Momaical is a humorous look at trying not to raise a flock of assholes. Cursing & copious coffee involved.

Momaical: [mom-mahy-uh-kuhl] = (Hybrid of Mom and Maniacal.)


Proximity DIY

I walk in. A woman on a mission.  I am here to buy one thing, and one thing only.  I need a staple gun.  Four hours and $500 later I leave with a cart full of DIY projects.  Is the "D" in DIY delusional? Dumbass?  Duh?

What the hell do they pump into the air vents of Home Depot?  They make it all sound easy.  And inexpensive.  And VITAL to the improvement of your home.  You TOO can rewire a lamp.  Oh, sure I can!  I mean, I have shocked myself changing a light bulb - but there's no reason I can't change out all the light fixtures on our new house.   You should concrete your back patio area and stamp it.  Hmmm....maybe you're right. Maybe I should do that. All the cool kids are doing it.

Hold everything.  I will GO GREEN!  I will plant a garden and feed my children organically grown vegetables and I will can it and be healthy and save money.  We SO need to do this.

It all starts with so much energy and enthusiasm.  I am going to dig this hole in the grass.  Then I will fill this enormous hole with a mound of dirt.  I will encircle the dirt hill with lovely paving stones.  It will become an oasis in the front yard.  Flowers as far as the eye can see (or, at least until you get to the other side of the digging hole). Shrubs.  Wait.  SHRUBS!  I can make a topiary garden! Just wait until my husband sees this.

So I load up my SUV full of starter shit, eager to start. I start digging. And digging and crap.  This is HARD work.  My muscles are screaming.  I have blisters on my hands but I will dig on.  The guy at Home Depot said it was so easy.  So...fucking...easy. What the hell have I started?  7 million hours later there's a giant hole.  A giant, gaping hole.  A giant empty hole.  I just need to rest....

Many hours later my husband returns home.  He says "For fuck's sake, Tracy.  What did you do to the yard."  He clearly does not share my vision.  Where's the Home Depot guy to tell him about how easy and BRILLIANT this is?

"That's my digging hole.  I'm going to make a garden."

Guess how long that digging hole sat there.  Four years.  Until we sold our house and Home Depot tricked someone else into finishing that project.

But THIS time around it's going to be different. I have learned my lesson.  This time I'm totally going to follow through on my gardening plans.  I have a new house and a new mission.  Herb garden.  And, the guy at Lowe's said it's so simple that Emmeline can do it....


I've Been Living So Long With These Pictures of You

Part of my journey into my new home has been to jettison items that I have been dragging around the country with me for decades.  As I have mentioned, there are no basements nor attics in a lot of the houses here in California - so storage is very limited.  Most people use their garages to house a lot of items. But my husband has a lot of toys (Motorcycles, dirt bikes, four wheelers).  So, we have to really pare down what we are taking to our home with very specific plans of where everything is to be stored.

It has become a nostalgic journey for me.  I have always been an avid memory collector: concert tickets, birthday cards, handmade gifts from my students.  And, pictures.  Tons and tons of pictures.

I spent three days combing through giant tubs of pictures that I have taken over a lifetime; from Polaroids to digital and back again.   Some things were easy to toss - blurry pictures, multiple copies and a litany of who-the-hell-is-this???  Then organized into different homes with the continued delusion that someday I will put these into albums.  But, what do you do with pictures of ex-boyfriends?

My husband and I got married in our 30's - so clearly we have been involved with others prior to our meeting.    Any acerbic breakups have already resulted in ritualistic effigy burning (aka Peace Out Motherfucker Party). What remained was a big pile of ghosts of relationships past.

What do you do with this?  I mean, I don't want to make a giant coffee table book of Let's Take A Stroll Down Failed Relationships Lane:  Volumes I, II, and III.  But it's still a part of my life that led me to this point.  Without these lessons I wouldn't be who I am today.  I'm having a difficult time just tossing that time in my life into the giant filing cabinet in the sky.  Granted I don't want my husband displaying a collage of pictures of his exes on our new mantle.  But, I also don't expect him to throw them into the pile of stuff to be shredded.

So, I decided to relive the happy memories of my first love, fun adventures and good times when I had no stretch marks and giant amounts of debt.  And then I tossed most of it away - saving pictures of a few of the best memories (and any picture where I looked fabulous regardless of who was in it).   I decided it was ok to remember your past as long as you don't still live in it.  Someday when my girls are older we can walk down Tracy's Life Lessons Lane so they understand that Disney princesses are sweet but not realistic.  You most likely won't meet the love of your life when a giant wave knocks you over at the beach and you wash up on the shore with your bikini top around your neck and a crotch full of sand.  (Or maybe you will since you're related to me).  And that it's ok to date a bunch of Not-Quite-Rights en route to finding your future husband. Or wife. Or not. Whatever path makes you happy.

I'm building my new home on a foundation of my past.  And, carving out a space to store all the wonderful that brought me to today.  It will be housed right next to my wedding gown, diplomas, nerd awards and my *sniff* first Burberry purchase....

Oh Steve...I'll always have a special place in my heart for you.

It would have never worked out, Tom. 
You were always bragging about the Greatest Generation and how we GenXers were all slackers.

Jordan...handsome but far too narcissistic for your own good.
Joey sweetheart! 
But I am far too jealous to share you with all your legions of NKOTB groupies.

Shaggy.  Doll. 
You sang such sweet nothings until you claimed it "wasn't me" when I caught you cheating with the girl next door. All in that weird fake voice.

Tone.  You really need to cut back on that Funky Cold Medina.  It makes you far too sweaty.
Mandy, you're wonderfully sweet!  But, I just don't swing that way!

 Drew - after we broke up you went on to date Mariah Carey. 
It can only go downhill after me, huh love? I run way hotter than 98 degrees...

Fiona, Fiona, Fiona.  You've been a bad, bad girl.


It's Finally Happening!

There's a strange phenomenon in this area of California surrounding home purchases.  There are far more people looking for homes than there are homes available.  Bidding wars placing houses upwards of $100,000 over asking price because the inventory is so limited.  It's not pretty.

As part of our negotiations, we allowed the sellers to stay in the house for an extra month.  They are a sweet, older couple and left the house impeccably clean.  But, it's such a tease to close on a house and then...wait.  And wait.  And wait.

There's only so much you can pack. Only so many phone calls you can make to stop service in one place and start up again in the new place.  Everything that's not hammered down gets donated.  Thousands of papers are sentenced to death by shredder.  Projects started in mania just to keep busy while simultaneously getting ready and waiting. "I know!  I should make pillow covers for all these cushions!!!  Do I have a sewing machine? No!  Do I know how to sew? No!  But, dammit, if the pioneers could do it - so can I!"

Crap.  Now I have to figure out how to close it.  Velcro?  Duct tape? Gum?

But, the couple finally moved out this past weekend.  And, so begins the finely orchestrated dance that I have been planning and desperately awaiting.

The painters arrived bright and early Monday morning to remove L'Eau de Esther that comes with a home owned by people significantly older than you.  Updating the cabinets, the trim, the front door.  And the girl's requested pinkalicious and purplesaurus rex bedrooms.  A carpenter to change out the mirrored closet doors and the frosted wannabe-stained-glass-door-thingy on the pantry.  No pantry of mine can have a glass door; WAAAAAAY too much pressure to have to keep neat and fancy the place where I hide boxes of Cheerios, quinoa and chia seeds.   Patio gets installed because the backyard is actually another room in the house in California.

After the painters leave, the cleaning brigades arrive.   Air ducts, carpets, cleaning ladies (worth every single scrimped penny so I don't have to do it!).  The bug spray dudes come to make sure no black widows or vermin are anywhere near my baby girls.   The new couch arrives.  The muscular men arrive to carry my heavy stuff from the house we are renting to the new house. The American Express bill arrives and makes me vomit.

By the end of next weekend I will be in my new home.  And then I collapse....


The Dawn of a New Era. Or Euthanization.

When my sister was a teenager she swore she would prefer to be euthanized as opposed to turning 40.  And we laughed at this because we were young and 39 seemed SO FAR AWAY.  And when you're a teenager, 40 seems like one-foot-in-the-coffin age.  

Well, I turned 39 yesterday.  Which means I am on the precipice of a new decade.  And, apparently on the edge of being Kevorkian-ed.  Crap.  How did I get here so quickly??? This was supposed to be like 50 zillion years away! 

So - where am I at 39? Am I ready to be offed?  It turns out...not so much! I am living the life I always dreamed I would have.  (Granted, growing up I was convinced I would have this life when I was 29 - but we're all a little delusional when planning our futures while under the influence of being a kid.) 

  • I'm in a great marriage with a man who challenges me, makes me laugh and pushes me to pursue my dreams and goals.
  • I have two amazing baby dolls who make my heart burst with love while simultaneously making my hair go prematurely white and fall out.
  • We are all healthy.
  • We laugh constantly.
  • We are about to move into our gorgeous new home in the place I always wanted to live - California.
  • I have found my ideal job.  Ok, internship.  Someone will eventually pay me to write, right?  Well, a 39 year old girl can keep dreaming...
  • An amazing network of friends who love, support and encourage me constantly. 

Hooray for 39!  As much as I LOVED my 20's (and really lived up my 20's) - I don't want to go back.  Ok, I'd like to reclaim my 20 year old body - just not the rest of the crap that went along with it.  There was so much instability, poverty, lessons, uncertainty, falling on my face, reinvention.  I was still trying to figure out how to be a grown up.  How to survive in the world.  How to figure out who I was and what the hell was my purpose on this planet.

And - I finally have arrived there - not a moment too soon. 

Now to open up my birthday gifts from my children.  Oh....a pair of bedazzled maternity stretch pants (not pregnant and done having kids).  And....a bright pink, sized 0 (teen) pair of shorts.  


Does someone have a Ouija board I can borrow?  I need to make a very long distance call to Dr. Kevorkian.  


Stupid People Re-Writing History

Several years ago, my sister worked at a daycare.  One of the children had contracted Hepatitis A.  As a precaution, the staff was asked to inform anyone with whom they have come into contact to advise them of a potential exposure to Hep A.  It can be passed to daycare providers through infected babies having their diapers changed and presents flu-like symptoms.

Here's the World Health Organization explanation of how Hepatitis A is spread:

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the feces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.  Infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further HAV infections. 

And, of course we had all gotten together the night before the infection was detected at my sister's work - which means we had potentially been exposed.  Yay. 

My brother was working as a waiter at an upscale restaurant while attending college.  As Hep A can also be spread through the "consumption of contaminated food", he decided to call into work for a few days to make sure he didn't inadvertently share this lovely virus with the restaurant patrons and staff.  He spoke with the manager and explained what had happened and why he wasn't going to be in for a few days.  Thankfully, none of us were infected and he returned to work in a few days.

As my brother is quite possibly one of the funniest people alive, he was very popular with the regular patrons of the restaurant.  Many people asked after him in his absence.  Upon his return to waiting tables, he began to get all kinds of sympathy and strange looks.  Customers had "heard what had happened".  Finally, the story emerged.  The person that he spoke to on the phone had informed everyone who asked that my brother "couldn't come into work for a few days because he had gotten syphilis from his sister."   Syphilis is almost the same as Hepatitis A, right?  Not so much. 

And, that's another excerpt from Stupid People Re-Writing History. Tune in next time to hear famous last words of stupid people including "This was a great idea...oh fuuuuuuuuuuuck...."


Would You Have Taken Your Child Out of School?

Today I surprised myself.  And, not in a "Holy crap! What a dumb ass thing to do" kind of way (which 9 times out of 10 isn't really all that shocking).  I acted in a manner I would have never anticipated.

I had dropped Emmeline off at daycare.  I was pulling in to the parking lot at Lena's school when I received a text message from my husband informing me of breaking news.  An inmate escaped from a local detention center during the middle of the night and was still at large.  The holding facility was only a few miles from where my girls were going to be in school all day.

Without a second thought, I pulled right back out of the parking lot for Lena's kindergarten and back to pick up Emmeline.  Then we drove right out of our quaint little town and the hell away from any potential danger until we later learned the fugitive had been apprehended.

I didn't know if he was a murderer, rapist, pedophile or someone accused of stealing someone's mail.  It didn't matter.  All that mattered at that minute in my head was the safety of my tiny people.  When I called the school to inform them of Lena's absence for the day - they cut me off mid sentence answering their question of why.  I could practically hear the eye rolling through the phone.  Not too long ago, they also couldn't figure out why I was upset when I found my 5 year old wandering around the front of the school by herself.  I just don't trust the system.  And, how sad that I feel like school is no longer a safe haven for our babies.

My husband was 100% fine with my decision.

I can't take any chances with my baby girls. They are my heart beating outside my chest.  And, after the hideous events of late - I am even more nervous about their safety in quotidian life. Does this action make me crazy?  Perhaps.  All I know is right now they are home, safe, and robbing me of my will to live with their arguing.  By the way, they found the inmate - during school hours - less than 2 miles from my children's school.  He is serving time for robbery - but no information was available regarding his sentencing at the time I made the decision to pull my girls from school for the day.

What would you have done?


WTF eBayers?

The majority of the houses where we live do not have attics or basements.  Which is bullshit if you're a serial killer and need a place to store the bodies.  Thankfully - I am not a serial killer.  But, I still have a bunch of crap that needs a home. 

Thus begins the process of going through everything we own and either jettisoning it, donating it, recycling it or compacting it into smaller housing.  It is sometimes easy:  creepy doll - garbage, unused crib/baby stuff - gave to a needy family, Christmas crap - compiled into fewer boxes. 

Then it came time for me to come to terms with my closet of depression.  I have a giant closet full of clothes that at one time made me experience feelings of euphoria with the purchase.  I strutted my ass around like a chicken on a runway in Louboutins.  Damn.  Go me.

Now, the wearing of said outfits is more: "Damn.  Did you SEE that??" shudders 

No longer can I put my hands in the air and wave 'em round like I just don't care.  Unless I'm wearing a tank top underneath my shirt.  Because otherwise there may be a reenactment of the scene from Stand By Me when one person starts puking and that makes another puke and it just becomes a giant pukefest.  That would be the main part of my eulogy as I pass into the great beyond. "Tracy was so funny - especially when she made everyone in the checkout lines at Target puke up their $1 popcorn because she had to reach up to a top shelf and flashed everyone her stomach that looked like a used condom."

So - I've finally admitted that I am not ever going to fit into my pre-maternity work clothes.  Which is entirely depressing because it looks as though Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and the Gap had their own little pukefest in my closet (and not because of my road map of Texas stomach).  I have a pile of thousands of dollars of stuff to sell on eBay. 

And, because I'm me I have described the clothing in a manner reminiscent of, well, me.  Apparently NO ONE on eBay has a sense of humor because I placed 13 things to sell to start and NOT ONE FREAKIN BID.  What the fuck, eBayers?  You get on the site and all of the sudden you're all "We are very serious when we buy other people's shit. We do not have time for your shenanigans."

C'mon - I would totally buy this if I didn't already buy it at full freakin' price and then have a baby that kicked my ass from the inside out.

I bought this totally adorable size 6 navy blue skirt and then I remembered that I hate navy blue on myself. sat in my closet taking up valuable space until NOW!  It's blue with pink, teal and yellow stripes accenting the front and giving it a pleated look.  It is flat in the back with a tiny bit of pink stitching.  So cute for summer!
A former executive turned SAHM – I’ve decided to sell my beloved clothes to a good home since it makes no sense playing with Play-Doh while decked out in boardroom attire. So, my gorgeous finds are up to be cherished by someone who will love them.  Every item has been delicately cared for in a smoke free environment and is in pristine condition.   
It's listed for $5 - which is more than $45 less than I bought it for.  I know eBay recommends listing it for $0.99 but really, is it worth your time to package up the item and bring it to the post office while your kids are trying to mail each other to the Orient?

Anyway - if my little eBay experiment doesn't work I'm not going to quit my day job and become a professional eBayer.  Although that might be quite the scene "I'm so outta here!  Woo hoo!!!! Peace out, motherfuckers!!!" Door slamming shakes the entire house (except for an attic or basement because it doesn't goddamn have one) ....Only to reopen said reverberating door shortly thereafter because - well, I'm a stay at home mom and all the shit that I'm not selling on eBay still is here.



An Evening with the Bloggess

There was a line out the door when I arrived 45 minutes before The Bloggess - Jenny Lawsen - was due to arrive.  Rakestraw Booksellers was buzzing in anticipation for an evening of hilarity.  Everyone found seats, had their copies of  Let's Pretend This Never Happened for signing and was chatting animatedly. 

I sat and studied the room.  It was full of happy faces of mostly women - and a few brave men.  Jenny was a few minutes behind schedule because she was out front greeting the fans that were unable to get into the sold out evening.  Really - how cool is that???  Then she walked down the crowded aisle to loud applause from a full house of adoring fans. 

She professed that her anxiety meds hadn't kicked in yet and warned us she may need to hide under the table set up for her.  She has a sweet gentle voice which you don't expect from a woman who uses cursing as an art form.  She shared a story with us about how she found a leprosy purse.  Because apparently armadillos are carriers of leprosy.  She took Copernicus out of her bag for us to see.

There were several hilarious stories about other appearances she had made throughout her tour.  One bookstore where she wasn't allowed to swear - um, hello???  Have you even read her book?  Another where she was at a church and they made the mistake of having her wait in the room where they store all the vestments for the priests.  She came out for the reading dressed in a ceremonial robe, scarf and hat.  Her regaling of this story had everyone gasping for air from laughter.

Then she read The Psychopath on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door chapter from her book.  It was great because she peppered in commentary about her decision to use a cleanse because her friend told her it would help make her anxiety meds work better.  But the pharmacy where she went didn't have any cleanses.  So, she took a bunch of Ex-Lax - about 5 more than the recommended dose. When it kicked in she was home alone and pretty convinced that she was going to have to call 911 and explain that she took too many laxatives because the drug store didn't have colon cleansers and she heard it would help her anxiety meds.  Then - she heard a knock at her bathroom door.  Which was weird, since she was home alone.  Now, not only was she exploding from the asshole - but there was a rapist in her home.  I won't give away the ending of the chapter because if you haven't read the book YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.   It is one of the funniest things I have ever laid eyes on. 

The audience held onto her every word with rapt attention.  She was funny, humble and really entertaining for the entire event.  She was accompanied by her sister - a beautiful woman who laughed along through the reading. 

The Q&A session that followed was even better because shared hilarious anecdotes about life in the world of the Bloggess. We heard stories about her blog, her love of taxidermied animals, her husband Victor and growing up in her hysterical childhood.  I asked her when we can expect to see her next book (as it took her 12 years to write the first one).  She said that she's writing a book about mental illness - in only the way that she can do.  We bantered back and forth a few times because she is AWESOME and I even got her to laugh.  WIN!

After Q&A we all came in for a few minutes with the blogging goddess.  Being me, I elbowed my way to the front, handed my iPhone to some girl and spent way more than is socially acceptable bending her ear. 

I started off introducing myself as one of the 37 kick ass writers in I Just Want To Pee Alone. She told me that she is half way through the book - and was excited to read more when she had a minute between her book tour.  I told her I couldn't wait for her to finish reading it - because my piece is WAAAAAAY in the back.   I also thanked her for answering my tweets and telling me that I "rock" when I emailed her about my blog.  I took so long that I was convinced a giant cane was going to come out and drag me out.  I left the bookstore floating on air.  It really was a great evening. 

If you get a chance to spend time with The Bloggess, do it.  Jenny is so sweet and funny - it's easy to see why she has legions of fans of her blog and why her book is on the New York Times Bestseller list.




The Bloggess Gets Momaical

Why, yes. That WAS me hanging out with The Bloggess last night!  And, she is just as hilarious and sweet as you would imagine her to be.  More on the event to come...


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