The Power of Positive Drinking*

*Originally Published as “I am an Achiever” which was a thinly veiled Big Lebowski reference

ACTUALLY I wrote this over a ago and it was first published on May 17th, 2015. I did, however, add some things to the list so there are a few new/updated bits! Enjoy!

I wrote this a few weeks ago and read it at the live reading we did at the beginning of the month, but even if you came to the reading there are some extra goodies at the end of the post. Thanks for reading and I love you guys!!!

I took my son to the park the other day and, granted it was a mild Sunday afternoon of which we do not get many in April in the great Pacific Northwest, I saw 5 pregnant women there…5!!! Oh wait, it gets even more interesting from a sociological and anthropological stand-point (said no one ever…except for maybe Oliver Sacks)! Of all the pregnant women every single one was there with their already existing child/children. And of all of the families at the park that day the pregnant moms were making up nearly half of the moms! Now, I am fully aware that it is rutting season and we are coming out of winter wherein the humans hunker down and procreate, mainly to stay warm and have an excuse to shave, but this just seemed excessive to me. As I watched the the gravid parade of moms waddling slowly from one end of the playground to the other chasing after their rapidly swelling broods, I realized that two of the five already had four children to their names!!!! That means each of those two women were currently gestating a fifth child!!!!

I can’t be the only one who becomes immediately suspicious of anyone who voluntarily has, just an unreasonable shit ton of kids, right (I say voluntarily because I am just assuming that since I saw these ladies at the park neither of them has been chained up in a basement being forcibly and repeatedly impregnated by their captors, but stranger things have happened, GO CLEVELAND)? I mean there are only a few reasons why anyone has that many kids; 1) to repopulate the planet with ready-made, home-schooled evangelical cult members 2) their religious beliefs prohibit the use of birth control (see also reason 1) and 3) sheer stupidity (see also reasons 1 and 2). All this reproduction just seemed excessive to me. I mean these ladies were clearly trying to compensate for something because they were totally overachieving in the baby-making department; they were reproductive overachievers!!!

In the face of all this extravagantly superfluous and even a little show-offy propagation of the human species I started to feel a little bit like a reproductive underachiever with my one measly kid. I will allow that I do have a pretty top notch baby (yes, I realize that he is four and no longer a baby but he will ALWAYS be my baby so shut up about it, okay!), with whom I am desperately in love. But every now and then, as I imagine all mothers do, I get sort of nostalgic for the days when he was a tiny little thing who smelled amazing and never ran away from me in the parking lot of Target. Then I quickly remember what it was like breastfeeding or staying up all night or cleaning feces off his neck and I am quickly ripped out of the land of newborn nostalgia and firmly back on earth where the worst of our problems consist of the DVR always missing the last two minutes of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” no matter how many times I try to record it from Sprout.

Besides I may be a reproductive underachiever but there are plenty of things at which I totally overachieve! Here is a bulleted list of those things in no particular order:

  • examining my pores in the mirror for hours at a time (okay, half hours at a time, but still)
  • anxiety
  • turning anxiety into chin acne
  • binge watching “Daredevil” on Neflix (and can I just say I’m on episode 10 already and he still doesn’t have a goddamn costume! WTF)
  • oral (full stop) hygiene
  • finding spare change in the car seats while waiting in line at the drive-through for a Blizzard
  • eating an entire pound of grapes in one sitting
  • WINE!
  • sleeping in until 10 o’clock
  • eyeliner
  • plucking my chin hairs
  • angrily screaming “SUCK MY DICK!” at street harassers
  • makeup in general
  • thrift store shopping
  • cussing people out while driving
  • Simpson’s trivia
  • being continually blown away by the size of my son’s poop
  • Boggle
  • neuroses
  • remembering all the names of the characters from the “Transformers” cartoons
  • “Big Lebowski” quotes
  • moping
  • always having a corkscrew
  • laughing at my own jokes
  • stick shift (also not a dirty metaphor)
  • getting kicked in the tits while trying to put shoes on a shrieking four year old
  • scalloped potatoes (I seriously make awesome scalloped potatoes)
  • sarcasm
  • inevitably being that person in the crowded bar who is saying something embarrassing or wildly inappropriate when the music suddenly dies down
  • forgetting to put tampons in my purse
  • scheme hatchery
  • “forgetting” to pay for the items I put on the bottom of the cart (and this is just a karmic reach-around to which I am not looking forward)
  • whiskey
  • insomnia
  • always picking the line at the grocery store that will take the longest no matter how few people are in front of you.
  • reciting the plots of all the episodes of “Ultimate Spiderman” when called upon to explain what the fuck my son is talking about and why he is trying to lock you into some sort of mental combat wherein he is the “Grandmaster” and you are the “Collector” and you each have to pick a team of heroes or villains to battle for the fate of New York City,  and how you should ALWAYS pick Kraven the Hunter because Kraven the Hunter is tits, but I mean, c’mon people, this is day one shit.

I could go on, but I don’t want to toot my own horn. But you see, there are plenty of things I do well, in addition to making fabulous, if not a little free with the nudity, babies! These are the things I have to tell myself in order to sleep at night when wading through the long list of all my inadequacies…also, whiskey helps a lot with that too.

P.S. Yes, I am perfectly aware that there are people with tons of kids who are NOT actually religious fanatics….as I had to point out to a friend of mine who busted my balls the first time this was published. But if I never blew anything out of proportion, never made broad, sweeping generalizations, and avoided hyperbole and sarcasm at all times, this probably wouldn’t be a very fun blog to read, now would it? So you can refrain from emailing me to tell me about all the perfectly normal atheists you know who just happen to have 7 kids because I already know that this is a thing that happens in real life, thank you. XOXO

How I Didn’t Die at the Pool! Go Me!!!

I have been meaning to relink/republish some older posts that were deleted in the website reboot. I figure since I am too damn busy getting ready to get married in two weeks to actually write anything, now is the perfect time to repost some old shit that I have already written and pass it off as new…or not, since the jig is clearly up. Why can I not just keep my fat mouth shut? Anyhow, this was originally published on April, 6th 2015. I hope you enjoy it!

So it was a fairly normal Tuesday when I suddenly found myself childless and in my mother’s car on the way to the aquatic center to participate in something called River Run Boot camp. And that should have been the first red flag right there. As a chubby person whose laziness is depthless I should really know better than to willingly participate in anything labeled as a “boot camp” but I was so intoxicated by the idea of two whole childless hours that you probably could have gotten me to go along with anything at that point. You could be like, “Hey, Dacia! You wanna come with me to a  Hitler youth rally and then have our toenails pulled out and our feet dipped in lemon juice?” and I’d be like, “I don’t…..” and then you’d be all, “Someone will watch Bo for a couple hours so we can go.” At which point I would already be sitting in the car waiting for you and only wondering a little bit how, exactly, our toenails will be removed.

And that is how I came to be in the women’s locker room at the Snohomish Aquatic Center (or SAC if you’re into brevity and funny acronyms) stripping down in front a six-year-old autistic girl who was hiding in the corner to be away from the noise of the cacophonous hand dryers and her mother. I learned a long time ago that there is no point in being bashful in these situations and that if anyone didn’t want to see something they could just look away so I took to removing my clothing with casual efficiency. Then the mother started up a conversation and to my surprise I was not put off at all by making small talk with a complete stranger while removing my panties. “Is it spring break?” she asked me. “I have no idea.” I said. At which point I realized that Easter is this weekend and it probably is spring break…somewhere. I added quickly that my “little one” has spring break next week at which point I noticed a look of abject horror cross the older woman’s face. “He’s just in preschool, though.” I added with a nervous chuckle. This did nothing to temper her appalled expression. At which point I realized that she was asking me about spring break because she assumed I was either in high school or possibly college. There was some additional banter and then she and her daughter were off. I sort of wanted to yell after her, “I’m not a teenage mother! I had him when I was 30!” but I was admittedly pretty flattered at being mistaken for a teenager….especially while topless.

I am white girl. I know this seems pretty obvious but I am not just white, I am like a 10th degree Caucasian and whenever I have occasion to wear a bathing suit in public this fact does not go unnoticed. Inevitably I will catch someone staring at me like they are not sure if I am real or just an apparition at which point they have to look around at all the other people to see if they notice me too. Most people give up staring at me once they realize they are not hallucinating. I was relaying this fact to my mother as we entered the Jacuzzi. She laughed and then pointed out another pale girl across the pool and said, “I dunno, she’s pretty white.” I agreed as we both studied the young lady and she continued, “It is a different kind of white though, she’s less….”
“Transparent.” I offered. “YES!” she agreed excitedly, as I had intuited the exact word for which she was searching, and added something about her whiteness being “creamier” and “more opaque”. Now pay attention kids, my terrifying pallor will be a topic of conversation again.

My mom and I get out of the Jacuzzi and into the river run area which is basically a slow moving current going around in a figure 8, or at least the current seems slow, until you try to go against it, then it seems kind of like trying to wade through Nutella while wearing a lead jumpsuit. Needless to say, about 4 minutes and 38 seconds into the actual boot camp, my doughy ass is sweating like a whore in church and this is really an odd sensation. One is very rarely, if ever, aware of their sweat while actually submerged in water. I see that every time I pass the instructor whilst going through the figure 8 she looks at me with what appears to be barely concealed alarm and I know this is because I probably look like a beefsteak tomato that someone has put in the microwave. Which brings us back to my whiteness. As a 10th degree Caucasian who is nearly transparent, when I am experiencing exertion I get red; my chest, my cheeks, my forehead all turn crimson, same thing happens when I cry…which is really why I should try to do that in public less. About the third time I pass the instructor and notice the same look of concern on her face I almost scream “I am totally not having a stroke! I am just Norwegian!” Instead I just try to smile and look like I am having fun, which I actually am, but I think my attempt at conveying “I am totally having a good time and you should not worry” appeared more like “I am a sociopath that has no idea how to properly express human emotions…and also I might be pooping right now”.

In a shocking turn of events, I managed to last the whole hour of boot camp without dropping dead, much to the visible relief of our instructor. And after a brief post-boot-camp soak in the Jacuzzi it was back to the locker room, where upon catching a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror on the way to the showers, I had to admit to that I really could not blame the instructor for thinking I was going to die because I was, really, really red. But none of this is the best part!!! The best part is that while showering and getting ready to leave I found a kickass pair of Jack Skellington hairpins abandoned in the shower soap dish!!! Score!!!

Totally fucking worth nearly getting mistakenly carted away from the pool on a stretcher!

And, yes, I am fully aware that I should have turned the hairpins into the lost and found at the front desk but I feel as though it is a pretty well established fact that I am an asshole…so I didn’t do that.

Goodbye for now my dearies!

A Little Thing

My Dad’s memorial/wake/celebration of life thingy was yesterday (I started this on Sunday so “yesterday” was actually Saturday) and I wrote a little speech thing to kind of get the sharing ball rolling:

“I write a humor blog and when I have had the occasion, in the past, to do live readings I usually start off by talking about one of my greatest inspirations; my Dad. Those of you that knew him well, knew him peripherally or just stood in the same room with him for any length of time whatsoever, knew that Scott was rude, crude, crass, foul, vulgar, uncouth, tactless, classless, tasteless, coarse, obscene, profane, blue, purple and perhaps even off-color. Scott wove cussing into every day discourse with the stealth of a ninja and the precision of a surgeon. He loved dirty jokes. In fact when I was 6 he taught me a joke, the meaning of which I was totally unable to grasp until I was a little bit older but that did not stop me from sharing it with everyone at the family reunion that Summer. Here it is; What do a 747 and a peroxide blonde have in common? They both have a black box (pauses for laughter). At 6 years old I genuinely thought I understood this joke in that I believed that the black box that the bleach blonde had, referred to the box in which her hair dye came from the store…turns out I was wrong about that. 

The story I usually tell people about Dad is so inappropriate that I almost don’t want to share it today….almost. [BOAT STORY]
(This was actually copied directly from my notes wherein I did not write out the boat story. And no, I will not write out the boat story. I tell it at the beginning of nearly every live reading I have ever done, so chances are a lot of you have heard it. It would also lose something in print because if you cannot hear it in Scott’s voice [which, of course, at this point is impossible] you should at least hear it told with my impression of Scott. It would be no good in print…and also I don’t want anymore hate mail this week. Long story still pretty long, if you want to hear the boat story you have to come see me read…or just bump into me in line at the grocery store; I’ll totally tell it to you there)
My Dad taught me that it was better to laugh first, and last and every occasion in between. I am deeply blessed to have his wonderful sense of humor as well as his high tolerance for alcohol, his impossibly Scandinavian whiteness, his love for having fun, being outside, setting things on fire, camping, fishing, star-gazing, rivers, beaches, animals, loud music, laughter, dancing (not well, but dancing nonetheless), drinking, eating, and bullshitting. I think one of things I admired most about Scott was that he could make friends with anyone, and often did, as we can very well see looking around here today. Thank you all so much for coming, and I hope we can all share some wonderful memories and celebrate a man for whom we all cared very deeply and who cared very deeply for all of us. 
Sharing Scott’s love with all of you has served only to grow it, not incrementally but exponentially. Scott always had room for one more, at his table, in his home, in his heart whether you were human, canine, feline or my old roommate Rob’s rabbit that he didn’t want anymore, Scott would welcome you. And for those who would say that his passing so early on in life is a tragedy that could have been prevented; prevented with prudence or moderation to them I would say that there are those of us who would prefer to live our OWN life as opposed to a LONG life by someone else’s rules. Thank you!”
It was an awesome day! A difficult, nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching, confusing, sorrowful, unforgettable, awesome day and I really, really, really appreciate everyone who came out to show their love for Scotty. Everyone who laughed and cried and drank and shared, you made my day and I am sure a lot of others’ day as well. A few “thank yous” and “shouts out” to people who went above and beyond the make the day not only bearable but actually pretty darn okay:
I wanted to thank Skyler Cesarone for the beer, albeit Scott would never have touched an IPA I was very grateful, as I am sure most attendees were, that everyone could come together and raise a glass in Scott’s honor. Thank you so very much! Also, it was great catching up!
Sharon Lambert, I know you’ll never read this which is why I feel free to say that while I am fully aware that your eagerness to host my Father’s wake was not entirely egalitarian I nonetheless thank you so much for your hospitality, your reaching out to make the day possible and above all, your friendship with my Father which I know he valued a great deal. Also, I will be by later on tonight to pick up my Mom’s coat. See you then!
Those Pedersen Women, all of whom have married names now, and all of whom are my Sisters-in-law and for that I count myself amongst the luckiest gals alive. Thank you all for seeing that glazed look of confusion and uselessness in my eyes and knowing that it was your time to shine. When I could not handle it all three of you knew exactly when and how to take charge. You are a blessing to me and to everyone who knows you, of that I am sure!!!
Thank you to everyone who stepped up to share a story! I am sorry if there were any that I missed while I was out back sobbing in the horseshoe pit.
I know that just because we had a memorial does not mean that memorializing or remembering is over. It does help me, in the broader scope of things, to start to move on if such a thing can be done, but I will be celebrating Scott’s life every day for the rest of mine! I love you, Daddy! I miss you more than I can aptly express and I just hope that you are comfortable and happy and proud, wherever you are! XOXO

Not All Stepmothers Are Wicked but Mine Was

I recently read the Facebook post of a friend’s son who was having some trouble with a step-parent. It seemed like it went well beyond the normal teenage, “you’re not my real dad” bullshit. It sounded like the step-parent in question was really, truly awful. In any case I just wanted to reassure this young person that what they are feeling is valid and that others have been there before. I wanted to share my story with him…maybe it will help, maybe it will help me.

My parents split up when I was 10. To be painfully accurate they told my brother and I they were getting a divorce exactly one week before my 10th birthday. To be fair they had their reasons for the timing; I was born on their 3rd wedding anniversary and who can really blame them for not wanting to suffer through another celebration of their love for one another that no longer existed. I remember my 10th birthday party; it was perfect, a beach party on Lake Sammamish at Idlewood Park on a gorgeous August afternoon. I got the “Lil’ Swimmer” Cabbage Patch doll after which I had been pining. Everything should have been wonderful but I could not feel anything. I knew I was supposed to be happy, but I just could not find it inside myself.

But time marches on as it is wont to do. Less than a year after the divorce my Dad remarried, choosing for his second wife, in his infinite wisdom, Gail Deering. A former high school…girlfriend is the wrong word but you kind of get what I mean…of his who had recently appeared back in his life…as if by MAGIC! In any case she would have had you believe that in all the interim years she had done nothing but pine away for my father. What she was really doing in those interim years was getting pregnant at 17. She married the father of her twins (yes twins, a boy and a girl), Joe. Joe died when the babies were about 2, I think it was a car accident or motorcycle accident and I am fairly certain that alcohol and/or (most probably “and”) drugs were involved. At that point Gail decided that raising two babies on her own was too hard so she left the twins with her mother (who had obviously done a stellar job with her) in favor of biker gangs and heroin.

It was a good life but one can only make a respectable living off the money they earn hustling pool and arm wresting for so long before they start to yearn for life’s simpler pleasures; settling down, making a permanent home somewhere, reconnecting with your abandoned children and their social security checks, etc. And that was Gail in a nutshell; she was always trying to run a hustle. She never worked while I knew her and she was almost always in the process of litigation with former employers over an on-the-job injury or an L&I claim or a disability claim. She worked very hard to not have to work. Which was good because her lifestyle of drinking all day didn’t really jibe with full-time employment anyhow.

Gail was an alcoholic (at first). Not to say that my Dad is not an alcoholic but to this day I could count on one hand and have fingers left over the amount of times I have actually seen my Dad “drunk”. Gail was drunk every night. She was a large, brutish woman and a mean drunk. I always marveled at my Dad’s ability to maintain a blind spot for what a mean-spirited human being she was. I had never met anyone prior to Gail in whom I could find absolutely no redeeming qualities. And I did not want to feel that way about her. I did not want to play out some ridiculous, archetypal, fairytale horror show starring none other than THE WICKED STEPMOTHER! But that was what I got.

Once when I was twelve, and spending the weekend at my Dad’s, Gail and Dad had been drinking all day which led to Gail and Dad fighting all evening. I watched my father get so angry with her that he put his fist through the laundry room door. Her response to this was to hit my father over the head with a dining room chair. She literally broke a solid-wood dining chair over his goddamn head. In the midst of the chaos and the screaming I demanded to be taken out of that house immediately. I gathered up my things while Gail flung a litany of curses at me and my father. I was a “spoiled little bitch” and “a wimp” and “a little fucking princess” for not wanting to watch my father endure another blow to head with whatever piece furniture was next on her hit list. My Dad agreed to take me to his mom’s house. I don’t know why I did not ask to be taken home, to my Mom, but I think there was an unspoken agreement that that was a humiliation my Dad was simply unable to bear after all the other indignities he had suffered. I stood on the side of Highway 9 in the driving rain while my Dad called his mother’s house from a pay phone. There was blood running down the side of his head and out of his ear when he turned to me, while waiting for someone on the other end of the phone to pick up, and said “I think I made a mistake.” That was 1992. Fifteen years later he finally left her.

For fifteen years I was mostly estranged from my father because my stepmother made it too difficult to have a relationship with him. For fifteen years I wondered how he could be so blind, how could he not see what she was doing to us? For fifteen years I genuinely and earnestly wished my stepmother dead. For fifteen years of I was afraid to visit or call my Dad because I would have to go through her. 

In the last 10 years of their marriage Gail’s behavior grew more erratic as her alcohol and drug abuse grew more inclusive and indiscriminate. She abused prescription pain killers to the point that she had gone into cardiac arrest twice in as many months and she wasn’t even 40 years old. She began to traffic drugs, selling pain killers that she would get from her croaker of a doctor and using the money to buy meth or other street drugs. All the while my Dad remained either in denial or complacent due to the income brought in by the selling of drugs.

Towards the end she was painfully thin (having always been on the heavy side before), covered in sores, withered well beyond her years and always high on one thing or the other. But it wasn’t until she got a gun that my dad decided that whatever he might have to give up, it was not worth risking his life. He took off in the middle of night and left her, his house, all his belongings, every photograph, every possession and he had never been a richer man, for he was free.

I remember when I found out that he had left Gail; it was as if I became 50 pounds lighter. I was thrilled for my Dad, thrilled for us, thrilled at the possibility of a real relationship with him! And I was so angry that he hadn’t done it sooner. I don’t know if I will ever fully forgive him for the years we lost.

About 3 or 4 years after my Dad and Gail had split up he called me. I was at work; I remember it was just after Bo was born and I was sitting in the slipper chair at the shop nursing him when my cell phone rang. It was my Dad, telling me that Gail had (finally) died (of a drug overdose because DUH!). Into the phone said the first thing that came to my mind, “Well,” I sighed, “Ding-Dong!”. I had wished for it for so long, so many times but I knew that when it actually happened I would feel a little bit bad, but you know what? I totally didn’t, that bitch can rot in hell for all I care and I am glad she is gone. She was a fucking cancer and she corroded everything she touched.

I know this story doesn’t offer any salient advice or some great moral or lesson…other than if you wait long enough, all the people you hate will eventually die. I just wanted to let my young friend know that I understand what he is going through and if he ever needs to talk….well, you know where I am.

Also, sorry this isn’t funny. I promise to be less depressing very soon! XOXO