Monday, December 24, 2012

Elf on the Shelf? Not at Our Place. More Like Crackheads on the Counter

(Post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

Elf on the shelf? Ain't nobody got time for that!

es, it's driven me to bad grammar and a double negative, this disturbing trend wherein the good, energetic and 
altogether better-than-me-moms of the world have rushed out to purchase the “Elf on the Shelf.” He's a very cool, very retro, completely silly doll who - each night - SOMEHOW seems to find himself in all kinds of cutesy, goofy-ass trouble.

He climbs Christmas trees:

He makes snow/flour angels.

I have even seen him in scantily clad situations with a Barbie. Or three. I won't post those pictures here, because this isn't that kind of blog and also - ahem - I don't have permission to use the pictures.

But believe me when I say photos of this industrious little dude are all over over the Internet, and he is very, very creative with his naughtiness. I suspect maternal assistance.

Now, you may not know this, but I am not your average mom. No - I am far, far below average. In general, I do not have my, how you say, "shit together."

I used to. I used to bake, I used to decorate, I used to hang lights outside. Back in the day, I could Martha Stewart the hell out of a mantle.

Holy Hallmark, people. I used to send out Christmas cards.

But these days, I am very busy and not at all, not even close to important, on account of working, Facebooking and ensuring my status as a below-average mom. Getting an Elf on the Shelf into fun, creative, PG-13 shenanigans looks like something that has to happen very late at night. Like at 9:15 p.m. or some shit.

So, when it comes to the EOTS, let me again quote Internet sensation, bronchitis sufferer and my new BFF Sweet Brown God, I love this woman when I say to you: Ain't nobody got time for that.

Exhibit A - my counter: 

Now, I may be far below average, but never let it said I completely deny my children. That’s right. Hold tight, party people - I’m going to the attic. 

Shit's about to get fancy.

Meet Frank. Also Paddy:

Frank and Paddy are a couple of easy-going, flat-out lazy, possibly tipsy elves dating back from, oh, the Nixon administration. About ten days before Christmas, I - dating from the Nixon administration myself - drag my easy-going, flat-out lazy, occasionally tipsy ass up to the attic and haul them down from their box.

Red cheeks, beer bellies, raggedy clothes - our boys Frank and Paddy have the carriage and demeanor of two drunken Irishmen, with a work ethic to match. Paddy looks very much like one of our female family members - whiskers and all.

Which family member? I’m not going to say. C’mon, man, do I look stupid?

Hey now - don’t answer that.

Paddy and Frank are nothing at all like their lithe, industrious, famous young cousin, Mr. Elf on the Shelf.

These two park themselves near a little sleigh that houses our incoming Christmas cards. And there they hang out, for weeks on end, probably hung over. Like a couple of homeless crackheads.
Damn, boys, you are out of control. Keep it together, Paddy!
What do they do? Well, like good crackhead/homeless/alcoholic elves, they work hard at doing nothing. They don't get into mischief. They don't climb the Christmas tree.They don't make snow angels in powdered sugar. And they don’t care that their fit, trim, famous cousin Mr. Elf on the Shelf Trendy McPants, has garnered international attention.

In fact, they don’t care about anything. Like me, they are far, far below average.

Isn't that right elves? Paddy? Frank? Guys? Lean closer, folks, I think I hear them - I think they have something to say!

"Ain't nobody got time for that!"
Merry, Merry Christmas, readers! And thank you so much for stopping in, reading and/or commenting. I hope you and your family have one FANTASTIC flippin' holiday!

And thank you, thank you, to my dear friend NML who was a VERY good sport about letting me use her Elf on the Shelf pictures. She is a great friend, far, far above average and clearly an altogether better mom than me. See NML? It was pretty painless!

And as promised, here is an excerpt from this week's chapter, tentatively titled: "Staff Meetings: Yes, You Can Sleep With Your Eyes Open," which will be in my upcoming book:

. . . I attempt to listen, as we discuss pointless concepts using ridiculous words that nobody understands. Yes, we use our “knowledge base” to “revisit” our “game plan.”

It’s all a bunch of “bullshit.”

The following are actual notes I've taken at meetings, along with my translations:

  • “We’re going to re-vamp our best practices.” - You’ll be required to learn a shit-load of new idiotic rules, regulations and procedures that make absolutely no sense.
  • “We’ve been discussing our bottom line . . . - Somebody is getting laid off.
  • “We need to change our mindset.” - You’ll be changing job descriptions.
  • “Our new customer service module synergizes with our core values.” - Nobody f*cking knows what synergize means.

..... Stay tuned!

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Words With Friends." Words With "Old Friends." Words With Old Friends Who "CHEAT!" (And next book excerpt)

(post and pictures copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

In a quest for new and unique ways to waste time, I have started playing Words With Friends.

It's all Craig's fault.

Play Words With Friends, he said. It will be fun, he said.

Yep, Craig Gobel - high school classmate. Football player. Always smiling. Wanted me to play Words With Friends. I could tell because of the notification on my phone:

"Craig Gobel wants you to play Words With Friends!"

I had just installed the WWF app the day before, in order to do something, ANYTHING with my son, the Hobo, a boy perpetually glued to - and enamored of - electronics. The game also includes a handy feature where you can chat with fellow players. Exciting! A way to "communicate" with my son! Perhaps he'd even "answer."

Yes, every day, he's "shufflein."

I have to admit - I groaned a little bit when I received Craig's Words WF invitation. Sorry, Craig. It wasn't him - I just didn't want to get pulled into another online game, another time-suck, after kicking a particularly addictive Farmville habit not long ago:

Lord, I miss my little cartoon cornfields. And cartoon kegs.

When I saw Craig's WWF request, I thought back to the good old days in school and how he was always in my homeroom. At the time, our names were alphabetically close, so he sat beside me in the early mornings as I tried - drooling, and in vain - to stay awake after the previous night's McDonald's shift. 

I liked Craig, always smiling. I didn't want to ruin his smile by denying his request.

"Craig Gobel wants you to play Words With Friends!"

As I recall, he was a pretty good football player. I was not blessed with the, how you say, "athleticism of any sort." I had three talents in high school: 

1. Spelling/vocabulary;
2. Working at McDonald's;
3. Attending parties.

Of these skills, number 3, I felt, was the most important.

But I was a pretty damn good speller, usually runner-up at the school spelling bee. A solid second place, that's always, always, AL-F*CKING-WAYS! me. 

And with 22 years of experience in journalism, marketing, corporate and state communications, words - along with photos - are pretty much my life. I figured I could take on Craig Gobel, football star.

Play Words With Friends and beat Craig, I said. It will be fun, I said.

We begin, and pretty much out of the gate, Craig plays the word "LOGE." I am displeased. I tell him so.

Yes, I'm a pretty good speller, az u can n see.
But I shake it off, power through, and come back with "DAHLIA" for about 18 points.  

Take that, football star.

He steals my "DAHLIA" pluralizing it with an S and using the s to make "SNOW," thus earning something like 600 points. 

I hate him.

Despite my threats of violence, we keep going, using such scholarly vocabulary as "PERV," "PEES" and "WARP."  Our teachers would be proud.

Craig Gobel apparently has his own gott-dang dictionary, which includes the alleged words ...FER and GROD and TI. You might say, "FER, GROD and TI are in Webster's, Dawn - they ARE real words." But I've never seen them. Therefore, they don't exist.

I'm pretty sure Craig Gobel is just making shit up. Craig Gobel apparently has his own reference source, called the "Fictionary."

Craig Gobel cheats.

In the end, much time was wasted and many LOLs exchanged. 

And Craig Gobel, former classmate, football star, jock extraordinaire, beat the living snot out of me with a score of, like, 7,013 to 142.

Have I mentioned he cheats?

But I bet he's still smiling.

Well played, football star. Well played.


I promised you a chapter a week (or there-abouts), here's an excerpt of the chapter I wrote this week, "Reasons to Stay in the Closet"

". . . While eating, I thought of all the good times in my closet, where I might possibly also store some cookies at Christmas . . . a tub of frosting during the summer . . . maybe a bottle of wine when my mother visits. 

Do not judge me.

Emergency sugar, emergency wine - whatever. It's the secret bomb shelter of a middle aged woman.

Yeah, this closet is too small for clothes. But the size makes it a great mini-vacation for one - nobody bothering me, asking for things, taking my chocolate. It could use something in the way of cookie dough, so I'm thinking of putting in a little fridge . . . perhaps a wet bar. The conversation pit will go over there, past the Nikes . . ."

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Jingle Bell Rock?" Nope. "Santa's a Chick." (And First Book Blurb)

In the time-honored tradition of my 2010 radio standard - "It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer," I bring you another Holiday Classic. I write the songs that make one or two people the whole world sing, yo. (To the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock.")

(post and lyrics copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

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!

And on a Completely Unrelated Note . . .

Yeah, I know this picture's blurry. 
But it's all been a blur. She-was-born-she-was-a-girl-and-then

She's 15. And a half.
My daughter has her driver's permit now, and I cannot flipping believe it, and there's the picture and that's what I've written about for my first book chapter, and as promised, here's a blurb from this essay, "Left of Center" copyright 2012, Dawn Weber:

Clearly it's time for me to give her advice. I do this often. Is she awake? Is she walking? Is she breathing? I should definitely offer her my guidance on these activities.

"Now, when you're on these back roads like this . . ."

"I know. I know what you're going to say, Mom - watch out for the deer."

She knows, she says.

I see her eye-roll, but it doesn't stop me. No sir.

"Well, it's not just the deer, you gotta  . . ."

"I know, Mom - you told me. Watch out for the Amish."

"Yeah, you have to watch out for the buggies, but . . ."

"I know, Mom, go slow."

"Go slow, but what I'm TRYING to tell you is" . . .

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Paperclip, the Pants and My Ongoing Demise. Oh. And An Announcement.

(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

Want to see my underwear?

Well, sorry - this isn't really that kind of blog. But if you had been around downtown Columbus the other day, you could have caught a peek, because thanks to a wardrobe malfunction, I walked around for several hours with my zipper down.

I wondered why I felt a draft.

I had popped a button on my pants. Thanksgiving FAIL.

But I wired them shut with a paperclip. MacGyver WIN!

Genius in the face of adversity? Or idiocy in the face of obesity? You decide.

Yes I did, I poked the sharp paperclip through the zipper and cloth, towards the soft skin of my bulging belly. I gave it my best MacGyver. But after 15 minutes of wrangling, twisting and cussing, I still saw sensible white cotton poking through the zipper.

There are times when I thank God I wear panties. This was one of those times.

While sitting there and kind of enjoying the cool breeze through the barn door, I thought about a lot of things. First off, the candied sweet potatoes that surely led to the demise of my pants.

Used to be I had two sometimes three full plates of food on Turkey Day, one for lunch, one for dinner and one for fourth meal. Also used to be I could eat two, sometimes three large bowls of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, and still successfully wear pants the following week.

This year, I was good. One plate of food. All day.

That's because, in recent months, I have blown up like a poisoned dog. Yes,  my metabolism has taken a plunging nose dive since late summer, and I have no idea why, and it's really pissing me off. I exercise five days a week. I lift weights.

For shit's sake, I RUN. Down the STREET. With NO ONE chasing me.

So there's really no excuse for my pants to turn on me in this manner, and the great tragedy is, these are my favorite pair, because they are made of what?

VELVET. Mmmm . . . velvet. 

We have discussed my love of velvet before. It's just like George Costanza, a.k.a. Art Vandelay, a.k.a. Lord of the Idiots always says:

I reminisced about all the good times in my velvet pants. Been together for years. Bought them at the Victoria's Secret warehouse sale. Wore them to visit New York in 2002, three months pregnant with my son, went to see Ground Zero and . . .

. . .Wait.A.Minute. Wait a gott-dang minute. 

These pants fit me . . .

. . . fit me when I WAS PREGNANT?

What the . . . W-F*CKING-TF is wrong here? 

You mean to tell me I exercise like a bobbing idiot, eat toddler portions, I'm way too old to be NOT at the present time pregnant thank you, God, and my pants are so tight they popped a button?


I kept sitting there, at work, pondering . . . wondering . . . why. You have a lot of time to think when your fly's open and you can't leave your cubicle.

And then finally, finally, FINALLY, it came to me. Clearly there is one and only one reason for this.

They shrunk.

In fact, all my clothes shrunk.I knew that new dryer was too hot.

Well, after all that very important, deep and meaningful problem-solving, you're probably wondering:

Do I still feel fat?


Do I feel middle-aged?


Did I take a picture of my blown-out pants?


Can you PLEASE see my underwear?

No way, perv.

But you can see my MacGyver.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The One Where I'm Kidnapped

(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

They consistently have cash. 

I consistently have none.

I consistently hold down a job. 

They consistently - do not. 

Who are they, you ask?  Crackheads? Homeless? Social Security recipients?

No - I refer to my children. It's like Weber welfare up in here.

You'd never know it - that they have any money - because when they actually need some, they purport to have none. No, their stuffed piggy-banks, full of Christmas and birthday cash, do not stop them from continually requesting funds. From my empty purse.

"Hey Mom. This weekend? Can I get a manicure?" said my daughter, the Princess.

I glanced up at her from the laundry pile I was buried in/sorting through, and thought back to the last - and only - time I had a manicure. It involved my wedding day, a different decade and the Bush administration. The first one. I know damn sure I paid for it myself.

So I asked her, "Got any money?"

Hands flew to little teenage hips.

"What? I thought you'd pay for it! I thought we could both go get one!"

Has she met me? Surely she's mistaken me for someone else.  My hands are useful - not ornamental - and though I wash them 700 times a day, I'm lucky if my nails look clean.

Anyway, have I mentioned I'm broke?

"I don't have any money. I've seen your stash. You have money. I have none."

"I thought you'd pay for it!" she said.

"Again, I say - you got any money?" 


But it's not just the girl who pilfers, no. My son, the Hobo - he is quite the scheister, too, as hobos tend to be . . .

"Mom, can I pre-order Call of Duty 33: Mass Destruction?" 

"You already have Call of Duty!"

"That's Call of Duty - Black Ops. Call of Duty 33 Mass Destruction comes out November 10," he said.

"You got any money?" I asked him.

"Well, I thought you'd buy it . . ."

"My purse is empty. Your piggy bank is full. Why don't you buy it?"


You can see a theme here.

But last Friday, things were different.

I had 35 dollars . . . of my own. 

And I had 35 minutes . . . to myself.

Normally I possess neither dollars nor minutes. Owning 35 of each was pretty exhilarating, to say the least. My days have been sold to the people of Ohio, and - as we've discussed - any cash I earn belongs to my kids. According to them.

The Princess didn't require a ride home from practice until 4:30. Not only that, a bill had fallen through - hence the money - so I was pretty much rolling in time and cash that the little Weber welfare recipients hadn't requested. Yet.

Thirty-five dollars, 35 minutes. I am a 43-year-old mother of two. This is pretty much as good as it gets.

To complete my ecstasy, Sears had a sale on coats, and I needed one. My current jackets hail from the Bush administration - again, the first one - and bring forth descriptions such as "lumberjack" and "grandma" - sometimes simultaneously.

Yes, i
t was a good day. A day of rainbows and unicorns and outerwear sales.

So you can imagine my dismay when the Russian man kidnapped me.

"Meass? MEASS! Come HERE, please!"

He called me from a perch near his kiosk, a cart-ish affair with products piled on top. Normally I ignore these over-priced heaps of junk. I am not paying twenty-damn-dollars for a cell phone case I can get on Amazon for $1.27. Mama didn't raise no fool.

But this guy . . .


His command stopped me cold. He jumped from his chair and marched over to me, eyes burning.

Now, maybe I've seen too many war movies. Or watched the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” episode too many times. Or maybe I'm just a terrible, cowardly person.  But when someone says "MEASS!" and strides over to me in this manner, well, I heed their call. And also pee my pants a little.

I turned from where I'd frozen in my tracks. "Yes?"

He grabbed my hands and held them up to his face. He turned them this way and that, pushed on my palms, and then rubbed my cuticles.

And he didn't even buy me a drink first.

"Your nails. You like man-ee-cures?"

WTF, people, with the manicures? As we've discussed, my hands are not something I care about, and earlier that day I'd stood over the toilet bowl and chopped my nails off the way I do every couple of weeks.

A nail clip and 45 seconds bent over a commode: That's my manicure.

I didn't need a manicure, I needed a damn coat. But the Cart Nazi wouldn't let go.

"You like to be pampered? To have nice theengss?"

I glanced down at my body. Old, ripped Levi's.
John Deere t-shirt, various food stains. The Princess's castoff cheer shoes, circa 2009.

Clearly, this man needed help targeting his market.

"Well, not really," I told him. "Anyway, I have to get going, I only have 35 minutes and I need a new coat and Sears . . ."

He shook his head.

"Come, COME! Feel theess. You weal LIKE."

Wow. What was I in for here? He didn't give me a chance to think about it, because he didn't let go of my hand , and he pulled me to his cart. All I felt was my 35 minutes ticking away, as, from the top of the heap, he reached inside a box and plucked a small blue jar. His eyes still burned as he looked at me intently.

"Your skeen . . . on face . . . eass BEAUTIFUL."

Ooh, he was good. Possibly blind, a little bit terrifying. But good.

"Um, thanks."

"What brand you use on face?" he asked.

"Well, Aveeno hand lotion usually, and then whatever sunscreen is on sale over at Walmart . . ."

"Ah, no, NO! You stop using," he said. "I have PRODUCT for you!"

Oh, here we go. He wanted my $35.

But dammit - I needed a coat.

"Theess has Minerals from the Dead SEA! Your skeen needss . . ."

"How much?"

I figured $10 might be worth it, to buy my way out. Ransom. I'd still have $25 and 25 minutes. Enough time, and I could supplement the cash with my debit card at Sears. I really needed a coat.

"No, NO! Cream not for sale separately. Comes in SET!" He pointed to the box. "All products have ingredients from DEAD SEA."

He pulled a different item - a tube of lotion - from the box and squirted on my hand - the one he still gripped.

"These meanarils, they are good for skeen, take YEARSS off!"

"How much for the hand cream?"

"No, NO!" his eyes flashed again. "Not separate. Comes in SET!"

I was down to 15 minutes now. Would I ever escape from this guy? Would he ever let go of my hand?

Would I ever get to Sears to buy a f*cking coat?

On it went like this . . . me with the:

"How much?"

. . . him with the:

"Comes in SET!"

My minutes slipped away as I watched other women stroll by the cart, blissfully unaware of their freedom, probably going to Sears to buy the last $35 coat.


Eventually, he wore me down. I figured I would at least ask about the price of his 'SET!', and maybe yank my hand away while he was distracted . . .

"OK, OK - how much is it, how much is the set?"

With his free arm, he pulled out a laminated price sheet, and held it toward me. I squinted at the number.


That's One Hundred Fifty Nine Dollars and Ninety-Nine Cents. That I do not have. For lotion. Not coats.

My snort took him by surprise, but I used his shock to pull away. I spun around and headed back through the mall - towards the exit - at full speed. My 35 minutes were nearly gone.


I ignored him.

"MEASS! Come BACK! There is more in SET! Come feel - you WEEL LIKE!"

Once again, he should at least offer to buy me a drink first. I have heard the phrases "come feel" and "you will like" from a man before - only with a Southern Ohio twang - and the results of "feelin'" and "lak-kin'" left me pregnant - twice - with my little welfare recipients.

As I sprinted to the car, I made a mental note to park and enter at the department store doors next time. I tell you, if it isn't the dependents after my cash, it's the Cart Nazi at the Indian Mound Mall.

Sweet Mother of Sears. Can a girl just get some outerwear?

He took my 35 minutes that day, however - he did not get my 35 dollars. Mama didn't raise no fool.


I really need a coat.