkey.

Cute donkey.

It isn’t alone either. My nervous laughter has an entourage. It is usually accompanied by some additional, equally unattractive sound effects. Snorting, guffawing and loud inhalations/exhalations join in to form a united front of embarrassing chortles.

And it can’t be stopped. When I’m talking and I get nervous, my foreign laughter punctuates each.and.every.sentence. Once I’ve got the nervous giggles, short of tearing out my larynx, the only thing I can do is officially exit the situation before I can exorcise this sound. Demons and all Drescher/Simpson offspring out!

To my good fortune, it is mostly when I’m on the phone that this happens and I can hide behind an invisible connection. I guess the lesson learned is don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Or is it an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Or maybe it’s if you make me nervous, you will pay with bleeding eardrums. Right? Is that your take away? Hmmm…

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