Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hobo Has Left the Building

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

There's a stranger in my house.

I'm not sure who he is, but from all appearances, this kid combs his hair, brushes his teeth, and showers voluntarily. Quiet, anti-social, his fingers tapping furiously at a screen - I'm afraid to approach him. He looks pretty surly.

Nonetheless, I carefully walk over to the outsider and stare at his face. Is it . . . could it be?

Holy zit! It is him! Yes, I can't quite believe my eyes, but somehow, I know I'm right. Judging by the pimples, voluntary showers, and alarming array of Axe products in the bathroom, I now have a . . .

(*Cue dramatic music*)

. . .  Teenage boy.

You remember my son, the Hobo, right? Avid fan of farts, stranger to personal hygiene, avoider of anything girl- or romance-related?


Well, the unbelievable, the unthinkable has happened, and he seems to be growing up and taking an actual interest in bathing. No longer content just to smell, no, he actually wants to smell - good.

I should have known my son had crossed the slick, sweaty bridge to adolescence - the signs are all there: He empties the refrigerator, sleeps 11 hours a night, and no longer dry-heaves at the mention of females. And if I had any doubt that he's changing, it disappeared the other morning as I tried to roust him from bed.

"Hobo," I called up the stairs.

*Crickets*

"Hey, buddy! It's time to wake up."

*Muffled mumble. More crickets*

"Levi," I called again, using his real name to indicate the magnitude of the situation. "It's 6:15. Time to wake up."

*Thump* 
*Crash* 
*Stomp*

"I HEARD YOU!" he roared through the ceiling. "I am GETTING UP!"

I stood on the landing, my mouth agape, debating whether to whoop his butt or run and hide.

Where was my kid, the sweet boy, the one who would have simply said, "Okay, Mom!" and then bounded down the stairs to hug me?

Ah, but I should have anticipated this. I've been through it before, and pretty recently, too, with my daughter, the Princess, who was in a puberty-related bad mood for a good part of a decade. She's 17 now, with (mostly) grown girl parts, so the hormones are (mostly) done coursing through her system, and she's in a decent frame of mind these days.

Mostly.

Oddly enough, it was to her I first mentioned the Hobo's foul moods.  "I think your brother is becoming a teenager."

"I know!" she replied, eyes wide. "He is, like, mean! I said something to him the other day, and he just, like, SCREAMED at me! For no reason!"

Ha ha ha!

Oh, Karma - you're a bitch. But sometimes, you're my very best friend.

Still, I realize this is the beginning of the end of something - again. In the next several years, I'll deal with a crabby, gangling, sometimes insufferable man-child who will double the grocery bill, empty the hot water tank, steal my Victoria's Secret catalogue, and continue to expand his disturbing collection of Axe products.

And I will miss the little boy, the three-year-old who said "You're my girlfriend, Mommy!" when I asked about his love life.

I'll miss the older version, too. The one who smiled, laughed, replied without yelling, looked at something besides an electronic screen, and even occasionally - just sometimes - acknowledged my presence in public.

I mean, that kid smelled funny. But he sure was nice.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Suzie the Meth Lab Speaks


Things have been crazy around here lately, what with my daughter's senior year and both kids in fall sports. I'm also working on getting my book published, which entails doing tons of research on literary agents, spending hours crafting the perfect letters to them, and then receiving their rejection letters. Fun times! So I asked our dog Suzie to take a break from being bad and write a blog post. Read on:


(copyright 2014, Suzie the dog)

Suzie not know what Woman talking about. Suzie very good dog.

Suzie also dislike "Meth Lab" classification. Suzie not smoke crystal meth, or even crack, and although Suzie try pot once, she not inhale. Anyway, Suzie don't think she is "Meth Lab," Suzie believe she come from impressive bloodline of Black Lab. And greyhound. And whippet. Possibly beagle. Maybe shepherd. Definitely pit bull . . .

Ahem.

Point is, Suzie have diverse array of relatives in tri-county area, all with formidable skills in shoe-shredding, leg-humping and crotch-sniffing arena. Do Woman's kin-folk possess these talents? Suzie think not. Woman should watch mouth. Suzie have "Family" - "Family" with teeth.

Anyway, Suzie classy dog, with very advanced palate. Man always buy box of dry, dusty "Bones" for Suzie, but is not necessary, when cat box in particular offer many juicy, absolutely free treats for taking. Suzie eat anything - trees, rocks, road-kill, cat poop - where Woman say "Gross!" Suzie say "Breakfast!"

And speaking of cat, why Suzie can’t chase? Gray Cat run, Suzie pursue - is law of jungle passed down for millenniums. Gray Cat think she better than dog, with her yummier food, cushier bed and litter box of juicy treats. She need taken down a notch, and Suzie just dog for job.

Suzie also like to accompany Peoples to bathroom, and sit in front them as they deposit liquid into Suzie's Other Water Bowl. She then express gratitude to Peoples with lick on face, but she always get "Stop it!" yells. Suzie not know why. She just thankful for bowl fills. And Suzie really enjoy being at eye-level with Peoples, so she make happen. Just like when she give trademark jump-up greeting to visitors. Woman always yelling "Get Down!" But human stand up, Suzie stand up. Is simple physics.

However, Suzie is sorry about incident with old man at vet's office. Wrinkled one not expect signature Suzie "Get Down!" move. Suzie claws did scratch Wrinkle's legs, is true, but how she to know old Peoples have thin skin and take blood-thinning medication? Suzie hope Wrinkles stop bleeding someday.

Suzie also regret Big Stick incident. Suzie not realize that when she spin with 7-foot stick in mouth near Woman, giant stick blow out Woman’s knees and knock her to ground. Suzie know many words - "Bad!" "No!" "Bacon!" - but Woman scream words Suzie not hear before, words that sound like "duck." Suzie try to lick face as Woman roll on ground - she obviously angry, but also part at fault here, as she the one said, “Let's play stick!” Suzie search yard and grab biggest stick available. If Woman want stick, Woman get small tree. Suzie is giver.

Suzie is serious guardian, and practice bark often. Best time to practice 3 a.m., while Woman, Man and Small Ones sleep. Takes a while for them to wake up, walk out and shout “Shut Up!” and Suzie able to enjoy many minutes of vicious barks before yells start. Suzie don’t always bark in middle of night, but when she do, is for no real reason.

You can see that Suzie get many yells. Woman especially enjoy yelling at Suzie, and she not know why - Suzie just doing her jobs.

Woman's loudest yells come when Suzie conduct crotch-check on Peoples. Without good sniff of nethers, how else Suzie to know quality of creature before her? Humans funny animals, Suzie think, blessed with dizzying variety of pungent genitalia, yet seemingly no desire to sniff each other. Is sad - and not very smart.

You know, Suzie may be Meth Lab. But she clearly superior species.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ode to a Shoe - Fetish

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

I don't have a problem,
I can quit if I want to,
These shoes are like friends,
And who the hell asked you?


The closet floor's covered,
But I don't really care,
Green rug like the bedroom,
Not much under there.


It's true that their numbers
Rise into the hundreds,
They're all necessary,
Hey - "Hoarders" ain't called yet.


I've pumps, mules and flip-flops,  
Slides, sneakers and Mocks,
And, heaven help me,
One pair of red Crocs.


I've boots made for walking,
And shoes made to run,
No jogging these days though,
Fuck that. I am done.


The husband dislikes it,
When I go to the store,
There's no room for his shoes,
Mine take the whole floor.


"You bought shoes?" he asks me.
"Really? Can't you abstain?"
But they were on sale.
And he protests in vain.


I don't see the issue,
I don't let it phase me,
He knows he can't fight it,
If he wants to touch me.


See, shoes make me happy,
Shoes make me dance,
'Cause shoes always fit,
Unlike my pants.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear Car Beside Me: I Know Who You Are


(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

Hippy. Soccer mom. Redneck. Entitled a-hole. Really small penis.

Don't mind me. I'm just heading down the interstate, judging people based on the cars they drive. I have plenty of time for this. My commute to the office is, on a good day, one hour each way. I've worked at the same job for, oh, nine years/108 months/3,285 days. But who's counting?

Point is, I spend a lot of time in my car. There's lots of places I'd rather be. Bed comes to mind. Hell - prison comes to mind. But I must go to work. You know, to be able to afford gas and a car. So I can go to work.

Great. Now I'm depressed. I had a point here. What was it? Oh yeah. Judging people based on their material possessions. I feel better.

Anyway, over these nine years/108 months/3,285-but-who's-counting-days, I've noticed some reoccurring characteristics amongst my fellow drivers. You know, I don't like to stereotype. So let me just throw down some broad, baseless generalizations. Read on.

Economy/electric car: "Co-exist!" "Recycle!" "Change!" You're a bumper sticker billboard, maxed out in the right lane at a puttering, earth-friendly 60 m.p.h. You've likely been to a pride parade, and you're all about equal rights, world peace, legalized pot. You voted for Obama. One of your bumper stickers indicates this, but you don't need it.

We know.

Minivan: You're on the way to school and/or practice in a vehicle full of car seats and petrified french fries. You're exhausted, crabby, and flailing an arm around in the back seat, hoping to make contact with one of your wayward offspring. You gave up form for function long ago, and sold your soul for a built-in DVD player and a third-row seat. You used to be cool. But now?

You're too tired to care.

SUV  - You are also on the way to school and/or practice in a vessel full of car seats and petrified french fries, though you'd very much like us to believe otherwise, what with your off-road package and four-wheel drive - features you've never used.

SUVs: At least they aren't minivans.  

Pickup truck - Gun rack, tool box, probable concealed weapon . . . you're ready for anything, up to and including the zombie apocalypse. You get 15 m.p.g. highway, but petty things like gas mileage and pollution do not concern you: Global warming is just a big conspiracy started by that liberal who invented the internet. You did NOT vote for Obama. Your bumper sticker indicates this, but you don't need it.

We know.

Sedan - Sure, your Accord/Camry/Chevy Cobalt is non-descript and boring, but you don't care. You don't care about anything, really, except getting from point A to point B, albeit with premium cup-holders and functioning airbags. You're a regular guy, just trying to get by, driving at a sensible speed in your sensible car, with your sensible shoes to your sensible . . .

Zzzzzzzzz.   

Sports car/convertible - You. You're zipping in and out of lanes at 85 m.p.h., tailgating, swerving, driving with one hand and texting with the other. You're passing on the right, cutting off on the left . . . but you can do what you want, right? You've earned it - you're a wealthy, middle-aged white person.

With a really small penis.
__________________________

So we see here that just by looking around on the freeway, we can tell what kind of people we're dealing with, judge them accordingly, and really give them a piece of our . . .

Crap. Wait a minute.

Reading through this, I just realized that for one reason or another, our family of three licensed drivers owns five vehicles. Do not be jealous of this; they're all about ten years old with over 100,000 miles.

But there's no getting around it. On any given day, depending on the weather, which vehicle is in the shop (and one is always in the shop), or what I'm doing after work, you could find me driving: an economy car, a pickup truck, a sedan, an SUV, or a convertible.

Which of course - go ahead, say it - makes me a hippy/redneck/boring soccer mom/entitled a-hole.

With a really small penis.

Well, hey. What can I say? If the cars fit.

And at least they aren't minivans.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sh*t My Co-worker Says

"I think my skin's melting off!"

Holy crap! you say. Where are you? What's going on? Industrial accident? Ebola outbreak? Zombie apocalypse?

Nope. Do not be alarmed. It's just Monday. And that's just Tim.

I sit right next to him at work, and we've been side-by-side for so long that I can usually tell what he's doing just by the noises he makes. I can hear everything: I can hear him breathe, I can hear his stomach growl, and I spend more time with him than I do my family, which is a sorry state of affairs indeed. You've heard the terms "work family" and "work spouse," but it isn't like that at all with us. Anyway, one spouse is quite enough, thanks. I don't need anyone else pestering me for dinner, or poking around at my swimsuit areas. Tim asks for nothing - except the occasional Tums or ibuprofen.

Although I can't see him because we're behind one-inch-thick cubicle walls, I know that he's over there squinting worriedly into a little mirror he keeps at his desk to assess his many imagined ailments and conditions.

"These lights make me look all spotty!"

I grab my pencil and tablet. For amusement, I like to keep a record of Tim's pseudo-symptoms. Here is the actual list from my desk, along with - for some reason - a doodle of a pine tree.



I know. I have the penmanship of a mentally challenged first-grader, don’t I? The only legible thing on that paper is the pine tree.

So allow me to transcribe for you. Below are some of Tim's Imaginary Zombie Ailments, along with handy-dandy Regular Person Translations:

IZA: "I think my brain stem just snapped!"
RPT: He has a crick in his neck.

IZA: "There's liquid lung juice dripping on my liver!"
RPT: He has gas.

IZA: "I feel like I have a nail in my hand!"
RPT: He's having a minor muscle spasm.

IZA: "Something is moving up through my neck!"
RPT: He has gas.

IZA: "I can hear this dripping in my head!"
RPT: His allergies are acting up.

IZA: "My eyes feel like they're going to shrivel up!"
RPT: He's tired.

IZA: "I think my esophagus just separated from my stomach!"
RPT: Still gas.

You might doubt the veracity of my claims. You might think I'm exaggerating about Tim, that no one could make up such whack-a-doo maladies. But I assure you: It's all true. The list doesn't lie.

I put down the tablet, rise from my chair and walk over to stand in his doorway, where I watch him frown into his Worry Mirror.

"Were you always like this?" I ask. "I mean, when you were a kid, did you sit in classrooms narrating your body's rapid and disturbing disintegration?"

"No, no," he says, shaking his head. "It's only since I've been here. This building is killing me." 

He looks up from his mirror, brows raised. 

"I'm gonna bring in my Radon detector!"

You know, he may have something there. I've always said that cubicles are just glorified coffins.

And really, Tim is a very smart, apparently sane person in other ways. Plus he's super nice - always saying good morning, giving me coupons for my brand of Greek yogurt . . . I once convinced him to put a bowl of water out for some stray cats that he'd told me about, a litter of kittens living under his porch.

So yeah. He's a really good guy.

I mean, as far as zombies go.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Get Your Butt Outside


(Post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

The sun shines bright on the sidewalk,
Your bike's in the garage, cast aside,
While you sit, transfixed to an iPod,
Please - get your butt outside.

A pool shimmers blue in the backyard, 
The bank-loan for it made us cry, 
But I'm not sure you know that it's there, son,
Since you won't take your heinie outside.

The grass sure could stand a good cutting,
Though I don't think you'll really comply,
As mowers don't feature PlayStations,
And we don't have a TV outside.

The dog waits in vain by the side door,
A real worried look in her eye,
She knows she can't count on you, boy,
There's no way that you'll take her outside.

A trampoline rusts by the driveway,
It misses your feet, that's no lie,
But COD won't play itself, you know,
Hell no, you ain't going outside.

Things sure were different for me, kid,
Back in nineteen seventy-nine,
"Don't come back in this house till the streetlights come on!"
Had no choice. Put on shoes. Went outside.

Anyway, I was glad to go out there,
Especially in June and July,
No A/C makes houses infernos,
And I much preferred frying outside.

There are woods that you should be exploring,
Mitts that could catch a pop-fly,
But Minecraft is what you're adoring,
And it's hard to see laptops outside.

I sure wish I was there now, son,
I'm at work to pay bills for wifi,
But this weekend I'll change up the password,
You can bet - your ass WILL BE outside. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Chocolate. And Other Reasons to Live

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

There I sat, in the grocery store parking lot, feeling confused and very tragic.

I'd just finished my first day of work after a week's vacation at the beach, and I stared straight ahead, watching the heat boil up from the asphalt. What happened to the ocean? I wondered. Where is the rum? What do you mean I have to wear pants all day?

Reality: such a disappointment.

And I knew not this thing they called "Monday." Just minutes ago, it seemed, the time had blended into a pleasant blue haze of laughter and friends, waves and great food and complete relaxation, wherein someone would occasionally ask, "Does anybody know what day it is?" only to receive the same replies: 

"Who knows?"

"Who cares?"

"Pass me another drink!"

Yet, there I was, back in the work-week with all the other dummies, forced to wear pants. It had been a day like so many others before it, and so many that will be after it: ten hours of email, canned soup for lunch, and no rum at all. 

I mean, why go on, really? 

At least I could fix the rum problem. I got out of the car, locked it, and headed through the sliding doors. 

Inside, I continued my depressive internal monologue, muttering like a crackhead all through the produce and frozen goods. I had just grumbled my way past the hamburger buns when I stopped short.

Because just then, I saw it. A post-vacation reason to live. In aisle three:


That's right. Just when you thought your clothes might fit again, holy insulin, Batman, here it is: Chocolate! Melted! In a jar!

It was displayed beside the peanut butter, and the ever-popular Nutella, which I've never tried, because I don't like hazelnut flavor. Also, most of the people I've heard gushing in the media about Nutella appear to be rich, or granola-hippies, or rich granola-hippies - Gwyneth Paltrow types - none of whom I like, all of whom I wish to slap. Upside the head. 

With a big ol' pack of Walmart bacon. 

I sound all stubborn and judgmental and misinformed up there, like a member of Congress, don't I? That is what granola-hippies do to me.

But this Hershey's business was a whole different story. I grabbed the jar off the shelf and gobbled up the label with hungry eyes. It looked like heaven. It looked like trouble. It looked like diabetes and bigger pants and bad decisions. 

I bought it immediately. 

Then, I rushed home so that I could dip into my new love. And let me tell you, friends - the stuff lived up to its promise. It tasted wonderful, the way you'd imagine, the way chocolate should: like fun and childhood and Jesus kisses. You can put it on strawberries, pretzels, fingers - doesn't really matter, because they're all just a vehicle, a utensil, if you will, to get the chocolate in the mouth. 

I know. I sound like someone is paying me to promote their business or do something for them. I sound like a member of Congress again, don't I? 

Sadly, no one is paying me to do anything. (That's what she said!) No, I am just giving you my thoughts on Chocolate! Melted! In a jar! Hey. Everyone's entitled to my valuable opinion. 

So the next time it's your first day back to work after vacation, you're forced to wear pants, and you're feeling sad and confused and like there's no reason to go on, know this:

You're right.

But if you're ever experiencing these emotions, may I recommend heading to the grocery store after work, to pick up some Chocolate! Melted! In a jar!, or your own particular brand of diabetes (even if it's Nutella, you granola-hippie.) Oh, and don't forget the rum.

Because, remember: Depression hurts. Bad decisions can help. 

________________________________________

Book update: The manuscript is still finished, and I spent the spring writing a 22,000-word book proposal, which is basically a comprehensive business plan for a book, a very left-brained task for a very right-brained person, but I made it through. From here, I will begin querying literary agents. This process can take years, and I won't even tell you how much rejection I'll likely endure, but, hey, that's how it is. I've had a few writer friends read the book, and they gave suggestions, along with some rave reviews, so there's that, right? Send me good wishes, please - and maybe chocolate! Melted! In a jar!