Like Heaven for My HooHa

So I trust that, with the exception of a few pockets of resistance, your children are back in school? For as much as I couldn't wait for the bus to roll up and haul the kids away for the day, I'm surprised at how quickly the summer passed. In fact it didn't occur to me as to how quickly until I was sitting on the back porch with Ashley last week when she told me that the school shopping was complete.
"All done," she said.
"With?" I asked.
"All done with school shopping."
"Cool." I sounded subdued, but a part of me hoped a bottle of Cristal was somewhere among pencils and safety scissors on the list because I imagined dowsing myself in it at the bus stop as soon as they drove off. (Hey, give me a break here, people. It's been nothing but unstructured nuttiness, bored shenanigans, and pointless bickering around here while trying to run meetings and deal with clients. Think of it as Bring-Your-Child-To-Work Day but 3 months long.)
It was right about then that Allie appeared in the sliding glass door. There was an excited eagerness in her face that soon sagged into disappointment upon noticing my presence. This has been an increasingly common reaction from Allie who, in recent months, has been quietly challenging Galileo's notions as to what the Universe actually orbits around.
But no matter. Rather than, say, waiting for her obtrusive stepfather to leave, Allie launches into a series of spastic hand and facial movements. I've seen this before. It's a Spanglish-like hybrid dialect combining sign language with classic mother-daughter co-dependency--think Helen Keller meets Gilmore Girls.
Since it's used quite regularly when I'm around, I've managed to pick up on a few words and phrases. For example, widened eyes, three finger stabs to the opposite palm, followed by one long lip bite and two blinks means, "I need to talk to you right now." Another that gets used often is, furrowed brow, sigh, point, point, point, pressed lips, fist pound, fist pound, which roughly translates to, "Get rid of him."
This was exactly what Allie started off with as she stood in the doorway. I can't say as I appreciated such rudeness, but I managed to hold my tongue as mother and daughter proceeded to engage in a mad series of hand gestures and frequent eye rolls which concluded with Allie stomping off.

My curiosity got the best of me. "What was that all about?" I wanted to know.
Ashley, however, waved me off. "Oh, it's nothing," she replied, taking a sip from her Diet Coke.
"No, seriously. What's up with her?" I asked. Why it is after all these years with the girls I haven't learned to abandon my quest for details in such situations beats me, but I was about to be reminded yet again of my repeated folly.
Ashley shrugged in that okay-you-asked-for-it sort of way. "I told the girls they could spend some of their birthday money today," she started. "So Allie wanted to buy a bra."
Just had to pry, didn't you, Ron?
My reaction, or course, was predictable. "What?! A bra? To hold in what exactly? She's ten for friggn' sake." Granted, there are girls who fill out early in life, but chopsticks have more form than Allie who, based on her family's genetic history, has a lengthy wait before needing to worry about reigning things in.
Well used to such outbursts from me, Ashley downplayed the whole things. "It's no big deal. It was just a sports bra."
I failed to see the logic in how this additional detail was supposed to quell my concerns, namely, why do little girls feel the high need to grow up faster than they should?
In the case of my stepdaughter's gateway drug to premature womanhood, I wanted to know which corrupted institution was at fault this time--Teen Nick? Katie Perry? Those stupid Twilight movies?
"Where in the world can you find sports bras for the under-aged?" I asked.
"At Justice," Ashley answered.
Justice. I should've known.
If you're not familiar with it, Justice is a chain of retail stores geared toward the tween demographic. A better way of putting it is that it's a sparkly, pink mushroom cloud explosion of trendiness and cheap plastic crap that's continually on sale for 40% off. This, I suppose, wouldn't be so bad until you consider what it is they are selling. Filling their racks and shelves is a bipolar array of merchandise ranging from cutesy dolls and fruity candies to flirty clothes and border-line naughty undergarments.
To a ten-year-old girl the message is that it's okay still play with toys as long as you're wearing the Party Dots Romper when you do. To me, however, it screams, "We are the official supplier of cherry lollipops to strippers and porn stars dressed as naughty school girls."
What ensued was a rant against the evils of Justice, in the middle of which Ashley got up to leave.
"Hey, where you going?" I asked, surprised she wasn't sticking around to hear more of my argument defending her own daughter's innocence from culture's depravity.
"Uh, I think I'm gonna go help Allie try on her stuff." And like so many other discussions, she was gone and it was over. Only it wasn't. Not quite anyway.

Later, over dinner, as soon as Allie had excused herself from the table, Ashley slapped me on the arm.
"Guess what Allie said this afternoon?" she asked looking past me to ensure her daughter was beyond earshot.
I took a bite of food. "What?" I replied unsuspectingly.
A grin spread across Ashley's face, one I've seen before, and all at once I knew I wanted nothing to do with whatever it was Allie had uttered. You see, my wife takes cruel pleasure in watching me squirm, and things were about to get uncomfortable for me.
"So, along with her sports bra I let Allie buy a pair of panties--"
I tried to say, "No, stop," but instead choked on a piece of half-chewed fish. Why Justice has to sell them as panties when Walmart refers to the same thing as underwear further underscored my disdain for the place. Either way, I had no desire to hear any more details, and I had to prevent Ashley from telling me anymore of the story. Too late.
"Yeah, so when Allie put them on I asked her how they fit, and she said." Ashley started to crack up. "She said they were like heaven... for her hooha!"

O.M.G! Justice, I hate you.


A BlogHer 2012 Recap by a Silly Dad Blogger

Thursday, August 2nd

4:00 AM - Wake up to make two-hour trip to catch plane in Indy on way to BlogHer 12 in NYC.
4:01 AM - Flashing beaming smile at wife and tell her how proud I am that she will be speaking and have the chance to show how talented she is. Happy to support her by staying home with the kids so she can attend her first-ever blog conference and first trip to the Big Apple.
6:37 AM – Arrive at airport. Pull luggage from van. Remind wife to kiss me goodbye before she rushes into the terminal. Chalk her oversight up to nerves and excitement.
7:13 AM – Buy vanilla milks for the kids at Starbucks to set tone for fun weekend together
8:56 AM – Receive first message from wife telling me she made it to DC and is about to aboard her flight to NY. Says she’s sure her computer bag smells like pee. I assure her otherwise. She’s so cute when she travels.
9:05 AM – Begin work.
11:23 AM – Wife calls to say she’s in NY but is waiting a few minutes before getting Taxi. “Baby steps,” she’s says. Occurs to me she may have forgotten to take her anxiety meds.
12:01 PM – Get text message informing me NY Taxi drivers use horns in place of turn signals. Adorable.
1:00 PM – Working
2:00 PM – Working
3:00 PM – …working
4:37 PM – Check news casts to see if any mention of President Obama’s address to BlogHer speakers.
6:12 PM – Wonder what’s for dinner and remember that I have to cook it for everyone. Realize we have no food. Make list, round up kids, and make trip for groceries. Forget milk.
6:25 PM – Make stop at liquor store for gluten free beer as a reward for the great job I’m going to do this weekend while wife is gone.
7:33 PM – Feed kids frozen pizzas. They are delighted. Decide to let them stay up past bedtime. Drink beer #1.
7:50 PM – Do dishes and put in load of laundry. Pretend not to be confused by electronic keypad on washer.
8:41 PM – Begin receiving flurry of text messages from wife on various conference-related observations. Recognize she is doing this to compensate from anxiety over meeting with others during the conference’s various social events. Hope she took her meds or got some from someone else. Encourage her to go find a few people we know.
9:36 PM – Get text message telling me various other bloggers I know have said hello.  Ah, how nice. Drink beer #2.
10:01 PM – Change channel to watch Ken Burns documentary on PBS. Note how nice it is to watch a history program instead of brain-rotting Dance Moms.
10:07 PM – Bored with documentary. Begin intensive yet unsatisfying channel surfing campaign.  
10:46 PM – Go to kitchen. Eat half a gallon of chocolate-covered cherry truffle ice cream also bought as reward for the great job I’m doing.
11:02 PM – Consider possibility I might be missing my wife.
11:03 PM – Wonder if she will send any more text messages to me. Secretly hope she will. Debate sending her a text message to say “good night,” but decide against it because I don’t want to interrupt her fun with friends by appearing needy. Don’t want to be that guy. Fall asleep on couch watching The Notebook.

Friday, August 3rd

12:57 AM – Move from couch to bed.  …cannot get back to sleep.
1:46 AM – Still awake. Begin philosophical contemplation of life choices made between 1999 and 2003. Arrive at no definitive conclusions.  
2:48 AM – Recalling past experiences of my own at blog conferences and knowing some of the instigators are at the conference, first twinges of worry creep into brain. Imagination hits overdrive. Why do we lose all sense of rational during early morning hours? No way she’s at an after-hours, underground S&M club. Or is she?
2:50 AM – Send text message telling wife I can’t sleep without her. No response. Convinced she is at S&M club.
3:30 AM – Check phone.
4:30 AM – Check phone.
9:00 AM – Begin work. Rational thinking returns. She probably went to bed early after long day.
9:35 AM – Send text message telling her the girls and I are cheering for her today before she speaks. Gesture is sincere but also secretly intended to prompt response.
10:01 AM – Ploy works. Wife calls. There is slight sound of a hangover in her voice as she tells me she stayed out until “1:30-ish.” Oh, well, that’s not too bad I guess.
12:06 PM – Tell kids it’s lunchtime. Direct them to kitchen and assure them they can handle the situation themselves. Imagine wife sitting at table with Martha Stewart devouring Martha’s marvelous egg-salad on crust-less bread.
1:00 PM – Working
2:00 PM – Working. Wonder how wife’s speaking sessions are going. Hope she took her Mexican Zanex.
3:34 PM – Still working. Switch to stalking wife on Twitter. Password is rejected and takes over an hour to reset password. Son of a...
4:07 PM – Wife calls excited that her sessions went smoothly. I’m very glad to hear this.
5:39 PM – Break down and leave status update on Facebook: “I miss my wife,” then add “but glad she is at BlogHer12 getting some much deserved time away from me,” so as to not look too needy.  
6:30 PM – Wonder what’s for dinner, then remember I have to fix it. Kids seem ecstatic about hotdogs. Have first beer of the evening.
6:50 PM – Check phone for messages. Re-check notification setting to make sure is not on silent.
7:00 PM – Let kids stay up to watch Olympic volleyball, swimming and gymnastics. Have a swell time cracking jokes with them.
8:31 PM – Get Twitter notification that wife is in bar surrounded by daddy bloggers. That she uses an exclamation point at the end of the message makes me think she’s a little too exuberant about this.

8:32 PM – Begin to feel a little insecure. Wonder if wife feels this way when I’m away at mom blog conferences.
9:35 PM – Wife calls me to say she’s in hotel room and bored. By tone in her voice I can tell she’s not bored but actually changing into new dress for a social event. Please don’t be the sun dress that shows off how hot your legs are. I don’t want to know and therefore don’t ask. Wife says she is going to the Sparklecorn Party. I try to recall if this is the one where there’s all kinds of illicit sex talk and flirting as attendees write on each other’s breasts with Sharpie markers. Note that wife’s ample bosom is large enough to run a black marker dry. Wife says she misses me but sounds in a hurry, so I let her go.
9:37 PM – Recall we still need milk. Make quick run to store for expensive gallon of 2%. For unknown reason have sudden craving for Marlboros. Buy a pack. Come home and smoke two on back porch.
10:05 PM – Bored with Olympics. Switch to Ghost Adventures TV 3-hour marathon. Drink beer and eat ice cream while making fun of how douchey host Zak Bagans is. Hahahaha. Look at him flex his muscles as he says ‘spirits of the undead.’ Hahaha! Whadda douche. This makes me forget image of wife’s graffitied boobs.
10:06 PM – Check phone
10:10 PM – Check phone
10:12 PM – Check phone
10:17 PM – Check phone
10:21 PM – …check phone

Saturday, August 4th

1:05 AM – Tired of over-hyped supposed ghost encounters, I go to bed but leave all the lights in the house on.  Check phone and wonder if I should send text telling wife goodnight. Decide against it not wanting to feel rejection of not getting a reply. All rational thought abandoned.
2:10 AM – Wonder if we should get a cat.
9:03 AM – After restless night, wake up and check phone.  Nothing. Get idea to have kids use their phone to text mommy so I don’t look so needy. Nothing. Sorry kids, mommy’s ‘hungover.’
9:50 AM – Stalk wife on Twitter. Come across video of mommy blogger molesting cardboard cutout of Elmo during wild, drunken karaoke session sung to tune of Wilson Philips. Convinced I saw wife in dark corner.
9:53 AM – Stalk wife on Facebook and find photo molesting cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber. There is wild drunken look in her eyes. Do math based on time when picture was posted. Holy F@ck! Did she even sleep last night?!

9:58 AM – Send passive-aggressive text message to wife wanting to know how hungover she is.
11:23 AM – Wife calls. Voice is scratchy. Definitely hungover. Possibly high. She is elusive about details as to when she stopped partying. Gives incoherent rundown of people she hung out with. Casually informs me that a certain dad blogger is, like her, a Morrissey fan. Random nature of comment tells me she is crushing. Suddenly alert, she quickly adds that, “but you look like Morrissey, honey.”  I look nothing like that bloody limey bastard! Crush theory is confirmed.  Feeling all at once insecure.    
11:57 AM – Kids ask for lunch. I tell them to knock themselves out. Whatever.
12:39 PM – Begin working on leaky shower faucet. Successfully complete task but have extra parts upon finishing. Oh well. Take sense of manly pride in the fact I can fix things.
1:01 PM – Take shower and put on sexiest outfit I own—tight jeans that lift my butt and pear-button shirt half unbuttoned. Kids ask if we’re going somewhere.
1:31 PM – Check phone which has now become closer to me than my own skin.
1:57 PM – Wife calls (to my delight) to ask me to send her some files she needs for her next round of speaking sessions. Makes light chit-chat about Katie Couric appearance.  Laments she hasn’t gone dancing yet. Thanks me for help. Hangs up.

2:30 PM – Working on writing project for remainder of the afternoon. Finish off rest of the beer.
6:35 PM – Wonder what’s for dinner. Remember I have to make it. Kids seem elated about the prospect of Mac-n-Cheese with tuna.
7:01 PM – Check phone. Nuts!
7:02 PM – Realize I am out of beer
7:03 PM – Tell the kids to hop in the van to go get some frozen yogurt. While enjoying soft-serve I raise the question as if we should get a cat. There is no debate. Vote is unanimous in favor of cat.
7:48 PM – On return trip make stop at liquor store for more beer. Being the last night of BlogHer it’s going to be a long night and I’ll need my strength to make it through.
8:15 PM – Put kids to bed. Instruct them to leave mommy a long text message on their phone about how much they miss and love her. They are too slow and I type the damn message myself.
8:17 PM – Check phone
9:03 PM – Receive call from wife. Says she’s too tired and only going out for dinner with friends. Having said the same thing at such events, I am skeptical but hold my tongue not wanting to be a jerk. Ask her to text me when she goes to bed. She says she will but has to go meet people in the lobby.
10:00 PM – Check phone. Down 3 beers. Have several cigarettes and finish off all remaining chocolate cherry truffle in the freezer.
10:15 PM - Receive Instagram message from Redneck Mommy showing off my wife's legs. Holy Shiitake Mushrooms!

11:37 PM – After hour and half of aggressive channel surfing (freaking out) to keep mind occupied proves unsuccessful, I decide the best strategy is to take wife’s Ambien and sleep. Afraid of effects, I only take half and finish fifth beer.

Sunday, August 5th

12:05 AM - Check phone. Son of a…
12:10 AM – Decide half an Ambien is too little and down the other half.
12:12 AM – Check phone. Check Twitter. Check Facebook.
12:15 AM – Text wife to say I’m going to bed and that I love and miss her. Ask for return flight time even though I already know. Hope for response. Down last beer. See following picture on Instagram from Mr Lady. Swear they are all screwing with me on purpose. 

12:16 AM …ish – Fall asleep on the couch while watching Dance Moms rerun.
3:30 AM – Kids claim I allegedly get into a heated fight about gay marriage rights with a package of paper plates on the kitchen counter. The plates must work for Chick-fil-a because they are “Ultra Strong” conservatives in their stance, and I scream that they are assholes in their face. This is hilarious to the kids, they tell me later. I then must mistake the plates for Taco Bell because I urinate on them. The kids take pictures with their camera phone to show me later in the morning.
9:21 AM – Wake up covered in paper napkins. We miss church.
9:22 AM – Check phone. Seriously? She said she’d text me. That’s bullshit!
9:25 AM - Go back to bed and sleep off Ambien hangover.
11:59 AM – Wake up and check phone. Take shower, do a little manscaping, and put on cologne. Knock out a few pushups and select t-shirt that shows off my arms.   
12:23 PM - Get incoherent text message from wife saying she is, “vety tirred,” and plans to “sleeeep on th plaun.”  By this it’s clear she didn’t just go to dinner but rather went dancing, sung f*cking Morrissey karaoke with God knows who, and proceeded to get blitzed out her mind drinking dirty martinis. I wonder who’s feeling worse at this point but figure all my manscaping, and tight t-shirt are for not.
1:01 PM – Herd kids into the van to retrieve tired, hungover wife.  Imagine security rolling her up to the arrival curb in a wheelchair.
1:05 PM - Receive phone call from wife saying she got her dates mixed up. Her flight isn't until tomorrow! I feel sympathetic. Poor girl. But arrrrg! Another night without her.

Monday, August 6th

4:05 PM – Pull up to airport. See my wife standing there waiting for us. She is tired but smiles big at us. I see her eyes and suddenly feel silly about everything.  

Note: Despite all my embellishment above, I'm very glad my wife got to experience both the conference and NYC on her own apart from me. She absolutely needed it. Next year, though, you can count on us both being at BlogHer in Chicago.

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