No Guns in Australia?!

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I watch a lot of House Hunters International before bed because I find it to be soothing and I like seeing how people live in other parts of the world. Over time, however, the format of the show has become predictable, so I did my own version that’s slightly different from what you would see on HGTV. I know this isn’t even close to what real scripts look like! Please forgive the formatting.

 

ACT 1

NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia.

TED: Hi, I’m Ted, and I work in online advertising. I’d always wanted to live abroad, and suddenly the opportunity presented itself.

MALLORY: What actually happened was that a producer from House Hunters called Ted’s office and asked his boss if they could transfer an employee to Sydney so that House Hunters could film them looking for a house. Ted can do his job from anywhere, so his boss said ok. Oh, and I’m Mallory. Obviously.

TED: I was ready to never see another snowflake again.

MALLORY: I hate warm weather. And poisonous ocean creatures. Sunscreen gives me hives.

TED: Ocean life thrills me.

MALLORY: You won’t feel that way when a cone snail shoots a poison dart into your big toe and you die a slow and painful death. Ted.

Cut to Ted’s face. He has a plastered-on fake smile that looks awkward.

TED (weakly): We’re so excited.

NARRATOR: Ted and Mallory may have a tough time finding a house that fits all of their requirements, in part because the housing market in Sydney has recently become very competitive, but also because Ted and Mallory seem to have nothing in common. Ted wants to live in the center of the city, so they can “enjoy all the nightlife that Sydney has to offer.” Ted seems to have forgotten that he and Mallory have five children.

MALLORY (to the camera): It’s hilarious that he thinks we have time to enjoy anything.

NARRATOR: Today, Mallory and Ted are meeting with their relocation expert, Amber. Amber is inappropriately dressed for an HGTV show.

AMBER: So guys, tell me what you’re looking for in a house.

Cut to Ted being interviewed privately.

TED: Amber is hot!

Cut back to the group.

TED: We have five children—

MALLORY: Oh, he does remember.

TED: — so we ideally want six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large garden for the kids to play in. And we have a dog (it’s a prerequisite for being on the show) so we need the garden to be fenced in. Plus, we’d like an in-ground pool and room for a swing set. Do you think we can get all that in the center of the city?

Amber looks at Ted like he just might be the dumbest American she’s ever met.

MALLORY: I want an American-style house: open concept, updated kitchen and baths, and stainless steel appliances. The fridge has to be American-sized. And I don’t want a pool because I don’t want to have to worry about the kids’ safety in the backyard.

[In the background, a huge snake dangles from a tree branch and then drops to the ground].

TED: I’m looking for a more traditional Australian home, like Queen Ann style.

MALLORY: Do you even know what that means? Ted.

AMBER: Anything else I should be looking for? [under her breath] A divorce lawyer, maybe?

MALLORY: I’m vegan. I should have mentioned that earlier. I always do. I’d like space in the backyard for a vegetable garden.

TED: And I don’t eat vegetables, only livestock and food products derived from livestock. I’d like room for a chicken coop so I can collect eggs and then eventually eat the chickens.

MALLORY (looking disgusted): I also need good Internet access for my online business. And I’m thinking of opening a llama rehabilitation clinic on the property, so we’ll need room for that as well.

AMBER: And what are we thinking for the budget?

MALLORY and TED: No more than $1,000 per month.

Cut to Amber being interviewed privately.

AMBER: It’s going to be quite a challenge to find a six-bedroom house for $1,000 per month. Plus, Mallory and Ted are looking for such different things. But I’m confident that I’ll be able to find them something.

NARRATOR: First up, their relocation expert takes them to see a house suitable for Ted.

TED: Amber, do you know if this house faces South? I may have forgotten to mention that I don’t want a house that’s South-facing. It’s a Sri Lankan superstition.

AMBER: I didn’t realize you were Sri Lankan.

MALLORY: He’s not.

AMBER: Well, anyway, this house features 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It doesn’t have a pool, but there’s room for a pool. Maybe you could arrange with the landlord to have one put in.

MALLORY: What’s the price? And is there room for my garden? I’m vegan. Did I mention that?

AMBER: The rent is $1,200 US dollars per month.

MALLORY AND TED: Ooooh, that’s a bit over our budget.

They tour the house. A huge tarantula is glowering in the corner of one of the bedrooms, and you can hear the sound of some type of animal scratching around in the ceiling.

MALLORY (looking worriedly at the ceiling): Any idea what that sound is?

AMBER (casually): Probably just a wombat.

MALLORY: Are they dangerous?

AMBER: Not always.

TED: The kids would have to share bedrooms in this house. Jane is not going to like that. We promised her her own room.

MALLORY: Maybe we should just go back to Johnsonville?

TED (whispering to Mallory): We signed a contract with the production company, remember? We have to buy a house and live here for at least three months.

Amber clears her throat.

TED (to the group): I like the style of the house. It’s a typical Sydney home, and it feels cozy and comfortable.

MALLORY: Cozy is not the word I’d like to be using to describe a house for seven people. Plus, the refrigerator is barely big enough for two people. And the bathrooms definitely need to be updated. I really don’t want to do any work.

TED: I don’t mind doing a little work. We could put our own stamp on the house, really make it our own.

AMBER: Keep in mind that it’s a rental, so you won’t be able to do any work without the landlord’s approval.

Mallory smiles triumphantly at the camera.

TED: Oh wait, one more thing. I have an extensive gun collection that’s being sent from Johnsonville, and I’ll need a room in the house to display it.

AMBER: I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Ted.

TED: Why not?

AMBER: Because we have sensible gun laws in Australia, passed in response to a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996. Since then, the number and rate of homicides has fallen markedly.

TED (to Mallory): I don’t think I can do this, babe.

END OF ACT 1

*                                                          *                                                          *

ACT 2

NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia. So far, their relocation expert has shown them a Queen Ann style home for Ted. But Mallory thought the refrigerator was too small, and she wasn’t crazy about sharing the house with a wombat. So next up, they’re seeing a house that’s more in line with what Mallory asked for.

MALLORY (looking at the enormous house with awe): This house is how much??

AMBER: It’s $3,000 US dollars per month.

Mallory and Ted exchange a look.

AMBER: I know it’s over your budget, but I think you should give this house a chance. It has everything you’re looking for.

MALLORY: Room for a llama rehabilitation center?

AMBER: Sure.

Mallory and Ted walk around the house.

MALLORY: I feel like we’re back in the U.S. This place is huge!

TED: True. But I don’t see the point in moving halfway around the world to live in a house we could have back in Wyoming.

MALLORY: You’re right. We should move back.

An emu runs through the kitchen. Ted screams and jumps into Amber’s arms. She holds him like a baby.

MALLORY: Ted!

TED: What?! Oh. Right.

Ted climbs down from Amber’s arms and smooths his shirt, looking embarrassed.

MALLORY: I think this house is perfect, except for the budget.

TED: It’s way over budget. But everyone can have their own bedroom, and we have space in the garden for vegetables, a llama rehabilitation center, and a chicken coop.

MALLORY: I wonder if llamas and chickens get along.

TED: I don’t think llamas get along with anything. Don’t they spit?

Ted leans over a plant in the garden to get a better look.

AMBER: Don’t touch that plant!!!

Ted jumps back.

TED: What is it?

AMBER: It’s spurge. Just touching it can kill you. Oh, and there’s a gigantic huntsman spider hiding under its leaves. Do you see it?

Ted looks and sees a spider that’s at least 14 inches across. It would take a car to kill it.

AMBER: The huntsman spider stalks its prey, rather than spinning a web as a trap.

MALLORY (to Ted): Why are we here again? We can’t even bring our guns! So many things to kill and no way to kill them.

TED: Maybe we should go back to Johnsonville and get a tiny house instead?

MALLORY: Oh hell no.

END OF SHOW

 

 

Anna Doesn’t Want To

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Now that I’ve changed the title of my site, you may be wondering what it is, exactly, that I don’t want to do. The answer is EVERYTHING. Just kidding. Sort of.

Maybe it’s best explained like this: every day, there are so many little things that I have to do that just plain stink. And in addition to the daily little things, there are big things coming down the pike that cause me to brood constantly. Picture a luggage carousel in my head, but instead of a piece of luggage coming out from behind the wall, a dreaded thought comes out, screaming, “Death!” or “College Applications!” or “Visiting Day!” or “Your Babies Are Not Babies Anymore!” or “Bat Mitzvah DJ!” or “Diet!” and oy vey, oy vey, oy vey, oy vey.

I tried to find a way to explain all of this without sounding ungrateful or overly anxious. I failed. So let me just say this: I know that these complaints are first world complaints, and I’m sorry if that offends you. I really believe that we must try to laugh our way through life, to the extent possible, or we will die from drowning in a pool of our own tears. Plus, if we only allowed the one person in the world with the most horrific list of complaints to complain, then you would no longer be allowed to complain about anything either, and then what would we all talk about all day long? A girl has got to vent, am I right?

So now that we’ve dispensed with “ungrateful” (I knock wood and implore and pray and ask forgiveness all day long), we should address The Scarlet Letter: A for Anxiety. I know that I’m anxious, and I think everyone is anxious to some extent. Have you read the news? Do you have children? Parents? Friends? Do you have a mortgage? Any other debt? Do you, or might you one day, have health problems? You’re anxious. Oh well. People survive with, and even thrive on, anxiety. And it’s kind of endearing when I won’t take a cab uptown on the FDR because the lanes are narrow, windy, and very close to the water. Right? RIGHT???

Now, you might be thinking, Silly Anna. You should focus more on the things that you do like to do every day. You should try to feel more #grateful and #blessed. This is excellent advice, thank you. I will try. I do try. In the meantime, I am also trying to be happy with myself just as I am; we can’t all be the same, and it’s unhealthy to be constantly unsatisfied with the way you actually are. Or so I’ve been told. By every therapist in NYC. Just kidding. Sort of.

Finally, the concept of “Anna Doesn’t Want To” encompasses much more than just the complaints on this list. Many of the topics I like to write about, whether it’s a strange interaction with someone or a tradition that seems meaningless, capture things that I don’t really want to be involved in, and I like to show the humorous side to them.

So with all of that being said, here is the list of “little” and “big” things that I don’t want to do. The very thought of doing these things makes me want to hide in my bed with Netflix and a bowl of microwaved M&Ms (trust me).

  • Help my kids with their homeworkAfter a long day of being a mom, which, for those of you who are wondering, entails being a nurse, firefighter, short order cook, housekeeper, bed and breakfast owner, plumber, electrician, COO, event planner, cable company repair woman, teacher, pharmacist, camp counselor, personal shopper, nutritionist, social worker, mediator, personal assistant, and engineer, to name a few, you know what I don’t want to do? Convert mixed numbers into whole numbers or improper fractions or whatever the hell it is that they’re supposed to be doing. What is an integer, anyway? Isn’t it just a number? Can’t they just say “number”? Geez.
  • Dress like an adult. Sometimes people can’t believe that I have three kids, and it’s not because my skin is smooth or because there are no circles under my eyes. It’s because I dress like I’m in college. Sorry. I like to be comfortable. And what are heels anyway? They are instruments of medieval torture, that’s what.
  • Act like an adult. I spend my whole life trying to avoid “adulting.” OMG. Am I a Millennial? I sound like one. Yet another thing to worry about. No offense, Millennials. You guys are awesome. I just can’t be one of you because my peer group will reject me.
  • Confront people. Very hard for me. Usually I will only do this if I feel that one of my children is being threatened in some way. But you should know that most of the time I feel unsatisfied by the way I have been treated. LOL. Not.
  • Say no. Also very hard for me. Basically, if you need a kidney, I’m the person to ask. (Note: not a legally binding offer).
  • Take risks. I’m sure skydiving is quite the rush, but I prefer my feet (in Toms, of course) on the ground.
  • Be in pain. Some people have really high thresholds for pain. I am the opposite of those people. Plus, since I’m a worrier and a Googler, everything is serious. Pain in my right side? Let’s see…*typing*…pain in the upper right quadrant…Gallstones! Hepatosplenomegaly! Primary biliary cirrhosis!
  • Push myself physically. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: there are Navy Seals, and then there are those of us who tire from resetting the cable box. Thank God for Navy Seals. Seriously.
  • Drown (especially inside a plane or a car). I bought one of those devices for our car that has a blade for cutting through your seat belt on one end, and a tiny, pointy hammer on the other end that you can use to break your window if your car is submerged. I even watched the YouTube tutorial video. I almost drowned sitting at my computer. I hold my breath when we drive over water or alongside water. I am a lunatic. Please send help.
  • Look in the mirror right after getting my hair and makeup done.  What am I going to see? Could be anything from Texas beauty pageant queen (not the winner) to recovering heroin addict.
  • Watch the news. I am practically speechless when it comes to the news. Suffice it to say, on many fronts, enough is enough.
  • Discipline someone else’s child. Please, can they play at your apartment?
  • Criticize anyone, even if they’ve asked for my opinion. I am so sensitive that I can’t help but imagine being the recipient of the criticism. Don’t ask me if you look fat, or if I like your shoes, or if your necklace is too flashy. I will lie to you.
  • Get in a car, plane, subway or boat. You know when you’re on a plane, and the flight attendants come around offering drinks and snacks, and some people watch movies or read? While they’re doing those things, I’m flying the plane with my mind while thinking, “HOW CAN YOU ALL BE EATING AT A TIME LIKE THIS???”
  • Go to a crowded place. Yes, I know where I live.
  • Drive. You know a car is a deadly machine, right? Even if your goal is just to get to the mall.
  • Fail. Yeah yeah, we’re supposed to fail. But still.
  • Apologize. So hard. So awkward. So necessary.
  • See my kids get hurt (physically or emotionally). I get sick to my stomach when athletes get hurt, so imagine when my own kids get hurt. A few years ago, my daughter fractured her arm at gymnastics. I wasn’t there when it happened, and when she got home she really wasn’t in much pain. But the next day she didn’t eat breakfast and she didn’t bicker with her brother, so I knew something was wrong. When the doctor said her arm was probably fractured, I had to excuse myself to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up and faint. Twice. Please, can the kids play at your apartment? I will send you all of my doctors’ phone numbers. Some of them haven’t even met me yet.
  • Diet. I just love you, food, you naughty siren.
  • Throw up. Ugggggggggggggggggggh. Remember in college when you would throw up at midnight and still stay out until 3 a.m.? Yeah…not so much anymore.
  • Get lice. I had a “comb out” over the summer because one of my children had one egg in his/her hair, and I lost half a head of my hair. I literally can’t afford to get it again. I will kill you in your sleep if you give it to me. Just kidding. Sort of. Note: if someone actually kills you in your sleep, none of your heirs, legal representatives, successors or assigns can use this post as evidence that it was me. I am trying to be funny. Not actually threatening anyone.
  • Go to bed late. I have to wake up when our toddler wakes up, and I’m scared of feeling tired because my mother was a big proponent of sleep and would let me go into school late if I had been up late doing work the night before. This signaled to me that not getting enough sleep was REALLY bad.
  • Look at my “to do” list. It’s oppressively long and filled with things I either don’t want to do or don’t know how to do.
  • Have a fire in my building. Did you know that if you live in a post-war building, it is probably “non-combustible” and the fire isn’t supposed to be able to spread? Therefore, if there’s a fire in your building, you’re supposed to stay put. In a building that’s on fire. When we lived on the 28th floor of a non-combustible building around 10 years ago, there was a fire on the ground level of the building and you can’t imagine how quickly the smoke made its way up to us. We ran down the stairs, baby in tow, and had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The firefighters thought we were insane for leaving our apartment. For months after the fire, I stopped at every firehouse I came across to ask if we did the wrong thing by fleeing, and every firefighter said we should have stayed. But it’s hard to convince yourself not to run when your building is aflame. Anyway, having to make that judgment call again is not something I look forward to. Note: I am not a firefighter or a fire expert, so don’t take my advice.
  • Choke. Or have anyone around me choke. I took the choking/CPR class, but still. So easy to save a life, and yet so hard.
  • Have the “how babies are made” talk with my kids. Ok, technically I’ve done this already, but I think I left them with more questions than answers. Can’t they just Google it???
  • Be fashionable. There is almost nothing I care less about in this world than fashion. Clearly.
  • Revise our family’s schedule. If someone is running 17 seconds behind on a Wednesday afternoon, the rest of our week is ruined. Making a single change would cause a domino effect that would likely result in an asteroid hitting the Earth. Luckily we have Navy Seals to protect us.
  • Do things just because “everyone” is. I am very stubborn about this. I guess I don’t want to look like a follower? I will dig in my heels and glue them to the ground, even if it means missing out on something great. You know the idiom “cutting off your nose to spite your face”? That.
  • Host a holiday. So. Many. Crumbs.
  • Get ready for bed. I just want to collapse on my bed. Is that too much to ask? Of course it is, because first I have to floss and brush and wash and put on some kind of cream (pat, don’t rub) and spray my nose and brush my appliance (for TMJD, natch) and put on lash lengthener and fertilize my hair (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s very nice for you), and pee seven times and then ruminate on EVERY SINGLE DETAIL OF THE DAY AND ALL THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THAT DAY.
  • Remove body hair. I know, ew. What a pain, though, seriously. And, yes, I see the irony in the fact that I’m fertilizing my head while removing hair from my body.
  • Return clothes I ordered online. Even though they make it “so easy” to return everything.
  • Nudge. Contrary to popular belief, the nudger likes to nudge almost as much as the nudgee likes to be nudged. No one thinks “Change the light bulbs!” is sexy.
  • Be awake before the sun rises. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy??? Note: I hate you, daylight savings. Even if you claim to give us more light in the morning, you are the ruiner of dreams. Literally and symbolically.
  • Clean up vomit. Nooooooooooooooo. I just retched a little thinking about it.
  • Deal with idiots. For example, I was trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a Monday morning, and the receptionist told me that the doctor had had availability “last Monday.” In the past. Dear Lord, why do you test me with these people? What is my path? I am so confused.
So, that is my itty bitty list of things I don’t want to do. Now that you’ve read it, you might be wondering what I do want to do. I’m still trying to figure that out.
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What are some of the things that you don’t want to do? Does the very knowledge of their existence make you cranky? How do you combat that crankiness? Do you meditate? Eat kale?

My Vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer

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Disclaimer: The title of this post is misleading and some parts of the story are grossly exaggerated. Also…it’s hard to spell exaggerated.

So there we were, on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard with some dear friends and their children. On the third night of our vacation, the adults went into Oak Bluffs for dinner while the kids were at night camp (the other word for night camp is Heaven). As Jayme pulled the car up to the restaurant to let the ladies out to secure the table, we were greeted by the unfamiliar sight of a police officer directing cars not to stop right out front. It must have taken us too long to unload (I’m not a spry 25-year-old anymore, jeez!), because the officer approached the car quickly, purposefully and concernedly. Natalie and I scurried into the restaurant while the guys went to park the car, and the hostess took us to our table. The table next to us was empty and the table next to that had two brawny men eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes (so what if I notice everyone’s food?). One of the men had an earpiece with that curly old-fashioned telephone cord coming out of it (what are those called anyway? Also, can’t they come up with something more discreet? Like an earpiece drone?), and they both had special pins on their lapels. I said to Natalie, “Someone important is in here.” I know. GENIUS. Scotland Yard, here I come. We looked around and didn’t see anyone we recognized. Then Natalie said, “I bet it’s the Obamas. That’s probably why we weren’t allowed to stop the car in front of the restaurant.” So, it turns out she’s the genius. But I’m taking credit for it. So, after I figured out that it was the Obamas (see what I did there?) we tossed around a few conspiracy theories: the security guards were just decoys, and the Obamas were actually eating somewhere else, etc. When the waitress came over, Jayme asked, “Is he eating here tonight?” She confirmed that he was. “Where?” we asked. “On the back patio.” We ordered our food and spent the rest of the evening having completely forgotten about who we might see and not at all craning our necks every time someone walked in from the back of the restaurant. As we were finishing up our entrees, Barak and Michelle walked into the main dining room, greeted all of the diners by name, lamented the shitty situation that we Americans are now faced with, and then sat down at our table for dessert. Barak had the crème brûlée special (he let me taste it and it was delicious), and Michelle and I split the banana cream pie (also delicious). They were, unsurprisingly, lovely company, and it was one of the best meals of my life. So that’s how we had dinner with the Obamas. Sadly, I don’t have a photo to prove it.

A couple of days later, Jayme was going on a boat tour of the island with his cousin who lives here year round. He asked if we wanted to join, and my husband and older son said yes, but I chose to stay home with Natalie and my daughter and have a girls’ day. I’m so glad we decided to do that, because my husband and Jayme ended up spending the afternoon with Amy Schumer and then I died of jealousy. I’m writing this blog post from the hereafter. I tried really hard to be positive and grateful about how great our day was, but let’s be honest: no amount of positivity and gratefulness can make up for the fact that I could have easily met Amy Schumer and become her best friend. None. Sorry. So here’s what happened. My husband, son, Jayme and his three boys finished the boat tour and went to grab lunch at a general store. Sitting on the porch, eating pizza like a regular old person, was Amy Schumer (I’m going to keep using her full name to emphasize the enormity of this missed opportunity for me, and because I feel like it). When Jayme went inside to get some food, his 3-year-old tripped and fell on the deck, and Amy Schumer got up and helped him. When Jayme came out and heard what had happened, he went over to Amy Schumer and thanked her for helping his son. Her reply, “I saved his life!,” was typical Amy Schumer (in the best way). Then, she hung out with the husbands and kids for an hour and taught the kids how to write jokes and drink beer. She even tested out some of her new material on the guys. While all this was going on, I was a few miles away with wonderful company, but eating a shitty lunch and getting treated badly by a waitress for no reason. But, yes, I’m happy that I didn’t go on the boat ride because clearly it was an uneventful day that no one will remember.

Once I heard about the encounter with Amy Schumer, I told the story about 100 times to anyone who would listen. Finally, my 8-year-old asked me, “Do you love me more than Amy Schumer?” “Yes,” I replied. “Good, just checking,” he said. And that was my cue to stop telling the story. P.S. I only love him more than Amy Schumer some of the time. I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

So that’s the story of my vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer. I wonder if they remember the stories differently?

Friday Musings–8/4/17

 

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Hello! It’s Friday and I’m feeling a little bit lazy, so instead of writing a blog post, I’m just making a bullet point list of my recent musings. Maybe “Friday Musings” will become a tradition. Happy weekend!

  • Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, “Your kids seem confused. Maybe you should consider investing in a life tutor?”
  • I want to be the kind of mother who takes her kids to explore new neighborhoods and visit museums that we haven’t been to, but it’s so much easier to just see a movie near our apartment in a theater that has those reservable, reclining seats. The other mothers are my heroes.
  • “Hey GXW2165. When you almost ran me over in the crosswalk, I bet you didn’t count on the fact that I would be pretty good at recalling letters and numbers.”
  • Has anyone ever gotten hurt from an untied shoelace? (Pooh, pooh, pooh).
  • The wheels on the bus are made of cancer-causing rubber/The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep (unless you live in the city, in which case you can’t honk because you’ll get a $250 fine)./The wipers on the bus go, “Is this acid rain? It tastes funny.”/The driver on the bus goes, “If you see something, say something.”/The grandmas on the bus go, “Give me your seat!”/The babies on the bus go, “Is this organic? Gluten-free? Sustainable?”/The mommies on the bus go, “Ummm…yeah, it’s ummm…it’s all those things. Yeah…organic. Like you said.”
  • A shirt is not a napkin.
  • Yoga, and seitan, and vegans, oh my!

 

People Are Weird–Part 1

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The longer I live the clearer it becomes: people are weird. I don’t mean the kind of weird that everyone used to make fun of in the 90s but is now considered cool. I mean weird like, Did you really just say that? Can you hear yourself? Do you know your audience at all? What kind of adult behaves like that? What’s wrong with you???

To be clear, I know that I can be weird, too. Sometimes my mouth is way ahead of my brain and by the time my brain is aware of what my mouth is saying, it’s too late for my brain to shut it. For example, when I was pregnant with my middle child, a mom asked me if we had selected a name and I said something like, “We have a few in the running. We really like William but we don’t want him to be called Willy. Hate it.” As I was finishing the sentence, that cold, prickly feeling quickly flooded my stomach because I knew just what was coming. She said, “My Dad’s name is Willy.” Of course it was. (It is not lost on me that I’ve just offended some of you. My apologies.)

Once, when my daughter was two, we went to a new friend’s house for a play date. The mom took out a bunch of different containers of Play-Doh and, as she was about to open the first one, I said in a judgmental tone, as if she were the most disgusting person in the world, “This seems like the kind of house where you have to keep the colors separate.” It was. We never went back. It’s too bad, actually. They were lovely people.

Maybe some of you consider this type of behavior to be mean. I guess it’s borderline. But, most of the time, I don’t think it’s done purposely. With myself, I know it’s not. I think most people are just self-involved, tone deaf and sometimes…I’m gonna say it. I’m gonna use the S word…are you ready? Stupid. There, I said it. Stupid. Every one of us is one of these things from time to time and the end result is that we behave weirdly. Why can’t we help ourselves? I don’t know. But I’m happy that I’m not alone. Here are some of my favorite stories (all true) about weird people:

  1. I live in a big city and you live in the suburbs. You say to me, “We thought about living in the city but it just seems so dirty.”
  2. I tell you where I’m going for dinner with some friends and you respond, “I don’t like that place. It’s overpriced, the food isn’t that good and the service is bad.” (A) I didn’t ask for your opinion. (B) You’re not coming, so why do you care?
  3. You and I run into each other on the street. We haven’t seen each other in a while, and we’re genuinely happy to stop and chat for a few minutes. When I have to get going you say, “Can we have lunch soon?” and I say, “Definitely! I’ll send you a few dates when I get home and look at my calendar.” I send you a few dates later that day and I never hear from you again.
  4. I have leftover maternity clothes and you tell me that you’re pregnant (!). I offer my maternity clothes to you and you respond, “Your maternity clothes would be WAY too big on me.”
  5. You and I run into each other at a diner. We’re exchanging pleasantries and then you say, in a very accusatory manner, “Why are you dressed so warmly? It’s not that cold!” I don’t understand. Why do you care if I’m wearing a coat? Did it bite you, my coat? Did the very thought of my warmth offend you to the core?
  6. Once, walking into a movie on Christmas Day, an older woman tried to shove past my husband and me. My husband said, “Please be careful, my wife is pregnant” to which the woman responded, “Well I have cancer!”
  7. You and I take our kids to the beach. I pull out a towel for my son and you say, “Why did you bring such a big towel?” Note: same person who was offended by my coat.
  8. At a crowded hair salon there are more people waiting than there are seats, and several women have been standing for quite some time. You have a seat, as does your leather bag. Is it exhausted, your bag, from being carried all day? Has it had a tough time? In fairness, your bag probably cost the equivalent of half a year of private school. But still…
  9. You and I are waiting on line for deli items at the supermarket. We both have tickets in our hands with numbers on them. Lower numbers get called first. You know how it works. We all do. I was clearly already there when you rolled up with your shopping cart, and therefore my number is going to be called first. When they call my number, you say, “That’s me!” Dude, seriously, you’re not fooling anyone. We’re holding TINY TICKETS in our hands with NUMBERS ON THEM. It’s not a popularity contest. You can’t pretend you didn’t understand. How exactly do you think this is going to play out?
  10. I meet you for the first time at a birthday party that both of our kids have been invited to. We start chatting and I tell you that I’m a lawyer. You ask me if I work because I want to or because I have to. I grab my child and we run for our lives, because clearly you are a sociopath.*

There are so many more examples of how people are weird. I can’t wait to share more of them with you! Let me know about your experiences with weird humans. Do you have any tips for how not to behave this way, while also not acting like a robot?

 

*We did not leave the party. That part is fictionalized. But that sociopath is still on the loose.

 

TMI. Literally.

068999106-vitamins-omega-3-cod-liver-oil

It’s a wonderful privilege to live in America and be able to shop freely for products that we want or need. It’s also a privilege to be able to afford these items. That being said, there are often just too many choices. And, on top of the plethora of choices, there are online reviews of almost every product; sometimes these reviews are helpful, and sometimes they are daunting.

This morning, I was shopping online for a children’s gummy multivitamin that includes enough Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D to make it worth the battle with my kids that invariably comes when it’s time for vitamins. Spoiler alert: said vitamin doesn’t exist. As I was searching, I clicked on one of the customer’s reviews of a vitamin that looked like a good possibility. Here is what he or she wrote:

“My kids like the taste of these but after I found out I have the MTHFR & MTRR mutation and became educated on the different forms of folate and B12, I will never feed these to my kids again. They contain folic acid, you want folate. Folate is easier for the body to absorb since the body doesn’t have to convert it from folic acid to folate. They also contain cyanocobalamin, you want methylcobalamin. Again, this is the usable form and the body doesn’t have to convert it to use. For someone with genetic mutations, it is very important to bypass the conversion that is not working properly.”

Insert crumply face with tears. Now, in addition to trying to find a vitamin, I also have to figure out what the fuck the MTHFR and MTRR mutations are and then decide if we all have to be tested. That’s item 86 on my “to do” list, by the way. And what are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin? Do I need to speak to the pediatrician about this? I don’t want to do any more research! I just want a damn multivitamin. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

But it gets worse. I decide to go down the rabbit hole and read the responses to this person’s review. Because I’m a glutton for punishment. Here is the original reviewer’s second comment, in response to another person asking which vitamins he or she would recommend:

“I like [    ] and [    ]. Both contain methylated forms of the B vitamins. They are capsules, so you open them up and sprinkle the powder into food if your child can’t swallow them [My comment: if you visualize this, it’s creepy…picture an after school special about kidnapping]. We don’t do the full dose of 6 capsules either. [    ] gummies contain the methylated forms if you prefer a gummy.  If your child has never taken methylated forms, I would start with only a partial dose and slowly work up. The B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms, can be stimulating.”

Ok. First of all, how does she know that “B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms” can be stimulating? And why don’t I know that? I’m educated. I interact with adults offline. I take my kids to the pediatrician. Am I supposed to know all of this? It’s just too much. Second of all, I feel like I’m 50 steps behind [Note: might be a funny mom parody of 50 Shades of Grey]. I’m still trying to figure out if folic acid is the same as iron, and why exactly it’s different from folate, and whether it really matters. I might need to go to medical school just so that I can buy a vitamin for my kids. This seems wrong. But don’t I have an obligation to my kids to look into all of this? Please say no.

Now, of course, I had to keep reading the reviews because they sucked me in like a bad network drama. By far, here is my favorite review from this batch. It’s entitled “The Best (after a lot of Research)”:

 “I have spent much time researching vitamins for my kids (ages 7 and 8). [Note: I have spent one hour and I want to cry.]

First, they must be organic. Nothing added that isn’t necessary or doesn’t add value (so NO magnesium stearate, which is banned in the UK because of its toxicity–why do they use it as a filler for so many vitamins in the United Sates?). Nothing artificial.

This product contains no yeast, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, artificial flavors, artificial colors, salicylates, or preservatives.

And it does not contain GMOs (as are readily found in corn products [and soy and papaya and many other foods now]). We need to be very concerned with GMOs (genetically modified organisms that insidiously find their way into everyday foods that we feed our family–and there is no way to know if they are in there unless the product is organic–and they ARE in about 80% of our [nonorganic] food–scary). One last thing about GMOs–they cause sterility in 4th generation rats. GMOs haven’t been around for long enough for studies to show their ill effects on us but by the time they do, it’ll be too late. Off the soapbox I go. Sorry.

In any case, no GMOs in this product 🙂

My kids really like the flavor of these. They are coated in sugar. I initially had a problem with that but I got over it because they’re not white with sugar. Plus, I roll the around in my hand before I give them to my kids. this gets rid of some of the sugar. And of course, the sugar adds to their palatability.”

Now full panic has set in. There are too many things to worry about, from this one review alone! Dear God, please send me a multivitamin that does not cause sterility in 4th generation rats. Although, God, between you and me, Earth might not be around in another 4 generations, am I right?

But back to the second review…I just find it hilarious that the same person who seems to be an expert on GMOs, allergies, and preservatives thinks it’s ok that the vitamins are coated in sugar. Because sugar makes things taste good. Obviously. But it’s also the devil. According to my doctor, studies show that sugar is more physiologically addictive than heroin. I don’t know…that sounds worse than being nonorganic. But what do I know?

After an hour of my life lost on this project, my final question for Google is “I have lost my mind–do you know where I can find it?” I bet if I asked Siri, she would have some interesting answers.

P.S. I still haven’t ordered vitamins, and I’m about to curl up in fetal position in the corner and suck my thumb. Come find me when you have a suggestion about which vitamins I should buy, preferably with a link to Amazon. Must be ✔️Prime.