Friday, August 18, 2017

Zen in the Slow Lane

(post copyright 2017, Dawn Weber)

I tried something new today. I drove the speed limit. Almost.

I can't believe it myself, but it's true: I went 71 miles an hour in a 70 mph zone on the interstate, and I am thoroughly impressed with myself, even though I might be a senior citizen now.

Not only did I go the speed limit, I stayed on the far right for most of my trip. Yep. I tooled along in the slow lane like I had no place to go. Like I didn't have a job. Like I was 80.

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, this idea of driving slow. Along with millions of other American hot-heads, I've been a fast-lane driver most of my life, cheerfully going five to ten miles over the speed limit in the left lane and passing everyone in the right lane. My habits have only grown worse as I've aged--I've been the blur on your left, the headlights in your rearview mirror and the thorn in your side, kind of wishing you'd get out of my way.

As I've said before, instant asshole: just add freeway. Nowhere is this more apparent than the interstate, where nice, tax-paying, law-abiding people become Satan's spawn. It's especially true of the left lane, where the asshole quota is much higher.

I'll admit it: without even meaning to, I have occasionally been obnoxious in the fast lane. Maybe more "jerk" than asshole, but still--I'm tired of it. I'm tired of watching for brake lights. I'm tired of white knuckles. I'm tired of stress headaches, a pounding heart and a racing pulse. I'm tired of Rusty McLeftLane, cruising 50 mph in the fast lane. I'm tired of Sneaky McRightLane, trying to pass  on the right. I'm tired of tail-gaters, riding my rear like a frat boy on a Saturday night.

Mostly, I'm just tired.

And in today's commute, I discovered something important, and it is that in the slow lane, there are no worries. I can drive at a reasonable pace, merrily oblivious to any kind of stress, and if the people behind me don't like it, well, they can pull out and pass. I'm doing what a right-lane driver should: putting along at the posted speed limit, while the folks in the left lane continue in their quest to kill each other.

Oldster level: complete.

But most of all, in the slow lane, I can ignore the assholes, and if I've learned anything in my 48 years, it's that one of the keys to a long and happy life is ignoring assholes. Before I move from "jerk" status to "asshole" status myself, I'm going to slow my roll a bit, because the senior citizens really have something here. Although I'll admit that it's much easier to do when I'm going somewhere I have no desire to go -- such as work -- driving the speed limit in the right lane is freeing and downright relaxing, and I have much more energy to think, to chill--to just stop and smell the roadkill. 

You know, I just might obey the law more often.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Let Sleeping Bums Lie

(post copyright 2017, Dawn Weber)

The Hobo is missing.

I've looked for him everywhere, and checked all the usual spots: the couch, the computer, the refrigerator. He's usually in one of these places engaged in his hobbies of video-gaming, Snap-chatting or eating his weight in chicken wings. But I just can't find the boy.

So I ask the husband, "Where's your son?"

And that's when it happens: the unthinkable. The unfathomable. The unbelievable.

"He's taking a nap."

My heart stops, my stomach thumps. Surely there's been some kind of mistake.

"Yeah, right," I tell him. "That kid doesn't nap. He's never napped."

The Husband glances up from his iPhone, where he's playing his 341st daily round of Panda Pop. "See for yourself."

I'm going to have to do that, because there's no way I believe him. Our son hasn't napped since the early 2000s, and he hasn't willingly taken a nap ever.

I creep slowly, slowly up the stairs to his room.Pausing outside the door, I listen for movement or the telltale Pew-pew-pew! of video games, but hear nothing. My hand rises to the doorknob then stops. I am, after all, the mother of a teenage boy. I better knock first.


No answer.

Knock-knock again, louder.


This is alarming.

"Are you sure he's in here?" I hiss down to the Husband in the living room.

He's annoyed, but he doesn't look up from Panda Pop. "I'm tellin' ya, he's napping."

Still doubting, I turn the knob and ease open the door. And that's where I find the Hobo, fast asleep, sweating, drooling and indeed, napping.

My jaw drops. This is a kid who hasn't taken a nap since he was a newborn, and then, he never went down without a fight. Even before birth, his tiny fists and feet pummeled the insides of my belly all night long. The baby knew no bedtime.

I tip-toe over to the bed. Still not believing my eyes, I bend over his body. I have to make sure he's ok. "Hey," I whisper, shaking his shoulder. "Are you sick or something?"

He wrinkles his brow. "Hmmff?"

"I said, are you sick? Are you ok?"

He rolls over, eyes still shut, face perturbed. "I'm fine. I'm just tired, that's all."

Who is this kid, and where is my son, who hasn't slept since the Bush administration? I had to beg, plead, cajole and bribe him with Doritos to nap. I had to lay beside his crib on the hardwood floor, holding his hand through the slats to try and get him to sleep. Forty-five minutes later I'd be there, hips throbbing, still clutching his hand through the crib, his eyes as wide as saucers.

I'm not sure where such a non-napping baby came from. The husband is a nap-master, elevating it to a high art form. He can sleep anywhere -- outside, during a conversation, behind the wheel of a moving automobile. Anywhere.

Somewhat worried about the sleeping Hobo, I pull my phone from my pocket and Google "Teenage son sleepy." Thousands of posts pop up, all of which come down to "rapid physical growth."

Well. That makes sense. The boy has shot up at least six inches in the past couple years, towering over me now, his arms easily reaching the ceiling. It's almost scary how much he's grown, and sometimes it frightens me that the tall hairy guy raiding the refrigerator once resided in my abdomen. How did that gangly giant come from me? The physics alone are frightening.

I put my phone away and look back down at him. So now he naps. Great. Must be nice. One of my lifelong goals is a nap. As I've said before, I've been engaged in a futile attempt to sleep since the kids were born. The Hobo in particular thwarted most of my potential naps, insistent as he was on remaining awake until the second coming of Christ. That boy beat the sleep right out of me, and over time -- and the countless hours on the cold floor -- I learned to let go of the idea of ever napping again.

Hey -- I'm a parent. I gave up my dreams a long time ago.

I feel a wave of nostalgia, looking at his rumpled bed-head. It would be kind of nice, I think, to lie down, strike the old pose and watch him sleep. But 14-year-old boys don't take well to hand-holding.

And 48-year-old hips don't take well to the floor.

Standing there, I also toy briefly with the idea of waking him up, partly for revenge, sure, but mostly to stop the growth spurt that's pushing him ever taller, ever out the door, ever away from us.

Instead I ease my way from his room, shut the door and leave him be, just another drooling hobo, tangled in a blanket.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Big Book Announcement! Finally!

That's right! After four years,  833 hours of procrastination, two dozen boxes of wine, five million re-reads and approximately 7,498,865 edits, it's finally happened.

The book. She is here.

I Love You. Now Go Away: Confessions of a Woman with a Smartphoneis a thoroughly modern concept, a book written on a phone. In fact, for the past seven years, I've drafted all my pieces -- at least until the point where they have to be formatted in Word or Blogger -- on my phone.

It started with a Blackberry. Back in 2009, I realized I hadn't yet attempted my lifelong dream of writing humor. Since I'd just turned 40, I figured I'd better get on that. You know, before I dropped dead and all.

Because I loathe writing with a pen -- and no one can read my chicken-scratch anyway -- I began writing on my phone. I let my thumbs do the walkin', tapping out thoughts on my Blackberry keypad, transferring them to a PC, and submitting them to the local paper -- and later to this blog and the Huffington Post. Eight years (and eight phones) later, I'm still at it, and here's the book to prove it. Read on for the back cover copy:

If you like the blog, I think you'll love the book. Though there are a few favorites inside, 96 percent of this humor collection is new material featuring the usual suspects, the Husband, the Princess and the Hobo, as well as dozens of shenanigans featuring yours truly. Adventures in my soul-sucking cubicle! The annual trip to the OB/GYN! That time I drank vodka and fell off a boat!  All of this and more. You will learn more about me than you ever wanted to know, and I am so sorry.

Still, I hope you'll pick up I Love You. Now Go Away (and, if you enjoy it, please leave a review -- reviews are so important!) But even if you don't, I want to say how much I appreciate those of you who have read and laughed with me all these years. Without your support and words of encouragement, I'd never have attempted the monumental, gratifying, and unbelievably frightening task of writing a book. So it's all your fault.

And I thank you for that.

Friday, December 16, 2016

All I Want for Christmas Is to Lose 10 Pounds

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

It's not Christmas for me unless I'm ruining carols by completely re-writing them!  
Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!

All I want for Christmas Is to Lose 10 Pounds

All I want for Christmas is to lose 10 pounds,
To lose 10 pounds, just to lose 10 pounds,
Gee, if I could find a way to lose 10 pounds,
Then I would have a Merry Christmas.

It seems so long since I could see,
My feet beneath my giant bulbous belly,
Oh gosh, oh gee how happy I'd be,
If my thighs felt less like jelly.

All I want for Christmas is to lose 10 pounds,
To lose 10 pounds, just to lose 10 pounds,
Gee, if I could find a way to lose 10 pounds,
Then I would have a Merry Christmas.

It's been ages since I could get,
My pants on without swearing or a struggle,
"Oh crap, oh shit -- these slacks don't fit!"
Over a gut bulging like a bubble.

All I want for Christmas is to lose 10 pounds,
To lose 10 pounds, just to lose 10 pounds,
Gee, if I could find a way to lose 10 pounds,
Then I would have a Merry Christmas.

If I could just control myself,
Around all the goodies, cakes and candy,
Then I might have the chance to wear,
A skirt that pulls up over my big fanny.

All I want for Christmas is to lose 10 pounds,
To lose 10 pounds, just to lose 10 pounds,
Gee, if I could find a way to lose 10 pounds,
Then I would have a Merry Christmas.

I guess it's kind of useless to,
Try and diet at this time of year,
When cream cheese is our main food group,
Nothing to drink but egg nog, wine and beer.

Still . . .

All I want for Christmas is to lose 10 pounds,
To lose 10 pounds, just to lose 10 pounds,
Gee, if I could find a way to lose 10 pounds,
Then I would have a Merry Christmas!


I'm Dreaming of a Blue Christmas

I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
A Christmas I have never known,
Where the temp is 80,
And sun shines all day,
While I lie basking in its glow.

I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
Without a snowflake to be found,
I'll go on vacation,
With much elation, 
As my plane flies southward bound.

Oh, I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
Without a traffic jam in sight,
No one aggravates me,
Or spikes my BP,
When I drive island roads at night.

I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
Where I don't have to shop at all,
I'll spend all damn day,
Just being lazy,
While up north y'all are at the mall.

Yes, I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
With every shovel full of snow,
I clear the driveway,
But if I had my way,
I'd hop a Southwest flight and go.

I'm dreaming of a blue Christmas,
I bet that you would like it too,
May it happen for me and for you,
May we have one Christmas that is blue!


(... and I couldn't resist posting an old favorite I wrote in 2011)

Santa's a Chick
(sung to the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock")

Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa's a chick,
She lacks a dick, Santa's a chick,
No dude could do all they say that he does,
Only chicks could get all that done.

Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa's a chick,
Ain’t that a kick, Santa’s a chick,
Bakin’ and wrappin’ and deckin’ the hall,
With her wine bottle!

What a headache, how her back aches,
Fifty-nine things to do,
It's pure chaos, runs her ass off,
Most of these men don't even have a clue.

Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa’s a girl,
All 'round the world, Santa’s a girl,
Started her list around June 24,
Men they wait until the day before.

Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa has boobs,
Thirty-six Cs, average boobs,
Bouncing and flouncing all over the mall,
Since the early fall!

On Black Friday, she’s up early,
Left before the crack of dawn,
Flat-screen TVs, she’d like one, please,
“I'm sorry ma’am - they’re already gone."

Hurry up, Santa Chick, get the hell home,
Cookies don't make themselves,
Hubs he's asleep and he's no help at all,
That's why Santa's a . . .
Surely Santa's a . . .
That's why Santa's a chick!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Terror at the Grocery Store

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

There I stood in front of the door, faced with one of the most important decisions of my life. I was dazed. I was confused.

I was downright scared.

It had all started innocently enough. I'd found a couple hours of unexpected free time, so I stopped to check out the fancy new grocery "marketplace" in town. I had heard the store contained a Starbuck's, a gourmet cheese counter, and -- joy of joys -- a wine bar. Since coffee, cheese and wine are my three main food groups, I was pretty stoked to see what else the place offered.

And it did not disappoint. My jaw dropped as I walked into a building big enough to require a dedicated zip code. At the front of the store, patients checked into a full-size health clinic, while in the cosmetics aisle, a makeup artist gave free makeovers. Add to that a clothing department, a shoe department, plus the aforementioned coffee, cheese and wine, and this place was a middle-aged woman's wildest dream.

But one thing the mega-mart didn't contain? Restrooms. At least, not in the traditional sense.

Now, as some of you who've been around here long enough may remember from years such as 2012, I am somewhat restroom-challenged, especially when it comes to stores. I've merrily and cluelessly walked into the men's room at Walmart not once but twice because every time management remodels the building, which is often, they flip-flop the restrooms, probably so they can stand in front of security cameras and laugh at dummies who don't pay attention. Such as me.

So I've become the type of person who takes extra care in considering my bathroom choices. And as I made my way to the wall marked "restrooms," well, that's when it happened.

I looked to my left.

I looked to my right.

There were two of them, one on each side, and no other options. No ladies' room, no men's room, no "Family" room. Just:

Now, it's not that I'd never encountered a unisex bathroom before. I've seen these single-pot affairs in tiny restaurants or the occasional gas station. However, in a retail store that size, one expects stalls. Lots and lots of stalls.

I turned my head side to side, from unisex bathroom to unisex bathroom.  Like I said, I'd used them before. But surely a business this big contained many commodes -- in the unisex bathroom, I guess? What the hell was I getting myself into? A one-stall wonder? Or a friendly gathering? I didn't know what to do. I pictured myself entering a room full of men at urinals and women on toilets, all pausing from their task to lift a hand and wave "Hello!" as I walked in, a la Norm from Cheers. We'd then proceed to have jolly unisex conversations as we did our business.

But there was no getting around it. I had to pee. Of course I did. As I've said before, I'm a 47-year-old woman who possesses a bladder that's been cheerily pummeled by two fetuses. If I'm awake I have to pee. If I'm breathing I have to pee. Indeed, the situation had reached the point of no return, and I was one sneeze away from disaster there in aisle A-11. I had no idea what I'd find on the other side of either door. Women? Men? Jimmy Hoffa? Well, I thought, this is just the world we live in now. I mean, Donald Trump has been elected president. Clearly, reality is broken.

So I pushed through the unisex bathroom door to find . . .

One toilet. One sink. One lock. It was, thank God, just a standard unisex restroom -- not the big potty party I'd envisioned.

I did my thing, washed up, and went back out to find a large crowd of women and men milling around and looking as worried and confused as I did minutes before. I was going to tell them all that they'd be OK, but then decided, nah. Why ruin the fun?

Though I enjoyed watching them meander about in bewilderment, I didn't stay long. To tell you the truth, after my own alarming adventure I just wanted to sit down -- somewhere other than a toilet.

Yep, I thought, No wonder this place has a bar.

As I walked away, I still couldn't fathom why a superstore large enough to produce its own clouds contained only two tiny restrooms. I had no beef at all with the "unisex" part -- I've never cared who uses what with what apparatus. But I will admit it perplexed me when there were no other facilities, at least in the front of the building. This  type of thing might  happen in California, mister. But here in Ohio, in a store that size, we require a little more guidance, as well as stalls.

Lots and lots of stalls.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Potty-Mouth's Ode to Summer

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

Hey Summer, why are you leaving?
Summer, please. I beg you. Don't go,
And leave me with old man Winter,
That guy, I tell ya, he blows.

He tries very hard to kill me,
He's a nasty old fart, there's no doubt,
With a heart just as hard as an iceberg,
A soul that's as cold as a trout.

He spits freezing rain at my eyeballs,
He coats the roadways with black ice,
My fingers turn into claws from,
Gripping the wheel like a vise.

His skies are as gray as old ashes,
His trees look dead, leaves are gone,
With views like this out the window,
Really, I think, why go on?

Yet again I must pack up my flip-flops,
Again I will pack up my smile,
I'll put them both inside boxes,
Forget they exist for a while.

Eating becomes a religion,
Our Crock Pots bubble like vats,
Cream cheese turns into a food group,
No wonder we all get so fat.

I hope the shorts inside my closet,
Will fit my big butt in May,
After six months of snacking,
And laying around every day.

What else can you do in the winter?
Except for eat, sleep and sob,
I might as well go into work,
I can be miserable at my job.

But Summer, you are a beauty,
You're steamy, hot, sexy and fun,
You make us want to strip naked,
And burn ourselves brown in the sun.

I'm sorry I cursed you in August,
When the temp was a hundred and four,
See, my ass was stuck to the car seat,
And my arm had been seared to the door.

Still, that's no reason to leave me,
With nothing but wind, ice and snow,
My nostrils froze shut from December till May,
Summer, please. I beg you. Don't go!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Oldsters Avoiding Coasters

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

The husband and I recently took our children on a trip to an amusement park, or as I like to call it, World's Best Place to Die a Violent Death.

The kids were really stoked to go. I too was excited at the prospect of blowing the better part of our savings account to stand and sweat profusely with hundreds of alarming-looking people in two-hour lines. For 40 second rides.

What fun!

I sound a little bitter, don't I? I'm not sure what happened to me. When I was young, my stomach used to leap at the thought of roller coasters. The very sight of them meant joy! Laughter! Adventure!

My stomach still leaps at the sight of coasters. But these days it's from fear! Nausea! Possible bloodshed!

I guess that's because back in the day, I, like most kids, thought I was invincible. I had no fear of death. Didn't even think about it.

Not so now. As an adult, I devote great swaths of time to thinking about death, worrying about death, and avoiding things that can cause death, such as 67-mph, 170-foot roller coasters.

Nonetheless, my husband and I recently found ourselves staring down exactly that, a giant steel contraption designed to nearly kill us. It was one of the park's newest rides, and our children, the Princess and the Hobo, had rushed to join the throngs already waiting with instructions to text  when they'd finished. I felt a little worried about the kids riding all the insane-looking attractions, but there was no changing their minds. They'd been talking about this trip for the last year. Or two.

The husband turned to me. "What do you want to go on first?"

"How about that one?" I said, indicating a fast-moving circular ride.

He shook his head. "It spins. You know I can't spin -- it makes me throw up. What about this?" he said, pointing.

My eyes followed his finger up, up, way the hell up, to a vertical attraction with a top so high in the sky I couldn't see it.

"No way am I riding something that's covered by clouds," I told him. "What about the Ferris wheel? It's tall, but I can see the top."

He shrugged, said, "OK," and we, the oldsters, joined our fellow oldsters already in line. 

Considering the fact that I've ridden Ferris wheels since approximately age four, it seemed like a safe bet to me.

But alas, no.

The view from the ground had tricked me. Once on the ride, I realized this was one deceiving-looking, pulse-racing, heart-stoppingly tall Ferris wheel. At the top, it stopped and swayed in the wind for what seemed like forever as I looked out across Lake Erie, located Canada, and mightily regretted leaving my anxiety meds in the car.

After 18 light-headed and tragically prescription-free minutes, we'd survived our spin on the oldster wheel and found ourselves back on terra firma. The kids met us at the bottom on the way to another coaster from a list they'd made and told us we were free to go on another ride.

You can imagine my excitement.

"Great," I said. "What now?"

We looked to the left -- spinning rides. We looked to the right -- sky-high rides. We looked straight ahead:  Model T cars creeping along a winding path at a cool 5 mph. Oldster central.


"Want to ride the Model Ts?" he asked.

"I guess," I said, "but I get to drive,"

We ambled over and stood in another long line with dozens more alarming-looking people. It was worth it though, because once in the car, we had a thrilling trip full of many exciting moments, such as driving past fake rocks, and going under a fake bridge.

We climbed out of our fake car, and I realized that this adventure-filled, action-packed morning  had made me hungry. And thirsty.

I turned to the husband. "Where's the old-timey saloon? I mean, it's noon. Almost. Sort of."

Stumbling around in a geezerly fashion, we finally located that staple of every amusement park, that beloved mecca for parents -- the old-West saloon. Texting ensued, and the kids joined us for lunch.

"You guys having fun?" I asked, sipping my ten-dollar, 8-ounce cup of beer.

They nodded. "Only four more roller coasters," said the Princess, "and we'll get to every one on our list!"

I groaned inwardly because, well, math. Four more coasters = four more hours. It could also equal four more beers, but I didn't feel like taking out a second mortgage on the house.

The kids wolfed down burgers as the husband and I consumed our overpriced crappy nachos and Bud Lights.

"See you guys later," said the Hobo. "We'll text when we're done."

"Sounds good," I replied, mentally adding Great spending time with ya!, even though I knew spending time with them at amusement parks = getting dragged onto roller coasters. 

Now, I could tell you that the husband and I then had some kind of inspirational epiphany wherein we decided to run after the kids in a mad-cap, Brady Bunch fashion and go on every death-defying ride with them. I could tell you that, but it would be a lie.

Epiphanies: you've come to the wrong blog.

The truth of the matter is we, the senior citizens, finished lunch, then trundled around the park avoiding coasters, eating overpriced food, and getting into whatever geezer-based activities we could find. Eventually -- and somewhat blessedly -- a major thunderstorm hit, at which time we re-grouped as a family and rushed to the car. At the same time as about 8,000 other people.

I admit it: I was glad to leave. What can I say? As a child, there was no place I'd rather go than an amusement park.

Now, I'd rather go anyplace other than an amusement park.

But you raise your kids, and you do these things.You go to places like amusement parks because you love them and it's a way to spend time together as a family. They grow so fast and you blink and before you know it, they're teenagers who really don't want to be around you anymore. 

So you come up with ways to force them to be around you.

As we sat in traffic, I looked out at the coasters lining the stormy skyline. Part of me felt guilty that we didn't ride all those crazy things with the kids. But hey -- we are not the Brady Bunch. We're the Webers. He vomits and I hyperventilate and that is who we are.

We showed up anyway.

And that's pretty much the definition of family, isn't it? Doing things half of you don't want to do.

Just to make the other half happy.