Taking a Moment to Enjoy Small Things or I Was a Sad Crazy Bitch Lady Yesterday and Today Will Be Better

Yesterday was ugly for me. I was sad and angry. I was stressed and hurt. So today I am going to take a minute to think and be grateful for things that make me happy.

  1. I am grateful for pink blooms on trees that litter the ground after a storm. That shit is pretty.
  2. The trees at the health department are starting to bud. I will forever find it funny that the trees there can give me such joy. Beautiful trees, vaccinations for children, and STD tests: That place has everything.
  3. Blue Candy. I think it is safe to say that blue candies are the best, and while I understand “blue coconut” may not be a real flavor it is still the best. I know this to be true because there are far less of them in any bag of candy. The manufactures know and are holding out on us.
  4. Diet Coke. Let me make this clear I do not drink Diet Coke to take off pounds. I do not drink it to counter act my calorie intake. I know it rots your insides, but damn if it doesn’t have a great chemical burn.
  5. The color gray.
  6. Wearing brown and black together. Social norms be damned I think it is fine.
  7. My sister and I when we find someone or something that bugs us and we than become consumed by it.
  8. Wax cubes of smells are the greatest invention ever.
  9. Low rumbly thunder.
  10. Adding to my collection of clothes I wish I had on Pinterest. I would be so put together if I lived in that Pinterest board.
  11. The “Ask a Mortician” series on YouTube is the gift I will leave you with. I am Oprah like that. Go to that link and take on the greatness. Go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTCg6PGaOkM

That Time My Kid Was Kind of an Ass

As a parent I have always felt like my one job is making sure that my kids aren’t assholes. Overall, I am feeling pretty good about my success rate. The oldest two are neither racist nor homophobic. They are witty and have opinions. They work, travel, and have varied interests. I know that Kiaya would never walk down the mall corridor with her hand in someone else’s back pocket.  I don’t think that Selena would do that, but I do think she may have at least once made out behind a mall Pro Active machine. Selena has a larger sense of whimsy than her older sister. The one I worry about is Saidee. She is the youngest, only six as of this post, and she is our princess. She is sweet and loving. She weighs a lot and still wants to be carried to bed every night. She is our third daughter; she is both the youngest child and an only child, due to the large age differences. She also had an invisible vampire friend named Spike.

The girls and I are TV people. We love it and many of our conversations revolve around the lives of fictional people. We talk about them, dissect their intent, worry about them, and question their decision making. Here are examples of text messages I receive:

“What is Meredith going to do without Christine? Christine is her person, Momma.”

“If Jesse dies I don’t know what I will do. They won’t kill Jesse, will they?”

“I have really thought about it and I think I could be Jax’s old lady.”

“I need you to make sure Supernatural and The Walking Dead are Tivoing.”

These messages are not unusual; they happen at least twice a week. One of our biggest bonding experiences is a love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched the show when it was originally on and I may or may not have cried once when I missed it. On a list of 100 things I wanted in a mate, number one was someone who will shut-up while I watch Buffy. They don’t have to like it, but they do need to be silent. Kiaya was the first to jump on my Buffy bandwagon and later Selena. It was Kiaya who introduced Saidee. They would spend long hours cuddled up together watching on the portable DVD player and later the laptop. The questionable parenting skill part comes into play when I bring up that Saidee was three when this practice started.

Saidee was never scared of the violence, she was oblivious to the sex, and didn’t get the humor. What she did get was the knowledge that if something went wrong you could blame Spike. Spike was a few hundred years old vampire who looked like Billy Idol. Actually Billy stole his look from Spike. He was funny, crafty, evil (but with a heart of gold), and the best part was he wasn’t all whiney and put upon like Angel. The three year old was pretty quick with blaming everything she did wrong on that blonde vampire. Some of his crimes included: coloring on the walls, coloring on shoes, throwing toys, shredding paper, and trashing bedrooms. Spike was a busy invisible friend/petty criminal.

To Saidee, Selena’s room is a fascinating land of things she isn’t allowed to touch. It is a toddler Vatican, filled with figurines, paintings, art supplies, and treasured baby dolls from Selena’s youth. Much of Spike’s atrocities took place in Selena’s room. We once found a strip of blue fabric on the floor. When I asked Saidee what it was she shrugged her toddler shoulders and said she didn’t know. When we found a second strip we began to investigate and noticed that “someone” had taken scissors and cut up the bottom half of Selena’s sheets.

“Saidee why did you cut up the sheets?”

“I didn’t.”

“Saidee, it was you, you are the only other person in the house.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“Saidee, really.”

“It was Spike.”

At this point we have tears.

“Saidee it wasn’t Spike it was you. Please, admit it.”

“It was Spike. Or it was my toes.”

I put a high premium on creativity; but come on, this kid and her vamp were just being assholes. Kiaya and Selena were busy when they were little, but their busy was nothing compared to the busy that Saidee and Spike laid down. I refuse to blame the 15 year age difference. I am still young and spry, right?

One night I had been in the back of the house and had lost track of the toddler. Only a few minutes had passed when I started walking towards her bedroom. With each step I took I heard a small voice.

“Spike did it.”

“Spike did it.”

“Spike did it.”

With each step I took her voice became louder and more insistent. It held a panicky waiver.

“SPIKE DID IT!”

I found her covered in lipstick. Most of her face was covered in a lovely Revlon wine color. It was on her hands, the wall, and the mirror. She cried hot tears and swore that this was all the work of that blonde vampire. Carvell had come running and we were unable to stop laughing.

“God, Heather, that vampire is a fucking asshole,” he laughed.

Eventually Saidee stopped blaming Spike. We tried to convince her that he had moved, that he had packed his bags, blacked out his windows, and drove off in his DeSoto. She really just outgrew him and no longer needed someone to blame her crimes on. Oddly, I miss him sometimes or more likely I miss the three-year-old she was.

One of Spike's crimes, of course.

One of Spike’s crimes, of course.saidee spike 1

 

Why I Believe Dolly Parton to Be the Most Universally Beloved Person in the World

In the 6th grade we had to pick a song to sing in front of our music class. There I stood in my awkward adolescence. My stomach was round and my breasts were insubstantial. My hair was a dirty blonde Prince Valiant. My stomach was in knots and there is a high likelihood that I had a fever blister. In my Sears “Pretty Plus” outfit, I opened my mouth and started to sing.

“Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah-ha
From one lover to another, ah-ha”

This song was at that time the most beautiful and heartfelt thing I had ever heard. Kenny and Dolly were in love. You could tell by the emotion in their voices. These two people couldn’t stand to be apart. I assumed they were married and lived in a big Nashville mansion with mirrored furniture. Because, how could I have assumed otherwise?

Every time I saw Dolly with her tall blonde wigs, huge breasts, and tiny waist on the big screen I felt sure she was in a relationship with her leading man. She was too beautiful, too sweet, and too sexual for each of those men to not fall in love with her. Her impish giggle and business sense make for a powerful aphrodisiac. Now, I know that she is married and has been since the beginning of recorded time and it seems like Carl knows she is both powerful and beautiful too as Dolly once said, “He (Carl) says he’d think less of any man who didn’t fall in love with me. But he really respects what I do and would hate to stand in the way of that. He always makes me feel pretty, even when I’m not.” So, what I am seeing is a smart, powerful, talented, beautiful, sexual, and loving woman.

While Islands in the Stream is what introduced me to Dolly, what sealed my love is hearing Jolene for the first time. Jolene is for me a Nick Hornby moment. When I sing Jolene I absolutely must close my eyes; I must be fully engaged in the moment when I hear this song. If it comes on while I’m driving I have to pull over. Jolene is just that strong.

“Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
There’s nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene”

That is some painful shit right there. Who hasn’t felt that about a relationship they were in? I know I have. That terrible ache of feeling that you aren’t enough compared to someone else. For some reason I do not fully understand (deep seeded emotional shenanigans, maybe?), I was under the impression that Jolene was a sister of Dolly’s. Think about that. Knowing you are losing your man to your beautiful sister ups the pain level to an eleven.

I have yet to meet someone who does not have a guttural reaction to hearing Jolene, and it doesn’t matter who is singing it either:

Olivia Newton John = heartbreaking

The White Stripes = heartbreaking + haunting

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes = heartbreaking + fast

Miley Cyrus = heartbreaking

Fiona Apple = heartbreaking

The list could go on forever, because everyone knows that this song is as beautiful and heartfelt as it comes. To put the power of Dolly’s writing in perspective I Will Always Love You has been a number one hit not once but three times. Twice with Dolly and once with Whitney Houston who helped it to be an earworm for the entire year of 1993. But, back to her business tactics for a second, Dolly was so savvy that she owns the publishing and copyrights on all of her songs. When Whitney Houston did that song for The Bodyguard soundtrack Dolly received all the writing and publishing royalties. She said, “When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs.” I enjoy the quip, but with a booming theme park, a water park, The Dollywood Foundation, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and various other business ventures, I am pretty sure the money didn’t just fund her wig collection.

Dolly is at heart a writer, business woman, and a philanthropist. She takes her perceived stereotypes and breaks them up. You can’t help but love her.

So, out of curiosity, what are your favorite Dolly Parton stories?

Lord, don’t even get me started on my love of 9 to 5 and Straight Talk.

A Tale Most Gross in Nature

Sometimes in this world there are things that happen–things that are so insane they have to be true because no person on the planet could make up such a tale. This happens to be one of those stories. This is my story of the day I shit my pants for 30 miles.

On this particular day, Trey and I had been invited to eat at a local Hibachi restaurant by his parents. I love food, but I really love free food; so even though I had a terrible sinus infection, I was bound and determined to get my grub on. I enjoy the food at Hibachi places, but I hate the atmosphere. Most of your time is spent pretending that you give a damn about the spinning spatula and knife when all you really want is the little onion volcano. Also, talking to your friends and family is almost impossible because of the insistent clank clank from the chef. The meal is spent in silence, praying that your eyebrows aren’t burnt off in a Hibachi fire mishap. I ordered the steak (medium) and shrimp, enjoyed my meal, and said goodbye. It was now time to drive the 30 miles back home.

At this time I lived in Wickliffe, Kentucky, which was my personal hell. It takes the middle of nowhere to a whole new level. The roads to get there are narrow and winding, there are no places to pull over, and no businesses for almost a full 30 miles. A local plant causes the town to smell of cooked broccoli; the locals say that it’s a smell you get used to. The locals are liars. The smell gets into your clothes and covers and more than once I woke up gagging because of the smell. The only thing about Wickliffe that I liked was that Trey was located there; otherwise, I wouldn’t have acknowledged the town’s existence. I started driving home and noticed a little gurgle in my stomach. The gurgle was small so I ignored it and continued on with my drive.

There is a point of no return when driving to Wickliffe from Paducah. Once this literal fork in the road happens it is easier and safer to continue on; it was at this fork that the next grumble took place. This gurgle was louder and more insistent. A third gurgle followed. “Okay, just keep driving, Heather. No big deal. You can make it.” I told myself. My stomach was quickly tied in knots. The gurgles were now on top of each other and I had begun to sweat.

“Just hold on Heather.”

I tighten my butt cheeks.

“This is going to happen.” my inner voice says.

“No. No. I can hold it.” I respond.

I tighten my butt cheeks a little more.

“This clenching is impossible to maintain.” the inner voice taunts.

I had now straightened out my legs in an attempt to increase the resolve of my cheeks. I was sweating, profusely. The back of my hair was wet, yet I was cold all over. I was fighting a good fight and bound to win this battle of digestive wills. With one foot pressed to the floor and the other on the gas, I drove straight legged as fast as I could. The curvy road stretched out in front of me and I drove faster and faster. I turned down the radio because I needed nothing to interfere with driving and butt clenching.

“Okay, I have this.” I thought.

With the next terrible burst of pain I knew that I didn’t have this. My body gave out and I pooped my pants. The pain relief was immediate and welcome, but now I had to drive for 15 more miles with a load in my pants. I had not yet relaxed my body and my legs trembled with the pressure. If I relaxed them I would be actually sitting in my own poop and that was not something I was ready for just yet. While the horror of my predicament dawned on me, I was seized by another violent stomach cramp and I pooped my pants again. This time my legs gave out and my body relaxed. I was sitting in my own waste with 10 miles still to go.

My car now made Wickliffe smell pleasant, and with each curve my Maxima took, there was an audible slosh. Again my stomach cramped and again I pooped. Three times in less than 30 minutes, but at this point I was too exhausted to fight. I had been defeated by my own bowels. I drove in silence and formulated a new plan. Trey had left only a few minutes after me and there was no f’ing way I was letting him know this had happened. If I moved quickly I could fix this. I could pretend this never happened. I finally entered Wickliffe and turned into our driveway. To my absolute horror I saw my neighbors in their front yard. What I have failed to mention to you is what I was wearing. See, on this fateful day I had chosen to wear a khaki skirt and a pair of tall brown boots. The minute I stood up the only thing that stood between the ground and me was a pair of now destroyed Lane Bryant panties.

“New plan,” I thought, “Save the boots.”

While I waited for my neighbors to go inside, I wiggled my boots and socks off and threw them into the passenger seat. Each movement caused a wave…of nausea. The neighbors finally left and I started to get out of my car. I glanced at the seat to take inventory of everything I had to clean before Trey pulled in the driveway. I inched myself through the house and made my way to the shower. I climbed in and stripped. The hot water and body wash made quick work of my disgrace. I turned off the shower, dressed in pajamas, and grabbed a garbage bag. I bagged the evidence and cleaned up everywhere I had been. My Pine-sol soaked towel was tossed in with the ruined clothes and hidden in the trash can. I had made it home and cleaned up before Trey and now he would never know of my 30 miles of poop. I was in the kitchen when I heard him pull up and I walked to the living room to meet him as if nothing had happened. As he walked in he paused and sniffed, “Uh, Heather why does the house smell like shit and lemon pledge?”

I opened my mouth and said, “Because I just shit my pants for thirty minutes!” I told him every detail I could remember because when something is funny to me it matters not at all how embarrassing it is. We have eaten Hibachi many times since the great poop incident but now I always order the salmon and scallops just in case.

Fat: A small responsibility

As a woman of a certain size I feel a great deal of responsibility to the world. This basically means that I try not to end up on peopleofwalmart.com, which is both a horrible and fascinating site. I remember no time in my life where I was thin. I was a 9 lb. baby. I was a chunky cheeked toddler. In fourth grade I remember thinking that my head was abnormally large when compared to those around me. In middle school I became focused on the amount of space between my belly and the stationary desk. In high school I got pregnant and my prom dress was an electric blue tent with beading across one lactating breast. What I probably had was a plus size case of body dysmorphia. Now at 37, I am a 22-24 and live by the strict rule of only looking at myself in the mirror if I have pants and at least a bra on. Please understand that I like myself very much. I think I am smart, funny, occasionally insightful, kind of sexy, if not a little lumpy. But as a plus sized person there is a responsibility to myself and others that starts with not wearing off brand Keds.

Let me paint the picture for you. You’re standing in Wal-Mart idly thumbing through the racks of White Stag and Faded Glory shirts when your eyes meet up with the woman across the aisle. She is dressed in the official uniform of “hot fat mess” at Wal-Mart. A woman with greasy hair parted down the middle, a pair of leggings so tight that you could pick her vulva out of a police lineup, a Tweety bird shirt that leaves an inch of white belly exposed, and lace-less off brand Keds. I know that this seems like a mean description, but I promise you she is real and you have seen her too. There is a stereotype about plus sized women, but I think it is worse for women in the south. We could now call it the Honey Boo Boo effect. Fat southern women spend their time walking around town in pajama bottoms, drinking Diet Mountain Dew, and gnawing on a chicken leg. But I am here today to preach to you what fat southern women really do. We wake up early and get dressed for work. We get our kids up and to school. We laugh with our friends. We worry about our families. Very rarely if ever are we involved in redneck games. As a plus sized person I work hard to look like I mildly have my shit together. I wear pants and shoes to run my errands; no matter how much my polka dot pajama pants with the busted elastic waist are calling my name.

I often wonder where my body dysmorphia comes from. Is it internal or from an external source? I know that my mother always worried about her body. Talking about her bumps and body slumps with Kara and I while we were teenagers. I played with Barbie as a little girl, but in no way did I ever think that I should have the same stature as the 12 inch doll. Did I learn my body images from TV? I do know that as a child my Barbie doll became pregnant, and she needed a doctor to deliver the baby. So, I cut off another Barbie’s hair and dressed her in Ken’s clothes stuffed with toilet paper to fill in the gaps. Essentially, I created the first “butch Barbie,” but I know that this was in response to having never seen (at that time, because God had not yet given us Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) a female doctor on TV or in my real life. I may never know where my body issues came from but I know that I spend every day fighting them; pushing them to the darkest rooms of my psyche while they fight back and sharpen their teeth on my self-esteem. If I lost 100 pounds I know that I would always check my double chin before allowing a photo to be posted. I know that I will always worry about the way my stomach laps over on itself from the C-sections I have had. The only way I know to combat the self-doubt I feel is to rally against the stereotypes. I cannot let myself be the lady in the Tweety bird shirt. I will not dress in a way that hides who I am. These are the mantras of a fat lady. These are my Vedas.