Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Momsgiving

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

That's right, you heard me. Instead of Thanksgiving, I'm calling it Momsgiving because, well, I don't see anybody else in this damn kitchen. Anyway, think about it: Mom's giving you turkey. Mom's giving you stuffing. Mom's giving you yams, potatoes, pie -- and possibly  diabetes.

Yes, ladies, Thanksgiving, Momsgiving, whatever you want to call it, is here, and you know what that means for us.

Hours of cooking! Distant relatives! An overwhelming urge to run far, far away!

It all begins in early November with the dreaded question, the one that leaves us sweaty and depressed:

"What are we doing for Thanksgiving?"

To this, you have several answers -- "Flying to Vegas!" "Driving to Daytona!" "Getting away from all you people!" -- but sadly, you know that none of these will be acceptable to your family members, who want nothing more than to sit around eating the food you cooked, and watching TV in the house that you cleaned spend time with you.

Because of that, you say what you do every year, the same five dreaded words:

"We'll have it here, I guess."

And so it begins.

Saturday and Sunday:

Spend 13 hours dusting and mopping guest room, living room, kitchen, and kids. Remember annual tradition of Hiding of the Liquor and Questionable Movies, as well as all-important Clearing of the Internet Browser.


Rush to grocery store after work. Quickly become just another frantic woman in overpriced fleece, pillaging piles of yams, potatoes, rolls, etc. Hustle past crying babies and slamming carts, and nearly get into fight in grocer's freezer over last bag of noodles. Despite craziness, don't forget to pick up most important item on Thanksgiving list.

Your Xanax prescription.

Thursday (early a.m.):

Kids sleep, husband snores.

Not you.

Must start prepping and cooking in wee hours of morning. Exhausted already, you begin to hold  conversations with turkey such as:

-Hey there, Handsome!
-We'll go vegan next year, I promise.
-Is that your pop-up timer, or are you just happy to see me?

Oddly, turkey doesn't answer.

Thursday (noon):

Relatives arrive. Yay!

Locate Xanax.

Thursday (afternoon):

Crunch time. Dash around kitchen, simultaneously preparing yams, potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy, rolls and turkey. Trip over relatives as they belatedly try to "help." Resist impulse to scream, "Get the hell out of my kitchen!"

Wonder if is too late for drive to Daytona.

Thursday (dinner time):

Try not to drip blood, sweat and tears into turkey while carrying to table. Sit down, say grace, appreciate loving faces, and watch as they cheerfully devour the food you spent 11 hours preparing.

In exactly four minutes and 45 seconds.

Thursday (evening):

Survey empty chairs and table full of dirty dishes. Realize you haven't seen people disappear that fast since cops showed up at senior year keg party. Sigh and roll up sleeves.

Locate hidden liquor.


Well, folks, there you have it. I've pleaded my case. With this, the average American mother's schedule during the third week of November, I proudly declare it not Thanksgiving, but Momsgiving.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go. There's lists to write, plans to make, much to do, and soon I will be just another frantic woman in overpriced fleece.

On a flight to Vegas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mom's Mind-blowing Modern Technologies

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

It's hard, I know, to be a kid nowadays. Hours and hours spent Twittering, Instagramming, and playing video games can really take a toll on our youngsters' lives, to the extent that they are "too tired" to perform even the most menial of tasks.

Case in point:

I know, right? It's exhausting, growing up.

Unfortunately, a "tired" child doesn't do much "work." This leaves more -- much more -- for his mother to do, which in turn makes her "upset" and keeps her from the important things in life, such as "drinking wine" and "watching HGTV."

It's simple, really. Messes + chores = angry mom. Wine + HGTV = happy mom.

Thankfully, there are several magical inventions that can help kids overcome the huge hurtles so very taxing to them. And as a parent, it's my job to educate the children on these incredible wonders of the world. Read on, young ones, for your guide to . . .

 Mom's Mind-blowing Modern Technologies!

You may remember this container from such rooms as your bedroom. Often, you've been curious about the strange vessel. What could it possibly be?

This is an amazing invention called a hamper. It can get your soiled clothing off the floor and out of the way, thereby keeping your bedroom neat, fresh, and obstacle-free.To use, simply A) Remove dirty clothing from body, and B) Toss it in hamper.

"But," you ask, "where will my clothes go?" Never fear, my child, for the glory of the hamper is such that once it's full, Mom will take it away, and your wardrobe will magically re-appear, clean and fresh, in a couple of days. How she appreciates the fact that your filthy clothes are conveniently located in one place, so she can have the great honor of washing your laundry. All 33 pounds of it.

Clearly you enjoy making aged cheese from your leftover chocolate milk. And Mom understands. It's nice to have hobbies.

One wonders, though, about the dozen other abandoned glasses of lukewarm liquids scattered about the house. What will you do when your beverages are room temperature and all the cups dirty and half empty -- or full, as the case may be? The waters, the Mountain Dews, the blue Gatorades on every available surface of the living room, bathroom, bedroom and family room, each of them left lost. Weeping.


Fear not, my child. The remarkable device pictured above can keep your drinks cold. Never again will you lack refreshments or cups, for the appliance called refrigerator has the sole purpose of chilling and preserving food and drink items so that they can be enjoyed again and again. Sure, production of chocolate milk cheese will be reduced or eliminated by relocating half-full glasses to the "fridge," as those in the know call it. But you'll be able to enjoy your beverages over and over, simply by placing them in this super cool box.

There seems to be some confusion, Mom's noticed, on responsibilities in this household. For instance, when one is finished with dinner, one seems to think that leaving one's dirty dishes on the table is adequate. This is not so!

In the year 2015, we have a machine to wash our dishes, and it's called -- stay with me here -- a dishwasher. To utilize such a marvel, all you have to do is open the door, and place your soiled plates and utensils inside. That's it! Mom will take it from here by putting a cleaning tab in its container and pushing "on," a task too complicated for anyone else. 


"Where are my shoes?"

It's a question that's plagued children for centuries. In our house, the answer is easy: right by the front door. Heaps of shoes. Piles of shoes.
All the shoes.

I have good news, young ones. No more will you suffer the search when you leave them in this marvelous little room, designed especially to hold clothing and footwear! A closet, we call it, and why, it couldn't be more useful. You'll find your tennis shoes -- sure you will -- right in there by your football cleats. And your baseball spikes. Behind your winter coats. Under your sleeping bag. And your old toys.

Bah. Never mind. Wear the shoes by the door.

Perhaps the simplest of our Mind-blowing Modern Technologies, the toilet paper holder is an absolute study in efficiency with its rod-and- plate design. You can sit. You can go. You can wipe.

Except when you can't.

Why? Because the holder is suddenly empty. This can be very distressing, because now you can't sit, you can't go, you can't wipe.

What will you do?

It's easy. Help the toilet paper holder fulfill its God-given purpose. Just open the cabinet door, grab a new roll of TP and slide it onto the rod. Fill it. Spin it.

Wipe it.

And with that, we've come to the bottom of your guide to Mom's Mind-Blowing Modern Technologies. Keep this manual close by for whenever you're pondering what to do in the face of such conundrums as lack of shoes, cups, clothing and toilet paper. If you lose this guide, don't fret, as the whole thing can be summed up with four words:

Clean up your crap.

You know, choosing to do things for yourself pleases Mom. By the small act of cleaning up your crap,  you can make her happy, and, as the saying goes, when she's happy, everybody's happy. Life is all glitter and rainbows and unicorns. Like a Disney movie. With wine.


Friday, October 30, 2015

A Moment of Silence for the Packing Away of the Flip-flops

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

It's time to pack up the flip-flops,
It's time to pack up the smile,
Winter is well on its way,
Yet I'm in complete denial.

I get like this in October,
When the forecast turns to shit,
'Cause I don't want to pack up my flip-flops,
No sir. Not one little bit.

But six months of ice and snow,
Don't make for flip-flop weather,
From fall till the end of March,
You want your feet in leather.

It's time to dig out my boots,
I really hate to admit it,
I'll also unpack my pants,
And hope to hell they still fit.

That's one reason I love flip-flops,
They're never too tight or snug,
Even after a week's vacation,
They feel like a gentle foot-hug.

Yeah, flip-flops are like a party,
Right there on my feet,
With a look that yells, "Margaritas!"
And a vibe that shouts, "Let's eat!"

Oh sing a song of the flip-flop,
They're cheap, they're fast, they're easy,
Much like your average prostitute,
Only wearable, flat and disease-free.

All the world loves a flip-flop,
Manufactured by kids in China,
For sale at every Dollar Tree,
From Maine to Texarkana.

Still, it's time to lose the flip-flops,
Oh how I will miss them,
My toes will count the days,
Till they return to freedom.

Yes it's time to pack up the flip-flops,
I can't deny that it's winter,
But things aren't really all bad 'cause,
I am also packing my razor.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Don't Give a Sh*t About Football: A Football Widow's Lament

I don't give a shit about football,
Yeah, I just went there. I said it,
I've attempted to work up an interest,
But, no. I don't care. Not one bit.

With several boyfriends and a husband,
I faked it again and again,
Don't be pervy - I faked liking football,
When I really gave zero shits. Not one.

I sat with them on many bleachers,
In high school and college and onward,
I tried hard to concentrate on games,
My mind. It did nothing but wander.

Watch my eyes glaze over in boredom,
As the guys at work start up their smack-talk,
Getting all worked up and bothered,
'Bout the Jets or Bengals or the Seahawks.

They go on and on using jargon,
Such as "hook," "muff" "loose ball" and "pooch-kick,"
I laugh, 'cause That is What She Said,
It just all sounds so vaguely erotic.

On Saturday, I'm watching TV,
When in comes the husband to oust me,
He wants to watch Bucks on the big screen,
Oh well. Guess I'll have to go shopping.

The Superbowl is just a Sunday,
I'm hoping to finish the laundry,
Of course, I need to work fast since,
We've been asked to Superbowl parties.

You know, I guess it ain’t all bad,
There's cheering and snacks and libations,
They should just take away that lame "game" stuff,
And make it a big celebration.

'Cause, I don't give a shit about football,
But I'll gladly be at your tailgate,
Drinking several cans of your Bud Light,
And fixing myself a big food plate.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Six People Lurking in Your Employee Lunchroom

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)
I've worked at various businesses around the Midwest for, oh, two or three hundred years now.

Although every job is different, they all have had some things in common -- besides computers and despair, that is.

Every workplace has a lunchroom. And in each lunchroom, there among the rows of tables, chairs and filthy microwaves, are certain individuals. Here at Miserable Cubicles Incorporated, I've identified these folks. Read on for a handy guide to  "The Six People Lurking in Your Employee Lunchroom."

1. Protein Pete
PP arrives first thing each morning and spreads out his array of fruits, powders and organic kale. Next, he spends 40 minutes of company time whipping up a slimy green concoction that he sips twice, then stores -- uncovered and indefinitely -- in the communal fridge. Protein Pete specializes in Ninja Blenders, rotten bananas, and annoying the hell out of everyone with unsolicited nutritional advice.

2. Coffee Pot Carl
Carl got coffee.

You got none.


That's because instead of following standard lunchroom etiquette and making more coffee after he poured the last cup, Carl went back to his desk, strolling cheerfully past the "If you drink the last of the coffee, please make more" sign.


You suck, Carl.

3. Loud Linda
In a good mood? You won't be for long. Loud Linda has arrived to inform everyone in shouty capital letters about the TRAFFIC, the WEATHER, and her RIDICULOUS WORKLOAD. Loud Linda: She's the reason God made earbuds.

And vodka.

4. TMI Tonia
Not to be outdone by Linda is TMI Tonia. Join her by the water cooler, where she'll continually share too damn much information with anyone brave enough to walk into the room. Her pants size. Her sex life. Her latest colonoscopy. We know all about it. And more.

So much more.

5. Dirty Dishes Dan
Our boy Dan likes to leave his soiled plates "soaking" in the sink, waiting on the perfect time -- Christmas? Easter? The zombie apocalypse? -- for someone else to wash them. It's a happy world, Dan's is, free of responsibility and common decency, where a guy doesn't deal with his own messes.

It's a world with his mom, apparently.

6. Scorched Salmon Sally
Sally loves fish.

So Sally brings fish.

Sally overcooks said fish in the microwave, reducing it to a rubbery puck and producing an odor that causes everyone in the room to gag and seriously consider the possibility of assault with office supplies.

Yes, Sally loves fish. But Sally is in danger of death.

By paper clip.

So there you have it. Six obnoxious people from your lunchroom and mine, all of whom specialize in making our workdays just a little more wretched.

How do you get through it? We at Miserable Cubicles Incorporated recommend earbuds, a "white noise" playlist, and the knowledge that one day you will retire.

In twenty, thirty years or so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my break is almost over and I really need to grab a cup of . . .

Dammit, Carl.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Reptiles for Lunch

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

It was a warm, sunny day. I'd managed to exercise, shower, and even put on pants before noon.

And then I almost had to change them.

You see, I had a visitor for lunch. An uninvited guest. Let's back up a little.

Like I said, it started as a great day off. Some swimming, some yoga, lots of sun, so I decided to keep the healthy vibes going with a salad. I ripped up lettuce, chopped some onions, and reached for a package of tomatoes purchased the previous Sunday from the local grocery store. Opening the lid, I turned on the water and began rinsing the tomatoes under the faucet.

And then I nearly shat meself.

"AHHH!! ICKKKKKK!" I hollered.

"What?!" yelled the Princess, alarmed and thumping down the stairs from her room. "What is wrong with you?"

I turned to my daughter with eyes as wide as saucers. "SNAKE!"

"AHHHH!!" she yelled, stopping in her tracks.

"ICKKKKK!" I replied.

We continued in this manner for a while, our eyes bulging as we regarded the green snake cheerfully slithering around on a dirty plate in the sink. In his typical Hobo fashion, my son had shrugged off his dishwasher-loading chores again, and for this I was thankful: the soiled dishes blocked the snake from sliding down the drain and setting up camp.

The Princess and I took turns peeking into the sink. "What should we do?" I whispered.

"I don't know!" she murmured.

"Why are we whispering?" I asked.

"I don't know!" she hissed.

Together, we crept again to the edge of the counter. I spied a large plastic mug.

"I'll trap him with that cup," I told her. "You open the door, and I'll carry him out on the plate and put him in the woods."

She gulped and nodded. "Alright."

I grasped the mug and raised it over top of the plate, trying not to spook the invader. But he was on to me and began spinning his body in frantic circles.

"AHHHH!" I screamed.

"ICKKKK!" she replied.

Hoping not to splatter snake all over my sink, I closed both eyes and slammed the cup down. Reluctantly and ever so slowly, I opened my eyes and saw that I'd caught him on the blue dish. Whole. Alive.

And kicking.

I grabbed the makeshift trap and sprinted for the doorway. "Open it! Open IT UP!!"

The Princess pulled the handle and stepped aside while I lunged through the door. Together, we ran to the edge of the woods, and I put the plate down.

"When I lift the mug, you take a picture," I said, still whispering for no apparent reason. She pulled out her iPhone and nodded gravely.

Trembling, I approached the cup o' snake as he slithered angrily inside, trying to escape his filthy little jail. "Here we go," I said. "Get your camera ready!"

With one quick motion, I lifted the mug. She had just enough time to click a picture before the menacing snake, all four inches of him, slipped off and into the woods.

"AHHHH!" she yelled.

"ICKKKKK!" I screamed.

I picked up the rest of the tomatoes, lobbing them into the trees, and we gathered the dishes and walked back into the house on wobbly knees. To thoroughly disgust our friends and family, we posted the picture on social media. I also texted the shot to my husband.  "There was a snake in my tomatoes," I wrote, waiting for the inevitable I've got a snake for your tomatoes, baby! reply.

One doesn't often find oneself Googling "pests in produce," but when one does, one can expect hundreds of hits. Apparently, critters are common in fruits and vegetables from stores -- my Facebook and bloggy friend Shelly reported that a man in her Texas town had been bitten by a rattlesnake while reaching into his grocer's fruit bins. A Michigan woman recently found a black widow spider in store-bought grapes. I was lucky that my lunch guest looked to be a harmless baby garter snake. Still. You can never be sure.

As I sat and recovered in the kitchen, I realized that the snake wasn't even my first rescue of the morning. Earlier, I'd pulled two frogs from the pool and put them in our little pond to save them from a slow chlorine death. Not only that, I remembered that I also regularly stop and pluck turtles off of busy roads, respecting their directional wishes by depositing them in whichever ditch they're heading toward. For this, the husband calls me The Patron Saint of Turtles. But clearly, I'd just proven myself the Patron Saint of Reptiles and Amphibians. A promotion.

Maybe so. But still. Come on, man. A SNAKE! In my FOOD!

Too skeeved out to eat anything, I packed away the lettuce and onions, and went into the bedroom to assess the situation in my pants.

Yes, it had started as a good day.

And then I made a salad.